This is G.R.R.M’s episode and that means one thing… SEX! As with previous seasons, sometimes HBO needs to go all in on a sex-centric episode in order to meet their season quota for breasts and butts. I expect the remaining three episodes will be filled with a significantly decreased amount of sex.
That being said, let’s get to the recap. Jon (and apparently a lot more survivors than last week’s episode implied) and the Wildlings are beginning their march to Castle Black. Jon explains some basics of a kingly war to Ygritte, although Jon is skeptical of the Wildlings chances. Orell doubts the legitimacy of Jon/ Ygritte’s relationship. Robb and his wife get intimate and she tells him she’s pregnant after he promises to go with her back home at some point (seriously, all these promises and good news bode ill for Robb).
Tormund gives Jon a sex talk. Orell admits his jealousy and proclaims his desire for Ygritte. Margaery gives Sansa a sex talk and tries to convince her that Tyrion may be a good lover. Bronn gives Tyrion a sex talk concerning Sansa. Tywin puts Joffrey in place and while adhering to kingly customs, has clearly taken control of King’s Landing and Westeros. He agrees to consult Joffrey with more important details in the future.
Daenerys wants to attack the Yellow City and take possession of it’s 200,000 slaves. Jorah as usual is the voice of reason that she ignores. A representative for the city attempts to persuade Daenerys to leave the city alone, but to no avail. She threatens that if the slaves are not released, she will lay waste to the city. Tyrion attempts to repair the damage with Shae. Melisandre and Gendry arrive at King’s Landing and she reveals who he really is.
Arya is furious with Dondarrion. After The Brotherhood betrays their promise to her, she takes off into the woods and is captured by the Hound. Jaime says his goodbye to Brienne and promises to return Arya and Sansa to their families. (There are true feelings between these two – what does this mean for Cersei?!) Jaime rides off with Lord Bolton’s men as Locke taunts him with threats to Brienne.
Theon is sexually taunted by two women before the nameless torturer returns and threatens to make Theon a eunuch. Ygritte and Jon talk over the future war. Jon reveals the six previous failed attacks from Wildlings in the past, but Ygritte is passionate that they can win. Osha is upset that she’s losing her influence with Bran. Jojen tries to convince her that Jon isn’t at Castle Black and that they shouldn’t go there. Osha reveals aspects of her past and her run-in with a White Walker (her previous lover who disappeared one night).
The former maester patched Jaime’s stump and explains how he lost his chains. He also reveals Locke’s plans for Brienne. Jaime is moved and insists they return to Harrenhal to retrieve her. When they arrive back, Brienne is in a pit with a wooden sword fighting a freaking bear while the men watch and sing “The Bear and Maiden Fair.” She’s on the verge of losing when Jaime heroically jumps into the pit, rescues her and they both escape. He reminds Locke that his life (including Brienne with him) is worth more than his sick vengeance.
1. Jaime finally unveils that deep down he is a good man.
We’ve seen hints this season that Jaime is a far more complicated man than previous seasons have implied. As he loses more and more, it becomes more evident that Jaime is a better man that circumstances have allowed. He seems to genuinely cares for Brienne, if not love her. The words were in his eyes when he said goodbye and it was even more obvious in his intentions to return to save her from the fate that Locke had in store. What this means ultimately when he does arrive in King’s Landing (assuming he does – but no assumptions are safe in Game of Thrones) is unknown, however we can assume that his feelings and relationship with Cersei will be very conflicted.
2. Tywin is essentially king.
We’ve known for a long time that Joffrey is little more than a vengeful and violent king, if not just a disturbed adolescent. It’s even more clear that he’s still a child when he cowers before the powerful Tywin. Tywin is the king and leader of Westeros, if only the man behind the curtain. None of this seems to bother Tywin as he walks away from their meeting with a huge grin on his face.
Is this really important to the episode? No not really, but it absolutely dominated the thematic aspects and most scenes of the episode. As I mentioned earlier, it seems likely that G.R.R.M. and HBO agreed to get the requisite sex out of the way so they can really focus on the last three episodes.
Ultimately, G.R.R.M’s episode is a let-down for the season. Not because it isn’t well written, but because in the past few episodes, not a lot has actually happened. It feels like the season is treading water in order to save some epicness for the final three episodes. While I love the show, even I begin to lose some patience to constant setup for very little payoff thus far. I am ecstatic that our characters have been more developed and grown, but if it isn’t leading somewhere more quickly, the elements that have made Game of Thrones so excellent may begin to disappoint.