Game of Thrones Recap: Against the Wall

Game of Thrones Sorry, Miley, but I’m going to have to disagree with you: “The Climb” is about how fast you get there (Mance Rayder is waiting) and it is about what’s waiting on the other side (the Night’s Watch, and the Seven Kingdoms beyond).

Oh wait, your 2009 pop hit doesn’t refer to this week’s episode of Game of Thrones? My bad. Those lyrics about taking chances and getting knocked down is so prescient – at least in Jon Snow’s case — I thought you might have a touch of the greensight. I suppose, then, that “7 Things” doesn’t apply to the ways Sansa’s probably contemplating offing herself and “Party in the USA” isn’t about Tywin and Lady Tyrell’s wedding negotiations? OK then. Let’s quit while I’m behind and move on to reviewing the major developments in “The Climb.”

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THE WILDLINGS | Jon and the band of free folk prepare to climb the 700-ft. ice wall by tying on some less-than-sturdy looking crampons. The newly devirginized Snow is afraid, but Ygritte is thrumming with anticipation. “I’ve waited my whole life to see the world from up there,” she muses, then informs Jon that the spikes he’s wearing belonged to a man who “wasn’t good to me the way you’re good to me. He didn’t do that thing you do with your tongue.” (Ha! And just so you have an accurate sense of the scene, Rose Leslie draws out that last word so it sounds like “tonnnnnnnngue,” which gives Kit Harington all the more time to have Jon die of embarrassment.)

I do enjoy the turnabout at play in this pairing: In a show where women are the targets of (at best) sexual teasing and (at worst) sexual violence, it’s refreshing to see Ygritte unabashedly taunt Jon in such a playful, open manner. She grows serious, though, when she shares that she knows he’s still loyal to the Night’s Watch – regardless of what he told Mance Rayder. That’s well and good, but there’s a new, redheaded sheriff in town. “I’m your woman now, Jon Snow. You’re going to be loyal to your woman,” she informs him. “It’s you and me that matters to me and you.” The fiery wildling warns him not ever to betray her, and he promises he won’t – a vow I’m pretty sure he makes up his mind to keep when she threatens to dismember one of his most prized parts “and wear it around me neck.” (And Jaime thought he had it bad with his hand-on-a-rope…)

Jon, Ygritte, Tormund Giantsbane and Orell climb the 700-ft. ice wall with rudimentary picks, the aforementioned bear-trap shoes and a rope. At one point, Ygritte sticks her pick into the ice, causing it to catastrophically crack, and GREAT, YGRITTE. YOU BROKE THE WALL. The avalanche-like icefall that follows knocks Jon and his lady off so they’re just dangling from a line connected to the wildlings above. Orell, who has made no secret of wanting Jon dead, starts sawing through the rope so Snow and Ygritte’s dead weight won’t bring down the rest of their party. But Jon manages to latch himself back onto the sheer face just in time to save him and his honey. (Side note: I know it’s not real, but that whole sequence still made my feet sweat in fear.) Everyone eventually makes it to the top, where Ygritte gets the views (both north and south) she’s been waiting for and she and Jon make out like teenagers.

HOUSE STARK: RED-ITED EDITION | Arya’s practicing her bow skills with the Brotherhood Without Banners when Stannis’ red priestess Melisandre rides up. Everyone’s surprised to see her, and she in turn is surprised to learn that Thoros has brought Beric back from the dead six times. Thoros confesses that despite being sent to King’s Landing years ago to turn Robert Baratheon into a worshipper of R’hllor, he’d lost faith. Only when The Mountain “drove a lance through this one’s heart,” he says, gesturing to Beric, did he truly ask the Lord of Light for help. “For the first time in my life, the Lord replied,” Thoros recalls, moved. Melisandre shakes off her shock and gets down to business: She’s there to take Gendry.

Arya’s not a fan of that plan. As Melisandre’s men are leading the young blacksmith and his mid-90s-esque facial hair away, Ms. Stark protests loudly. Melisandre gazes into Arya’s eyes, says she sees “darkness” in her and predicts the girl will kill three people in her lifetime. The priestess attempts to comfort Gendry by telling him he is destined for greatness, and then they’re off.

HOUSE STARK: THE-FREY-PLAY EDITION | Robb, Cat, Edmure and the Blackfish meet with two of Walder Frey’s sons in order to soothe hurt feelings/acquire his army. The sons have a list of demands: a public apology, the acquisition of Harrenhal and the marriage of their sister Roslin to Cat’s brother Edmure. (Ha! to Edmure’s reaction to this: “What?”) Robb agrees, and when they’re all alone, reminds his uncle of the military debacle (his fault) that helped get them into this position. Chagrined, Edmure agrees to wed the Frey girl.

HOUSE GREYJOY: PINKY-AND-THE-BRAIN EDITION | The man Theon thought was his rescuer tortures him, making the Ironborn guess who he is and why he’s got him strung up like Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. If the torturer wins, Theon will beg him to cut off his pinky finger. (You read that right.) What about if Theon wins? “If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention,” the man says, making me a wee bit scared for sniveling little Theon. (Side note: The torturer looks like a demented George O’Malley, no? Let’s refer to him as Georgelgänger until we have better intel.) Georgelgänger toys with Theon by making him think that his guess at his family heritage – Karstark – is correct. But wait, Georgelgänger is a huge liar! He messes with Theon’s little finger in a way so painful that Theon pleads for it to be removed. Georgelgänger’s face is full of sick delight as he coos, “I win.”

HOUSE LANNISTER: FUR-TRIMMED-AND-FANCY-FREE EDITION | Jaime and Brienne – clad in a horrific pink, fur-trimmed gown – sit down to dinner with Roose Bolton. There’s a funny sight gag of Jaime trying to cut his meat one-handed – and I adore the moment that Jaime, without even looking, stills Brienne’s hand on the knife when Bolton threatens to kill them – but the comedy ends when Bolton says he’s going to release Jaime to his father’s custody… but Brienne will stay behind to answer for aiding and abetting treason. Jaime says he must insist that the knight accompany him. “I had hoped you’d learn your lesson about overplaying your… position,” Bolton quips. Hey hey hey, mister. I’ll make the hand jokes around here, thank you very much.

HOUSE LANNISTER: NOBODY’S-HAPPY EDITION | Tywin meets with Lady Olenna to blackmail her into accepting Cersei (who she says is too old) as Loras’ wife. But she calls his bluff: She knows her grandson is “a sword-swallower through and through” (ha!) but thinks incest (cough Jaime and Cersei cough) is completely unnatural. If Loras won’t marry Joff’s mom, Tywin counters, he’ll name him to the Kingsguard, meaning he’ll never marry/never reproduce, and Highgarden will go to Joffrey and Margaery’s kids. The Queen of Thorns acquiesces.

Out by the pond, Loras talks about the following topics with real enthusiasm: brooches, his and Sansa’s wedding reception, the details of her gown. Sansa is so excited about being Mrs. Knight of Flowers and getting the hell out of King’s Landing, she’s oblivious to the extreme gayness of every word he says. Later, when she and Shae are in her quarters, Tyrion reluctantly visits to drop the bomb of his proposal on them both. “This is awkward,” he begins. (Heh, and then sadness. You just know this won’t end well for any of them.)

Meanwhile, Baelish confronts Varys about cooking up the Stark-Tyrell match and reveals that he knew Ros was passing the eunuch information. Littlefinger makes some oblique references to what’s become of her, and I get a really bad feeling in my stomach for the too-smart-for-her-own-good redhead. We soon find out that my anxiety is well-founded: When we cut to Joffrey’s room, where he’s fondling his new crossbow, the camera pans over to the bedpost… and Ros is tied to the frame, shot through with arrows and clearly dead. For the love of the old gods and the new, will someone please stop this kid?

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Are you afraid Bran will start having fits like Jojen? Did you like Sam’s singing voice? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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80 Comments
  1. Mike says:

    Great episode, I was actually sad that Ros died. I’m worried about Brienne.

    • Elly says:

      I don’t think they’ll kill her, there’s no real need for it. Fans love her but it wouldn’t have large repercussions to warrant a storyline. Jaime would be pissed but that’s it.

      For the record, Theon’s torturer is an amazing singer/actor. He was on this great British show ‘misfits’ It’s so hard to hate him after watching his previous work.

      • Jules says:

        Anytime I see Iwan (the actor who plays Theon’s torturer), I always just think of Simon from Misfits… and I have to laugh, because you just can’t hate Simon!!!

        • Elly says:

          EXACTLY!!!! He plays a sadistic sociopath but he’s just so cute and Simon that you just can’t care lol. You have good taste in shows, Jules :) I hope he sticks around.

      • Chrisk says:

        You have to admit though, Simon started out as a pretty strange fellow – a great acting job to be sure, but this sociopath is not a huge leap from where Iwan started out on Misfits.

        • Elly says:

          Very true, but I think they made part of it so weird as a sort of storyline where in the end, the viewer is left saying “oh, he’s not that weird. He was just bullied” I HATE how they wrote him out of the show but he was still wonderful in it.

    • TV fan says:

      I just can’t believe Littlefinger would sank so loud just to spite Varys, Ros was the last one standing, the only commoner who grew in Winterfell that was still alive. Is that low-life of Baelish could do such a thing to Ros, what can’t a powerful man such as Lord Bolton do to Brienne only to spite Jaime.

  2. Alekslynn says:

    I admit, I’m kind of bummed they killed Ros. I always liked her.

  3. Rose says:

    Theon’s torturer is Ramsey Snow (Bolton), right? He’s creepy.

    • eileen says:

      Why would you do that? Are you just trying to be a jerk, or what? Go somewhere else if you want to discuss things that have not happened in the series yet.

      • Sg. Grant says:

        Why would you care? I was already pretty convinced that Theon’s torturer is a Bolton, just based on the Xbox Smartglass app for Game of Thrones that I follow along with on HBOGo, and I’ve never even considered reading the books.

  4. Anon says:

    Agghhh!! I haven’t seen the episode, but I just had to spoil myself.

    Poor Ros! That is very uncool. Littlefinger and Joffrey are truly heinous, this makes their second time collaborating on murder….and the first was a baby!!

    Why couldn’t Jaimie have thrown Joffrey out of a tower window? (yeah, I know, even if it had been Jof walked in on his bizarro parents, they wouldn’t kill him for it. It’s just a personal wish.)

    I am looking forward to the Jaimie and Brienne scene, at least. But even though Ros only had a few moments, she was a scene stealer.

    • TV fan says:

      Jaime and Brienne rang oddly domestic in the dinner scene, it didn’t feel like they have only met each other for a couple of weeks. Arya and Gendry may argue like an old couple, but Jaime & Brienne felt like the newlyweds. Jon and Ygritte were simply epic IMO.

  5. Darth Pablo says:

    I dont like Joffrey, but Jack Gleeson does one hell of a job. So many people hate is character, that you know he’s doing a good job.

    • Edith says:

      It helps that Jack Gleeson bears an uncanny resemblance to Caligula. Agreed on his portrayal – I hate Joffrey even more than I did in the novels.

  6. robert says:

    The discussion about Sansa’s wedding dress for the Tyrell wedding…..French sleeves? French? Seriously?

  7. Jessica says:

    It’s Leonardo Da Vinci’s Virtruvian Man not Michelangelo’s :)

  8. Dondarrion says:

    Don’t you mean Twin and Lady Tyrell? This was probably the worst episode by far of the whole series. Very weak. Tyrion would not have sulked to Cersi, and why would Joff kill her for no reason? Don’t you think it would have tied in the last episode where he wanted to see Margery kill something?

    • Dick Whitman says:

      Of the whole series? No, that title belongs somewhere in S2. It was pretty weak considering the last 3 have been awesome though, I’ll give you that.

    • Mike says:

      No, look at episode 3,7, or 8 of season 2, they were all worse than this one, perhaps this is the worst episode of this season, but that is only because this season has been so great.

    • Laura says:

      Joffrey would kill her for no reason because he is a sadist. Are you new to this show?

  9. Amanda says:

    Iwan Rheon is giving Jack Gleeson a run for his money in the creeper acting performance. So oddly proud to see him graduating from Simon from Misfits to a role like this…even if it is super disturbing.

    • Jules says:

      Same here, loved him on Misfits, and I’m really happy for him to see him on a big show like GoT. And he is creepy-ly good at playing the creep. Since he hasn’t had too many scenes so far, I’d say they’re head-to-head, but Iwan may take over Jack’s place in the run for “best-played-creeper” on the show.

      • Kate'shomesick says:

        He is doing a fabulous comedy right now too…”Vicious” with Sir Ian McKellen :-). Watch out for that too. His comedic timing is great!

  10. Pokie says:

    Ms. Roots, get your facts straight: The Vitruvian Man was by Leaonardo DaVinci and the ice wall is not 700feet high. THE WALL at Castle Black IS 700 feet high.

    • Kimberly Roots says:

      Da Vinci is amended (must’ve been his demons who got to me). Re: the wall — I’m working off what Sam tells Gilly in the beginning of the episode, that the wall is 700 ft. tall and made of ice. — KR

    • Brian says:

      Pokie aught to get poked. Maybe then they wouldn’t be so uptight.

    • Dick Whitman says:

      Sorry, but no, Kim got it right. The Wall IS 700 feet high. Check your facts next time.

  11. Pokie says:

    I was confused at the end. Who’s ship was Sansa watching sail away while weeping ?
    Was it Little Finger’s?
    And why were the Wildlings climbing that ice wall? Did I miss something?
    This episode was a bit weak, but I believe they used this too tie together someloose ends.

    • Mike says:

      It was Littlefinger, if you looked closely you could see the mockingbird Sigil, with Littlefinger gone and heading for the Vale, Sabsa is stuck and Kings Landing and will have to Wed Tyrion

      • TV fan says:

        If someone would bother to tell Sansa what Littlefinger did to Ros, she wouldn’t be weeping for a low-life even worst than Joffrey. Remind me again, why didn’t Sansa left with the Hound when she had the chance?

      • Ruby says:

        Man if someone told me I had to marry Peter Dinklage, I’d be over the moon, personally.

    • Dick Whitman says:

      As for the climbing: I don’t know if you missed the conversation 2 or 3 episodes back, Mance and all the Wildlings are coming to Castle Black and they need someone to open the gate.

    • M3rc Nate says:

      She was watching the (in the closet) gay guy sail away, the one she was to wed (who she was in the yard setting talking about weddings and dresses with). Because she is now engaged to Tyrion.
      -
      The Wildlings were climbing the wall because they are going south, and the only way to go south is to open the doors, so a small party needed to climb the wall, then go down the other side, and open the doors so the Wildlings army can get south of the wall. The only thing im not positive on is why they are going south. Is it because the winter is for real coming so they wouldnt survive north of the wall? Do they want war with the 7 kingdoms? What about the zombie things that looked to be heading south as well? Im back to reading the books but they take a long time to get through and im still half way through book 1. I wished i had finished it earlier so i could be on book 2 then 3 by now.

      • tripoli says:

        No, she was watching Baelish sail away. It was his boat. They had previously had many a discussion about her going with him when he left Kings Landing.

      • Uete says:

        Nope, Mike is right: Baelish sigil was in the ship’s sail. She was crying out of frustration for not following Littlefinger’s plan, now that she knows she’s to marry Tyrion and not the Knight of Flowers. Although metaforically speaking: yep, that ship (Loras and Sansa’s wedding) has definetely sailed and she’s again a Lannister prisoner. Moreso than ever.

  12. Larry says:

    Surprized about Ros being killed. I thought the series had her set up to be the fake Arya.

    • Mike says:

      At risk of spoilers, I won’t say, but I’m almost positive I know who will be the fake Arya, it is pretty obvious.

      • Dick Whitman says:

        Who?! My guess is they’ll use that little girl who was seen in the S2 opener cleaning the blood (I believe we saw her again in one of the earlier episodes this season) but I don’t know.

    • lucy says:

      How would someone Ros’s age EVER pass for 12 year old Arya Stark? Not to mention that she’s been seen out and about King’s Landing AS Ros. The only reason Jeyne Poole passes for Arya is that she’s the proper age and hair color, no one knows her by her real name because she’s been hidden since the beheading, and no one is left alive that clearly remembered Arya’s features.

  13. Dick Whitman says:

    Solid episode. I really wanted to see Sansa’s immediate reaction to the news of her betrothal though. I was just starting to tolerate Ros and they go and do that.
    I can’t wait for the Brienne/Jamie scenes next week!

  14. Adam says:

    I really liked Ros. damn.

  15. Mhm says:

    I hope they don’t kill off gendry.
    The tv show is going in a different direction

    • Edith says:

      Ditto. It became really clear tonight that they’re cutting out one of the later subplots – I hope Gendry doesn’t suffer for it.

    • fred says:

      I don’t recall Mellisandre ever meeting Gendry in the books. I hope they aren’t changing Arya’s storyline….she has the best adventures. Also, it was not Littlefinger sailing away…he still has much mischief to perform in King’s Landing. Why are they holding back the identity of Theon’s torturer…Theon’s not going anywhere. Has HBO agreed to shoot a Season 4?

      • Robin says:

        They have agreed to a season 4. This season will get us halfway through book 3 at the pace they are at. The red woman doesn’t meet Gendry…in the book she wants Cedric Storm, another of Robert’s bastard born children…part of a ritual she wants to perform to fulfill Stannis’ mission. I think rather than introducing another character, they will use Gendry instead as Robert’s needed heir. just my guess. And it is Littlefinger’s boat sailing away…he is rarely meantioned in the book, we saw much more of him in the shows. I’m sure Sansa has not seen the last of him…I won’t give away details. And I find it interesting that Theon is in the shows cause that is book 4 material…never liked him, but that is just awful what they are doing to him. Pretty sure that his torturer is Roose Bolton’s bastard.

    • TV fan says:

      I don’t know where Gendru is going anymore. And, for what it looks like, Jaqen recruited Arya for the Red God, “Valar Morghulis” is what Arya was suppoed to say if she ever wanted to see Jaqen H’ghar again.

  16. Kevan says:

    Generally I think the writer of these recaps tries too hard to be clever, but I laughed out loud at Sansa being “oblivious to the extreme gayness of every word [Loras] says.” Good one. :) Unfortunately I doubt poor Sansa even knows what gayness is.

  17. Edith says:

    Disagree with commenters complaining about a weak episode – this was good, in terms of what it sets up going forward. I think it was a little too full – the Jojen scene was out of place – but overall, it worked. It certainly wasn’t as high octane as the last few, but that pace slows down mid-season for any show.

    Lady Olenna met her match in Tywin only temporarily I think….

    I buy Tyrion and Cersei complaining to each other. They’re oddly in the same boat, they’re still siblings, neither of them have many confidantes.

    RIP Ros. That was…..creepy as hell

  18. Rivera says:

    Good episode.. but wish it had a bit of Khaleesi in it too!

    • Rob says:

      Right there with you buddy! This season she’s been getting only 5-6 minutes every second episode.

      • sd523 says:

        I’m only on the 2nd book, so I may be wrong – I believe book 3 and 4 were originally one large book that had to be split because of it’s overwhelming size. In the split, the story lines that run concurrently were divided between the two books. In other words, there is little of Khalessi in one book and more of her in another even though her story is running at the time frame as the Stark / Lannister themed lines we’re seeing now. Although, I could be off a book or two. How many have been published to date? I know two of them were originally one whole book.

        • Alex says:

          Nope, book 3 is self-standing. Books 4 and 5 run concurrently, with book 4 focusing on the characters in Westeros and book 5 focusing on characters in the North/across the sea/etc. As of right now, 5 books have been published, with two more on the way.

  19. Uete says:

    I liked it quite a lot. There were some golden scenes, mainly set-up, yeah. But that does not diminish the wall climbing or Littlefinger’s sadism or Jaime&Brienne! My two favourite moments were the Arya-Melisandre interaction and Theon’s torturer “real” face. Maisie and Iwan are killing it! Also, it was about time they started throwing more prophecies out there since they are such a key part of the books. Seems they are just allowing new ones to leak out, which might be a good thing given the amount of bigmouths out here in the ‘net!

  20. Rob says:

    I see things are beggining to set up for the red wedding!

    • Robin says:

      My heart breaks for 3 of my favorite characters at the red wedding…so sad!

      • Truth says:

        Jesus, do you people even care when you post stuff like this. At this point if someone didn’t know what was going to happen this season its probably because they are illiterate.

    • Ruby says:

      The scene with them deciding that Edmure would wed the Frey girl made me sick to my stomach.

  21. Britta Unfiltered says:

    I really wish someone would just put Theon out of his misery. I couldn’t like him after what he did to those kids last season, but what he’s going through right now is so sad and pathetic it makes me grimace every time he is on screen. It’s painful to watch and I wish the show would just move on to other more interesting things instead of making me watch poor, pathetic Theon get tortured to death.

  22. JuliasG says:

    - I was sort of hoping Ygritte would fall.
    - I felt the entire episode was rather weak.
    - Highlight of the episode was the phrase “sword swallower”.
    - I’m sick of seeing Theon getting tortured.
    - What”s up with all the redheads? They are beginning to all look the same.

  23. Meredith says:

    Will someone explain to me who Roose Bolton is and why he is important? There are so many characters in this series I can’t keep track! Thanks :)

    • Truth says:

      He is one of the Starks bannermen. He has basically been Robb’s right hand man up to this point, sort of one of his generals. He is planning on betraying Robb though and selling the Kingslayer back to Tywin, and I won’t tell you anymore than that.

  24. Truth says:

    Pretty sure Lady Olenna snapping the quill meant she does not accept the agreement, not that she reluctantly agreed.

    • fred says:

      I’m confused about one thing: Why is Highgarden’s legacy tied up with Loras? He has two older brothers (Wilas & Garlen) who could marry and have legitimate heirs.

      • Gwen says:

        In the books he does, but they haven’t mentioned the brothers in the series as far as I know.

      • Rose says:

        I think they decided to do away with the other Tyrell brothers in this series. That would explain why Lady Olenna planned to marry Sansa to Loras when it was a different brother in the books.

    • LC says:

      No, she accepted. Tywin was blackmailing her by threatening to name Loras to the Kingsguard, which he was about to do with the quill. She snaps the quill because she doesn’t want that to happen – so Loras will have to marry Cersei.

  25. rachelle says:

    “Sansa is so excited about being Mrs. Knight of Flowers and getting the hell out of King’s Landing, she’s oblivious to the extreme gayness of every word he says. ”

    Hahahaha! I died a thousand deaths at this line because that’s exactly what I was thinking throughout his and Sansa’s whole scene. Loras is definitely a sword swallower through and through.

  26. move says:

    When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

  27. nemo says:

    why did the wildlings climb the wall and not go through the tunnel?