Game Of Thrones 3.07 “The Bear And The Maiden Fair” TV REVIEW
Writer: George RR Martin
Director: Michelle MacClaren
THE ONE WHERE Robb receives big news, Jon heads to Castle Black and Jaime lends Brienne a hand.
VERDICT It's says something that even on a week when Game Of Thrones isn't firing on all cylinders, we still get some highly impressive dragons, a gorgeous new city in Yunkai, and a wide selection of nerve-shredding encounters. Yet while “The Beast And The Maiden Fair” had its moments – and there's no denying it did – it still felt uneven, with storylines piled up too high and payoffs lacking impact.
Which is a bit of a surprise really, considering George RR Martin wrote this one. There were certainly traces of the master's pen at work – Bronn and Tyrion's banter, Dany's stiff-backed stance against the Yunkish – but things just felt a little... off . Some of it was certainly down to trying to advance every storyline a little rather than one or two of them a lot, meaning that at the finish nothing felt particularly satisfying.
In fairness, episodes like this are critical as we get towards the final third of the season. If the final act is going to work, the pieces have to be in place, and there was plenty of moving around this week. Jon, Robb, Melisandre, Gendry, Arya, Dany – everyone's on the march this week, heading towards an inevitably explosive climax.
Ned's two eldest boys have got the biggest problems ahead, no doubt about it. Jon's loyalties are being stretched even as he falls further in love with Ygritte, and the strain is beginning to show. Jon is certainly different from the boy he was – more confident, more northern somehow – but is he really a Wildling at heart? Let's face it, probably not, although at least there isn't a baby Jon on the way. Quite how Robb is going to deal with a newborn and waging a war is anyone's guess, although it doesn't look like his mind is exactly on the campaign at the moment.
Dany's focus has strayed too: she's no longer purely intent on getting over the sea and claiming the Iron Throne for herself, and is slowly becoming obsessed with freeing all the slaves she encounters. Of course, with dragons like that (and how amazing did they look?) she can pretty much do what she likes.
Elsewhere we saw Tyrion and Sansa attempt to come to terms with their impending nuptials (we're getting a little bored of seeing Tyrion mope around King's Landing to be honest), Arya get captured by the Hound (which should make for some fiery conversation) and Melisandre inexplicably take Gendry to King's Landing. What could that possibly be about? We're not sure, but the wildfire-scorched area in front of the Red Keep was a pertinent reminder that if you play with the red god, you're going to end up burned.
BOAST OF THE WEEK Jaime Lannister might not be the finest example of humanity, but there's no messing with his life saving figures. And exactly how many souls has he kept out of hell? “Half a million,” he tells Qyburn, “the population of King's Landing.” Fair enough, we say.
DOUBLE BUBBLE In case you were getting worried about a lack of flesh, we got a pair of double doses this week, once as two ladies gave Theon a pre-torture peep show, but perhaps most memorably when we saw Robb Stark and Talisa's respective rumps in one shot. Something for everyone there, well done Game Of Thrones .
INSULT OF THE WEEK “Go buy yourself a golden hand and fuck yourself with it.” Locke's not a nice man, but there's no denying his insults have a certain panache.
DEJA VU OF THE WEEK Jaime jumping into the bear pit to save Brienne immediately reminded us of an astonishingly similar scene in Anchorman . Instead of Ron Burgundy's legendary, “I immediately regret this decision,” however, Jaime did a pretty good job of helping out the Maid Of Tarth. Not bad for one hand...
THIS GAME’S NO FUN Theon's situation goes from bad, to temporarily quite good, to really very bad indeed in the space of one scene. Just as he was beginning to think he was the luckiest prisoner in Westeros, his torturer turned up with the nastiest looking knife we've seen yet and waved it in the direction of little Theon. Oh dear.
SHOT OF THE WEEK A couple of contenders this week, including a particularly ominous shot of Joffrey slouched on the Iron Throne in all his tyrannical glory, but the winner has to be Drogon, Dany's fiercest dragon, going all Jurassic Park on the Yunkish emissary.
Daenerys: “What happens to things that don't bend?”
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