Game of Thrones 3.07 "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" ReviewA tv review article by: Dylan Garsee, Nick Hanover
3.07 "The Bear and the Maiden Fair"
Nick Hanover: This week's episode of Game of Thrones was scripted by George R.R. Martin, which was a cause of excitement for a lot of people, but in my case I was dreading it because I knew there'd be a lot of sex scenes and that meant that there'd also be a lot of reminders from Dylan that these sex scenes all came from this man:
Dylan Garsee: George R. R. Martin wrote erotic fan fiction of his own work. This is turning into the Doritos Locos Tacos Doritos paradox. But with more nipples and what not.
Nick: It was also similar to the Doritos Locos Tacos Doritos in that it was initially satisfying, then kind of troubling and finally mostly just disgusting. But before we get to the castration scene that causes me to say that, let's get our requisite Jon Snow talk out of the way. This week, Jon Snow got dating advice from Mance Rayder, complete with visual examples, and Gareth from The Office inexplicably decided to woo Ygritte in the most Reddit-y way imaginable.
Dylan: Do they make Fedoras beyond the wall?
As bored as I am with the Jon Snow/Ygritte relationship, it was good to see this week that Ygritte doesn't know as much as she puts on. Her lack of knowledge about windmills and fainting and whatnot help her move out of the Manic Pixie Dream Wildling space that she's been inhabiting all series long.
Nick: It's difficult to tell whether she actually wants to learn about those things, though, as she was relatively dismissive of what Jon told her in this episode. That could be a defense tactic on her part, since she's still struggling with the way her affection for Jon is growing. I enjoy their scenes together, honestly, but I wish the rest of the Wildling story would have more of interest going on. Each week, we get handed details at a snail's pace and this episode was no different. In fact, the big reveal, if there was one, was that every previous Wildling revolt had been an utter disaster and Jon is confident this one will be too.
Of course, he doesn't realize how fucked up things have gotten in Westeros, and it seems that this era may be the time for the Wildlings to shine in the same way the Visigoths did when they brought on the fall of Rome.
Dylan: Ah, yes. Just like the Visigoths. Totally. I definitely know exactly what you mean and am not at all confused by this reference.
::brief break as we educate Dylan on classical history::
Nick: Point being, I know that we have to give the series room to get all these threats and players into place, but given how few episodes we get a season, I still feel as though our time could be used more efficiently, and after that excellent reveal of the creatures and forces in the Wildling camp earlier in the season, it would be nice to get a better glimpse at what kind of threat they actually pose.
Dylan: I understand that the book they're adapting is being split into two seasons so that they can allow the story to unfold at a better pace, but seven episodes in they still haven't found the pacing to keep the show interesting. I haven't watched The Walking Dead, but I hear the second season was hilariously slow. Compared to that, how is this season going?
Nick: Game of Thrones has a long way to go before it hits that mark, because GoT has always been far more character than plot driven, anyway. But that comparison isn't exactly off base. GoT is biding time until it can get to the narrative payoff it has promised with the looming big wedding, and that's where most of the issues stem from. With such a huge development on the horizon, one which will have major repercussions no matter what, GoT can afford to dole things out slowly and count on not losing viewers. Even so, as you pointed out, this episode had a huge drop off in viewership.
Dylan: Probably because last week we had the same problem: nothing happens.
Nick: I think the biggest indicator of how the series is kind of stalling out at the moment was our time spent in King's Landing.
Nick: We got a pointless showdown between Tywin and Joffrey over where the small council meetings should be held and whether Daenerys is a threat or not, and then we got more wheel spinning on the Tyrion/Sansa front. As fun as the Tywin/Joffrey scene was to watch, the Sansa stuff was honestly kind of stupid. Sansa learned that Tyrion has a reputation for his sexual escapades, which was super creepy in context, and Tyrion got an earful from Shea. I used to like any scene Tyrion was in, but this season, his presence has been a warning that we're about to be subjected to a lot of whining and pettiness.
Dylan:Tyrion has taken a complete 180 in terms of his badassedness from last season. If I were to show someone who had never seen the show any clips of Tyrion from this season, save the majestic harem scene with Podrick, they would be like "*this* is the guy everyone likes from this show?"
Nick: I get that they need to show how cornered he feels by the wedding stuff, but every episode it feels like they're just showing us the same conversations, over and over and over and over again.
Dylan: And as pointless as the Tywin/Joff scene was, it still was goddamned hilarious, especially that fantastically bitchy "we can arrange to have you carried" piece of shade Tywin threw.
Nick: Equally insufferable is the Robb situation. His wife is pretty. He loves her. Now they're going to have a baby. That might be a problem for his war effort. Yawn.
Dylan: She's seriously the Megan Draper of this show in terms of "pretty brunette wives that I hate and bore me."
I can honestly say, since she is a made up character for the show, I still have no idea what her name is.
Nick: I'm not sure I understand why the showrunners feel the need to add all these momentum killing characters when there's already so much info to get across. The only relationship stuff I cared about in this episode was the Jaime/Brienne thread, which continues to be the most watchable element of the season.
Dylan: Probably because they're moving forward at a normal pace. So much has heppened between them that it allows you to care more. Robb & Catelyn, Bran & Co., and all of King's Landing have had maybe half an episode's worth of plot development. Whereas with Jaime and Brienne, I could watch that shit all day.
Nick: It's also a world that we previously hadn't been exposed to, so it hasn't stagnated yet. Learning that there is humanity in Jaime is interesting because previously we had no reason to suspect that was the case, which makes scenes like the one where he goes back and saves Brienne from a bear so impactful-- we're getting a view of his transformation in real time.
Dylan: Would you mind if I spoil the book's version of that scene, because it's one of the few scenes in the book that I wanted them to get right, and by changing it, it had not as big of an impact to me?
Too bad, I'm doing it.
One of two things.
First of all, the Six-Fingered Man from the Princess Bride-Bolton. He's supposed to be a man nicknamed The Goat, and he has a lisp, which is absolutely hilarious (and gives a better reason to why Jaime brought up the sapphires-- he just wanted to hear him say "sapphires"). But the second change that has more to do with this episode is that Jaime and Brienne FUCKING KILL THE BEAR AND IT'S AWESOME.
Nick: Thanks, PETA.
Joking aside, that does sound a lot more exciting, but I don't necessarily have a problem with how it went down in the episode. I'd have a hard time believing Jaime could take down a bear given how much difficulty he had fighting men and since we've been shown he's still pretty weak. I'm happy to wait for Jaime badassery until he gets his magic hand or whatever the fuck happens with that development they've been hinting at.
Nick: But on the Bolton front, can we talk about what the fuck went down with Theon and Roose Bolton's bastard in this episode? First there was that bizarre seduction scene and a whole lot of talk about Theon's cock and then it seemed like said cock actually got hacked off.
Dylan: There can only be one magical cock in Westeros. And that magical cock belongs to Podrick muhfukin Payne.
Maybe he's behind the torture.
Maybe Podrick is so jealous of Theon's penis, that he forces Hannibal Lector's fat british cousin to cut it off.
Nick: Maybe Podrick's penis is the Highlander of penises?
Dylan: Girth Brook's penis is the Highlander of penises.
For those of you who don't know who Girth Brooks is, he's a gay for pay porn star.
Whose name is Girth Brooks.
And he goes by Girth Brooks.
Nick: But to get back on point...I was a little perplexed by George R.R. Martin's decision to make Theon's storyline an insane amalgamation of In the Realm of the Senses and Misery. Is Theon going to be less of a dick now? Sorry, couldn't resist.
Dylan: My god, this sentence had it all: ItRotSaM references, Theon puns, apologies for Theon puns.
I think we're done with this week's review, because no sentence can top that last one.
Nick: But we haven't even gotten to Daenerys yet!
Dylan: Daenerys has gotten to the point where she should end every sentence with "mmmmmhmmmm". Like Jackee.
Nick: I love watching Daenerys come into her own and it's great to see her gain so much confidence, but I have to wonder how long it will be before she suffers for her hubris. I can understand why she'd want to pick up a couple hundred thousand former slaves for her cause, but where is she getting the resources to care for them? Even if the slavers handed them over, how would she take care of them? And where is she going to get the boats to bring them to Westeros? It seems like she'd be better off getting to Westeros, marching on the kingdoms, and then coming back to free the slaves of the world.
Dylan: Ssssshhhhhhh, don't mess with the logic of Game of Thrones.
Nick: Poor Ser Jorah, though. He doesn't seem to realize he's turning into the friend that the rest of the gang keeps around out of sadness and guilt.
Dylan: "Oh my god Ser Jorah, it's like you don't even know me!"
Nick: I'm worried she's going to get hung up on in-fighting between Jorah and, well, everyone, and those walls, and lose a lot of valuable time and resources.
Dylan: You should be worried, because she's not getting out of Essos anytime soon.
Nick: Meanwhile, Arya continued her journey through all of the weirdest parts of the kingdom and has now wound up in the hands of The Hound. That almost certainly won't go horribly wrong.
Nick: All in all, I'd say this was a middling episode, and I think it's getting my lowest score for GoT yet, of a 3. How about you?
Dylan: Pairing Arya with the Hound is most definitely going to be an interesting matchup, and we'll finally see if Arya is more than just a death Prayer.
A 3 sounds absolutely correct.
Nick: I'll let you get back to your horse videos, then. Until next week.
Dylan Garsee is a freelance writer/bingo enthusiast currently living in Austin, TX. He is studying sociology, and when he's not winning trivia nights at pork-themed restaurants, writing a collection of essays on the gay perspective in geek culture. An avid record collector, Dylan can mostly be seen at Waterloo Records, holding that one God Speed You! Black Emperor record he can't afford and crying. You can follow him on twitter @garseed.
Nick Hanover got his degree from Disneyland, but he's the last of the secret agents and he's your man. Which is to say you can find his particular style of espionage here at Comics Bulletin, where he reigns as the co-managing editor, or at Panel Panopticon, which he started as a joke and now takes semi-seriously. Or if you feel particularly adventurous, you can always witness his odd rants about his potentially psychopathic roommate on twitter @Nick_Hanover and explore the world of his musical alter ego at Fitness and Pontypool.