In this week’s Game of Thrones, Khaleesi puts a slave trader on notice, Shae puts Tyrion in the hurt locker, Robb puts a Prince (or Princess) in the North in Talisa and Tywin puts Joffrey in his place. Oh, and Brienne fights a bear. (That last part doesn’t fit the whole mojo I had going earlier but is noteworthy, nevertheless.) Let’s review what took place in “The Bear and the Maiden Fair.”
HOUSE STARK: BUN-IN-THE-OVEN EDITION | Catelyn is anxious that Robb’s trip to suck up to Walder Frey is on a rain delay; the prickly Frey patriarch, she says, will take their lateness as a slight. Robb’s not as bothered, perhaps because it means he has extra time to hit the furs with a very nude Lady Talisa, who stays that way as she writes a letter to her mother. (Why the heck not? If my birthday suit were couture like hers, I’d wear it as much possible, too.) She casually mentions that Mama Maegyr would love to meet Robb “and her grandchild.” Yep, the Queen in the North is expecting; Robb’s reaction is part cute (such a happy smile!), part serious (such a fervent declaration of love!) and part hot (such a short rebound time before he’s on top of her again!).
HOUSE STARK: HOUND-FOUND EDITION | Arya gives Beric and his band the silent treatment for handing off Gendry to Melisandre, but she pipes up when she realizes the brotherhood is taking off to intercept a Lannister raiding party to the south… and Riverrun is to the west. Angry that her reunion with her family will be delayed – and probably fearing it will never happen at all – Arya sets off into the night on her own… and runs smack into the Hound. Oops.
Meanwhile, far away, Gendry and Melisandre sail into Blackwater Bay amid the detritus from last season’s battle. As he dazedly gazes around, she shares some of her backstory (she and her mother were slaves until the Lord of Light “lifted” them up, whatever that means) and then rocks his world when she reveals he’s Robert Baratheon’s bastard son. “There’s power in a king’s blood,” she purrs. I fear she means that literally.
HOUSE LANNISTER: DAMNED-IF-YOU-‘I-DO’ EDITION | Bronn listens as Tyrion laments his forced engagement, but the sellsword has little sympathy. Know who’s got even less? Shae – who rejects Tyrion’s consolation gift of gold chain necklaces and his assertion that marrying Ned Stark’s daughter is a matter of “duty, not desire.” He talks about a future where he can set her up comfortably and make sure that any children they have are cared for and protected – and he seems truly upset when she says she wants none of it. “I am your whore,” she states in a tone that makes him wince. When he eventually grows tired of her, she forecasts, “I will be nothing.”
Sansa’s no happier about her impending Lannisterhood, tearfully calling herself a “stupid little girl with stupid dreams who never learns.” (Oh Sansa, you’ve been reading these recaps! I’m touched.) Margaery advises her to look on the bright side: Tyrion is far from the worst Lannister and he’s not bad looking, even with the scar. Lady Stark then realizes she’ll have to sleep with her soon-to-be husband, which unfurls a whole new ripple of dread within her. Margaery assumes she’s afraid of being deflowered, and Sansa gets an aching “oh, honey” from me when she quietly says, “I’m not afraid of the pain after what Joffrey’s done to me.”
Joff’s intended then sees an opportunity for a little girl talk. Women are “very complicated, you know. Pleasing us takes practice,” she says with an air of experience. (Side note: Boy, howdy. Can we somehow get Margaery’s quote emblazoned across the cover of every health-class textbook from here on out? I feel like it would save everyone a lot of fumbling, frustration and friction burns.) Sansa innocently asks if the queen-to-be’s mom filled her in on the finer points of the marriage bed. Margaery’s all, “Yeah, let’s go with that.”
HOUSE LANNISTER: WHO’S-YOUR-GRANDDADDY? EDITION | Joffrey sulkily summons his grandfather to the Iron Throne for an update on what’s happened at the small council meetings. Joff hasn’t been there, you see, because he’s been “busy”: y’know, crossbows to fondle, prostitutes to use as target practice, the usual. In a few sentences, Tywin cows the insolent king into something close to obedience (“You are being consulted at this very moment” was awesome, as was his “Your grace” afterthought) and dismisses the boy’s concerns about rumors of Daenerys’ dragons (“Curiosities on the far side of the world are no threat to us.”)
HOUSE TARGARYEN: WHAT’S-YOURS-IS-MINE EDITION | Speaking of the kickass Khaleesi, Ser Jorah warns against sacking the nearby city of Yunkai. How many slaves does it hold, she asks? At least 200,000, he replies. “Then we have 200,000 reasons to take the city,” she calmly states. Daenerys orders Grey Worm to set up a meeting with one of the city’s slave lords, and damned if there isn’t anything more gorgeous than Emilia Clarke issuing commands in a fictional foreign tongue.
When the slave lord arrives, bearing gold to sway Dany from hitting the city, she unleashes some dragon drama on him – I’d shake in fear, too – before demanding that Yunkai free all of its slaves and offer reparations or else she’ll lay waste to the place. (Important to note: He offers ships as part of his bribe to get her to leave Yunkai alone – might these be the vessels that finally bring the Mother of Dragons back to the Seven Kingdoms?)
THE WILDLINGS: THE-GIRL-IS-MINE EDITION | We find out exactly what’s driving Orell’s burning hatred of Jon Snow: The warg fancies Ygritte (get in line, eagleman!). Orell informs Jon that people love, kill and are loyal when it suits them – “She knows that. You don’t, which is why you’ll never hold onto her.” Not content with messing with Jon, Orell then hits on – and is shut down by – the redhead in question. So he mocks her, “You like his pretty hair and his pretty eyes?” (Uh, yeah dude. Who wouldn’t wanna shovel themselves a little of that freshly fallen Snow?) Orell warns that she doesn’t know who Jon really is; later, Jon has a warning of his own for his new squeeze: The free folk have tried to take the kingdoms six times in recorded history, and they’ve been defeated every time. “The seventh will be the same,” he says sadly. She’s got a more zen take on it: “If we die, we die. But first, we live.” And then they make out. (Does it seem like every Jon-Ygritte scene ends this way? Not complaining, just observing.)
HOUSE GREYJOY: NOT-SO-COCKY-NOW EDITION | This week in Theon Greyjoy’s total destruction redefines “torture porn.” Two lovely ladies free him from his contraption and tend to his wounds, then tend to… other body parts that surely haven’t gotten much love as of late. Theon at first begs for them to leave him alone, sure that his tormentor has sent them, but then remembers he’s a straight male and gets past his suspicion because, well, a naked woman is straddling him and her also naked friend seems to want in on the action. Just as I’m expecting a pizza-delivery guy to show up and join the party, Theon’s torturer enters and the girls step away. He immediately begins crying for mercy, but none comes his way as Georgelgänger prepares to make “a few alterations” to the same section of Greyjoy’s anatomy that captured the women’s interest. Yowza.
HOUSE LANNISTER: GRIZZLY-GAMES EDITION | Jaime visits prisoner Brienne before he leaves for King’s Landing. “I owe you a debt,” he says. “You gave your word. Keep it, and consider the debt paid,” she answers, and so he vows to return Arya and Sansa to Catelyn Stark. With that out of the way, it’s time for farewells. “Goodbye, Ser Jaime,” Brienne says softly, and her choice of his given name instead of “Kingslayer” isn’t lost on the one-handed knight, who is too moved to summon any more words and turns to leave.
The trip home has barely gotten underway when Jaime learns that Locke has turned down the gold ransom Brienne’s father offered, thinking he’d get even more sapphires (based on Jaime’s false story a few episodes back) instead. With Roose Bolton away from Harrenhal for Edmure Tully’s wedding, Brienne is at the mercy of the sadistic Locke and his men… which means Jaime is soon riding back the way he came. He arrives at Harrenhal just in time to see Brienne fighting a gigantic bear in a pit, and I don’t know what’s more degrading: the fact that she’s being treated like an animal (the crowd is actually singing “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”) or the fact that her last moments on the planet might be spent in that pink-and-fur travesty of a gown.
Jaime jumps down and helps boost her out of the ring, then she reaches down and hauls him out, too. (There’s a lot more violence, near-death and bear slobber in the sequence, but that’s the gist.) “I’m taking her to King’s Landing unless you kill me,” he tells Locke. And then they make out. (Just kidding! But doesn’t it seem like every Jaime-Brienne scene should end that way? Not complaining, just observing. And ‘shipping. And possibly drafting a fanfic in my head.)
Now it’s your turn. What did you think about Osha’s reasons for not wanting to return to the other side of the wall? What do you think will become of Shae? And does Jaime’s arm bear an uncanny resemblance to The X-Files’ flukeman? Sound off in the comments!