After watching countless conversations, viewers finally get to see Jon Snow and the Wildlings climb the 700-foot, vertical mammoth that is The Wall. Rightfully entitled “The Climb,” episode six is about more than just a few men climbing up a wall. The real climb seems to be the social climb happening between those in power to line up weddings and organize chaos. There are at least three weddings approaching this season that have already been arranged, not to mention all the sparks flying between Jon Snow and Ygritte. Weddings or not, the episode certainly focuses on the ups and downs of relationships between everyone in the Seven Kingdoms.
“The Climb” opens with Samwell Tarly attempting to start a fire with too much wood and not enough experience. Gilly, the young mother he rescued, gives him a few pointers as she wraps her newborn up as snow falls from the sky. Despite his awkwardness, the pure lack of anyone else seems to getting to Gilly and she even invites Samwell to swoon her with song. In addition to being the only two people for miles, the conversation reveals his former life, which was much higher on the social ladder than her life with a sexually abusive father. Despite his inexperience in both fire-starting and sexual advances, it’s possible that Samwell actually has a chance with this girl as he continues to try and be her Knight in shining armor.
Bran Stark is getting more and more upset with his crew of ruthless women, and their non-subtle arguments as to whom is the most ruthless. The two are skinning rabbits as if they were on an assembly line while arguing about hunting and game-cleaning techniques. “You’re both very good at skinning rabbits,” he finally chimes in, hoping to stop the nonsense from his paralyzed position. Osha and Meera Reed attempt to make peace when Jogen Reed distracts them, because he is having a seizure in his sleep. Watching Meera’s calm demeanor, the seizure seems normal. She puts a belt in his mouth and slowly waits for him to awake. The true haunting moment is when he tells the trio the details of his dream—he saw Jon Snow “…on the wrong side of the Wall, surrounded by enemies.”
Suiting up for the wall, viewers get to see the nasty little consequence Jon Snow now faces, having given his virginity to Ygritte. Two people who have never been fond of admitting love, or even lust, guard mutual feelings from both sides. Strapping on borrowed equipment, Jon Snow is put to the first test when he asked Ygritte where she got the climbing gear. Hinting that she probably slept with someone, she replies, “He didn’t do that thing you do with your tongue,” as if this is reassuring in any way. Laying the cards on the table, the two are nearly forced to speak about their relationship. Jon wants it kept secret because he hasn’t entirely abandoned the Night’s Watch and Ygritte says she doesn’t care about his loyalty to the Wildlings as long as he remains loyal to her. The boyfriend-in-progress agrees and she confirms by saying, “Because I’ll cut your pretty little cock off and wear it around me neck” to make sure he understands the loyalty he has signed up for with the redhead.
This week’s mythical foreshadowing comes in the form of a forced conversation between Arya Stark and Melisandre, the Red Priestess. In the opening of the scene, young Arya is lighting up a scarecrow with arrows, aiming for its “face, tits and balls.” Melisandre shows up and takes away Gendry, leaving us to wonder exactly what her plans are, but we can assume something malicious. Watching the woman move through the various men, Arya simply comments, “I don’t like that woman.” After the woman pays the men for Gendry and has her men toss him on the back of a carriage, Arya forcefully spins her around to give her a piece of her mind. “You’re a witch!” she screams through adolescent negligence and fearless demeanor. Startled, the witch looks her in the eye and replies, “I see a darkness in you. And in that darkness—eyes staring back at me. Brown eyes. Blue eyes. Green eyes. Eyes you’ll shut forever.” Before leaving, she admits, we’ll meet again.
Theon Greyjoy is still strapped to that giant X-shaped crucifix. His tormentor, continuing to remain nameless but seemingly desperate for someone to find out who he is, continues to find pleasure in Theon’s pain. Inviting Theon to play a game, he tempts him to make guesses at who he really is and where the two are currently residing. Meanwhile, he tortures him by cutting slits in Theon’s pinky and promises his captive that he will soon beg for him to remove the pinky. After giving a few guesses as to whom his captor may be, the man acts as if he has guessed right. Providing Theon with a moment of relief, he quickly jumps up and admits that he is a liar. After torturing him some more, Theon begs him to remove his finger. In that moment of relief, the man reminded Theon of one truth that seems to be true within all parts of the Game: “If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.”
In a very different form of torture, additional arranged marriages have been schemed up between the higher members of the families. Catelyn Stark’s brother must marry one of Walder Frey’s offspring since Robb passed on the chance. Hesitant, Edmure Tully agrees to marry the girl if it will bring peace between the two Kingdoms. In a much sadder moment, Sansa is forced to watch her potential husband-to-be sail off as she is now being forced to marry Tyrion Lannister. This came about after a marvelous scene between Tywin and Olenna as the two negotiated the various marriages, never losing their cool but bashing one another endlessly in a manner that no one else could speak to either of them. She brings up the rumors of his son and daughter having relations and he points out her homosexual son. Undaunted, she even asks if he had ever had a gay moment as a boy. Whether or not he actually had, it’s clear he would take it to his grave rather than tell a soul. She ends the beautiful argument by snapping his quill and replying, “It’s a rare enough thing—a man who lives up to his reputation,” as she kindly accepts his proposal and admits defeat.
Finally, in an accusatory scene between Littlefinger and Varys, we learn that Littlefinger is always one step ahead. “Chaos isn’t a pit,” Littlefinger begins. “Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try it again. The fall breaks them. 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,” he concludes. The two are honest with each other for the first time as they both toss verbal knives, trying to defend their honor and previous decisions within the Game. In this scene, we jump around to other locations while Littlefinger gives a voice over much like a Christopher Nolan finale. Moving away from the metaphorical climbs, Ygritte and Jon Snow reach the top of their physical climb after surviving an avalanche and being cut loose from the rope. One thing is clear—the pair now understands that they can trust one another even if they can’t trust anyone else. Although she has waited a lifetime to see the view from the top of the Wall, she only has eyes for Snow.