'Game of Thrones' recap: 'The Climb'

Tormund is movin' on up...

This week’s Game of Thrones was only 50 minutes but with all the climbing being done, we needed the respite. The Wall wasn’t the only thing being climbed, but also, the ladder that men use to climb out of the pit of chaos. What? Grab your ascenders and let’s break this down ...

Fire Building 101
Sam Tarly, his beloved Gilly and her newborn zombie bait are fireside. She schools him on fire building because highborn Sam had his servants do it for him when he was growing up. When she says, “You’ve got too much wood in there!” did you say to yourself, “That’s what she said!”? No? Me either.

Sam tries to impress Gilly with his dragonstone find but she doesn’t seem to care, she just wants to get to The Wall. Sam makes The Wall sound like a wonderful place where venison stew flows freely. She finally seems impressed when he sings a sweet little song and her baby rests peacefully. The shots from the woods’ perspective made me think a White Walker was about to attack them. No such luck.

Shirts and Skins
In this week’s only nude scene (too bad it only involves dead rabbits), Meera and Osha are having a rabbit skinning competition and Bran gets all Rodney King on their assess. Can’t we all just get along?

The gals reluctantly try when they’re so rudely interrupted by Jojen’s dream seizure. He’s having a vision. Meera provides her brother with a strap to bite down on and proclaims that his visions take their toll on him. This vision was of Jon Snow on the wrong side of The Wall...surrounded by enemies.

The Wall and The Fall
Jon Snow, his new lover Ygritte and the other wildlings are prepping to climb the behemoth of a wall in front of them. Ygritte seems excited, Jon Snow looks like he’s about to load his pants. Ygritte gives Snow some climbing equipment to help him grip the icy wall and says that the dude she stole the shady-looking crampons from, didn’t use his tongue down there as well as he did. She also reassures him that he’s a proper lover. He still seems frightened despite the attempt at ego boosting.

Ygritte knows that Snow is still loyal to the Night’s Watch but his secret is safe with her...as long as he stays true to her. Nothing matters but the two of them and if he betrays her, she’ll be wearing his man bits as a necklace. Point taken.

The scenes of them climbing The Wall are pretty damn cool and exciting. If you’re afraid of heights, they’re unnerving to say the least. At one frightening point in the climb, we assume Ygritte will go splat due to the rope cutting of Orell the warg. Is he cutting Jon Snow and Ygritte free because he had a vision? Yes, probably. He knows things. Snow manages to save himself and his Lorena Bobbitt wannabe and they finally make it to the top. It’s beautiful. They embrace and kiss. Now, how do they get down into that beautiful land of promise they see?

Red Riding Hood in the Riverlands
As Arya gets an archery lesson from one of the Brothers, Melisandre rides into view. We were wondering what she was up to and now we know. She needs Baratheon blood to appease the Lord of Light and aid in getting Stannis to the throne, remember?

After a brief hang with Beric Dondarrion and his priest, Thoros of Myr she is shocked to learn that Thoros has mad reanimating skills. She also bribes them with gold to take Gendry. Why? He’s the bastard son of Robert Baratheon and therefore will serve her well in her magic needs. He is promised to make kings rise and fall. Most likely in an unpleasant manner.

Gendry is carted off and poor Arya has lost another friend. Arya remains as pissy as she was in last week’s episode and calls Melisandre a witch. Melisandre grabs Arya and says, "I see darkness in you...brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes, eyes you'll shut forever. We will meet again."

Hanging With Theon
Theon is still alive? Barely. After a cruel horn is blown by the mystery boy, Theon wakes and begs for water. This kid is more sadistic than Joffrey! Theon is mocked relentlessly with the fun game “Which Body Part Do You Need the Least?”

The Boy wants Theon to answer why he’s there, who the Boy is, and why is he doing this to Theon. Even if Theon answers the questions correctly, there is no happy ending. We think Theon makes the right guesses when he says the Boy is the son of Lord “No Head Now” Karstark and that since Theon betrayed Robb Stark, this is why he’s being tortured. Seems legit but the Boy is a liar and removes (slowly) Theon’s finger. The Boy reveals that he is just doing it because he enjoys it. We still don’t feel sorry for Theon, do we? No.

In an attempt to gain more men for his army, Robb Stark hits up Walder Frey. According to his two charming sons, Frey wants an apology from Robb for not marrying his daughter as arranged. Frey also wants Harrenhal. Robb is willing to give it up but only after the war.

Frey also wants to see his 19 year-old daughter married off to Lord Edmure in a quick marriage (so he doesn’t back out like Robb did). Robb’s Uncle Edmure ain’t too pleased about this and wants to see her first. Too bad. Robb lays it on thick and says he needs to do this or they’ll lose the war. Edmure agrees. Lots of wedding are on tap!

Brienne Gets a Pretty Dress
Somebody help poor Jaime cut that mystery meat! Oh, thank you Brienne and might I add, you look lovely in that frou-frou dress you’re uncomfortably wearing.

In this weird dinner party, Lord Roose Bolton threatens to send Jaime back to Robb Stark but instead agrees to send him back to daddy as long as he tells Tywin that Bolton wasn’t responsible for his maiming. Brienne can come too, right? Nope, she’s being charged with abetting treason. Jaime insists she join him but his position isn’t of any help now.

King’s Landing
As usual, some of the most intriguing and well-acted scenes occur in this part of Westeros. In an epic exchange between my new favorite character, Lady Olenna Tyrell, and Tywin Lannister, they try to match wits when discussing the arranged marriage of Cersei and Ser Loras.

Olenna doesn’t want Loras to marry the near-barren Cersei even though Tywin promises that the marriage will remove the stain of Loras’s sword-swallowing name. Olenna even asks Tywin if he’s ever engaged in some, ahem, sword play. Tywin emphatically denies it. Tywin, you doth protest too much.

Olenna then plays the incest card but Tywin denies his children engaged in it no matter what people say. He also threatens to put Ser Loras in the King’s Guard which prevents him from marrying and procreating, thus ending the Tyrell lineage. It looks like this breaks Olenna and consents to the Loras-Cersei union. Poor Sansa.

Speaking of Sansa, she and Loras are all giddy talking about their wedding and his pretty broach. Loras has always dreamed of a big fancy wedding and oh yeah, the bride too. Sansa is excited to visit Highgarden and start her new life. Keep dreamin’, sister.

Cersei and Tyrion look on at this exchange and wonder who among them is getting the crappiest end of the deal. Tyrion also learns that Joffrey is the one who wanted him killed by Ser Mandon Moore during the Battle of Blackwater Bay. Cersei also alludes to the fact that his life is probably still in danger but since Tywin is around, it’s not by Joffrey.

Is Sansa the only person in the land who doesn’t know about Ser Loras’s penchant for sword swallowing? Even Shae knows! Whilst dreaming about her wedding and if she’ll be able to invite her family (Sansa, you idiot! No!), Tyrion enters with the news that he and Sansa will be betrothed. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see this exchange. Bugger!

Littlefinger is a smart and scary man and does not take kindly to betrayal. He wanted to marry Sansa. During a precarious exchange between he and Varys, Varys reveals that his betrayal was for the good of the realm. Here is Littlefinger’s response that is super-imposed on some disturbing scenes: “Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it, fail and 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. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.”

During this monologue, we learn that Ros has been murdered for her treason, at the hand of Joffey who looks like he was using her for archery practice. Sansa tearfully watches Littlefinger’s ship sail and thus her freedom and hopes of marrying Loras.

Overall, it wasn’t a good week to be a woman on Game of Thrones. Next week “The Bear and Maiden Fair” will air on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. Hopefully a bear isn’t going to eat the maiden but hey, you never know!