Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 7: “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”

By Charlie Harwood on May 15, 2013 to Game of Thrones

game-of-thrones-the-bear-and-the-maiden-fair

It pains me to say this, but I expected more from George R.R. Martin. The man behind the book series Game of Thrones is based upon had amazed audiences with his script for “Blackwater” in Season Two. Unfortunately, GRRM’s writing for this week’s episode fell way short of last season’s climactic battle. Episode Seven titled, “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”, seemed to be everything that “Blackwater” wasn’t: slow, monotonous, and utterly uninteresting. Worst of all, this comes at a time when Season Three was just starting to fire on all cylinders. Beginning with Episode Four, the show really picked up as we saw a nice bit of action and some quality plot building. The pieces on the game board were all set up and it was time to start knocking them down, or so I thought. While I last week’s episode was off the pace in my opinion, I was fine with it. I mean, they can’t all be zingers right? However, the thing that really gripes me is that the show took another turn in the wrong direction this week. “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” had me confused right from the start. The story seemed to jump around so much that I literally reached for my remote control to change the channel about 30 minutes in. It wasn’t all bad though, so let’s start breaking down the episode with the positives.

Game-of-Thrones-S3E7-05The transformation of Jaime Lannister came full circle this week and I really have to take my hat off to Nikolaj Coster-Waldau for his amazing portrayal of The Kingslayer. Think about it: Jaimie started out as worst kind of piece of shit there is. You know, the kind of guy that pushes a child out of a window after being caught having sex with his sister. He’s not exactly someone you want to take home to meet mom and it’s easy to see why Jaime is one person that everybody loved to hate. After all, he does have the worst reputation in all the Seven Kingdoms after literally stabbing his king in the back. Fortunately for him, this season has showed a different side of the man. He’s not as cold and malicious as everyone makes him out to be. Jaime actually has a heart; and a rather big one at that.

This episode further cemented the fact Jaime has truly changed. Since being captured by Robb Stark in Season One, Jaime’s malevolent and diabolical nature has slowly been chipped away. If there’s one thing that a posh, rich-kid like Jaime Lannister could use, it was a lesson in humility. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth – good-looking, high-born, and heir to the richest House in all of Westeros – and Ser Jaime has never had to endure any hardships. Until now. These hardships have changed character into someone who is now actually likeable.

I mention all this because it takes a very strong actor to make it happen. I mean, just imagine you’re a relatively unknown actor and a producer hands you a script for a promising new role. Then imagine that same producer telling your character starts out as one of the most hated people in the entire series, but will end up being one of the most revered by Season Three. Would you believe him? Much more, would you even be able to pull it off? It seems like a monumental task for even the best actor, and Nikolaj has been nailed it every step along the way.

Jaime & Brienne__1367872387_80.111.36.221Even though there’s plenty I didn’t like about “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”, the character dynamics between Jaime and Brienne has been a joy to watch all season. The episode obviously surrounds this particularly story and ended up being the only real high point. We’ve seen the tremendous bonds being forged between these two, which came to a climax when they say goodbye to each other. Due to his reputation, Jaime obviously isn’t the most trusted person in the Seven Kingdoms. But Brienne trusted him to return the Stark children to their mother and that trust carried a heavy weight with The Kingslayer. As we found out in the previous episode, the one act that Jaime is most hated for is also his most admirable moment. We all know that the snickering and cursing behind his back has affected him over the years and receiving trust from Brienne, a person whom he deeply respects, was the breaking point for Jaime. Brienne trusted him to honor his word, which is something I’m sure Jaime has wanted for a very long time, and I think he finally realized what type of man he has to be in order to keep that trust.

Game-of-Thrones-Season-3-Episode-7-The-Bear-and-Maiden-Fair-Portable10The other high point of “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” was Dany’s scene in Yunkai. Daenerys’s stor has been carrying this season so far, but unfortunately we only get a short plotline with her this week. The Mother of Dragons is now on a mission to set free all slaves she comes across, and will destroy anyone who stands in her way. She’s knows she won’t win over people just by having a large army. Instead, Dany is set to conquer all of Slaver’s Bay, one city at a time, and freeing the men who will fight beside her. This was the first time that I thought Daenerys truly looked like the queen she is destined to become. She has a giant army, a tent with servants,  two loyal advisors, and three ever-growing dragons. The pace of Dany’s plot is rapidly picking up and her scene was one of the few bright spots in this episode. It’s almost a certainty that Dany will end up sacking Yunkai in glorious fashion and I can’t wait to see that.

Now onto the bad…

First off, I thought the episode jumped around a lot and there was no real sense of where it was going. The first thirty minutes seemed wildly out of control as we jumped from one story to another to another, with each one getting more ridiculous than the last. Let’s start with Theon and his mysterious tormentor.

The whole torture scenario has gone a bit over-the-top and I feel as though this show is always trying to throw some shock factor into the equation. Last season it was the graphic brothel scenes, while this season it’s the endless torture of Theon Greyjoy. Don’t get me wrong, I am really enjoying watching Theon get what he deserves, but I feel as though the show is trying too hard to make it believable. At this point, I’m sure viewers realize that the mystery man intends to make Theon’s like a living hell. After all the things he’s done so far, we get it. This guy is one bad dude. We don’t need endless shots of whores prancing around the screen doing nothing more than appearing as eye candy for male viewers.

Talisa

On that note, did we really need the drawn out sex scene between Robb and Talisa? Granted, it was a decent way to lead up to revelation that she’s pregnant with King in the North, Jr., but a lot of the dialogue was cheesy and poorly acted. Not to mention the endless ass shots filling up the screen. Is it just me, or have we seen way too much full-rear nudity this season? I don’t need cheeks on my screen every episode, okay? Especially when it’s merely used as filler. Seems to me that this scene could’ve been trimmed way down. The whole thing isn’t very believable. No one has sex like that, and the strategically positioned body parts makes it all too obvious that Ms. Chaplin is camera shy. Just say you’re pregnant and be done with it. We didn’t need all the lovey-dovey banter between the two. Especially when it’s delivered as poorly as Robb’s “Oh, I love you” line.

Game_Of_Thrones_-_The_Bear_And_The_Maiden_Fair_-_Jon__YgritteJon and Ygritte’s story is another one that could’ve been trimmed down. For example, it took three scenes of exactly the same thing before we get the emotional make-out moment. Bad news is that this story really hasn’t developed from last week at all: Ygritte sees Jon for what he really is, Jon tries to save her from an inevitable defeat, and they end up kissing ferociously. It’s the same story that played out last week. I get that the writer’s want to fully develop the relationship between these two, but it’s starting to become overemphasized. Rose Leslie has killed it all season, but it’s as though we are running in circles here.

This was one of those plot building episodes that we see from time to time on this show. Unfortunately, I have to say it’s one of the worst ones yet. Probably within the Top 3 worst episodes yet in my opinion. Even though I liked the dynamics between Jaime and Brienne, I still felt like I need more, much like every other plot from this episode. The show was trying to do too much in such a short amount of time and there were too many small scenes that only served the purpose of conveying a small amount of information to the audience. One of my biggest complaints about the whole series is that too much time is spent on useless material that could be used on more interesting characters. Take Podrick Payne for example. Whatever happened between him and the whores? That was weeks ago and we still don’t know. In fact, we haven’t heard a breath about since Episode 3. I’m starting to think we will never know and it was simply a waste of precious airtime. The same thing goes for the character of Ros. Her presence in King’s Landing was never a part of Martin’s book series and served no real purpose within the show itself. All these little thing can add up to a big chunk of time. Time that should be used developing Martin’s immense story better. I could be wrong here, but that’s just my opinion. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

PREVIEW: Episode 8: Second Sons

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69 Comments on "Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 7: “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”"

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why you can’t show all the shows unstead of parts. It gets agnored when you cut it off at or when its something interested. then when u end your season there nothing on tv to watch .every body isn’t gone on acation or not watching Tv.Its A good show so that why i am complaint of the time .

The pre-production, production, casting, filming, convention appearances…everything to do with Game of Thrones makes it a year long job, and the producers are under immense pressure to schedule everything appropriately.

It’s simply not possible to have longer seasons or show it multiple times per year.

Watch Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 8 – Second Sons @ http://tiny.cc/Se3Ep8SecondSons

I agree with the author. For the poster going on about the author not reading the books is completely rediculous. I have read the books and i felt the same as the author. This episode was a filler episode, nothing really satisfying happened in it

I’m with you on this, Owen.

I cant stand all these comments on the Theon scenes. What people who have PROPERLY read the books will realise is that you never actuallly ever see much of RBs evil played out in front of a viewpoint character, its all through someone mentioning it or in the later Theon chapters, through Theons thoughts memories fears etc. He (RB) is one of the most wonderfully written characters in the whole series because of this, and it would of been very hard to portray his evil on screen without these graphic torture scenes. HOWEVER HBO would have made this a whole… Read more »

What does “PROPERLY read the books” even mean? Are you suggesting people are reading the books improperly?

Regardless of how this character–and his motivations for torturing Theon–play out in the novels, this has become an irritating, drawn out plot point that they need to spend less time on. He (Theon) is one of the least interesting characters in a novel that has a multitude of others much more worthy of film time.

Move along, nothing to see here.

yes i am suggesting people are reading it ‘improperly’, by skimming through it and not appreciating the skill it takes to build a character without having the character ‘in view’ for much of the novel. “irritating”? what does this even mean? Why is it irritating? this is such a stupid trollish thing to say… please explain. “Theon is is one of the least interesting characters” … wow. Its like your trying to prove that people can actually read a book improperly. The way Martin builds the readers utter hate toward Theon, and then slowly turns you round into pitying him,… Read more »

I have

There’s never too much hot naked ass. That’s like saying there’s too much happiness or too much money. Can’t happen.

A Disappointed Not-Fan of HBO

This is the dumbest review of anything ever that I have ever read. Who wrote this swill? Where is the cretin that hacked HBO’s website? SHOW YOURSELF

“I don’t need cheeks on my screen every episode, okay?”

YOU ARE NO MAN!
The son of a Bastard!

And that was the authors fault . yeah… in the books it was so much better. U can’t blame the autor for this.

Sorry Mr. Harwood, but I’m going to have to disagree with you on this review. While I’m in agreement that the Theon/Torturefest/Whore O Rama is getting a bit played out–to say the least–I think much of your criticism of this episode is unfounded. This episode deals with 11 plot points (no shit! I counted) starting with Jon Snow, to Robb, to Sansa and Margaery, to Tyrion, to Joffrey and Tywin, to Daenerys, to Gendry and Melisandre, to Arya and the Brotherhood, to Jaimie and Brienne, to Theon and the Torturing Whorefest, to Brann. Whew! That’s a helluva lot of character… Read more »

What you’ve got to remember is that everything in the show happens for a reason. That and the fact that seasons 3 and 4 will explore book number 3 so if things seem a little drawn out or slow then it’s because there’s too much material in the book to play out in a single season but not enough to stretch out into several so we have to have scenes that appear longer than they need to be and additional exposition to appease that.

you know nothing Charlie Howard

Yeah Im going to have to say this review is pretty poorly thought out. A bit contradicting also. I respect your opinion but you are way off point on alot of it.

I forgot to mention a good proof-read is always a good thing before publishing a review. It sounds like you have a serious problem with the nudity in this show. Read the books so you dont have to look at “arses”.

It is possible that some of this is not Martin’s fault but the chop block editing of the episode. It very much seems that is what happened more than Martin’s scripting being trash.
Also, not every episode should be expected to be some roller coaster of action to satisfy a single reviewers quick fix. The reviewer admits as well this is a plot developing episode meaning their malignment of the episode is just for the sake of having something to write this week.

I literally stopped reading this about 30 lines in

Coldhands!

Since she gave such a crappy review I am just gonna go ahead and wreck the whole season for her.

ROB DIES.

There. Quit watching. You suck.

*he *him. also, thanks for the spoiler, you ninny.

I agree, READ THE BOOKS! Do you realize how hard it is to pack so much detail in a 1 hr. episode and cover an entire book or even 1/2 a book in 10 episodes?? Yes, there are slow spots in the books, but it’s all relevant. Shit’s about to go down in an epic manner.

“The whole thing isn’t very believable.” Do you think this is a documentary? I couldn’t disagree more. I thought that this was one of the keystone episodes in the whole HBO series. Brilliantly crafted, spectacularly acted, and captivating to the very last minute. D.B Weiss and David Benioff have done a incredible job adapting the books to screen. There are undoubtedly going to be things in the HBO series that are not in the books and vice versa. The things that they have added, in my opinion, have not taken away from the books. In fact I think they’ve added… Read more »

agree.

I was really, really looking forward to Brienne asking why Jaime came back and him telling her he had a dream about her. Unfortunately, they cut the dream sequence. Maybe to make room for Robb and Some Character Who Isn’t Actually In The Books Why Is This Character Here to have an awkward and stupid conversation with their clothes off. I’m not totally sure why we’re getting all these Theon torture scenes now. I felt in the books the torture was more shocking and grisly because it wasn’t overtly shown, you were simply re-introduced to a man now broken. Some… Read more »
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