|The Bear and the Maiden Fair|
|Season 3, Episode 7|
|Air date||May 12, 2013|
|Written by||George R.R. Martin|
|Directed by||Michelle MacLaren|
"The Bear and the Maiden Fair" is the seventh episode of the third season of Game of Thrones. It is the twenty-seventh episode of the series overall. It premiered on May 12, 2013. It was written by series creator George R.R. Martin and directed by Michelle MacLaren.
Dany exchanges gifts with a slave lord outside of Yunkai. As Sansa frets about her prospects, Shae chafes at Tyrion's new situation. Tywin counsels the king, and Melisandre reveals a secret to Gendry. Brienne faces a formidable foe in Harrenhal.
At the Wall
After surviving the perilous climb of the Wall Jon Snow, Ygritte and the wildlings led by Tormund Giantsbane make their way towards Castle Black to await Mance Rayder's signal to begin the attack on the Night's Watch. Afterwards Jon confronts Orell about cutting his and Ygritte's rope loose on The Wall, nearly killing the both of them in the process. Orell tells Jon that he doesn't see Ygritte complaining about what happened because she is a wildling and understood what needed to be done in a pressure situation, also telling Jon that this is the reason he will never be able to keep her. During the journey through the woods, a clearly jealous Orell confronts Ygritte and says that he would be a better man for her than Jon Snow, whilst continuing to express his distrust in Jon. Jon also tries to persuade Ygritte that the wildlings' cause is doomed to failure, but she refuses to listen and points out that Jon is technically one of them; if it falls, so does he.
Across the Narrow Sea
Daenerys Targaryen's army marches on the next great city of Slaver's Bay, Yunkai. She and Barristan Selmy are confident they can take the city, given that Yunkai is famous for training bed slaves rather than soldiers, but Ser Jorah notes that Yunkai's defenders won't fight them in open battle, being more likely to hole up behind their walls and chip away at the Targaryen army with guerrilla tactics. He also advises Daenerys that conquering Yunkai does not help them with their main goal of pressing on to retake Westeros, but Dany is adamant on freeing the slaves of Yunkai, who number in the hundreds of thousands. She orders Grey Worm to send a messenger to the city and inform Yunkai's slaver rulers that they must either surrender or suffer the same fate as Astapor.
The Yunkish herald is carried into Daenerys's camp on a litter carried by slaves, along a road flanked by Unsullied. Missandei announces the newcomer as Razdal mo Eraz. Daenerys meets the man in her pavilion, flanked by her dragons who vie for her attention and fight over the pieces of meat she tosses to them; they also snarl at Razdal when he gets too close. Razdal declares that Yunkai was an ancient civilisation long before the rise of Valyria and that numerous armies throughout history have tried and failed to conquer it. However Daenerys is not threatened, commenting that a hard-fought battle would give her Unsullied much needed practice. Razdal tries a different tact, asserting there is no need for their factions to fight, that Yunkai is willing to overlook her attack on Astapor and will even provide her with the gold and ships needed to transport her army to Westeros. In exchange, they ask that Daenerys leave Yunkai in peace.
Daenerys makes a counter-offer; she will spare the lives of Yunkai's people if every slave (men, women and children) in the city is set free, given as much food, clothing and property as they can carry in payment for their services, warning that if her offer is rejected, Yunkai will be shown no mercy. Razdal takes offence, promising that Yunkai will be more of a challenge for her than Astapor or Qarth, threatening her with the retribution of Yunkai's "powerful friends" who he claims will take great pleasure in destroying her army and enslaving the survivors. At that, Drogon and his siblings roar in anger; Razdal protests that he was promised safe conduct, to which Daenerys counters that her dragons made no such promise and take offence to him threatening their mother. After the dragons prevent his slaves from reclaiming the chests of gold he brought with him, Razdal storms out of the pavilion, muttering curses. Daenerys tells her knights to find out more about Yunkai's "powerful friends" before she commits herself to an attack on the city.
In the Seven Kingdoms
Travelling back from the Riverlands, a ship carrying Melisandre and Gendry passes through Blackwater Bay. Melisandre stares at the broken wrecks of Stannis's fleet destroyed by the wildfire, asserting that her presence might have turned the tide of battle. She questions Gendry and is surprised to learn he is unaware of his father's real identity. As they pass by the Red Keep, Melisandre reveals to Gendry that he is King Robert Baratheon's bastard son.
At Harrenhal, Jaime speaks one last time to Brienne before he leaves. Jaime remarks that he owes Brienne a debt for keeping him alive both on their journey and for giving him a reason to live; Brienne tells Jaime to repay his debt by keeping his pledge. Jaime promises that he will keep his word to return Catelyn Stark's daughters to her.
- 21 of 28 cast members for the third season appear in this episode.
- Starring cast members Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), Aidan Gillen (Petyr Baelish), Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth), Stephen Dillane (Stannis Baratheon), John Bradley (Samwell Tarly) and Conleth Hill (Varys) are not credited and do not appear in this episode.
- The title of the episode comes from The Bear and the Maiden Fair, a popular song in Westeros.
- Parts of this episode were filmed in Los Angeles, USA, because they involve a live actor-bear (named Little Bart) and there are various legal restrictions on international transport of large animals such as bears. As the in-episode guide explains, the sets and actors were still in Northern Ireland, and never filmed in Los Angeles. Rather, a stunt man in a green-screen suit stood in for the bear on-set in Northern Ireland so the actors would have the proper eye-line, while the actor-bear was filmed in his sanctuary in Los Angeles, while his trainer walked him through the required motions for the scene. The actor-bear's footage was then digitally integrated into the shots with the human actors.
- This episode was originally announced by George R.R. Martin on his blog in 2012, almost a year ahead of transmission. The original planned title was "Autumn Storms". In January 2013 he announced that the title had been changed to "Chains". However, due to scenes from another episode being moved into it, it was decided to retitle the episode to "The Bear and the Maiden Fair". Thus Martin himself didn't write the scenes that include the bear (which all occur in one big chunk at the end of the episode).
- This is the third episode to raise the issue of Margaery Tyrell's ambiguous virginity. The first was "What is Dead May Never Die", where Renly Baratheon said he doubted Margaery was actually a virgin. The second was in "Dark Wings, Dark Words", where Cersei got Joffrey to confront Margaery about her childless marriage to Renly. In the first case, Loras Tyrell stated she was officially a virgin, and in the second, Margaery used Renly's homosexuality as a defense. In this episode, Margaery uses Sansa's own words to deflect the conversation. Her virginity is similarly an ambiguous matter in the books.
- This episode marks the first time that Tywin Lannister has had a significant scene with his grandson King Joffrey Baratheon. They did previously appear together in the Season 2 finale, but that was a public ceremony in which everyone was reciting pre-scripted lines to each other. This marks the first time that Joffrey and Tywin have actually interacted in person - this is somewhat indicated within the story itself, as Joffrey has summoned Tywin to complain that he's leaving him out of Small Council meetings.
- This episode also indicates that a new member of the Kingsguard has been appointed to fill the vacancy left by the death of Ser Mandon Moore and the desertion of Sandor Clegane - which had left only three living Kingsguard in the Red Keep: Ser Meryn Trant, Ser Boros Blount, and an unnamed Kinsguard this wiki identifies as Ser Preston Greenfield - as no Kingsguard is seen dying in the Riot of King's Landing it is also assumed Ser Preston survives, unlike his book counterpart. This wiki will assume the fourth Kingsguard is Ser Balon Swann as this character has the least impact in the book plot as of A Storm of Swords.
- Word has finally reached the highest levels of the Red Keep that Daenerys Targaryen has hatched three live dragons in the distant east of Essos. Varys has been aware of this for several months, and mentioned it to Tyrion in "The Prince of Winterfell", but they decided to focus on the impending Battle of the Blackwater. Tywin was probably notified about the dragons by Varys, but Joffrey must have heard it somewhere else.
- Viserys previously described the dragon skulls kept in the throne room when he was having sex with Doreah in "Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things" - except in that episode, Viserys said that the dragon skulls were arranged so that they got progressively bigger as they got closer to the Iron Throne, while in this episode, Tywin says that the smallest skulls were near the Iron Throne and the largest were on the far side of the room. Viserys (and the books) said that the skull of the smallest one wasn't much bigger than that of a dog's skull, but Tywin says the smallest was the size of an apple. Tywin was probably exaggerating. Joffrey points out that the biggest skull was the size of a carriage, presumably the same one Arya previously saw when she wandered into the Red Keep's dungeons in "The Wolf and the Lion"; the largest dragons were said to be easily capable of swallowing a horse whole.
- Bronn mentions that Tyrion was once married to a whore, and this didn't work out well for him. Tyrion says he regrets telling him about that - Tyrion told Bronn (and Shae) about his first marriage to Tysha in "Baelor".
- This is the first time someone outside Tyrion's inner circle– Bronn, Shae and Varys– is heard complimenting him: Margaery says he is far from the worst of the Lannisters and suggests that he might be a good lover.
- Talisa reveals she is pregnant with the heir to the North. This is a departure from the books: Robb's wife Jeyne Westerling did not conceive a child prior to Edmure's wedding.