GAME OF THRONES: THE BEAR & THE MAIDEN FAIR Review - Mania.com



Game Of Thrones Review

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  • Episode: THE BEAR & THE MAIDEN FAIR (Season 3, Episode 7)
  • Starring: Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke, Michelle Fairley
  • Written By: George R.R. Martin ("A Song of Ice and Fire" by), David Benioff (creator)
  • Directed By: Michelle MacLaren
  • Network: HBO
  • Studio: Home Box Office (HBO), Television 360, Grok! Studio
  • Series:

GAME OF THRONES: THE BEAR & THE MAIDEN FAIR Review

Nothing short of brilliant

By Jarrett Kruse     May 14, 2013
Source: Mania.com

Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones was nothing short of brilliant as George R.R. Martin wrote with the panache and flair that only the creator of the epic series could pull off. After reaching another ratings milestone last week, I have to think that this week’s numbers will outdo the series again. The GOT fan base is reaching a fever pitch of popularity as the third season heads towards the last three episodes of season 3. As much as I loved the first two seasons and maybe it is because I am in the heart of the series right now, I feel that this has been the most consistent season of the three with each episode being a mini-epic. An hour program that feels like much more as I watch Martin and the producers weave a complex web that abets practically all of our concerns from the previous weeks. Make no mistake; this is TV at its finest. If only it was a 22 or 24 episode season like network dramas, the ratings would set historic records from September to May. At just ten episodes per season it makes most one hour network drama’s look downright silly.

We open with Jon Snow, Ygritte and the Wildlings determining how far they are from Castle Black. With it just being a few days out, it is clear that Orell wants to disrupt the budding love between Jon & Ygritte. He confronts Jon and basically tells him that he just does not “get it” as far as being a Wildling goes. Jon verbally spars with Orell making light of his Warg-skills and telling him that he knows it was him that nearly killed he and Ygritte while climbing the Wall. Orell does declare his love to Ygritte but it falls on deaf ears as she only has eyes for Jon. However Orell is quick to point out to Ygritte that she needs to be with one of her own. He says that he would treat her like a Queen if she were his. Orell continues to hint that Jon is excluding something from his medieval dating profile and the possibility that his loyalty to the Night’s Watch is still intact. However whether or not this is true is yet to be seen. I was under the impression that once he bedded Ygritte that his membership to the Night’s Watch was revoked. I would definitely love to hear some theories from you MANIA-C’s on this because I found myself in a quandary. After telling Ygritte that her and her cohorts will indeed fail, she attacks her beloved and tells him that before they die, they will live.

South of the wall we meet up with Bran and company that includes Osha, Hodor, Rickon, Jojen and Meera. Jojen has Bran’s ear and that is making Osha’s blood boil with ire. It is revealed to Meera that the group is not heading to find Jon Snow but rather to search for the raven with three-eyes that plague Bran’s dreams. Osha regales her story of being in love once with a man named Bruni that she lost. However Bruni came back to her as a White Walker thirsty for blood almost killing her. Eventually she was able to scare him off with a knife to the chest but clearly it had a sincere effect on her. Bran needs to discover just what the three-eyed raven in his dreams wants. Even Osha’s heart-wrenching tale of her lost love does not scare off young Bran from his quest.

The King of the North Robb Stark is discussing his next move with his inner-circle and decides that the rains are too heavy to continue and that a fresh start will do them all good the following day. This is just the respite that Robb needs as his political posturing can get boring fast. He spends the rainy night with his wife Talisa that reveals to him that she is with child and that a new Prince or Princess is on the way. At first Robb seems taken aback but then he and his wife rejoice at their new blessing. This news can only make the spiteful Walder Frey angrier since Robb was supposed to marry one of his remarkably ugly daughters to keep a Royal blood line. Now she is going to have to marry Edmure and I am expecting all of this to blow up in their collective faces.

In King’s Landing, Sansa is heartbroken and teary as Margaery intends to console her friend. The thought of Sansa marrying Tyrion seems disgusting to her and is not something she wants. Margaery tries to explain the political ramifications of this move by Lord Tywin but I do not think that Sansa is old enough to truly understand what is going on. She is but a child compared to some seasoned players that are in play. Sansa is far more concerned with just how she can get out of this situation immediately. While Margaery puts her mind at ease, clearly Sansa wants to escape King’s Landing. I think at this point she even misses Littlefinger she is so desperate.

Tyrion is just as upset about being matched up with Sansa as he tells Bronn how uncomfortable he is with this entire situation. Seeing Tyrion put in his pace his father, the Hand of the King is something to behold as his children know that his word his gospel. Also, Tyrion has to deal with his current love, Shae that is very upset at the news that he will be taking Sansa Stark as a bride. Shae puts the Imp in his place as Tyrion tries to back-pedal telling her that he will be able to purchase a house for her and servants. But what Shae wants to hear is that he will not marry Sansa and will proudly marry her.

The showdown that we have all been waiting for is finally here. Bratty King Joffrey has called his grandfather, the Hand of the King Tywin to the throne to discuss the state of things. Right away I wanted to see Tywin lace into the little punk but he plays it cool as ice. When Joffrey starts complaining about the location of the small council meetings not being nearby and that he will have to walk up a great many steps to get there, Tywin slowly ascends the throne and says “We could arrange to have you carried.” Burn on Joffrey, little punk. Tywin continues to school Joffrey in the way of modern politics and sincerely does not mean “your grace” when he expels the phrase upon leaving. Clearly Grandpa Lannister has no room for bratty King’s that share his name. For the first time I really thought that Joffrey was terrified of someone. I just did not think it would be his Grandfather. One thing that I will give credit to Joffrey for is that he is indeed aware of the growing threat that is Daenerys’ dragons that may become a threat to the kingdom.

Daenerys takes a meeting on the fringe of the city of Yunkai with their noble lord slaver that brings the mother of dragon’s gifts to assuage her opinion. However gold is not what Daenerys is looking for—she wants to free slaves to add to her massive army. Daenerys happily listens to the Yunkaite before offering a gift of his life. Confused, the slaver listens to Daenerys demand that he give every slave in Yunkai their freedom along with enough food, clothing and property as payment for their years of servitude. The Yunkai’ are angry but Khaleesi’s dragons are angrier. When his slaves try to take back their gold they offered a few minutes earlier, the dragons go apeshit scaring them off. This was a brilliantly orchestrated scene showing just how powerful Daenerys Targaryen has become. Like her dragons, she has grown as well and it seems the bigger the dragons get the bigger her reach goes. Although the Yunkai slaver warns that he has powerful friends, he is scared off by the dragons. Whether or not we will see who his powerful friends are is yet to be seen.

Theon Greyjoy is really having a rough go of it this season. Even when things seem to be getting better; like when two hot chicks want to mount you but it turns out to be a setup—then you know things are bad. Just when Theon thinks this is the real thing, his captor puts the kibosh on any good lovin’ and has men prepare the captive for his total and complete and total de-balling. Tough break and I still have no clue just who the captor is and what exactly he is playing at. 

If you remember a few episodes back that Gendry was taken by the Red Woman and away from Arya. Confused, Gendry reveals to Melisandre that he is just a regular guy but she begs to differ telling him that he is of Royal blood. I am not sure just how exactly the Red Woman will use this valuable intel to her advantage. For a minute I thought that she might be on the level after the Brotherhood Without Banners seem to practice and worship the Lord of Light. However, Melisandre screams bad news to me and I wouldn’t trust her as far as I could throw her and I hate that expression because it makes no sense. Arya is terribly angry and feels that the BWB are misleading her; first with Gendry and now another detour to hunt down some Lannisters. When she runs off into the night she is caught by none other than The Hound who has been preying on her for quite some time now.

Finally at Harrenhal, we follow up and see what is going on with the Kingslayer and Brienne, Center for the New York Liberty. Kidding. What does happen is that Jaime is freed to go back to King’s Landing under the condition that his father (Tywin) be told that he was treated fairly by Roose Bolton. Guilty, Jaime heads back to Harrenhal after he learns what will become of Brienne. When he gets there she is in a pen with a giant Grizzly bear. With no regard for himself he helps Brienne out of the gladiator’s pen before exiting himself. It took me a minute to scratch my head in amazement that it was Jamie Lannister that just committed an act of gallantry with nothing in it for him…or was there.

This was an epic episode and although I am getting thrown at a few of the book points that I just cannot seem to catch up on, it is still the best show on TV right now. After my fourth viewing into Monday, I was still picking up new things that I had not seen in my first, second or third times watching. The only word that I can think of is sweeping. And time. I am trying to figure out if the producers are going to satiate our appetite in the last three episodes filling them up with information that will leave us in OK condition until 2014.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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MrJawbreakingEquilibrium 5/14/2013 1:12:26 AM

 It doesn't count if he pulls it out.  Kidding. Man, I need to get HBO and use this new VPN I have to catch up. But then I ahve to call back to the States and order HBO at my parent's house. Man.

Chopsaki 5/14/2013 3:11:22 AM

 I guess when you attempt to murder a child theres really no where to go but up, sorry Jamie your still a D-bag. Great show but  the sheer volume of characters dosen't allow for alot of action. Sometimes it feels like the characters are content to talk each other to death. My one minor quibble.

hanso 5/14/2013 3:35:51 AM

 Why does this dude even bother reviewing GoT, if he just going to give out A to every episode no matter what?  Last week was an "epic" episode cause all the "epic" conversations I guess. This episode was weak as hell yet gets an A.

Now on to an actual discussion of the show, few things:

1.  I finally saw the House symbol that you guys were talking about with regards to Theons torturer.  Hes from the same group that has Jamie right?  That Theon storyline is running way too long imo.  Felt bad for the guy now that he got no pipi.  Oh, is the torturer the same guy that was blowing the horn last season when Theon caltured Winterfell?

2. In the tent scene with naked Robb, his wife is writing a letter to her mom.  I think its actually to Tywin and that ho will betray Robb and he will die.  Or he will die cause of that Frey guy.  Cat told him Frey would take their tardiness as an insult and that would be the second time Robb insults him.

 

3.

hanso 5/14/2013 3:39:55 AM

 3.  Tywin owns, Joffrey cant fuk with him.

4.  Jon Snow looks like he is going to betray the wildlings, doesnt bode well for his relationship with the redhead.

5.  Oh and there goes "evil" Dany trying to go kill some people so they can join her army :)

Dazzler 5/14/2013 3:51:35 AM

They sure like to torture people in the show.  Getting old with that.  How long is Kaldeesee going to be traveling to King's landing?  She will probably get there by end of the series it seems and then something stupid will happen.  Still enjoyable.  Can't wait for Joffrey to die.  And how come nobody seems to care that all these Stark kids are running around with nobody looking for them?  Too many storylines this show needs a major edit. 

MrJawbreakingEquilibrium 5/14/2013 4:30:01 AM

 I wish I could see some of your faces - like Hanso's - when the sh#t goes down. But mostly so I could watch the show too.

flyinroo 5/14/2013 5:01:32 AM

 I, for one, think this show is utterly amazing. I absolutely think this episode deserved an A, to say the least. This season has been no less than terrific. Would I like to see more action - sure I would. Is it any less brilliant without the action - No. 

This show is brilliantly written, and I think juggles its numerous characters very well. If there is a short coming, its that the seasons are much too short. Only 3 episodes left already...it goes by much too fast. I would like to see this increase to 16 episodes per season. And a feature movie should be a thought as well.

roman725 5/14/2013 5:12:32 AM

@dazzler - Arya is believed to be dead, Bran & Rickon are believed dead or prisoner at the Iron Islands.

@MrJaw - Ditto :)

@hanso - Yes, you are on the right track with your grasp on #1. And yes he is the horn-blower from the siege at Winterfell in season 2. Funny he began tormenting Theon way back then.

Several aspects of the tent scene in #2 are gonna be a major topic of discussion for book readers. I'm of a mind that Talisa isn't gonna betray him although there is a ton of evidence to the contrary (found a great video compilation of this evidence if I could figure out how to post a link- new still learning). Call me a romantic - a foolish one.

I thought the Tywin/Joffrey scene was good, definitely not as great as Tywin/Olenna but Jack Gleeson held his own against his grandfather.

I enjoy Jon/Ygritte interactions. Ygritte's "right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot" cracks me up.

<SPOILER QUESTION>Book readers, was that windmill supposed to be Queenscrown? How disappointing if it was </SPOILER>

 

@flyinroo - Agreed. Sure a little more action would be nice but not every episode can be action & adventure. I agree every episode this season has earned at least an A- or better. Also, the story is in the details of all that "talking" that bothers some viewers - a single line here or there that is discounted/forgotten easily can turn out to be important down the line & that in my opinion is the brilliance of a story like this - you have to pay attention & think. Now this episode was written by George RR Martin himself but it's not perfect. This episode's weak point I'd say was the lack of Samwell Tarly. I mean what was the point of showing him last week if his next scene isn't in this episode? I just allows more time for viewers to forget what you were supposed to learn from his scene last week. Now they'll have to remind us all over again in the "Previously on" segment next week. I would have preferred Sam in this episode and eliminated one or both of the Margaery/Sansa & Tyrion/Shae scenes altogether. In any case, I'd give this episode an A-. Sam would have given it an A or    <SPOILER> a proper Queenscrown</SPOILER>

 

 

 

 

 

 

blankczech 5/14/2013 7:55:06 AM

 Still feels like a sword and sorcery / dungeons and dragons soap opera / costume drama to me, with occasion action sequences.  Nothing wrong with guys liking soap operas.

While I agree it's a very good TV series the fact that I'm not into (*English) Royalty (Kings, Queens, Knights Damsels in Distress etc.) prevents me from saying it's the best.  Personally prefer FX's The Americans because a cold war spy drama interests me more.  

I'd like to thank Jarrett for his weekly GoT updates (they aren't reviews).  Without them I would never remember all the characters name or how to spell them.

Funny the way GRRM made us hate Jaime and now wants us to love him.  What's next??? Will we get to see the tender side of Joffrey next season.

Didn't understand the whole sequence with Brienne and the Bear.  Thought Jaime had convinced the bad guys that they could get a nice ransom for her.  Apparently the dunces forgot that as well as their desire to rape her and thought it would be more fun to watch a bear maul her.

ddiaz28 5/14/2013 7:57:30 AM

Of course Mania is being f-ing stupid and not posting my long post!

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