Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail, never get to try it again. The fall breaks them. And some, are given a chance to climb. But they refuse. They cling to the realm. Or the gods. Or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real; the climb is all there is.

I feel like this week’s Game of Thrones is the quiet before the storm. Every show needs a few of those episodes that build up to something more and this was the episode, aptly named the Climb.

In the Northern Wilds, we find Sam and Gilly in the woods, having escaped the insanity at Craster’s with Gilly’s newborn son. It’s an endearing little moment with Sam not really knowing how to start a fire and singing to Gilly and her baby. We also find Meera and Osha skinning rabbits somewhere in the woods, or more competing to skin rabbits. I mean, while it’s funny that they’re comparing skinning rabbits, it’s also nice that that’s the worst thing they have to worry about. Well, that and the fact that Jojen has epileptic attacks every time he has a vision. Jojen’s vision’s tell him what’s happening to Jon. On the wrong side of the wall and surrounded by enemies.

Which is 100% true.

Though it doesn’t seem to concern Ygritte and Jon while their preparing to climb the wall. Ygritte is perfectly aware that Jon is still loyal to the Night’s Watch, and all she asks is he be loyal to her and trust her and also never to betray her. Ok, Gemma Teller (high fives for people who understand the reference). They start their perilous climb, and with one poor move by Ygritte she takes out almost all of the other wildlings climbing the wall with them as well as endangers her own line. She and Jon are cut, but he manages to save them and carry her up with him as they make it to the top of the wall and Ygritte can finally see the world from on top of the Wall.

Arya and Gendry seem to be getting along well with the brotherhood. Arya is learning how to shoot an arrow and Gendry is making friends. And it’s all great until Melisandre arrives. This is where we were assuming they replaced Edric from the books with Gendry, which is all well and good, especially to compress the storyline a little bit. Arya contests Gendry being taken away, obviously, and is met face to face with Melisandre who tells her she sees visions of death in Arya’s future. Oooo, foreshadowing.

Cut to Ramsay Bolton being a douche and waking Theon up with the most annoying of trumpets in some dungeon. Except that annoying trumpet is the least of Theon’s worries as Ramsay starts to go to work on Theon. Torturing him without giving much reason. There goes a finger. There goes a nail.

In Riverrun, the Freys have come to ask for some recompense. Especially since Robb broke his promise to them and married Talisa instead of a daughter of the Freys. The Freys agree to help Robb, but require that someone still be married to their family, and sadly Edmure draws the short end of the stick. He has to marry someone he has never met, though it seems like his biggest fear is that she’s ugly. Oh simple Edmure. Just wait.

Speaking of struggles, this week on struggles of a newly hand-less man: Jaime realizes it’s harder to eat like a civilized man without an extra hand lying around. Good thing Brienne will help him out. But we learn that they are about to be separated from Harrenhal. Jaime, back to King’s Landing, and Brienne, to suffer her fate for betraying her king.

In King’s Landing, two of my favorite schemers come together to talk wedding business. Olenna, of course, opposes the idea of Loras marrying Cersei, especially with menopause on the horizon for Cersei and her grandson being the most eligible bachelor in the land. She admits he’s a “sword swallower, through and through”, but also knows that the Lannisters have other problems to worry about, like incest. Too bad Tywin has another trick up his sleeve, he threatens Loras with the kingsguard, which will strip him of whatever rights he has to Highgarden, if he does not marry Cersei.

Though, Sansa might be getting the better end of the stick. Since Loras is clearly not interested in her. Oh Sansa and Brienne. The two blindest women in the seven kingdoms. While Loras is off talking about brooches and his favorite colors of dresses, Sansa is too busy imagining her wedding to him. Sadly, her joy is cut short after a visit from Tyrion, finding out she’s not going to be married to Loras but to Tyrion, leaving her in tears.

Varys and Littlefinger have their final moment together, trading victories and defeats in their games of espionage. Today, Littlefinger gets the prize. He twarts Varys’s plans for Sansa and sails away on his ship, leaving Ros in the psychotic hands of Joffrey, pinned and mounted.

Next week’s episode is wonderfully written by G.R.R. Martin himself, and boy am I excited and anxious for this.

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