This week’s episode of Game of Thrones was titled “The Climb”, and it’s a very apropos title. There are two sides to the climb: the literal and the metaphorical. When we check in with Sam and his crush, Sam gives us some background information relating to the literal. Evidently, the wall is “700 feet high” and it is “made of ice.”
This is what Jon Snow and Ygritte are in store for and it is a perilous climb indeed. Ygritte tells Jon that she knows that his loyalties still reside with the rest of The Crows. I guess we’re supposed to interpret that as factual but I’m still not so sure. Since Jon Snow has come into her life, Ygritte has become disillusioned to the philosophies of The Free Folk. She understands that her life has no inherent meaning in their system, that she is only important as she contributes to their cause. She quite accurately ascribes the same way of thinking to The Night’s Watch. As Bob Dylan once put it, “You’re only a pawn in their game.”
“I’m you’re woman now, Jon Snow. You’re going to be loyal to your woman”, she says and Jon Snow could be saying a similar statement to her. The only allegiance that holds precedence for both of them is the allegiance to each other. All of this is fulfilled as they are climbing the wall. The ice begins to fracture and–in order to save themselves–the higher-ups cut the rope to send Ygritte and Jon Snow plummeting to their death. Luckily, Jon Snow manages to gain some leverage and saves them both. “I’ve waited my whole life to see the world from up there”, Ygritte says earlier. When they do arrive at the top, they take in the view together and passionately make out once again. These two are adorable. I’m really enjoying this plotline.
Maybe I’m just a sucker though, falling prey to the illusion of love. So says Baelish: “Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail, never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb but they refuse. They cling to the realm, or the gods, or love–illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.”
This is stellar monologue. It was in response to Varys who champions “the good of the realm” and it beautifully illustrates the difference between these two characters. These characters’ loyalties have both been proven to be dubious in the past. They both use information confided to them to serve their own needs. We now see that Varys has always been guided by what he views is righteousness, and Baelish’s sole impetus has been nothing but selfishness. Even though I’m totally in on the romance up at the wall, I’m with Baelish here (not just because I supported Tommy Carcetti in the aughts). The realm is a capricious pain.
When you win, you lose. Just ask our good friends Robb Stark and Theon Greyjoy. For Theon, it doesn’t matter what he can glean about his torturer or what the stakes were, the end result is still pain. “This isn’t happening to you for a reason but one, one reason: I enjoy it.” As Robb finds out that even though he is winning “every battle”, he is “losing the war.” And though he is in the midst of said war, the things that are the most pressing are promised marriages. It’s these kind of truths that don’t quite add up that dominate Game of Thrones. I’ll take my “Team Baelish” shirt in medium thank you very much.
Speaking of marriages, I love how Lady Olenna rebukes Tywin Lannister. Cersei is an old, incestuous woman. So what if her grandson is gay? And the scenes with Tyrion and Cersei are gold! Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey are dynamite together. This is the very embodiment of cold comfort, where compliments are only hinted at and invariably followed by an insult. They both end up thinking fondly upon the return of Jaime, but Tyrion knows that even Jaime can’t save him. We see him stumble his way into an “awkward” conversation with Sansa–who would actually like to wed Loras–near the end of the episode.
I’m still having a hard time with all this warg business and the Theon stuff has no movement at all. Six episodes in and Theon is still where he began. Otherwise, I liked this episode of Game of Thrones quite a lot, particularly the Jon Snow and Ygritte romance, and the Baelish monologue. Even Sam, who without his BFF Jon Snow I feel has been less cute and more pathetic, was so fragile and sweet singing.
For a preview of the May 5th episode of Game of Thrones, click here