Game of Thrones the climbThis week's episode of Game of Thrones is the sixth of season 3, and it's hard to believe we're already more than halfway through what has been the best season ever on television. "The Climb" had to keep up with the momentum from the past couple weeks, with so many big reveals and twists courtesy of Daenerys, Jaime, and Tywin -- it's no wonder this is the show to watch!

But I do think fans would be rather divided by this episode. All these characters are at a crossroads, and we get the privilege of watching them try to deal with what life (and Tywin) has given to them. But it's safe to say that this episode is the first in season 3 that has varied so far from the original book, A Storm of Swords.

There are going to be some pretty massive spoilers ahead for those who haven't seen "The Climb." So ... there are spoilers. Did I say that already?

There was a lot of plot development (aka not a lot of action ... or sex) and not a crazy huge moment in this episode like the others -- and unfortunately no Daenerys! We catch up with Samwell and Gilly in the episode's opening moments, with Sam showing off his obsidian blade. Samwell tries to convince her that the venison stew is worth going to Castle Black, and then she demands that he sing her a song. Since he's so smitten, he does so. Okay then, a nice moment, but seemed a little bit unnecessary with everything else that's been going on.

Meera Reed and Osha bicker, while Jojen Reed pretty much has a seizure in his sleep, freaking out when he gets a vision. He says that he sees Jon Snow "on the wrong side of the Wall," surrounded by enemies. Hodor barely makes out a "Hodor," but Jojen's visions are spot on, as ...

Jon Snow is surrounded by Wildings, and he and his lover Ygritte have a moment -- she knows his loyalties are skewed yet asks him not to betray her in the middle of all this silly fighting among powerful men. Ever the match-maker, Tormund Giantsbane advises Jon: "If you fall, don't scream -- you don't want that to be the last thing she remembers." Good talk.

As they're climbing, parts of the Wall get broken off, and it's quite a treacherous ascent. Orell, the skinchanger, has to cut Jon and Ygritte loose to keep climbing, but Jon manages to save himself and Ygritte at the last minute.

They do make it over the Wall -- and there's a lovely, cinematic view to boot. Jon and Ygritte gaze out into Westeros ... and of course it's an appropriate time to make out.

Arya gets some archery lessons while Thoros of Myr and Melisandre cross paths -- both are worshippers of the Lord of Light. She learns how many times Beric has been resurrected and is skeptical and most likely a little jealous. Melisandre says that Beric has someone the Lord of Light needs ... so, let's cut to Gendry (who is very important to her -- remember how obsessed she is with king's blood, and Gendry is King Robert's bastard).

But still, one has to wonder -- this Lord of Light seems to be one of the most powerful deities in the Game of Thrones realm. Gotta be something to that, right?

Other notes:

  • Whoever this guy is that is torturing Theon is coming off as completely evil. "Which body part do you need the least?" -- such a Game of Thrones-like question, huh? Hard to believe there's someone who could make Theon likable after what he's done.
  • It seems that Edmure, Catelyn's brother, is the one who must marry a Frey daughter to make up for Robb Stark breaking the alliance by marrying another. Those who have read the books know how this is going to pan out.
  • Poor Jaime can't cut his meat, and Brienne is dressed in a ridiculous pink dress. Lord Roose Bolton demands that Jaime go back to King's Landing -- but without Brienne. Could this be the end to a beautiful friendship?
  • Joffrey murders Ros in the most sadistic way ever?? WTF? Joffrey, you suck. This was Littlefinger's punishment for Ros for playing both sides, as he told Varys in his little monologue.
  • Yes, we get a scene with Tywin and Lady Oleanna! You know it's on when Lady Oleanna accuses Tywin of not having a moment of weakness and getting it on with another man. And the most ridiculous question of what's worse: homosexuality, "a sword swallower through and through," or incest?! These two power-players in this series sure are fun to watch. But round 1 goes to Tywin.
  • Sansa can't get enough of Loras, though he's more interested in the guests and food at his wedding than the actual bride (because he's gay). But that all comes to a standstill when ...

Tyrion confronts Sansa, who's getting dressed by the whore he's in love with, Shae. (Gotta love this series.) "This is awkward," he announces, and that's all we get before the big reveal -- but with Sansa crying at the end, it seems that Tyrion has told her the awful news that they are soon to be husband and wife.

Quite a lot going on in an episode that's going to lead to the moment every Storm of Swords fan is anticipating, huh? As Petyr Baelish says to Varys, "Chaos is our ladder ... The climb is all there is" (in one of the best speeches this season). They seemed to deviate a lot from the book this time, but as long as they get the Red Wedding right, few fans will complain about what is to come!

What did you think of "The Climb"? Love it or hate it?

 

Image via HBO