Monday, May 6, 2013

Game of Thrones review: "The Climb"

It's good to see The Wall again.

Those final images were stunning, the icy white to the north contrasted against the sun-dappled green to the south. It's crazy to think Ygritte is seeing grass for the first time, and with a top-of-the-world vantage point and Jon beside her, I can imagine she sees a realm of possibilities opening up to her. Jon did as he said he would -- protect her first -- when they were cut free on that harrowing climb up The Wall, a sequence that held up quite well as the episode's only action point. I only wish their relationship got my heart pumping as much as their ascent did. Their chemistry before the climb -- where she told him she knew he was still a crow at heart, and that if he betrayed her she'd cut off his junk and wear it around her neck, fitting with the body-part fashion that's all the rage in Westeros, apparently -- felt comfortable again, and I was ready to re-embrace them as a couple. But when it comes to actual passion, i.e. their kiss atop The Wall? Meh. Can I be the only one who feels this way?

Anyway, at least their coupling is a happy one. While Ygritte sees that grass is greener on the other side, Sansa keeps getting her heart thrown into the icy wastelands.
She was allowed a little patch of sun in her brief (and ignorant) engagement to Loras, as they pondered their wedding garb and the difference between a brooch and a pin. But then Tyrion had to break the bad news that she is now betrothed to him, and she ended up watching her future sail away. (Her beat-red face that carried such pain is the most emotion I think Sophie Turner has displayed on this show.) Although I'm not necessarily disappointed that the conversation happened off-screen, I still would have liked to see even a sliver of it, at least for Shae's reaction.

Littlefinger spoke at the end about the climb to power being the only truth in the world. Well, here's another truth, at least in Westeros: People in power suck. Tywin not only cooly negotiates the life of Sansa, but those of his own children as well. As Cersei notes in her frank little talk with Tyrion, their father doesn't really discriminate when it comes to moving people around to suit his needs. Even noble Robb is ready to marry off his uncle to a daughter of Walder Frey in exchange for an army. This, after he got to make his own choice in not marrying one of Frey's daughters. He gets to control his own life, as well as those below him. (Although, to be fair, he at least acknowledges the double standard.)

At least there's Sam and Gilly happily playing house and singing songs in the middle of the woods.

Other thoughts:
-- Seeing Littlefinger sitting so close to the Iron Throne, I wondered for the first time whether he would actually climb that chaos ladder to become king one of these days. Could be a real possibility, not only because he's wily and calculating, but because, we now know, he's cruel. Handing Ros over to Joffrey was a cold, cold move. (And I was a little disappointed the show dispatched of her so unceremoniously.)

-- Lady Melisandre is not as all-seeing as she thinks she is, as evidenced by her surprise that Beric's right-hand man had the ability to so frequently bring him back to life. So can we trust whatever prophecy she sees for Arya?

-- Speaking of Arya, she's another character, like her sister, who gets frequently disappointed with the way of the world. She thought the Brotherhood was an honorable group, but they sold Gendry for two bags of gold. Gendry has the blood Melisandre needs to do whatever she's going to do. If he dies, I will be so, so mad.

-- Theon's story continues to frustrate. He's in the dark, and we're in the dark, so it feels like torture for torture's sake.

-- The lesson in rabbit-skinning brought me back to the first time we met Tywin, who was skinning a deer in camp. So happy I live in the here and now.

-- I'm not the first to say this, but the Queen of Thorns really is the Dowager Countess of "Game of Thrones."

What did everyone else think?

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