Episode 7 - The Bear and the Maiden Fair
15 May 2013
Synopsis: Jon and Ygritte continue to flirt while the Warg warns her about Jon's loyalty and he speaks of the previous failed invasions of Westeros by the Wildlings. Bran tells Osha that he plans on heading north of the Wall which she refuses to do. Talisa tells Robb she is pregnant. Jaime says goodbye to Brienne and heads south. He soon returns to Harrenhal to rescue her. Arya runs away from the Brotherhood when they head out to attack a Lannister raiding party. She is captured by the Hound. Tyrion frets about marrying Sansa as she confides in Margaery. Shae refuses to be Tyrion's mistress. Joffree raises concerns about Daenerys which Tywin dismisses. Daenerys camps her army outside Yunkai and demands that they free all of their slaves.
The Good: As usual there were a bunch of good individual scenes but I'm not sure what they add up to.
The Robb and Talisa scene felt like a case of good actors making more of what was on the page. You got a real sense of their personalities and affection for one another. The same felt true for Margaery once more schooling Sansa and Bronn doing the same for Tyrion. The latter remains our admirable main character as he struggles to keep Shae happy with an offer that he realises isn't a good one for her.
The first confrontation between Joffree and Tywin was excellent. Tywin wisely conceals his desire to smack his Grandson upside the head and instead politely answers his questions while looming menacingly over him. Naturally Joffree is more concerned by Dany than anything else as he insecurely shifts upon his throne. The real strength of this scene though is what it promises for the future. You can see that one day the Gold Cloaks may be surrounding both men being forced to choose who to obey.
I really laughed when we cut to a wide eyed Jon being given sex advice from Giantsbane.
The Bad: I have no problem with Jaime refusing to abandon Brienne but that whole sequence was just a replay of the incident which cost him his hand (303). I am glad neither of them was hurt and don't mind the logic of bear fighting or Lord Bolton's men letting them go. But as the climax of an episode it couldn't help but feel like a letdown. Â
The Unknown: Daenerys and her court looked fantastic as they laid down their threats at Yunkai. Beyond the Westerosi distaste for slavery and perhaps her own experience as a pawn in her brothers game is there another reason for her new role as Spartacus? Does she genuinely want to rid the world of slavery or is this just a recruitment drive for the invasion?
Theon's torture was definitely disturbing and almost turned into pornography at one point. I can't deny that the whole thing gets an emotional response from me. But if this was Theon's castration then it's hard to know what the future holds for him. To spread his torture across the season like this does feel exploitative. Part of that is my sense that the torturer is not a character we are getting to know. This remains Theon's story and to watch him suffer for ten episodes doesn't make me sympathise with him as much as it makes me dislike the producers for putting me through this.
The flirting and exchange of information between Jon and Ygritte remains as entertaining as ever. But I remain emotionally neutral about their strange understanding of the others' position. Jon is as blatant as he can be that his loyalty remains with his people. Ygritte's response to that is to once more cling to the sense that they as a couple have a more significant bond. Yet she is clearly not planning to abandon Mance's invasion. Is she not worried that Jon is going to betray them? Is she ready to abandon this life and become his prisoner\wife should he prove correct and the invasion fails?
After Melissandre broke all Olympic records by racing from Dragonstone to the Riverlands she now mocks the very laws of time and space by taking Gendry down the King's Road (a journey which seemed to take weeks in Season One) to King's Landing for the return trip.
Arya seems to just run from one group of would-be captors to another as the Hound becomes her latest babysitter. Qyburn as a proto-scientist could be an interesting character. Osha's story explains her reluctance to return north of the Wall but we knew exactly where the story was going as soon as it began. Presumably Bran would have to go through the gate at Castle Black because there's no way he will be climbing.
What does the Warg know about Jon? Who are Yunkai's powerful friends?
Best Moment: Tywin tolerating Joffree.
Conclusion: Each season of Game of Thrones has had a couple of episodes in a row where I temporarily lose the sense of where the narrative is going. Usually though they have been a little earlier than this. I do understand that this is one book being spread across two seasons but this episode still felt oddly static.
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