Game of Thrones: The Bear and the Maiden Fair   First Watch 
August 14, 2015 7:38 AM - Season 3, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Jon and the wildlings travel South of the Wall. Dany exchanges gifts with a slave lord outside of Yunkai. Talisa tells Robb she's pregnant. As Sansa frets about her prospects, Shae chafes at Tyrion's new situation. Arya and the Brotherhood part ways. Tywin counsels the king, and Melisandre reveals a secret to Gendry. Jamie leaves Brienne behind at Harrenhal, where she faces a formidable foe.

Ser Barristan Selmy: "The Yunkish are a proud people; they will not bend."
Daenerys Targaryen: "And what happens to things that don't bend?"

Longer Summary (contains spoilers)
In King's Landing: Sansa is comforted by Lady Margaery over the former's betrothal to Tyrion. Elsewhere, Tyrion and Bronn are also discussing the match and how it will affect Shae. (Tyrion: "Two women to despise me and a whole kingdom to join them.") Tywin meets with his grandson, King Joffrey, who asks what they should do about the rumors of Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons, but Tywin claims there is no threat. This is probably the first time in the series that Joffrey is absolutely right about something and acts like an actual King, and Tywin condescendingly shoots him down. Their exchange leaves no doubt as to who is really ruling the kingdom. Later, Shae tells Tyrion that she will not continue their relationship once he marries Sansa.

On Blackwater Bay: Melisandre reveals to Gendry that he is the bastard of the late King Robert Baratheon.

In the North, South of the Wall: After surviving the perilous climb of the Wall, Jon Snow, Ygritte, and the wildlings led by Tormund Giantsbane make their way towards Castle Black to await Mance Rayder's signal to begin the attack on the Night's Watch. Ygritte and Jon discuss their next move. Afterwards Jon confronts Orell about cutting his and Ygritte's rope loose on The Wall, nearly killing the both of them in the process. Orell tells Jon that he doesn't see Ygritte complaining about what happened because she is a wildling and understood what needed to be done in a pressure situation, also telling Jon that this is the reason he will never be able to keep her. Orell later confesses his love for Ygritte and tries to convince her that Jon is still loyal to the Night's Watch. Later, Jon tells Ygritte that the wildling cause is hopeless, but she remains undaunted. She points out that Jon is technically one of them, so if it fails, so does he. She tells him bluntly that if they die, they die, but before they die they will live.

In the North, Undisclosed Location: Theon is freed from his constraints by two beautiful women, who give him water and clean his wounds. He is apprehensive, but they lay him down on a bed and then proceed to dramatically seduce him. The women say repeatedly that they have heard that the heir to Pyke is well endowed and are hoping to get first hand experience. Suddenly, the familiar horn sounds and they are interrupted by his tormenter, who reveals he staged the situation. Theon is terrified and tries to escape, but is struck hard on the head and is flung to the ground. The boy claims he too has heard about Theon's famous body part and announces it must very well be his favorite body part. The boy draws a knife and orders his men to restrain Theon so he can make him a eunuch.

In the North, Approaching the Wall: Bran speaks with Jojen while Osha and Hodor set up camp. Osha continues to grow suspicious of the Reeds, calling Jojen's visions "black magic". When she says they have to continue to the Wall, Jojen reveals that the three-eyed raven is north of the Wall, and that is their destination. Osha refuses to allow them to go north of the Wall, relating to them the story of her husband's death and resurrection as a wight.

In the Riverlands: King Robb's forces are delayed by rain in their march toward the Twins for Edmure Tully's wedding to Roslin Frey. Catelyn and the Blackfish discuss their distaste for Walder Frey, who will see their delay and Robb's oath-breaking as slights against his family. When the Tullys depart, Queen Talisa reveals to Robb that she is pregnant.

At The Brotherhood's Hideout: Arya berates Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr for selling Gendry to Melisandre. She takes an opportunity to escape and runs off into the night. Before she gets too far, however, she is snatched up by The Hound, who was lying in wait for her.

Slaver's Bay: Outside Yunkai: Dany, Ser Jorah, Ser Barristan Selmy and her army of Unsullied reach the yellow city of Yunkai. Though she is advised that Yunkai holds no strategic value, Daenerys tells Jorah she will take the city in order to free its 200,000 slaves. She orders Grey Worm to send a messenger to the city demanding their surrender, or she will sack it. A wealthy slaver, Razdal mo Eraz, is sent by Yunkai to offer terms of peace, which include chests filled with gold bars and as many ships as Daenerys wants. They ask Dany to pass them by and sail to Westeros. Dany refuses and demands the slaves of the city be freed and paid for their service, which Razdal angrily refuses.

At Harrenhal: Brienne is visited in her cell by Jaime, who tells her that he will be departing for King's Landing the next day. She will be left at Harrenhal under the care of Locke, as Roose Bolton is departing for Edmure Tully's wedding at the Twins. Before leaving, Brienne makes Jaime swear to uphold his oath to Catelyn Stark and return the Stark girls to their mother. Jamie tells her he owes Brienne a debt for both keeping him alive on their journey and for giving him a reason to live to rouse him from his suicidal depression after losing his hand. Brienne tells Jaime to repay his debt by keeping his pledge.As he leaves, Jaime tells Roose to tell Robb Stark that he is sorry that he can't attend the wedding, but that "the Lannisters send their regards."
While on the road, Qyburn checks on the condition of Jaime's right arm, and reveals that he lost his maester's chain for experimenting on living humans. Jaime is disgusted by this revelation, but Qyburn counters what he learned has saved numerous more lives and questions Jaime on how many he has killed compared to how many he's saved. Jaime responds that he has probably killed thousands, but he saved half a million lives when he killed the Mad King to save the population of King's Landing, much to Qyburn's surprise. Jaime then asks about Brienne; Qyburn confirms that they sent a raven to her father, Lord Selwyn Tarth, and he offered a ransom of 300 Gold Dragons for his daughter's safe return. However, Locke refused the offer; still under the misapprehension that Tarth owns every sapphire mine in Westeros, Locke is convinced Lord Selwyn is trying to cheat him. When Qyburn mentions that most of the men would rather get some meager entertainment out of killing Brienne before they die in battle or winter, Jaime, feeling guilty because his lie to protect Brienne has invertantly placed her in greater danger, urges Steelshanks to return to Harrenhal. Though the man initially refuses, Jaime uses the promise of a reward and the threat of Tywin Lannister's retribution to convince him to go back.
Upon their arrival, Jaime finds that Brienne has been thrown into a pit by Locke and his men and has been forced to defend herself from a bear with a wooden sword, as they all mockingly sing "The Bear and the Maiden Fair". Jaime tries to ransom Brienne, is unsuccessful, and instead leaps into the pit to protect her. The bear is shot with a crossbow by Steelshanks but continues to attack, before Jaime boosts Brienne out of the pit, and is then lifted to safety. Confronted by Steelshanks and his men, who are ordered to ensure Jaime's safety, Locke relents and lets Jaime and Brienne depart for King's Landing.

Joffrey: "Tell me about the Targaryen girl in the east. And her dragons."
Tywin: "Where did you hear about this?"
Joffrey: "Is it true?"
Tywin: "Apparently so."
Joffrey: "Don't you think we ought to do something about it?"
Tywin: "When I was Hand of the King under your father's predecessor, the skulls of all the Targaryen dragons were kept in this room. And the skull of the last of them was right here. It was the size of an apple."
Joffrey: "And the biggest was the size of a carriage".
Tywin: "Yes, and the creature to whom it belonged died 300 years ago. Curiosities on the far side of the world are no threat to us."
Joffrey: "But how do we know that these dragons are just curiosities and not the beasts that brought the whole world to heel?"
Tywin: "Because we have been told as much by the many experts who serve the realm by counseling the King on matters about which he knows nothing."
Joffrey: "But I haven't been counseled."
Tywin: "You are being counseled at this very moment."
Joffrey: "I should be consulted about such things."
Tywin: "From now on I will see to it that you are appropriately consulted on important matters. Whenever necessary."

Introduced in this episode
* Razdal mo Eraz, a wealthy slave-trader from the city of Yunkai, on the coast of Slaver's Bay, and one of the Wise Masters, the ruling elite of the city. He is fluent in the Common Tongue of Westeros.
* Myranda, servant of House Bolton of the Dreadfort,
* Violet, servant of House Bolton of the Dreadfort,
* Yunkai, also known as "The Yellow City", is one of the three great Ghiscari city-states of Slaver's Bay, located south-west of Meereen and north of Astapor. Bedslaves, trained in the "Way of the Seven Sighs", are Yunkai's chief export. Yunkai is ruled by an oligarchy of slave merchants calling themselves the Wise Masters. Its people are known both as Yunkish and Yunkai'i. (Added to credits)

Ygritte: "Is that a palace?"
Jon Snow: "It's a windmill."
Ygritte: "Windmill..."
Jon: “If you’re impressed by a windmill, you’d be swooning if you saw the great keep at Winterfell."
Ygritte: “What’s swooning?"
Jon: “Fainting."
Ygritte: “What’s fainting?"
Jon: “When a girl sees blood and collapses."
Ygritte: “Why would a girl see blood and collapse?"
Jon: “Well, not all girls are like you."

Notes (cribbed from here, here and here -- there are spoilers below)
* Diverse Leading Man Bart the Bear 2 starred in the Harrenhal scenes. An Alaskan brown bear over 8 feet long and around 1100 lbs, his scenes were filmed in Los Angeles, because when you're a ferocious yet debonair gigantic brown bear, production teams come to you, not the other way around.
* Gwendolyn Christie was actually with Bart in the pit, though in real life the crew was being friendly to the bear and saying encouraging things to keep him calm. Christie said that she did every stunt in the bear pit - except for one, when she has to pretend that the bear is hitting her. A stunt double was used for that specific, brief shot, though in real life Bart was just playfully pawing at the stunt man.
* Episode written by George R. R. Martin
* In some of the scenes, Martin had to take into account the changes done by the production to some of his original plots or characters, writing scenes that could never happen in the novels: the books have Talisa's counterpart stay in Riverrun instead of following Robb, Melisandre never interacts with Gendry, and Sansa does not get to confide with Margaery.
* Martin also did not write the scenes with Theon and Ramsay in this episode.
* Martin initially titled the episode "Autumn Storms", because it was supposed to be raining in many of the scenes. When he was forced to change it because most of the rains had been cut from his script in pre-production, he came up with the title "Chains", that worked both in a literal and metaphorical level. However, later on, the final scene including the bear that had been originally written by showrunners Benioff and Weiss for the next episode was incorporated, and the episode was given its final title.
* The episode title refers to humorous ribald song popular in Westeros, about a hairy bear that goes to a fair with a band of three boys and a goat, and on the way rescues a maiden who was hoping for a knight. It also refers to Brienne's fight against the bear, during which Locke and his men sing mockingly the song while watching it.
* This episode marks the first time that Tywin has had a significant scene with his grandson King Joffrey, where they interacted in person.
* Actual dead rabbits, not props, were used in the scene where Osha and Meera are arguing over skinning rabbits they've caught. As the cast members have explained, they actually had to film numerous takes of this scene, which meant that they had to skin a new dead rabbit every time. They ended up spending much of the day with their hands covered in raw rabbit blood and guts.

"Oh, I'm a maid, and I'm pure and fair!
I'll never dance with a hairy bear!
I called a knight, but you're a bear!
All black and brown and covered in hair!

He lifted her high in the air!
He sniffed and roared and he smelled her there!
She kicked and wailed, the maid so fair!
He licked the honey all up in her hair!

From there to here. From here! To there!
All black and brown and covered in hair!
He smelled that girl on the summer air!
The bear! The bear!
The maiden fair!"

posted by zarq (4 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This is a First Watch with Books thread.

Please do not reveal spoilers for subsequent episodes from any source.

Thank you.
posted by zarq at 7:38 AM on August 14, 2015

I can't let an episode with this title pass by without dropping the amazing Hold Steady rendition of the song (even though this is a few episodes later than it pops up in the show).
posted by Itaxpica at 9:11 PM on August 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Christie said that she did every stunt in the bear pit - except for one

Every time I think she's badass, she gets badasser. (Badderass?)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:41 AM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

I ended up listening to the audiobooks this summer after the 5th season ended. There were a number of jarring differences between the TV and book portrayals of the characters (though I eventually grew somewhat fond of Tyrion's heavy Welsh accent) but one of the biggest for me was Brienne. I'd say her characterisation is mostly the same, but the book reader gives her this down country accent and makes her sound thick as a plank, whereas Gwendolyn Christie sounds posher than posh, ascending to minor royalty specifically when speaking to Pod. I'm not even British, and therefore no expert, but even to me the difference between Christie's cut glass phrasing and the book's mumble mush affects how you think of her character profoundly -- is she noble or merely naive? A fool or a hero? It's interesting, because despite the differences in the plot I'd say her actions are about equally ill-thought out and well-intended in both, but I do feel like it affects how much one respects her character.
posted by Diablevert at 3:53 PM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

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