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

A great deal of this season of Game of Thrones has trafficked in more existential ideas of power and morality. Robb Stark is trying to secure his lands in the North. Tywin is smacking around anyone who dares to sit at a table with him. The Kingslayer has gone from child assaulting incesterer to one of the noblest people on television. While all this was being done, very little attention was paid to matters of love and sex, particularly when compared to previous seasons. Tonight’s episode seemed to attempt to strike a balance.

Relationships were everywhere during the episode. The one that drew my attention the most is one that hasn’t begun yet. Watching Tyrion and Sansa confront their impending nuptials was alternately hilarious and heartbreaking. This episode finally brought back the never disappointing Bronn, and the Czar’s personal favorite, Margaery Tyrell. Both are exceptional at playing the role of relationship counselor to the two skittish lovebirds. Sure, Sansa may be young, but boy is she attractive. And yes, Tyrion may be a dwarf, but he’s definitely experienced in the bedroom (apparently VD doesn’t exist in Westeros). The conversations suited the two friendships perfectly.

While those conversations left you laughing, Tyrion’s scene with Shae left you heartbroken. We think of Tyrion as a noble dude who just happens to be stuck in the wrong family. However, his relationship with Shae routinely points out his failings. He can’t part from his family and the wealth it provides. Nothing will ever separate him from them. Shae is smart enough to realize it, and knows she’ll never truly have her lion. Peter Dinklage was fantastic in this scene. Dinklage hasn’t had enough to do this season, but the show keeps him around probably more than the books would because Dinklage is so fantastic with anything they ask him to do.

Tyrion may be the far more favored Lannister son (by viewer standards), but he isn’t willing to do for Shae what Jaime does for Brienne. Granted, Jaime knows Bolton’s men will jump in to save him, but he didn’t have to put himself between Brienne and a bear. It bears (no pun intended) mentioning again: Jaime Lannister’s transformation from villain of the series to misunderstood good guy is nothing short of remarkable. Tonight’s episode only added to his growing legend. The relationship with Brienne has either changed him or brought out his good side (however you choose to see it) and suddenly his quips carry a similar weight to Tyrion’s. We want to see them land, we want him to best his enemies, and we want to see him win the bear fight with Brienne (even if the scene looked eerily similar to this).

So much of this show is clicking right now that it becomes a real drag on the show whenever we spend extended time with Theon Greyjoy or Bran Stark and his band of misfits. The Theon storyline has become rinse and repeat. Every week there is a new horrific way to torture Theon. I’m sure there are some people who enjoy watching Alfie Allen scream for mercy, but I do not count myself among them. Bran Stark’s travels couldn’t be less interesting to me. That being said, if we didn’t visit Bran Stark, we would have missed my favorite line of the episode:

“…Hodor.” –Hodor

Tonight’s episode was a classic Game of Thrones piece-mover. Very little of note actually happened, but the beauty of the cinematography and the individual brilliance of the actors in their scenes still make it memorable.

Some other thoughts:

-I love Dany. You love Dany. We all love Dany. However, I get worried anytime someone gets a little to pleased with themselves on Game of Thrones. I’ll enjoy watching Dany flex her muscles for now, but I have genuine concerns for the horizon.

-Along those same lines, I’m starting to worry for my guy Tywin Lannister. His awesome takedown of Joffrey probably drew lots of fistpumps from the viewers at home, but much like Dany, things are going a bit too well. Happy to be wrong, but I’m worried I’m not.

-At some point, something has to go right for a Stark girl, right? Arya breaks from the Brotherhood without Banners, but her escape is short lived before she’s nabbed by the Hound. Perhaps enough Game of Thrones version of The Odd Couple is forthcoming. After the runaway success of Jaime and Brienne, who could blame them?

-The Jon Snow situation is starting to get interesting. All credit goes to my brother for pointing this out, but the true identity of Jon Snow (where he comes from, who is parents really are, etc.) is reason enough to stay engaged in his storyline. The show keeps dropping hints that his origin story may have a little more to it than we were originally led to believe.

-In a massive upset in the expository story of the week category, Osha takes the honors. It’s a fairly chilling tale that reminds you it may suck in Westeros, but at least it has modest windmills instead of ice zombies who want to kill you.

What did everyone else think of tonight’s sex-charged Game of Thrones?