I rather enjoyed this week's foray into the Seven Kingdoms. 'The Climb' is the name of the latest episode and it delivers the goods as only GOT can. The title is cleverly revealed, not by the attempt to scale seven hundred feet of sharpened ice that makes up the Wall by Jon Snow and Tormund's wildling companions, but by Petyr Baelish's biting words to Varys at the end of the episode. (I'll come back to that in a bit.) I also need to give major props to how incredible the sets of the different regions that inhabit this world always look in the Song of Fire and Ice, and The Wall takes a backseat to nothing.
Jon Snow, Ygritte, Tormund and his pals have finally made it to The Wall and they will make an attempt to climb to the top so that they can screw with the Night's Watch. Ygritte certainly enjoyed Snow's love making and she won't let him forget it, but she also tells Jon she knows he's much too loyal for him to have ever abandoned the crows. She's always two steps ahead of Jon in all things, but that's nothing new. She's cool with it because she realizes they are only replaceable pawns in this war so as long as he never betrays her, she'll keep his secret. What a cute couple they make.
She's still with the Brotherhood and at the moment practicing archery since she's pretty much always filled with rage when Melisandre shows up with her entourage. Thoros of Myr also practices her religion and they get to share a few High Valyrian words before they get down to business. We find out that Thoros was supposed to recruit King Robert Baratheon into a Lord of Light worshiper, but obviously failed. She is also quite amazed by his power of bringing back Beric from the dead and that's saying something for her. Of course he won't take any of the credit since it all comes from R'hllor's power. Melisandre is there on R'hllor's behalf too and only wants Gendry, Robert's bastard son because she needs royal blood for some ritual. The Lord of Light is thirsty and Thoros' men need some gold so they make the trade. Gendry is yelling at the Brotherhood over their betrayal of him when Meli tells him this:
You are more than they can ever be. They are just foot soldiers in the great war. You will make kings rise and fall.
Be very afraid, Gendry
Arya is really pissed and accosts Melisandre for taking her guy (She's ready to add her to her revenge list) when the Red Priestess looks at her strangely.
I see a darkness in you and in that darkness eyes staring back at me. Brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes, eyes you will shut forever. We will meet again
Arya is bewildered. but stops complaining.
* Theon Greyjoy is still being tortured on the wooden cross by his unknown assailant (a creepy Iwan Rheon playing Ramsey Snow) and then finds out that his captor has no real reason for torturing him other than the pleasure it brings him. Don't you just hate that?
*Roose Bolton is going to let Jaime go so his father won't take revenge against him, but decides to keep Brienne and charge her with treason. Say it ain't so!
* Robb Stark gets a visit by the Frey boys and is told that their father will pardon his betrayal and keep the alliance strong by asking him to make a formal apology, give him Harrenhall and marrying Lord Edmure off to one of his daughters. This is a no brainer for Robb and after a few whiny words from his uncle they have a deal.
*Samwell is lighting a fire in the cold with Gilly and her baby when he shows her a black obsidian thingy that he found and figures it's thousands of years old.
* Olenna (the awesome Diana Rigg) Tyrell jousts with Tywin Lannister over the fates of their kids and although she thoroughly outwits him, he's still the hand of the King and makes her an offer she can't refuse.
*Tyrion and Cersei have their first almost normal conversation together (she even acknowledged that he saved King's Landing.) as they commiserate over being screwed by their father yet again. He's forced them to marry Sansa and Ser Loras.
But the Best Performance of the night goes to (No, it's not Jon Snow's tongue) Littlefinger. I'll say this once and will probably regret it later, but Petyr Baelish is the most dangerous man in Westeros.
Varys sees him staring at the Iron Throne, which is said to be made of one thousand swords and approaches him for a little chat where they reveal their roles in undermining plots and more plots. Baelish knows Varys screwed up his plan of stealing away Sansa to be his bride, but he then destroyed his and the Tyrell's plan of marrying Sansa to Loras. Petyr also had King Joffrey murder Ros for betraying him to Varys. Don't you see---she turned out to be a poor investment after all.
Varys is afraid of Petyr as he should be and says he only ruined his plans for the good of the realm. That makes Baelish laugh. He tells him that the realm is based on lies just like the story of the Iron Throne's one thousand swords. (There's only like two hundred since he counted them.) Varys counters that by saying without the lies the realm will fall into chaos. Chaos! But to Littelfinger chaos is supreme. It's nothing more than a ladder. Some climb the ladder and fall to their death like Ros, Some refuse to climb the ladder at all and cling to the realm or God or love. ie: Sansa. Those are all illusions. You see the ladder is real and the climb is all there is.
Petyr is the one who turned Westeros into utter chaos when he betrayed Eddard Stark which caused his beheading and then the war. He certainly is climbing the corporate ladder of the Seven Kingdoms.
Then we cut to Jon Snow reaching the top of the Wall with Ygritte and Tormund and a few wildlings. A crow flies overhead and I wonder if that's the one that Jojen Reed had a vision with when he told Brann that Jon was surrounded by enemies. He looks out with Ygritte in his arms and sees on both sides of the Wall. On one side it's a frozen wasteland and on the other side there's warmth and life. They embrace with a long kiss and we fade to credits
*Poor Sansa Stark, will she ever have more than a moment of peace? Watching her crying after she learns that she has to marry Tyrion is kind of heartbreaking.