Game Of Thrones Review: “The Bear And The Maiden Fair” (Season 3, Episode 7)


Ah, the land of Westeros. Sometimes, the events taking place in the aforementioned continent teem with intrigue, espionage and political tension, which is what drew me to the show to begin with. Nevertheless, even Game of Thrones needs to have a filler episode or two. When the third season started, I constantly debated with my friends over the slower pacing of the first couple of episodes — while I repeatedly stood up for the show and explained how the story needed to have a solid ground for the episodes to come, my buddies argued that “nothing was happening.” Looking back on it, I was definitely right, as tonight’s episode pales in comparison to the earlier, slower ones.

I’ve been looking forward to this episode all week. I mean, sure, I always seem to eagerly await Sunday night (Mad Men, anyone?), but tonight I’m disappointed for the very first time since I became a hardcore fan of the show. Even though this season has had its ups and downs, I never felt as if the series had failed to entertain or intrigue me. There’s always at least three story lines that usually take it up a notch — Arya’s stay with the Brotherhood Without Banners, Jon Snow infiltrating the wildlings, and Danaerys’ conquest of Essos. Tonight, those story lines nearly put me to sleep. Robb Stark is my favorite character in the show, but even his story seems dull now — when the heck is this wedding happening? Why do we need to see more of him and Talisa? They’re married, they love each other, we KNOW. Just get on with it, already. I am glad Catelyn’s role within Robb’s rebellion has been downplayed, but I never asked for her to have less screen time — Michelle Fairley is a talented actress who truly seems to understand the character and her motivations, thus I see no point in Catelyn’s lack of memorable scenes in the last few episodes.

Arya’s story is, at least in my opinion, what keeps the show going. She’s destined to become the show’s main character, much like Ned in the first season — her rogue-ish demeanor and evolution as a protagonist clearly shows the series’ writers are no amateurs. However, I did expect more to happen with the Brotherhood. She runs away almost too easily, and is caught by the Hound, who seems to have escaped from his captors. That’s about it. Oh, did you think she would grab a sword and start killing Lannisters with Thoros of Myr and Beric Dondarrion? “Not today.”

Jon Snow and Ygritte had a few interesting moments in tonight’s episode. Did I say interesting? I meant “nothing we haven’t already seen.” It’s the same problem I have with Robb and Talisa’s scenes: WE KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON. We’re aware of the nature of you guys’ relationship, and we definitely know Jon isn’t going to just stop being a man of the Night’s Watch simply because he’s dating a hot redhead. Seriously, the man grew up with the Starks, who’d much rather have their heads cut off than see their honor tarnished — why on earth does Ygritte trust him? Also, what’s Jon’s plan? He’s been improvising up until this point, but how far will that take him when he finds himself fighting his brothers?

And then there’s Danaerys. Ah, what a story that is. The Mother of Dragons made it to the yellow city of Yunkai in tonight’s episode, and threatened a high lord. Don’t be fooled — this was not a particularly interesting scene. Danaerys’ recklessness and obvious lack of military experience are probably starting to get on her advisers’ nerves — even I am beginning to find her slightly frustrating. The award for idiocy and moronic behavior went to Robb Stark last week and his brilliant plan to wed his uncle to Walder Frey’s daughter, but this week Danaerys tops him with an even dumber decision to invade a city which holds no strategic purpose in order to free slaves. Wouldn’t it be easier for Dany to free said slaves after she took the Iron Throne and commanded a larger army?

Continue reading on the next page…