I'm really curious about how those of you who haven't read the Song of Ice and Fire books through Storm of Swords felt about last night's episode of Game of Thrones, "Kissed By Fire." I thought it was a pretty ding dang good hour of television, but John continues to wonder what the point of all this setup is. Of course, he also slept through about 45 minutes of the episode, and most of the two episodes before that. So his opinion is less than valid.
John wonders if the prize at the end of Game of Thrones is all worth it. What are they all fighting for? Who in their right mind wants to be monarch of Westeros? The place is in shambles right now. There are kings all over the place, there's a group of democrats who can bring people back to life, and the only ones seeming to benefit from Westeros the way it is right now are the unscrupulous, like Littlefinger and Tywin and Varys.
But I kind of love that part of Game of Thrones. It's all about the game itself. I don't think anyone -- Robb or Stannis or Dany -- has stopped to think about what it means to be the supreme ruler over all the land, especially when the land is so divided. Back when Robert was king, times were simpler. Everyone knew he was in charge, even though he wasn't the best king (as Barristan Selmy told us during the episode). Now you've got at least three people with tenuous claims to the throne and another three who just decided that now might be the right time to make a power grab. Nothing is stable. Nothing is simple. And the slight, basic moves across the chessboard are just as important as the big battles and amputations.
Yes, this episode was a lot of setup, but the small moves made during this hour -- the decisions, the orders given, the revelations -- will influence the lives and happiness of the people involved. Every move matters in the Game of Thrones, where either you win or you die.
But what happened in the episode? Well, as the title suggests, this hour was all about fire and kisses, and we got a lot of both.
Jon and Ygritte: She's a redhead, kissed by fire, and Brother of the Night's Watch, Jon Snow, is powerless against her advances in a warm cave in the middle of winter. He gives her his flower and proves in the process that he, Jon Snow, knows just a tad more than nothing.
Also, Orell and Giantsbane have threatened to kill Jon if he's lying about there being 1000 Crows remaining on the Wall.
Arya and The Hound: We all know how the Hound feels about fire, so when he has to face Beric Dondarrion in a duel to the death, it looks as if the Hound is going to freak out and run away, or at least get his ass handed to him. But the Hound prevails, because he's one of the amazing Clegane swordsmen, and because maybe the God of Light thinks he's innocent, and because Beric Dondarrion has died six times and may not be the greatest fighter ever. Arya is peeved that the Hound lives and is released into the wild, because she's still pissed that he killed her friend, the butcher's boy, on Joffrey's orders.
Arya receives another bit of bad news in this episode -- Gendry is sticking with the Brotherhood Without Banners. He likes that they're a democracy and that they don't judge Gendry for being a bastard. They can be his family. Arya claims that she can be his family, but Gendry says that she wouldn't be his family, she'd be either "m'lady" or "my lady." Not sure which, and it's a big difference. Either way, DON'T GO, GENDRY! We'll miss you.
Brienne and Jaime: They've been taken to Harrenhal and Roose Bolton is treating them like the Queen of England and David Bowie. He puts them up in the best rooms and has his special doctor, Qyburn, who failed out of maester medical school, work on Jaime's stump.
Jaime and Brienne wind up in the bathtub together, where he gives her the whole story about how he got the name "Kingslayer." He reveals that by killing the king, he saved his father's life and the lives of thousands of people. Mad King Aerys had planned to burn them all with wildfyre and bring himself back as a dragon or some such nonsense. Jaime kept that from happening. His only misfortune was being caught in the act by Ned Stark, who could never believe that a Lannister would actually do something noble and not for his own gain.
Robb, Robb, Robb: Robb Stark is all the worst traits of Catelyn and Ned wrapped up in one pretty hot little package. A few of his bannermen, the Karstarks, break into the dungeon and kill the two young Lannister captives. Robb knows he needs to punish the Karstarks to avoid looking like a chump, so he orders all of the men involved to be beheaded and for Lord Karstark to be placed behind bars. But then Robb's all, "Imma kill him too, see?" And his advisers and his mother and his wife are all, "Don't do it, Robb. The Karstarks will defect and you'll lose half your army." And Robb's all, "Honor! Duty!" And then he beheads the guy with one clean stroke, just like he watched his father do in the first episode of the series. And now he has lost half his army and he needs to head over to Lord Frey (the guy whose daughter Robb was supposed to marry before he went and married Talisa on the sly) and beg for his support.
Stannis, et. al.: Stannis likes keeping people locked away. His wife, who is happy (seriously, no sarcasm) about his affair with Melisandre, is hidden away. So is his disfigured daughter, Shireen, and his ex-BFF, Davos. Shireen sneaks out of her room to visit Davos and is now going to teach him how to read. And if this paragraph doesn't get you excited about the future of the Stannis storyline, I don't know what will.
Jorah and Barristan Selmy: Selmy just wants to serve a good monarch for once, someone who's not crazy or a drunken lout. He's all, "Is Dany cool, man?" And Jorah, with a lusty look on his face, says, "Aw, hell yeah."
The Lannisters of King's Landing: Tywin and Cersei are all about subverting the Tyrells' efforts to take Sansa away from King's Landing. Even though the Tyrells have given the king money and support and their daughter, the Lannisters must keep them in their place -- which is far below the illustrious Lannister clan. So, before the Tyrells can wed Sansa to Loras and whisk her off to Highgarden, Tywin is going to force the girl to marry Tyrion, who will then become Lord of Winterfell if anything should happen to Robb (or, oh yeah, Bran, whom no one knows is alive). Come to think of it, how do people not know that Winterfell is basically rubble? Tywin knows that the Karstarks have left Robb, but he doesn't know that Winterfell has been burned to the ground? Or maybe he does know and Tyrion doesn't and this is just another big joke that Tywin's playing on his son? Or...???
Anyway, Cersei's sitting at the table all smug after ruining her brother's life. But then Tywin's like, "Don't get any ideas, missy. You have to marry Loras now. I'm forcing you into yet another loveless marriage, my daughter, and all the kids from this union better come out looking like Tyrells, you feel me?"
- Littlefinger had the line of the night, which pretty much sums up the Game of Thrones: "It doesn't matter what we want. Once we get it, we want something else."
- In the book, a disgraced knight, who is now a fool, is the one who promises Sansa that he'll get her out of King's Landing. I like that they've given this job to Littlefinger instead. More Littlefinger is always a good thing.
- The Lady Olenna diet: Eat figs each afternoon to keep your bowels moving.
What did you think of the episode?
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