“Anchorman References Everywhere!”- Game of Thrones Season 3 Episode 7 Review- ‘The Bear and the Maiden Fair’
This review is written by someone who has not read the books. Don’t make fun of me.
I suppose we should all feel honored that George R. R. Martin has chosen to once again grace our living rooms with his presence. Tonight’s episode was penned by the book scribe himself, and his episode’s always just come with a higher quotient of quality attached to them. It’s probably the years he spent slaving over these characters and figuring out their motivations, giving him the keenest of all insights as to what is going on in their heads.
This episode could have been middling and incredibly boring, the second basically “filler” episode in a row, but Martin’s deft touch gave them an added life and a quality to the dialogue that is normally reserved only for the monologues. But let’s hope that writing this episode didn’t prolong him too long from working on the next book, so that the show doesn’t catch up to him.
As usual, we’ll take this character by character and at the end I’ll crown tonight’s winner and heir to the Iron Cable Drama.
Jon Snow, Taking it Like a Champ
Tonight, Jon Snow didn’t bother me nearly as much as he normally does. This could be attributed to any number of things, I don’t know, most likely my unrealistically low expectations for Jon Snow any time his snow-flecked mug pops up on screen.
Maybe it’s the lack of snow that I liked so much? Finally his banter isn’t happening at a place where I know for a fact he could not become properly aroused.
If I were a betting man, though, I would bring it back to the idea that maybe last week’s climb really brought me closer to the relationship between Jon and Ygritte. I’ll probably never admit it due to my proud, proud ways, but perhaps that handsome rogue and his feisty lady are growing on me. Peeeeerhaaaaaaaaaaps.
But his intentions tonight are noble, trying to the lady he really cares about by telling her that her plans are kind of stupid. And, also, WHAT THE HELL ARE HER PLANS? This is one of the things that will always irk me about this show, how little idea I have what exactly everyone is doing. That’s why I appreciated Jamie’s “I WILL bring the Stark girls back to Winterfell” line because it reminded me what in the hell he was trying to do. I don’t really have much of a clue what the Wildlings are building towards, and that makes me care less about this whole storyline, or the fact that they lost a LOT of people last week. I get that they’re saving this for later, but when Lost did a mysterious trek through the wilderness, it lasted for one episode and at the end of that episode we knew what was up. I just want answers, and this show is not big on those.
Robb, Winner of Battles and Uteri
Why can no one just tell someone they’re pregnant? It always has to be subtly dropped into conversation. I think it would have been great if Robb just hadn’t noticed.
Not much to write about beyond that revelation. Like so many characters on this show, Robb got Bran’d for the rest of the episode and disappeared, joining Tarly and Baelish in the wings. But it’s an interesting development, and a deepening of Robb’s marriage, which is not something we’ve seen since it happened.
King’s Landing Marriage Drama, Part 3
I do suppose Shae had to find out eventually, and we all knew it was going to be exactly as painful as this was. I didn’t like watching this, because Shae and Tyrion are easily the best requited couple on Game of Thrones, and seeing things come between them like stupid marriage and stupid Tywin is not something I want to see.
There hasn’t been a ton of payoff on this marriage plot yet, even though we’ve been at it for three episodes now, but this is really adding some drama beyond the first initial shock all the way back when. I want to see these two make it, but I also don’t want to see Shae killed, so let’s see if we can’t find a compromise for that, shall we?
On the other side of things, I’m starting to think Margaery seems too wise for her age. Unless I am drastically misinterpreting how old this young lady is, she seems to just be vastly beyond her years in terms of comprehension and planning, and has an answer for absolutely everything. She makes for a great older sister for Sansa, and we love her because of it, but sometimes, because of her lack of direct involvement with the plot as of late beyond offering Sansa a hand to hold, she feels like an omnipotent sage advisor. I guess they raise them well in House Tyrell.
Poor, goddamn Arya. The title of this heading is about as long as the scene we get with Arya tonight, but it’s a good one with some slight development. Arya takes all of ten steps outside of the cave and is picked up by the Hound. So there was some movement. We have made it this far. Yay, us. Please do something with Arya soon, show. Poor, poor, goddamn Arya.
Theon’s Wild, Torturous Sex Party
I spent most of this scene tonight thinking the words “I can accurately say I don’t know what’s going on.” And I didn’t.
And then the torturer stepped out and I thought the words, “WE GET IT! HE’S BEING TORTURED!” This plotline, more than any other, is really starting to get under my skin. Theon has barely left this room all season, tied to that goddamn X, which marks the spot for the worst part of the show. I want some development. I want something to happen. I get that novels are a slow burn and that this show is basically a televised novel (I’ve talked about it before) but a novel as thick as the Game of Thrones books can’t plant one of its central characters in the same room for hundreds of pages any more than a show can do the same thing and have me not get sick of it.
It just feels mean at his point, and it doesn’t make me like Theon to any greater degree. I pity him more as a character but despise him as part of a show.
I take notes during every episode and Bran’s plot was the one tonight that I forgot to write anything about, which means it must have been just stellar.
I do suppose, however, that this is as good of a time as any to single about Natalia Tena for her performance as Osha, and that, despite knowing her as Tonks from the Harry Potter films, I haven’t doubted her for a second on this show. She has consistently been a wonderful presence on Game of Thrones, bringing across exactly how tired and miserable Osha must be, and easily being the best part of the maddeningly dull Bran sections of the show.
Tywin in Daddy Knows Best
Tywin is finally starting to fill that Arya-shaped hole in his narrative that has plagued him all season by being Season 3’s Most Manipulative Son of a Bitch, a mantle normally reserved for his daughter or amputated son. His scene tonight with Joffrey was fantastic, reminding us that while that beautiful little snot may still hold the throne, Tywin can look him dead in the face, without fear, and tell him how to be king.
Not that he shouldn’t have fear, though. Joffrey being Joffrey after all, there’s not a small chance that there will be armed retaliation against Tywin… there’s a large one. But it’ll be awesome, because God Bless The Lannisters.
Melisandre and Gendry, Getting in on the Action
See? Melisandre and Gendry know where the good narratives are going on. They, like all the wise characters, are trying to converge on King’s Landing at once, like some sort of kinky Avengers.
There was some nice deepening of both of their characters tonight, bringing both of them into the noble echelon of “Characters with Their Own Plotlines.” I wonder, however, how bidding Gendry for the throne will help Stannis, who I am just realizing has been gone forever. This show is Bran’ing Stannis good and hard, leaving him and Davos locked in dungeons with crazy ladies while the lovely, crazy red-headed lady priestess is going into full-on intrigue mode. This is one of the plot threads that I am really interested in seeing be paid off this season, in its three remaining episodes.
Jamie Immediately Regrets This Decision
That’s an Anchorman reference for those of you born under rocks or in foreign countries.
If Tyrion and Shae are the show’s best requited romance, Jamie and Brienne are certainly the best unrequited one. And now that they’ve fought a bear together, it can only be a matter of time before the two of them are thrust together by fate, or trapped in a net together if we’re going to keep referencing Lost tonight.
Game of Thrones is always good about putting on TV things that I wish were on TV more, and “angry fighting bears in gladiator pits” would definitely qualify as being a part of that list.
This is one of the plots of the show with the most clear narrative direction, and it shows, and every single week it is one of the most interesting ones to watch. Bless you, Jamie and Brienne. May your first child be a masculine child.
Tonight’s Winner: Danny, Because Negotiations Are Always Better with Dragons
I am really digging Danaerys the Freedom Fighter. It is an excellent plot to fill up the time before Danny and her dragons are ready to invade Westeros, and every week it gives us something incredibly interesting to do out here with the Unsullied.
Danny’s oft-mentioned dragons have a habit of not showing up consistently (which makes perfect budgetary sense), but seeing them helps keep the caravan and the show feeling real, when the dragons don’t just disappear for the sake of monetary concerns.
Emilie Clarke has got a firm, attractive handle on the stone cold warrior side of her character and it is mesmerizing to watch. And, for the second time in four episodes since I started giving out this award, she has taken the crown of victory from the other characters. Step up your game, Westeros.
Where did they get that tent?
Chekhov’s Gunman is a film and television blog moderated by Kevin Lanigan, a future writer of movies and TV and current writer of overlong assignments in high school creative writing classes. Subscribe or keep checking back here for reviews of Game of Thrones and this summer’s movies selections, our weekly Mexican Standoff, and the Good Stuff.
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May the Lord of Light be with you.