A calm before the storm – is how I would summarize this weeks episode of Game of Thrones, aptly titled The Climb. So, without much ado….
A STAIN ON THE BROTHERHOOD WITHOUT BANNERS
The departure from the book in this particular story tread has made me so mad especially considering how I am usually very relaxed when the changes occur. Well, not this time. And while I do understand why they did it, I mind the way they did it. So what is the problem?
If you remember, few episodes ago The Red Priestess informed Stannis how the Lord of Light demands a sacrifice, the blood of Baratheon blood. Not once did it occur to me she was talking about Gendry. In the books the boy she wants to sacrifice is Edric Storm, Robert’s only acknowledged bastard son who lives at the Storm’s End, also the best friend of Stannis’s daughter. Anyhow, the boy was smuggled by Davos Seaworth moments before Melisandre could get to him. Only seeing her at the Riverlands was shocking enough, not just because in the book she never made acquaintance with Thoros of Myr and Beric Dondarrion but as it turns out she’s come to take our Gendry away. For a couple of bags of gold and just because their God has said so, Beric and Thoros were willing to sell Gendry down the drain, with the apology. Is this how Brotherhood treats their brothers?!? No, it is not, for they are willing to give their lives to the higher cause not to mention without selling one of their own in the process. Always remember that.
But it is what it is. This is the path the writers have taken. Where will the story for Gendry go from here I don’t know (in the books he is knighted Ser Gendry of Hollow Hill; also he meets Brienne of Tarth who is in shock with just how much Gendry resembles Renly Baratheon).
In some ways it works better this way for the show. At least in terms of Arya’s character. In the books she escapes the Brotherhood, an odd choice – considering their plan to ransom her to her brother, Robb Stark – one I always attributed to her wild spirit and impulsiveness. In this particular setting Arya now has a very good reason to run off: Beric and Thoros have betrayed Gendry and she has no reason to trust them. What will happen next is beyond me but if they take the Hound out of the equation….well….
THE FREY DEAL OF RECKONING
Just a bit up North, at the Riverrun, we have two of the many Frey offspring setting terms with Robb Stark and the members of the Tully family. If Lord Frey is going to lend Robb his army, Robb must apologize for breaking the sacred oath and Edmure Tully must wed his daughter. Edmure refuses. Understandably, he doesn’t want to pay for Robb’s past mistakes and breaking of the law. Blackfish Tully threatens Edmure with the laws of the fists that are about to compel his teeth if he doesn’t abide. Robb Stark pleads. Catelyn Stark, remarkably, stays silent.
For those of you who haven’t read the books, I have to make a remark as to how painful it was to watch this particular agreement come to life.
Everything is veering down towards a grand scale disaster and even a bigger betrayal.
PINK DRESS AND THE MISSING HAND
After the proper bath and a change of clothes, Jaime “handless” Lannister and Brienne “pretty in pink” of Tarth are hosted back at Harrenhall. Lord Bolton is unusually apologetic. Instead of shipping him back to his king, Robb Satrk, he feeds them dinner worthy of a lady and the knight (unable to cut his own meat) and agrees to send Jaime back to King’s Landing, asking only that he vouches for him to Tywin Lannister. Why? Or let me rephrase this question – what is it that Lord Bolton wants? Is he afraid Tywin Lannister will pay a debt with his life – Bolton head on the spike for Jaime Lannister hand around the neck? Probably. Or, is it possible that Lord Bolton is after something… more tangible? Most likely.
Whatever the case might be, Brienne’s faith is sealed. She is not going to leave Harrenhall, at least not in one piece. The sapphires are not mined on Tarth after all.
Jaime Lannister is therefor presented with a choice: to be a noble man, a friend and fight for the only person who sees good in him, or, to stay true to the reputation that precedes him and leave her behind to the mercy of Hoat and Bolton men. A tough choice for Kingslayer, or not?
Speaking of Bolton…
I must admit I enjoyed every last second of the Theon torture game scene, despite the fact it is one of the more disturbing moments of GoT so far in the show. What can I say… The Iron Islands last son had it coming. Iwan Rheon, keep up the good work!
THE TURNCLOAK OR NOT?
Jon Snow is back!
For all of you out there who questioned his loyalty and honor, there you go. And when time comes and you start questioning Jon Snow’s integrity again, remember, this is a Stark we are talking about.
What I loved about the climb the most is the visuals of it. In my first review I already made a comment emphasizing how the best thing about GoT is the way it looks. This scene only further confirmed this claim.
THE LADDER OF KING’S LANDING. WHO WILL CLIMB IT FIRST?
“Chaos isn’t a pit”, Littlefinger tells us towards the end of this deeply disturbing episode, “It is a ladder”.
For Littlefinger, the son of a minor nobleman, living in the shadow of greater men, a ladder is a fitting symbol. One, he climbs very well. The fact that Petyr Baelish is preparing for a voyage to the Aerie—a fortress high upon a thin spire of a mountain—only heightens the symbolism. And what comes with the Aerie, even more. I won’t be giving much away, for the sake of non-readers. But what is crystal clear from the show alone, Lord Baelish has his eyes set on the prize and he is not backing off. Speaking of which, many people find Sansa stupid, but let me tell you something, stupid or not, she is still alive, which can’t be said for many who had the misfortune to set foot in the “worst place” of Seven Kingdoms, its capital. Roz, being one of many, is the most recent one. Although I am not particularly fond of any GoT whore, and by any I mean Shae and Roz, I found her death to be quite excessive. Giving her to Joffrey as a live, breathing, practicing target was a bit too much for my taste. But it served the purpose. Lord Baelish is not playing around and in his book betrayal is punishable by (worst imaginable) death.
Joffrey killed her, you might say…yes, but this was hardly the point. We already knew how twisted the little bastard is. The point of this scene lies elsewhere – to show us just how cruel, ambitious and vengeful Littlefinger is in his quest for the North. And now we know.
Tyrion finally found out that Joffrey tried to kill him at the Blackwater Bay and not Cersei. Will he do anything about it, and if so, what?
Tywin Lannister and The Queen of Thorns negotiation was just priceless. The result: Loras Tyrell will join the Kingsguard and Cersei Lannister is of the hook. Or not. I am not quite sure. (Note: Graeme Pente, a friend of mine understood things differently than I did. He saw the act of breaking the pen as Olena’s reluctancy to give her grandson to the Kingsguard, so she went along with the marriage. The problem is, in the book Loras Tyrell is the member of the Kingsguard and he plays a certain part in that context. Furthermore, Loras and Margaery have another sibling, Willas, a cripple with a bad leg as a result of fighting the Red Viper of Dorne. Willas is the rightful heir of Highgarden and not Loras. Therefore, Lannisters offer Cersei to Willas in order to keep Sansa for themselves, but Tyrells refuse the offer. How will the series tackle this question I do not know).
On the other hand, Tyrion is truly f*cked, Jaime or not. His words. Not mine.
Sansa is too. Ah, poor Sansa. I know, I am like a broken record, but in all honesty, I pray for the day when I’ll stop saying that. It’s been three years and only one thing is a certainty, I won’t be holding my breath.
Ygritte: You are a proper lover Jon Snow. And don’t worry, you’r secret is safe with me.
Jon: What secret?
Ygritte: Do you think I am as dumb as all those girls in silk dresses you knew growing up?
Ygritte: You are loyal. And you are brave. You didn’t stop being a crow the day you walked into Mance Rayder’s tent.
[Jon is not smiling anymore...]
Ygritte: I am your woman now, Jon Snow. You are going to be loyal to your woman. The Night Watch don’t care if you live or die. Mance Rayder don’t care if I live or die. We are just soldiers in their armies and there is plenty more to carry on if we go down. It is you and me…that matters to me and you. Don’t ever betray me.
Jon: I won’t.
Ygritte: Because I’ll cut your pretty cock right of and wear it around me neck.
Bonus point: No Daenerys
Otherwise it would be a solid 3
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