Over half the Season behind us and this week’s episode The Climb did some heavy lifting for things to come.
A note on the spoiler policy
These articles will discuss the episodes in-depth so everything that has already been aired will be talked about. There won’t be spoilers for future events and book information will only be discussed if it has already happened or happened differently in the books. Things that are omitted from the books won’t be mentioned because those events might come to play in a different way.
Bran is looking for his dragons
After we got a very short glimpse of Sam we jumped to another very short scene featuring Bran. His storyarc this season reminds me a lot of Daenerys’s “Where are my dragons?” last season where a storyline got split into various miniature scenes spread across the episodes.
So I hope that a little bit will be happening at the end of the season. Sidenote – I can’t stand Meera Reed! Lecturing a wildling on how to skin rabbits is the best way to make a character even more annoying.
If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention
A sentence that might even sum up the entire series!
The Lost-esque interrogation of Theon continued this episode and we still haven’t learned anything about his mystery abductor other than the fact that he is not a Karstark… that leaves how many bannermen of Robb to choose?
I am still convinced that it will be a Bolton bannerman seeing as there was another scene this episode featuring Roose Bolton, Jaime and Brienne in Harrenhal. The scene didn’t give us much except a character moment for team Jaime+Brienne and a hint of something that might become very important in later episodes: Bolton is playing a game of his own and his allegiance might no longer be 100% Stark. I wondered from the start of the Season why House Bolton was the first House to very prominently feature a banner of its own and not rely on the direwolf as did most Stark bannermen until now. But if house Bolton is leaving the young wolf this might be the reason why we have already been treated to so many Bolton-banners.
The King who lost the North
Unaware of Bolton’s schemes Robb had to deal with his broken vows when two sons (?) of Walder Frey (Argus Filch from Season 1) arrived to renegotiate the treaty. They took Robb’s betrayal (remember he was promised a Frey-wife but married Talisa) surprisingly well and just demanded an apology and to marry Edmure Tully (the incompetent one of the Tully lot) to one of their sisters.
I don’t trust that one bit. Walder Frey is an opportunistic schemer and I can’t imagine him being so nice to Robb. Sure it sucks for Edmure but other than that the Stark’s got off pretty easy. If the story goes towards the wedding of Edmure then I fully expect Frey to use this to capture Robb and give him to the Lannisters.
Climb the Wall!
Ordered by Mance Rayder a few episodes earlier we got some climbing with Jon Snow, Ygritte, Tormund and Orell. An unexpected Vertical Limit-moment came between them and sent Jon and Ygritte tumbling down. And Orell gave us even more reasons to hate him when he cut the rope holding the two lovebirds.
Speaking of Ygritte, I almost believed that she would not make it when Jon Snow held her and they were looking at each other. But she made it anyways and left me wondering about a scene that happened earlier where Ygritte came across a bit clingy:
“I am your woman and you have to be loyal to your woman…”
…or something along these lines. I am not sure about her motivations and whether it was meant as a sweet comment or a sign of manipulation. I think she is playing Jon Snow big time so that he is loyal to Mance.
Jon and Ygritte also featured in the final shot where they had a kissing moment that was teased throughout the episode and was surprisingly schmaltzy compared to the series’s standards.
A lot of Arya action
While all her scenes happened in one continuous part there was a lot of stuff happening at the Arya camp. Melisandre finally arrived to claim Gendry (called it!) and we got a lot of interesting stuff to chew on.
And on a funny sidenote about double standards Arya proved that she is cute when she fires a bow at a strawman imagining to shot him into his balls whereas Joffrey is a monster when he does something like that… well to be fair Joffrey didn’t use a strawman this episode.
Back to Melisandra: In this episode her god-like status was attacked twice. First when a drunken red priest had more Lord of Light mojo than she did and then afterwards when Arya talked to her.
It was that short moment that somehow stuck with me when Arya went to her and just poked her to make the priestess turn around – I think it is the first time that there was a physical interaction with Melisandre as if she was just a regular human being and not an enlightened, untouchable goddess.
Then we got some prophetic moments by Melisandre about eyes and what eyes Arya will shut which I will let slip as I am not a big fan of fantasy-prophecies. The adaption is generally light about the prophecies where in the book there have already been some of them.
Overall we learned that the religion of the Lord of Light is not a globally operating religion but – similarly to many religions from our times – a wild mix of different interpretations. We also learned that the religion of the Lord of Light already tried to convert King Robert Baratheon. What we have not learned is in what way Melisandre will use Gendry.
Wild guess: killing Gendry will make another smokemonster that will somehow ruin the wedding of Margaery and Joffrey… maybe even a super kill where Robb is killed because of Frey and then shit goes down in King’s landing as well… all bets are off.
Pins and Brooches
The wedding seems to be the storypoint that this season is heading towards. Similarly to the siege of King’s Landing the wedding of Margaery and Joffrey keeps getting mentioned and prepared. And if we have learned anything from Game of Thrones or Theon’s torturer is that George R.R. Martin is not the man to give us a sappy happy wedding!
To be honest nobody seems to be really happy. Loras and Sansa had the most awkward “romatic scene” in the entire series and Tyrion and Cersei are so desperate that they even talked to each other as siblings. A common enemy unites even the Lannister children I guess. And in a short moment we were left in the dark who really ordered the killing of Tyrion during the battle at Blackwater Bay. Maybe it was Joffrey, maybe it was Cersei… or maybe it was someone completely different?
Maybe the same person who sent the assassin in Season 1 to kill Bran?
Maybe a person who sees chaos as a ladder or am I reading too much into this?
The battle of wills and the ladder
Probably my most anxiously awaited duel happened this episode and was thought entirely without swords: Tywin against Lady Olenna. And both heads of houses proved their amazing will when they threw insult after insult against each other. And the Lannister in me cheered when Tywin had the upper hand – or did he?
While the episode didn’t end with it I think it should have: a meeting between Littlefinger and Varys culminating in a monologue by Littlefinger about chaos. For some reasons this scene felt extremely profound to me as if Littlefinger and Varys were actually presenting the two conflicting ideas of Game of Thrones.
What is the realm? What are the truths people are fighting for? Is honor or the Lord of Light in the long run nothing other than the 1000 swords of Aegon’s slain enemies?
The monologue showed us Sansa Stark crying and looking at Littlefinger’s ship. I have to wait until next episode to see what the implications are: does she cry because she has to go with Littlefinger because she lost Loras or is she crying because she lost both Loras and her way home?
And on top of that we had the – in my opinion – biggest surprise kill of the series: Ros the redheaded whore played by Esme Bianco.
Ros has been there since episode 1 and slowly climbed through the ranks of Westeros despite the fact that she was a character that was not from the books. I fully expected David Benioff and D.B. Weiss to further continue with her story and I loved the idea of this new character shaking up the book-canon especially when she became Varys’s agent at the end of last season.
But alas Ros is gone and it served to very shockingly underline the danger that Littlefinger poses. While I am sad that Ros is gone it was arguably a fantastic way to use a new character to show us sides of book characters that we otherwise might not have seen.