Game of Thrones Season 3 is here! Need to catch up? Don't miss Regina Thorne's Season 2 refresher or her recap of episode 3.01, episode 3.02, episode 3.03, episode 3.04, episode 3.05, and episode 3.06. And now, onto last night's episode 3.07, “The Bear and the Maiden Fair."
“People work together when it suits them. They’re loyal when it suits them. They love each other when it suits them, and they kill each other when it suits them.” Two characters disproved Orell’s bleak view of human nature tonight: Danaerys Targaryen put her plans to invade Westeros on hold for the sake of 200,000 slaves who are of no possible use to her war effort; and Jaime Lannister, whom we first met screwing his sister and throwing a boy out of a tall tower, risked his life to save a woman he’s come to respect and love.
We open in the aftermath of the Wildlings’ epic climb over the Wall. They’re in the green lovely area known as “South of the Wall” and Ygritte teases Jon about all his peoples’ quaint customs such as marching on roads, having flags and drummers for their armies and needing a drummer to give them a beat. Ygritte marches to the beat of her own drummer of course, although I notice that she didn’t mock the quaint southern practices Jon Snow uses in bed. Orell is clearly jealous of Ygritte and Jon’s relationship and tells Jon he’ll never hold onto Ygritte. I think he’s doing okay, actually!
It’s wet in the Riverlands. Edmure Tully and his sister Catelyn Stark are sittingly around morosely in Robb’s tent while Talisa towel-dries Robb’s hair in a very motherly gesture. They’re interrupted by the arrival of Brynden “Blackfish” Tully, the rude uncle of Edmure and Catelyn. Brynden apologizes to Talisa for saying the word “shit,” but then interrupts Catelyn three times when she tries to say that Lord Frey will be angry that the rains are delaying their arrival at the Twins. Hey, can we please have a little respect for Catelyn on Mother’s Day? Edmure is very convinced of his own awesomeness and says that the Freys should be happy to wait for him to show up, and Catelyn reminds us that they were expecting to have one of their own marry a King, not just a Lord of Riverrun.
Unfortunately for the Freys, Talisa got there first and now she has their King. Robb and Talisa enjoy a little naked time, after which Robb gets up to ponder his map and chess pieces. Talisa rolls over and starts writing a letter to (she says) her mother (I think that’s carrying Mother’s Day devotion a little far, but maybe that’s just me!) Talisa tells Robb that she’s pregnant, and asks whether they can ever go to Volantis together. Robb promises that they will, and...since none of Robb’s promises ever work out, I wouldn’t start booking that ticket just yet, Talisa!
Meanwhile, Tormund Giantsbane shares some Wildling sex tips with Jon Snow, urging him to wait until his girlfriend is as “slick as a baby seal.” There’s a mental image I could have done without! Tormund, Jon Snow actually does know something about pleasing the ladies, so your advice is unneeded. Meanwhile, Orell continues to be jealous of Jon Snow, asking whether Ygritte loves him because of his pretty hair and pretty eyes. Pro tip: regular conditioning will do wonders for your love life amongst the Wildlings. Orell warns Ygritte that Jon is a spy, which is actually true.
In King’s Landing, Sansa bares her soul to Margaery Tyrell, calling herself stupid. I don’t think Sansa’s stupid, but she has apparently still not internalized that memo about not trusting ANYONE. But she’s so lonely and she could really use a big sister, and if I believed Margaery had Sansa’s best interests at heart, I would be a little happy for Sansa here, but if there’s one person who never has any luck in this series, it’s definitely Sansa. Margaery for some reason talks Tyrion up to Sansa, saying that he’s handsome and rich and has treated her relatively well. Yeah, but he also belongs to the same family that Sansa hates for reasons named Lady, Ned Stark and Joffrey Baratheon. Poor Sansa, her choices are a gay guy and the least objectionable member of the family that has done its best to destroy hers.
Meanwhile, Sansa’s fiancé and his best buddy Bronn discuss Tyrion’s impending nuptials. Tyrion intends to marry Sansa and keep Shae as his mistress at the same time. I’m sure that’ll work out fine! Bronn mocks Tyrion’s constant need for love and approval, telling him that he’ll end up “the most popular dead man in town.” Tyrion admits that Sansa is very beautiful and tells Bronn to stop putting evil notions into his head, because there are enough of those already in there. Bronn reminds Tyrion that he pays Bronn “to kill people who bother you; the evil notions come free.” Oh Bronn and Tyrion, how I have missed you two together!
In the throne room, Joffrey awaits his grandfather Tywin Lannister. Apparently Joff has nothing better to do than to sit on the Iron Throne and look at the fires around the throne room all day. Joffrey wants to know why Tywin hasn’t kept him abreast of the doings of the Small Council. Although indisputably an evil little creep, Joffrey is actually not that stupid, since he sees a threat in Dany and her dragons that Tywin dismisses completely. The body language of the two characters in this scene is fantastic; Joffrey, though nominally the King, cowers on his throne in front of his forceful grandfather, even though Tywin is perfectly respectful in everything he says. He promises Joffrey that from now on, he will be kept abreast of important details of the Small Council on a need-to-know basis. Why do I think Joffrey will not need to know anything Tywin doesn’t want him to know?
Over in Essos, Dany approaches the city of Yunkai, which is also a slave city like Astapor, with over 200,000 slaves. Unlike Astapor, though, Yunkai trains sex slaves, not warriors, and Jorah tries another one of his patented “hey, these slaves are none of our business, let’s be moving along now...” speeches with Dany. I feel like Jorah’s values (he was exiled from Westeros for selling people into slavery) and Dany’s values are fast approaching a serious conflict. Dany tells him that she has 200,000 to capture Yunkai, and orders Grey Worm to offer terms to the rulers of Yunkai.
Soon after, one of the Wise Masters of Yunkai arrives at Dany’s camp, where Dany looks regal in a white gown, surrounded by her three rapidly-growing dragons. Yunkai Guy offers Dany gold and ships to go away; Dany’s counteroffer is the lives of the slavers to be spared if they release all their slaves, with food, water, and property as payment for their years of servitude. Yunkai Guy threatens Dany with his powerful friends (as Krispy Kraznys could tell him, threatening Dany is a very bad idea) and one of the dragons takes offense because who threatens mom on Mother’s Day and gets away with it, right? Dany keeps the gold, saying that it’s hers, and dismisses Yunkai Guy, urging him and his fellow rulers to take her up on her own generous offer. Dany is a boss!! She asks Barristan Selmy what happens to things that don’t bend, and I think the answer is that they are toasted by dragonfire.
Speaking of gold, back in King’s Landing, Tyrion offers Shae a huge beautiful gold chain to make her not be mad at him for marrying Sansa. He tells her it’s so valuable she could buy a ship with it, but his tactics fail miserably. Shae reminds Tyrion that they could simply leave King’s Landing (as she told him at the end of Season 2), but he won’t abandon his position as a Lannister of Casterly Rock for the uncertainty of life outside Westeros. He tells Shae she’ll always be his lady, and she corrects him, telling him that she’s his whore, and once he’s tired of her, she’ll be nothing. I really think Shae loves Tyrion, and Tyrion, who wants so badly to be loved, just can’t see what he’s sacrificing for the sake of getting his father’s approval.
We cut to a gorgeous shot of Blackwater Bay, where Mel and Gendry converse on the deck of a ship. I can see I will have to ignore Melisandre’s ability to travel freely right past King’s Landing despite her affiliation with Stannis and her actually having some of Stannis’s soldiers with her last week. Melisandre reveals that she was once a slave, bought and sold, scourged and branded, until she was raised up by the Lord of Light. Mel tells Gendry that his father was Robert Baratheon and that king’s blood is important. As Spike the vampire once said, it’s always about the blood, but I really don’t see this going anywhere good for Gendry. (Also if Melisandre’s fires can help her find Robert Baratheon’s bastard with such pinpoint accuracy, I don’t understand why she can’t see that Dany has a lot more going for her, Lord of Light-wise, than Stannis, given her three fiery dragons and her interest with freeing slaves.)
Back with the Brotherhood who gave up Gendry, Arya is still furious with Beric and Thoros. Beric tries to reason with her, saying that, while they weren’t happy about losing Gendry, they serve the Lord of Light, the One True God, and he needed Gendry. Yup, uh huh, you keep telling yourselves that! Arya doesn’t have time for their nonsense, and tells them that her god is Death; my heart dies a little when she says this. Poor Arya! The Brotherhood finds out about a party of Lannisters passing by, so they put the plans to reunite Arya with her family at Riverrun on hold so they can go attack the Lannisters. Arya is again convinced that the Brotherhood are a bunch of greedy promise-breakers; she tells them that she hopes the Lannisters kills them all before she runs off into the woods, eluding the Brotherhood only to be captured by Sandor Clegane. Uh oh!
In Harrenhal, Jaime Lannister goes to say goodbye to Brienne, who’s still in her ill-fitting pink dress. She asks him what will happen to her after Jaime leaves tomorrow and he sadly tells her that she’ll stay at Harrenhal with Locke. They both know Jaime will never see her again, and Jaime tells her that he owes her a debt. She reminds him of the promises they both made to Catelyn Stark, and says that if he keeps those promises for her, he can consider the debt he owes her paid. He swears he’ll return the Stark girls to their mother; Brienne calls him “Ser Jaime” as she bids him farewell; Jaime and I both get teary-eyed because the most honorable person Jaime’s ever met has just told him she believes in his honor.
In the courtyard at Harrenhal, Jaime struggles with his saddlebags until Qyburn comes over to help him. Roose Bolton watches this exchange with his usual clinical detachment, telling Jaime that Qyburn hopes Tywin Lannister will help him get his maester’s chain back. Speaking of Tywin, Roose Bolton asks Jaime to give his regards to Jaime’s father, and Jaime in turn asks that he delivers the Lannisters’ regards to Robb Stark. I’m sure Tywin would like to deliver his regards on the point of a sword. Locke taunts Jaime as he leaves, saying they’ll take “good care” of Jaime’s friend. Poor Brienne!!
In a completely misguided and horrible scene, two young girls help Theon off his cross and then get completely naked and start fondling the inside of Theon’s trousers. If it wasn’t torture porn last week, it sure is torture plus porn this week. Game of Thrones you’ve really been better than this in Season 3! This scene is awful in every way. Theon’s “friend” Hornblower interrupts the bump and grind, expresses his own interest in Theon’s junk, and then pulls out a wicked-looking hunting knife, before summoning two men to hold Theon down. Mercifully, the screen fades away as Hornblower ensures there will be no little krakens issuing from Theon’s loins ever.
Jon and Ygritte continue to tramp through the woods. Ygritte is deeply impressed by her glimpse of a windmill, and then Jon Snow has to explain swooning to her. Too bad they don’t have HBO Go, or they could just watch Jaime Lannister swoon in the bathtub with Brienne. Things take a turn for the serious when Jon reminds Ygritte that the Wildlings have tried to invade south of the Wall six times before, and they’ve been rebuffed six times too. He doesn’t want Ygritte to die in the attempt. Awww! Ygritte tells him that “you’re mine as I’m yours, and if we die, we die, but first we’ll live.” Jon and I are both in love now.
Osha, though, is not in love. In fact, she loathes the Reeds, particularly Jojen for filling Bran’s head full of “black magic.” She’s even more furious when she learns that Jojen wants Bran to go north of the Wall, and drags out a cautionary tale about White Walkers and how her husband turned into one. She refuses to accompany Bran any farther than Castle Black. I have to agree with Osha on this one; everyone seems to be fleeing south. And Bran and Rickon have no hats for the winter!!
Qyburn unwraps Jaime’s stump to change the dressings, and it looks suitably horrible. They discuss Qyburn’s loss of credentials as a Maester for performing experiments on live human subjects. Okay then, Dr. Mengele! Qyburn tries to justify himself by asking how many men Jaime’s killed (countless) and how many lives he’s saved. Funny you should ask that, Qyburn, since Jaime actually saved the population of King’s Landing, though Qyburn clearly doesn’t believe Jaime at all.
Jaime gets around to asking what’s really been bothering him: whether Brienne’s father has offered a ransom for Brienne. Qyburn tells Jaime that Brienne’s father offered 300 gold dragons for his daughter’s safe return, but Locke thinks Lord Selwyn is holding out because he believes Tarth is filled with sapphires, thanks to Jaime’s lie. Jaime makes up his mind and approaches Steelshanks Walton, the leader of the men Bolton’s appointed to take him to King’s landing, insisting that they return to Harrenhal, because he left something behind.
Walton is unwilling, so Jaime has to blackmail him, saying that if he doesn’t agree, Jaime will tell Tywin that Walton was the man who cut off his hand; conversely, if Walton does what Jaime wants and goes back to Harrenhal, Jaime will swear Walton saved his life.
Gold versus Tywin Lannister’s undying enmity is an easy choice, and Walton’s men ride back, Jaime at their head. The courtyard at Harrenhal is deserted, because all of Locke’s men are at the bear pit, where Brienne is fighting an enormous bear with a wooden sword. Jaime pleads with Locke, saying that he’ll pay Brienne’s ransom, but Locke is unmoved, saying that he likes to watch lords and ladies suffer even more than he likes gold and sapphires.
The bear lunges at Brienne, its huge paw swiping her neck. Brienne looks terrified and Jaime looks utterly desparate. He jumps into the pit with her, putting himself, crippled and unarmed, between her and the bear; if he cannot save her, he’ll die with her. Walton distracts the bear with a crossbow bolt, and Jaime uses the opportunity to boost Brienne out of the bear pit. The bear, enraged, makes for the spot where Jaime is precariously balanced on a couple of beams, but Brienne reaches down to pull him up too. They didn’t say it out loud the way Ygritte and Jon did, but this scene, their saving each other, showed that Brienne is Jaime’s and Jaime is hers without any need for words.
Locke insists that the “bitch” is his on Lord Bolton’s orders, but Jaime tells him that “I’m taking her to King’s Landing unless you kill me.” Locke is clearly debating option B; Walton and his men start to draw their swords as Jaime asks Locke which he thinks Lord Bolton values more: giving Tywin Lannister his son back alive or giving his pet rat a reward (nice one, Jaime!) Jaime tells Locke “sorry about the sapphires” as he walks away, Brienne at his shoulder, to the strains of the “The Rains of Castamere.” A Lannister always pays his debts, Locke; I think you may be sorry you let them go.
Daenerys gif via pandawhale.com
Regina Thorne is an avid reader of just about everything, an aspiring writer, a lover of old movies and current tv shows, and a hopeless romantic.