The Realm can be a confusing place at times, what with the multitude of titles, allegiances and kingdoms to keep track of.
It's safe to say no two characters see the big picture better than Lords Baelish and Varys. The scene in the throne room featuring the two pivotal players was the most compelling of "The Climb." Baelish most certainly has his eyes fixed on the fabled seat of swords, but he is also keenly aware of the illusion its occupant oversees and orchestrates.
The throne is the pinnacle in this game of power, but whomever calls it theirs would be a fool to relax for a moment and drop his/her guard. While there can only be one true king, there is never a shortage of those climbing that ladder Baelish spoke of, seeking to take power for themselves.
Battles are fought and won with swords and armor, but two little words, "I do" may just be the most powerful weapon there is. The quickest way to bolster one's forces, influence and coffers is aligning with powerful allies and there is no more expedient way to achieve such than through strategic marriages.
When it comes to such unions, attraction and love, while nice if chance rewards such, are not a necessary part of the equation. I'm sure Tyrion had planned to break the news about Sansa to Shae in a more private setting, but was essentially forced to do so in a most awkward of encounters.
Meanwhile ,Robb's uncle Edmure took one for the team in agreeing to marry the daughter of Walder Frey to shore up the alliance which Robb himself had jeopardized. For Edmure's sake I hope she is easy on the eyes, but I kept thinking of Doonese Merrill from the Lawrence Welk Show skit on Saturday Night Live.
There is little talk of titles on the other side of the wall. It is a darker, more savage world, but also one where true love can blossom - as shown by Jon Snow and Ygritte. While the players in King's Landing and elsewhere try to scale the social ranks, the two unlikely lovers delivered the week's best action scenes on their epic climb to the top of the wall.
Ygritte knows she and Jon are pawns in the big game and that their lives are valued little by those they follow. So while they have pledged themselves to their cause, all they really have in life at the moment is one another. Jon Snow may have blushed when Ygritte spoke of his oral adroitness, but the way he looked at her as she began to climb again after their fall spoke volumes about his deep feelings for her.
Ygritte pledged herself to Jon Snow despite knowing he never stopped being a Crow. She is trusting him with her heart and life.
Anguy the archer taught Arya never to hold or aim, but to trust her eye. This new technique will take some time to master, but Arya had no problem letting loose her mouth and speaking her mind when she called out the Brotherhood for turning over Gendry to Melisandre. The god of light's lady in red may have been upstaged by Thoros in the miracle department, but she did provide some interesting details about what she saw inside Arya's head.
Both Arya and Bran remain on the outskirts of the major story lines, but will play two of the largest parts in the show's story I believe, as time goes on.
Thoros is rapidly becoming one of my favorite characters. He never misses a chance to poke fun at his good friend Beric, but also showed his softer side this week as he took the time to explain to Arya the reasoning behind his and the brotherhood's actions. There is a method to his rum-soaked actions. Contrast Thoros's methodology with the madness fraught scenes featuring Theon and his torturer.
Aside from having the skin pulled off his finger and making me seriously regret the hot dog I had for lunch, more clarity needs to be given as to what is driving Theon's captor's hatred. I'm not sure which was worse, the finger flaying or the vuvuzela treatment.
In a more civil setting, Lady Olenna and Tywin, discussed the potentially devastating scandals facing each of their families in a scene that was as funny as it was informational.
Olenna: A sword swallower through and through. | permalink
The entire scene was so well done as the two family heads sized each other up.
Moving on to Jamie, someone literally needs to put a fork in him, in his stump, or his dining days are done. If he was embarrassed to need Brienne's help cutting his steak, he didn't show it. For a guy who just lost his sword hand and has repeatedly found himself face down in the mud lately, Jamie's confidence has remained strong. I loved when he assured Bolton that his father would make time for his son's captor amidst his busy schedule of fighting Robb Stark.
Did you notice how Bolton passed on an opportunity to make light of Jamie's amputation? He said how he had hoped Jamie would have learned about over playing his "position," but there was a pause in there before uttering the word "position" where he almost said "hand," but opted not to. He didn't feel the need to kick a guy when he was down I guess.
Some other thoughts:
- That spear head Sam found and shower Gilly is going to have some significance, I'm still not sure just how though.
- Joffrey continued to be the poster boy for the dangers of incest. Sadly Ros had to find out for herself thanks in part to Baelish as well.
- Olenna, I am a fan, but I raised an eye brow when she contended that it is a natural occurrence for young boys to have a go at each other beneath the sheets.
- Loras correcting Sansa after calling his brooch a pin.
Regrettably no Dany or her dragons this week, but all in all a very strong episode that dealt with a great many story lines and did well to try to tie them together. Do you think we will see Sansa and Tyrion ever wed? What will become of Brienne now that she is free of Jamie?