Nikolaj Coster-Waldau continues to be one of the best things about season 3. Not only is his character, Jaime Lannister, finally has something to do. It in turn allows Coster-Waldau to be the most dashing knight in the series. Even with a beard, thorough lawyer of dirt and lack of a hand. “Don’t overplay your hand” (aha puns of the literal and poker variety!) has been drilled into Jamie ever since he made it to Harrenhal. His attempts at word play lost him his hand and now send Brienne to a pit with a bear in it. Jamie turns his weakness into a strength, playing House Bolton men meant to protect him against Locke’s. Rescuing Brienne with enough time for her to rescue him....again.
That whole bear sequence was very skin of it’s teeth. Clearly Brienne had been fighting that bear for a while. Just long enough for Jamie to jump on in and force his protectors to due their duty, even if Locke really likes his bear. Allowing for Jaime and Brienne to exit Harrenhall acompannied by “Rains of Castamere” in what will be the most Wes Anderson moment of the series.
Last weeks episode was one of the weakest in the entire series. “The Bear and the Maiden Fair’ for all of its bear fighting could have also come off weak like “The Climb”. Except “The Climb” was clearly a holding pattern episode, “Bear” is more interested in getting each characters thoughts on their current holding pattern. Which makes it a very interesting episode for Song of Fire and Ice creator, George R. R. Martin to write. Martins prior episodes “The Pointy End” (S1 Ep08) and “Blackwater” (S1 Ep09) were definitely more plot driven with less time for him to let characters ruminate on their situation. Martin gets to work with his characters in meaningful ways. The dialog in general compared to other episodes felt more natural in all senses.
There is a large amount of focus given to the various couples of Thrones Jaime and Brienne get a little scene before they part, Tyrion and Sansa have separated scenes about one another, Jon and Ygritte continue to do their thing. All of which could be read as an overtly shipping centric episode when instead it acts as a vehicle to further show everyone exploring the overall theme (if you want to just pick one) of the season. Who are you loyal to? Are you loyal to the institutions you are apart of or is it too a select group of people.
Tyrion is caught right in the middle of that question. He will marry Sansa Stark because it is his duty, as much as he hates it. His loyalties though are still to Shae and he is going to do his damndest she is the best concubine in the Seven Kingdoms. Shae isn’t really seeing it that way. She continues to think of herself as only his whore, who he will discard once he tires of her or puts a baby in Sansa. Seeing this scene play out was kind of sad. Some how Tyrion and Shae have become the best couple in the show and to see them in a down turn is disconcerting.
In order for the show to be made most of the child characters were aged up. It’s still really awkward seeing them talk what is expected of Sansa and Tyrion once they are wed. There is one camp that really could care less and just want a baby (Tywin and Margery) and then Tyrion and Sansa who both appear very progressive in their want to not do the deed. It doesn't help that Sansa as a character has gotten stronger still acts all doe eyed about certain topics. One second she is crying her eyes at to Margery about how she is stupid and then the next she is all “Where did you learn all that? Your mother?” No Sansa Margery didn’t learn those things from her mother.
The Snow Ygritte pairing has it’s moments for me. I just have to grin and bare it through those moments where Ygritte says something along the lines of “ O do they have X down in the South Jon Snow?” Question his manhood a little bit and then Snow will retort with something and they have a nice little banter. This time it concerns windmills and the finer points of swooning. The theme mentioned above will surely manifest itself once Mance lights his fire. Ygritte openly admits that Mance doesn't really care about her, she is expendable to him and that she is loyal to Jon Snow because she’s his woman. They have to look out for one another or die together but when push comes to shove I have this sinking feeling they are going to end up killing each other. Jon is still loyal, somewhat, to the Nights Watch and Ygritte still marches to Mance’s drum. Six times a King Beyond the Wall has risen up and each time he has failed. What makes Mance any different?
The Brotherhood without Banners loyalties are even more complex than the Wildlings. On one hand they are a brotherhood but they also answer to their Red God. The Red God has been shown to win out in these conflicts. They give Gendry to Melisandre. But isn’t that a completely understandable thing to do? The Red God has been shown to actually interact with the world. The Seven not so much. It’s one of those unknowable things, the Red God is the one true god and valar dohaeris. Still there is an uneasy feeling seeing Gendry and Melisandre sail past Kings Landing, revealing Gendry’s parentage.
This time last season I was all on the Dany Hate Train. Now it is the complete opposite, Emilia Clarke has acting like a confident ruler down pat. Her scene with the Master of Yunkai was,.simply put, badass. Accepting his gift and giving him one in return. His life. Her confidence is starting to come off as hubris though. Yunkai is a well protected city that won’t just come out and fight them. Also they have “powerful friends”. Seeing Dany get put down a peg after turning down yet another chance to return home seems like a logical next step. Or she could just burn the city down and grow her army to 208k roughly. That’s very Game of Thrones thing, on one hand a character could achive greatness or get totally shut down. I’m sure that fits into Littlefingers Climb monologue somehow.
The Bits At The End
Robb Stark is going to be a Dad! BOOO HIM! He will ruin Oona chaplin’s body now. Man he better come out on top of this now. Not sure I could handle more child killing.
Who’d of thought Arya and The Hound would be Tyrion&Bronn 3.0?
I wanted more bear fighting. Brienne like armbaring that bear in Fedor-esque fashion would be all types of bad ass.
You can follow Mike Mazzacane on Twitter @MaZZM or at mazzz.net. In both places he wonders about the best ways to research 90’s cinema? Preparing to write extended stuff looking at reality TV. And mocking the current shape of NBC because cmon it’s NBC.