Game of Thones: “The Climb” (ep. 3.6) Episode Recap
**full spoilers for Season 3, Episode 6 “The Climb” below**
Dany’s turn has come to be absent in the most recent episode of Game of Thrones. While she is likely off freeing slaves and burning slavers to a crisp, over on mainland Westeros, something big feels like it’s brewing. In recent episodes, not a whole lot has actually happened. There have been a lot of schemes and plans developing, but the most significant bit of action has been the chopping off of Jaime’s hand. In the midst of war, where are all the battles?
Before getting into the meat of this episode recap, I just wanted to point out that I am constantly amazed at how well Game of Thrones weaves together all of these story lines. The screen time that characters get is very well-balanced, with each chunk getting an episode break every now and then. And the transitions! Characters leagues away will come up in conversation and be shown to us moments later. This happens on a consistent and very fluid basis and I am always impressed by it. Anywho, moving on!
Catching up with Sam, Gilly, and random male baby was nice as the opener and a bit necessary to place there as it’s hard to find time to care about them amidst everything else that is going on. Sam’s got a surprisingly good singing voice and he handles being Gilly’s caretaker with much aplomb. He seems genuinely concerned about her safety and not overly preoccupied with his romantic inclinations towards her. A man of the Night’s Watch through and through! He and Jon are displaying their own unique brands of loyalty to their oaths in what they do.
Ygritte openly calls Jon Snow out on remaining loyal to the Night’s Watch despite his sexual prowess and willingness to break that one part of his vow. But it’s hard to blame him when; like the creepy warg kid says: Jon is surrounded by enemies.
Sansa the Little Dove was bitch-smacked by the hard hand of fate this week when her own personal hopes and dreams came crumbling down. No freedom OR Knight of the Rose for her! Despite Cersei and Tyrion’s protests at their arranged marriages, it looks like Tywin’s plans will come to fruition: Tyrion will marry Sansa and Cersei will marry Loras. [Side bar: rough stuff to have your grandma call you a “Sword swallower, through and through!” behind your back, eh?]. Tyrion openly admitted that Sansa seems to be getting the shortest end of the stick (no pun intended…), which is an earnest and humbling confession. If I were him, I would have been terrified to admit the engagement in front of Shae. She is going to Lose. Her. Frakking. Mind. I am seriously concerned for his safety.
I found it wildly interesting to see the two most devoted servants of the Red God meeting in person; it’s one of those fateful encounters that you don’t really expect when their stories seem so very far apart. It is satisfying to see her shocked and even a bit jealous by Thoros’s ability to resurrect Beric Dondarrion. If you recall, she left Stannis in search of “King’s Blood” or something like that, which very obviously refers to Gendry who has quite a bit of lusty Baratheon blood in him. The Brotherhood Without Banners is quick to hand him over for some gold. Whereas I am very interested to see what the Red Witch has in store for him, Arya blows a freaking gasket. For some reason, her scenes lately have been reduced to awkward reception of baked goods and throwing temper tantrums when things don’t go her way. Something more interesting needs to happen to her soon or she’ll run the risk of shifting from one of the show’s most engaging characters to its most annoying.
Beyond the wall, Jon and Ygritte are getting along famously with warm threats of thorough love. Their scenes together are getting better and better over time and their relationship seems genuine enough despite Jon Snow’s predicament.
The scene of them all climbing the Wall was very well done and frightening enough. I was genuinely afraid for Ygritte when they were hanging by a thread as the shifty eagle warg cut them loose. Jon will obviously survive for a long time to come but Ygritte seems expendable, at least by Westerosian standards. Frankly, I’m surprised that Jon didn’t shove that damn warg right off the Wall for nearly killing them. I guess love will do that to a man, as he was more preoccupied with making out with his girlfriend:
Their moment felt a lot like the calm before the storm, which is obviously true considering the fact that the next episode is called “Chaos” (a reference to Little Finger’s speech). One particular shot from this scene was when Jon and Ygritte are looking out above the lands North of the wall. Through all the snow, ice, darkness, and clouds, a tiny gap of light appears in the sky and shines light directly onto their collapsed bodies. The moment reeked of a classic scene from Tolkien’s The Return of the King in which Frodo and Sam are on the brink of despair and well into the dark lands:
There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tower high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.
For a world and a show that is typically Godless and immoral (but hardly godless), this was a heavy dose of symbolism – particularly alongside Little Finger’s speech – and seems like a deliberate and obvious choice for any big Lord of the Rings fan.
The “Chaos is a Ladder” Speech felt a bit forced to me – not to mention the fact that I would prefer the Ballad of Little Finger as a name for it – because it was a bit heavy-handed, which typically isn’t Little Finger’s style. I’ve always been a fan of Varys and Little Finger’s random encounters in the throne room. They always dance around one another as nebulous and slightly nefarious equals. Up until now you couldn’t really draw a line and put one on the side of good and the other, evil. They were equals matched by their ambition, ability to gain everything from nothing, and incapacity for sexual encounters. But in recent history, the tones have changed. Varys is a confirmed friend and confidante of Tyrion and we’ve learned the horrific story of how he was “cut” (*wince*). He has a soul. He has a personal history. But Little Finger? Things are going well for him so he is revealing more and more of his sinister nature. He’s got more power than ever and has gone from glorified pimp to a Lord, big player, and what is essentially a murderer. For some reason, I was surprised that Joffrey was this dark and twisted “Friend” that he spoke about several times, but the signs were always there. I’m sure that we will all be sad to see Ros go.
Winter is coming (as always), and perhaps a storm, but definitely at least a bit of Chaos.