The first half of Game of Thrones season 3 has been awesome. An excellent blend of strong acting, great dialog, and crazy fantasy stuff that feels like it’s the least interesting part of the show. Thrones is very good at having two characters, played by good actors, and letting that build the world and save them all types of money on budget. It’s also a necessary procedure to move everyone into their places for whatever (most likely) groundbreaking and earth shattering event occurs around episode 9 or 10. “The Climb” lacks that right mix the previous 5 episodes have had. Other than a literal climbing sequence intercut throughout, the episode is literally a bunch of people in rooms talking to each other. Not terrible by any stretch just a little bland.
“The Climb” had a lot of short check ins with the cast. Sam and Gilly are safe, well as safe as one can be in a blizzard in the woods where there are ice zombies. Sam singing a song about the Seven was nice touch of world building. Bran and his little group show up for a couple of minutes. Meera and Osha were being catty with one another, which was mildly amusing. The darker part of the scene comes when Jojen has a vision, one that isn’t shown, all that audiences see is him convulsing. It was unexpected but a welcome reminder that magic does cost something in Westeros. Also Rickon can talk, I guess he is no longer an extra.
Back in season 1, I really enjoyed Aidan Gillen as Littlefinger. He gave his character the right amount of charm but never let you forget he was completely untrustworthy. Two years later and Gillen is now just laying it on too thick, in his characters mad climb for absolute power. As the show has gone Littlefinger as a character has gotten more and more obvious about his desires but monologuing about how chaos is the climb and only thing that matters. When mixed with Jon Snow and Ygritte literally climbing and Sansa crying really put that over the top in the worst way. Maybe it is because Littlefinger is so open about his intentions that I hate it. Everyone around him lies through their teeth, he does too, but he is the only one allowed to be really open about it. Thankfully his monologue wasn’t the last thing heard.
His chat with Varys does bring up an interesting echo to what Thoros told Melisandre. For Varys, the realm is religion or at least the only way to remain grounded in life. He admits that the 200 blades of the men Aegon conquered isn’t really true but from it the realm was birthed. It’s an ideal that unites all the people of the Seven Kingdoms, like how R’hllor unites Stannis’ men and the Brotherhood Without Banners.
Even if this episode was mostly two people standing around and talking it still had it’s moments. Particularly when you throw Tywin and Lady Olenna in a room together. Both of them old battle hardened politikers who are used to easily manipulating things. Watching them both passive aggressively insult one another was fun. Lady Olenna’s refusal to make a big deal over the fact that Ser Loras is a “sword swallower” might have thrown Tywin off at first but he comes back. Threatening to put Loras on the Kingsguard and with it truly doom the Tyrell name to fading away. Instead with a betrothal to Cerci, Loras might be able to do his duty and get a few other Tyrells into the world before Cersei's “change” occurs.
Meanwhile Cersei and Tyrion bury the hatchet, as best they can at least. So it wasn’t Cerci who wanted Tyrion killed it was Joffrey. A fact that leaves Tyrion a tad insulted. The King could of done it in so many clever ways but having his own Kings Guard do it in the middle of battle in full view of the home team is just stupid. Tyrion is the type who would be offended to die in a less than clever fashion. Brother and sister wonder which lot of them are getting the worst out of a pair of new marriages. Tyrion thinks it will be Sansa but Loras will get to know a certain loneliness. At least Cersei isn’t a total bitch and urges Tyrion to give Sansa a heads up.
The only real interesting scene this episode comes when Melisandre appears before the Brotherhood. So Thoros of Myr was sent by the High Priest to convert Robert Baratheon and by extension the Seven Kingdoms to R’hllor. What is more interesting is the fact that Thoros had a crisis and lost faith for a good while. Only really going through the rituals and saying the words for show and out of habit. The Lord of Light was just like the Seven, a bunch of stories told to children. Than he found Beric Dondarrion dead, his friend and he said the words due to a lack of words and the Lord of Light brought Beric back. Faith restored Thoros now believes that the Red God is the one true God and that all men must serve him. Paul Kaye is shot in a very tight close up that made his little speech feel like a soliloquy then anything. Also the initial cinematography with Arya practicing archery was a nice change from the normal camera work.
Robb’s meeting with the Frey envoys went surprisingly well. Walder Frey would be well within his rights to cut off his alliance with the North. His armies are going will cost Robb Harrenhal and Edmure Tully’s bachelorhood. Edmure is none to pleased with the prospect, giving the scene a bit of comedy. He claims the laws of gods and man forbids another man from forcing another man to marry but in the end he is being forced to do just that (Tywin doesn't care). Robb is getting off really light. He messed up big time by going back on his word and Walder Frey isn’t really exacting any revenge on him. Just on everyone around him.
That just leaves Jon Snow and the titular climb. It was intercut throughout the episode which did breathe some life into the episode. The sequence itself was ok. It was heavy on special effects obviously and they looked fine. Surprisingly climbing up a giant ice wall is a bit boring. There was that moment when the ice broke off and they did a hang moment. Now this show has done a great job of getting me to believe that it will kill a major character at a moments notice. But Jon Snow falling off the wall with Ygritte would be a bit anticlimactic. If that did happen in the book it would be a good time to take artistic license and push them off right after they get to the top. The endpoint of Snow and Ygritte atop the wall looking out into the distance was a good payoff.
“The Climb” won’t be going down as an all time best episode of Game of Thrones. It wasn’t utterly spellbinding and honestly hasn’t been that fun to write or think about. There just wasn’t much there this week.
The Bits At The End
- Ros' climb has ended. And in case you forgot Joffery is a really bad person.
- So Jamie gets to go home because he lost his hand. What will happen to Lord Bolton when Robb finds out about it. Brienne didn't look good in pink.
You can finde MrMaZZ on Twitter @MaZZM and at mazzz.net . In both places he talks about Floyd Mayweather being good at that boxing thing. The annoyances found when Show-n-Go is in town. And why clapping in movie theaters is dumb.