Title: Game of Thrones
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Watched: Episode 25 – April 28, 2013
Title: Kissed by Fire
Summary: Fire and oaths
The name betrays the theme of the episode well enough: kissed by fire. Most scenes touch on the primary theme of fire and/or that of oaths and loyalty. This later is big in the books and series in general, as, hey: medieval times!
Arya – This is a great week for our favorite little Stark. As promised last time, the Hound faces off against Dondarian for his life, but not first without a little prayer (by Thyros) to the Lord of Light. As a huge proponent of the relationship between religion and magic, I dug this. Then we have a nice fight, reminiscent in many ways of the season 1 duel between Bronn and that dead knight for Tyrion’s life. Despite the fact that he’s terrified of fire, and Thyros’ sword is burning, the Hound does pretty well. I like the way the spectators have to dive out of the way.
Now this is a big spoiler, but Dondarian doesn’t make it — and he does — as Thyros brings him back just as simple as that. I loved this in the books, but it could have used a little more “magic” here on screen. These are hard moments for the show which doesn’t consistently embrace it’s mystical side. But revived Dondarian is true to his word and lets the Hound go.
Later, Gendry tells Arya he’s staying with the Brotherhood. Her journey is one of isolation, and one by one she loses her companions — bits of her burned away (haha). Gendry’s reasoning feels a little forced, but I like his parting line, even if I’m not sure if it means he “likes” Arya or if he knows he can never overcome their class differences — or both.
Even later (I told you we get a lot of good A), in the wake of Gendry’s withdrawal, Arya recites her list of cursed names. The show periodically include this motif, even if they can’t hammer it home the way Martin does in the books. Thyros plans to sell her to her brother at Riverrun, which while not totally honorable, isn’t exactly bad. We get a bit more detail on Dondarian, and the fact that he’s died and risen six times! Maybe he has lives three left.
Jaime – Jaime and Brienne are dragged into Harrenhall and dumped in the mud, but Martin loves a good reversal and as crappy as Jaime’s life has been, he’s due a little better. Bolton remains an enigma, but he does allow them to clean up and ships Jaime off to Qyburn, Bolton’s creepy would-be Maester. This is a nice example of squeezing a minor character into the show even when it doesn’t have room for the details. We can tell he’s one twisted creep — and the shots of picking at Jaime’s stump are pretty awful. Then (offscreen) it’s cleansed with a bit of fire (I know, I’m reaching).
Later, Brienne is in the bath bathing, and Jaime — surprisingly recovered from a serious bit of surgery — wanders back in. Their chemistry remains fantastic, although it’s the Kingslayer who dominates this scene. First by strolling in the buck, then with his full tale of the death of the mad king. This pretty much puts the detailed spin on his glib comment some episodes before: “So many vows. They make you swear and swear. Defend the King, obey the King, obey your father, protect the innocent, defend the weak. But what if your father despises the King? What if the King massacres the innocent? It’s too much. No matter what you do, you’re forsaking one vow or another.”
Oh, and let’s not forget this is a story about pyromancers and fire! Burn them all!
Jon – There is some serious kissing of fire for Jon. After a little foreplay where the wildlings get him to betray details about the Night’s Watch and he thumps his chest with fellow Warg (the eagle guy), Ygritte drags him off into a cave and strips down to her birthday suit — something I and all the fan boys have clearly been waiting for, as Rose is a serious babe. Jon may be (in Ygritte’s words) a “maid”, but evidently Theon gave him some tips, because he handles himself alright. At one level, a girl that’s been marching through the snow in a fur suit without a bath must be ripe, and Jon dives right in — on the other, she’s hot, naked, and kissed by fire! Their pillow talk revives the fun little banter that’s been missing for a couple episodes while Mance and crew took front stage.
And how fitting is it that Jon confronts the mystery in a cave?
Robb – This is also a big week for Robb, but not all is fine and dandy. Karstark, itching for a little “Northern Justice,” breaks in and murders those two young Lannister boys. Now Robb has some hard choices. This is one of his key bannermen, and he just disobeyed his orders. Cat and his wife urge that he throw him in a cell, and that’s what Karstark expects, but Robb is his father’s son. So on the oath front: a traitor is a traitor and off with his head.
There is a serious examination here of the nature of severe command. Robb is basically screwed from the outset by Karstark’s actions. On one hand, he needs Karstark and his men, on the other, he can not condone the man’s behavior or be seen as weak or tolerant of such disobedience. Sucks to be the king.
Unfortunately, as predicted, this has drastic consequences, and the Karstark’s leave. Planning with his wife, he does realize that Casterly Rock (the Lannister home) is vulnerable — but also that he needs men from Walder Frey, who he’s already betrayed!
Stannis & Davos – On the thread of boredom, we actually get to see Stannis’ wife up close. She’s a weird one, so obsessed with the Lord of Light that she is all hunky dory with her husband sleeping with the red lady. Not only that, she keeps three stillborn fetuses (her previous efforts at heir generation) in Alien face-hugger style tanks! Creepy!
And it turns out that Stannis actually does have a daughter in this version. Since she was never mentioned season 2, I had assumed not, but he does — and she has grayscale as she should. Cute enough kid otherwise, plus, there is not a word of explanation of what the deal is with grayscale. When she finds out Davos is in the dungeon, she runs down to visit him, bringing him a book on Aegon the conquerer, which brings us to…
Dany – After last week’s fest of Dany goodness we don’t get a lot of time. She and her army are marching through Morocco (Papyrus beds choke the winding river). Jorah and Barristan take this time to continue trading war stories and working on their dislike for each other. Dany, meanwhile, is focused on business at hand, meeting the Unsullied officers and their new leader: the rather young Grey Worm.
Cersei – Always working her angle, sets Littlefinger on the task of ferreting out what the Tyrels are up too.
Sansa – is moving quickly into Marg’s camp. As she watches Loras practice, the girl’s chat about their wedding plans. Alas, the show quickly reminds us that Loras likes his buns a little firmer, as he quickly falls for a new (blond) squire.
But he works for Littlefinger — in what amounts to an abrupt bit of storytelling. The whoremonger quickly runs off to chat with Sansa and probe the waters. Babe in the woods, her attempts to put him off over his offer to steal her away are transparent to all. But this throwaway scene, besides showing great scenery, does have one of the show’s startling (for a fantasy) insights into human nature. Littlefinger comments: “it doesn’t matter what we want, when we get it, we always want something more.”
Tyrion – meets with lady Olena and finds himself — for pretty much the first time — out maneuvered in matters of the tongue. This scene gives us a few details on the royal finances, and a glimpse of a lovely Dubrovnik courtyard, but seems mostly about getting these two great characters together.
Later, these Kings Landing threads come together in the form of a leonine three way: Papa lion, Ty, and Cersei. Seems the easy solution to this whole “Tyrel plot to steal away Sansa” thing is to just marry her off to Tyrion. To his credit, he protests, but Tywin gets what he wants — and that also includes marrying Cersei off a second time to a guy who couldn’t care less about her: in this case, Loras!
All in all another great episode. We don’t have as many pivots or as much action as last week, but we do have a lot of great scenes. The tlot continues to plinken. Absent this week were Bran, Sam, Theon, Joff, and Varys.
And below is “inside the episode” for this week: