'Game of Thrones' Season 3 episode 7 recap: 'The Bear and the Maiden Fair'

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The bear, the bear and the maiden fair, indeed. It might not have been the Battle of Blackwater, but the showdown between Brienne and the bear at Harrenhal -- and the subsequent rescue by Jaime -- was definitely one of the high points this season.


Meanwhile things are escalating now that the Wildlings are over the Wall. It seems as though Jon Snow might have shown Ygritte his true colors when he told her that there's no way the Wildlings will beat the Night's Watch, so does this mean he is still a watcher on the Wall at heart? Ygritte certainly doesn't seem to think so, as she tells Jon that he is loyal to her and vice versa.

Here's what happens in "Game of Thrones" Season 3, episode 7, "The Bear and the Maiden Fair."

South of the Wall

The Wildlings who are being led by Tormund Giantsbane are on the march, and though it's not quite clear how far they are away from Castle Black, they certainly are marching with purpose. Tensions are running high in the group, as Orell is seemingly trying to come between Ygritte and Jon. After Jon confronts the warg for nearly killing them during their climb over the Wall, Orell tells Ygritte that he has feelings for her and would treat her well if she were to be his woman. Though she says she loves Jon, Orell warns her that there's something about Jon that the bastard isn't telling his lady love.

Presumably it's that he's still loyal to the Night's Watch, but Ygritte seems to think that their love will be enough to bind them. After all, she knows that Jon is a loyal guy, and he's done nothing to dissuade her of that opinion. Even when he flat out tells her that there's no way the Wildlings -- "you," not "us," as she notes -- will beat the men at Castle Black, that's not enough to make her lose faith in his loyalty. "You're mine, I'm yours. If we die we die, but first we'll live," she tells him.

Meanwhile Osha, Bran, Hodor, Rickon, Jojen and Meera are still heading north to the Wall, though not to the location they originally planned. Jojen reveals to Meera that they're not heading to Castle Black to find Jon, but are instead heading over the Wall to find the three-eyed raven Bran sees in his dreams. That rankles Osha, who tells a story of how her Wildling lover came back to life as a White Walker and nearly murdered her. That was enough to warn her never to return north of the Wall, but it likely didn't dissuade her young companions in a similar fashion. Bran is looking for answers that Jojen can't give, and he is clearly hoping that the three-eyed raven can.

On the road to the Twins

Some heavy rain has held up the King of the North's journey to the Twins, and that's enough to have Catelyn Stark worried. Though Robb, Edmure and the Blackfish aren't as concerned about the delay as she is, Catelyn already knows that Walder Frey is going to be pissed off enough by Robb's marriage to Talisa instead of his Frey intended. She also knows that marrying Edmure to a Frey instead of Robb isn't going to allay Walder's anger, as he wanted a grandson who will be king, not a grandson who will inherit Riverrun.

Robb eventually sends his trusted followers away so he can have some quality time with his wife. The love scene shown between them in "The Bear in the Maiden Fair" is the first Robb/Talisa tryst we've seen since their first, and it's clear that they're as in love as ever. That's a good thing, because Talisa reveals to Robb that she's pregnant with his heir. She is worried he'll be angry with her, but he's just too overjoyed by the fact that there will be a Prince of the North to care about the fact that a baby is going to be born in the middle of a war-torn country while they are on the march.

At King's Landing

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While Sansa cries to Margaery about how upset she is about the prospect of marrying Tyrion, her intended is doing the same in another part of the Red Keep with Bronn. Fortunately Margaery is there to tell Sansa that Tyrion actually will likely be pretty good in bed thanks to his years of experience, but Bronn's talk of Tyrion having sex with the eldest Stark daughter only makes the Lannister uncomfortable. Sansa sort of seems to buy Margaery's argument about Tyrion's sexual prowess, but it's hilarious to see how she clearly does not understand why Margaery is so wise when it comes to sexual encounters.

Unfortunately for Tyrion, Shae isn't taking as nicely to his upcoming nuptials as Sansa (potentially) is. Though he tries to bribe her with a house and the promise of a nice upbringing for their children, Tyrion isn't telling Shae the things she'd like to hear. "I'm your whore. When you're tired of f**king me, I will be nothing," she tells him, and though the words are likely true, we know from Tyrion's history that he does have a soft spot for prostitutes who are his True Love.

While all that drama is going on in King's Landing, we finally get to see a showdown we've been aching for since the Battle of Blackwater: Tywin putting Joffrey in his place. Margaery might be controlling the King of Westeros pretty well in her subtle ways, but Tywin flat-out showed his nephew who's boss this episode. Cersei had previously challenged him to try to get Joffrey to do something he didn't want to do, and Tywin made good on his promise to put the king in his place. It remains to be seen if Joffrey will try to lash back at his grandfather as he's done to others in the past, but it seems doubtful. At least we get to see Joffrey be right about something for once, as he suggests to Tywin that Daenerys' dragons might be a bigger threat than their spies across the Narrow Sea suggest.

Across the Narrow Sea

Dany has taken her quest to free all the slaves in the Eastern Lands to Yunkai, another wealthy city similar to Astapor and Qarth, her previous conquests. By the time she arrives here she's already made a name for herself, which is why the slavers of Yunkai are quick to greet her with a peace offering. But Dany isn't looking for peace; she's looking for freed slaves. A man from Yunkai offers her all the gold and ships she'll need to get herself and her Unsullied army back to Westeros. It's an offer that the Daenerys of seasons past might have taken, but not this "Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons." No, she instead offers the slavers of Yunkai her own deal: their lives for the freedom of all of their slaves.

It remains to be seen if they take it, but the man who came to meet her doesn't seem too appreciative of her threat. He warns of Yunkai's "powerful friends," who hopefully won't be powerful enough to bring Dany's winning streak to an end. She sends Jorah off to investigate while she waits for Yunkai's response to her threat. Her dragons seem to be growing bigger and more terrifying with each episode and she's proven time and again that she makes good on her threats, so hopefully the leaders of Yunkai know she's not one to be trifled with.

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Somewhere near Winterfell

Poor Theon. Poor, poor, poor Theon. Whoever has him captive already warned him last week that this story doesn't have a happy ending, but that doesn't stop him from momentarily letting his guard down when two attractive women release him from his rack, strip down and seduce him. It's only when he starts getting into it that his captor returns, raving about Theon's famous penis and how much he's heard about it. Though the screen fades to black before Theon's fate is revealed, it certainly seems like the boy is intent on taking Theon's manhood with that hook-shaped knife he is seen wielding. Poor, poor Theon.

In Blackwater Bay

After nearly two seasons of being left in the dark, Gendry finally knows why he's such a hot commodity around Westeros: he's one of Robert Baratheon's bastards. Unfortunately for him, he's in the hands of a woman (Melisandre) who seems determined to put that knowledge to use.

With the Brotherhood

Arya isn't taking too well to the fact the Brotherhood Without Banners sold Gendry to Melisandre, which explains why she's livid when she finds out they're not taking her to Riverrun immediately as they promised. Instead they plan to go hunt a group of Lannisters who were spotted nearby, which leads Arya to escape their camp and go running off into the forest. Unfortunately for her, that sends her right into the arms of a man she'd like to see dead: the Hound.

At Harrenhal

At long last, it seems as though Jaime and Brienne are being forced to part ways, and the Lannister doesn't seem as happy about that twist of fate as he once would have been. Roose Bolton sends Jaime down to King's Landing while he heads to the Twins for Edmure Tully's wedding, and he makes Jaime promise to remind Tywin that he treated Jaime well. But when Jaime finds out that his earlier fib about Brienne's family's wealth is likely to get her tortured and worse, he once again uses his father's name to his advantage.

Fortunately he returns to the cursed keep just in time to find Locke forcing Brienne to battle a bear (yes, this scene was actually shot with a live bear) with nothing but a wooden sword to defend her. It's interesting that Jaime uses his words to force Locke to free Brienne instead of just immediately killing him, which shows a shift in Jaime's personality. He's not the same man who pushed Bran unquestioningly out of a tower back in Season 1, and that's definitely for the better. It will be interesting to see how Cersei responds when he eventually (hopefully?) sees her upon his return to King's Landing.

It seems as though we learn more about Qyburn with each passing episode, and his continued presence on "Game of Thrones" makes us think that he could have a larger role to play. His explanation of his "experiments" at the Citadel show off some of the unsavory sorts of science that can happen in this world, though it's interesting that Jaime says he is better at healing than Grand Maester Pycelle back in King's Landing.

Fun facts:

- Each season of "Game of Thrones," "A Song of Ice and Fire" writer George R.R. Martin writes one of the ten episodes. This year that episode was "The Bear and the Maiden Fair," which Martin says he wanted to write because it included so many characters' storylines.

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"There were a number of characters that I didn't get to write about last year because remember last year I did 'Blackwater,' which was a very focused episode," Martin tells Zap2it. "It just all takes place in King's Landing, so I didn't get to write about Dany, I didn't get to write about Arya, I didn't get to write about Bran or Jon Snow. I was just strictly writing, so I've been away from those characters for like two years. I wanted to write an episode that had some cool stuff for all of them in it and it worked out pretty well."

- "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" is the first "Game of Thrones" episode to be shot partially in Los Angeles. "So it ends up being five countries and three units this year. It's just exploded," co-showrunner David Benioff told Entertainment Weekly.

Best lines:

Bran to Osha: "What if I fell from that tower for a reason?"

Sansa of her fantasies never coming true: "Stupid, stupid little girl with stupid little dreams who never learns."

Jaime of missing Edmure's wedding: "Tell Robb Stark I'm sorry I couldn't make his uncle's wedding. The Lannisters send their regards."

Photo/Video credit: HBO