Every woman I know who watches Game of Thrones likes Jon Snow. (Yes, it’s true; I do know more females than just my mother). Whether it’s his dark brown eyes, curly black hair or his tortured face, he is the one most talked about. Sure, I can see the allure, but I never really felt it until this episode. And it all started with him and Ygritte in peril. The fiery red-head brings out Jon Snow’s most noble parts (keeping it clean here), most notably his loyalty. In their climb of the Wall, Jon Snow, Ygritte and several other Wildlings brandished with only a rope and spikes for their hands and feet, are to scale the 700 foot monstrosity of pure ice. Making their climb, fighting off wind and snow, Ygritte cracks the ice with her spike. The result: a huge chunk falls, cascading many Wildlings to their death. Jon Snow and Ygritte are left dangling form said rope, attached to two other Wildlings above them. One decides to cut their rope. In an act of desperation, Jon converts his body into a pendulum and grabs hold of some ice. At the same moment, the rope is cut and Ygritte falls. She is attached to Snow, and he pulls her up. There was a moment where I thought she would let go of him, the weight too much for both, as he stretched his hand out to grab hers. How often is the noble sacrifice overused (although I am a sucker for it every time). The two embrace as Snow looks up at the man who cut their line. We all know he will be dead at the hands of Snow; only questions are when and how bloody. Ygritte and Snow climb up together making their way to the top. In a rather touching scene, they share a passionate kiss while looking out over the other side of the Wall: the nice green side.
Of course, what would an episode be without the Lannisters? Tywin meets with Olenna Tyrell, the matriarch of House Tyrell, to discuss, with great viewing humor, potential marriages, such unions that climb or block the ascension on the political ladder. Olenna begins rather bluntly, blocking Tywin’s wish for Cersei Lannister to marry Loras Tyrell. She’s too old, says Olenna. Tywin fights back, stoking rumors of Loras. In a scene as cleverly written as superbly acted, the two jostle for position. Olenna goes in for the kill; challenging Tywin and, speaking of rumors, brings up the juiciest of all: Jaime and Cersei. That is the end for Tywin, as he offers a single choice. Marry Loras to Cersei, or Tywin will assign Loras to the King’s Guard, binding him by oath to never marry, nor have any children. The Tyrell line will end. As he is about to draw up the order, Olenna happily stops him, having enjoyed her duel and concedes to her equal.
In “The Climb,” the Lord of Light is again brought prominently into the story-line as Melisandre arrives to visit the Brotherhood Without Banners. There, she speaks with Thoros of Myr to discuss the power he has uncovered: namely the resurrection of the dead. Again, we are presented with the idea that there is only one true god, the Lord of Light. This is a similar parallel to the fight for the one true king to sit on the Iron Throne. Curiosity abounds as I wonder how this will play into the climb for the crown. In an interesting twist, Melisandre takes Gendry, sold for two bags of gold to Arya’s spite. She confronts Melisandre. The woman in red only looks into her eyes, seeing 3 different pairs of eyes looking back, perhaps a premonition of those who will fall at the hands of Arya in the future. The standoff was good, filled with a real tension, not over blown, but well crafted and acted. Arya has much anger; she’ll need to take that out on someone, hopefully sooner than later.
The theme of this episode was climbing. Whether it is overt, as with Jon Snow and the Wildlings, or covert with the political posturing, it is all about those who can make their way to the top, and those who get their hands stepped on or fall to their death. The higher one makes it, the closer one dangles on the brink of demise, exemplified by Ros and her arrow filled body. As Baelish states to Varys, “Chaos is not a pit. It’s a ladder.” To the politicians of power, the ladder is real. The climb is all there is, and whoever is in the way needs to be stepped over. Only the strong, the crafty, the resourceful, and the conniving survive. It doesn’t matter if the end game is the top of the Wall or sitting on the Iron Throne, one thing is for sure: it’s a messy and dangerous climb to the top.