What is this saying? "It's always calm before the storm"? Well, apparently in season 3 of Game of Thrones things have to get really lame before they become great. Or at least I'm hoping it's the explanation for the quality and the content of the latest episode. The Bear and the Maiden Fair, the episode that was written - for the third time in series's run - by George R.R. Martin is unfortunately the worst episode of the season.
It's nowhere near the quality of previous episodes written by Martin - The Pointy End and Blackwater, which is actually the single best episode of any TV series I've seen. That said, there where many times when my blood turned cold while watching the episode. Also I fist bumped the air twice and screamed "YES!". At 3 AM. I'm going to get evicted, aren't I?
First time was obviously when we saw glorious nudity from Richard Madden. HBO, you complete me. We got quite sensual sex scene between Robb and Talisa and it's nice to see a sex scene in the show that is not vulgar and cheap. Robb got up (YES!) and started staring and the maps again as Talisa started writing to her mother. There is a popular theory out there that Talisa is a spy and I found it quite odd how much emphasis there was on her writing the letter in Valyrian, the language Robb cannot understand.
Talisa informs Robb that she is pregnant. I always thought Martin has sadistic tendencies, but making Talisa pregnant in the show is a confirmation that he is indeed a sadist. In the books there was no Talisa - she was Jeyne Westerling and Robb married her, which caused the Frey allegiance to fall. It was only speculated that she was pregnant. Martin stating it here, the absence of Grey Wind scenes...I'm sure book readers, particularly after watching the promos for this season can see where all of this is heading. A sadist that man is.
The scene was proceeded by wet Robb again, as the wedding party heading to The Twins was caught in the rain. Oh, yeah. Cat threw several ugly looks at Talisa and some mean comments about Walder Frey were said. Also apparently the talk of "wet shit" turns Robb on.
Another moment which I loved and cheered during was when Tyrion gave Shae a golden chain. In the books the Hand of the King wears a chain, which was replaced with the pin in the show. That chain will be very important later on and I really liked Martin introducing it to fix some things that the writers on the show threw off the right course. That scene was actually pretty great and Shae wasn't too annoying. She is still hurt about Tyrion marrying Sansa and she is heartbroken because she knows she is only "his whore".
After Tyrion announced the plans for him and Sansa, they are both looking for advice from their friends. Tyrion hangs out with Bronn, who was absent for several episodes so it's great to see him again. Bronn doesn't understand what the big problem is as Sansa is not much younger from the girls Tyrion had (in the books she is thirteen, Sophie Turner who plays her is seventeen). Sansa is also receiving encouraging counsel from Margaery.
I really loved that scene. Not only they hinted at Margaery's knowledge about sex, which is also a clever hint for the future but I really liked someone saying nice things about Tyrion. "He is far from the worst Lannister, wouldn't you say?". Exactly. Sansa should be happy. Especially that Tyrion promised her mother that the girls will be returned when Jaime is sent back. And Tyrion is a good man, while Loras is a freaking pussy.
Another thing that worked extremely well were Daenerys scenes. She reached Yunkai, another slave city, that we only saw from the far, but it was really amazing. Emissary is sent to talk to her and there Dany was really bad ass. We finally got to see closer look at all the dragons and the CGI was very impressive. I loved the moment when she threw them a piece of meat and they started fighting over it.
In the books, Daenerys is called "the most beautiful woman in the world" and it's easy to believe in a scene like this one. Emilia Clarke looked really amazing and I loved the dress she was wearing. Dany was very poised and focused in that scene as she informed the emissary of her demands - to free every slave in Yunkai. If they don't do it, the city will face the same fate as Astapor.
Emissary is obviously appalled and he informs her that Yunkai has "powerful friends". He brought Dany gold hoping that it would be enough for her to leave but Dany takes one look at his slaves and decides she has to attack. Her dragons start acting angry and the scared emissary leaves the gold behind. This is far from being over.
Drogon was really pissed off in this scene, especially after emissary threatened Dany. No wonder seven kingdoms bowed to dragons once. They were really terrifying in this scene.
Even an idiot like Joffrey knows dragons are not a laughing matter. He summons Tywin to speak with him. He wonders what the hell is up with the Small Council meetings being moved to the Hand's Tower. Tywin walks up the stairs, stands before terrified Joffrey and tells him that they can arrange to have him carried there if he wants to attend.
Tywin Lannister is the man that everyone should fear. Charles Dance exudes such confidence and that scene is a good example of that. Joffrey may be the one sitting on the throne, but it's Tywin who controls the realm. I wonder why he isn't more concerned about dragons. I was scared shitless of Drogon this episode.
We got plenty of Ygritte and Jon this episode. They are now in Westeros and they are heading to Castle Black to attack it. After getting laid Jon is getting his freak on, talking about how he would like to see Ygritte in silk dress and tear it off her. Damn it, get you shit together Starks! Robb is banging the nurse, Jon is fantasizing about wilding girl and Sansa is worried how to do it with Tyrion. Are you kidding me? Your fucking home is burning, your siblings are missing and THIS is what you are doing?
Anyways, Orell is still pissed off about Jon being in their group. Also he is interested in Ygritte who only has eyes for Jon. Lots of drama on the road. Jon informs Ygritte that six times the wildings wanted to defeat the northmen and six times they failed. Ygritte is convinced this time they will win.
We got short Arya moment, who is mad at the Brotherhood for giving up Gendry to Melisandre. She tells them they are liars and she escapes. Then, she is captured by none other than the Hound. He just can't escape the fate of hanging out with the Stark girls, can he?
We saw Bran and more dreams nonsense, this time with Osha yelling at Love Actually kid for filling Bran's head with strange ideas. She also tells a story of her lover who came back as wight. Meanwhile, in Harrenhal, Jaime exchange several lines with Roose Bolton before leaving. I was very glad they kept that conversation as it will give birth to one of the series' most famous and haunting lines.
There was really awesome moment with Gendry and Melisandre. They are heading on the ship to Dragonstone, through the Blackwater Bay. Because of them taking that route we got to see breathtaking shot of the Bay with all the destroyed ships from the battle.
In the scene Melisandre informs Gendry that he is Robert Baratheon's bastard. That was an amazing moment. The way Melisandre broke the news and Ramin Djawadi's epic music playing in the background made it into really powerful moment. Mel also tells Gendry that there is power in King's blood....
What nearly buried the episode for me was Theon scene. That was just embarrassing to watch. Martin essentially took 10 minutes of screen time, two naked chicks and made us watch it, just to confirm something. In the books it was hinted Theon was castrated by the boy (for fuck sake reveal who he is already, I'm tired of tip-toeing around non-book readers). Two chicks start pleasuring him, the boy appears, cuts his dick off, end of scene. That was ridiculous.
But it's not the worst part of the episode. They completely butchered my favorite scene in the book series. I liked the addition of the goodbye moment between Brienne and Jaime when she says "Goodbye, ser Jaime" and he is all teary eyed. But everything that came later? The writers should be ashamed of themselves.
I can't blame Martin for that fiasco, as that sequence was moved from later episode. If they fuck up Episode 9 as much as they fucked up this, it will be beyond forgiveness. I hope they know that.
In the books after leaving Harrenhal, Jaime had a dream. He dreamed of Casterly Rock and that the canals beneath it were filled with the people he disappointed, including Brienne, whom he saw naked and in chains. He woke up and he told the men that were with him that he has to go back. In the show we got yet another useless look at Jaime's stump,, him having essentially the same conversation as few episodes back with Qyburn and him deciding to go back after hearing Lord Selwyn's ransom was declined by Locke, because he believes he has all those sapphires.
Sapphires that Jaime talked about. So instead of just coming back because it's the right thing to do, Jaime goes back because he feels guilt for the lie he told. What the hell is that bullshit. And then it got even worse.
In the book this was my single favorite moment because upon seeing Brienne with that wooden sword against a huge bear in the pit Jaime committed the single most heroic act in the books. He leaped into the pit, jumped in front of her, unarmed, without his sword hand. Sure, he could assume that the men with him will start shooting at the bear, but he couldn't know it for sure. And in that moment when he leaped in that pit, it was all about saving Brienne.
In the book he found a piece of jaw bone and stabbed the bear with it, he forced it to move around to tire him. He actually fought it. Only then the men started shooting. In the show he jumps in and they start shooting immediately. He gives Brienne a boost and then he grabs her hand. One arrow was shot. No bone was found. And all of that lasted maybe a minute. That was fucking disappointing.
And the wost thing is the lack of my favorite lines. There were four amazing lines they could have used easily and NONE of them was used. Instead of having that Qyburn conversation they could have just showed Jaime waking up, all sweaty and worried and telling the men they have to go back. Then, when he rescues her and she asks why, he could have said "I dreamed of you".
Another amazing line was "Brienne! Her name is Brienne!". I cannot believe they didn't use it, considering how just two episodes back they had Jaime scream "Jaime! My name is Jaime!". We didn't get Jaime asking Brienne if she was a maiden - "Oh, good. I only rescue maidens" and finally no "You want her? Go and get her". We got Locke rambling on about the gold instead. WHAT?
Now, I'm no expert but it seems to me all of that could have been done. And why was that scene so short? There are even some shots used in the trailers we didn't get to see here. Did someone who moved the scene from latter episode screwed up the editing?
I'm not saying it was a bad scene, but it was much too short and comparing to the book scene it was anticlimatic. But from what I understand, non-book readers liked it. The scene was actually the final moment of the episode. And it was nowhere near as epic as the music we heard in those final moments and over the end titles - Ramin Djawadi stunning instrumental rendition of Rains of Castamere.
Only three episodes left. This Sunday - a wedding, a warrrior and a wight.