GAME OF THRONES 3.07: The Bear and the Maiden Fair
This week, I’ll start at the end because the final sequence of The Bear and the Maiden Fair was fantastic. It’s really amazing how the creators and writers of this show have managed to transform Jaime from a despicable, oathbreaking, incestuous monster who throws a little boy out of a window, to an honorable man who selflessly risks his life in order to save a friend. He lost a hand but apparently gained a conscience in the process. The look of culpability on his face when Qyburn told him that the Bolton’s rejected Brienne’s ransom offer because they were holding out for sapphires was priceless. He realizes that the good intentioned lie he told to save her from being raped has backfired and Brienne will suffer the brutal consequences. The scene with Jaime and Brienne trying to climb out of the bear pit was just as thrilling as the dangerous Wall climbing sequence from the previous episode. In fact, it may have been more thrilling because WOW, that bear looked real, angry, and scary. I’m sure they used a real animal instead of some CGI creation, because it really showed. Its roars and angry paw stomping really carried a sense brute animal power; I’m not sure how the actors managed to even finish the scene, because I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near that thing. It was terrifying! But Jaime, Brienne and the bear wind up alive at the end (though the bear did get a crossbow bolt in the back), and now Westeros’ odd couple will continue on towards King’s Landing.
Speaking of King’s Landing, everything about the scene between Tywin and Joffrey was fantastic, from the initial distance between the two in the cold empty throne room, to Joffrey’s early attempt to establish his kingly dominance over his grandfather, to Tywin’s slow, deliberate march across the throne room that brought him towering over his seated grandson, to Tywin’s cold, disdainful “we could arrange to have you carried” comment. It was all just great, and it illustrates that the power in Westeros is still held by the Hand of the King rather than the King himself. Though, perhaps that won’t last for long? This was Joffrey’s first attempt to assert himself in front of his formidable grandfather and it failed, but he tried, and that suggests he may try again, perhaps with greater success in the future. If there’s one thing that Joffrey can’t stand, it’s not getting what he wants.
We saw another impressive display of power in Dany’s army camp a continent away. The sight of her eight thousand, identically outfitted warriors, standing motionless along the roadside is really impressive, and I’m sure it was arranged to inspire a sense of awe and terror in Yunkai’s ambassador. Dany swatted the ambassador’s bribes and threats away with equal disdain, all while reclining on her royal chair and looking impressive, regal, and powerful; like a true Queen, or dare I say Empress. Her transformation from a weak-willed, bullied young girl to a powerful, (compassionate when necessary), fearless ice queen has been fun to watch and just as impressive as Jaime’s evolution.
Elsewhere in Westeros, we have a lot of “pieces” moving into position. Before traveling to his uncle’s wedding at the Twins, Robb learns that his foreign queen is pregnant. Jon and the other wildings continue moving through the north, hoping to capture Castle Black from behind and by surprise. Along the way, Ygritte gapes at a crumbled old windmill as if it were a castle, suggesting that perhaps these uncultured folks from beyond the wall don’t quite understand what they’ll be up against when the battle begins, regardless of how short-handed the Night’s Watch might be. In a visually stunning scene, showing off shipwrecks that were the aftermath of last season’s Battle of Blackwater, Melisandre sails Gendry towards Stannins, while revealing the identity of his true father along the way. Bran and his ragged party continue heading towards the Wall, while somewhere else (who knows where?), in the only storyline that I really wish the writers would just forget and resolve off-screen, Theon continues to be brutally tortured. With three episodes left in the season, I’d expect to see some of these different stories begin colliding very soon.