“Game of Thrones” Season 3, Episode 5 Review “Kissed by Fire”
The title of “Game of Thrones” this week is “Kissed by Fire,” and not only was this phrase mentioned in the episode, the themes and images of fire and heat were shown throughout the episode as our characters negotiate through another heavy episode filled with death and decay.
The episode begins in the headquarters of the Brotherhood Without Banners. The promised battle from last week’s episode begins as Beric Dondarrion prays to the Lord of Light before fighting Sandor Clegane to the death. Igniting Sandor Clegane’s fear of fire, Beric manages to set his sword aflame as they two men complete a trial by combat. The two men fight, and Sandor ruthlessly cuts down Beric, killing him instantly. Thoros of Myr rushes to Beric’s body and begins to pray to the Lord of Light asking to bring Beric back to life. Arya Stark begins to scream because Sandor Clegane won the fight and will be freed, but stops as they all see Beric suddenly alive and well. While the Lord of Light decided Sandor was innocent of his accused crimes, he clearly favors Beric as he mysteriously works through Thoros to bring Beric back to life.
North of the Wall, Jon Snow meets with Tormund and Orellto strategize their attack on the Wall. Jon hesitantly tells Orell what fortresses are guarded and how many men are left at Castle Black. Orell doesn’t believe Jon and questions his loyalty; Ygritte arrives and vouches for Jon. Orell backs off, and Jon scolds Ygritte for coming to his aid. She ignores him and playfully steals his sword as she lures him into a cave. She begins to strip off her clothes and tells Jon she wants him to prove he is no longer a Crow by breaking his vow and sleeping with her. Jon hesitates, but eventually gives in to Ygritte’s seduction. After sleeping together, the two stay in the cave and spend time together in the hot springs before going back to the Wildling camp.
At Harrenhal, Locke arrives and presents Jaime Lannister and Brienne to Lord Bolton. Lord Bolton asks Jaime to tend to his wounds, and after consulting with the doctor Jaime chooses to keep his arm and suffer the pain of burning off the dead, infected flesh. After treating his wounds, Jaime goes to take a bath, and finds Brienne bathing as well. Jaime begins to recall his time in the King’s Guard and the event that gave him his nickname, “Kingslayer.” He tells Brienne about the Mad King, King Aerys Targaryen, and his love of fire. Jaime explains he tried to convince King Aerys to stop the war and begged for peace. The Mad King told Jaime to bring him Tywin Lannister’s head and ordered the entire city of King’s Landing to be burned down. Jaime broke his vow and killed the King, saving the lives of thousands of innocent people. Clearly troubled by his legendary nickname, Jaime begins to get emotional as he asks Brienne if she would keep her vows and follow her king’s orders if Renly had asked her to bring him her father’s head as he burned innocent children and women. Brienne doesn’t answer but asks why Jaime never told anyone the truth about his incident; Jaime explains no one would believe him.
At King’s Landing, Ceresei finds Littlefinger and tells him her concerns about the Tyrell’s motives. Littlefinger takes Ceresei’s concerns seriously and moves to find out what the Tyrells are planning. Meanwhile, Sansa and Margaery watch Loras practice his sword fighting in a garden. An attractive boy begins to flirt with Loras as Loras takes his armor off, and the scene quickly turns to the two men sleeping together. Loras lets slip to this man that he is to be married; soon after this encounter the young man meets with Littlefinger and tells him what Loras said. Later, Tyrion meets his father and Ceresei, who looks very satisfied with herself. Tywin Lannister tells Tyrion he knows the Tyrells are planning to wed Sansa to Loras Tyrell; Littlefinger passed his information from the boy to Ceresei. Tywin explains they marry Sansa off to Tyrion before the Tyrells are able to marry Sansa to Loras. Tyrion protests explaining Sansa is too young and has already been tormented by Joffrey; he feels having Sansa marry him would be more unnecessary punishment for the girl. While Cersei looks at her brother, clearly enjoying his displeasure with this news, Tywin lets Ceresi know she is to marry Loras Tyrell. Caught off guard, Ceresei begs her father not to make her marry again, but their father does not listen to either of his children’s protests. Tywin explains these marriage alliances will put the entire Seven Kingdoms in the Lannister’s control.
Back in the cave with the Brotherhood without Banners, Arya asks Thoros what they plan to do with her. Thoros tells Arya they will bring her to her brother in Riverrun in exchange for gold. Beric Dondarrion joins them, and the two men begin recalling the different times Thoros has brought Beric back to life; thus far he has brought Beric back alive six times. Arya asks if Thoros can bring back someone who has lost their head, meaning her father. Thoros sadly explains to her it doesn’t work that way, and Beric begins to tell Arya he knew her father and that he was a good man.
At Riverrun, the two Lannister hostages are killed by Lord Rickard Karstark and his men as revenge for the death of his sons. Robb is furious that Lord Karstark disobeyed him and sentences Lord Karstark to death. Edmure and Catelyn beg Robb not to kill Lord Karstark and suggest they hold him as a hostage in order to can keep the Karstarks as allies. Robb ignores their advice and executes Lord Karstark himself. As predicted, the Karstark men leave Robb’s army. Upset and desperate, Robb begins to strategize his next move, and decided he should attack the home of the Lannister’s, Casterly Rock, since it is not currently protected. Since half of his army left with the Karstarks, Robb realizes the only way he can do this is to get more troops from Ser Walder Frey; the man whose daughter he was suppose to marry.
At Dragonstone, we are introduced to Stannis’ wife, Selyse, and his daughter, Shireen. Stannis finds out his wife knows he slept with Melisandre and she is happy about it; Selyse is a devoted follower of the Lord of Light, and she believes this act pleases the Lord of Light. She also feels she has not served her husband well because she never gave him a son. As she tells Stannis this, we find that Selyse keeps the embryos of her still born sons in her room.
After meeting his wife, Stannis visits his daughter, Shireen. Shireen is kept confined in a room and has a skin affliction on her face, though she seems intelligent and genuinely happy to see her father. Shireen inquires about the Battle at Blackwater and about Ser Davos; she wants to know why Ser Davos hasn’t visited her. Stannis explains Ser Davos is a traitor and locked up in the dungeons; Shireen does not believe Ser Davos is a traitor. Later, Shireen sneaks into the dungeons to find Davos and gives him a book to read while he is imprisoned, but he tells her he cannot read. Shireen promises to teach him.
Lastly we find Daenerys with her new army. Amongst her captains, she wants her men to choose a leader; they chose a man named Grey Worm. Daenerys is troubled by his slave name and orders all of her men to pick a new name should they wish. Grey Worm explains to Daenerys his slave name is lucky because it was the name he had when she freed him and he wishes to keep it. Meanwhile Ser Jorah and Ser Barristan discuss their past encounters with Robert Baratheon. Both men agree Robert was a good man, but a bad king. Ser Jorah is fishing to see if Ser Barristan knew Ser Jorah was at a time spying on Daenerys for King Robert, but it appears Ser Barristan knew nothing about this. However, Ser Barristan tells Ser Jorah his negative reputation in Westeros may hurt Daenerys’ fight for the throne.
Fire wielding swords, baths in hot springs, the burning of flesh, and the Lord of Light were all present in this dark episode. As our stories move forward, an ominous tone is set as Beric Dondarrion is brought back to life by the Lord of Light and Robb will have to confront the consequences of breaking his marriage alliance with Lord Frey when he asks for more troops. Nearly every character is being manipulated as Tyrion and Ceresei are forced into marriages they truly disagree with and Sansa Stark is being played like a chess piece for all of King’s Landing to control. Despite these dark stories, Jon and Ygritte’s time together showed genuine affection for one another and was the one light-hearted story this week. Nevertheless, this new relationship will be tested as the Wildlings move closer to Castle Black and Jon will have to face the Night’s Watch; it remains to be seen if he will face them as a friend or a foe.