We’ve completed “The Climb”. Now it’s time to take in the view. Read on to find out my thoughts on tonight’s episode and then share yours in the comments below.
Spoiler Note: This post is for those who have read A Storm of Swords. As such the post itself and the comments will contain spoilers. If you haven’t read ASoS yet, you can discuss this episode in our non-book reader recap. Thanks!
The episode opens beyond the Wall, where Sam and Gilly are huddled around a campfire. Sam reveals that he was a highborn and then sings Gilly a song about the Seven.
In Harrenhal, Jaime and Brienne dine with Roose Bolton. Roose reveals that he is returning Jaime to King’s Landing but that Brienne will not be going with him. Jaime presses the issue, but gives in when he realizes that Roose has the (*ahem*) upper hand.
In Riverrun, the Frey envoys, Lame Lother and Black Walder, arrive to negotiate with Robb. For their father’s army, they demand Harrenhal and the hand of Edmure in marriage. Edmure balks, but relents when the Blackfish (“The laws of my fist compel your teeth”) and Robb convince him that it is his duty.
Over in King’s Landing, more awkward marriage negotiations are taking place. Olenna Tyrell attempts unsuccessfully to get Loras out of having to marry Cersei, while Tyrion and Cersei are having to cope with the partners their father has arranged for them. While Cersei hopes for Jaime to arrive to save her from this mess, Tyrion has no such hope. He breaks the news of the engagement to a distraught Sansa. Elsewhere, Littlefinger appears to have outmaneuvered Varys and Ros pays the price.
In the Riverlands, Arya and the Brotherhood encounter Melisandre. She is there to collect Gendry but first talks shop with Thoros, where we learn a bit about his mission. She marvels at Beric’s collection of fatal wounds and is astounded when Thoros tells her he has brought him back six times. Before she leaves, Arya confronts her, accuses her of being a witch and saying she wants to hurt Gendry. Melisandre responds to her accusations with a prophecy: “I see a darkness in you. And in that darkness, eyes starring back at me. Brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes. Eyes you will shut forever. We will meet again.”
Meanwhile, Theon continues to receive punishment at the hands of the mysterious “Boy”. He plays a game with Theon, in which he has to guess where he is and who has captured him. Theon guesses that he is at Karhold and that he is one of Rickard Karstark’s sons. “Boy” tells him he is right… but then does an about-face, tells Theon he has lied to him, and gleefully removes the skin from his finger for guessing wrong.
In the North, Bran and company are continuing towards the Wall. Osha and Meera are at each other’s neck over how to skin a rabbit. Bran brokers a truce between them, when Jojen starts having a sezure. He awakes to say he’s had a vision of Jon Snow.
Jon and Ygritte are preparing to scale the Wall with the rest of the wildings. Ygritte tells him she knows his “secret” but she will keep quite as long as he is loyal to her. Halfway up the Wall, the ice cracks and Jon and Ygritte fall. As they are dangling high above the ground, Orell begins frantically cutting the line, before they can pull him and Tormund off the Wall as well. Jon is able to swing to safety just as the line snaps. In the final monotogue, the wildlings safely reach the top of the Wall, while Littlefinger ends his speech about “the climb”. Jon and Ygritte look out over the rolling tundra of the Gift, as the sun sets beyond the Wall to the east, and kiss.
What I Liked
The Climb – The scaling of the Wall was epic. It was major motion picture quality. The ice cracking and falling off of the Wall was exactly how I imagined it. And I like that they had Orell attempt to cut Jon and Ygritte loose. It really adds to their rivalry. Also the romance and chemistry that some seemed to find lacking in Jon and Ygritte’s story so far showed up here. That final scene was one quite possibly one of the most romantic scenes in the whole show so far.
Fire-making 101 with Gilly – Speaking of romantic scenes, the one between Sam and Gilly was also quite touching. And it also confirmed something that I was worried might get cut…. Sam the Slayer is coming!
Olenna and Tywin – What a great scene! These two play off each other so well. Legends. I can’t get enough of the Queen of Thorns. I lost it at “a sword swallower through and through!”
Little Bird – Poor, poor Sansa. She missed the boat… literally. Sophie Turner is doing a great job of showing Sansa’s emotional roller coaster of a season so far.
The One True God – I have to say I really, really like this change. I loved the interplay between Thoros and Melisandre. Was Thoros’ “mission” ever mentioned in the books? If not, I like that addition to his backstory. I also liked getting to hear some High Valyrian outside of Essos. And I loved Arya and Melisandre’s interaction. And did they just drop a future book spoiler?
What I Didn’t Like
Pouring on the sadism – I know the books aren’t all fun and games but I find it hard to stomach some of the sadistic scenes the show trots out on occasion. The ones in the books can be hard to read about, but it’s even worse watching it on TV. And this episode had a good bit of that. The Theon scenes were particularly painful (no pun intended). Although I was thankful that Ros joined Irri as another in the list of off-screen deaths. I don’t think I could have stomached another sadistic torture and death scene.
Littlefinger continues to twirl his moustache – I know this ship has sailed, but I’m just not a fan of how evil they have made Littlefinger in the show. He was one of my favorite characters in the books, despite his more unsavory aspects. Yeah, he was selfish and ambitious and could be calculating when he needed to be, but he wasn’t cruel. The Littlefinger of the show is not only more transparent in his ambition, but seems to take pleasure in stabbing as many people in the back as he can on his way up the ladder. I’m not really a fan.
While this episode definitely didn’t approach the quality of the last few episodes, it was still a good episode with some excellent scenes. It was more of an intermediary episode, dealing with the continued aftermath of some of the shocking events of earlier episodes while setting the table for even more shocking events to come. The stand-outs for me were the Melisandre change, the scenes in King’s Landing and the scaling of the Wall.
What did everyone else think? Share your thoughts in the comments and vote in the poll!