Previously. Again, this is the fastest hour on television. I’m looking at my notes, still not able to believe how much was packed in this episode without it feeling like it was too much. Let’s get right to it.
Obligatory reminder: I’m a show-watcher, not a book reader. Don’t spoil me or the readers for funsies, because that’s uncool. (And don’t pick at people for not having details right when we’re going off the show. It’s irrelevant to your enjoyment of the books or program, I promise. You can always scroll or X out.)
Samwell Gamgee Red Leader Porkins and Gilly (with a baby, his face all uncovered out in the winter chill, for the love of…) sit in the cold dark woods. There were two POV shifts from the treeline, so I’m thinking they’re being watched. It wasn’t relevant this episode, but you watch – Brother’s Keeper is going to come with sword blazing, begging Porkins to squeal like a pig and hoist him on a spit or something next week.
Meanwhile, they set me up for some dick joke soft lobs: “the more wood, the bigger the fire,” and “You have to pull it out and let it breathe,” and I’m better than this, guys. (No, I’m not.) Porkins shows her his blade, then his singing prowess. He takes a deep breath and sings a lullaby version of “The Bear and the Maid” to Gilly’s boy. (Got to start ’em young!) We also learn that the Wall is basically insurmountable. Oh, Porkins.
Bran’s group in the woods isn’t doing so well. Lady Reed and Tonks are ready to come to blows after Tonks proves there is EXACTLY ONE WAY to skin a rabbit, Hodor is hodoring, Rickon is satisfied with only having one line, and Jojen is having a seizure in the dirt. His sister jams a belt in his mouth to work him through it, and we learn that this is what Jojen’s VisionQuests look like.
Vision? That was a vision? Well what the hell did you see, Medieval Billy Elliot? “Jon Snow! Still a bastard, got a piece – nice! – surrounded by enemies, and he’s on the wrong side of the Wall.”
Jon Snow? What do you have to say for yourself? Nothing that Ygritte won’t say for him, that’s what. They’re tying on crampons made of antlers, I guess, as Ygritte gets misty over how excited she is to scale 700 vertical feet of solid ice in gale-force winds. Mostly she’s still hung up on a little mouth-to-lady mouth as none of her previous boyfriends were into that. Jon’s embarrassed (when he should be proud because he had an achievement unlocked: THE PODRICK. ) but Ygritte tells him, “You’re a proper lover, Jon Snow,” because they don’t know how to use pet names beyond the Wall. You don’t have to say his full name every damn time, woman!
Oh, she also knows that because he’s so loyal, it means that he didn’t stop being a Crow. She’s not stupid. But as long as he’s loyal to her, she’ll be loyal to him. Fuck the world, they don’t care about Jon or Ygritte, right? But she does. She’s ready to go Sid & Nancy if he is. “Don’t ever betray me.” My guess? He won’t.
Arya is getting a top-notch archery lesson from Sassy Archer when she sees a group approach. It’s Melisandre/Fire Crotch Mage!
Melisandre is looking to Level Up her Enchanting and Speech; she and Thoros practice Ye Olden Language of Westeros (High Valyrian) until Beric pouts, getting them to speak in the Common Language. Melisandre can’t believe Beric’s come back six times from the dead. Thoros must be a great wizard/priest indeed!
“Nah. Bit of a drunk, actually,” Thoros replies. “Bit of a phony because I really didn’t believe in any of this hoohah. That is, not until The Mountain stabbed Beric until he died from it, and my prayer brought him back from the dead. Kind of hard to be Agnostic in the face of that.”
But Beric! He’s seen the other side! Do tell Fire Crotch Mage of all the wonder thou didst see! “There is no other side,” Beric laughs tiredly. “I’ve been to the darkness.” Ah. The backwoods of Georgia. Yeah, that’s some wearying shit, B.
Gendry checks out some sweet armor-piercing arrow heads with Sassy Archer when they spy Fire Crotch Mage walking out of the cave. They’re all, “People call me Sassy Archer, but you can call me Tonight.” And Gendry goes, “Hey, is it hot in here, or is it just you? Because that heavy woolen cloak is probably to blame, and I’m not good at pick up lines because I essentially grew up as a slave surrounded by workers, and I only know how to make ‘is that a wheeze in your bellows or are you just glad to see me?’ jokes.”
Yeah, Fire Crotch isn’t there for your puny lines, fellas, because she is also there to Level Up on Smithing, Gendry. And JFC, Gendry is sold for two bags of gold, and the look of betrayal on his face is like watching Sarah Maclachlan sing to a room full of abused puppies as she kicks one of the puppies. Hey thanks, Brotherhood, I guess you guys didn’t really mean it with the whole, “We look out for each other” thing.Arya is pissed off. That is HER blacksmith, Fire Crotch! But that is a witch, little miss, and you need to step off until you get a few more lessons in from Sassy Archer. THEN you can take her out. I think. Or steal Gendry away and fall in love and make a family so you both are never alone again and waaaah!
IT’S…THE WALL! Seriously, the shot of the wall here is the fantasy/medieval world equivalent to that first underbelly shot of an Imperial Super-Star Destroyer (and man, did I just let my geek flag fly). Jon, Ygritte, the Warg and Gjördkr the Chîcken Eåter are actual-fact climbing, Gjördkr the Chîcken Eåter leading the way by pounding in ice screws (their world’s equivalent) and everyone is using their ice axes and crampons to slowly make their way to the top. As someone that is, if I may say, a fairly middling mountaineer herself, I was impressed.
Jon gets distracted by Ygritte’s ass when Gjördkr accidentally dislodges a huge chunk of ice, which comes crashing down on Jon’s face, knocking him off the wall. He’s arrested by both the belay and his ax, but still. This isn’t like a family vacation up Glacier National Park, okay? This is some WI5+ shit.
Theon’s happy torturer wakes him up with a little revelry on Ye Fantasy Worlde Bugle, then tortures him further with no water and a chance to win during a game of “Just The Tip.” (This is played much differently than how the boys I dated in high school played it.) He’ll take Theon’s pinkie for two hundred! First question: Who is this guy? Answer wrong, and you’ll get a tiny little carving on the tender fleshy pad of your strapped down finger.
…did you guess that Theon would be wrong? Because he was! Until he wasn’t. Which pissed Mystery Torturer off. And it was revealed that MT is actually a Karstark (and the joke’s on him, because the Karstarks left the war, dummy!) but wait! Nope! He’s a liar, so who can you believe? No one, Theon, you can believe no one. Maybe-a-Karstark then peels Theon’s pinkie like a banana until Theon screams for it to just be cut off. And Maybe-A-Karstark wins. (Yeah, but it’s a slice of finger, so it’s not that great a prize.)
Robb, still in Riverrun, has a meeting with Lord Filch-Frey’s sons, the McPoyles. Here’s the skinny: Filch-Frey will totally hook Robb up with men IF: there’s a formal apology, Frey gets Harrenhal (pfft, it’s burned by dragonfire, have at it) and Lord Edmure (shit archer) has to marry Frey’s daughter – the one with the mustache, extra butt-cheek and pronounced limp. [In some cultures that’s seen as beautiful.]
Edmure: The laws of the land, can’t compel, blah blah
Blackfist: The laws of my fist are going to compel your TEETH.
Cate: MARRY THE FUCKING GIMP, BROTHER.
Robb: Yeah, true, this is my fault, but I’m your King, you’ve messed up, and…I’ll give you a reward?
Edmure: [sulks] FINE, I’ll marry the incest monkey.
Speaking of incest (and let’s give a hand to the script writers for all of these wonderfully subtle in-jokes), we go to Jaime and Brienne at dinner with Lord Bolton. Jaime treats his dinner steak like it’s personally wronged him, murmuring under his breath, “Every day I’m struggling…”
Brienne stabs his meat to hold it still (sounds like my prom night, right ladies?) and sulks at Bolton for forcing her into a dress. Bolton’s problem is this: does he send Jaime on to Robb and get a pat on the head, or does he make a profit off the Lannisters? Bolton’s pretty sure that Tywin won’t really have time or energy to focus on Jaime, which makes Jaime laugh. Bitch, Jaime is the only kid Tywin cares about!
Hmm. Profit seems to be the way to go then, but only if Jaime promises to tell his dad that Bolton didn’t do the whole “removal of his sword hand” thing.
Agreed. So he and Brienne will just be on their way, and-
Not so fast. Brienne isn’t going anywhere. Uh oh. Brienne can hold her own in a fair fight, but we all know it’s not going to be fair. And I don’t trust Bolton as far as I could throw him.
Tywin meets with Lady Olenna to discuss their other children (the lesser Lannisters). Olenna isn’t too happy about an old hag being married to Loras, who is one of the hottest bachelors in seven kingdoms. He’s the Rock Hudson of single dudes in Westeros! Yes, Tywin knows. In fact, that’s the problem – the Tom Cruise problem. Time to marry him off and do away with those disgusting, nasty rumors that are most likely true.
Olenna laughs because of course her grandson is gay! He loves to suck pole, is a pillow biter, rear gunner, putts from the rough, swallows sword, nob jockeys, has a little sugar in his tank. Eh, what’s a little buggery amongst friends, surely you’ve dabbled, what with the tendency for you boys to sequester yourselves during the horny years and all? No? Well, a little rolling in the hay between fellows isn’t as nasty as, say, brothers and sisters begetting their Flowers all over the Royal Attic, what what?
(I would like to point out that Maergery brought in Loras during her deflowering with Renly. And that bud was still not plucked.)
Tywin fixes Olenna with a droll face and says, “If you actually believe that, then Joffrey isn’t the real king and you’re wasting your daughter. And how about I appoint Loras to the Kingsgard so he can never create an heir?”
Olenna: You drive a hard bargain. Too bad that’s the only thing hard about you. [Old man dick joke for the win!]
Back at the Wall, Ygritte stabs her ax into the sheet of ice above her head, sending a splitting shotgun of a crack along the horizon. A huge slab avalanche drags down a significant number of Wildlings (good job, Ygritte!) and almost sends our group of four to oblivion. Gjördkr the Chîcken Eåter is just about all that’s holding the foursome up when the Warg starts cutting his rope to get rid of Jon and Ygritte. (He’s not wrong to do so, he’s just a dick.)
Jon swings and manages to dig in just as the Warg cuts the rope, catching Ygritte as she falls. Aww, he pulls her to safety and their love grows. (The Warg is pissed. Dude, did she turn you down? Don’t be a dick all the time. They’re probably setting us up to find out that the Warg has seen that Jon is still loyal to the Black Watch, or something.) They all continue to climb.
Back in King’s Landing, Loras corrects Sansa on the many, many types of beautiful accessories available to men of leisure such as himself, as she falls more deeply in love with the idea of a handsome husband. He’s trying to be sweet, he knows his role (and is probably hoping to hire a certain squire to help him with his laces). Sansa is totally charmed and happy about her future because things are finally going to turn around! She all but spins in the air, singing, “I’m going to make it after all!” Oh, honey.
Tyrion and Cersei are still trying to wrap their heads around their changed plans when Tyrion just asks her outright: did you try to have me killed? She says nothing but gives him a “Look to the Weaselteat” smirk. What, Tyrion slaps him a few times and that means his nephew tries to have him killed? (Also, she’s lying. And she’s setting up her son. DAMN THAT IS COLD, CERSEI.)
The best part of this scene was Tyrion saying, “Yes, well this is all awful, what with a gay boy being forced to marry you, but hey! Look at the bright side. When Jaime comes back, Loras might find himself with a severe case of sword-through-belly?”
Sansa and Shae play dress up when Tyrion comes in, ready to deliver the killing blow. He’d rather Shae leave, but she won’t and Sansa isn’t canny enough to know to kick her out. Tyrion takes a deep breath and shuts the door. (He really is a gentleman. It’s hard out there for an Imp.)
In one of the MOST DELICIOUSLY TENSE SCENES YET, Uncle Fester approaches Littlefinger [“Nope, Theon’s is smaller now, ha ha!”], who is staring a the Sword Throne.
Varys: It’s made of 1000 swords, all from-
Petyr: Not even 200, don’t front. I counted.
Varys: Yes, I’m sure you did… By the way, I’m not actively trying to thwart you (that’s a lie!)
Petry: Ha. Oh, okay. Me, neither. Except for how happy I was when I thwarted your plan to marry Sansa off to Loras. Also, remember your little birdie that told you about my plans?
Petyr: Well, I decided that that particular person was a bad investment. So I decided to put her on Craigslist. And I got a hit.
Varys: Jesus Chr-
Petyr: And believe you me, she’s getting the full Craigslist experience.
GOD DAMMIT, WEASELTEAT.
You know what would have made this scene even more wonderfully horrible? If Joffrey adjusted himself through his breeches, because you know he got off on this. GROSS. Joffrey is the worst.
Varys starts in about chaos happening when we don’t protect the realm, but Littlefinger has had a taste of power now, and he’s not stopping until the world looks like Harrenal, evidently. (Fitting that he was given that land for his title, eh?) He explains that chaos isn’t a pit, silly boots. It’s a LADDER. And the smart people know to climb it. Joffrey is smart. Petyr is smart. Sansa? Not so much.
Cut to Sansa watching a ship leave, her eyes red from crying because she knows her fate now. (Aww, Tyrion would be kind to her, even though it’s not what she wants. And poor Shae!) Wait…whose ship was that? Was that one headed to Highgarden? Or was it Baelish’s? I couldn’t tell what the sigil was on the sail.
“The climb is all there is!” Petyr says, tying in nicely to the final scene of Jon, Gjördkr the Chîcken Eåter, the Warg and Ygritte making it to the top of the wall.
Ygritte, who has spent her life wanting to see the world from up there, looks backwards at where she came from. Woman, turn around! There’s nothing but the land of the ice and snow where the Wildlings live and the Dead Men Grow. Jon turns her towards the South and it’s almost immediately green and warm, which I call bullshit on, but I get the point they’re making visually.
Ygritte is so overcome with the whole “We didn’t die!” thing that she and Jon immediately begin kissing as the sun rises on their future of running from everyone, because I guess they’re going to focus on themselves, and not the stupid war? That’s what I would do. Make love, you two, not war!
And because she’s gone, I would like to honor her in song.
An Ode To Ros, The James Brown of Whores.
Once was a whore from Wint’rfell
Who got on with its boys rather well.
King’s Landing her wish
To work for Baelish
During Johns she did gather intel.
Ros climbed the whore ladder quite fast,
For the volume of knowledge amassed.
Petyr trusted her some
She became Varys’ chum
And raised creepy Joffrey’s Royal Mast.
Our Ros didn’t know when to quit
Her lips flapped, Petyr’s teeth did grit.
He sold her away
The King wanted to play
So he shot her in the head and the tit.
Farewell, “Lady,” we hardly knew ye, even though it seemed that every male in Westeros did.
Next week! Jon versus the Warg! (It’s totally Tim versus Gareth!) Dany and Jorah – ladies, wear your diaphrams – and more Gendry (thank goodness he’s not gone) but most importantly: HERE THERE BE DRAGONS! CLICK THE LINK FOR 3.7
Okay, so was that actually the Karstark boy do you think? And do you think Jon and Ygritte are going to sneak off? NO SPOILERS, ONLY SPECULATION PLEASE!
[plays taps on Maybe-A-Karstark’s bugle]