“By what right does the wolf judge the lion?” – Jaime Lannister
Episode 5 “Kissed by Fire” starts off with a trial by combat between The Hound and Lord Beric Dondarrion. Before this though, we get to see a prayer from the red priest, Thoros of Myr, who much like Stannis’ red priestess Melisandre, is a follower of R’hllor aka The Lord of Light. One thing I liked about this scene is that it shows yet another religious faction of the world of Game of Thrones. While Westeros worships The Seven (and the North keeps faith to the Old Gods), the followers of R’hllor are predominantly of Essos descent (the continent where Dany is doing her thing) and is the most common religion in that part of the world. This kind of background adds a lot of weight to this scene and Lord Beric’s conviction that if he’s able to best The Hound in the trial, it’s because R’hllor has judged him justly. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out well for Lord Beric, as The Hound nearly takes his arm off in one fell swoop, killing him.
Or does he? Thoros quickly prays over Beric and brings him back to life, with everyone in attendance collectively going, “What in the holy fuck?” Later on, after Arya tries to kill The Hound herself, she hears how Thoros has saved Lord Beric’s life six times and how each time he comes back, he remembers less about his previous life. Resurrection takes a lot out of a person, yanno? I liked that aspect though. If he were to miraculously come back to life with no downside, it wouldn’t mean as much. One of my favorite things about the universe that Martin created was his ability to balance magic and realism and have them coexist in a way that doesn’t feel TOO out of the world fantasy.
We didn’t get much from Jon Snow this week, and he STILL knows nothing. Other than going down on wildling bitches. Wildling bitches love that shit. How bad of a job do you have when your boss is like, “Alright Jon Snow. You go down on the redhead chick from Downton Abbey, and then jump in this private, scenic, in a cave hot tub. Then make out bang a few times, cool?” Looks like Jon Snow gets tested next week Tormund Giantsbane leads a group of wildlings (Jon included) to climb the wall.
By far, my favorite moments of Season 3 are the Jaime and Brienne scenes. Jaime has one of the best character arcs in the series (so far) and is my favorite perspective character in A Storm of Swords. I’m constantly amazed how faithful the writing and (some) of the stories translate to the show. This is Nikolaj Coster-Waldau episode and he completely knocks it out of the park relating the story of how he earned the moniker “Kingslayer” and how much of a burden it’s been since the day he opened the Mad King’s throat. Not only was King Aerys Targaryen going to burn King’s Landing, he demanded that Jaime bring him his father Tywin’s head. Not an easy decision to make. Does it completely absolve him from pushing Brandon Stark out a window? I don’t know, but this is what makes him one of my favorite characters. First you have a guy who’s all cocksure and bravado, and you completely neutralize his ego and reputation as one of the best swordsman in Westeros by chopping off his sword hand. “My name is Jaime,” he utters when Brienne shouts that the “Kingslayer” needs help, and we’re likely to see a new Jaime Lannister after this.
Robb Stark deals with treason in his own ranks when his bannerman Lord Karstark, who had two sons killed by Lannisters, puts two young Lannister squires to the sword in the name of vengeance. Robb’s all, “You dick, the fuck you do that for? Ima go bang my hot queen and think about whether or not I should chop your head off. BTW, like my leather shirt lulz.” Robb carries out the beheading but like we saw with Ned Stark in the first season, finds no pleasure in the task.
King Stannis finally makes his way back to Dragonstone to his ugly wife and unfortunate daughter, who suffers from his skin disease called “Greyscale”, in which the skin stiffens and spreads. This queen, who we’re first meeting, doesn’t care that Stannis banged the red priestess Melisandre because he’s “the chosen one”. Nice work! As with some story lines, we don’t get much here other than to see Stannis miserable home life, but that happens when you’re juggling so many characters. I don’t mind it.
As the new Master of Coin, it falls on Tyrion Lannister to monitor the cost of the Royal Wedding between King Joffrey and Margaery Tyrell, and while he was hoping to get some cooperation with Lady Olenna Tyrell, he finds her to be a bit of a twat. At the end of the meeting, she decides to split the cost with Royal Family, making Tyrion pretty happy. As this is going on, Sansa watches Ser Loras Tyrell practice at swords, and then Loras goes off to practice swords (i.e., dicks) with blonde haired boy he was sparring with. Lot of dude ass in this episode. The blond haired boy turns out to be a male prostitute in Littlefinger’s employ, who has his own Sansa Stark plot working.
The final scene with Tyrion, Cersei and Tywin Lannister is another one of the best scenes of the season so far. I can’t think of another actor who could embody the role of Tywin better than Charles Dance. One of the character traits that Tywin has in the books is he is a man who never lets on what he’s thinking and can kill you with his piercing green eyes. Tywin reveals to Tyrion that he’ll be wedding Sansa Stark. Since her brother is in open rebellion of the Iron Throne and the Stark boys are dead, Sansa is the key to The North. While Cersei revels in Tyrion’s horror at the prospect, Tywin slaps the grin off her face by telling her she’ll be wedding Ser Loras Tyrell. What’s worse than having to marry someone you don’t want to? The other person is gay.
Overall, this was the best episode of the season so far, and definitely up there in the top five best episodes of the series. The characters are growing and the stakes are getting higher.