We all knew it was going to be incredibly difficult for Game of Thrones to top the core-shaking finale to last week’s “And Now His Watch Has Ended,” (That dragon cry is triumphant with a tinge of terrifying, right?) but I would argue that one of the greatest nuanced acting moments Game of Thrones has ever produced happened tonight during “Kissed By Fire.” Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is truly stepping it up as a crippled and delirious Jaime Lannister, and his unlikely confidante Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) is perfect as both a foil and friend. This week was all about the bathtub scene for me, and the stride that this season hit with last week’s closing moment of Khaleesi’s (Emilia Clarke) crushing of Astapor is proving why the show creators have been eager to cover book three, A Storm of Swords, since the series’ conception. Season three will grow into the best season yet, as the Song of Ice and Fire series swaps out the heralding “Winter is Coming” for a season of fire. “Kissed by Fire” represents the overall vibe of Season 3; the inferno of war, the rising from the ashes of a heroine thought lost, and fiery passion found in the iciest of locales.
You Know Nothing Jon Sn…Oh!: Game of Thrones was very smart to start adding a little more femininity to Ygritte (Rose Leslie), as much of Jon Snow’s (Kit Harington) story arc throughout the season seems to surround his inner grappling match between staying true to his Night’s Watch oath and recognizing that Mance Rayder and his horde of wildling warriors have a sense of heart, community, and trust that centers solely around the protection of people, politics and power aside. This week, Jon struggled more than ever to cover for his Night’s Watch brothers. When questioned regarding the security of The Wall, Jon seemed absolutely torn to admit the truth to Orell (Mackenzie Crook) and Tormund (Kristofer Hivju). I will say, as a reader (And if you’ve read any past recaps and reviews I’ve written for Game of Thrones, you know I don’t like to harp on the novel series too much), that the wildlings do seem much more sympathetic as characters as we watch these actors bring them to life.
We’ve watched Ygritte toy with Jon Snow for weeks, but tonight, they finally did the deed. Jon snow lost his virginity to Ygritte in a secret cave boasting a hidden hot spring. Seriously, what a perfect place to swipe your v-card, Jon, all things considered. More importantly we got a glimpse of the vulnerability inside of Ygritte that had been formerly covered up by mounds of sass and a whole lot of pelts. It’s important to note that Jon snow is, apparently, a pro in the sack. Watch out, Podrick Payne! In truth, I think that this is more symbolic of his growing love for Ygritte and that passion that she brings to his once empty life. She’s kissed by fire, inside and out.
The Re-name Game: Following last episode’s (fire)breathtaking finale, Daenerys Stormborn was due for a bit of a break. We only caught a few moments with our clever queen this week, moments in which we watched her ever-growing disgust for slavery and her budding affection for her newly acquired army. We know how Daenerys operates at this point. If you fight for her, you’re her family. I enjoyed the introduction of Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson), who chose to keep his “vermon” slave name as opposed to choosing anew. It brought him luck, in that it was his name at the time of his freeing by Dany. This is one of those scenes where I noted that Emilia Clarke truly doesn’t get enough credit for her acting skills. I appreciated how she played her reaction to Grey Worm’s revelation with equal parts regal understanding and a proud sense of accomplishment. She was touched, but maintained her disposition as a strong leader.
Meanwhile, Ser Jorah (Iain Glen) and Lord Barristan (Ian McElhinney) shared fond battle memories. Jorah recalled the moment he’d been knighted, the proudest moment of his life, and the severe urge to pee while receiving the honor. Barristan seemed to be in good humor as well, drumming up old stories of serving the kings of the past. For once, he’s looking forward to serving a ruler who isn’t absolutely insane or simply terrible, generally speaking. Both men share a faith in Daenerys, but both are hesitant to fully trust the intentions of the other. Plus, Ser Jorah’s name has been tarnished beyond belief in Westeros. Remember; he was exiled as a slave trader, ironically enough. Would his presence at her side hurt her chances of garnering the support she needs in Westeros? Maybe so, but Daenerys isn’t the type to turn her back on a loyal and loving supporter, especially not Ser Jorah. Still, it’s only a matter of time before Ser Jorah’s somewhat empty betrayal during Game of Thrones’ first season comes back to haunt the truly gallant knight. It seemed as though he was sent to aid in the assassination of Daenerys as an active pair of eyes in the East. We can recall that Varys has close ties with Illyrio, though, and that man fully supports the Khaleesi in her rise to power. Perhaps all is not what it seems…
The King Who Lost the North?: One character to benefit tremendously from an actress’ interpretation on the show is Talisa (Oona Chaplin), who is somewhat of a replacement character for Robb’s wife in the book series, Jeyne Westerling. That character was somewhat of a throwaway, a mere excuse to generate strife within the northern forces without ever truly giving us purpose to find her unappealing aside from that. She is but Robb’s wife, mainly because Robb has none of his own chapters. Talisa, on the other hand, is warm and enticing enough. She has a past and purpose as Robb’s partner. She offers intelligent advice and loving support.
This week, the simmering displeasure among Robb’s men reached a boiling point. Lord Karstark (John Stahl) had spent enough time waiting patiently for his sons’ deaths to be avenged by his King in the North, while Lady Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) sat basically unpunished for releasing the Kingslayer in hopes of returning Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Arya (Maisie Williams) to her side. The Karstark, along with some of his men, murdered the two young Lannister captives in cold blood, leaving Robb with a decision to make. He’d been mocked for responding so weakly to his mother’s treason by this man, that he felt the only way to redeem his reputation among his men was to execute Karstark, much to his council’s dismay. He’d lose half his army with Karstark’s men, but he would not let two innocent boys’ murders go unpunished. In Robb’s eyes, it had to be done.
Following the man’s execution, Talisa comforted her husband while he struggled with the devastating loss of half of his men. Robb, seeing no other option, would plan to take the Lannister’s home, Casterly Rock, while they sat unaware in King’s Landing. To do that, he’d need the support of Walder Frey, the man whom he’d betrayed to marry Talisa. Remember, Robb was promised to one of Frey’s daughters in exchange for the right to pass through his Twins. I appreciated how the show used Talisa as a calming mechanism for Robb, as though her presence put his mind at ease and pointed him in the right direction.
The Littlest Baratheon: The introduction to Stannis Baratheon’s (Stephen Dillane) family proved to be quite an interesting experience. Firstly, Stannis’ wife Selyse (Tara Fitzgerald) is, oddly enough, one of Melisandre’s greatest cheer leaders, even going as far as to admit to knowing of Stannis’ indiscretion and desire for her. The Red Woman had given Stannis a “son,” one thing that she had never managed to do. Wasn’t the sight of her stillborn children floating in liquid filled vases eerie? Selyse was honored that her husband had given himself to Melisandre in the name of R’hllor.
In addition, we also met Stannis’ daughter Shireen (Kerry Ingram), an absolutely adorable little girl who’s been inflicted with greyscale, a desease that causes half of her face to be horribly plagued with claylike scales. Still, you would hardly notice, as her personality far outshines her father’s, who was very quick to reveal the whereabouts of the “traitor” Davos (Liam Cunningham). That’s Stannis for you, ladies and gents, unwilling to grant even a white lie to put his daughter’s mind at ease. Maybe that was for the best, though, as little Shireen took it upon herself to sneak visits to her friend, The Onion Knight, who was most certainly bored to death in the castle’s dungeon. Shireen would take it upon herself to teach him to read, whether he liked it or not. It’s a miracle that this little girl ended up the way she is, considering her parents. Truly, my only interest at all in Stannis lies in the people around him.
My Lady: As planned, The Hound (Rory McCann) and Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer) would commence their trial by combat. The Hound’s murder of Arya’s butcher boy friend was to be judged by R’hllor. In the end, the battle was fierce, but Dondarrion fell following a brutal blow to the shoulder by Clegane. With Beric dead, Sandor Clegane could walk away a free man, much to Arya’s immense rage. While Clegane cackled and Arya shrieked in disapproval, Beric Dondarrion was reborn. Silence fell over the group as a mere prayer saw him revived. The Hound was released without his coin, but Arya couldn’t get her mind off of the magic resurrection she’d witnessed. Dondarrion had died six times, and six times had he been reborn; however, each revival chips a piece off of his being. Beric Dondarrion was once a handsome man, but this body was now covered in rips, tears, and scars. Poor Arya questioned whether or not The Lord of Light could bring a man who’d lost his head back to life. Unfortunately, her father would have to stay dead.
Also important to note, Gendry (Joe Dempsie) is on his way out, following Hot Pie’s lead. Arya and Gendry have a different sort of relationship than her friendship with Hot Pie, though. Her emotions run deep when it comes to the young blacksmith. She’s young, so it’s complicated, but it most definitely hit home when he refused her offer to journey with her to Riverrun. Gendry looked at the Brotherhood Without Banners as a family, the family he’d never had. Arya couldn’t be that. She’d always be “my lady” if he were to follow her to her brother’s side. What was most heartbreaking in Gendry’s first goodbye to Arya was the dual meaning of “my lady,” right? It’s also a term of respect from husband to wife, as opposed to a mere title for a highborn girl. That was a twist of the dagger in Arya’s little heart.
Margaery and Two Future Bridezillas: Where to begin with the soap opera that King’s Landing has become. Every twist has a twist, every catch has a catch. Isn’t it interesting that the more valuable Sansa Stark becomes, the more she’s treated as though she were damaged goods? Sansa is the key to the North, after all, should Robb lose his head. Margaery (Natalie Dormer) continued her somewhat sincere/ somewhat selfish friendship with the ginger wolf, as the two mused on escaping King’s Landing for Highgarden, and Sansa’s future wedding to Loras (Finn Jones). Sansa is, if you will, not Loras’ “type,” and I’m sure Margaery knows that. Still, anything, and I mean anything, is better than Sansa’s current predicament.
Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) was not about to let Sansa slip through his fingers, though, and he used a young male prostitute to woo Loras into revealing his betrothal. This request had, of course, been perpetuated by Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), who’s advice to be wary of the Tyrell’s had been curtly rejected by her father, Tywin (Charles Dance). Of course, Cersei is entirely unaware of Baelish’s intention to stow Sansa away on his journey to The Eyrie. I enjoyed Littlefinger’s talk with Sansa, mainly because it was ever so clear that Sansa was lying through her teeth, refusing to inform him of her impending marriage to the knight of her dreams. We can recall the most important scene the two have ever shared together; the moment at which Margaery was coupled with Joffrey, and Littlefinger reminded Sansa that the people of King’s Landing were all liars and that she was the worst.
Lady Olenna (Diana Rigg), what a pip! A meeting with Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) would showcase just how incredibly well the writers of Game of Thrones are conjuring up one-liners for the Tyrell matriarch. Tyrion is now their second favorite joke vessel, but their wits colliding over the costs of weddings and war was quite amazing. A royal wedding was necessary to appease the unrest among the peasants, but the crown couldn’t afford it on its own. Thus, Lady Olenna agreed to pay half if it meant boosting the reputation of the Tyrell’s even further. Tyrion had thought his work to be extremely successful, but was absolutely flabbergasted by his father’s latest misuse and abuse of him. The Lannister’s had caught wind of the Tyrell’s intention to steal Sansa Stark away from them. Thus, Tywin thought fast. Tyrion would marry Sansa. Tyrion sat speechless while Cersei watched grimacing; however, as with most things surrounding the Queen Regent, her “good fortune” is always followed by tragedy or loss. She would wed Loras. In the end, the two sat as equals while Tywin left them to sulk.
The Kingslayer Jaime: Jaime and Brienne, along with their captors, had journeyed all the way to Harrenhal. There, Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) freed them of their ties and scolded his men for maiming Jaime. Brienne too was to be treated with respect, or so it seemed. Do I need to go into the details of the excruciating cleaning of Jaime’s wound? Cutting and burning the flesh of a stump. Enough said. If that doesn’t do it, check out my screenshot above.
My favorite scene of episode 5 was Jaime and Brienne’s shared bath. Of course, the initial shock on Brienne’s face when Jaime hopped naked into the same tub was sufficiently hilarious. The tale Jaime told surrounding his murder of the Mad King, though, was absolutely poignant and devastatingly nuanced. I’m not sure Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has ever delivered finer work on Game of Thrones. Recapping it won’t ever adequately convey the transcendent sense of emotion, but here goes: Half delirious but entirely vulnerable, Jaime told the story of how he earned his title. The Mad King was obsessed with fire and burning, so much so that he rigged his entire city with wildfire traps in case of a sack by Robert’s forces. Daenerys’ father would burn the capitol to ash, expecting to rise from the flames unburnt (as his daughter would eventually do to birth her dragons). Jaime was the King’s right hand man and protector, while Tywin, his father, was part of the rebellion against him. In the end, the rebel forces stormed King’s Landing and Jaime Lannister murdered the Mad King before any more innocent people could burn. Today, he is the Kingslayer, but to Brienne, he is Jaime.
What did you all think of Game of Thrones, Season 3 Episode 5, “Kissed by Fire”? Did you enjoy the bath scene as much as I did? Do you think the Tyrells will overpower the Lannisters? Will you be sad if Gendry does end up staying with Dondarrion? Are you happy that Jon and Ygritte finally sealed the deal? Is Robb screwed?
Thanks for reading my Recap of Game of Thrones, Season 3 Episode 5, “Kissed by Fire”!