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Game Of Thrones 3.06 The Climb REVIEW

TV REVIEW Marriage guidance, mountaineering and torture porn

Game Of Thrones 3.06 “The Climb” TV REVIEW

Episode 3.06
Writers: David Benioff and DB Weiss
Director: Alik Sakharov

THE ONE WHERE Jon climbs the wall, Tywin puts his plans into action and Robb attempts to forge a new alliance.

VERDICT Things took a little while to get going this week, thanks mainly to a pair of scenes early on – one with Sam and Gilly, the other with Bran and his merry band of travellers – that felt shoehorned in. It's understandable when there are so many storylines to keep up with; presumably the thinking is that we'll forget certain characters if we don't get an update every now and then. But to be honest we'd rather have gotten straight to the meat of the matter, as there's plenty of it to go round in this episode.

Jon's scaling of the Wall with Ygritte and Tormund was the action centrepiece of “The Climb”, and by and large it was as vertigo-inducing as you might expect, watching a bunch of rope-and-bone wielding Wildlings scaling a 700ft structure to be. Occasionally, the wall looked a little too much like it was made of polystyrene, but when that huge portion sheared off and left Jon and Ygritte dangling, it felt real enough.

A long way south, Arya's journey to Riverrun with the Brotherhood had an unlikely visitor in the form of Melisandre. It'd be easy to forget that the formidable red priestess and Thoros are actually cut from the same cloth, and their conversation was absolutely fascinating. The Fire God's minions have been trying to infiltrate the Seven Kingdoms for some time, although R'hllor has never been more powerful than he is now. Deciphering Melisandre's motivations is becoming increasingly difficult – was she also sent on an errand by the high priest? – but we're guessing it has something to do with her acquisition of king's blood in Gendry.

While Arya is busy telling Melisandre exactly what she thinks of her, Robb is having to hold his tongue in front of the Freys as he attempts to shore up his rapidly failing rebellion. Edmure's wedding to one of Walder Frey's many daughters seems like a simple solution to his problems – perhaps a little too simple – and it pains us to see the Starks doing so badly in the war for the Iron Throne.

What the Starks need is their own Tywin Lannister. Charles Dance's pragmatic patriarch is pulling every string available, and seemingly remaining several steps ahead of the pack while doing so. His chat with Olenna Tyrell was a wonderful piece of television, and an episode highlight. There was no room for veiled meanings as the Lannister and Tyrell leaders had a full – and incredibly frank – discussion about the bedtime habits of their children and grandchildren, a conversation that included the priceless moment the Queen Of Thorns asked Tywin whether he'd ever had a tumble with a stable-boy. A comedy moment worth framing if ever there was one...

While Tywin and Olenna's chat introduced us to a dynamic we'd love to see more of, this episode also saw two old sparring partners step back into the ring: Littlefinger and Varys. Never before have Littlefinger's ambitions been more open, his ruthless streak laid bare for the Spider to see. The old gods and the new help Westeros if he manages to get his hands on the throne he so dearly covets.

EUPHEMISM OF THE WEEK The Queen Of Thorns is still getting all the best lines, and it continued this week when she called Loras “a sword swallower through and through.”

CONFESSION TIME Thoros of Myr doesn't look like your standard issue priest, and by R'hllor he doesn't act like one either. “I've always been a terrible priest,” he admits this week. “Drank too much run, fucked all the whores in King's Landing.” Quite the saint...

KINK OF THE WEEK We're all men and women of the world round these parts, but as pervy kicks go, Joffrey's crossbow killing of Ros really went one step beyond. The odious boy-king has gone full psycho, with repercussions every bit as disturbing as we all expected.

THIS GAME'S NO FUN Theon's tormentor obviously has a fairly loose grip on sanity, but his idea of fun and games included one of the most wince-inducing pieces of creative violence we've seen thus far in Game Of Thrones . For sheer seat-squirming, please-stop-doing-that horror, skinning a little finger will take some beating. Poor old Theon, he'll never pinky swear again (at least not with that hand).

FASHION FAUX PAS OF THE WEEK Brienne in a frilly pink dress was a sight to behold. It's testament to just how great a character she is – and how well she was cast – that seeing her out of armour feels so wrong.

SHOT OF THE WEEK Jon and Ygritte's super-cheesy wall-top smooch to close the episode might have been the intended money shot, but we felt that the Wildlings scrambling up the towering side of the wall like a bunch of very organised ants demonstrated the sheer size of the thing much more effectively.

BEST LINE
Theon's torturer: “If you think this is going to have a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention.”

Rob Power

• Read our other Game Of Thrones season three reviews
• New episodes of Game Of Thrones season three are currently airing in the UK on Sky Atlantic, Mondays at 9pm.
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