Apr 29 2013 10:15am

Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 5: “Kissed by Fire”

This week on Game of Thrones, Westeros burns with desire, vengeance, fever, holy fire, and questions. Plots beget counter-plots and counter-counter plots. And the seeds are planted for some very big events.

Oh, and Jon Snow knows something, after all....

Note: Show spoilers after the cut, book spoilers likely in the comments. Proceed with caution.

First, wasn’t it nice to see Ned Stark in the “Previously on...?” I miss you, Bean.

Last week’s episode ended in fire and fire opens this week’s hour. We get right to The Hound’s trial by combat with Beric Dondarrion. I really love the fight choreography on this show; this dance moved very differently than Jaime and Brienne’s two weeks ago. Sandor disarmed Beric pretty quickly and, like Arya has said, the worst ones always live—but wait! Beric didn’t die, either. He has not yet ceased to be.

I really think I would’ve missed his resurrection if I didn’t read the books. It just happened really fast and with no real fanfare or explanation until later in the episode. I was too busy watching Arya scream. 

Where will The Hound go? And what about Gendry? Losing Gendry’s a much bigger loss to Arya (and us) than Hot Pie. A lot of this episode was about serving and serving honorably. Gendry remarked on this more than most. There is no better, higher service than family. Of course Arya understands. For whatever the Brotherhood Without Banners may prove to be, they are all a family of misfits.

Jon Snow cemented his status with the wildlings by disclosing some Night’s Watch intel and for his reward he got to break his final vow with Ygritte. It was a sweet romantic scene. They’re a cute couple.

Jaime and Brienne make a cute couple, too, if not a romantic pairing. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is doing an excellent job of giving Jaime Lannister depth. I loved pretty much everything he did this week. Why did he refuse milk-of-the-poppy? Penance? Wanting to keep his wits about him always? Foolish pride? Balls of steel? Maybe we, the viewers, need to see him suffer so our sympathies shift. Again, we hear of the real story of how Jaime earned that Kingslayer/Oathbreaker moniker. There are two sides to every story. Even honorable Saint Ned can be wrong. You could practically see something click in Brienne as she listened.

Ned’s ghost hovered over Robb’s story tonight, too, when he picked up his heavy sword for an execution. Robb’s rule is unraveling no matter what he does and his bannerman are going Karstark-raving mad. Ugh. Karstark gets no sympathy from me for killing defenseless children. Robb is so stuck between a rock and a hard place. I get where he was coming from, seeing treason. But he should have listened to his advisors on this one—without a recent victory, the North is crumbling. I think Robb knows it, too, when he stalked off after taking Karstark’s head.

I’m mystified by the way women prop up Stannis. When he’s not leading a charge, he’s got all of the charisma of a bowl of brown. Nice that being the One God’s champion gives you a pass on infidelity. I think it’s tellingly pathetic that when his Red Priestess isn’t around, he goes back to his wife. Then, she reveals a bunch of dead pickled babies and you can maybe understand why he strayed in the first place.

I’m glad we got to meet his daughter Shireen. (Her scarred face isn’t a birth defect, by the way. She had an infection called greyscale as an infant. The editing was misleading on that account.) I’m really happy that Shireen’s jester Patchface seems to be written out. This show is creepy enough without adding an insane clown. It’s better to have Davos be her friend. Free the Onion Knight! Get him hooked on phonics!

I especially loved the transition from Shireen telling Aegon Targaryen’s story to his descendent Dany leading the Unsullied away from Astapor. As expected, tensions are mounting between Jorah and Barristan Selmy. The latter man is pretty forward for a guy new to serving under a Khaleesi. While Selmy may have a point about Jorah’s reputation in Westeros being a potential future problem for Dany, I think we can all agree that Jorah has earned his stripes and would never sell men as slaves again.

In the South, you can tell Cersei’s really desperate to get rid of the Tyrells because she goes to Littlefinger for help. Which of course totally blows up in her face. And Sansa’s. And Tyrion’s.

Tywin is kissed by fire because he is master of the burn. Damn. Father of the year. I feel bad for Cersei—she actually begged not to be sold off like a brood mare—but she should really not gloat within earshot of her dad.

Between the newly announced nuptials and Robb thinking that getting the Freys back on his side is a great plan, all I heard over the credits was....

Other (minor) points of interest:

  • Shireen’s song was really haunting. Loved it.
  • Grey Worm’s pretty cute for a guy named Grey Worm.

Next week: Jon Snow and the wildlings climb the Wall, Robb Stark digs himself a deeper hole.


Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9P.M. E/PT on HBO.

Theresa DeLucci is a regular contributor to, covering True Blood, Game of Thrones, and gaming news. Follow her on Twitter @tdelucci

Karen Morrell
1. karenm83
I've read all the books while my husband hasn't. I had to explain the resurrection scene and Shireen's greyscale to him, otherwise he would have had no idea. Can't wait for the wedding episode!!!
Matthew Carpenter
2. Matthew Carpenter
It's interesting to see the transition of Robb Stark. In the show they are having to move his demise at a quicker pace than in the books. It's also interesting having read the boosk prior to the show to see the characters and how they appeared - For me - Brienne is dead on as is Tywin. Solid solid solid season so far! Loving the songs at the end of the episodes.
Elizabeth Doolin
3. mochabean
The Jaime/Brienne scene was really terrific, and once again the added elements (babies in jars, yikes) were well thought out. Pretty sure Shireen's song is the one Patchface is always singing, no? @2, agree -- I love how the show is incorporating the book songs.
Mordicai Knode
4. mordicai
Grey Worm is my dude, I'm all about the Unsullied.
Chris Nelly
5. Aeryl
@3, Yeah, that's Patchfaces creepy song (I know! I know!)

That scene with Lady Olenna and Tyrion was so full of foreshadowing, IMO. That observation about "brow-beaten accountant" was very on point, IMO.

Poor Tyrion! Poor Sansa! and POOR ARYA!! I felt so bad for her when Gendry said he was leaving!
Bryan Cogswell
6. shmoo
I was thinking that it seemed a little strange that not one of Robb's advisors suggested allowing Lord Karstark to take the Black. Then i realized that none of his advisors were Northern (Wife, Mother, Uncle) ...
Matthew Carpenter
7. sofrina
last season coster-waldau had almost nothing to do, this season: emmy reel. killing it! no- better, he is doing for jamie what andy serkis did for gollum, imho - making him loads more sympathetic than the text. the look in his eyes when bolton spun out the news about the siege of king's landing and cersei's fate... he's not even trying to hide it.

lady selyse's chamber of horrors... i would never have thought stannis would allow something like that under his roof. he seems like the kind of man who would refuse that kind of macabre self-indulgence no matter how much his wife cried. those babies would have graves. period. (was shireen's bed a stone outcropping?)

um...tywin. there are no men like him. there is only him. he did everything but throw cersei's words about learning his tedious lessons on legacy back in her face. for the umpteenth time i am wondering if he knows about her and jaime. he as good as said so in that last scene. it's interesting. cersei is served pretty much the same lesson locke taught jaime before he cut his hand off. she derives all her value from her father's stature. even when she's sniping at her brother, she behaves like a spoiled brat. if she were clever cersei would have found a way to amass her own political strength, independent of her father's, in all her years as queen. instead she acted as his agent. which he planned since before her birth. tragic, that one.

i wonder if grey worm will turn out to be missandei's brother.
Tricia Irish
8. Tektonica
I am loving Diana Rigg as Oleana! Great scene with she and Tyrion...made him look like an amateur! And then, although I can appreciate Cercei's frustration with the way women are excluded from power, I still can NOT like her. Her gloating when Tyrion finds out he's to marry Sansa was so evil, but then, she gets hers!! ha! I did appreciate Tyrions pity for Sansa in this situation too. He's not all bad, it's just his family......

Robb...head desk!! Listen! You are turning into Ned. Karstark was horrid and unforgivable, but leaving him in prison as a pawn to keep his army, was smart. Things are not always Black and White, Robb. Keep being dumb and go to the Freys. Yeah, that will turn out well.

The fight scene with the Hound and Dondarian was brilliant...beautifully shot. (I had to explain Dondarian to my husband too...not clear until later.)
Poor alone....even more so now.

I loved the bath scene with Jaime and Brienne. Jamie told the tale very well. You could see the lightbulbs going on as Jaime explained the horror of Aegon. Brienne looked lovely out of uniform too.

Loved the sweet scene with Ygritte and Jon too....but I could've used a bit more Jon, you know. There's plenty of naked women on the show, how about something for the ladies, eh?
Theresa DeLucci
9. theresa_delucci
@6 Yeah, I wondered that too. Robb should've make Karstark take the black. He's punished, but not so harshly as a revolt-inducing beheading. You still run the risk of having your bannermen think you're a softie, but, beggars can't be choosers. They saw how weak and untested Robb was when he married Talissa.

@8 Agreed. The body doubles were working overtime last night. (At least that's what I assume when we see a bare butt and no head in the frame.) Robb looked nice with his shirt unbuttoned, I guess? Yeah, I've pretty much given up on this show having much for the female gaze. There hasn't been much on this front since Khal Drogo died.
Chris Nelly
11. Aeryl
There hasn't been much on this front since Khal Drogo died.

There is probably something to be learned from that. Aside from Momoa, I can't think of any of the male actors who come from what I'll call "beefcake" performances. Momoa's previous jobs demonstrated to him that his body is his commodity when it comes to his career, where the other actors, while fine looking, have not had the same experience.

The only other actor as free with his body in this series is Alfie Allen, and based on his sister's song about him, he probably likes to show off his junk, IMO.
Matthew Carpenter
13. Josh L
Welp, Robb pretty much defined "Honor Before Reason" last night, didn't he? I'd forgotten that Edmure had suggested making Karstark a hostage in the book and man did it make perfect sense when they brought it up in the episode. But honor is too important, it seems, and that's why the North looks like it's set to lose. Their king refuses to fight dirty. The Lannisters have no such problems.

Poor Arya. She's losing the few good people and things she had left in this world. One by one.

I have to imagine that that's one monologue Nikolaj will submit on this Emmy reel. I loved that scene in the book, but he brought so much emotion to it, I was as rapt as Brienne was.

Man, Dragonstone is one odd place. I have to give Stephen Dillane credit, he actually gave Stannis some conflicting emotions this week, almost making the guy seem human. It seemed like he was on the cusp of reaching tenderness with his daughter before typical Stannis reasserted itself. Selyse is just a little nutty, isn't she? I'm not sure I picked up on that as much in the book, if it's portrayed that way. Davos needs to get out of that cell and restore some sanity to that place.

This season's really picking up. These weekly waits are killers!
Chris Nelly
14. Aeryl
@13, I felt that way about Selyse too. The books paint her as this religious fanatic, but here it looks that it goes beyond fanatacism. Like her fanatacism comes from a previous mental instability maybe? I mean she'd been giving birth to stillborns before Melisandre ever showed up, it certainly wasn't R'hllor who told her to keep their bodies in jars.

I have finally found a character that disturbs me more than Lysa Arryn.
Elizabeth Doolin
15. mochabean
@11 re: beefcake -- Littlefinger's squire-spy also released his kracken last night, but it was not particulary inspiring. I thought it was hilarious that the first 'You know nothing, Jon Snow " we hear is before he demonstrates the opposite. That's why I have "Snow" on the back of my House Stark hockey jersey.

On a more serious note, watching Robb's story is like a slow motion nightmare..and yet how could he have taken advice from Cat or Edmure at that point? Writers set it up very well. And Cat's costuming in that scene -- no authority at all, we know just looking at her that she's not going to win him over on this point.
Matthew Carpenter
16. sofrina
@15 - interesting that uncle blackfish was out of the room for that impromptu huddle.

@14 - couldn't agree more. lysa arryn's introduction was slightly more shocking, but these two are neck and neck for the record.
Vincent Lane
17. Aegnor
Minor book spoiler:

I wonder if they are keeping in the fact that one of the Unsullied is Missandei's brother.
Tricia Irish
18. Tektonica
Mochabean@15: ROFLOL...released his kracken.
Littlefinger is soooooo duplicitous! Yikes, he's scary...and well played. His scene with Sansa made my skin crawl.
Chris Nelly
19. Aeryl
@15, Yeah, I was all like "Apparently, Jon Snow knows a LOT!"
Rajan Khanna
20. rajanyk
This season has been great so far. I mean I've loved the show since it started, but this season they seem to have elevated their game. I guess it helps that this is probably my favorite book so far in the series. Loved Jaime's monologue. Such great actors.
Håkan Eriksson
21. h_a_eriksson
I got a renew interest in Kings Landing-politics in this episode. I liked how information traveled and was sought. Cersei tells Littlefinger she wants info on the Tyrells, and Littlefinger sends pretty boy Oliver to deliver.

From Sansa and Margaery talking, Margaery informing Loras, Loras spilling the beans to Oliver, Oliver telling Littlefinger, Littlefinger telling Cersei who informs daddy.

I think it worked nice on the screen. And that's not something I say because I love to see the pretty boys Loras and Oliver together man-on-man (which I do).
Matthew Carpenter
22. alexonthemove
Could it be that Jamie was sporting his lion beneath the waters (for the first time for someone other than his sister) when Brienne stood up? Phenomenal acting, I think I held my breath throughout his monologue!
Rob Munnelly
23. RobMRobM
General - liked the Ep. Strong from top to bottom (or, rather, bottoms as in lots of naked ones). Selyse and Shireen were awesome. Bolton's teasing of Jaime was great.

Note that Jaime declined MotP because he didn't want to lose consciousness and run risk that Qyburn would remove his entire arm. Makes perfect sense.

Have to say, I really didn't like it when they had Jaime kill his distant cousin in season 2 - that chicken has now come home to roost. It was unnecessary and it really interferes with the current redemption arc. Also didn't like the statement that Karstark forces were 1/2 of Robb's army - raises the question - what about all the other bannerman we've met over the past few years (Umber, Bolton, Mormont, Glover) plus the Tullys? Say a substantial portion or a quarter or something. Took me out of the episode.

Aegnor - believe that TV show has deviated from book re Miss's family. Miss on TV show told Dany she has no family. In book, said that three sibs were in the Unsullied.
Genevieve Williams
24. welltemperedwriter
I am enjoying the hell out of Diana Rigg in every scene she's in. Makes me want to watch all my old Avengers episodes. She's just so awesome.

This seemed to be the Hard Truths episode--lots of grim voices of experience in this one. Coster-Waldau is really bringing it; what a great choice for Jaime. This isn't the first time I've wished that Cersei was written a bit smarter because I'd love to see what Lena Headey would do with it, but oh well.

And I know I've said it before, but I want a Jaime/Brienne buddy/road movie featuring these two actors. That would be so awesome.
Chris Nelly
25. Aeryl
There are rom com mash ups on Youtube. One came out today called "Throne Together"
Theresa Wymer
26. Tekalynn
Given that his surgeon was Qyburn, Jaime probably figured he'd wake up to a rattlesnake grafted to his arm if he wasn't careful.
Matthew Carpenter
27. Nessa
The QoT never stops being amazing. Diana Rigg had a stellar performance opposite Dinklage. Am totally looking forward to hearing Olenna telling Tywin in no uncertain terms that she is not going to allow Cersei to marry Loras.

Jaime's confession was very well done. I guess I shouldn't have been so worried about how they'd handle the monologue. Brienne was great too.

I felt sorry for Cersei in the last episode when Tywin told her she wasn't very smart. But I didn't feel sorry at all this time when Tywin brought up her remarriage. Probably because she's so happy at Sansa and Tyrion's misfortune.

I'm glad Shireen got to spend some quality time (sorta) with her father. In the books, he hardly seems to pay any attention to her. Still, Stannis' coldness comes through in his interactions with both Selyse and Shireen. Lady Selyse's creepy fanaticism with both R'hllor and Mel is shown clearly. I don't think she'd mind having a threeway, tbh. I got the feeling she's totally obsessed with Mel (even in the books).
Matthew Carpenter
28. NormanM
I haven't read the books, so I didn't know about the resurrection bit in advance, but I thought it was pretty clear in the episode. A bit fast, maybe, but he really, really looked dead after that blow from the Hound.

And I'm glad people are sharing the explanation for Shireen's face, I thought she'd been burned in some kind of freaky Lord of Light ritual!

I'm really enjoying this season, and am getting very interested in what's going to happen with Daenerys. And Jaime's story arc this season is incredibly fascinating! But I don't feel like Peter Dinklage or Maisie Williams (great actors playing my favorite characters) are being utilized as well this season as they were last. Hoping that will turn around soon.
Matthew Carpenter
29. ValarMorghulsNotToday
@28 Peter Dinklage is suffering a bit in this season as at this point he was just really used as our eyes in KL in the books rather than his story progressing. His plot arch picks up about from here so hopefully he'll be well utilised from here.

I have to say, I wasn't particularly interested in the Jamie/Brienne plot when reading the books, but I think NCW is incredible - a fantastic portrayal. The two actors I want them to cut to are him and Alfie Allen who has also blown me away this series (I can't believe that's the same Alfie as in Lily's song!) The whole bath scene I think is up there with the top few scenes across the whole show so far.
Chris Nelly
30. Aeryl
"Oh dearie me, My little brother's in his bedroom, smoking weed!"
Matthew Carpenter
31. robo
I'm gonna hafta say that I think Jorah would 100% sell people into slavery if he thought Dany wanted him to. He hasn't changed a bit from the man who got exiled, it's just a different woman that he's desperate to please.
Theresa DeLucci
32. theresa_delucci
@32 Totally. I'm holding back on commenting on it due to book spoilers and knowing what's ahead, but Jorah is like the ultimate Friend Zone'd knight. He's about as sympathetic as Severus Snape, when you really look at it.

It was just more clear in the books because Jorah wasn't so handsome and didn't say "Khaleesi" with that accent. It's easy to forget Jorah is kind of a jerk when you're watching Iain Glen.

@29 Yeah, Dinklage's story had slowed to a crawl after the first season, but it's picking up again. I can't wait to see the upcoming wedding!
Elizabeth Doolin
33. mochabean
Re Jorah (and agree with Theresa, show Jorah is far more appealing than book Jorah): my impresion of the scene between Jorah and Ser B was that Ser B was trying to figure out if Jorah was the source of the info given to King Robert about Dany marrying Kal Drogo, and Jorah was trying to determine if Ser B knew that Jorah WAS that person. A nice little dance...
Anthony Pero
34. anthonypero
@33: Exactly my thoughts. Iain Glen did a fantastic job making that clear with his expressions and side glances
Matthew Carpenter
35. Ser Tom
@22 - As I recall, during the bath scene in the book Jaime does indeed intimate that something stirred when Breinne stood up in the bath. I agree with the consensus on this scene being the highlight of the episode.

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