After the past few action-packed episodes, the sixth installment of season 3 is a bit of a breather. If you like the more chess-like aspect of the show, this was a positioning episode to be sure. In the first third of the season we saw a lot of characters moving around, going from castle to castle and place to place. In episode 6, we find out where people intend to go or see them start their respective journeys.
North of the Wall Samwell and Gilly make plans to get to the Wall and then, well, who knows? Sam is obviously smitten with Gilly, but while he is not the best soldier, he is loyal to the Night’s Watch. If you’ve read the books, you also know what the obsidian dagger means, but that’s all I’ll say.
Speaking of north of the Wall, the other Night’s Watchman with woman issues, Jon Snow, discovers that Ygritte knows about his duplicity and pretty much issues an ultimatum to him, stay loyal to her or pretty much get his throat slit. I must admit, and no, not because she threatened Jon, she is becoming a bit of an annoying character. It took longer than in the books, but she has become a bit of a bore. While she isn’t saying, “You know nothing Jon Snow” like the novels, the same idea is still there, a repetitive, condescension of Jon’s lack of worldly knowledge. The wildlings decide to climb the Wall on the orders of Mance Rayder to do some recon and also test Jon’s loyalty. It was a stunning scene, but I have to wonder how useful it is to send a bunch of people up the Wall, only to lose most of them. Also, when they do reach the top of the Wall, what does it serve? They aren’t going to build a lift to move people over the wall en masse and they already know where the Night’s Watch is gathered. It seems like a rather futile gesture.
As a reader of the books, the most intriguing development was the intersection of the Stannis/Melisandre and Brotherhood Without Banners storylines. My guess is the writers and producers did this in order to simplify a couple of the plot lines from the novels. Basically, Melisandre enters the camp looking for Gendry. We aren’t quite sure why (well I know why, but I’m telling) but in rather short order, she gets her way and Gendry is sold out. Arya is none to happy with this and basically this event is greasing the skids for her exit from the Brotherhood. If we know anything about the Starks, (and Arya in particular) they are loyal and ethical. They won’t associate with less noble people if they can help it, so don’t expect Arya to stick around with people who would sell her friend.
Two big developments occur regarding the Robb storyline. First, we see Robb negotiating with the Freys for safe passage and troops. He basically has to marry off one of his uncles and apologize for insulting the honor of house Frey. His uncle almost blows it again, but is convinced that it is the right thing to do. Much more interesting are the negotiations between Jaime Lannister and Roose Bolton. That isn’t quite right, I’m enjoying the relationship between Jaime and Brienne. Honestly, we know that Jamie is going to get ransomed, but watching the interplay, much of it without words between he and Brienne is just delightful. As nice as these moments are we find out that it could be at an end. Jaime is going to be released, but Bolton has no plans to free Brienne.
Speaking of great interplay, the negotiation scene between Tywin and the Queen of Thorns was quite good. As much as the show is making Tywin Lannister the main bad guy, it is hard not to admire him. We have seen Lady Tyrell get the better of most in King’s Landing, but not Tywin Lannister. While they are both frank about the current situation, Tywin goes for the throat and of course gets his way: Cersei and Loras will wed, cementing the ties between the two houses and like the marriage of Tyrion and Sansa, making another major house subordinate to the Lannisters.
The final montage presented with a nice little speech by Littlefinger is a perfect prologue to what we should expect: Chaos. While we only see three major characters during the montage, Littlefinger’s words tell us that there is much to come. While things seemed calm this episode, the chaos is just getting started. The next three episodes should be something else to watch.