Game of Thrones Memory Lane 305: Kissed By Fire

JB

Today in our rewatch countdown leading up to Game of Thrones season 6, we’ll be taking a closer look at “Kissed by Fire,” the classic season 3 episode written by Bryan Cogman and directed by Alex Graves. Please welcome Tuesday’s guest writer (and last week’s intrepid trailer screencapper), Manu!  -Sue the Fury


By what right does the wolf judge the lion? BY WHAT RIGHT?”

“Kissed by Fire,” the fifth installment of season three, had the unenviable task of following “And Now His Watch Is Ended,” one of the stronger episodes in the series run (punctuated powerfully with Daenerys’s sack of Astapor). It may be fitting that the previous Game of Thrones episode ended in fire, as the flames offer a powerful motif for its successor.

Fire in Westeros and Essos is viewed as both cleansing and transformative (by the will of R’hllor), and whether it be literal or figurative, this episode shows how “fire” has shaped the characters and narratives in Game of Thrones.

kiss

The phrase “kissed by fire” is an old wildling adage referring to red hair, as Ygritte explains to a freshly deflowered Jon Snow. Red hair in their society is a sign of luck, but Jon and Ygritte’s cave tryst is about more than just getting lucky (insert Stannis groan). Jon has vows to break, per Ygritte, and she demands Jon’s maidenhood in the Cave Spa Beyond the Wall™.

Despite murdering Qhorin Halfhand to infiltrate Mance Rayder’s army, Jon’s fealty to the Free Folk is still in question. Orell gives Jon a mild interrogation on the state of the Watch, not betraying the fact that he has seen the manned castles and the numbers of the Night’s Watchmen through the eyes of his eagle. Tormund, on the other hand, enjoys the young crow turncloak, but warns Jon that any hint of duplicity will end with his death.

Ygritte, understanding that Jon is conflicted, steals Longclaw and leads him into a cavern for seductive ends. Jon is a man struggling with his vows and his own natural urges; his father taught him a life of honor, and what Ygritte proposes would defile that honor in one swift stroke. Jon gives in, and while Ygritte knows Jon’s loyalty to the Watch still exists, he has at the very least committed himself to her.

Given where we are at the end of Season 5 (ignoring Jon’s “demise”), we see the start of Jon’s growth into who he would later become; a capable soldier and tactician, and eventually Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. While Maester Aemon only recently instructed Jon to “kill the boy,” it was here that Jon’s transformation began.

Sandor

Jon’s trial by fire was a figurative one; unfortunately for Sandor Clegane, his was far more literal. After Arya had laid the death of the butcher’s boy at the Hound’s feet, the Brotherhood without Banners sentenced him to trial by combat against Beric Dondarrion. When Beric lights his sword aflame, Arya takes notice of the fear in the Hound’s eyes; fire, it seems, scares one of the more terrifying, brutal men in her life.

The trial itself is one of the most impressive setpieces the show has put together, as Beric and Clegane’s steel sing in the storm of swords underneath the Hollow Hill (the cave set here is the same used for Ygritte and Jon’s cavern scene). Especially impressive is the lighting and choreography; the former relies mostly on the flaming sword and various fires around the cave, and the latter is emphasized by the close quarters in which the fight takes place.

In the end, Sandor Clegane lands a fatal blow, slashing down through the Lightning Lord’s neckbone and apparently ending his life. However, a few words from Thoros the Red Priest and life is blown back into Beric’s corpse, much to Arya and the Hound’s bewilderment.

Sandor Clegane’s transformation by fire happened long ago, but is still worth examining. When his older brother Gregor shoved his face into the burning coals, what peace and naiveté remained in the younger Clegane turned to ash. Dreams of knighthood and honor died that day, and Sandor’s transformation into the Hound began.

Here, however, there’s a slightly different transformation occurring; that of how the audience perceives Sandor Clegane. While far more complicated than a villain, the Hound’s association with Joffrey and the Lannister clan had often put him at odds with several protagonists. Now, the audience has come to see man, while harsh and unforgiving, who has real motivations and fears, and would later become protector for the younger she-wolf, not unlike he did for Sansa the season prior. The second episode of the series ends with the Hound’s murder of a child; two seasons later, we find ourselves holding this dog in a more empathetic light…

Jaime

…which brings us to the Kingslayer, Jaime Lannister. His story echoes that of the Hound; a story of fire and family long ago shaped him into the man he is today, but in this pivotal third season, the cloak this man has shrouded himself in is slowly unraveled.

BrienneJaime disrobes both literally and metaphorically in front of Brienne, Maid of Tarth, revealing the genesis of his undesirable moniker. When the audience first hears of the “Kingslayer” sobriquet, even with the knowledge of Aerys’s madness, very little doubt is benefited the son of Tywin Lannister. It’s presupposed that Jaime acted out of self-interest and pragmatism; that after the death of Rhaegar at the Ruby Ford and Lord Tywin’s sack of King’s Landing, Jaime took stock of which way the winds were blowing and made a calculated assessment to kill the king. This assumption is further buoyed by several other characters whom we trust (to varying degrees) derisively referring to him as “Kingslayer” (Robb, Catelyn, Barristan, Brienne, Stannis, just to name a few).

In the bathhouse of Harrenhal, Jaime divulges the truth to Brienne about that day of reckoning*. Jaime had urged the Mad King to first shut the gates to his lord father, and then later, after Lannister forces had taken the city, Jaime had urged surrender. Instead, Aerys, ordered Jaime to bring him his father’s head, before informing his pyromancer-Hand to engulf the entire city, and all those who reside therein, in wildfire. It’s here, when Jaime is asked to execute his father and stand witness to wholesale massacre, that the Kingslayer was born; not a pragmatic choice to join the winning side, but a necessary act to stave off a mass execution.

Jaimehand

Right before Jaime launches into his monologue, he takes a glance at his maimed hand before turning to Brienne. A nice touch that has Jaime examine what he has just lost, before divulging the story of how he lost his identity.

The honor-bound Eddard Stark was the first to find Jaime afterwards, and as Jaime noted, was judged instantly for his crime. “By what right does the wolf judge the lion?” he says, before collapsing into Brienne’s arms. She calls the guards to help the Kingslayer, to which he responds, “Jaime…my name’s Jaime. This bit of dialogue is internalized in A Storm of Swords, so it’s a nice touch to have them spoken aloud here. In this moment, revealing the truth about the Kingslayer story, Jaime is transformed and reborn again, reclaiming the name Ser Jaime Lannister as his own.

And it here we find Jaime’s arc to be an encapsulation of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire writ large. The narrative has always been about subverting genre tropes; from Ned Stark’s beheading to the Red Wedding to the focus on sexual violence, economic destabilization, and petty politics, Thrones has always been at its most poignant when it undermines the fabric upon which high fantasy stories are based on. There are no knights in shining armor, no great heroes slaying dragons; it is just men and women, and all the fallibility and complexity that comes with that.

When we meet Jaime Lannister in the pilot, he has all the trappings of a traditional medieval hero. Decked in golden armor, full of easy smiles, and the best swordsman in all the country, Jaime Lannister would be the traditional protagonist of a lesser epic. Instead, GRRM subverts this expectation and we find out Jaime is not only bedding his twin sister, but also father to the monstrous crown prince Joffrey. To further denigrate Jaime in our minds, the character defenestrates Bran Stark in the series premiere, sticks a dagger through Jory Cassel’s eye, and escalates the Stark-Lannister feud by attacking Ned Stark (the clear protagonist at this point in the story) in the streets of the capital.

Jaime2

Fast forward three seasons, and the viewer has the epiphany that maybe Jaime is closer to that hero ideal than we had thought. Yes, he has committed many acts of violence, but his prevention of the burning of King’s Landing may altogether be the most noble act in recorded Westeros. His defense of Brienne, both from Locke earlier and later from a bear, speaks further to the truth that the Kingslayer is a man of honor, albeit in his own, twisted way.

Another wrinkle is added to the character knowing that Jaime has never once felt the need to explain himself to anyone; be it Ned Stark on that day 17 years ago, or King Robert in season one, or even to Cersei. A few simple words to any of them could have explained away his oathbreaking, but instead he kept the truth to himself. This concealment does not make Jaime noble or honorable in any meaningful way, but further informs us of the pride with which the son of Casterly Rock comports himself with.

“Kissed by Fire” marks the halfway point of season three, and in itself a turning point for the narrative as a whole. As the drum beats on towards the Red Wedding, we start to see characters familiar to us transform before our very eyes; boys become men, villains become heroes, and our understanding of morality in Westeros both deepens and obfuscates. The audience now grapples with how they’ve judged the characters, both wolf and lion, thus far. In the process, the viewing audience is treated to an altogether fabulous episode of Game of Thrones; one of the very best to date, in fact.

Karstark

Extra Ravens

  • Given Season Five’s ending with Jon’s assassination, and the likely role that R’hllor will play in his revival, it’s worth quickly examining Beric’s dialogue with Arya regarding his resurrections. He claims that each time Thoros brings him back, he’s a bit “less.” Pieces of him are chipped away, until little remains of Lord Beric Dondarrion as he was known. This raises the question of how Jon Snow will be, if he returns as expected. Will he return as something less than whole, or worse, altogether different or transformed? Is it possible the presence of Ghost, coupled with Stark warging abilities, may have preserved Jon’s soul during his sabbatical from life?
  • Separately, this episode was a fantastic, if understated, exhibition by Maisie William’s Arya Stark.  In the initial trial by combat, Maisie has little dialogue, but thoroughly conveys Arya’s sense of wonderment at Beric and Thoros, as well as her hatred for the Hound. Her line “BURN IN HELL” is shrill and wrought with loathing. Conversely, we later see her reflect Arya’s more tender side, when pleading with Gendry to join Robb instead of the Brotherhood, and again when talking to Beric and Thoros about her father.
  • This episode gave us our second appearance of Qyburn, and our first hint as to the madness that resides in him. When he operates on Jaime’s arm, he admits to Jaime that his maester’s chain was stripped of him because his experiments were “too bold.” And when he cuts away Jaime’s rotting flesh, you can see joy in Qyburn’s wide eyes.
  • This episode was Karstark heavy, as Lord Karstark murders King Tommen Martyn Lannister, and is later executed by the King in the North in a scene that echoes the previous season where Theon Greyjoy beheads Rodrik Cassel. The show even uses the Ironborn music here. Nice touch.
  • While I did not spend time on the scenes focused on Stannis and Team Dragonstone, it is worth mentioning these are the first appearances of Queen Selyse with Tara Fitzgerald in the role, and the Princess Shireen (Kerry Ingram). Whatever one may think for how the Stannis story arc turned out in season five, it is worth noting that the relationship between all the family members has always been cold and uneasy, until their last days.
  • Selyse naming one of her stillborn children Edric is also a nice nod to Edric Storm, a book character aborted for the show.
  • Cogman’s script is very tight in this episode, creating a great sense of continuity that Thrones struggled with in early seasons. First, Shireen’s narration regarding Aegon the Conqueror bleeds into the next scene featuring Daenerys, creating a historical and thematic parallel between the two. Later, Ser Jorah reminisces about Thoros’s flaming sword at the Siege of Pyke, and Barristan talks about how a “man of honor” serves his king above all else. Both call back to earlier scenes with the Hound and Jaime, respectively.
  • The final scene between Tywin, Tyrion, and Cersei offers an interesting insight into the Lannister family dynamic, as well as the differences between Tyrion and Cersei. While the former has a slow realization about Tywin’s plans for Sansa Stark, the latter is utterly blindsided by Tywin’s idea for Loras Tyrell. It’s a nice nod to Tyrion’s thoughtful nature and Cersei’s brasher one.
  • While no one is getting a good deal here, Cersei, for all her hatred and scheming, gets the bulk of my empathy. Again she finds herself on the patriarchal short end of things, as she is once again being forced to marry and breed for her father’s political gain. The show often has Cersei and Tyrion positioned against each other, but that just makes the few times where they suffer the same calamity that much more powerful. The scene ends with both scolded and downtrodden, as a morose version of “The Rains of Castamere” carries us into the credits.

Shireen

Introductions: Grey Worm, leader of the Unsullied army; Olyvar is the newest sex-working pawn of Littlefinger; and we get to see Selyse’s collection of male babies in jars. We meet Princess Shireen Baratheon, and Tara Fitzgerald steps into the part of Queen Selyse Baratheon, who previously only appeared as an unnamed and uncredited featured extra.

Deaths: Lord Rickard Karstark is executed for leading the slaying of two young hostages, Martyn and Willem Lannister.

Beautiful Death, by Robert M Ball: The execution of Rickard Karstark

BD3x5

94 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. That EPIC line:
      “Kill me and be cursed. You’re no king of mine!”

      Rickard Karstark competes with Rodrik Cassell in the last words stakes!

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    2. King Tommen’s long-lost twin brother died at the hands of Lord Karstark! What dark magic is this? Or maybe this really was Tommen and an impostor rules in King’s Landing?

      Well, that settles it! Tommen is a faceless man, obviously.

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    3. Nice article! Definitely one of the better episodes of Season 3.

      Off topic: Come and have a look at yet another short fan trailer of mine:

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    4. Yaga:
      Most importantly, we’re at the halfway point of this memory lane! From this point, it’s all downhill .

      Yes! 26 more days!

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    5. This episode is easily in my Top 10 favorites list. Every single scene in the episode was strong, with exceptional performances, especially by Nikolaj and Maisie.

      In S1, when Ned accused Jaime of killing the Mad King out of self interest, he seemed to be totally in the right and Jaime seemed to be everything he was accused of. How things turned on its head! It was actually Ned Stark who was in the wrong, in this situation. By the end of this season Jaime had become one of my favorite characters.
      Another favorite scene was Robb’s execution of Karstark.

      Interesting that the scene where Beric is brought back to life is immediately followed by Jon beyond the wall. Foreshadowing here?
      Also to note, even though the lore of AA and Lightbringer has never been actually mentioned on the show, this is the second time we see a flaming sword.

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    6. Excellent reminder of the episode and a fine and layered touch of the petspective and exploration of an ill treated theme by many commentstors, that is the patriarchal constructed society that the show depicts.

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    7. The best episode for me so far in the series, loved every scene of it.
      It’s amazing that it doesn’t have a big battle or a big death but still it’s the episode i would recomend to anyone who wants to see what all the fuss about GoT is about.

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    8. ghost of winterfell:
      This episode is easily in my Top 10 favorites list. Every single scene in the episode was strong, with exceptional performances, especially byNikolaj and Maisie.

      In S1, when Ned accused Jaime of killing the Mad King out of self interest, he seemed to be totally in the right and Jaime seemed to be everything he was accused of. How things turned on its head! It was actually Ned Stark who was in the wrong, in this situation. By the end of this season Jaime had become one of my favorite characters.
      Another favorite scene was Robb’s execution of Karstark.

      Interesting that the scene where Beric is brought back to life is immediately followed by Jon beyond the wall. Foreshadowing here?
      Also to note, even though the lore of AA and Lightbringer has never been actually mentioned on the show, this is the second time we see a flaming sword.

      I always feel that the Kingslayer monicker is apt, and even Jamie’s revelation does not absolve him of his act. King Aerys was old, even if he ran, he can’t possibly outran a man in his 20s. Jamie could have knocked him out and detained him, and let the rebels do the rest. He does need to kill him. I think Ned would still view him as dishonourable even if he heard this revelation.
      Although in a moment of panic, I agree that people do not consider their choices and just act on impulse which true to his character, Jamie is

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    9. Ah, the Kingslayer theme music that sets the tone for Jaime’s confession in the bath. I have so much love for everything about this episode.

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    10. Kissed by Fire is my favorite episode of Game of Thrones. Cogman’s scripts are usually excellent, but in this instance he outdid himself. Coupled with Graves’ masterful direction and electrifying performances all around, this episode deserves its place in the pantheon of GoTs very best.

      We start in the thick of the action, as Beric and the Hound prepare for the trial by combat. And what a trial it is! The cave is small and crowded, and Graves smartly keeps the camera in close all the better to emphasize the sheer physicality of combat. (Contrast with the direction of Bronn’s and Vardis’ trial by combat at the Eyrie back in Season 1. Minahan correctly opted to give that duel “more room to breathe” because the point there was to show how Bronn outmaneuvered his opponent and tired him out. Both sequences are great showcases for the fighting styles of Bronn and the Hound, respectively.) And after the Hound lands the killing blow… Beric rises again. At the time, based on the books, we all thought it to foreshadow a certain lady making a vengeful comeback. Whether she returns or no, Beric’s resurrection can serve just as well as a precedent for another case of a high-profile corpse getting all uncorpsified.

      After the trial, Arya has a heart-wrenching scene with Beric and Thoros (I admit that no matter how many times I watch it, I am always on the verge — or well over that verge, nay, precipice — of tears):

      – Could you bring back a man without a head? Not six times, just once.
      – He was a good man, Ned Stark. He’s at rest now, somewhere. I would never wish my life upon him.
      – I would. You’re alive.

      Maisie Williams is, forgive my lame pun, amaiseing and deserves every accolade heaped upon her and more.

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    11. Sean C.,

      According to Jaime atleast, he saw judgement in Ned’s eyes as soon as he had entered the throne room and saw Jaime sitting on the Iron Throne. And that in a way instigated Jaime to not explain himself. Of course, his own pride was also in play here.

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    12. It’s been some time since I read the books, so I don’t know if Roose is like that in them as well, but on the show he’s such a delightful troll. Just look at him trolling Jaime so hard the poor guy falls to his knees.

      And your sister… your sister… is alive and well.

      In an episode or two, during the dinner with Jaime and Brienne, he says something about overplaying your… position while looking at Jaime’s stump. Then in Season 3 finale, Walder mockingly toasts Young Wolf to which Roose dryly replies: Forever young.

      The guy’s hilarious.

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    13. Mihnea:

      Also Tommen dies in this episode

      Hey, it’s a nice bit of unintentional foreshadowing. 🙂

      In the scene where Tywin casually (and callously) arranges new marriages for Tyrion and Cersei, her reaction of “Please don’t make me do this again” was so plaintive and sad, even a bit frightened. Terrific moment by Lena. It’s stunning how Tywin doesn’t care about any of his kids. If he had given them proper attention and guidance they would have been great assets. They’re too loyal and clever to be mere pawns.

      The Jaime and Brienne scene is riveting, although I’m not entirely convinced by Jaime’s account of what happened in the throne room with Aerys. I keep thinking there was something else going on that’s not being mentioned. (And Jaime has a misguided idea about heroism; true heroes are never thanked or given credit for what they do.)

      And Shireen. . .the Queen That Should Have Been. 🙁

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    14. Hello Manu

      Great job of breaking it all down for us. This episode is also one of my favorites. For a few reasons. First is the Jaime and Brienne bath scene and confession. Second is the cave fight with Berek and The Hound and last is the cave of love-fest with Jon and Ygrette.

      The Jon and Ygrette scenes were actually quite touching for a show that rarely has “falling in love” moments that we see from start to finish, which of course we know doesn’t end well. We have been paying attention after all.

      Then the cave Thriller from Manilla. Showing the very real terror of fire by The Hound is what started me melting a tad towards him, prior to that, I was all against this guy. No way to redeem someone who abandons Tyrion in his time of need at the Bay of Green Pigs.

      And last is the Roman Hot Tub scene. I love how you see Brienne slowly “get it” and realize that this is not an animal, but a real honest flesh and blood man, who makes mistakes. It is also probably contestably the best work by Nikolaj Coster-Waldeau (what a name that is). I know he had me at shedding his clothing. No matter his good looks, prior to that segment, I really hated Jaime. Like many others, after that, how could anyone look at him the same? <—not a pun.

      One of the very best episodes in the five seasons and one that I can watch again and again and again.

      Thank you Manu . You did a great job. And I have to say, you are a bit of a sly fox over on Twitter (I am @LadyFionavar ) there, when I asked you if you part of this community. “No, but Watchers is my community.” LOL Well played, Sir.

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    15. “I will answer injustice with Justice”.
      This is the Mad King we’re talking about. The crazy guy who burnt people alive. One of which was Ned’s brother. The Mad King is the reason why there was a war. They had no love for him. And Ned certainly wanted to kill him himself. Sure, Jaime denied the realm a trial for the Mad King, he was gonna be imprisoned, or executed anyway, in any case I doubt they’d have allowed a trial by combat. Kingsguard I know, a man without honor. The only vows that matter are those for love, vengeance, and Justice. This was Justice.

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    16. Flora Linden: (And Jaime has a misguided idea about heroism; true heroes are never thanked or given credit for what they do.)

      That just reminded me of Babylon 5 episode Comes the Inquisitor which deals with issues of heroism, sacrifice, motivations for doing so…

      No greater love hath a man than he lay down his life for his brother. Not for millions, not for glory, not for fame–for one person, in the dark, where no one will ever know or see.

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    17. Yep, definitely one of my favorite episodes. So many great moments. Davos and Shireen in the dungeon was a perfect introduction to their friendship. Another detail I love about this episode is Beric’s flaming sword. I thought the effects were handled really well. That fight was amazing.

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    18. Great recap thank you! Obviously the Jaime speech is wonderfully written and acted. But the end – “Jaime…my name’s Jaime” – always jars with me as forcing the point. But I’m being nitpicky.

      The Karstark execution is one of those horribly grey situations that GoT excels at where there is right and wrong on both sides and the situation just spirals out of control due to the codes these men live by (e.g. Robb’s honour). It’s horribly brilliant to watch unfold.

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    19. God, this episode just sings. It’s one of my absolute favorites of the series – Top 5 easily. Wonderful write-up, Manu!

      There are many things I want to talk about with this gem of an episode, but before we go any further, I have to mention Shireen. Oh, God. Shireen.

      There are so many great scenes in this episode, it’s easy to overlook that the young Princess of House Baratheon makes her debut here. When I left my comment on Kerry Ingram’s Curtain Call (in which I went long even for me – nearly 2000 words, I think) I mentioned how sadly appropriate it was that Shireen was introduced in an episode titled “Kissed by Fire”. The fire was never far from her. If only we had known then how close it would come.

      I’ve previously mentioned that I have a long list of Game of Thrones actors whose performance established them as the definitive version of the character in my mind. Kerry Ingram as Shireen Baratheon is at the very top of that elite roster. I think that she’s extraordinary talented, and every scene that she appeared in during her three seasons on the show was a sweet respite from the horror and violence that plague the rest of Westeros and the surrounding world. And so it remained, right up until the very end, when the fire takes her and the *screaming stops*.

      I’ve seen Shireen’s introductory scene many times, but this is the first time I’ve rewatched it in context since her death in Season 5. Once again, Stannis’s series-long storyline continues to tie together extraordinarily well for me. Every time he appears on screen, images and lines of dialogue that I hadn’t fully internalized leap off the screen, foreshadowing the ultimate sacrifice he’ll make with eerie prescience. Intentional? Perhaps not. Powerful? God yes.

      I was steeling myself for Shireen’s appearance, but I still wasn’t fully prepared for how delighted she sounds when she says “Father!” and races to hug him. Or how innocent and eager her voice is when she inquiries about the battle and the Onion Knight (not to mention the wonderful rapport that she exhibits with Davos in the cells later). Or the way her face falls when Stannis brusquely tells her that her only friend is a traitor … goddamn it. I can’t do this.

      And then there’s song. The song that we hear before we see her, and which closes the episode, with Kerry Ingram doing a rendition over the credits: “It’s Always Summer Under the Sea.” I vividly remember hating that refrain in the books, mostly because it was sung by Patchface, a character I find insufferable (Sorry. I know that character has his ardent fans, but I am decidedly not one of them). But here, in a new context, the melody is haunting. It’s beautiful. It’s a perfect encapsulation of Shireen Baratheon’s character, frozen in time.

      And yet even there, dark foreshadowing looms. Listen to lyrics of that strange and lonely flight of childhood whimsy. The shadows dance, and the water burns. Seven Hells (or as Melisandre would later say, One). For the young Princess, there is no escape from the fire. Not even under the sea.

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    20. Ross:
      The Karstark execution is one of those horribly grey situations that GoT excels at where there is right and wrong on both sides and the situation just spirals out of control due to the codes these men live by (e.g. Robb’s honour).It’s horribly brilliant to watch unfold.

      Do you mean right and wrong in terms of what Robb should do with Karstark? Because Karstark himself is purely in the wrong — executing prisoners is a war crime, and the idea that he’s entitled to it because his sons died in combat is pure nonsense.

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    21. Also, the season 5 ep titles fell short, and were quite off. Mothers Mercy and a few others were fine. But Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken not only featured a terrible Dorne segment, but featured the, well done(if a rape scene can be. It was Ramsay, it was coming), Sansa rape scene. In which she was, ironically, Bowed, Bent, and, Broken. The Dorne scene was short and not eventful enough to be in the title. It would have been better titled as “Bowed, Bent, Broken”.

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    22. Great great write-up!

      This is a fantastic episode. It’s an amazing mid-season highlight, especially as it doesn’t turn on horrifically violent acts the way the previous episode does.

      Rory McCann really was one of the show’s best fighters, doing so much physical work “in character” that’s really impressive, and that tilt at the beginning with Beric is stellar work.

      I’d forgotten this is the episode that introduces Shireen and Selyse, but that’s another great moment too, and of course the Karstark execution and the bathtub scene, and everything Arya. Good grief, this episode is packed to the gills.

      The ending is the most devastating GOT ending that doesn’t involve a horrific death. Tywin has absolutely ruined his children. He never understands how he’s done it, either. But he has.

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    23. Awesome analysis.
      I had forgotten how awesome Beric vs. Hound looked like. I’d put it in my Top 5 favourite fight scenes. Maybe even in 1st place.
      I wonder if they’ll mention next season that the kids Lord Karstark murdered were Kevan’s sons.
      Regarding Jaime, I wouldn’t say that this episode made me stop hating him (after all, let’s face it, we hated Jaime for trying to kill Bran, not for killing the Mad King). Rather, I think this episode showed us a more complex character that we had assumed. Down the line, we’ll see him risking his life to save Brienne, helping Tyrion, confronting his father, defying his family by giving Brienne the task of rescuing Sansa, and caring for Myrcella (I think his trip to Dorne could have been better executed, though). Unfortunately, the show hasn’t adapted his relationship with Cersei or his more reflexive personality as well as it could have.

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    24. This is easily my favorite episode in Season 3, possibly the entire series.

      Nothing climactic happened, but it significantly advanced the plot.

      …..the main reason it’s my favorite is because nearly ALL of the major subplots and groups of characters appear in it. Daenerys in Essos, Jon Snow beyond the Wall, the Stark/Tullys, the Lannisters, the Tyrells, Stannis, Brienne, Sansa, Arya. And that is a VERY difficult balancing act, but nonetheless they all have significant advancement.

      Really the only ones that weren’t in it were Samwelly/Gilly (and the rest of the Night’s Watch), Bran Stark & Co., Theon and/or Greyjoys, or Joffrey and the Small Council.

      I also think the Robb beheading Karstark stuff was strong and made up for Robb’s weaker, meandering plotlines in Season 2.

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    25. mau,

      That falls into the category of whether Robb should have been more political about it, not whether Karstark deserved to get away with what he did.

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    26. Sue the Fury:
      Mihnea,

      lol yeah Manu mentioned that. It’s funny, looking back on it now.

      Well it’s funny, but as opposed to Dean-Charles Chapman playing a Tyrell cousin or something, I thought it made a lot of sense that the Martyn Lannister actor would be recast as his own first cousin Tommen. I mean, they’re close relatives, you’d expect them to look similar.

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    27. In GOT episode, we need…
      1. Unrespected Contract (Unsign contract)…
      2. Fake Verbal Agreement : Only fool do not change mind…
      3. Mismatch : Oh yeah, our army will be there on time and then the opposite happen…
      4. Patriot burn : A group of people that try something else and then the worse happen…
      5. Order of Solar Temple : A group of brainwash people…
      6. Talking Head : A group of people that only talk 10x worse then Tyrion…
      7. Dictator…
      8. Lesbian Girls…
      9. Mafia Organization…

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    28. On to mildly more cheerful things.

      Beric’s fight with the Hound is one of the show’s more impressive opening sequences. Great choreography (remember, they’re doing this in a cramped cave set, with crew and extras tightly packed along the margins) and amazing visuals. Beric’s burning sword looks beautiful silhouetted against the darkness.

      Obviously, Beric’s death and resurrection takes on outsized importance given where we stand before Season 6 with Schrödinger’s Snow. “Every time I come back, I’m a bit less. Pieces of you get chipped away.” I really hope that dynamic gets explored in Season 6, as it’s one of the few things I find interesting about the many resurrections in Martin’s world (if I see it pop up in the “Previously On” package, I’ll probably cheer).

      The scene where Arya tries to convince Gendry to stay with her is one of the most quietly heartbreaking scenes in the entire show. I believe Maisie Williams said at one point that they did several takes, and for the last one, she was asked to say it like she was saying “I love you”. That was the take they used.

      Arya’s later scene where she asks Thoros if he could bring back a man without a head – not six times, just once – is gutwrenching as well. As Manu said, this episode is a great showcase for Maisie Williams and the extraordinary range and talent that she has at such a young age.

      I love how Roose Bolton deliberately fucks with Jaime’s head when he asks about King’s Landing and the safety of his sister. “You haven’t heard?” he whispers, and when Jaime seizes up, Bolton dangles him over the cliff for what must seem like an eternity before finally letting him off the hook: “Your sister … is alive and well.” At that point, Jaime understandably collapses, done in by a combination of pain, exhaustion, and relief. Bolton’s likely already decided to cast his lot with the Lannisters at this point, so he’s not going to stand for Locke’s physical abuse of Tywin’s son. But he’s not above twisting the knife in a sensitive spot, just to see his captive writhe. A nicely understated way of showing the character’s unnerving cruelty, sans flaying or leeches.

      Jaime’s confession to Brienne in the bathtub is exquisite. It’s one of the best scenes I’ve watched in either film or TV, and it’s just two people talking – Jaime growing increasingly delirious as he unburdens himself while Brienne listens in rapt attention and reacts with increasing horror and empathy. Manu articulated the beauty and power of that scene better than I could in his essay, so I’ll just say how criminal it is that Nikolaj Coster-Waldau didn’t get more awards recognition for his performance in Season 3. He didn’t even get nominated for an Emmy, which remains patently absurd (if understandable).

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    29. ghost of winterfell: In S1, when Ned accused Jaime of killing the Mad King out of self interest, he seemed to be totally in the right and Jaime seemed to be everything he was accused of. How things turned on its head! It was actually Ned Stark who was in the wrong, in this situation. By the end of this season Jaime had become one of my favorite characters.

      Ned was not wrong.

      When Ned arrived at the city he saw the gates were open and he saw Lannister soldiers pillaging Kings Landing. When he walked into the throne room he found Jaime lounging on the Iron Throne while Aerys was lying dead on the floor with a sword in his back.
      After those events he saw Rhaegar’s murdered children being presented to Robert as a gift.

      Jaime had a good and very valid reason for killing Aerys, but what I’ve never understood about Jaime is that he did not do anything more about the situation afterwards.
      He knows that Kings Landing is stacked with stashes of wildfire. Wildfire is very dangerous and unstable, yet has done nothing to allocate this wildfire. Shouldn’t he at least have tried to eliminate the thread?

      It is these kinds of small mattes or questions about Jaime that often reappears, that makes be believe that he has not really completed or experienced a full redemption arc. He is still quite self obsessed in some ways.

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    30. “kissed by fire”

      har har har 😛

      Solid episode! I have nothing negative to say about this one lol.

      Also, great post, Manu!

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    31. This is a fantastic episode which also has sentimental value to me. I watched it in a hotel with a friend, during a New York trip. This friend was my “ASOIAF friend”. Like, he had been proselytizing the books since the 90s – and even took the step of buying a bunch of friends the first book right after “A Storm Of Swords” came out. This cover It’s how I got into the series myself (I was hooked the moment Jaime dropped Bran).

      My friend hadn’t watched any of season 3 up until this episode. But I remember near the end of the episode, he turned to me and said “Who would have thought all those years ago that we get such a quality adaptation?” Who indeed!

      So much great….
      -Hound vs Beric (everything I imagined that fight could be)

      -Jaime’s confession to Brienne,

      -Jon & Ygritte in the cave

      -Rob and Karstark,

      -Arya’s “Not 6 times…just once”

      -That ending scene with the Lannisters

      -Introduction of Stannis’s family

      -Gendry – “You’d be m’lady”

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    32. Will:
      Also, the season 5 ep titles fell short, and were quite off. Mothers Mercy and a few others were fine. But Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken not only featured a terrible Dorne segment, but featured the, well done(if a rape scene can be. It was Ramsay, it was coming), Sansa rape scene. In which she was, ironically, Bowed, Bent, and, Broken. The Dorne scene was short and not eventful enough to be in the title. It would have been better titled as “Bowed, Bent, Broken”.

      Sansa was not (mentally) broken. Bryan Cogman confirmed that several times.

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    33. Yes. This really is one of the best episodes and I will seriously reconsider its rating. I gave it 9 on my first watch but after a couple of rewatches (I do them every year) I’ve really learned to appreciate this episode and I think I will change it to 10.

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    34. Jon and Ygritte is my favorite love story in the show, and probably the best realized (helped, no doubt, by the real-life chemistry between Kit Harington and Rose Leslie). Occasionally, if I don’t have time to rewatch the full episodes, I’ll just revisit their scenes on YouTube, particularly the ones from this episode and the next two (“The Climb” and “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”). They never should have left that cave.

      Speaking of romance, I admit that during Grey Worm’s introduction, I was studying Missandei’s face to see if she betrayed any hint of their future attraction (It’s not there, and it wouldn’t be – the writers didn’t conceive that relationship until later. But I looked). Nevertheless, I really like Grey Worm’s speech about wanting to keep his Unsullied name, especially in light of how much his character has grown. Jacob Anderson’s ability to deliver long speeches in Valyrian is always impressive – David J. Peterson has said that he was stunned at how quickly and thoroughly Anderson mastered the language.

      Jorah and Barristan have a pair of nice scenes as well, as they relive old battles and debating the nature of loyal service. I always appreciate Barristan remarking that he wants to know what it’s like to serve with pride before he dies, and Jorah subtly probing to find out what Barristan might know about his potential betrayal (nothing yet, as it happens). Their cautiously friendly but deliberately wary dynamic is an interesting one to me.

      Robb executing Karstark remains a powerful moment, especially as underscored by the Ironborn theme. Rickard deserved what he got, but with the Karstarks looking to side with the Boltons in Season 6, the Stark family continues to pay for that decision long after it was made. And it’s impressive how Tywin continues to cast his shadow over the entire season, as Robb bitterly laments that Tywin doesn’t need to do anything to make them unravel. Meanwhile, while he plots to win back the Freys so he can take Casterly Rock, Tywin continues to write his letters, far away.

      The final scene, with Tywin bullying Tyrion and Cersei into a pair of marriages that neither of them want, is one of the best closing scenes of any episode that doesn’t end with a violent death. When Tywin raises his voice and lays down his law, it’s striking to see Tyrion’s long-simmering resentment and Cersei’s raging defiance lapse into the sullen silence of a young boy and the desperate pleading of a little girl, respectively. I love the final shot the two of them sinking low in their chairs, looking so small and defeated, framed by the Lannister sigil. For all of the power, influence, and political savvy the Lannister siblings wield (or think they wield), they are children still, and utterly cowed by the old lion who rules his pride with an iron will.

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    35. Great episode, indeed. Personally I think I find it better than the previous one. Especially good for The Hound and Jaime. As you say, Manu, it is crazy how these two began as pretty loathable (Jaime being one up to 1-2 episodes before “kissed by fire” – the Hound got more sympathetic quite earlier) jerks and evolved into fan-favourites. Honestly, I think that they are the two characters that their death would -emotionally- upset me the most (supposing Ian McShane knows what he filmed). Though I guess they are not crucial to the show.

      By the way Manu, not that I mind since I do not shy away from spoilers, but maybe your mentioning of Jon Snow’s death is in need of a spoiler alert?

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    36. Jared:
      Jon and Ygritte is my favorite love story in the show, and probably the best realized (helped, no doubt, by the real-life chemistry between Kit Harington and Rose Leslie). Occasionally, if I don’t have time to rewatch the full episodes, I’ll just revisit their scenes on YouTube, particularly the ones from this episode and the next two (“The Climb” and “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”). They never should have left that cave.

      Totally. Not to jump the gun, but the end of the next episode really gave me the feels.

      Ramin Djawadi’s captures “them” perfectly.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64rwvSXLD0U

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    37. Jared,

      I always look forward to your comments the most Jared … they really show how much you deeply love this show, and the Song of Ice and Fire in general … just as I do.

      I forget though, are you sullied or unsullied?

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    38. Mr Fixit:

      After the trial, Arya has a heart-wrenching scene with Beric and Thoros (I admit that no matter how many times I watch it, I am always on the verge — or well over that verge, nay, precipice — of tears):

      – Could you bring back a man without a head? Not six times, just once.
      – He was a good man, Ned Stark. He’s at rest now, somewhere. I would never wish my life upon him.
      – I would. You’re alive.

      Maisie Williams is, forgive my lame pun, amaiseing and deserves every accolade heaped upon her and more.

      + 1000

      Now these are the Arya scenes in this episode that I enjoy the most rather than the killing scenes elsewhere that get more attention, when we see the more reflective and vulnerable side that is still under the surface and the mask of quietly confident dispassion is dropped – something that Maisie does subtly and extremely well. It’s a pity that these moments tend to get forgotten and overlooked so much in favour of Arya’s kills.

      A great episode all-round.

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    39. Boudica:
      Jaime had a good and very valid reason for killing Aerys, but what I’ve never understood about Jaime is that he did not do anything more about the situation afterwards.
      He knows that Kings Landing is stacked with stashes of wildfire. Wildfire is very dangerous and unstable, yet has done nothing to allocate this wildfire. Shouldn’t he at least have tried to eliminate the thread?

      To be fair, he did kill the pyromancers who knew where the wildfire stashes were, so that they couldn’t explode the city out of spite.
      Also, he doesn’t have the means to locate all the wildfire caches. In order to do so, he would have to reveal Aerys’ secret to the king, and that would mean breaking the only vow he hadn’t broken yet.
      Finally, even if he had told anyone about the wildfire, how would they discover where the caches are located? The Alchemists’ Guild sometimes find a few jars, but there are thousands of them still hidden, even after the Lannisters started looking for them.

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    40. Sadly this is episode we see Robb Stark make the same mistake his father made. There is no room for honor in this game of thrones.

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    41. Red Viper,

      Thank you! I’m glad that you’re enjoying them. This Memory Lane series has been a wonderful opportunity to revisit old episodes, and to share thoughts and memories about parts of this story that haven’t been discussed for a while. I’ve enjoyed reading all the essays and comments from the regulars, and the new posters as well. It’s been a great way to pass the time as we wait for Season 6! 🙂

      I’m a Sullied viewer. However, while I do love the books (particularly the first three), I’m not all that precious about them, especially when it comes to the niceties of adapting them for the screen. On the whole, I would say that I’m more emotionally invested in the TV show. That’s due in significant part to communities like this one, which have enabled me to have discussions with friendly, well-informed, passionate fans on a year-round basis (Unfortunately, the book-centric communities I’ve tried can be pedantic even at their best, and poisonous at their worst … though, sadly, that can said for many Internet forums). WOTW is a rare bird.

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    42. And another mention for the scene with Tywin, Cersei and Tyrion where Cersei is owned by Tywin. Lena does great with that smug look as Tyrion is being ordered to marry changing to that WTF look as she in turn gets her own orders – priceless 🙂

      I really still don’t have any empathy for Cersei at this point!

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    43. Tywin of the Hill:
      Awesome analysis.
      I wonder if they’ll mention next season that the kids Lord Karstark murdered were Kevan’s sons.

      In the show, Willem and Martyn aren’t Kevan’s sons, at least according to Robb. When he dresses down Edmure after the Stone Mill, he calls them (Tywin’s) Father’s Brother’s Great-Grandsons.

      I believe they would be Third Cousins (Great-Grandchildren of Great Uncle) to Jamie, Cersei, Tyrion (via Tywin) and Lancel (via Kevan).

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    44. This is one of my favorite episodes of the season. The bath scene is brilliant. Which I find ironic. Well done all around.
      🙂

      The North Remembers..!

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    45. mau:

      There are many ways to punish a war crime.

      Indeed. Robb was really being moronic, risking such a large part of his army over Lannister boys, however innocent they may have been. The best solution in my opinion would be to send Lord Karstark to the Wall.

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    46. NedDeadHead,

      It’s confusing, but Robb’s first reference to who they were in 304 was meant to be flippant. In this episode they’re referred to in a manner that indicates they are meant to be Kevan’s kids.

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    47. Sean C.: You can’t really blame Ned for Jaime refusing to explain himself.

      No, but one has to admit that the late Lord Stark was not a particularly perceptive man. Quite the Manichaean.

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    48. Jared, Manu,

      Congratulations for your exquisite analysis! I especially liked the fire motif (by Manu) and Shireen’s character between water and fire (by Jared).
      Kissed by Fire is my favourite episode in season 3 and one of my favourites in the whole show, so it was a pleasure to read between (beautiful) lines your own love for this Cogman masterpiece.
      And yes! His name is Jaime, not the Bran-defenestrator – begining with this episode.

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    49. The wolves will come again,

      Agreed. Still though, nothing beats ‘Go on, do your duty!’ in my opinion. They refused the urge to give Stannis a big memorable regret-filled last-word-speach and stayed true to the character. Oddly, it touched me deeply the first time I watched the scene.

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    50. I was just looking at the pictures again and JUST now saw that Grey Wind is at the gate behind Robb. *memory whimpers*

      Jared We are not long on appreciation around these parts or on the net in general, but you do deserve a “very well done” on your overview of all the episodes. As Shy Lady Dragon *waves* says, it is almost poetic in nature and I really enjoy the read.

      I love all those who are dedicated to this countdown “In memory..” topics that take their time to be reflective and manage to remind us of exactly why we love GoT’s and of course Watchers on the Wall.

      Not that people aren’t grateful or love GoT’s…not everyone has to be all gushy about it. But I do. 🙂

      *sings a song for Grey Wind*

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    51. Mr Fixit,

      He would have been very useful at the Wall. Shame how the characters neglect this. It’s going to come back to haunt them once the WW attack.

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    52. JCDavis,

      Hi, m’lady! *waves*
      Aw, Grey Wind! There are plenty of horrible scenes in GOT (but we trully, madly… you know! love it anyway!) but for me the most unbearable is Robb with Grey Wind’s head. Horrible reminder of how unnecessary cruel people can be.

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    53. A great episode . The trial by combat, and all that came after was amazing. Aryi’s “can you bring back a man without a head” line nearly brings me to tears every time I see it.
      However the Karstark execution scen is my favorite ( sorry Jamie and Bieanne bath story hour). Robb is in such a bad position. Any action is a case of the lesser of two evils.I was so enthralled with Madden’s performance, that I only just now realized Greywind is present. He really brought a new level of acting in season 3.
      To wade into the “should Robb have killed him” debate, I wanted to mention something that gets overlooked. William and Martin weren’t the only ones killed. You can see one of their guards being stabbed. The book makes this more clear, with Edmure mentioning he lost at least two men. So besides killing prisoners, Karstark killed his own allies. In a time of War. That’s a huge no go.

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    54. I think Kissed By Fire is the show’s best episode to date. Great script, excellent acting all around, and Maisie and Nicolaj both gave the performances of their lives. Every episode has a few great scenes, but this one was great from start to finish; well, except maybe the jar babies, but ya gotta love that crazy gal.

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    55. Jared,

      You are really one of the best posters on here. The way you break down your points are really interesting and I find myself reading them all, lol. Your so right on the way many book forums are, way too pedantic and negative, the smug and condescending attitude is quite baffling. I really appreciate this site and the posters here. Season 5 was hard for me to enjoy because every-time I went to watch a review after an episode it was full of people complaining about the smallest things, it really takes the fun out of it. I don’t mind people breaking down and criticizing things they did not like in an episode, but it usually was just bitching and whining because things didn’t happen exactly the way they wanted it to, lol. I only found this place in September, so I am very grateful for that.

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    56. I loved this episode way back when. The fact that it came on the heels of another strong episode was a huge plus. I could not wait for the next installment.

      Most of the scenes were increadibly strong and very well actec and laid down groundwork for many things that came later. Difficult to choose among them, but Jaimie’s scene with Brienne was exquisite and Beric’s and the Hound’s fight was visually astonishing with Arya watching and screaming “burn in hell” with such hatred. It was painful for me.

      BTW, wow Manu! Great write up. Thanks a lot!

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    57. The trial by combat is one of the most underrated fights in the whole series, and I honestly think it’s only surpassed by Mountain vs Viper due to the stakes not being as high.

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    58. Also, this episode was a showcase for naked booties. Brienne, Jaime, Oliver, Jon, Ygritte, am I missing any?

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    59. I feel like this particular season was horrible / satisfying for book readers in regards to Robb’s plot-line. The man had everything EVERYTHING to win not just the war but the seven kingdoms but it was as if he purposely went the opposite way. I sometimes forget that he was a child seeing the world for the first time. Kudos to all the actors and production team involved that kept you rooting on even if you already heard the rains of castamere in your head.

      Also, Maisie Williams is such a great actor. I agree with a fellow reviewer that said her more calm talkative scene often take a backseat to her killing sprees. Maybe we’ll get more this season with her blind stage. (Fingers crossed for warging)

      PS. Gendry and his “You’d be my lady”.
      I can justify that the guy has been M.I.A for ages. That was a drop mic then and there.

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    60. This episode is definitely in my Top 10. If I ever actually ranked them properly, it would probably be in my Top 5. Just riveting from start to finish.

      – The fight between Beric and the Hound: I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. When it was over I wanted more. LOL. When Beric lights his sword on fire – so bad-ass. I also wished everyone would fight with a flaming sword. Maisie & Rory get lots of well-deserved praise for this episode, but Richard Dormer is just so good in making me care for Beric and understand this haunted shell of a man. I also love him a little more for the kind words he says about Ned.

      – Arya is so heartbreaking when she lets down her tough-girl facade and asks Thoros if he could bring back a man without a head and later when she tells Gendry she could be his family. Most of the time the only emotion she shows is anger, so it’s surprisingly sad to hear her voice these hopeful ideas of a young girl.

      – Gods, Robb with another epic blunder. Blinded by honor. Clearly he didn’t learn anything from his father’s death. I always want to yell at him, “you frickin’ idiot, listen to your advisers, you don’t have to kill Lord Karstark!”. The King Who Lost the North, indeed. “Kill me and be cursed. You are no king of mine”, perhaps my favorite and most memorable final words in the entire series.

      – I may hate Cersei and Tywin with a burning fire, but I can’t deny how excellent LH and CD are. That final scene is one of their best. “You’re my daughter!!” Even I sit back in fear a little when he yells. When Cersei pleads with Tywin to not make her ‘do this again’, as a woman, my heart goes out to her. That’s the only time I’ve ever felt an ounce of sympathy for Cersei. Tyrion really does come out the momentary winner in Tywin’s marriage sweepstakes.

      – Roose is the absolute best troll. Even though I was already feeling sympathetic towards Jaime, I couldn’t help but love how Roose toyed with this emotionally drained man to the point of bringing him to his knees. And the best part is his tone never changes.

      – No matter how many times I watch the bathtub scene, I always find myself transfixed by Jaime’s unburdening of his soul. NCW was an acting revelation for me in this episode. And the view of his ass and even a glimpse of his ‘stones’ was also a welcome surprise.

      – Shireen. Sigh. Her scenes are incredibly hard to watch. Such a sad lonely little girl. Confounding how she turned out to be so sweet & compassionate after being ‘raised’ by those sorry excuses for parents. Oh Davos, if only you had put her in the boat along with her cousin.

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    61. Pj,

      Why didn’t those words of Gendry’s soften Arya? Sure, having her own business to finish she might have still not wanted to stick around with the Bwb but the offer to be his lady should have given her some kind of feels, instead she stormed off.

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    62. Lord of Bones,

      This was nice to read 🙂 I like nice people. Ironically I also gave Jared a similar complement as you have on a thread yesterday recognizing his ability to articulate so well.

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    63. A Northerner never forgets,

      You’re right, that does get overlooked. And the older man wasn’t in the least apologetic. I understand why Robb felt he had to do it. He was wrapped up in his own ideals and didn’t have the experience/knowledge to look at the broader picture. Seeing as they’d already declared him King in the north, what Karstark did was treason, which in that world is of course punishable by death and the fact he did it anyway showed Robb that the man, and who knows how many besides him, didn’t truly respect or take the young wolf seriously. But he should have put it aside for the time being and focus on staying united for the common goal, not his own status. He could worry about that after the war is won. But as they say about hindsight…

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    64. ygritte,

      Gendry didn’t mean it in a good way, such as “the lady of my heart”. He meant that they wouldn’t be friends any longer and that Arya, as a highborn lady, would look down to him, he would be defined by his low born status even in her eyes. And the others would consider him, at best, Arya’s loyal servant.

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    65. Shy Lady Dragon,

      Really? That’s not how I took it at all. Although, it did seem odd due to the age difference but I just chalked that up to him humoring the girl and that perhaps when she come of age he thinks there could be something between them. So, he was basically blowing her off? Wow, that’s cold, especially when she’s in tears and said such a heartfelt thing to him.

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    66. This is the episode of that scene in the cave with Ygritte and Jon where she says “I don’t ever want to leave this cave, Jon Snow”. I find this a hell of a good dialogue, that conveys exactly where they both are as characters, and punctually gives an insight of what this relation meant for Jon. Very nice.

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    67. ygritte,

      I do hope that a relationship is possible between them in the future, even if it is GOT 🙂 and even if he is MIA. She certainly liked him and, I think, he wasn’t indifferent towards her either. Remember that she stared at him when he was shirtless while forging something? And he liked to tease her the way you tease someone you care about. But first their life was in danger, then he found out about her being highborn. Then she became a revenge obsessed assassin trainee! No place for falling in love in her heart any longer.
      But he is Robert’s bastard and I remember how Robert said to Ned: “I have a son, you have a daughter…” Wouldn’t it be great to be an unconscious foreshadowing?

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    68. Agro,

      I could sympathize with Ygritte’s sentiments there. It was a nice, cozy little place and her life isn’t one would be eager to get back to. Although “forever” is a very long time to be stuck in a cave, even with the pretty crow 🙂 But yeah, great moment there. How many other truly romantic scenes have there been? Just with those two I think, this one and them at the top of the wall.

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    69. Shy Lady Dragon,

      “….I remember how Robert said to Ned: “I have a son, you have a daughter…” Wouldn’t it be great to be an unconscious foreshadowing?”

      Yes. Good memory you have there! It would be great if some little things like that turn out to be foreshadowing. Their finding each other and ending up together would be one nod to the “sweet” in the bittersweet ending. Another one I’d like to see is the Hound comes back, a bit changed of course, and doing something he can take pride in for the rest of his days. And I guess it would be nice to see Brienne get some proper loving from some nice fellow so she doesn’t have to go to her grave never having once been made to feel beautiful. Jamie would do nicely 🙂

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    70. ygritte,

      It’s not good memory, I have seen the show for many times, too many to remember the right number! Unfortunately I have read the books only once and I should reread them.
      The Hound will come back. It is known. I don’t know about the other good stuff, I wish these to come true, but…

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    71. I’ll never accept the level of criticism Robb Stark receives.

      The guy was betrayed and stabbed in the back repeatedly by his allies, so much so it was like they were determined that he fail.

      Was it his mistakes that led to them losing the war, or was it due to the many betrayals? Let’s break them down, shall we?

      1. Theon’s betrayal. The Ironborn raiding the North surely dented morale, supply lines and scope for reinforcements. Yes, it’s easy to say that trusting Theon was a mistake. Robb was warned by Catelyn after all. But they grew up together and Theon had sworn fealty to him. He surely couldn’t have foreseen the extent of Theon’s betrayal.
      2. Catelyn releasing Jaime. If we’re going to say that Robb not listening to Catelyn about Theon was a mistake, then she sure as hell goes and ruins any credit she had by handing their biggest bargaining chip back to the enemy, further seeding discord in the ranks. What was Robb supposed to do about that?
      3. Edmure and the Stone Mill. If Edmure had done as he was told the war could have ended when Stannis besieged King’s Landing. Edmure threw away Robb’s tactical advantage – the fact that the Lannisters were fighting on two fronts – and ruined Robb’s best chance of ending the war. Once again, Robb was screwed over by one of his closest allies.
      4. Rickard Karstark – Regardless of what you think of Robb’s decision to execute Lord Karstark, he never should have been put in that position to begin with. Even if Robb had chosen not to execute him, Karstark had brought further discord into an already demoralised army. Is there any guarantee that they would have won had the Karstarks not deserted? No.
      5. Roose Bolton releasing Jaime Lannister again – the recapture of Jaime could have been a boon for the disheartened Northmen and handed Robb back his biggest bargaining chip. Instead Roose Bolton decided to save his own neck and betray his King. What was Robb supposed to have done about this?
      6. Walder Frey’s ultimate betrayal – If Walder Frey had followed through on his word and bolstered Robb’s forces, could they have taken Casterly Rock? Could they have still won the war? Who knows? But obviously the Freys’ betrayal is the death of the war effort and of the King in the North.

      Now, I know what you’re going to say. This final betrayal was all because Robb broke his word, right? Except, was it? Walder Frey ultimately broke his word too. What’s to say he would have kept his initial word to ally with Robb if he married his daughter?

      What’s to say he wouldn’t have murdered Robb if he went to the Twins under any other circumstance, such as to marry Lord Walder’s daughter?

      He didn’t kill Robb because of his sense of honour. He killed him because he was offered Riverrun. He killed him because Robb was losing the war and he didn’t want to be associated with the losing side.

      What’s the point in your daughter (the best one, at that, since Robb had his choice of them) marrying the King in the North if he was on course to defeat and losing his place as King anyway?

      Allying with Robb to take Casterly Rock would have meant the sure destruction of House Frey should they lose. Why not kill the King in return for the Lannisters / Crown’s generous gratitude instead? He saw an opportunity to gain from this war and took it.

      You see, Walder Frey’s murder of Robb was not reliant on Robb breaking his word. It quite likely would have happened anyway. So can this really be put down to Robb’s mistake?

      Regardless, betrayal after betrayal undermined Robb’s campaign. There was nothing he could do about most of them and in the other cases his only mistake was to trust people.

      Should he not have trusted anybody? Not the man he saw as a brother? Not one of his most experienced bannermen, Roose Bolton? Not his uncle, Edmure?

      No, it was others’ betrayal that screwed up the war effort more so than any mistakes Robb made.

      Even his biggest mistake, in breaking his word to Walder Frey, could be seen to have only hastened the inevitable.

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    72. Great recap. You know what would be cool? I’d love for WotW to pair up with the girls from “Close the Door and Come Here” Podcast and get one of them (or all of them?) to write an essay on how that bathtub scene made them feel. I listen to two GoT podcasts every week, theirs and of course, our own Game of Owns. If you’re not familiar with Close the Door and Come Here, those girls are pretty big Jamie-Brienne shippers, and every time they bring up the bathtub scene they get all dreamy. It would be a good community partnership and a nice comedic analysis.

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