It was another snoozer in Westeros. The game of thrones seems to have been put on hold so everyone can take a breather and chit chat about all their grievances. It’s hard for me to rag on the show too much as the dialogue is always crisp and interesting, and even an hour of talking tends to be better than 80% of any other television. But after last week’s slow burn, I was hoping there’d be some pick-me-up this time around. Especially with George RR Martin himself penning the script. Instead, we get forty minutes of filler, and about ten minutes of very uncomfortable sexuality, and ten minutes of characters discreetly trying to hit their marks for the upcoming climax. Huzzah! Fantasy!
In the Riverlands, Robb Stark and his entourage head toward the Twins. There, Edmure Tully (Robb’s uncle) will wed one of the Frey daughters to seal their alliance in the war. The group fears Walder Frey will be angry with theeir tardiness, and make more demands. Robb shares a tender scene with wife, Talisa, where she reveals she is pregnant. The scene actually plays out in a naturalistic fashion, and it’s nice to see some genuine romance on the show occasionally.
At the Brotherhood headquarters, Arya expresses her disgust with Beric for selling out Gendry (the Baratheon bastard) to Melisandre the Red Priestess. After chastising them all for their greed and lack of honour, she storms out as the troupe prepares to attack a Lannister patrol. Away from their sight, Arya is suddenly snatched away by the Hound, who disappears with her into the shadows.
“I’ve seen wet shits I like better than Walder Frey.”
In Kings Landing, Sansa is beng comforted by Margaery. about her upcoming marriage to Tyrion. After discussing sex and pleasure, the pair walk off, seemingly the best of friends. Elsewhere, Tyrion is confiding in Bronn. The former sellsword insists Tyrion fancies Sansa and just won’t admit it. Upon discussing the marriage with Shae, Tyrion is informed that their relationship will end if he goes through marrying the Stark girl. Again, we’re treated to a natural romantic scene. While it is not traditional romance, the relationship and the issues seem real and natural. Tyrion and Shae are already such a tragic couple, and this just adds to their drama.
In this week’s best scene, Tywin is summoned to see King Joffery in the throne room. Joffery is curious and worrisome of rumours of Dany and her dragons. Tywin insists there is no threat, and puts Joffery in his place with pure, unadulterated physical presence. The Hand is a master manipulator, and you can see why he is so feared and revered all at once in this scene, as he turns Joffery into a mumbling child with a few words.
In the North, Jon Snow and the Wildlings continue their trek toward Castle Black. Orell (the Warg) reveals his love for Ygritte and insists that Jon is still loyal to the Nights Watch. Jon later tries to convince Ygritte that her people will lose. She refuses to listen.
Heading toward the Wall, Bran and his friends continue to bicker amongst themselves. Osha eventually tells the story of her encounter wit the Wights: her own husband was killed and resurrected as one of the soulless creatures.
“You waste time trying to get people to love you, you’ll wind up the most popular dead man in town.”
In Theon’s mysterious dungeon, he is given a temporary reprieve. Released by two beautiful women, he is reluctantly coerced into participating in some sexual play with the girls. Soon enough, his captor returns and announces his intention to cut off Theon’s “most precious” part. This crazy psycho-sexual scenario is getting weirder every week. But we can’t deny that we’re intrigued. The suspense will kill you, and the violence Theon is suffering is still quite enjoyable (to me at least).
Across the Narrow Sea, Dany approaches the city of Yunkai. Meeting with an emissary, she is given an incredible offer. Yunkai will pay her vast sums of gold and provide her with ships if she leaves immediately. Dany demands the freedom of every slave in Yunkai, which is adamantly refused.
The episode ends with Jaime departing for Kings Landing, forced to leave Brienne behind at Harrenhal. After hearing what fate awaits his reluctant companion, Jaime returns to Harrenhal to retrieve her. There, he finds the lady knight in a pit for the amusement of Locke and his men, fighting a bear with a wooden sword. Jaime leaps in and saves the day, completely against everything we thought we knew about him to this point. Locke attempts to keep Brienne there, but is dissuaded by Jaime and the threat of his father’s wrath.
“People work together when it suits them. They’re loyal when it suits them. Love each other when it suits them. And they kill each other when it suits them. She knows it, you don’t. Which is why you’ll never hold onto her.”
Overall, this week was a bit of a letdown. GRRM has written the two best episodes of the previous seasons, and this one is just not up to snuff. The dialogue is as well-written as ever, but each scene just seems to drag, and serves as nothing more than filler. The whole episode is like this. “Game of Thrones” has fantastic source material, and has the potential to deliver outstanding television each week. This was a, hopefully singular, misstep. Yes, the ending had a fucking bear fight but it was brief and unimpressive. And now, with only three episodes left in the season, I have to wonder how much of book 3 they’re planning on cramming in if they have time to mull around like this. Hopefully next week will break the cycle and deliver some action. Until then, try not to tear your genitals out in boredom.