The Ninjabot

Game of Thrones: “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” Review

Posted on May 12, 2013 at 9:47 pm by Jeff Mueller


Tonight’s episode, interestingly the only one this season written by George R.R. Martin himself, was a mixed bag affair giving us some great insight into some of the characters while virtually ignoring others who have been lacking in solid screen-time for what feels like too long. I know I have said it before, but the show is really suffering due to the immense cast it needs to juggle and tonight did nothing to fix the problem. Of course this show, when at it’s worst, is still better than 99% of the rest of the stuff you can find on T.V. so it isn’t as though it isn’t ridiculously good; it is just that the past couple of episodes have left me wanting it to elevate itself, once again, to the realms of greatness instead.

We start tonight’s episode right where we left off last week – with Sansa in tears, Ros pin-cushioned, Lord Baelish cementing himself as a horrible human being and Jon Snow and the Wildling raiding party cresting the wall.

Since the past few episodes have felt so scattered, trying to advance every single character’s plot-lines at once, it has been hard to really discuss the episodes as a whole; so as I’ve been doing I am going to focus on the parts of the episode that really stuck out to me.

First and foremost, I am finding myself enjoying the portrayal of Ygritte more and more for every minute of she graces the screen. The spectrum of emotions she shows is wide and varied, but they always feel real and they are always entertaining. Her ability to go from busting Jon Snow’s chops about his lordly upbringing, to threatening to blacken his eye, to pressing herself against him passionately is quite endearing. It is also nice to see the more human side of Jon Snow be pulled out. That character has always been most interesting to me when he gets to play off of someone who he likes (i.e. his interactions with Sam stand out to me) rather than brooding quietly in a corner, so it is nice to see the more human side of Jon Snow continue to emerge. You can tell he feels a kinship with these Wildlings from the North, admiring their freedoms and that name and station mean nothing to them, but he also knows they will fail; and in a surprising move flat out drops a history bomb on Ygritte letting her know exactly how he feels.

Six times they have attacked in 1000 years; six times they have failed.” – Jon Snow

Somewhere further south we come to find out that Rob Stark is going to be a daddy! While waiting out particularly bad weather during their trip to Walder Frey’s territories, the King in the North’s envoy makes camp and his lovely bride, Talisa, slyly lets him know that she is with child. You can tell how happy he is, and one can only hope that he can hold onto that feeling for awhile because, as we all know, happiness is such a fleeting thing in Westeros. As has become the unfortunate norm with this show, we only get to spend 3-5 minutes with each character a week and I just find myself wanting to better understand what exactly it is about this girl from Volantis that so quickly captured Rob’s heart. She is obviously beautiful and charming, but she just feels so one dimensional compared to everyone else. Hopefully this turn of the plot will allow her to see a little more limelight.

Speaking of parenthood, we get to see the “Mother of Dragons” continue to be a giant bad ass! Stopping her newly acquired army outside the walls of Yunkai, another city run by slavers, she calls for an audience with the slave masters of the city. Even though they offer her mountains of gold and a fleet of ships, it is obvious she wishes a fight. I am not sure exactly what it is about the plight of the slaves that keeps setting Daenerys off, but she most certainly hates the thought of it. While I am not sure what her end game is here (or if she really even knows) but I can tell you that if I get to see more of her dragons flying around and screaming like pissed off Velociraptors then I am fine with the warpath she is embarking on! I just wonder if she is going to eventually overstep her bounds and bite off more than she can chew… a lesson that seems to be constantly reinforced be your name Stark, Lannister, Baratheon or Greyjoy.
Game of Thrones - The Bear and the Maiden Fair

Back in King’s Landing we are reminded of exactly how much power Tywin Lannister actually has as he erases all sense of smugness from Joffrey’s face in about 10 seconds flat. While I would have liked to see more of Twyin smacking down his grandson, I was intrigued by what could be construed as the first intelligent question uttered by the boy king. He asks about “the Targaryen girl and her dragons“. This got me wondering; how in touch is Joffrey with is actually happening in his city and kingdom (I had, maybe mistakenly, gotten the impression that he was woefully out of the loop) and is Tywin Lannister truly dismissive of the supposed threat or is he putting on airs? There was a time when it seems that Daenerys was well surveilled but now with her on the move I have to wonder if any of the reports coming to King’s Landing are correct. If there are any questions as to whether the dragons could be a concern to Westeros, take another look at the above photo. Rawr!

I am leaving out the interplay in in the capital surrounding the impending marriage of Tyrion to Sansa Stark on purpose. While it was interesting to see Sansa admit to her childhood dreams and naivete getting her into trouble, and Shae’s anger rising to the surface (one has to wonder if deep down she realizes that Tyrion marrying Sansa really doesn’t change anything) the rest of it played out clumsily in my opinion. Yes, it was cute to see Bronn and Tyrion debate the merits of marrying such a young and beautiful bride but it seemed very out of place considering the emotional tone that has been set recently.

You waste time trying to get people to like you, you’ll end up the most popular dead man in town.” – Bronn

This brings us to the titular scenes with Brienne and Jaime.

It is obvious that once she hears she is to be left under the watchful eye of Locke (Lord Bolton is traveling to the Twins for the Frey wedding to Edmure Tulley) that her fate is all but sealed. She meets with Jamie one last time and, resigned to what is to befall her, asks him very simply to keep true to the oath they swore and return Sansa and Arya to Lady Stark; to which he solemnly agrees. One almost has to admire Jamie for his view of the world (as much as he maligned Ned Stark for being rigid and having an unrealistic view of the world he falls prey to the same traps) as he truly believes that diplomacy will cure all, and while I am sure he was worried that Brienne might suffer some form of mistreatment at the hands of the Bolton forces he obviously believed that the ransom note sent to her father by raven would put an end to the ordeal.

When he came to realize that his initial play to save her (where he lied about the Isle of Tarth being rich with sapphires) has ultimately backfired and sealed her fate he plays the “Daddy card” once more, convincing the guards assigned to deliver him into Lannister custody to return to Harrenhall at once. Upon their arrival they come across a frightening sight; Brienne, in what looks like a gladiator pit, facing off against a grizzly bear with nothing but a wooden sword while the soldiers all taunt her with an out of tune rendition of “The Bear and the Maiden Fair“. As the bear knocks her to the ground, in a fit of pure Jamie impulsiveness, he leaps into the pit to stand between the beast and his former captor. It seems he has finally made a play that works, as those entrusted with his safe return assist them in escaping being mauled and more importantly deliver them from Locke’s clutches.

While I am sure a lot of women swooned over Jamie’s heroism, I was left feeling a little underwhelmed by the scene. Maybe since I knew George R.R. Martin had written the episode I was expecting too much? All I know is that after last week’s “Cliffhanger” rip-off I was not expecting to get the fight in the bear exhibit from “Anchorman“. I have seen this show do better in the past, and I expect great things from it. So let’s get back on track please Game of Thrones; you have three episodes left this season to start tying up loose ends and reminding everyone why you are one of the best shows on T.V.!

My Score: B-

So let us know what you thought! How much more Theon Greyjoy torture-porn can you watch? Why did Melisandre tell Gendry he is the bastard son of King Robert? Do we need more Arya?!? Hodor? Get to commenting below!

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Game of Thrones: Season 3, Episode 7 “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” aired May 12, 2013 on HBO.

Please Note – Due the nature of this TV show being quite far behind the books in terms of plot, we want to remind everyone that there is a zero tolerance policy regarding spoilers in the comments. Keep discussions relevant to the show only!

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