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Monday, May 13, 2013

Game of Thrones 3x7 - "The Bear and the Maiden Fair"


"The Bear and the Maiden Fair" is this season's episode personally penned by George R.R. Martin. Watching it, one imagines he had Salt-N-Pepa "Let's Talk About Sex" blasting on his iPod on loop.

Let's talk about sex, baby
Let's talk about you and me
Let's talk about all the good things and the bad things
That may be
Let's talk abooooout sex

This is the couples episode of Game of Thrones season 3, where all the couples got together and talked about all the couple-y things that couples are concerned with. Take the King in the North. All he's interested in is sex with his hot young queen Talisa. A ferocious rain storm has delayed the Stark army's arrival at the Twins and Catelyn, Edmure and the Blackfish are all in agreement, for once, that Walder Frey is a tremendous asshole who will take this tardiness as the latest grievous slight in a series of grievous slights. But then King Robb "What? Me? Worry?" Stark kicks them all out of his tent because Talisa and he are all wet and Mom, get the fuck out! And take your evil eye with you! When Don Draper married Megan on Mad Men, Burt Cooper chastised Don that he was on "love leave" for months. The King of the North is also on love leave. All the Kinging he's really interested in revolves around Talisa's perfect derriere. What kind of a weirdo is Talisa anyway, who immediately starts writing a letter to her mother post-coital? After Robb butchers a couple of words in Valyrian with his barbarian tongue, Talisa drops the bomb that she's with wolf. A young cub or maybe two are in her belly. (This is news to me - I don't remember Jeyne Westerling, Robb's book wife, being pregnant.) Robb is so happy and gets back to doing things with his barbarian tongue. Those two crazy kids. They should forget about this Walder Frey business and go visit Talisa's mom across the Narrow Sea straightaway, if they know what's good for them.

If only Robb knew what his brother from another mother Jon Snow has been up to, and vice versa. They'd be high fiving each other and comparing notes about wildling girls vs. girls from Volantis. Of course, Tormund Gianstbane is more than happy to have pretty gross discussions with Jon about how best to penetrate Ygritte. Complete with pantomimes. Meanwhile, Orell the Warg makes a play for Ygritte and for a second he was doing pretty well, until he blows it by rasping in her face about how pretty Jon Snow is and what he really is. Seeing through the eyes of a bird doesn't teach one how to charm the ladies. Orell also found time to threaten Jon about how he'll never hold onto Ygritte. He's just really eager to break those two up.

The Wildlings have gone over the Wall (I guess the climb down wasn't as treacherous as the climb up) but are far from Castle Black. All this time to march creates opportunities for Ygritte to have some culture shock, like amusingly mistaking a windmill for a castle. North of the Wall, Ygritte is hot shit, but on this side of it, she's just a rube. A rube Jon wouldn't mind seeing in a silk dress. He's got a lot of roleplaying ideas in mind. But foremost on Jon's mind is how this wildling attempt to claim the land south of the Wall is a folly. Jon knows his Westerosi history, which the wildlings were never taught: six times a King Beyond the Wall has attacked Westeros and six times they've failed. The wildlings don't have the discipline or the armies (or the dragons) to win a war. Basically, the wildlings are all going to die. Ygritte reminds Jon that he's also a wildling now. But Jon isn't really, and everyone knows it. They just need Jon Snow for his intel on how to take Castle Black. Ygritte is convinced if they die, she and Jon will die together. Hey, remember when Jon had a wolf? Where is Ghost these days?

In King's Landing, Sansa is very aware now about how stupid she is, and then reaffirms it when it all boils down to her not wanting to marry Tyrion because he's a Dwarf and thinking Loras is some dreamy guy who'll call her, maybe. Margaery tries to make her feel better about marrying Tyrion, who is far from the worst Lannister (and they both know damn well who the worst is), by reminding her how experienced she is. Poor sheltered Sansa doesn't take the hint from Margaery about why she's so knowledgeable about sex. Unlike say, Bronn, who knows a lot about sex himself, and that Tyrion isn't protesting marrying Sansa because she's a child or a foot taller than him, so much as how much it'll piss off Shae. Tyrion thinks he can have it both ways in the way many many men in Westeros and our world do: have the legal trophy wife to have the legitimate children while having a secret mistress and secret family on the side. That should be the answer to all of Tyrion's problems, but it was a hard sell to Shae, who threw that idea back in Tyrion's face. She fails to understand Tyrion's nature, that he's still a Lannister and likes being one, even if everyone hates him.

Remember when everyone hated Jaime Lannister in season one? No one has done as complete an about face to become an unlikely hero of this saga like the Kingslayer. Jaime's stump is more heroic than two thirds of Westeros. The Kingslayer dropped in to say goodbye to Brienne, the only woman in his life who's meant anything to him who isn't his twin sister/mother of his children. Jaime gets to go with a Lord Bolton-appointed escort, which includes ex-maester Qyburn, to King's Landing, while Brienne gets to stay behind a prisoner charged with treason against Robb Stark. Breaking up is hard to do, but Jaime heads on home, until Qyburn clues him in that Lord Bolton is off to Edmure Tully's wedding at The Twins, leaving Locke in charge of Harrenhaal and Brienne. Jaime got his Bolton boys on his side and returned to Harrenhaal to find Brianne in a bear of a situation: stuck in a gladiator pit with a wooden sword against a bear as she fights to the tune of the Westerosi number one hit song "The Bear and the Maiden Fair". I thought the solution would have been for Jaime to kick Locke into the pit, but I guess that would have sparked a riot. Instead, Jaime jumped into the pit and defended Brienne as his Bolton boys fired arrows at the bear. Jaime Lannister - give this man a golden hand. Of applause. It was a harrowing escape but Brienne and Jaime got out of the pit and after a face off, Jaime and Brienne got to leave Harrenhaal together with their Bolton boys, leaving Locke's Bolton boys without anyone to watch a bear rape or rape themselves. You ask me, Kingslayer and Brienne the Beauty are the best couple in Westeros.

For a few pretty fantastic full-frontal minutes, though, Theon was privy to the best couple in Westeros. The best torture ever, for a little while, had two fully nude hot ladies untie Theon and give him the dry humping of his recently horrible life, until, no surprise, Ramsey Bolton revealed it's all just part of the torture. And Ramsey was planning to cut Theon's cock off all along. Oof. So, now we have 8,002 eunuchs on this show. Really cementing that world record.

Meanwhile, in Bran, Osha, Rickon, Hodor and the Reeds' endless camping trip to Castle Black (or not to Castle Black, Osha was surprised to find out), Osha monologues the story of why she ran away from beyond the Wall: her boyfriend Bruni was turned into a White Walker and she was forced to burn him and their house down. Speaking of houses, Melissandre gave Gendry a boating trip through the wreckage of Blackwater Bay and showed him his father's house, the Red Keep. Gendry now knows he's the bastard son of Robert Baratheon and he has king's blood in him. It's a good strategy, make the kid feel good about the blood in him before Melissandre does whatever she's planning to do with that blood.

Arya's done with the Brotherhood without Banners. She started this season with her little family of Hot Pie and Gendry on the run to Riverrun, and now Hot Pie's moved on, Gendry's been sold to Stannis, and Arya's all alone and pouting about it. Now, the Brotherhood is delaying her arrival at Riverrun for two days while they go kill a Lannister hunting party and steal their gold. Arya decides it's as good a time as any to make a run for it, and she runs right into the waiting arms of the Hound hiding in the forest. That kid can't cut a break.

Another kid who's being cut a break but doesn't deserve his breaks is the King. Tywin strides confidently into the Iron Throne room at the behest of King Joffrey, who'd like an update on what the hell's going on, please. Best line of the episode was Joffrey telling Tywin about all the important matters preoccupying a king, which is why he hasn't attended any of the small council meetings. Which, by the way, are all the way at the Tower of the Hand now. A lot of stairs for a King to climb. Tywin could probably kill Joffrey and no one would stop him, but he admirably doesn't, and affirms just who exactly is running this kingdom. What's interesting is Joffrey asked directly about the rumors he's heard about "the Targaryen girl and her dragons". Tywin blows that off but promises the King will be consulted "as necessary".

Speaking of the Targaryen girl with the dragons, Daenerys and her Unsullied arrive at the gates of Yunkai, the golden city. She doesn't need to conquer it, she could lose half her army trying to, but once she heard they're slavers, she set her mind to freeing every last slave in the city. One can't help but be impressed by the show of intimidation she and her dragons put on with Yunkai's representative Lord Razdal mo Eraz. He came with bribes of gold and ships so she can go straight to Westeros and leave them the fuck alone. Daenerys is going to free Yunkai and liberate their slaves. That's her thing now. Frankly, Jorah and Selmy should advise Daenerys to take the gold and the ships and head home, but Daenerys is really into her new nickname "the breaker of chains" now. Plus the Unsullied also seem really into this chain-breaking thing. And she's supposed to have them bloodied. They're all going to get their wish, looks like.

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