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Game of Thrones – Recap: And You Thought the Targaryens Were Mad…

One thing I’ve come to notice about well-executed drama series is that adding a splash of crazy, or better yet, a giant pour of absolute insanity, always breeds excitement, danger, and unpredictability. Theon’s (Alfie Allen) torturer (Iwan Rheon) brings a new sense of lunacy to Game of Thrones, as we witnessed during episode 6, “The Climb.” We had a brush with the insane as we got to know, albeit briefly, Daenerys’ brother Viserys, but adding a sociopathic character to the mix will ensure plot twists, cliffhangers, and more. The logical strategic ways of families at war are rigid and planned. Game of Thrones has a skeleton key of sorts, now, with this absolutely ruthless capturer. This gives the show freedom to make rash decisions or expedite the plot without having to explain much. We knew he was important (If you have access to Wikipedia or IMDB, you already know his identity.), but we didn’t know just how entertaining he’d end up being.

HBO "Game of Thrones"

HBO “Game of Thrones”

And you thought the Targaryens were mad: You know, I have flashes of feeling sympathetic towards Theon, as the peeling off of one’s finger flesh in slices tend to evoke such rational emotions. Still, I remind myself of all of the devastating damage, death, and decay he’s caused over last season. Thus, I can sit back, relax, and flat-out gawk at the craziness of his capturer. The game the lunatic concocted— guess his identity and their location or you lose a finger— was an apt display of his character. Theon thought he’d guessed correctly; the son of Rickard Karstark and Karhold. The loony lad played along at first, pretending to have been figured out. Too bad for Theon, though, he lies. The motive is pure pleasure, and I believe him.

I win.

There’s no need to rehash why this is important, but that smile and those eyes let us in on how this man ticks. This is very different than even the cruelty of Joffrey (Jack Gleeson). The motive here is pure sadistic and twisted pleasure. We saw this happen on Boardwalk Empire with the addition of Bobby Cannavale’s Gip Rosetti. If you create a loose cannon, anything goes, so long as it’s well acted. Of course, this could just be an excuse to introduce us to a character from the novel series who remains somewhat of a vague shadow or to keep Alfie Allen employed through Season 3, but I’m not sweating the motives. This can all go away in a wildly entertaining flash next week, or the Game of Thrones team can decide to do some real damage during the second half of Season 3.

HBO "Game of Thrones"

HBO “Game of Thrones”

Everything has its price, even Gendry: Arya (Maisie Williams) had been working on her skills as an archer when an unexpected, and very red, visitor arrived. Melisandre (Carice van Houten) trotted into the camp of the Brotherhood Without Banners with an agenda, of course. Although, you know the rules, if R’hllor says she goes to the Riverlands, she makes haste. It was interesting to see Melisandre and Thoros (Paul Kaye) interact, considering that the Red Priestess had seemingly failed at guiding Stannis to victory, and Thoros, a crooked priest with an taste for booze, had managed to revive his friend Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer) to life several times through the Lord of Light in spite of his once waning faith. It was great to see Thoros recall his return to “light” following a bout with darkness. I also appreciated Dondarrion’s added point that death is but darkness. This is, seemingly, a religion without the prospect of an afterlife or “other side,” as Melisandre referred to it. Obviously, she wasn’t in the know. This specific brand of religion is always especially intriguing, but in the real world it rarely comes paired with a god of any kind.

Melisandre, of course, found the Brotherhood for a reason. It was Gendry (Joseph Dempsie) she was after. Remember, he’s Robert Baratheon’s bastard son, and thus, the blood of royalty flows through his veins. This will bring the “butterfly effect” into consideration, though, for in the novel series, this interaction never occurs. Still, I am one to put my faith in Game of Thrones and the liberties the show takes. Arya was, needless to say, devastated to see her only friend sold to this red witch. Arya’s physical reaction, the grabbing of Melisandre and the demand for justice was brilliant, especially because Melisandre could see Arya’s “prayer” playing behind her eyes in darkness. They will meet again. One thing I appreciate about Melisandre is that, all things considered, she puts her money where her mouth is and she’s selfless.

HBO "Game of Thrones"

HBO “Game of Thrones”

The screencap above says it all, right?: Jaime Lannister’s (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) life was surely made complete when he caught a gander of his favorite “wench,” Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), draped in a frilly pink dress. As the two sat down to a meal with Lord Bolton (Michael McElhatton), questions arose surrounding Jaime’s future fate. Would Bolton ship him back to Robb Stark (Richard Madden), or would he go the more lucrative route and barter for Jaime’s freedom with his father, Tywin (Charles Dance)? In the end, he would send Jaime on his way back to King’s Landing. Brienne, on the other hand, was responsible for acting as an accomplice to Catelyn Stark’s (Michelle Fairley) treason. Is this the end of Season 3’s most incredible duo?

HBO "Game of Thrones"

HBO “Game of Thrones”

Marriage Sucks: Speaking of King’s Landing, things have surely spiraled into overdrive. I mentioned last week that every twist has a twist. This week, the consequences of botched plans and schemes reared their ugly heads. Firstly, Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg), who deserves, let’s just go there, worshipping, was at her finest. Then again, when has she ever even stuttered? She, of course, rejected Tywin’s proposal for Loras (Finn Jones) to marry Cersei (Lena Headey). There is nothing quite like listening to the Queen of Thorns compare menopause to war, but Tywin certainly wasn’t amused. Loras is gay, so Cersei would deal with it. Cersei had a reputation for bedding her brother, but Lady Olenna would not deal with it, although, she’s admittedly all for a little homoerotic experimentation. Leave it to the Queen of Thorns to head the gay rights movement in Westeros.

Some of my favorite scenes ever on Game of Thrones surround Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Cersei conversing one-on-one. Funny, I think I like it better when they’re fighting for the same cause or wallowing together, as opposed to when they’re at odds. Neither Tyrion nor Cersei was excited about their unfortunate betrothals to Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and Ser Loras Tyrell. If Cersei had her way, they’d both end up mysteriously poisoned. Tyrion, on the other hand, felt for Sansa. Later, he would be the one to break the terrible news to the girl, who’d been dreaming of her days in Highgarden. More importantly, Tyrion got to the bottom of the murder plot that nearly took off his nose during the Battle of Blackwater Bay. It was not Cersei who’d attempted to have him assassinated. It was Joffrey. Still, Joff was busy with other playthings now that Tywin was breathing down his neck.

Lord Baelish (Aiden Gillen) and Varys (Conleth Hill) had some words in the presence of the Iron Throne, also known as “the Lysa Arryn of chairs.” Having the ugly piece of rusted metal surely has its perks, as did possessing the wacko running the Eyrie. Littlefinger had figured out Varys’ plan to smuggle Sansa off to the Tyrells in Highgarden, much to the Spider’s dismay. I do believe Varys when he claims to have the good of the realm in mind, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit to enjoying Littlefinger’s speech about “chaos” and “the climb.” This Game of Thrones is nothing more than a ladder to climb. The romances, the lands, and anything at all are distractions and illusions. I am constantly reminding myself while reviewing this show that the novel series is titled A Song of Ice and Fire not Game of ThronesThere is no endgame, “the climb is all there is.” As our time in King’s Landing during episode 6 came to a close, we caught a gander of what had befallen our beloved Roz (Esme Bianco), Varys’ partner in undermining Littlefinger, as Joffrey sat calmly beside her bloody corpse that he’d riddled with crossbow bolts. That’s a wrap for Ros. She had a good run, whoring her way to King’s Landing only to grow into a respectable business assistant of sorts. As we’ve all come to learn, all you can do is keep climbing.

Freys are the worst: One thing we can all surely agree on; the Freys are the worst, you guys. Robb took a meeting with two Freys representing Walder in an attempt to correct his folly; the marriage with Talisa that had betrayed his word to marry a Frey girl. In return for the future control of Harrenhal and the wedding of Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies) to another Frey, they’d make peace. The wedding would have to happen promptly, and Robb and his men would be expected to attend. Edmure adamantly refused because, as I said, the Freys are the worst, but Robb insisted. I have to admit, Edmure is a bit of a dim bulb and far from a strategist, but watching Robb angrily pressure him to correct the King in the North’s own mistake was frustrating. Edmure eventually agreed, if only to right his own wrong surrounding the “mill” incident, but Robb did earnestly thank him for helping.

Dragonglass is probably just pretty: We only checked in with Sam (John Bradley) and Gilly (Hannah Murray) briefly during episode 6, but I did make note of the impressive amount of spunk and moxie they’ve infused her character with. Even if a character from a novel series as fantastic as this one is already great, an actor has to interpret the material, and I’m rarely disappointed with how that goes down on this show. Sam sang a lullaby next to the campfire after showing Gilly his dragonglass shard. The Wall was only a few days off.

HBO "Game of Thrones"

HBO “Game of Thrones”

Skinning and seizures: Osha (Natalia Tena) and Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick) continued their squabbling over nonsense, like skinning rabbits, driving Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) to break up their quest to prove they’d absolutely slay as contestants on Survivor. True, Osha can skin a rabbit like a total pro, but the rabbit carcass wouldn’t exist had Meera not been a stellar little hunter. In the end, the two reconciled and gave credit where credit was due. Feminism?

In truth, this scene was more important because Jojen (Thomas Sangster) experienced another vision. Watching him convulse in seizures was heartbreaking, especially after Meera informed us along with Bran that the visions “take their toll.” I wonder if there are any permanent repercussions to them. Angel fans remember the story arc surrounding Cordelia Chase’s acquisition of the demonic power of premonition, and the damage it did to her brain. I wonder if the folks over Game of Thrones have something like that in mind. Jojen had seen Jon Snow (Kit Harington) beyond the wall, surrounded by enemies.

HBO "Game of Thrones"

HBO “Game of Thrones”

Littlefinger, this is a climb: I have to reiterate my assessment from last week, in that the continuous humanization and added femininity to Ygritte’s (Rose Leslie) character have worked wonders. Jon Snow’s inner battle must have been laid to rest once Ygritte admitted to knowing he would never truly betray the Night’s Watch. What she needed was for him to be loyal to her, not necessarily Mance Rayder or their wildling horde. I’ve always appreciated the sense of community and family among the wildling warriors, especially in their general acceptance of Jon; however, the ascent up the Wall during episode 6 was very telling. As Jon, Ygritte, Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) and the rest began their climb, the absolutely gut-wrenching height and, of course, the crippling fear of a subsequent drop escalated step by step. Initially, the mere sight of Ygritte’s ass was enough to keep a smile on Jon’s face, even if it was covered with layers of pelts and fur. Things took a turn for the worse though, as one of Ygritte’s picks eventually cracked a massive fissure in the Wall, sending men to their deaths in the snow below. Panic struck all, as Ygritte and Jon dangled by the group’s rope. Orell (Mackenzie Crook) made the decision to cut the two loose in order to save himself and Tormund. Jon managed to find a nook in which to swing to just in time to save himself and to lift Ygritte to safety. Thus, we learned the hard way that the sense of loyalty among these people can only stretch so far. Maybe Jojen Reed was correct after all!

Episode 6 closed with Ygritte’s dream coming true; she got to see the world from the top of the Wall, and Jon was there to make it that much better.

HBO "Game of Thrones"

HBO “Game of Thrones”

 

What did you think of Game of Thrones, Season 3 Episode 6, “The Climb”? Did you enjoy Littlefinger’s speech about chaos being a climb? Will Olenna Tyrell be able to thwart Tywin again? Did you appreciate Arya’s confrontation with the Red Priestess? Are you happy with the way Jon and Ygritte’s romance is developing?

Thanks for reading my Recap of Game of Thrones, Season 3 Episode 6, “The Climb”!

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