Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 3, Episode 7 of HBO's "Game of Thrones," titled "The Bear and the Maiden Fair."
We have to start with the bear, right?
That claw mark on Brienne's neck looked pretty fierce. She's gonna feel that in the morning. But I suspect the scar will always remind Jaime and Brienne of the ties that bind them. Clearly, these two are more than just friends at this point, though I'm still not bullish on their romantic prospects.
We know Jaime went back because he realized Brienne was going to be the "entertainment" for Locke and his gang of cretins, but I think something else clicked inside him during that talk with the Josef Mengele of Westeros, don't you? Maybe it was the reminder of his better self -- the self that saved half a million people in King's Landing. Or maybe he just remembered the moment of vulnerability when he told Brienne that story. She's his secret sharer. How could he abandon her to her fate? Of course the news that Locke had turned down her father's ransom of gold because of a lie Jaime had told certainly played a part, too. Maybe knowing he was responsible for her predicament helped him see that he wasn't as powerless as he thought to save her from it.
In any event, the bear fight was good TV, not least because I was entirely prepared to see Brienne get the life knocked out of her right then and there. That's what the beheading of Ned Stark has done to all "Game of Thrones" fans, I suppose. In the end, though, I was glad Jaime rescued her, and I only wish Locke had suffered a more painful comeuppance (though "Sorry about the sapphires" was a pretty good line). Maybe next episode.
You know whose comeuppance has gone far enough? Theon Greyjoy's! Not even the excitement of a threesome followed by a forcible castration can rescue this subplot from Boredomtown. What exactly are we learning here? We still don't know who this anonymous sadist is (I know, I know, read the book!), and it's not as if anyone watching thought to themselves, "Oh, what's this? Two random women just showed up and started having sex with Theon? Everything must be fine now." It was obviously a setup from the beginning, and even though I didn't guess that it was going to end with the emancipation of Little Theon, I probably should have.
I suppose Theon never shared any of his famous sexy-time tips with Jon Snow, since he's now being forced to listen to the Wildling equivalent of Tencious D's "Fuck Her Gently," courtesy of his northern marching partners. He also has to laugh along as Ygritte ruthlessly ridicules his people's namby-pamby military customs -- never mind that his people have successfully driven her people back across The Wall and into a snowy wasteland six out of six times over the past 1,000 years. And never mind the fact that she's so country, she thinks a windmill is some kind of architectural marvel. I felt for Snow when he finally called her out on her naive arrogance. But I loved her romantic response: "You're mine, as I'm yours. If we die, we die. But first, we'll live." Amen, sister!
Poor Bran is the only Stark boy who isn't getting at least some action in this episode. "King" Robb is so eager to get it on with Talisa that he doesn't even pretend to care about making Edmure late to his wedding with the Frey girl. There's a lot of caressing and preening and ass wiggling, and then Talisa informs Robb that she's pregnant. It takes a while since Robb isn't exactly the sharpest sword in the armory, but eventually, he gets the picture and tells her he loves her. Do you hear him? He loves her! But on this show, good news generally presages dire misfortune, so I wouldn't get too attached to these two.
What is Tyrion to do about Sansa and Shae? To Bronn, the answer is simple: "Wed one, bed the other." But Tyrion's a romantic at heart, and at the end of the day, he can't bear to make two women unhappy. Margaery is working on Sansa, explaining to her why an experienced fellow like Tyrion can be a blessing. "We're very complicated, you know. Pleasing us takes practice." (How great is the moment where she decides to lie and say, yeah, she learned everything she knows about sex from her mother?) But it's up to Tyrion to sort things out with Shae, and so far, that's not going too well. Since he doesn't intend to become a juggler on the other side of the Narrow Sea, he has no choice but to do his duty and marry Sansa. "While I empty her chamber pot and lick your cock when you're bored?" Uh, that's not what he meant, but ... kind of? Can't really blame her for storming off, can you?
Elsewhere, Tywin has put Joffrey in his place by climbing the steps and talking down to him. "Oh, yes, Your Grace, we'll be sure to consult you whenever it's necessary, you insolent little shit." Arya has run away from the Brotherhood Without Banners -- and right into the arms of the Hound. And Melisandre has informed Gendry of his royal origins as the bastard son of Robert Baratheon. I think we can safely move on, folks. Nothing to see here but exposition (though I did enjoy that aerial shot of Stannis's sunken fleet in Blackwater Bay).
Instead, let's end with Daenerys and her dragons. Tywin may think (or at least say) there's nothing to fear from this crew, but methinks otherwise -- that is, unless Khaleesi's staunch abolitionism winds up clouding her judgment. I certainly hope she doesn't pay a price for her ideals, because I frankly find it really exciting to think of her as an avenging angel leading an army of liberated slaves to victory over these inbred families with their castles and crests or whatever they have. Maybe the world really will bend to her vision.
And if not, well, remind me: What happens to things that don't bend?
"Game of Thrones" airs Sundays at 9 pm on HBO.