Greetings, Watchers! Welcome to another trip down Memory Lane as your erstwhile host Geoffery takes the reins again, this time for season three, episode seven of Game of Thrones: “The Bear and the Maiden Fair.”
“The Bear and the Maiden Fair” doesn’t just have the distinction of being written by George R.R. Martin; it also shares its name with the in-universe song so nattily covered by The Hold Steady for the end credits of “Walk of Punishment.” Perhaps that’s why we open the episode with a conversation about rhythm from Jon and Ygritte. She seems a little confused over the necessity of drums, but then we all know Jon only joined the Night’s Watch because he’s such a fan of Swedish power metal.
Orell, who’s obviously more into Counting Crows, doesn’t show much remorse for cutting Jon loose on the wall, but then he’s always been a little bird-brained…
In the Riverlands, Clive Russell reminds me why I loved his portrayal of Brynden “The Blackfish” Tully.
I’ve had wet shits I liked more than Walder Frey
Robb and Talisa are busy being passionate young things, bringing the nudey bum count for season three up nicely. I actually really like the way the show developed Robb’s character from the book, adapting his fairly nothingy relationship with Jeyne into a fiery one with Talisa. Shame we all know that a) nothing ever goes right for our Stark lads and b) Talisa was a Lannister spy all along. Possibly. Probably.
Back at the Wall, Tormund gives great, if graphic sex advice. Orell, on the other hand, is clearly going for the Biggest Creep in Westeros Award in his attempts to seduce Ygritte. He’s not wrong about Jon being pretty though. He is pretty.
In King’s Landing, we have a lovely character scene between Margaery and Sansa. BRIEF MOMENT OF HAPPINESS FOR SANSA ALERT! Natalie Dormer does brilliantly as a knowledgeable, older sister figure for Sophie Turner. Bronn and Tyrion have an equally engaging, if rather less subtle conversation, with a nice callback to Tyrion’s marriage to Tysha. It’s a throwaway line for the show, but it keeps the novels’ backstory and the show’s one nicely intertwined. We also have our first real scene between Joffrey and Tywin,
Joffrey is surprisingly knowledgable about what’s going on across the Narrow Sea, which is where the episode takes us next. Ah, the good old days of season three, when Daenerys was all about freeing slaves, Barristan Selmy was all about being alive and Jorah was all about being sexy advisor man and not grey-scaled betrayer boy. Which I believe is his full title now.
The scene between Daenerys and Razdal mo Eraz is brilliantly brutal, as the khaleesi offers to spare the lives of Razdal and the Yunkai slave masters if the city is set free. It’s also the source for one of my favourite Thrones memes, as Dany looks directly into the camera, almost like she’s on The Office.
Back at King’s Landing, hands of gold are always cold but a woman’s hands are warm. Shae is understandably miffed about Tyrion’s upcoming marriage to Sansa. Another character whose story I’m glad developed a little more from the books, Shae delivers a couple of great lines in this scene.
I’m Shae the funny whore…I empty her chamberpot and lick your cock when you’re bored.
Next there’s time for a brief trip aboard the SS Abandoned Plotlines as we catch up with Gendry and the Brotherhood Without Banners. I miss you guys. Come back to me in season six!
To Harrenhal! Jaime is still dealing with the repercussions of losing his hand, but still remembers to send the Lannisters’ regards to Robb Stark. Such a thoughtful chap! Meanwhile Locke, Qyburn and Roose are all trying to out-creep each other, but my money will always be on team Qyburn, ‘cos at least he could put you back together after a fight. Literally.
Over at Theon Agony Towers (soon to be trademarked), Ramsay treats the woebegone Greyjoy to some sexy times before blowing ‘pon his mighty horn. No pun intended. And it’s the first appearance of Myranda, wahey! Shame it’s the last time Theon will get to enjoy her.
Bonus sausage gif:
Back in the North, Ygritte has some difficulty telling castles and windmills apart, but is spot on in her assessment that girls see more blood than boys. The scene where Jon tries to dissuade her from fighting with Mance is beautifully balanced and oh so poignant for those of us who knew what was going to happen.
You’re mine as I’m yours. If we die, we die. But first, we’ll live.
Dirty Tonks gives some harrowing advice about what happens beyond the Wall, but Bran and co. won’t be turned from their wargy path.
Back on the road with Jaime as he and Qyburn discuss the relative ethical merits of killing. It’s an excellent reminder of Jaime’s role in deposing Mad King Aerys. After some warning words from the former maester, Jaime heads back to Harrenhal to find Brienne locked in combat with, you guessed it, a bear.
The fight scene is tense and thrilling as Brienne tries to defend herself with only a wooden sword. I also have a lot of love for Steelshanks, on his one and only appearance. It’s quite sweet when a Thrones character is just there to do their duty, even if that does involve them shooting a mad bear. And I always have time for Jaime and Brienne, who are probably my favourite un-couple, helping each other out when the situation calls for it.
While I do think this whole end scene is brilliantly executed, especially with Rains of Castamere coming in over the closing credits, I will always be mildly disappointed that Jaime doesn’t tell Brienne he dreamed of her, as he does in the novel. But then, I still miss my Thapphireth! Even so, Locke does deliver my favourite line of the episode
Go buy yourself a golden hand, and fuck yourself with it!
And of course an honourable mention must go to Bart the Bear for being such a star.
Introductions: Myranda and her playmate Violet; the representative from Yunkai, Razdal mo Eraz, who will be returning in season 6; Steelshanks make his appearance in this episode.
This episode’s Beautiful Death (celebrating this week’s lack of death):