For all the dark and twisted and shocking plot developments that ‘Game of Thrones’ rolls out on a regular basis, the part that I found most troubling about this week’s episode was the casual writing-out of a minor but endearing supporting character.
That character would be Ros, the former Winterfell whore who used her cunning and intelligence to rise to prominence as the madam of Baelish’s brothel. Near the end of episode ‘The Climb’, Baelish reveals that he knows Ros betrayed him by spying on him for Varys. To punish her, as he dismissively tells Varys, Baelish “gave her to a friend” who was eager for new experiences. That friend, of course, is King Joffrey, who tortured and murdered Ros, using her as target practice for his fancy new crossbow. And that, apparently, is the last we’ll see of her. Although she was never a major player in the show’s plot, I feel that the character had enough of a story to deserve a better exit than this. Did she have more to do in the books?
Some of the other important events to happen in this episode include:
- Samwell and Gilly make their way to the Wall and Castle Black. If they’re lucky, they’ll get there just in time for it to be raided by the Wildlings.
- Former Wildling slave Osha does not care much for Meera Reed. Bran Stark has to force a truce between them. When Jojen Reed has a seizure, Meera explains that, “The visions take their toll.” Bran worries that the same may be in store for him.
- The Brotherhood without Banners is visited by Melisandre, who shares their worship of the Lord of Light. She’s shocked to discover that Beric has been resurrected multiple times, presumably because even she doesn’t have this power. Beric tells her that there is no other side after death, just blackness. After some negotiating, Melisandre buys the blacksmith boy Gendry, who she knows is Robert Baratheon’s bastard, though no one else does (not even Gendry). Arya is extremely upset.
- Theon Greyjoy is taunted and further tortured by his former rescuer, who forces him to guess his identity. After a few failures, Theon guesses that he’s Rickard Karstark’s son, and that he’s torturing Theon because his father is Robb Stark’s bannerman and Theon betrayed Robb. (Theon of course has no way of knowing that Robb executed Karstark.) The stranger admits that this is the case, but then, a moment later, claims that he was lying. As he commences torturing Theon again, the stranger tells him, “This isn’t happening to you for a reason.”
- Robb Stark negotiates with Walder Frey’s representatives to win back Frey’s alliance. In return, Robb will give him Harrenhal after the war, and pledges that his uncle Edmure Tully (the one who couldn’t hit a raft with an arrow) will marry Frey’s daughter. When Edmure protests, Robb tells him to shut his stupid mouth. Amusingly, everyone seems very concerned about just how homely or inbred this girl must be, but we’ve never actually seen her. Something tells me that she’s going to turn out to be a total hottie.
- Lord Bolton allows Jaime and Brienne to have a proper meal with him. Brienne looks quite uncomfortable in fancy dress clothes, and Jaime has a bit of comic relief struggling to cut his meat with only one hand. Bolton announces that he will release Jaime to King’s Landing in exchange for amnesty from Tywin Lannister. He apparently doesn’t have much faith in Robb winning the war. Jaime is almost ecstatic at the news, until Bolton explains that Brienne is not part of the deal.
- In King’s Landing, Tywin negotiates with Olenna Tyrell for the marriage of Loras to Cercei. Olenna is concerned that Cercei is too old to bear children, and that if Loras can’t spawn a proper heir, the Tyrell name will die out. She also gleefully rubs Tywin’s nose in the rumors of Cersei and Jaime’s incest. Tywin threatens that if the marriage doesn’t happen, he’ll draft Loras into the Kingsguard, where he’ll be forced to take a vow of chastity, thus ensuring the end of the family line. (It occurs to me here that Jaime wasn’t particularly chaste when he was head of the Kingsguard.)
- Oblivious to all this scheming, Loras attempts to woo Sansa Stark, as he’d been told. He is not good at it.
- Later, Tyrion visits Sansa to do his required duty of wooing her as well. Sansa insists that her handmaiden Shae (Tyrion’s secret girlfriend) stay in the room as they talk. This is awkward for Tyrion, to say the least.
- North of the Wall, Ygritte tells Jon Snow that she knows he’s still loyal to the Night’s Watch. She accepts this, but bluntly tells him that she’s his woman now, and “You’re going to be loyal to your woman.” Regardless of any other plots and scheming, they can only trust each other in the midst of everything. As they commence the long climb up the Wall, an avalanche takes out most of their party except the gruff Tormund Giantsbane and his lackey Orell. As Snow and Ygritte dangle from a rope, Orell cuts them loose. Snow barely manages to secure a hold on the Wall to save himself and Ygritte. They continue climbing and, once at the top, look over the beautiful vista of Westeros and make out.
Ros wasn’t a character in the books. She was mostly the blend of a lot of other whores. I suppose she was added to give us some insight into Littlefinger’s character and plots, since in the book we don’t ever see that. He was a more subtle, sinister person, but in television, subtlety is harder to do than on page. Even with all the criticism from others that her character has gotten, it’s sad to see she had to suffer such an unfortunate fate.
The books are written 100% from a specific characters POV, so they had to create a few new characters in order to make certain scenes make sense that wouldn’t be in the book since the narrator wasn’t there.
For example, Varys, Littlefinger and Tywin have never been “narrators” so their roles have been expanded from the book with new scenes and characters. The writers of the show have done an amazing job creating all new scenes and characters that feel as if they were alive during other scenes in the book.
Only ‘Game of Thrones’ could make a character that pushed a child out of a window because said child found him having sex with his sister into, arguably, the most sympathetic character in the series now. This show is crazy. I love it.