Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 7 – “The Bear And The Maiden Fair”
Directed by Michelle MacLaren
Written by George R.R. Martin
Starring: Mark Addy, Alfie Allen, Emilia Clarke, James Cosmo, Liam Cunningham, Charles Dance, Stephen Dillane, Peter Dinklage, Natalie Dormer, Michelle Fairley, Jerome Flynn, Aidan Gillen, Jack Gleeson, Iain Glen, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Conleth Hill, Ciarán Hinds, Carice van Houten, Sibel Kekilli, Harry Lloyd, Richard Madden, Patrick Malahide, Rory McCann, Sophie Turner, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Maisie Williams, and Issac Hempstead-Wright
Air Date: May 12, 2013
I find it rather fitting that the title of Game of Thrones‘ seventh episode focuses so much on a particular pairing, considering that the episode spends so much time on duos of characters instead of individual characters. “The Bear And The Maiden Fair” is a quieter affair, (scripted by George R.R. Martin and directed by the incredible Michelle MacLaren), that works as what will probably become the calm before the storm, leading into the final three episodes of this season.
Because this is Game of Thrones, and I’m predisposed to thinking that bad things will literally happen to everyone, Talisa’s (Oona Chaplin) revelation to Robb (Richard Madden) probably won’t end in a nice way. Furthermore, if you need any more indication that Robb picked love over war, look at the way that scene is framed. Perhaps a bit on the nose, but some great blocking by MacLaren, nonetheless.
I’m always a fan of anything and everything that Charles Dance gets to do a Tywin, but this week’s scene with Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) cemented itself as one of my favorite Tywin interactions. As the elder Lannister seeks to put a crazed king in his place, it’s Joffrey that offers up a warning of the future, increasingly concerned about the Mother of Dragons and her victories beyond the water. It’s smart thinking on his part, and stupid denial on Tywin’s part, all played in a fantastic scene, whose silence and quieter moments have equal amounts to say.
Across the water, Dany (Emilia Clarke) looks to become Westeros’s version of Abraham Lincoln, as her journey takes her to Yunkai, where the woman has suddenly found herself in a very unique position of power. The rumors are spreading and Dany is quickly becoming a real threat, displaying her power in a much more vengeful manner than we’ve previously seen. It’s nice to see her having a bit of a Scarface moment, knowing her reputation and just how far she can work to extend that power and influence. For Dany, riding solo has been the best option.
However, the same can’t be said for Ayra (Maisie Williams), whose quick solo adventure with the Brotherhood comes to a close as she falls into the hands of a familiar friend. The Hound has made his thoughts about the youngest Stark girl well known and the pairing of these two characters won’t bode well for either. Which is something that Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) continues to negotiate. His solution seems to involve throwing the promise comfort and wealth at Shae in the wake of his arrangement to Sansa (Sophie Turner). While Shae understands (and Sansa begins to realize) that Tyrion isn’t an overly evil man, this move places the Imp further into his father’s own personal game and that there’s simply no protection from a man like that. It’s a tragic scene between the two, that’s echoed in many ways by what we’re shown with Ygritte (Rose Leslie) and Jon (Kit Harrington). As they near closer to their goal, we’re given the feeling that things won’t turn out well for these two. Snow continues to ‘know nothing,’ but he does know his feelings for Ygritte and is concerned for her safety, a red herring for a series like this, if there’s ever been one before.
Yet it’s again Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) whose pairing seems the most fleshed out and real to me. While his seemingly defining feature is gone, Jamie continues to redefine himself in the wake of said injury, constantly surprising me and those around him with his actions. As ‘The Rains of Castamere’ swell around that final scene, I’m reminded of the lyrics: “And who are you/the proud lord said.”
Jamie is allowing his pairing to redefine himself, just as Robb and Jon have. We’re getting hints that Jon and Robb’s pairing might undo each man in some capacity, but it’s surprising to see just how much Jamie’s pairing has come to redefine him.
Again, a quiet hour for the show, but one still filled with plenty of great and exciting moments.