Well, that was a bit of a let down. I thought for sure that episode six was the pause before the big wrap up. It turns out episode seven was just an extension of that pause, basically one episode too long of down time. Of course it is a matter of pacing and dividing up the third book probably requires a few dragged steps to make a logical break for the next season. Even so, the moon shots of Robb and his queen fell into gratuitous territory. We have been lucky not to have to endure too much of the True Game of Throne Blood. It was a quite a revelation that Talisa is pregnant. If I’m not mistaken that was a still up in the air in the books, though it is a different character in the books as well. Perhaps Talisa is more fertile.
We got quite a bit of Jon wandering around on the other side of the Wall. It took longer in the television show, but Ygritte has worn out her welcome for me. She isn’t as annoying as the character in the books, but the all-knowing worldly attitude she carries has worn thin with me.
The cat is out of the bag in King’s Landing and all parties know the marriage plans that are in the offing. The scenes from this locale are quite good from a performance point of view, the opposite perspectives on the impending Tyrion and Sansa marriage especially; she still far too innocent for her own good, he trying to not be a complete leach. The exchange between Shae and Tyrion is a turn from the books that I don’t particularly like. I can’t reveal too much, but there are some bits later on that will be harder and harder to pull off with each passing lover’s quarrel. The standoff between Tywin and Joffrey was interesting too, but I’m not in the mood for My Dinner With Andre. After episode six, I’m ready for the chess pieces to make some substantial moves, not further preparation of the board.
Speaking of, Dany is on the move to her next target and her raison de entre is fully revealed. She is all about freeing enslaved people in hopes that they remain loyal to her and join her cause. What that cause is, well, that is getting further and further down the road isn’t it?
On the road is pretty much the where the rest of the characters are, or in the case of Gendry on the sea. Melisandre reveals his true parentage, but we get the distinct feeling that there is more to her revelation than just letting Gendry know who is father is. Arya gets out on the road, but runs into a Hound. Brann is still on the road to the Wall, which is actually more boring than the books. At least in the books we got some interesting history and backstory. In the television series, we aren’t getting much except for information as viewers we kind of already know.
Theon probably wishes he was on any road but the one he is on, and he loses far more than anyone thus far this season. Just like in the books, I particularly like how they have made Theon into a sympathetic character. It is pretty amazing that the guy who was a traitor and despicable opportunist is downright pitiable this season.
The finale of the episode is where the episode gets its name, The Bear and Maiden Fair. Jaime is, you guessed it, on the road to King’s Landing without his escort, Brienne. As we saw in the previous episode, Jaime has a bit more of a conscience than was originally thought, throwing a kid out of a window notwithstanding. He goes back to save Brienne, mainly due to the fact that his previous deceit about the sapphires kind of backfired, yes it saved Brienne in the short term from being raped, but the lie has greater consequences in this episode. When Jaime gets back to Harrenhal, we find Brienne in a pit fighting a bear, quite the medieval scene, except I don’t think bear baiting was so much a torture as a form of entertainment, well except for the bear. Even so, the rescue of Brienne is rather anti-climatic. Jaime pretty much just talks his way out of another jam and manages to bring Brienne along. I can only hope that the trip to King’s Landing is truncated at this point. Anymore travel across Westeros this season and Anthony Bourdain might have grounds to sue.