Plot: In order to maintain control, Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) enacts a plan that will change the lives of multiple people forever. Cersei (Lena Headey) is expected to marry Loras Tyrell (Finn Jones) while Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) has to marry Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner). Lady Olenna (Diana Rigg) opposes the idea but is left with no other choice. Meanwhile, Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) and Ygritte (Rose Leslie) climb The Wall and Robb Stark (Richard Madden) seeks the help of Walder Frey (David Bradley).
Love is in the air in Westeros! Well, forced love actually. The main stories this week in “The Climb” centered on characters that are either united by their mutual relationship or are forced to form completely new ones. Above The Wall, you have Jon and Ygritte who decide that they can only count on themselves and the love that they share. In the much warmer regions of King’s Landing and Riverrun, a grand total of five characters are now being forced into marriages for personal gain. Tywin wants Loras, Sansa, Cersei, and Tyrion to all marry for his own personal reasons while Robb has to marry off his Uncle Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies) to Frey’s daughter to secure a new alliance. There actually wasn’t too much focus on Robb’s story compared to the others, but considering how that was the big moment last week, a least some focus was necessary. Did these stories lead to another awesome episode of Game of Thrones? In many ways they did, but there were some moments I could definitely have lived without.
Jon and Ygritte climbing The Wall was probably one of the most intense moments this season. Not only is The Wall massive and the fact that anyone can climb over it is ridiculous, a huge chunk of it breaks off mid-climb and all but four Wildings involved die. Conveniently enough those four are important characters! My heart was definitely pumping during that scene and for a moment there I actually didn’t expect Jon or Ygritte to make it through. The final scene with them standing on top of The Wall with the land of Westeros stretching out before them was incredible as well. Words weren’t even necessary, the sight was enough.
The forced romances running amok in King’s Landing provided some really interesting moments and did a great job showing how much of an iron fist Tywin has. With a few words, Tywin can even make someone as steadfast as Lady Olenna do his bidding. It was entertaining watching how everyone handled the situation as well. Tryion’s very awkward handling of the situation with Sansa was darkly humorous and really showed that he has no idea how to fix things. Sansa sobbing was expected too considering she has a lot to lose with this arrangement (she’s now stuck in King’s Landing even longer), but I’m surprised we got no reaction from Shae (Sibel Kekilli) considering how she was present when Tyrion broke the news. Clearly she would be against it and it’s out of place that she didn’t get a chance to say anything. As for Cersei and Loras, they both reacted in manners you would expect. Loras is just trying to go with the flow since he’s the outsider while Cersei will do everything she can to stop it.
As mentioned before, Robb didn’t get a lot of focus this week but his scene of him trying to form a deal with Frey’s army was powerful. It showcased Robb’s diplomatic skills excellently in light of how badly he betrayed his close ally. His ability to guilt trip his Uncle into marrying one of Frey’s daughters was incredible and I expect that to be a huge point of focus in future episodes. Getting a little more on this would have been nice, but at least we got some closure regarding Robb trying to fix his army after beheading Rickard Karstark (John Stahl).
The only non-romance part this week to get a lot of necessary attention was Arya (Maisie Williams) trying to fit into the Brotherhood Without Banners while Melisandre (Carice van Houten) paid a visit to the Riverlands. From what I can see, a lot of what these scenes were about was learning more information about Thoros of Myr (Paul Kaye). Obviously this was welcomed as Thoros is completely shrouded in mystery. I mean, how can he bring people back to life? Why can’t other people who follow the God of Light do this? Technically we didn’t get the answers to these questions, but we’re definitely one step closer by learning who Thoros is and the path that lead him to leading the Brotherhood. The other notable thing we got from Melisandre’s visit was Gendry (Joe Dempsie) being taken away, but there was little information regarding why that even happened. Perhaps he’ll finally meet good old Uncle Stannis (Stephen Dillane).
With the exception of Dany (Emilia Clarke) and her exploits, every other character got some minor attention this week. These scenes all served their own purposes, the most notable being Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) negotiating with their captors. However, I really did not need to see Theon (Alfie Allen) getting tortured even more. I get it, the guy is in danger and his captors want to harm him in every possible way. At least reveal some important story information in the process! Unfortunately Theon’s captors still remain unknown and his overly gruesome torture felt really drawn out this week. It was shock value and nothing else.
Speaking of shocking, I did NOT see Ros (Esmé Bianco) dying in such a horrific manner. I know she betrayed Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) hardcore, but leaving her fate up to the new mad King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) is fucked up. That was some excellent, albeit disturbing, closure to that little subplot.
In many ways, “The Climb” was another excellent episode of Game of Thrones. The characters in focus this week were engaging and the plot moved at a very steady pace. I really could have done without Theon’s torture though. Reveal who his captors are already!