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

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

At the Brotherhood Without Banners: Lord Beric Dondarrion fights Sandor “The Hound” Clegane in trial by combat. This is prefixed by another guy saying prayers to the Lord of Light to ensure the trial goes fairly to determine justice. Then Dondarrion’s sword is lit on fire – it’s not clear if this is a trick of chemicals or some sort of holy magic. But it doesn’t help, as they fight and after trading some advantage Sandor drops a huge blow with his sword and cleaves both Beric’s shield and shoulder! Beric drops to the ground, apparently dead, and Sandor claims victory. Arya goes nuts and rushes at Sandor with a knife, yelling that he’s guilty, but Beric’s men stop her. Go Arya! Then the prayer guy comes over and lays healing hands on Beric, and up he pops, good as new! He releases Sandor, saying he abides by the judgement of the Lord of Light.

A bit later, the Brotherhood say they will take Arya to Riverrun, where her brother Robb is. But Gendry decides to stay with the Brotherhood, which displeases Arya. She wants Gendry to be part of her family, but Gendry is sick of serving Lords and Ladies, and Arya will always be a Lady to him, not family. Arya is upset, but leaves him, and then talks to the praying guy and Beric. He says he’s raised Beric from death six times now, and Beric shows off all the scars from the times he’s died. Interesting. The Lord of Light seems a bit like a proxy for the Christian God, and now we have resurrection stuff to go with it. Hmmm.

The North: The group of wildling raiders are approaching The Wall and they quiz Jon about the defenses. He gives them the names of three defended towers and says there are still a thousand men manning Castle Black. It seems fairly clear that he’s lying, but it’s not entirely clear if he’s giving them a number too high or too low. From what I’ve seen of Castle Black, it didn’t seem like they had nearly that many men, so he’s probably trying to scare them off with a high number. The wildling woman, Ygritte, leads Jon into a cave and “tests his loyalty” to his Watch vows by seducing him, to see if he’ll stick to the vow of celibacy. He certainly does not, so perhaps Ygritte is now convinced he’s on their side.

Riverrun: The old guy in Robb’s army – who a few episodes ago wanted to kill Jaime to get revenge for him killing his sons or something, and then complained when Cat released Jaime – decides to take his revenge against the Lannisters by sneaking into the prison cell where Robb is holding the two young Lannister cousins, and murdering them. This guy is Lord Karstark, and he commands men who make up roughly half of Robb’s current army. This leaves Robb in a bit of a predicament, because he has to punish Karstark, but he can’t afford to lose Karstark’s followers. Cat and Talisa and some others advise Robb to keep him hostage and guarantee his safety so his men will continue to fight for him, but Robb wants justice and sentences Karstark and the men who assisted him to death. Robb lops off Karstark’s head himself.

Unfortunately, Karstark’s men then predictably leave, leaving Robb with a fractured army. He stares at his war map and explains to Talisa that they can’t attack King’s Landing with so few men, and they can’t return to Winterfell because the soldiers will settle back in with their families through the coming winter and won’t want to reform into an army afterwards. Suddenly he spots an opening: Casterly Rock, the seat of the Lannisters, currently relatively undefended with Tywin and his army away. But to mount a successful raid there, Robb needs some more men – and the only source is Lord Walder Frey, who owns The Twins, where Robb is promised to marry Frey’s daughter. Talisa doesn’t look particularly happy about this. I bet when they get there, Lord Frey won’t be happy either, to put it mildly. I see more troubles in store for Robb, alas.

Harrenhal: Jaime and Brienne’s captor, Locke, delivers them to Harrenhal. The leader there is mad that Jaime’s hand has been cut off, and orders an old guy to look after Jaime. The old guy used to be a Maester, but has been stripped of his Maester’s chain for some reason. Presumably this will become important later on – it seems like such a tiny and odd detail to waste dialogue on that it has to be important. The ex-Maester treats Jaime’s infected stump, and Jaime refuses milk of the poppy and grits out the pain.

Later, Brienne is taking a bath in a large stone bath chamber, and Jaime comes in for a soak too, to wash off all the mud that he’s fallen in on the trip. At first she is circumspect, but Jaime tells her the story of why he killed King Aerys “the mad”. Aerys, he says, had hidden caches of wildfire all around King’s Landing, and was planning to burn the whole city to the ground, killing everyone horribly, rather than surrender to Robert Baratheon. To prevent this, Jaime killed Aerys’s sorcerer and then Aerys himself. Brienne is amazed… and the slooow burn romance between them moves another tiny step towards completion. Whether Jaime is telling the truth or not is another question… He has a way with words and I wouldn’t put it past him to be lying through his teeth, though it did sound very convincing.

Dragonstone: Stannis, feeling the loss of Melisandre, who abandoned him two episodes ago, decides to pay a visit to a woman who as far as I can tell seems to be his wife. I vaguely recall something about his wife being insane or something and being locked in a tower, which jibes with what happens here. Stannis tries to confess that he has been unfaithful with Melisandre, but his wife keeps interrupting, saying she knows, Melisandre has told her everything, and she approves! She goes on to urge Stannis to have another demon child with Melisandre, but he says she has left. The wife then begs him to go visit their daughter.

Stannis does so, and his daughter seems to be locked in a room too, singing childish songs to herself. She is surprised and happy to see her father, but we see that she has some sort of weird scarring across half her face – this isn’t explained but presumably will become significant at some point. She asks about Davos, who she likes, but Stannis tells her he’s locked in the dungeons for treason. Later she sneaks down to the dungeons to visit Davos, and he begs her to leave him, but she offers to give him a book. When he says he can’t read, she proceeds to start teaching him! All this feels like it should be going somewhere, but it’s rather opaque at the moment. Maybe Davos will escape and take the girl with him or something.

Across the Sea: As they ride from Astapor, Jorah and Barristan discuss serving various masters. This is a sort of verbal sparring, and you can tell that there is some undercurrent of mild hostility between them, but kept in check by them both being loyal to Danaerys. They talk about Barristan’s time serving King Robert and various motives and stuff… it’s all a bit political and I don’t quite understand what they’re getting at with this conversation. I guess later on they will find some reason to turn on one another.

Meanwhile Daenerys tells the now-freed slaves that they should choose a leader from among themselves. One man steps forward and when he removes his helmet I recognise him as a guest star from an episode on season 9 of The X-Files. He says his name is Grey Worm, and the translator woman tells Danaerys they are given lowly names to remind them they are slaves. Danaerys says they are now free to choose their own names, but Grey Worm says he likes that name now, because it was the name he had when she freed him.

King’s Landing: Tyrion meets with Margaery’s grandmother to argue that the wedding between Joffrey and her granddaughter will cost a fortune, and to request financial assistance. She agrees to pay half the cost, which seems to satisfy him somewhat.

Sansa watches Margaery’s brother Loras in some sword sparring, and expresses a desire to meet him and get their wedding plans into motion, but Margaery says she has to wait until after she marries Joffrey and becomes Queen. Right in front of the oblivious Sansa, one of Loras’s sparring partners makes eyes at Loras, which is enough to have them cut directly to a gay bedroom scene. This in turn rapidly cuts to Loras’s seducer informing Petyr Baelish that his infiltration of the Tyrells has borne fruit and he can report that Margaery is planning to marry Sansa to Loras. Another rapid cut sees Petyr talking to Sansa, telling her that he is nearly ready to sail off and take her with him, to return her to Winterfell. But now Sansa, previously desperate to leave King’s Landing, is bewitched by Margaery and the prospect of marrying Loras, and tells Petyr that she might want to stay. Petyr looks upset… Hmmm. Don’t tell me Petyr is falling for the young Sansa? I don’t know what other motive he has for escorting her away from King’s Landing. Maybe she reminds him of her mother Cat when she was younger? Either this, or he has some other plot cooking and I just haven’t spotted it yet. Oh! Maybe he wants to return her to Cat, in an effort to win Cat’s love? Hmmm.

Tywin meets with Cersei and Tyrion. He’s heard about Margaery’s plot to marry Sansa to Loras, and sees this joining of the Starks and Tyrells as a threat. He orders Tyrion to marry Sansa, and Cersei to marry Loras! Both of them object strongly, but Tywin exerts his Head Of House Lannister aura on them and they stop protesting out loud, but you can see both of them are fuming inside. Tywin versus Margaery/Tyrion/Cersei. It will be interesting to see which group gets their way with all this nuptial plotting. Probably something else will come up and none of them will end up getting married. Maybe Sansa and Cersei can fight over the bouquet at Jaime and Brienne’s wedding. :-)

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