GAME OF THRONES Recap: “Kissed by Fire”

     April 28, 2013


Because both HBO and AMC are stingy with screeners, this episode of Game of Thrones has been filtered in my mind through Mad Men.  I’m pretty sure Sally is destined for the Iron Throne.  Back in actual Westeros though, we ignored Bran and three-eyed crows again and bounced all over the realm and beyond with almost everyone else, in an episode that was mostly about setup and a little bit about friendship.  Also a wee bit about pickled babies, but that’s another matter.  Everyone is growing restless in the calm after Stannis’ failed attempt on the capitol late last season, and are back to scheming about relationships and marrying people off, with mixed results.  You know what never gives mixed results?  Figs.  Hit the jump for more.

game-of-thrones-kissed-by-fire-richard-maddenAfter a very successful last two weeks when a few storylines got (mercifully) dropped so characters were given more than a few seconds on screen, “Kissed By Fire” was jam-packed with all kinds of revelations. Jon Snow knows nothing, but knows where to put it, and maybe invented oral sex.  Sansa is nearly married off twice before being handed to Tyrion (that smile she had won’t last for long), while Cersei is destined for matrimony with Loras.  The Lord of Light was pretty busy: resurrecting Beric, freeing the Hound and bewitching Stannis’ wife Selyse, who has bought into whatever Melisandre is selling hook, line and sinker.

But “Kissed By Fire” also played up the importance of trust and friendship, which was portrayed the most beautifully through Jaime and Brienne’s scenes.  Brienne is hesitant at first with Jaime because of their mutual nakedness, but it’s clear that he has no romantic feelings for her at this time (because they’re not related), even though her defiant nudity did spark an apology from him.  He talks about his justification for his Kingslaying, a story he had never told before, finally asking to be called “Jaime.”  Targaryen lore was thrown around a lot in this episode, from Jaime’s monologue to Stannis’ daughter Shireen giving a book about Aegon to Davos, and in the conversation between Barristan and Jorah about the past Targaryens versus the last: Dany.  Dragons tend to make an impression on people.

As Dany marches towards the Seven Kingdoms, Jon and the Wildlings march south towards the Wall.  He gives Orell selective info about which castles are guarded and by how many (a gross exaggeration) before Ygritte drags him off.  She trusts him completely, and I think he’s starting to trust her as well.  His Stark brother (kinda) Robb, on the other hand, trusts no counsel but his own, and despite his family’s pleas to keep Karstark alive for the sake of their bannermen, he executes the impertinent lord by his own hand and with one swift cut, just like his father (and a marked difference to Theon’s attempts at something similar regarding Roderick Cassell after the sack of Winterfell).

But Robb’s decision to visit the Frey’s again seems ill advised — why would they give him help after he went back on their original deal for something much smaller?  As Robb ponders his army’s movements to take Casterly Rock from the Lannisters, the Lannisters are plotting to secure Highgarden through Cersei as well as Joffrey, and the North through Sansa via Tyrion.  The move takes both siblings by surprise (particularly the extremely defeated Tyrion), and a happy family they are not.  It seems Cersei is paying for her paranoid meddling regarding the Tyrells by being forced to marry on of them and “breed” more children like her father’s mare.  The kindly Grandpa Tywin figure from Harrenhal last season has been replaced by a cold and shrewd man, and his children discover they have no more agency than Sansa Stark, the code name for someone without a hope or a clue.

game-of-thrones-season-3-episode-5-lena-headeyElsewhere, friendships were tested between Gendry and Arya (with the reality of class differences) as well as with Shireen and Davos (which was beyond precious).  Those who are open and kind in Westeros don’t usually fare very well, but I’m rooting for Shireen to escape from the tower where she’s kept and to get Davos out of the dungeons (or at least entertain him while she’s there).

A lot (and I do mean a lot) of exposition this week, setting up the Wildling raid on the Wall, Robb’s negotiations with the Freys, the marriage plots in Kings Landing as well as Roose Bolton playing similar mind games with Brienne and Jaime that his bastard son is playing with Theon at the Dreadfort.  This season has had a lot of excellent character building, even though the action has all but come to a halt (how can it move forward when we jump around so often?).  It’s hard to believe we’re halfway through the season now, which means that the building blocks from “Kissed By Fire” should start paying dividends almost immediately.

Episode Rating: B+

Musings and Miscellanea:

– Everybody calm down: I’m giving this a B+ because there wasn’t much, stylistically or narratively, to set this episode apart from a pack of exceptional ones already this season.  It was a fine episode, but it was more about setup than pay off, so obviously it’s not going to rate as high as one in which, you know, dragons burn down cities, even though it had some nice little moments.

– So please make note that R’hllor has brought Beric back from the dead six times.  Six.

– Arya and Gendry parting was so terribly sad.

– Rose Leslie (Ygritte) is pretty hot.  We also got the tits evened out with the bum (Jaime’s) and the squire’s full frontal (fiiiiiinally).

game-of-thrones-season-3-episode-5-richard-madden– I liked the reveal that the squire was one of Littlefinger’s spies.  Trust no one!

– The King in the North (of my thighs) looked especially romance-novel-cover-esque in that open-necked tunic.

– Karstark, you can’t go around killing kids, even in Westeros.

– A little Olenna is good for the soul.  Kinda like figs are good for the bowels.

– Pickled babies, though.  Book readers … feel me on this.  Was Cogman serious with that nonsense?  The show and the book grow further apart …

– Jorah was clearly testing Barristan out to see if he knew anything about his betrayal of Dany.  The trust will out, Jorah …

– And good luck sleeping after that creepy Shireen song at the end (originally Patchface’s ballad).


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  • Allison Keene

    I forgot to specifically mention Brienne’s bum, but plenty of other people already have so, consider it As Read. It was a nice one, though! (bum count in this episode: 4? Jaime, Brienne, Ygritte and the squire. Hey, at least they’re mixing it up).

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  • Johnny Mook

    I do understand that The Realm is a fantasy setting, filled with great many pests, far beyond the number that exist on Earth, but I wonder is there enough vermin and primary color commbinations to designate 8000+ men? I mean, there gotta be Unsullied named Biege Moth or Teal Louse or something.

    • Allison Keene

      haha I had the exact same thought!

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  • RunnerX13

    Why was Stannis’ wife and daughter locked up? I’m sure it was Melisandre’s idea, but was this previously explained?

    • Allison Keene

      Good question — I’m not sure they were locked up so much as hidden away, but then again all of Dragonstone seems pretty dark and dank so it’s hard to tell!

  • Daniel

    This was a strange episode… There were some of the most disturbing black-magic-darkness, next to some of the softest and “cutest” moments we have seen. Interesting and unsettling.

  • Brian Chavanne

    Jon didn’t invent oral sex. The song The Bear and the Maiden Fair is very clearly about how ugly guys are great at it. And in GRRM’s fantasy land, it’s of course the most popular song in the realm!

    • Homer Lannister

      Thank the gods kind ser.

      Im sooo sick of people saying jon invented it, when it was clearly shown to be in existence in the realm.

  • Brian Chavanne

    (Sorry! Not sure why this posted twice, since it said I screwed up the security code the first time.)

    • Bernard

      same with mine! buggy comment section i guess.

  • Brian Chavanne

    Also, SPOILERS: Isn’t that last paragraph a little spoilery for non-book readers? Right now they have no idea what’s going on with Theon, or who has him.

  • Bernard

    “Jorah was clearly testing Barristan out to see if he knew anything about his betrayal of Dany.”

    Not sure what you are referring to. Could you elaborate? Or was this not revealed yet in the show (only in book?)

    • k

      Jorah was working on behalf of King Robert in Season 1 – he was in on the assassination attempt on Dany’s life (the poisoned wine) and was initially hoping to be allowed back into the realm again (since he had been banished by Ned Stark for being a slave trader). He decided to work for her as he started to believe more in her cause and had feelings for her…so he stopped her from drinking the wine and was from then on completely trusted by her and Khal Drogo. SHE doesn’t know about his original deal but he was testing Selmy out a bit to see what Selmy knows……

  • Bernard

    \"Jorah was clearly testing Barristan out to see if he knew anything about his betrayal of Dany.\"

    Not sure what you are referring to. Could you elaborate? Or was this not revealed yet in the show (only in book?)

  • Homer Lannister

    BTW did anyone else wince in pain at seeing Talisa speak so fiercly over Robb’s own mother and battle commanders to give him advice???


    Honestly, when the event that cannot be named happens I hope she gets her niggardly self killed too. Her increased screentime is a terrible greivance on my humble soul.

  • Homer Lannister

    Wait wait allison lemme get this straight, you had issue over the testtube babes, but were non plussed at how they have butchered Robb Starks story?? THE story of the season??