Game of Thrones: “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” Season 3 Episode 7 Review

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Another quiet, talky hour ends spectacularly with what must be the partnership of the season proving their strength.

It might even allow me to forgive the fact that Jaime thought anything less horrible would happen to Brienne when he left her at Harrenhal. Still though, there was a sense of accomplishment when Jaime was set free and left for King’s Landing. He was able to take control of his escort when he reminded them of what Tywin would do to them when they got their depending on if they obeyed him now. This led to an epic re-entry to Harrenhal and Jaime nearly sacrificing everything to save Brienne.

She had no chance against that bear, and seeing Jaime jump down their one handed and swordless was really rewarding. His bargaining chip with the “rat” who brought him in was excellent too. It’s proof that Jaime has grown to care for Brienne, something we’ve needed a payoff for and got in full this week.

Runner up for character of the week was Jon Snow. Now over the wall with Ygritte, he’s becoming torn with which side he’s on. We know that when they attacked Castle Black they would likely find some trouble. But Ygritte is pretty important to Jon now. They are probably the best couple on the show at the moment, mostly due to this excellent build of tension between their possibly conflicting goals.

Daenerys continued her streak of badassery as she prepares to expand her army with more freed slaves. One smart thing the writers did, however, was have us question her morality. During the negotiation the man says that she can have what she wants as long as she leaves the city alone. Daenery clearly instills fear in him. At what point might she become the villain?

Of course we quickly fall back in love for her as she demands the slaves be freed. But it’s an interesting seed planted.

King’s Landing saw more wedding plans this week, but with an added twist. Tyrion and Sansa find themselves in match they never wanted. But boy Sansa is really taking some mean jabs at our little dwarf hero. Maybe she can come around, as Margaery hopes she can.

But one of the best scenes of the episode was between Joffrey and Tywin. Who is really in control of the kingdom? By the looks of the previews we’ll be getting more of this in the near future.

Even more interesting was the arrival of Melisandre and Gendry to King’s Landing. The witch’s plans aren’t too clear yet, but Gendry’s involvement certainly is intriguing. They will be characters to pay attention to as this wedding draws closer.

Various Stark siblings had developments this week as well. Arya’s departure from the Brotherhood could have used some more screen time to really sell it. She is alone now after all.

Robb, on the other hand, had a really happy moment, something rare on this series. His wife is pregnant, which was revealed at a time in the story where Robb is becoming easier to root for. Granted a pregnant wife is never a good sign. Something tells me he may be joining his father sooner than later.

The Bran clan (rhymes!) had a brief scene tonight where Osha explains why she never wants to go over the wall. Turn out, she was in love with a man who turned into a White Walker. I feel like every character has a complicated, dark backstory. That’s fine I suppose but I wish they weren’t all told in the same dramatic manner. Osha’s speech perhaps too soon echoed Jaime’s confession to Brienne in the hot tub. And Theon’s to his captor before then.

Speaking of Theon, his story is the worst thing on the show right now. It’s boring. Yes, he’s getting tortured and that sucks but he isn’t growing from it. At least as far as the writers want to show us. It’s a sour attempt to make him sympathetic. It’s also incredibly predictable. Two girls come in and tease him just in time for the new villain to come in and do something horrible. I wasn’t fooled by the girls. Unfortunately, I really doubt this will just lead to Theon dying. Which, at this point, would be a relief for me.

Aside from that story just being inherently bad, this was another episode that contained eight of the ten major storylines we are following this year. Theon’s would likely be bad either way, but Arya and Bran’s suffered from it a bit this week. If their plots were given the same screen time as say the excellent followings of Jaime or Jon Snow this week, maybe they would hit harder.

Still though, The Bear and the Fair Maiden had enough to keep it afloat, at least compared to last week’s episode. Some stories right now are really good, just not all of them. But on the whole, the good stories had the most screen time this week. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty


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