The unlikely bond between Sir Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his former guard Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) continues to blossom in “Game of Thrones” Episode 27, “The Bear and the Maiden Fair.”
We see a surprising new side of Jaime since he was captured in battle and later lost his beloved sword hand. In very un-Lannister-like fashion, his arrogant elitism wanes and a compassionate nature emerges.
Jaime is luckily en route to King’s Landing after being freed by Lord Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton). Brienne’s fate is far dimmer, however, as she faces treason charges at ruined Harrenhal castle. Worse yet, her father’s ransom offer was rejected by Bolton’s men.
Forcing a speedy return to Harrenhal, Jaime finds bleeding Brienne in a gladiator pit fending off a ferocious bear with just a wooden sword. Jaime leaps to her rescue, pushing Brienne out of the death trap. Will these adversaries-turned-pals soon find safety at King’s Landing?
Far from being safe is poor Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen), who’s physical and psychological torture intensifies. There’s a glimmer of hope as two comely lasses seduce Theon – but it’s a cruel tease. Passion gives way to terror as Theon begs to spare his “most precious” body part from the knife.
Meanwhile, trouble looms for young lovers Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and fierce wildling Ygritte (Rose Leslie). She wears animal pelts. He’d like her clad in a silk dress – if only to rip it off. Will this city boy/country girl romance survive?
More importantly, Jon warns Ygritte that fighting to reclaim lands south of the Wall would end in disaster, as happened six times previously. An undisciplined wildling force is surely no match for trained soldiers and castle defenses.
“If we die, we die,” says fatalistic Ygritte. “But first we’ll live.”
Elsewhere, heavy rain delays the journey of King in the North Robb Stark (Richard Madden) to the castle of Lord Walter Frey (David Bradley). The goal is forming a military alliance by marrying Robb’s uncle Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies) to Frey’s not-so-attractive daughter.
While matriarch Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) worries the delay will offend “prickly” Frey, Robb has much happier thoughts. After a blissful lovemaking session with bride Talisa (Oona Chaplin), King Robb learns a “little prince or princess” is on the way.
Speaking of babies, heartbroken Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) can’t abide the idea of bearing children in a forced marriage to dwarf Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage). But pragmatic social climber Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) points out certain advantages of joining the powerful Lannister clan.
Here’s Margaery's view of Tyrion: “Far from the worst Lannister, wouldn’t you say?” And given his considerable sexual experience, perhaps Sansa might come to enjoy their bedroom encounters.
As for Sansa’s impulsive younger sister Arya (Maisie Williams), she tires of being a guest/hostage of the Brotherhood Without Banners and escapes into the dark woods. But who’s lurking there to capture her? It’s that evil beast Sandor “The Hound” Clegane (Rory McCann). No way!
Finally, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) leads her three dragons and fearsome army to the outskirts of Yunkai, an ancient walled city-state made prosperous through the bondage of 200,000 slaves.
“You will release every slave in Yunkai,” Daenerys commands an aristocrat, and in exchange she’ll spare the city masters. “Reject this gift and I will show you no mercy.” Her ultimatum is scorned, however, as the angry ruler makes a hasty retreat.
Pick a fight with Daenerys? Don’t forget she just savaged the nearby city of Astapor. And her once-cute little dragons grow bigger and deadlier by the day!