“Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. The climb is all there is.”
After barely managing to escape from the bloodbath at Crastor’s village, Sam (John Bradley) and Gilly (Hannah Murray) are camping out in the woods. Sam is an awkward mess of adorability as usual, and does his best to woo Gilly by showing her his “treasure.” No, that is not a euphemism; Sam found an interesting looking knife up at the Fist of the First Men, and a prolonged close-up of said knife implies that it’s going to be of major significance in the near future.
Gilly asks Sam if they’re close to their destination – the Wall, where they’ll be relatively safe from the vengeful ex-Night’s Watch members – and Sam tells her there are only a few days more to travel. He goes on to describe what his life was like when he was still at the Wall, and at Gilly’s insistence, begins to sing her and her cute little baby a song.
Bran Stark and the Reeds
Hm, that kind of sounds like a band name. Bran Stark and the Reeds’ debut singles: “The Three-Eyed Raven” and “That Time I Fell Off A Tower.”
Anywho, the first we see of this ragtag bunch, they’ve made camp in the woods again, and Meera (Ellie Kendrick) and Osha (Natalia Tena) are skinning rabbits and passive aggressively snarking at each other. It’s been practically ages already, and they still can’t get along.
Eventually, the passive aggressiveness escalates to pure aggressiveness, but before an actual fight can break out, Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) stops them and points out that there can’t be infighting if they’re ever going to make it to the Wall. Osha and Meera grudgingly make peace.
And then, a few feet away, Meera’s brother Jojen (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) starts having a seizure. Meera runs to help him, and explains to the rest of the group that the seizures are a side effect of his powers – that “the visions take their toll.”
When Jojen snaps out of it, he tells Bran that he saw his half-brother Jon Snow (Kit Harington), but he was on the wrong side of the Wall and in grave danger.
Jon and Ygritte
Seamless segue to Jon’s storyline! Jon and the Wildlings (hey look, another band name) are, like everyone else in this episode so far, back on their trek to the Wall. Jon stares nervously up at the gargantuan structure as Ygritte (Rose Leslie) dreamily tells him that she’s waited her whole life to be able to see the world from “up there.”
She tosses Jon some climbing gear that she somehow procured for him. As they prepare for their climb up the Wall, Ygritte teases Jon a little about their sex romp in the last episode (she also does a spot-on impression of him, by the way) before getting very, very serious; turns out she knows Jon didn’t truly renounce the Night’s Watch when he swore loyalty to Mance Raydar, King of the Wildlings.
She promises not to tell anyone, though, then says that now that she’s Jon’s “woman”, he’s going to be loyal to her. In her eyes, they’re just easily replaceable soldiers in a war that isn’t their own, and the only people that should matter to Jon and Ygritte, are Jon and Ygritte.
The next we see the Wildlings, they’re in the middle of scaling the Wall and are already dizzyingly high up. When an ice pick unfortunately hits the wrong spot, a good chunk of the ice on the Wall cracks and slides down, taking a lot of Wildlings with it. Ygritte and Jon are one of the ones who fall, though they are saved by a rope and one of the Wildling leaders who refuses to let them go. However, another man attached to the rope has other ideas; he whips out a knife and starts sawing away, trying to cut Jon and Ygritte loose before their combined weight brings them all down.
Luckily enough, Jon is able to find a foot hold in the ice before they’re cut loose, and saves Ygritte. The two share a quick moment before continuing to climb.
When they finally get to the top, the view is gorgeous. As the other Wildlings pack up the climbing gear and get ready for the siege that’s about to happen, Jon and Ygritte stare lovingly into each others’ eyes before making out as the sun rises behind them.
Arya Stark and Co.
Arya is (Maisie Williams) practicing her archery, and as she repeats the mantra from the last episode – “Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne” – she shoots arrows precisely into the “face, tits, and balls” of the target in front of her. One of the Brotherhood men (the hot archer guy) points out that although Arya has good aim, she also takes way too long to make her shot. Human targets certainly aren’t going to stand there and let her shoot arrows into their ball-sacks.
He gives her some quick pointers, and as Arya brings her bowstring back, she notices someone moving out in the woods. The men go to investigate, and find a woman in a blood red cloak being escorted by a group of scary looking extras.
I guess now we know where Melisandre (Carice Van Houten) fucked off to a few episodes ago, because the Red Priestess is back.
They bring her back to the secret hideout, where Beric (David Michael Scott) is waiting. Melisandre is shocked to hear that Beric has been brought back to life six times, saying that that should be impossible, and that Thoros (Paul Kaye) should not have this kind of power. Thoros replies that he has no power. A long time ago, Thoros had lost his faith in their god until Beric died for the first time. When Thoros said the old words next to his friend’s dead body, the Lord of Light actually answered his prayers.
Melisandre asks Beric about the afterlife, and Beric replies that there is no afterlife – only darkness. Oooh, scary. She then tells Beric that she’s here to look for someone in particular – that person is someone that their Lord of Light needs. I wonder who it could be?
That trusty “fast-cut-to-character-everyone-is-talking-about” maneuver that Game of Thrones is so fond of using informs us that the person she’s looking for is Gendry (Joe Dempsie), who is currently with Arya inspecting some arrowheads. Sure enough, Melisandre and her men swan up and grab Gendry as the Brotherhood stands by and does nothing. Arya does her best to stop them, but she’s only one girl in the face of many men much stronger than her. She watches in horror as Melisandre gives Beric two large pouches of gold in exchange for Gendry being taken away.
Melisandre tells a protesting Gendry that he’s got a bright future ahead of him in which he will make kings rise and fall. She also reads Arya’s future, saying that she sees a darkness in her, and eyes that Arya will shut forever. Yeah, that does not sound at all good.
Theon Greyjoy and Ramsay Bolton
In this week’s episode, Ramsay is competing with Joffrey for the title of “Worst Person Ever” as all of his scenes are of him gleefully torturing Theon. (As terrible and terrifying as Ramsay Bolton is, Iwan Rheon is doing such a good job in this role.)
Ramsay wakes Theon (Alfie Allen) up with a loud trumpet noise, then when Theon haltingly asks for water, Ramsay instead goes and dumps a mug full of the liquid onto the floor. Then he gets down to business, saying to Theon “Let’s play a game!” Wait, when did this become a scene from the Saw movies? Is Ramsay secretly Jigsaw? Is there going to be an elaborate death trap from which Theon must now escape?
Nope, the game Ramsay wants to play is “Which body part do you need the least?” The rules of the game are: if Theon figures out who Ramsay is, Theon wins, and if Theon begs Ramsay to cut off his finger, then Ramsay wins.
Also, oh my god, this torture scene is way too drawn out. Ramsay eventually lets Theon think he’s guessed everything correctly and that he’s safe, but then reveals that he’s a no good dirty rotten liar and that the only reason why he’s torturing Theon is because he enjoys it.
Theon finally begs him to cut off his finger, and Ramsay backs away with a bright smile on his face, saying “I win!”
I’m going to have nightmares.
Robb (Richard Madden), Catelyn (Michelle Fairley), and Edmure (Tobias Menzies) are in a meeting with the Frey family representatives discussing what Lord Frey wants from Robb before he would continue their alliance. He wants Robb to formally apologize for breaking his vow to marry one of Frey’s daughters, along with Harrenhal and all the lands around it.
There’s one last stipulation: Edmure must now marry a Frey in place of Robb. The Starks discuss it, then agree to the demands.
Jaime and Brienne
Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) is entertaining Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) in his quarters. Brienne’s all dolled up in a bright pink dress, while Jaime is shown struggling to cut into his ham with only his left hand. Brienne tries to reason with Lord Bolton for their release, telling him that she’s acting on Catelyn Stark’s orders to bring Jaime to King’s Landing, but Bolton replies that Catelyn committed treason by releasing Jaime.
Jaime then asks why Bolton hasn’t yet returned him to Robb. It’s because Bolton wants money, of course. Money makes the world go ’round. Mo money, mo problems, etc, etc.
Bolton agrees to let Jaime leave for King’s Landing as soon as they are well, “as restitution for the mistakes my soldiers made.” In return, Jaime must promise to tell his father that Lord Bolton let him go, and that he had nothing to do with the cutting off of Jaime’s hand. However, he refuses to let Brienne travel with Jaime, which brings our brave duo to their next problem: how to get Brienne away from Bolton’s claws.
Tywin, Cersei, and Tyrion
Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) is informing Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) of his plans to marry Cersei (Lena Headey) and Loras (Finn Jones) to each other, but Badass Olenna is having absolutely none of that. When Tywin asks in a roundabout way if Loras is gay – insinuating that a man with his “affliction” should consider himself lucky to marry a woman like Cersei – Olenna cheerfully confirms Loras is indeed gay, that it’s not a big deal, and then slyly starts to muse about incest.
Man, you are awesome.
Tywin is disgusted by what he thinks is only a rumor and refuses to talk about it. Olenna states that whether or not it’s true, enough people believe it that they would go to war with the Lannisters. Because a lion does not concern itself with the opinions of the sheep, Tywin couldn’t give a fuck what people believe – but he does agree that if it’s true, Joffrey has no claim to the throne, and the Tyrells would lose any remaining power they have.
Tywin offers Olenna a choice: either marry Loras to Cersei and let their children continue the Tyrell family line, or he will promote Loras to the Kingsguard where he’ll never be allowed to marry or have children, and Highgarden will be lost to the Lannisters. Well, that’s no choice at all, is it?
Meanwhile, Cersei and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) are being civil with each other for once, because they’re both mourning the upcoming loss of their freedoms (otherwise known as “marriage”.)
Tyrion takes a more direct route in finding out if Cersei tried to have him killed: he asks her himself. She stays silent, and Tyrion figures out the truth: it was Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) who sent a member of the Kingsguard after him because he hates Tyrion.
Cersei bemoans the fact that the Lannisters’ power will soon be taken from them by the Tyrells, with Joffrey and all his children lost to Margaery’s manipulations. Tyrion tells her not to worry because Jaime will be back soon and she’ll be saved, but he’ll be screwed either way because he still has to marry Sansa.
Oh my god, this is hilarious. Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and Loras Tyrell are on the world’s most awkward date. They eventually warm up to each other when they find something in common: they both hate being in King’s Landing.
Later, Sansa is trying on a dress for Joffrey’s wedding and happily talking about her upcoming marriage to Loras, when Tyrion barges in. Shae (Sibel Kekilli), Sansa’s handmaiden and Tyrion’s lover, is in the room as well, so this conversation just got about ten times more awkward.
We don’t actually get to see Tyrion tell them about Sansa’s new engagement to him, but the next shot we see of Sansa, she’s sobbing into a handkerchief as she watches Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillan) sail away, taking her one last chance at freedom with him.
Petyr and Varys
Before Petyr leaves King’s Landing, however, there’s a scene where Petyr gloats to Varys (Conleth Hill) over Petyr having successfully thwarted Varys and Olenna Tyrell’s plans to wed Loras and Sansa. Petyr also informs Varys that his confidant, Ros, has been punished for betraying Petyr by gathering information for Varys.
The scene then switches to Joffrey lounging on a chair with his new crossbow propped up on his legs, staring at the mangled body of Ros tied to his bedpost, all shot up with arrows.
Comments + Verdict
Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Bolton definitely stole the episode. Everything about him is just so unsettling. Though there wasn’t much in the way of action in the rest of “The Climb”, the story did move along at a nice pace, and it was a pretty engaging and interesting hour. Ros’ death scene, however, was very gruesome, and the camera lingered unnecessarily long on her wounds and breasts. For an initially minor character gradually given bigger and bigger roles in the story, and then suddenly be killed off felt so strange to me.
Ygritte: “Oooh, I’m Jon Snow, I’ve killed dead men and Qhorin Halfhand, but I’m scared of naked girls.”
Thoros: I knelt beside his cold body and said the old words. Not because I believed in them, but… he was my friend. And he was dead. And they were the only words I knew. And for the first time in my life, the Lord replied.
Ramsay: If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.
Jaime: Shall we drink on it?
Lord Bolton: I don’t partake.
Jaime: … You do understand how suspicious that is to ordinary people?
Olenna: Your daughter is –
Tywin: – Is rich, the most beautiful woman in all seven kingdoms, and the mother of the king.
Olenna: Old. I’m something of an expert on the subject.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 PM on HBO.