Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Game of Thrones, Season 3 Episode 7: The Bear and the Maiden Fair

The North: But heading south – Jon Snow (who knows nothing) and Ygritte.

Ygritte scoffs at silly things like roads and carrying banners and musicians to battle. He thinks them attacking Castle Black will attract a lot of attention but she reminds him that he knows nothing. They should remind him of that often, it’s good for him. Wargy fellow also has a harsh lesson on how selfish you have to be to survive.

Another good way to survive is to not have to listen to Tormund giving Jon Snow sex advice (even if he does know nothing)  while wargy Orrel tries to convince Ygritte that Jon Snow is not good for her  - he confesses his own love for her.

Ygritte shows Jon Snow her superior hunting skills but then is impressed by a windmill that she takes to be a palace, never having seen stones stacked so high. Jon also has to explain the concept of fainting to her – she doesn’t understand why a woman would feel faint. She mocks him wonderfully.

The conversation turns serious when she talks about talking Winterfell. Jon says she’ll fail and points out that Wildlings beyond the Wall have tried to invade 6 times and have failed each time – something she never knew. She says it will be different he points out they have no discipline, their army is just a collection of fighters that has no idea how to fight together. They will all die – she changes that to “we will all die” and kisses him, reiterating that they’re together and before they die, they will live.

Also in the North: Bran, Osha et al

Osha resents Jojen talking to Bran instead of working to set up camp and questions what he’s saying. She objects to him filling Bran’s head with “black magic” and says he doesn’t want him talking to Bran until they get to Castle Black. Jojen says they’re not going there – which is a shock to Osha

Bran says Jon isn’t at castle Black and they have to find the Raven, north of the wall. He talks as if the gods have plans for him which Osha angrily dismisses – the gods don’t care for people. She tells them what it’s like beyond the wall, how she had a man who left and came back as one of the dead – a dead man she had to burn to kill, burning her hut with it. The gods made it clear to her the North was no place for men.

Riverlands: Starks, Tulleys and the single brain cell they share between them

Everyone is discussing Walder Frey being unpleasant and how the rain delaying them will make him extra huffy – and everyone’s taking it in turns to cut Catelyn off and speak over her, even the Blackfish who is supposed to respect her.

After much pointless grousing about Edmure’s wedding we switch to Robb and Talisa in bed together (is this meant to highlight how unfair the deal is to Edmure when Robb backed out of his arranged marriage?). Robb gets up and puts on a robe while Talisa stays naked and talks about writing to her mother. After a couple of dropped hints that Robb misses, Talisa reveals she is pregnant. The joyful news pulls him back to bed.

Kings Landing: Where politics resembles a Snake pit, but not nearly so pleasant.

Sansa is pouring out her sad little heart to Margaery while Margaery kindly and gently tells her to grow up and get with the programme. Yes she doesn’t want Tyrion, yes he’s a Lannister but as far as Lannister’s go he’s kind and gentle. At which point Sansa realises she’s wailing all over the woman who is set to marry Joffrey. Margaery brushes off pity and mentions her plans to teach her own son a lot – implying a lot is going to be needed to unprogramme any of Joffrey’s influence. And Sansa should realise her son will be Lord of the North and Castlery Rock i.e. Extremely Powerful. At which point Sansa has the heebie jeebies about having sex with Tyrion. Margaery points out that he is a good looking man but Sansa can’t see past the fact he’s a “dwarf”. Margaery tells her about the full range of tastes out there, not to fixate on a single beauty standard and Tyrion’s experience with women may be an advantage since women can be hard to please. Sansa’s bewildered at such depth of knowledge and assumes Margaery’s mother must have told her. Margaery lets her continue in her innocent little delusion.

Tyrion’s trying to talk out the problem with Bronn – who sees 2 women and a kingdom, what’s not to like? Tyrion sees 2 women who will hate him (especially Shae though, as Bronn points out, since she’s a prostitute Tyrion cannot marry her), a kingdom that will hate him and Sansa is a child. He eventually chides Bronn for being a bad influence

And to Joffrey, on the spikey chair (we haven’t seen him much this season. This is a good thing), getting a visit from dear old granddad, Tywin (hey, one advantage of all the incest is not having such a large Christmas card list - just one set of grandparents!) Joffrey is being petulant because he wants to know what’s going on in the Small council meetings (which he can’t be bother to attend) and is miffed because Tywin has moved them to where they are convenient for him rather than for Joffrey (even though he doesn’t attend). Joffrey asks about Daenerys and if she’s a threat with her dragons, Tywin dismisses it. The most recent dragons the Targaryen’s had had skulls the size of apples – only the oldest that died over 300 years ago were huge. Joffrey wants to know how they can be sure and Tywin says experts who know better than the king have told him. Joffrey protests no-one’s telling him and Tywin says he’s doing it right this moment. Tywin promises to “appropriately” consult Joffrey “whenever necessary”. Oh I love it.

I hate Tywin, but I kind of want him and Olenna to team up and lay waste to all around them.

Tyrion gets a moment alone with Shae who is not a happy woman – and not inclined to be happy about his lavish golden gift (chains). He won’t flee with her across the sea, what could he do in Volantis? But the future he paints for her as a well cared for mistress doesn’t appeal to her either. He says she’s his lady – but she counters that she’s his whore and when he’s tired of fucking her, she will be nothing.

At Sea Near Kings Landing Gendry and Mellisandre

They sail past the wreckage of Stannis’s fleet, destroyed by dragon fire, and talk Gendry’s parentage. He denies being anything special and emphasises his humble roots, which Mellisandre scoffs at since she was a slave and a child of a slave. She tells Gendry that his father was King Robert

Riverlands: Brotherhood Without Banners, Arya

Arya is giving everyone the silent treatment – she doesn’t talk to traitors. Lord Beric tries to excuse giving up Gendry as the will of the one true god, but the Lord of Light isn’t her god. Her god is Death (interestingly ignoring the Old Gods and the Gods of the Seven)

One of the scouts arrive and says there’s a Lannister scouting party to the south – Arya protests that Riverrun isn’t south and he swore to take her to Robb. He says it’s just a delay but she just sees him greedy for more gold and won’t hear his sworn promises because he’s a liar – and she runs. She escapes the camp – and ends up in the hands of Ser Gregor Clegane. The Hound.

Harrenhal: Jaime and Brienne

Jaime meets Brienne with the bad news that Lord Bolton is leaving tomorrow as is Jaime, leaving Brienne a captive of the men behind. Brienne makes Jaime promise to see the Stark girls returned to their mother. As he leaves, the man who cut off his hand, Locke, taunts him about what they will do to Brienne.

Jaime and his group ride to Kings Landing with the disgraced Maester treating his wound. Jaime remarks that he’s better than Grand Maester Pycelle which the Maester doesn’t take to be high praise. Jaime asks what he did to lose his chain and is told that he studied disease and to do that he studied the afflicted. Jaime realises this is experiments on living men – without permission – probably paupers since they have no family to complain. The Maester hits back by asking how many people Jaime killed and how many lives he saved in doing so – but that doesn’t work, Jaime says he saved half a million, the population of Kings Landing (when he killed King Aerys).

And he learns that one of his lies has backfired. Lord Tarth has offered a fair price to ransom his daughter, Brienne but Locke believes Lord Tarth owns all the sapphire mines in Westeros. The Maester also says his men have been at war so long they may be dead tomorrow, they’re more interested in “entertainment” than money.

Jaime demands to return to Harrenhal. The head of his guard refuses so Jaime points out when he gets to Tywin he can say that he cut his hand off – or that he saved Jaime’s life – his choice. Back to Harrenhal it is.

They hurry back to find the odd entertainment that has been set up – Brienne, in a pit, with a bear and a wooden sword. Surprisingly, it’s the latter that Jaime complains about (showing his respect for Brienne’s skills).  Locke refuses all money – money doesn’t matter to him, so Jaime jumps in to help Brienne. Which means his guard starts shooting his crossbow at the bear since Lord Bolton ordered him to keep Jaime alive and take him to Kings Landing. Jaime acts a a hitching post giving Brienne chance to climb out, but she instantly orders the men up top to holder her legs so she can reach down and lift Jaime out as well.

Jaime stares down Locke – Lord Bolton is more interested in getting Jaime back to Kings Landing than Locke getting the ransom from Brienne.

Outside of Westeros: Daenerys & Co

Have just arrived at Yunkai, the Yellow City. It’s another slave city, specialising in prostitutes, not soldiers. Of course it is, only Game of Thrones would have an entire city that revolves around sex workers. It also has tall, strong walls – Ser Jorah points out they’ll hide behind it and it will be a siege that will cost them. They don’t need the city, sacking it won’t bring them closer to the throne. But Daenerys disagrees – there are 200,000 slaves in the city, that 200,000 reasons to take it.

She sends a message to the city ordering their surrender or the same fate as Astropor.

Razdal, the boss of the city, arrives to speak to Daenerys passing through her army and being screamed at by her dragons. He’s introduced by Messende (oh look, she’s doing the same job for Daenerys as she was for her old slave master). Razdal offers her huge amounts of wealth and a fleet in exchange for not invading. Daenerys refuses – she demands they release all slaves and load them with property or she will invade. She kicks him out when he stomps his feet and refuses, warning her Yunkai has powerful friends – and she keeps his gold.

Ser Jorah warns her that Yunkai is proud and won’t bend – Daenerys asks what happens to things that don’t bend (they break).  But she’s curious about Yunkai’s powerful friends.

Somewhere he really doesn’t want to be: Theon

2 women release Theon from his cross, give him water and treat his wounds –and then start groping him, which he doesn’t trust at all, convinced Ramsay is playing a trick on him. There follows stripping off naked (of course) the beginnings of sex and – a very loud horn blast. The women step back and Ramsay comes in the room. He draws his knife and talks about castrating Theon – his men holding Theon down.

The contrast between Sansa and Margaery couldn’t be stronger. While Sansa cries and wails, Margaery has the politics firmly in mind and tries really hard to remind Sansa of the power she is in a position to wield (even though it’s not

I did not like Sansa’s revulsion at the idea of sleeping with Tyrion – he is far from ugly. While he has faced many prejudices for being a Little Person they haven’t, so far particularly, called him physically unattractive because of that, unlike in the books. This is probably, in part, because of the actor – no matter how many time you say “ugly” that’s not a label that fits Peter Dinklage.

I think Game of Thrones has given up presenting Sansa in the nuanced fashion she was shown in the books – she is the helpless innocent maiden – eternally – while Margaery remains as gloriously cunning as ever.

I love Brienne and Jaime. He sees Brienne in a pit? He objects to her not having a metal sword (she’d totally take the bear then). His utter respect for her skills and competence abounds even when he’s riding to the rescue.

We’re also getting slowly increasing pokes at class and social station – with Gendry and Mellisandre, with Jaime talking about the paupers – little references that are always in the background of Game of Thrones

Daenerys is a problem. It was bad enough in Astrapor, but she’s now doing the grand White Saviour tour of evil POC cities to bring Goodness and Civilisation. She will force these evil POC to free their salves, the evil people that they are because she’s so good and pure and they are evil savages. And then the slaves will follow her – but they’ll be “free” honest, totally not owned by Daenerys

Question – who is feeding Daenery’s army? Where’s her supply lines? Who is manning them? How is she paying for those supplies the cost of transport?  If her soldiers aren’t slaves, what and how is she paying them?  Is she managing all of this out of the ruins of Astropor?