Two guys talking about comic books, sports, movies, TV shows and the numerous other pastimes that make us Gentlemen of Leisure.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Game of Thrones 3x06: The Climb



The Fiery Batcave
I'm a little bit ashamed that when Melisandre left Stannis two episode ago, saying she was off to find more royal blood, I didn't immediately suspect that she was going after Gendry, one of the last of Robert Baratheon's copious amount of bastards (instead I was thinking, "wait, does Stannis have another brother out there?).

Nevertheless, here she is, buying Gendry from the Brotherhood, affirming for Arya that they're not as good a group of guys as they like to pretend. The most interesting thing here (aside from Melisandre's predictions concerning Arya; lots of eyes?) was the theological discussion between Melisandre and Thoros, as they compared notes about the Lord of Light. Apparently, this is a religion in its relative infancy, as much of it hasn't been codified or even shared with all parties (Melisandre, for all her cryptic knowledge, seemed genuinely surprised to learn the extent and frequency to which Beric has been resurrected). 

While Gendry certainly has a right to feel betrayed, at least he's (presumably) in for a better fate than the last time he was taken somewhere against his will. I mean, I have to think sex with Melisandre is better than that rat torturer guy at Harrenhal.

Harrenhal 
A brief check in here, as Jamie (hilariously) struggles to cut his meat and discovers his host may not be as kind as he first appeared. We're obviously heading towards a place where Jamie is forced to sacrifice himself in some capacity for Brienne, but it should still be fun to watch that unfold.  

Riverrun 
All things considered, the price of betrayal turned out to be pretty reasonable for Robb. He gets to keep his wife, give up a castle he doesn't want anyway, and get back at his uncle for his uncle's screw-up. Frankly, it's kinda win-win, and I'm a little surprised Edmure didn't object more, simply on the grounds of this being Robb's mess but someone else being forced to clean it up. Nevertheless, hopefully this means the path is cleared for Robb to get back to kicking butt and taking names. 

Winterfell (Except that guy was lying.)(Or was he?)
It's made clear both that the impish guy who faked freeing Theon is actually the one calling the shots and that, with the survival of Bran and Rickon now known, he's just torturing Theon for the fun of it.

We still don't know too much about this guy and why he's torturing Theon for kicks, but there was a visual clue in the episode: the banner of Roose Bolton, the guy at Harrenhal who has Jamie, features an image of a man suspended from an X in a manner similar to Theon's current placement. Add that to the mention last season of Roose Bolton sending his bastard to check on Winterfell for Robb (when word reached them that Theon had taken the city), and, presumably, that's who the guy torturing Theon is. Though where all this is heading remains as unclear as ever.

On the Road
Mainly a water-treading installment, the big revelation being that Jojen's visions are/can be accompanied by seizures, something that is likely to serve as a dark suggestion of things to come for Bran. Otherwise, it was just some (admittedly funny) sniping between Osha and Meera over who is better at caring for their respective visionary.

I'm hoping that by the end of the season we get a better sense of Jojen as a character and where all this stuff with Bran is heading, but giving Jojen a vision of Jon was an effective way to connect those two stories, however tentatively, and makes this storyline the first one to connect back up with Jon's in any significant way.

North of the Wall/The Wall
A quick check in with Sam and Gilly aside (good to know they've escaped the remnants of the Night's Watch for now), these sequences were all about the climb (the most literal of few titular climbs in this episode), as Jon and the detachment of Wildlings scale the Wall. It's a marvelous, tense sequence that really makes it clear just how effective a barrier the Wall is (could you imagine trying to bring an army over it?).

Jon and Ygritte also talked about their relationship in light of their sexy cave time last episode, and it's to Ygritte's credit that she admits to knowing Jon isn't quite the turncoat he's pretending to be, promising to stay true to him while still proving she's not an idiot.

That final sequence, as Ygritte reaches the top of the wall and finally looks out over the world, one half cold and frozen, the other warm and sunny, was absolutely gorgeous. It wasn't quite as intense or jaw-dropping as a hoard of White Walkers or Dany's slave army being turned loose on their masters, but it was awe-inspiring in its own way nonetheless.  

King's Landing
The highlight of the episode (at least, the non climbing highlight) was easily the conversation between Lady Olenna and Tywin, as each makes clear their respective impatience for bullshit. Though Tywin ultimately emerged the victor (Sansa is not marrying Loras), Olenna made it clear that when it comes to potential scandal and wanting family secrets kept, Tywin can't exactly throw stones (particularly since the secrets of his family could cost them the throne).

The scene between Tyrion and Cersei was also strong (as their scenes usually are), as it was nice to see the pair commiserating on equal ground for a change. It was also confirmed that Joffrey ordered the hit on Tyrion, not Cersei, which is an interesting, if not exactly shocking, revelation. 

Poor Sansa. Not only for the heartbreak she suffered after Tyrion broke the news to her and she was forced to watch Littlefinger sail away without her (though she definitely dodged a different bullet there), but for the complete delusion she showed during her conversation with Loras earlier in the episode.

The conversation between Varys and Littlefinger, which eventually segued into a Littlefinger voiceover, was loaded with thematic significance, but the thing it left me thinking was, once again, "holy crap, this guy is creepy".

Poor Roz. Now we'll no longer be able to tell which scenes are a pure fabrication of the show simply by your presence. Rest in peace.   

Other Thoughts
No Dany and company this week, nor Maergary.

This was another episode with a loose thematic connection between the various story bits. This time, it was all about the lies told by the powerful to placate the weak.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Given the choice of rats to the chest and sexin' with Mel, I'm kind of leaning toward the rats. I mean, have you seen what came outta that cooch?

I hope they have more scenes next week of Sam and Gilly talking about soup, because that's why I watch this show. Sam and Gilly. Talkin' 'bout soup.

Anyone else notice that Arya's shot placement was eerily similar to Joffrey's?

Teebore said...

@Anonymous: Anyone else notice that Arya's shot placement was eerily similar to Joffrey's?

I hadn't until you pointed it out, but you're absolutely right. Head, breast, balls/lady parts. That's...interesting, to say the least.

Blam said...


Arya —
I'm so looking forward to her getting to chart her own destiny, kick ass, and take names (off her list).

"Face... Tits... Balls... I hit 'im right where I wanted to."

Jamie —
NCW really sells Jamie's simultaneous pride and slapstick.

"I would've hoped you'd learned your lesson about overplaying your... position."

Robb —
We agree on how he seemed to get off easy.

Theon & Friend — 
I did not spot the Roose Bolton hint that you did, nor did I recall the dialogue from last season you're talking about. The stuff you (and your commenters, and folks over at Nikki's) come up with is always appreciated.

Here's a question: When Theon's sociopathic captor said he was a liar, was he referring to what he'd told Theon about himself or just to the fact that he'd stop the torture if Theon guessed right?

Littlefinger —
We really see him all in this week, soliloquizing to Varys in Alex Denisof's slithery British voice as the eyes in his Gary Oldman face glint with cold fire.

Joffrey and Baelish being in cahoots is just about the creepiest thing imaginable on this show (RIP Roz indeed). I can almost see a series of totally depraved webisodes featuring Littlefinger, Joffrey, and Theon's Guide to Lifestyles of the Sick and Painful sitting around trying to one-up each other with anecdotes or hypothetical miseries. "Should we invite Varys next time? He found the guy who cut off his balls and keeps him in a box." "That's awesome — I think he kind-of has a conscience, though." "Oh well."

Bran —
I kept waiting for him to ask if what happened to Jojen was going to happen to him. Then I remembered that this series often doesn't tell when it can show and the terror on his face spoke volumes.

Cersei & Tyrion —
It's actually funny to see these schemers who so recently were jockeying for Tywin's favor joined in their misery. I particularly feel for Tyrion as he susses out the latest cruelty in an unfair life. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend, no wait he's my father and he's our collective enemy, so my enemy who is my sister is now my friend and oh shit I have to break the news to that poor girl who thinks she's going to sail away from here and still believes old direwolves actually retire to a farm in Qarth."

Ygritte —
It seemed to me like she was saying that, above all, they had to be true to one another, with more than a strong hint that sticking with the wildlings rather than delivering them to the "crows" was Jon's smarter bet (if only circumstantially). Of course, I miss stuff.

Sansa —
I wanted to take down all the dialogue between her and her pseudo-suitor, then her and Shae. It was just totally hilarious.

"Loras likes green and gold brocade."
"I'm sure he does."

SpaceSquid said...

@Teebore Apparently, this is a religion in its relative infancy, as much of it hasn't been codified or even shared with all parties (Melisandre, for all her cryptic knowledge, seemed genuinely surprised to learn the extent and frequency to which Beric has been resurrected).

I'm about to mention things from the books (not from ahead of where we are, I promise), so skip this paragraph if you want to stay away from such things, but this comment is a long way off base, and it's entirely because the show has dropped too much background. The Lord of Light and his religion go way, waaaaaaay back. Mel is surprised by Thoros' success not because she doesn't know any better, but because his powers are utterly unprecendented, at least for centuries.

In the books there's multiple references to magical abilities suddenly starting to work or working far more than previously, and its assumed that this is connected to the return of dragons to the world.

We still don't know too much about this guy and why he's torturing Theon for kicks, but there was a visual clue in the episode: the banner of Roose Bolton, the guy at Harrenhal who has Jamie, features an image of a man suspended from an X in a manner similar to Theon's current placement

I wondered when someone would mention this. The visual clue plus Bolton's bastard being the one to besiege Winterfell at the end of the last season both suggest Theon is a captive of the Boltons. It's also worth noting that despite this being the logical conclusion, Theon doesn't think of it, which suggests the same thing. When a character suddenly becomes inexplicably stupid, it's usually because a show is trying to hide something.

@Blam

It seemed to me like she was saying that, above all, they had to be true to one another, with more than a strong hint that sticking with the wildlings rather than delivering them to the "crows" was Jon's smarter bet (if only circumstantially). Of course, I miss stuff.

It would definitely be the smarter bet for them as a couple, of course, since, you know, they'd be allowed to remain a couple. He can't return to the crows and stay with her, so I think "You won't risk my life by betraying us" and "You won't risk our relationship by abandoning us" actually kind of merge into one here.

Teebore said...

@Blam: I did not spot the Roose Bolton hint that you did, nor did I recall the dialogue from last season you're talking about.

To be fair, the dialogue I remembered on my own; the banner was pointed out to me by my brother, with whom I had the benefit of watching this episode.

When Theon's sociopathic captor said he was a liar, was he referring to what he'd told Theon about himself or just to the fact that he'd stop the torture if Theon guessed right?

I took it to mean that he was lying about everything, though that is likely influenced by the later conclusions I drew about his identity.

We really see him all in this week, soliloquizing to Varys in Alex Denisof's slithery British voice as the eyes in his Gary Oldman face glint with cold fire.

Ha! He really is the facial and vocal love child of those two men.

Then I remembered that this series often doesn't tell when it can show and the terror on his face spoke volumes.

Excellent point.

...and still believes old direwolves actually retire to a farm in Qarth."

Good lord, that just about killed me. :)

It seemed to me like she was saying that, above all, they had to be true to one another, with more than a strong hint that sticking with the wildlings rather than delivering them to the "crows" was Jon's smarter bet

I can certainly see that reading of it, though I took her comments about how the leaders on both sides ultimately care less about their soldiers than their overall goals to suggest she was saying that, as a result, the only people they can rely on is each other, so Jon had better not betray her cuz whatever side they're on, at the end of the day, all they have is each other.

It was just totally hilarious.

It really was.

@SpaceSquid: but this comment is a long way off base, and it's entirely because the show has dropped too much background.

In the show's defense, that was more my offhand reading of the scene than the result of anything concrete the show established. I can definitely see how Melisandre's surprise could stem from a case of "wait, that's actually possible again?"

I definitely think the show has suggested, at times, albeit subtly, the notion you mentioned from the books, that overt magic is slowly coming back into the world. It's certainly a notion I took away from the show before I ever started reading the books, even in the first season, when the White Walkers were mentioned and everyone was like, "psshaw, magic like that isn't around anymore".

It's also worth noting that despite this being the logical conclusion, Theon doesn't think of it, which suggests the same thing.

Would Theon know that Roose Bolton's bastard had been dispatched to check on Winterfell, though? It certainly might be familiar with the family's banner, just from being raised alongside the Starks, but I can't entirely blame him for not making that connection given his condition.

Matt said...

I wonder this every week, but this week more than ever before -- why does Littlefinger talk like Batman? His voice really sounds just as unnatural to me as did Christian Bale's "Dark Knight" voice.

Anonymous said...

Strangely enough Aidan Gillen was in The Dark Knight Rises as the CIA operative that Bane kills when he hijacks the airplane. Maybe he caught the voice onset from Christian Bale?
- mortsleam

SpaceSquid said...

@Teebore

Would Theon know that Roose Bolton's bastard had been dispatched to check on Winterfell, though? It certainly might be familiar with the family's banner, just from being raised alongside the Starks, but I can't entirely blame him for not making that connection given his condition.

Whether he knew it was the bastard himself might depend on his knowledge of northern politics/genealogy, I suppose, but he must have known Bolton himself was in the riverlands with Robb, and that the men besieging Winterfell were from the Dreadfort. Unless said men had been ordered to hide their banners, which I assume would have been mentioned were it the case.

@mortsleam

Strangely enough Aidan Gillen was in The Dark Knight Rises as the CIA operative that Bane kills when he hijacks the airplane. Maybe he caught the voice onset from Christian Bale?

Dammit. You've gotten too close to the truth, so I may as well spoil the biggest reveal in the books: the Lord of Light is actually Littlefinger in a cape. Everyone thinks he's just a callous pimp, but really he goes out each night and fights crime by setting people on fire. That ship he sails around in is just a hollow hull, with a chariot inside he calls the Fingermobile.

Which actually sounds a bit filthy, though its not nearly so bad as his secret base beneath his brothel; the Fingercave.

Teebore said...

@Matt: His voice really sounds just as unnatural to me as did Christian Bale's "Dark Knight" voice.

I don't think it's quite as bad as Bale's, but it definitely seems put-on for whatever reason. At least he's not doing the Bane voice...

@mortsleam: His voice really sounds just as unnatural to me as did Christian Bale's "Dark Knight" voice.

Huh. I'll be damned. I never realized that before.

@SpaceSquid: ...and that the men besieging Winterfell were from the Dreadfort.

Good point - I'd forgotten that Theon was aware of Winterfell being besieged last season, and only missed the sacking of the city after getting knocked out by his own men (in my recollection, I erroneously thought he had been knocked out even before Bolton's Bastard's forces had arrived).

Everyone thinks he's just a callous pimp, but really he goes out each night and fights crime by setting people on fire.

He's the pimp Kings Landing deserves, but not the one it needs right now. :)

SpaceSquid said...

He's the pimp Kings Landing deserves, but not the one it needs right now. :)

Full marks, sir. Full marks.