Game of Thrones: Not getting what you are expecting

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THE BEAR AND THE MAIDEN FAIR

A bear there was

A bear, a bear!

All black and brown

And covered in hair!

“Oh come,” they said

“Come to the fair!”

“The fair?” said he

“But I’m a bear

All black and brown

And covered in hair!”

And down the road

From here to there

Three boys, a goat

And a dancing bear!

They danced and spun

All the way to the fair!

Oh, sweet she was

And pure and fair

The maid with honey

In her hair

The maid with honey

In her hair!

The bear smelled the scent

On the summer air

The bear! The bear!

All black and brown

And covered with hair!

He smelled the scent

On the summer air

He sniffed and roared

And smelled it there

Honey on the summer air!

“Oh, I’m a maid

I’m pure and fair

I’ll never dance

With a hairy bear

I’ll never dance

With a hairy bear!”

The bear, the bear

Lifted her high

Into the air!

The bear, the bear, the bear!

“I called for a knight

But you’re a bear

A bear, a bear

All black and brown

And covered in hair!”

She kicked and wailed

The maid so fair

But he licked the honey

From her hair!

He licked the honey

From her hair!

Then she sighed and squealed

And kicked the air

She sang, “My bear so fair”

And off they went

The bear! The bear!

And the maiden fair!

“The Bear and the Maiden Fair” – the mainstream song of the Seven Kingdoms not the episode – is all about how you never get what you are hoping for. The song tells a tale of a girl, “a maiden fair”, in need of a rescue, but when the rescue finally comes it is not a delicate, handsome knight in shinning armor she was expecting but, rather, a big, hairy bear. Sometimes it is an imp, sometimes a gay king, sometimes a handless knight and sometimes a psycho bastard. The truth is, you never know. The popularity of this song among the people of Westeros is twofold. First, it is comical and very suggestive. Second, it reflects the circumstances these people are living in. Take for example Sansa. She believes she is the blushing maiden fair, just ready to be saved by her Flower Knight, or any knight at this point for as long as it is not the Lannister dwarf. In her misfortune she is not truly aware as to how lucky she is. The bear she encountered might be the ugliest of them all and a Lannister on top of everything else, but against all odds, he is kind, honest and the rumor has it, excellent in bed. By contrast, Maergery is marrying Joffrey.

Enough said.

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Tyrion is having the same dilemma. Shae is what he wants, not Sansa. “Wed one, bed the other”, Bronn gives him an evil notion for free. But Shae doesn’t want to hear about that. One would think she should know how things work around King’s Landing by now. She is a whore, Tywin is powerful and Tyrion already married a whore once. We all know how that worked out. And so does Shae. Also, hasn’t she spent two seasons hiding in the plain site? She’d always be a secret. So what is her end game, if not being well cared for as Tyrion’s mistress?

For her part, Arya finds a break in the action from the Brotherhood, who are headed south to face the Lannister raiding party. She runs out into the night, only to run into the arms of the Hound. Another interesting Westeros couple in sight. Regardless of their apparent dissimilarity, both Stark girls are too stubborn – each in their own right – to notice that life is not a fairy tale after all. Arya is expecting the world to play by the rules of the battle, by the code of the honor her father has taught her, but that is not how the world is playing and the more she realizes this, the bitter she becomes. The god of Death she worships pretty much gives it away.

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Speaking of bears, Lord Frey wanted a king for his daughter; instead he got a poor archer with an attitude. How will this pan out is yet to reveal itself. But for now we have to satisfy ourselves with ass-full of Robb and Talisa, along with the revelation that she is pregnant. First part was completely unnecessary (not to mention “Send her my regards” line) whereas the second one was of great importance. Her pregnancy is the only thing that frees Robb Stark. I say frees because he is, just like Theon (although still in the possession of his genitalia unlike his less fortunate friend), imprisoned and tortured by the consequences of his past actions, which are boxing him in more and more with each passing moment. The safest way out is via Winterfell trueborn. So as long as Talisa stays alive and gives birth to their child, Robb can die in peace, since the line of succession will not go through Sansa (remember Robb doesn’t know Bran and Rickon are alive or that Sansa is marrying Tyrion Lannister). This is a vital piece to keeping the North united and the only potential spoiler for the Lannsiters and Lord Baelish who are willing to go at great lengths to secure their dominance over Sansa.

I HATE TARGARYENS

Just when I thought this storyline couldn’t get any worse, I though wrong.

THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE UNKNOWN PARENTS

Gendry has finally learned the truth. He is the bastard son of King Roberth Baratheon, first of his name. This makes me happy on few levels. One in particular has to do with Jon Snow. At one point Orell warns Ygritte how she wont love Snow as much once she finds out what he really is. What did Orell mean by this puzzles me – that Snow is still a crow or that Snow is not a Snow? Melissandre (who is btw growing on me rapidly) saw Gendry’s true origin in the flames, Jojen Reed told Bran that being a warg enables you to see past, present and future. Orell is a warg. Could it be that he has the similar ability (as the Red Woman) of seeing something, perhaps something only Howland Reed is familiar with, something Ned Stark took with him to the grave. I hope so, because I don’t see any other way for Jon to find out who he really is. And I feel it in my gut, this right here is one of the most important question to which we need an answer. The way I see it, this can play out in three possible ways: The Red Priestess (who will at some point meet the bastard from the North), A Warg (Bran, Orell, Jojen or Jon Snow, himself, if he ever embraces the warg side of him) or Howland Reed (something I don’t see happening, at least not any time soon). Which one will it be?

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Back to Gendry. As I already wrote in my previous review, this is not how the story goes in the books, which also puzzles me. Against all odds, the Red Woman brought him back to King’s Landing. Wait, what? What, what, what is she doing? If Gendry is the rightful heir, and we know he is (at least more than Joffrey), why is she bringing him back? They are not seriously going to wander into the King’s Landing, are they? To what purpose? For Lannisters to kill him like they did with the rest of Robert’s bastards or she has some other plans in store for him? I cannot put my finger onto this one especially because first I thought they are going back to Dragonstone where she would perform the sacrifice ritual her God demanded. Gliding through King’s Landing makes little to almost no sense especially with everything that is about to come down in the capital. Also, in case you have forgotten, she killed Renly Baratheon (with the aid of her black child) for claiming the Iron Throne before Stannis. But isn’t Gendry an even bigger threat then?

For what is worth, this is a nice foreshadowing for the upcoming episode titled the Second Sons.

OATHKEEPER

The best is saved for the end, both in the episode and in this review, and of course I am thinking about the strongest link and the most interesting couple of this season, by far, Ser Jaime and Brienne. It didn’t go as I anticipated but still, what an end. I’ll lay out the story from the series first and then I’ll move onto the book.

As we already know from the last week’s episode, Lord Bolton has freed Jaime Lannister (in exchange for…something). But before he goes on his marry way, he pays the visit to Brienne, who is staying behind, here at Harrenhal, as Hoat/Locke’s (the guy who chopped of Jaime’s hand) consolation prize. He owes her a debt and being a Lannister he needs to see it through. However, it is not her life she wants, instead she asks him to keep the promise they gave together to Lady Catelyn Stark, that they will release her daughters, once they reach the King’s Landing. If he keeps the promise, the debt is paid. “Goodbye Ser Jamie” she says and with these words I felt like both of our hearts, Jaime’s, and mine shattered into millions of tiny pieces. She is going to die but only after first being raped by dozen of lowborn soldier savages. Jaime knows it. I know it. And more importantly, she knows it. Facing true horror – unlike marrying the rich dwarf who knows his way around women – with her head held high, and with dignity, brought tears to Jaime’s eyes, insofar that he couldn’t even mutter the words of goodbye, let alone her name. He turned around and left.

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Few hours later, we see him in the middle of nowhere accompanied by few men Bolton has sent to escort him unharmed to King’s Landing. Among them, Qyburn, mysterious maester who’s been experimenting on dead men, story that will take place a bit further down the road. He tells him that Hoat/Locke refused Selwyn’s offer of 300 golden dragons because he feels cheated for the sapphires Jamie has told him about. Feeling directly responsible for Brienne’s destiny he orders his party to go back to Harrenhal and save her. Back at Harrenhal we find Brienne thrown into a gladiator-like bear pit. Unable to reason with Hoat/Locke, Jaime did the unthinkable, but given the circumstances the only logical thing he could do to save her life – he jumped into the bear pit with her. He didn’t have a secret bear killing skill. He didn’t have a sword. And even if he did, he didn’t have a hand to wield it with. One bare hand and one bare stump. And all he did was stood in front of her.

*Swoon*

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He took a risk, hoping that endangering his own life will force Bolton’s men to save Brienne’s in the process. And he was right.

What differed from the book are the dialogues tied to these scenes. But they were not just dialogues; they were some of the best Jamie-Brienne exchanges up to date.

For example, when Jaime first arrives and sees her in the pit, he begs Hoat/Locke to release her. Instead of giving him a speech as to how seeing highborn suffer gives him more pleasure than all the gold of Westeros he simply says: “If you want her, go and get her”, which is precisely what Jaime, impulsively did. After rescuing her from the certain death, one of Bolton men yells: “The wrench is going with us”, to what Jaime replies: “Her name is Brienne. Brienne, the Maid of Tarth.” And then there is this wonderful moment when he wants to make sure she wasn’t raped while he was gone: “You are still maiden, I hope?” “Yes” she replies. “Oh good. I only rescue maidens.”

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Half a league from Harrenhal later she asked him:

“Ser Jaime?” Even in soiled pink satin and torn lace, Brienne looked more like a man in a gown than a proper woman. “I am grateful, but…you were well away. Why come back?”

A dozen quips came to mind, each crueler than the one before, but Jaime only shrugged. “I dreamed of you,” he said.

*Swoon again*

Things I appreciated:

-The Bear pit, obviously.

-Jaime Lannister’s cockiness is back!

-The clear confirmation of Talisa’ pregnancy. This takes away the pressure a bit.

-Tywin/ Joffrey stand off in the Iron Room.

Joffrey: You’ve been holding the council meetings in the Tower of the Hand, instead of the small council chamber.

Tywin: I have, yes.

Joffrey: May I ask why?

Tywin: The Tower of the Hand is where I work. The walk from there to here would take time, time I can otherwise spend productively.

Joffrey: So, if I wanted to attend the council meeting I would now have to climb all the stairs in the Tower of the Hand?

(Tywin slowly climbs the stairs towards his grandson sitting on the Iron Throne. It takes him about 17 seconds to do so. Joffrey looks uneasy.)
Tywin: We could arrange to have you carried there.

Joffrey changes the subject.

Not only does this scene shows us who is really in charge of the Kingdom and that Tywin might be the only person able to control the kid in all the ways his mother is not, but also it gave us the glimpse as to how much Lannister’s know about what’s happening elsewhere in the series. What I find even more amusing is the dismissive attitude of the king’s council not only towards the zombies of the North but of Daenerys’s dragons of the East.

-Arya’s response: “Death”. It made me think of Syrio.

-Loved Hodor’s long pause to consider Osha’s question before offering his usual reply.

-The sound of Unsullied formation and the music accompanying Daenerys Stormborn, The rightful Heir to the Iron Thron, Last Targaeryen, Khaleesi, The Mother of Dragons and as of this episode The Breaker of the Chains. Oh my.

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Things I didn’t appreciate:

-Osha’s White love story

-Tormund’s advice on sex

-Orell’s declaration of love

-Ygritte’s You know nothing Jon Snow line and TWICE this time around

-ass-full of Robb and Talisa

-sex torture of Theon Grayjoy

-Sansa/Maergery/Tyrion/Bronn relationship talks and

-Shae, the broken record.

None of these things matter. None of these things belong here. Don’t get me wrong, the scenes were good, but they’ve felt a bit rom-com-y as if they belong to another show. Perhaps this wouldn’t bother me as much if I knew we had 10 more episodes to go. But we don’t. And there are far more pressing matters to tend to. No wonder they are not able to fit one book into one season, which is a damn shame because they will make a cut right in the middle of everything and those of you who are not reading the books wont experience the magnitude of the events that are coming our way for only clustered together are they able to make such an impact. And what an impact it was.

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Thing I hated the most:

-Dany’s attitude

Best quote:

Qyburn: How many men did you kill my lord?

Jaime: I don’t…

Qyburn: Fifty?

Jaime shrugs..

Qyburn: Hundred?

Jaime shakes his head…

Qyburn: Countless?

Jaime nods…

Jaime: Countless has a nice ring to it.

Qyburn: And how many lives have you saved?

Jaime: Half a million.

Bonus Point: Ending the episode with Rains of Castemere…for the night is dark and full of terrors.

Text written by: Monika Ponjavic

3/5

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