‘Game of Thrones’ Season 3, Episode 6 Review – Chaos is a Ladder

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Kristofer Hivju in Game of Thrones The Climb Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 6 Review – Chaos is a Ladder

As Game of Thrones moves closer to the end of season 3, certain plot elements have definitely begun to coalesce, while some others that were perhaps forgotten or had been dormant for what seems like ages have suddenly returned the forefront of the narrative.

That, of course, is in reference to Melisandre’s arrival at the Brotherhood Without Banners’ camp to collect Gendry, thanks to his apparently not-so-secret bloodline. This inactive plot thread swiftly sparked to life once more and offered a reminder as to how deep the bench is in this series in terms of storyline. But, thankfully, Gendry’s apprehension by Melisandre also showed how well the series handles rekindling these older threads; because when it comes to Gendry the “king’s blood” in his veins, had pretty much taken a backseat to hiking through the very populated woods of Westeros listening to Arya recite the names of people she’s going to kill.

The constant shifting of character priorities and levels of importance is certainly one element that keeps Game of Thrones so much fun to watch and, like the recently-returned Beric Dondarrion or even Barristan Selmy, they act as intriguing bridges between enormous stretches of story. The sheer number of characters and plot threads that have come and gone – or have simply arrived and seemingly gone nowhere – can be a bit chaotic at times – but, like Littlefinger, it is a chaos that the series seems to make excellent use of when possible.

Sophie Turner in Game of Thrones The Climb Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 6 Review – Chaos is a Ladder

But what was really remarkable about ‘The Climb’ was how the series has – for the past three episodes, anyway – managed to combine outstanding set pieces with a more coherent throughline, making the mostly disparate storylines feel more united within the confines of a single episode (something that the series may have struggled with a bit during the beginning of the season). Like the merging of House Lannister and Tyrell, the combination of set pieces with a cohesive throughline for the characters (even when they’ve absolutely nothing to do with one another) has proven to be a fruitful relationship.

In fact, with the obvious exception of ‘Blackwater‘ – an achievement so great even the characters on the show can’t stop referencing it – ‘The Climb’ may be one of the most cinematic efforts the Game of Thrones has undertaken in terms of content, striking visuals and structure. This is an incredibly far-reaching episode; it invites nearly everyone to the table, and yet it doesn’t feel like an hour of simpy sitting down and watching characters talk about events that have yet to happen, even though that makes up the vast majority of its runtime.

Of course, visually speaking, the highlight belongs to the spectacle of watching Jon Snow, Ygritte, Orell and Tormund Giantsbane scale all 700 feet of the Wall. This certainly fits into the aforementioned cinematic quality of the episode, with a show-stopping moment as Jon Snow struggles to save himself and Ygritte after Orell cuts them loose following the collapse of a huge chunk of the Wall.

But more important is the emotional aspect that is conveyed once Jon and Ygritte reach the top and she looks out at either side for the first time, seeing the great expanse of the world beyond what she’d always known. And naturally, the scene is bracketed by the drama of Jon Snow and Ygritte swearing allegiance to one another (outside those they’ve already sworn to), which helps to illustrate their climb wasn’t merely for the demonstration of some impressive special effects.

Philip McGinley and Maisie Williams in Game of Thrones The Climb Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 6 Review – Chaos is a Ladder

More impressive still is the manner in which all the other storylines managed to flow into one another (with the exception of Theon’s continued misery). The key component being Jaime’s situation improving little by little while, back in King’s Landing, Tyrion and Cersei continue to see theirs deteriorate due to their respective betrothals. This is entirely due to the standout character in the past few weeks, Tywin Lannister.

The verbal pummeling Tywin’s delivered to anyone (typically his children) when they’ve come asking for anything or offering unsolicited advice has been impressive – especially when one takes note that he’s typically busying himself with writing a letter or some other duty befitting the King’s Hand while verbally vanquishing his foes (again, typically his children). In ‘The Climb,’ however, Tywin finds himself in the presence of Lady Olenna, brewing up the future of their two families while simultaneously working to quell some persistent rumors surrounding their respective houses.

In the end, the episode integrates the characters at varying stages of the same figurative climb quite well. Some, like Littlefinger, are more adept at seeing the chaos as a means to rise above, while others like Beric view things a little differently; because he knows no matter how high anyone manages to climb, there’s only darkness after the fall. Alas, poor Ros found this out the hard way, as her second trip to King Joffrey’s bedroom proved to be her last…

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Game of Thrones continues next Sunday with ‘The Bear and the Maiden Fair’ @9pm on HBO. Check out a preview below:

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31 Comments

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  1. Man this ep was awesome that climb on the wall was pretty crazy. Gotta love Jon Snow

  2. This series is building up nicely. As an Aussie who would of thought Monday afternoons could be so good.

  3. This season has been great. I love the little (and some big) differences from the books. I think it helps in the storytelling for TV.

    This episode was terrific. I’m saddened that there is only 4 more episodes and then we have to wait another year!

  4. More boring filler like usual.

    • Another boring comment like usual.

      • Lol, right.

      • I’d expect a reviewer to have a more mature response to someone’s opinion.

        • Well, there doesn’t need to be a mature response to a comment like that. Every episode advances the plot and characters, so there aren’t any fillers. Unless, of course, someone expects Lord of the Rings and action battles every few minutes. But if you expect that you came to the wrong show. This is a dialogue-heavy character drama set in a mostly realistic world and not an action fairy tale.

    • I think there’s a reality show out there just waiting for you to tune in. Please do.

  5. @ Magno

    I fail to see how such intense tension building can be referred to as boring?

    I’m glad that every single show doesn’t try some sort of tired action sequence because they would eventually become forced and the quality would suffer.

    Seriously though… the wall climb bored you?

    …just because one of them didn’t pull a sword out you were bored with Tywin vs Lady Ollena?

    Personally, I love how the show is paced so the action is that much more appreciated and at no times feels like filer.

    … and this is coming from someone whom’s only knowledge of the books comes from accidentally reading comments on GoT discussions.

    • I also found it extremely boring when Ramsey was playing mind/torture games with Theon. Or when the wildlings were climbing the wall and most of the them fell off. Or when Tywin and the Queen of Thorns were going at it. Or when Gendry was taken by Melisandre…… *yawn*….. this is all the drama they could come up with?

      • I see what you did there.

  6. One of the many things GoT does well is how it handles foreshadowing. Sure, there are a few times when a caption could appear saying “remember this” but most of the time it’s a subtle line here or there or a scene that seems random at the time then we learn later of how important it was.
    My point is that the way this episode played out it seemed to be that we got a few glimpses of where the show is headed. Not just for this season but also 2 or 3 down the road.
    I should say that I’ve only recently started reading the books. So I’m just guessing about what seems important. I finished book 1 but I’m taking a break with an easier read before starting book 2 because between watching the show and reading the books my mind was on GoT overload. :)

    • I read all the books in one shotguns it was the best thing .I am just upset that all the books have not been written yet so I wouldn’t be stuck for 2 years on what’s going to happen next .

      • Shot*

  7. Good episode, but can’t wait for the next episode. My favorite story is Daenerys’ with her dragons and her bad ass army.

  8. I really enjoy GOT. But I fear that I may begin to lose interest. Eventually this show will probably kill off most characters we love, which in my opinion is a horrible idea. I don’t see how this whole story will come to a good ending.

    • Have you read the books or are just watching the show? If the latter, then you’re in for some disappointments unfortunately :(

      • Martin does kill off characters, but he does so in good taste or in spectacular fashion. Also, there are still a lot of characters that haven’t been introduced yet that people may start to love. We haven’t even visited Dorne yet and some good characters come from there…imo. There are also new characters that come out of the east.

        What I really like about this series is that the good guys don’t always win or make it to the end, which I love because I never know when anyone could go. Keeps me on the edge of my seat.

        Like Arya said, “Anyone can die.”

        • now why did u hav to do that ?

  9. Contrary to accusations of it being boring, I could watch an entire episode of Baelish and Lord Varys dueling each other with language. Just hypnotizes me quite frankly watching those two. Also, as cool as Daenerys was in gaining her army, the best scene in the entire season so far was the Kingslayer debunking his own myth to reveal the man.

    Point is, it’s never boring and that is the great strength of this show. It treats the quiet moments with as much respect and grandeur as it does the budget stretching action.

    • I agree with you 100% on Baelish and Varys. I love watching these two battle, its like their own game within a bigger game. Each one is trying to ruin each others plans without actually hurting the individual physically. We see this more in the TV shows then in the book, which is one change I don’t mind.

  10. Another great episode, this has been the best season so far. These next three episodes will really up the bar of the show.

  11. Amazing episode.

    R.I.P. Ros will be missed.

    The ending of this episode was incredible…lol I feel so sorry for poor Sansa give her a break :(

  12. Whilst I admit, I haven’t given the time to read the collection of books, I can see why some might perceive the past episode or two as “filler”. The first season was brutal when it came to the pace of the overall story and character development, and season two found a happy medium (in my opinion) between characters, story, build up and action/conclusion. But so far season 3 has seen a lot of drama, a lot of build up, but not much action, or conclusions to the myriad of individual character threads that continue to develop in to more complex stories that are harder to follow.

    I’m still thoroughly enjoying season 3, but I’m starting to appreciate that perhaps I’m at a disadvantage having not read the books.

  13. One thing I didn’t like at first in this episodes was Melisandre meeting Thoros of Myr and how they personally knew each other. This is so far off then in the book it’s ridiculous. Then after thinking about it for a bit it somewhat makes sense. We know that Melisandre needs someone with royal blood for Stannis and instead of wasting precious time, in an hour long tv show, and introducing a brand new character and explaining his background, they just substitute Gendry who the viewers already know have royal blood.

    So I guess take the bad with the good and applaud Benioff and Weiss on a quick fix.

  14. Can’t wait for the Red Wedding.

  15. Great review! I usually like the reviews of GoT written by Tim Surette, but his review was very negative. Good that you can also see the awesomeness of this episode! I agree it wasn’t the best episode, but it was very enjoyable to watch nevertheless.. Keep up the good reviews!

  16. Now comes the wedding season.

  17. This is probably my favorite episode among all the season. And it’s aptly named too. Each episode is a climb and though bittersweet, I’m excited to see where they are going to cut the book in the series.

  18. Also, with Gendry’s character expanding I believe Joe Dempsie is staying on (I really really hope so because I always thought that Gendry was weakly used by the book as a character given that his is such a rich background). Why introduce a character with such a heavy background when you’re going to abandon them by half of the storyline? (although this can’t really be objective at all because half of my fangirl side is speaking).

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