'Game of Thrones' Recap: On Top of the World
'Game of Thrones' Recap: On Top of the World
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Game of Thrones continues to excel in the second half of season 3 with an episode all about making the climb. Jon Snow and Ygritte climb the Wall, the Lannisters and Tyrells try to climb the ladder of power and Robb tries to climb his way out of a huge mistake.

The episode ends with perhaps the single most gorgeous shot the show has ever or will ever achieve. Unfortunately, it came right after one of the most depressing as one of my favorite characters is killed. Damn you, King Joffrey and your crossbow fetish!

Jon's Climb

Jon Snow and Mance Rayder's army reach the Wall, and the entire episode is spent climbing it. But first Ygritte reveals that she knows Jon Snow is actually a double agent, but she doesn't care because she just wants to be with him. Wow, he IS good at sex.

During the climb an avalanche causes an intense action sequence that finds Jon Snow swinging for a ledge to save himself and Ygritte. They succeed, continue their ascent, and by the end of the episode, Jon Snow and Ygritte are on top of the Wall.

They look North to see the vast expanse, then look South to see the luscious, verdant new world. And then they share a passionate kiss on top of the world as the camera pans out. It's positively cinematic, the kind of thing you'd see at the end of a movie.

King's Landing Love Square

Lady Olenna continues her whirlwind adventure to share an awesome scene with a different character every week. We've seen her with Sansa, Varys, Cersei and Tyrion, now it's Tywin's turn to go over arranging the marriage of Loras and Cersei.

Olenna isn't very pleased with it, leading to a rather awkward conversation where the two debate which is worse, homosexuality or incest. Incest wins because Olenna thinks a little buggery every now and then between two boys is totally natural. I think the gay rights movement just found its new motto. Still, after being threatened, she signs off on the marriage.

Elsewhere, Cersei and Tyrion have a real heart-to-heart about how these two arranged marriages are bad for everyone involved. Bonding over their mutual future misery, Tyrion learns that it was actually Joffrey who ordered Sir Mandon Moore to kill him during the Battle of Blackwater, not his sister as he assumed. This prompts Tyrion to once again state that Joffrey is an idiot.

It seems Tyrion and Cersei both realize their times have past, so maybe they'll start working together to regain a little bit of power since Joffrey is the king and their dad is calling all the shots. I smell a Lannister family feud brewing.

Elsewhere, Sansa and Loras go on a date where he spends the whole time talking about brooches and wedding gowns. Seriously, no wonder his homosexuality is the worst kept secret in the Seven Kingdoms. The happiness for Sansa is short-lived as Tyrion shows up to have the very, VERY awkward conversation about how she's going to be marrying him instead. I love Tyrion, but that's definitely a downgrade from the Knight of Flowers and his beautiful curly hair.


In the saddest development of the episode, Littlefinger and Varys have a verbal sparring match over their plotting, and it seems Littlefinger has emerged victorious since Sansa is marrying Tyrion and not Loras. Even worse, Littlefinger figured out Ros was working as Varys' spy and, as punishment, handed her over to Joffrey for some experimental new adventure.

That adventure involved shooting her in the chest with his crossbow. Yes, Ros, the awesome red-headed prostitute who serviced everyone from Theon Greyjoy to Grand Maester Pycelle, is dead. Come on, show, you don't need to keep giving us reasons to hate Joffrey, we already do.

The Lord of Light's Plan

Arya gets archery lessons from the Brotherhood Without Banners when Melisandre shows up. Now this is definitely a weird pairing. Melisandre has come for Gendry, because he's somehow important to the Lord of Light. It seems she knows what very few others do, that Gendry is actually Robert Baratheon's bastard son and, therefore, is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.

The Brotherhood Without Banners agree to let Melisandre take Gendry away, though Arya objects. Melisandre looks into her eyes and sees that Arya is going to grow up to kill many people, and that they will meet again. Man, I can't wait for Arya to kill someone. Hopefully that means Gendry will still be alive too and won't be sacrificed to the Lord of Light.

Skinning Rabbits

Bran is still heading to the Wall, but Osha and Meera Reed are having problems getting along, as exhibited while skinning rabbits (which is truly disgusting). Bran plays peacemaker and gets them to play nice, but then Jojen has a seizure related to one of his vision quests. He reveals that he saw Jon Snow, but he was on the other side of the Wall.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Jaime?

Lord Bolton has dinner with Jaime and Brienne to figure out what to do with them. He decides to look out for his own interest and send Jaime to King's Landing, but wants to be sure Tywin knows that cutting off Jaime's hand was not his idea. I'm not sure what Roose is up to, but I do appreciate his joke about how Jaime is "overplaying his...position." God bless hand puns!

Robb's New Plan

Robb meets with Walder Frey's men to discuss how to work together now that he's lost the House Karstark armies. First Robb has to apologize for breaking his original deal and marrying someone else. Second, Walder Frey wants Harrenhal. Does Harrenhal only exist as a bargaining chip? I feel like 70 different people have been promised that castle since the show began.

Finally, Walder wants Edmure Tully to marry one of his daughters. Edmure doesn't want to get stuck marrying an ugly chick, but Robb pressures him into agreeing. Problem solved!

Who Has Theon?

Finally, the mysterious boy keeping Theon captive plays a little game of torture where he promises to stop if Theon correctly predicts who he is, where they are and why he's doing this.

Ultimately we find out he's one of Rickard Karstark's sons, so Theon was originally captured because the Karstarks were Robb's bannermen. Of course that's changed since Robb executed his dad, so this could get messy, especially since Theon spilled the beans about Bran and Rickon still being alive, information Robb doesn't have.

Of course then the kid says he's a liar and tortures Theon some more anyway. It's unclear if he was just lying about the torture or if he also lied about who he is. We only know of two of Rickard Karstark's sons, both dead. In the books he had a third son, Eddard, who was also killed by Jaime Lannister, so this shouldn't be him. It would be nice if they could just give me a name because recapping him as "mysterious boy" or "Theon's torturer" is getting old.

Also, is Theon literally going to be tortured for the entirety of season 3? Because I hate him, but I don't hate him THAT much.

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(Image courtesy of HBO)