“The Bear and the Maiden Fair,” written by George R.R. Martin (and last heard drunkenly shouted by the Hold Steady), has a lot more in common with season one’s “The Pointy End” than it does last year’s “Blackwater,” the other two episodes written by the Game of Thrones author. It continued existing storylines (Jon and Ygritte walking, Sansa and Margaery talking, etc.) and set up new arcs (Dany waging war with the Yunkai), without resolving anything, other than the Sad Saga of Theon’s Manhood. “Blackwater” was the cathartic (and literal) explosion after two years of off-screen battles; the biggest fight in “Maiden Fair” featured a bear and a wooden sword.
Not that that scene wasn’t fantastic. Because it was. I mean, it’s a giant f*cking bear (named Bart!) fighting a human in a pit (and done a lot better than The Walking Dead‘s ring of zombies, with a better peformance from the 300-pound fuzzy tractor than the Governor to boot), and the episode overall was very, very good. Oddly, though, Martin wasn’t the star — that distinction belongs to director Michelle MacLaren, who Breaking Bad fans should know as the visual eye behind “Gliding Over All.” The way she filmed Joffrey’s chat with Tywin, with the camera angles reflecting the gradual power shift, was a thing of looming beauty. You could mute that scene and still know what was going on. Not that you’d want to miss a single Joffrey whine or Tywin smackdown.
Robb, who almost immediately put his robe on after doing the sweaty deed, as opposed to Talisa, who let it all hang out (can’t imagine why that happened), doesn’t know how he can plan a war with his naked lady so close to him. That’s why Game of Thrones is so great, y’know: it’s so easy to relate to. We’ve all been there, moving a bunch of sh*t around on a table to plot out strategic maneuvers in a war we’re desperate to win, while nearby, Charlie Chaplin’s naked granddaughter writes a post-coital letter to her mom.
Jon Snow seems like the kind of guy who’s into some really kinky sh*t. Typically, he’s sullen and brooding and oh-so-emo *dismissively flips hair*, but the first time we’ve seen Jon show a hint of charisma is when he starts telling Ygritte all the things he’s going to do to her. At the same time, I bet he takes his scenarios too far.
Speaking of guys into kinky sh*t: Tywin must have forgotten his hooker boots. Joffrey, however, put on his big boy shoes and pants and explained to his scary grandfather why he should be attending the small council meetings and oh yeah, why are they so……far……away? (Joffrey lugging his way to the Tower of the Hand would look a lot like Paul Rudd cleaning up his self-made mess in Wet Hot American Summer.) The King, emboldened by his recent encounter with Ros, is almost comically outmatched by Tywin, although he’s right to worry about Dany’s dragons; they may be half a world away, but they sure as Sansa don’t have skulls the size of apples anymore.
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