All aboard the Hype Train! In preparation of Season 8 of Game of Thrones, Kelly is doing a rewatch for the greater good to refresh our memories, catch the things we might have forgotten, pick up the things we might have missed, and maybe make predictions! Hold onto your fur rugs from Ikea and AWAY WE GO.
Rules of this series: We’re deep diving into these episodes and I’m watching them on a per-episode base because I like digesting the episodes. Spoilers lie ahead. As much as I can, I am going to try and keep things episode/season specific. It’s out of respect to the narrative as well as the later seasons. Onwards!
3.7 The Bear and the Maiden Fair
Hey, remember that punkish song that played after Jaime got his hand cut off? That’s the title of this episode! The context of the song is a fun one- a hairy bear gets to play knight when saving a damsel and he licks all the honey from her hair. Is it meant to be sexual? Depends on who’s singing it. I’ve always thought of the song as a bawdy Beauty and the Beast and we get a bunch of different pairings that can go with that description (Tyrion and Shae, Tyrion and Sansa, Tormund and anyone else, Jaime and Brienne), or one where the damsel’s concept of knighthood is challenged (Brienne and Jaime again, Sansa and Lancel/Tyrion as well, Ygritte and Jon in each role, Arya and the Brotherhood and later on the Hound). Oh, and of course- the literal bear and the maiden fair at the end.
Yunkai has been added to the opening credits, the second of slave cities Dany hangs out in. Also, I guess I was wrong about last week and we now have recaps for all episodes. Silly! This is a really excellent episode and one of my all time favorites- we get to see a lot of pieces moving slowly without realizing it and each character gets really strong dialogue. It was really hard to pick a Scene of the Episode for this one. Well done.
The episode kicks off with Tormund, Ygritte, Jon and others as they are finally south of the Wall and Ygritte is asking Jon some really good questions about the dumb battle tactics of Westeros. Why do people need to march with the same foot? Why do they need banners? Don’t they know their own allies? Valid, Ygritte. Jon is still pissy that Orell cut them loose so that he and Tormund might still make it to the top- Free Folk thinking, I guess, is that survival really does come first.
In Camp Stark, Talisa is toweling off Robb from the rain because he can’t do it himself as the Tullys bicker about hating Walder Frey. They’re late the Twins, which will be another slight to Walder in addition to getting the shorter end of the stick by marrying off his daughter to Edmure a mere lord of a noble house instead of THE KING IN THE NORTH. After shamelessly making out with his wife (in front of Cat), Robb gets naked with Talisa (not in front of Cat) and Talisa reveals that there will soon be a Prince in the North! This is great and all but it’s ruined by overly gratuitous shots of Talisa’s butt. These seem wildly out of place She’s got a butt, we get it and Robb does too because he keeps mentioning he can’t concentrate with her in the room. Not only is Talisa distracting Robb from war, but she also asks Robb is he’ll visit Volantis with her AKA abandon his kingly duties of ruling and whatnot. “Kings travel all the time” you say, but Robb’s not exactly punctual or able to think straight when she is around- and Volantis is FAR. It’s south of Pentos. It’s so south that it’s level with DORNE. The SOUTHMOST kingdom in Westeros. And then east- not quite as far as Yunkai, but it does touch Slaver Bay. Maybe midpoint between that and Myr. I get it, they’re married, but Robb, dude… you really have to pick a side here. It wouldn’t be so bad if he just upped and left and was all, “I don’t want to be king anymore, here you go, you rule.” I… don’t quite understand what Robb is making the North is fight for at this point. He seems so far removed from what his cause is and is making dumb decisions. That is the point- he’s blinded by love. And that ass.
Really though whether it was Talisa that made him think of not North things or Jeyne who made him abide by his honor, it’s painful to see how far Robb allows the war, its cause, and the North get away from him. Heartbreaking, even. The War of the Five Kings would have, should have, been his.
Back with Jon and the Wildlings, Tormund gives a Sex Ed 101 lesson while Orell lets Ygritte know he has feelings for her, but more than that, he wants Ygritte to be with anyone but Jon- and he knows that Jon is still a man of the Night’s Watch at heart.
Sex Ed 101 is co-taught by Margaery, who provides some comfort to Sansa as she still tries to process that she is being given away to Tyrion Lannister. Margaery points out that Tyrion is actually a pretty nice guy and that women are the most powerful in Westeros when they undo the power from within their positions and what’s expected of them. It’s a pretty brilliant indication of how Margaery has been able to control Joff. Sansa has the hardest time trying to wrap her head around having sex with Tyrion and Margaery, being the openminded goddess she is, tells her that hey, Tyrion has experience and he might be able to show you a thing or two.
Meanwhile, Tyrion can’t get over how young Sansa is and it’s really nice to see at least one dude not being a skeeze about marrying a child bride- THANKS, BRONN. That was gross.
Down in the Throne Room, Joff tries to posture up against Tywin, asking for the reports of the small council and he loses miserably as Tywin looms over him as he sits on the Iron Throne. Joff is trying to play the king card without realizing what it means to rule- something I think he realizes in this scene. Tywin gives a Dragons 101 course, saying that when the dragons died out, they were of pathetic size and that Dany and her dragons are nothing to worry about.
Across the Shining Sea, Dany and Jorah arrive at Yunkai, another slave city of 200,000 slaves. She looks extraordinarily young in this episode. Anyway, the leader of Yunkai, Razdal mo Eras is brought in carried by slaves because no one of wealth walks and Missandei rattles off a bunch of titles for Dany. He’s taken aback when he sees that Dany has showed up with dragons ablazing. She even feeds them a piece of meat that they squeal over to unnerve Razdal even more. Razdal has apparently already heard about Dany and what her demands have been as he immediately offers her gold and a bunch of ships for her to leave on. Dany’s mission has become more than getting back to Westeros and she demands that all slaves be freed, which is very nice of her but she doesn’t exactly offer any solutions for their economy and lifestyles after this change to their society. Anyway, the two basically declare war on each other. Moving on.
Tyrion is trying to make up his engagement to Shae in the form of gold (lots of paying people off in this episode huh?) but Shae offers to go across the Narrow Sea with Tyrion so they can live together- but Tyrion is afraid of losing his status and disappointing his father. Tyrion tries telling Shae that he loves her but Shae reminds him that she’s his whore and that she’s well aware that their relationship has an expiration date.
Uh, outside King’s Landing, Gendry and Mel are sailing around and she reveals that his father was Robert Baratheon because we saved the good way of revealing bastard heritage for Season 6. This scene made it seem like Gendry was going to have a huge role- and then he just rowed rowed rowed for three seasons. Ha.
Under the Waterfall, Arya is still moping about Gendry being sold to Mel and Beric says they serve the One True God. Arya says her one true god is Death- it’s reminiscent of the lessons Syrio taught her, but this has a different effect on Beric. She’s not a cute kid any more. She’s a force to be reckoned with. Anguy’s found a Lannister party, and Beric and Thoros delay their trip to Riverrun in favor of ruining more Lannister fun. After abandoning the waterfall, she runs straight into the Hound.
Back at Harrenhal, Jamie bids goodbye to Brienne and he promises her that he will take up her promise to Cat and return Sansa and Arya to their mother. Jaime is a changed man- Brienne has shown him what real honor and loyalty is in an hour of need and I daresay he was inspired. There’s a chilly goodbye between Jaime and Roose, as Locke teases him about having to leave Brienne behind and it turns out that Roose isn’t hanging out in Harrenhal- he’s headed to the Twins for Edmure’s wedding- so there really will be no one to look out for Brienne in a matter of hours.
At the Dreadfort! Two pretty lasses (Myranda and Violet!) free Theon and start to take care of him and then start to take care of him sexually as well. Theon still likes girls so much and there’s still a bit of ladies man in him, so he can put aside a few memories of torture while they start working him. Myranda shows off a bit of the jealous side we get to know later, when Ramsay comes on in and ruins the fun. He knows all about Theon’s womanizing reputations and asks Theon what his favorite body part is, threatening his penis, before Theon starts screaming for help.
Somewhere in the North and my runner-up to Scene of the Episode because it’s just some really brilliant chemistry and dialogue, Ygritte spies a windmill and having never seen a structure like it before, asks if it’s a castle. Jon, jaded in his upbringing but also adoring how amazed she is at the simplest of things, implies that it’s nothing compared to what he’s seen and she calls him a spoiled brat. He teaches her a little bit more about Westeros customs but Ygritte’s no lady and she doesn’t faint at blood or spiders- and he clearly loves this about her. He loves everything about her. It’s a really sweet scene, as they imagine what their lives might be together. It’s far and away the most comfortable and open we ever get to see Jon. It’s the only time we get to see him carefree and without impending thoughts or brooding.
As soon as Ygritte reminds him of their mission and Jon’s face immediately darkens as he tells Ygritte they’re not going to be able to take the Wall and that all of the Free Folk who attack will die- and Ygritte, too stubborn to see the situation for what it is and unwilling to admit that Jon is of a different world, replies that Jon is one of them as well. It’s the beginning of the end for these two as he realizes that as much as he loves her, he will always choose his larger responsibility first and always feel the obligation to report to a higher cause. It’s the Ned Stark side of him, plain and simple.
Nearby, Jojen and Bran are still leading the others to the Wall and Osha’s annoyed that Jojen is putting ideas of magic in Bran’s head. Bran insists that the party go look for the three-eyed raven since he’s been dreaming about it since he fell and lost the use of his legs. Osha doesn’t want too go North- especially after her lover tried to kill her after turning into a wight. Hints of the original White Walker Mystery theme here and I feel like it’s very rare for us to get this music again after this season.
On the road, Jaime and Qyburn are on their way to King’s Landing and Jaime deduces that Qyburn was kicked out of the Citadel for experimenting on living men. Qyburn doesn’t deny it and confides in Jaime that Lord Tarth refused to give Locke anymore ransom money but that Locke is holding out for… more sapphires. The same sapphires Jaime lied to him about. Feeling like he had a direct hand in whatever torture awaits Brienne in the night, he demands that the Bolton camp turn around to pick her up.
Scene of the Episode, Harrenhal is deserted as Brienne’s been forced into a pit to face off against a BEAR as the Bolton men sing THE BEAR AND THE MAIDEN FAIR. AKA THE TITLE OF THE EPISODE, quite literally. Brienne has already been clawed at and she only has a wooden sword to defend herself and she’s still wearing the ridiculous pink dress Roose put her in. Jaime hops down into the pit himself to save Brienne and his Bolton escort party even helps him save Brienne because the real task here is to make sure Jaime gets back to King’s Landing alive. Then, in another act of allyship, Brienne leans back in to help him up.
The episode ends as Jaime threatens Locke using his own lord against him and there’s flashes of Jaime regaining his confidence, or at least a shade of the old Jaime that comes through as the Rains of Castamere plays in full swing- really, the most elaborate arrangement of the song since Tyrion started whistling it in Season 2.
3.8 Second Sons