The Climb (Game of Thrones)

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"The Climb"
Game of Thrones episode
Game of Thrones-S03-E06 Jon and Ygritte on the Wall.jpg
Jon Snow and Ygritte kissing on top of the Wall
Episode no.Season 3
Episode 6
Directed byAlik Sakharov
Written byDavid Benioff
D. B. Weiss
Featured musicRamin Djawadi
Cinematography byDavid Katznelson
Editing byOral Norrie Ottey
Original air dateMay 5, 2013 (2013-05-05)
Running time53 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Kissed by Fire"
Next →
"The Bear and the Maiden Fair"
Game of Thrones (season 3)
List of Game of Thrones episodes

"The Climb" is the sixth episode of the third season of HBO's fantasy television series Game of Thrones, and the 26th episode of the series. Directed by Alik Sakharov and written by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, it aired on May 5, 2013.

The episode's title comes from climbing of the wall by Jon Snow and Ygritte, and also the references from dialogue between Lord Petyr Baelish and Lord Varys.

The episode marks the final appearance of Esmé Bianco.


In King's Landing[edit]

Lord Tywin Lannister meets Lady Olenna Tyrell to discuss having Ser Loras Tyrell marry Tywin's daughter Cersei. They trade barbs about Cersei's age and accusations of incest with Jaime, as well as Loras' well-known homosexuality, before Tywin threatens to make Loras a knight of the Kingsguard, an order which renounces their right to inheritance and marriage. Olenna relents, and consents to the marriage of Loras and Cersei.

Sansa Stark tries to get acquainted with Loras. Closely watching the situation, Cersei and Tyrion Lannister compare their impending marriages before Tyrion accuses his sister of trying to have him killed during the Battle of the Blackwater. Tyrion deduces that it was in fact Joffrey Baratheon who ordered Ser Mandon Moore to kill him, but Cersei tells him his life is not in danger from Joffrey now that Tywin is the Hand. Tyrion then goes to Sansa's chamber, where he reveals to her and Shae that she will not wed Loras, but he himself. Elsewhere, Lord Varys finds Lord Petyr Baelish in the throne room. Baelish tells Varys that he is aware of Varys' arrangement with Ros, and that he has given her to Joffrey to kill for his pleasure. Later, Sansa watches tearfully as she sees Baelish leaving on a ship, realizing that her chances of leaving the capital have gone.

In the Riverlands[edit]

While Anguy helps Arya Stark improve her archery, Arya spots Melisandre and a small group of Baratheon soldiers. Melisandre speaks to Thoros of Myr before he takes her inside the Brotherhood's hideout. Melisandre is shocked when she learns of the six deaths of Beric Dondarrion, who asks her why she has come to them. She replies that the Brotherhood has someone the Lord of Light needs, and soon after has her men take Gendry into her custody. Arya is disgusted on discovering the Brotherhood turned over Gendry partly because of Melisandre's money. Arya confronts Melisandre and accuses her of being a witch, to which she replies that Arya will take lives, and that they will meet again one day.

King in the North Robb Stark and his advisors meet with Lame Lothar Frey and Black Walder Rivers to discuss an alliance with House Frey for his planned attack on Casterly Rock. The Freys carry Lord Walder Frey's demands for an alliance, which includes a formal apology from Robb, the castle of Harrenhal and all of its lands and incomes, and for Edmure Tully to marry Roslin Frey, one of Lord Frey's daughters. Edmure is reluctant to marry a woman he has never met, but eventually agrees to go through with the arrangement.

At Harrenhal[edit]

Lord Roose Bolton has dinner with Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth. Bolton tells Jaime he will send him to King's Landing on the condition that Jaime swears to tell his father that Bolton had nothing to do with his maiming. Jaime assumes that Brienne will accompany him, but Bolton informs them that he intends to keep her with him, under arrest for abetting treason.

In the North[edit]

Tension rises at camp between Osha and Meera Reed before Bran defuses the situation. Jojen Reed has a seizure while sleeping, and Meera explains they are caused by his visions. When he wakes, Jojen tells Bran that in his vision he saw Jon Snow surrounded by enemies.

Elsewhere, Theon's captor awakens Theon to continue torturing him. The boy threatens to remove Theon's little finger if he cannot guess his true identity and their current location. After several attempts, during which the boy flays part of Theon's finger upon each wrong guess, Theon guesses that the boy is a Karstark and that he is being tortured at the Karhold as punishment for his betrayal of Robb Stark. The boy acts for a moment as if the guess was right, but he continues flaying Theon's finger, telling him that he was lying and that Theon's torture is happening solely for the boy's amusement. Theon eventually gives in and begs his torturer to remove his finger.

Beyond the Wall[edit]

Samwell Tarly and Gilly stop to camp during their journey to the Wall, after having fled Craster's Keep. Sam shows Gilly the dragonglass dagger he found at the Fist of the First Men and tells her about Castle Black.

At camp at the base of the Wall, the wildling party led by Tormund Giantsbane prepares to climb. Jon and Ygritte talk about their impending climb and their relationship. Ygritte reveals she is aware that Jon is still loyal to the Night's Watch, but tells him their loyalty to each other is of greater significance, implying she joined Mance's cause from self-interest rather than trust in him. While climbing, Ygritte strikes the Wall and causes a massive crack, which inadvertently causes an avalanche that kills a few members of the wildling party and leaves her and Jon hanging by their safety rope. Before Orell cuts the rope, Jon manages to secure himself to the Wall, saving Ygritte, and they later reach the top of the Wall together. Gazing out across the landscape of the lands beyond the Wall, they embrace and kiss.


The episode was written by series co-creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss.

"The Climb" is the sixth episode of the season written by showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, and 18th overall. It is based upon George R. R. Martin's novel A Storm of Swords, namely, chapters 30, 35, 37, and 48 (Jon IV, Catelyn IV, Jaime V, and Samwell III).[1]

Gilly's baby, appearing in the fourth episode and in "The Climb"'s first scene, was played by ten months-old Arya Hasson – named after Arya Stark – from the Waterside in Derry.[2]



"The Climb" set a new record for Game of Thrones in ratings, the fourth consecutive episode to establish a new series high. 5.5 million viewers watched the premiere airing, with 1.27 million additional viewers watching the second airing. The episode also set a new series high in viewers aged 18–49, with a rating of 2.9.[3] In the United Kingdom, the episode was seen by 0.926 million viewers on Sky Atlantic, being the channel's highest-rated broadcast that week.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

"The Climb" was met with positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes surveyed 21 reviews of the episode and judged 90% of them to be positive with an average score of 7.9 out of 10. The website's critical consensus reads "Tywin Lannister and Olenna Tyrell steal the show with their exquisite negotiation as 'The Climb' builds towards the Wildlings' death-defying scaling of The Wall."[5] Writing for IGN, Matt Fowler gave the episode an 8.8/10, writing "This week's Game of Thrones started off slow, but then built to a roaring crescendo."[6] Two reviews were published by The A.V. Club. David Sims gave the episode a "B" rating for people new to the series,[7] while Todd VanDerWerff rated the episode a "B+" for people who have read the novels.[8]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result
2013 Hollywood Post Alliance Awards Outstanding Sound – Television Paula Fairfield, Brad Katona, Jed Dodge, Onnalee Blank and Mathew Waters Won
2014 Visual Effects Society Outstanding Compositing in a Broadcast Program Kirk Brillon, Steve Gordon, Geoff Sayer, Winston Lee Won
Outstanding Created Environment in a Broadcast Program Patrick Zentis, Mayur Patel, Nitin Singh, Tim Alexander Won


  1. ^ Garcia, Elio; Antonsson, Linda (May 9, 2013). "EP306: The Climb". Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  2. ^ "Game of Thrones role for baby Arya". Derry Journal. 7 May 2013. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  3. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (May 7, 2013). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'Game of Thrones' Wins Night + 'Ax Men', 'Mad Men', 'Army Wives', 'The Client List' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
  4. ^ "Top 10 Ratings (6 - 12 May 2013)". BARB. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  5. ^ "The Climb". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  6. ^ Fowler, Matt (May 5, 2013). "Game of Thrones: "The Climb" Review". IGN. Retrieved May 6, 2013.
  7. ^ Sims, David (May 5, 2013). ""The Climb" (for newbies)". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 6, 2013.
  8. ^ VanDerWerff, Todd (May 5, 2013). ""The Climb" (for experts)". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 6, 2013.

External links[edit]