When last we left Game of Thrones, everything was set on fire, both literally and figuratively. Now that we’ve had a chance to watch “Kissed By Fire”, let’s discuss what went down.
Side note: HBO has cut off critics’ screeners for the remainder of the season. This means two things: 1) This recap will be a little later and a little more off the cuff; 2) There’s probably a whole lot of craziness about to go down that they’re scared of spoilers getting out. Prepare yourselves.
WINNER: Flaming swords
Our mysterious one-eyed man leader of the Brotherhood without Banners from last episode, Beric Dondarrion, kicks off the second third of the season with a big fight for justice against the hound. Even better, he wields a flaming sword. Seems kind of less than sporting that Dondarrion gets a flaming sword while the Hound is still half-drunk from when they brought him into captivity.
Arya Stark loses her mind when the Hound seemingly offs Dondarrion with a devastating swipe with the sword, attempting to stab the Hound herself. But Dondarrion is still alive, assuring Arya that the Hound will burn in hell…just not today. Doesn’t someone have to die in these trial by battles for them to conclude? This is a pro wrestling-esque bait and switch.
WINNER: Cunnilingus on a Wildling
Jon Snow and Ygritte get into a confrontation with one of the alpha males of the Wildling pack when he doubts that Snow has truly foresaken the Night’s Watch. Unidentified Wildling makes a remark that Ygritte wants him inside her which somehow leads to her running into a cave and making Jon Snow prove he gives up his vows — celibacy in particular. Ygritte is surprisingly well maintained underneath her burlap sack…the Ygritte naked experience is worth a gander.
She’s also shocked by Jon Snow’s oral sex proficiency — “I just wanted to kiss you there,” he eloquently explains. The actress who plays Ygritte is fairly attractive but I can think of about 738 places I’d rather put my tongue than the anywhere near the ladybits of a woman who’s been wandering the frigid cold beyond the wall for the entire 19 years she’s been alive.
LOSER: The Jaime Lannister and Brienne road show
Jaime and Brienne are brought to Lord Roose Bolton’s stead. Bolton tells Jaime gives updates about the situation, specifically that his sister is still alive. A doctor then has to treat the infection in the area where Jaime’s hand once was. Shockingly, that hasty amputation by the Bolton bannermen was not the most hygienic medical experience to ever occur in Westeros.
WINNER: The Royal Wedding’s budget
As Kate Middleton and Prince William showed, the world loves a good wedding. Lady Olenna Tyrell is no exception. When Tyrion attempts to explain that the crown can’t afford the garish event that she may expect, Lady Olenna lays down the law and says that the people need a wedding. They know war is expensive given that they’ve bankrolled tons to keep the crown afloat.
But Tyrion is steadfast so Lady Olenna agrees the Tyrells will split the cost of the wedding. These Tyrells, so giving.
LOSER: The Goonies of Westeros
Gendry, the Baratheon bastard who joined Arya and Hot Pie in their quest for freedom, decides that he’d be better off joining the Brotherhood without Banners than serve anyone else given everyone else he’s served before, including Arya’s brother Robb. Gendry’s never had family. But Arya tearily counters by saying she’ll be his family. But Gendry says she wouldn’t be his family if he went with her; in Robb’s army, she’d be his lady.
Meanwhile, Hot Pie presumably made a delicious peach cobbler for the Brotherhood without Banners off-camera.
LOSER: Those other Lannisters
Remember how Robb’s wife Jeyne treated those Lannister boys who thought Robb Stark was a werewolf? Yeah, those boys got stabbed in the heart today. Lord Karstark, the Gandalf-looking guy in Team Robb, orders the boys dead as a sign of war. Robb is disgusted by his actions and, after Karstark mouths off, sentences him to death.
Robb chops Karstark’s head off himself as Karstark swears that Robb Stark is no king of his. Robb takes no joy in it. Heavy is the head that wears the crown that doesn’t ever actually seem to be worn.
WINNER: Stannis Baratheon getting some screen time
Remember how in season two Stannis Baratheon was so important to the plot? So far, he’s had about two minutes of screen time, during all of which he looks like a bitch. Stannis takes some time to see his wife who has clearly gone mad. What’s the telltale sign? Probably the fact that she has three jars with her stillborn sons inside and seems fairly non-plussed by her husband’s relationship with fire priestess Melisandre.
Stannis was just popping in to say hi for no reason, I guess, since he declares he’s going to see his daughter — to which the wife says he shouldn’t worry himself. Stannis’s daughter has half her face burned for some reason and she’s super upbeat despite being locked away in a tower. She talks to Stannis about how Sir Davos said he’d bring something back to her from the capital. Stannis, ever the buzzkill, informs her that Sir Davos is a traitor and is now locked in a dungeon. Way to go, Stannis. You spend one minute with your daughter all year and make her super sad the whole time. I hope they don’t sell “#1 Dad” mugs as last minute Father’s Day gifts in Westeros.
Stannis’s daughter is so sweet though and goes to see Sir Davos in his cell. She hangs out with him and even gets in a good line, saying “What are they going to do? Put us in cells?” It’s kind of sad that Stannis’s daughter is more interesting than Stannis at this point.
WINNER: Jaime and Brienne’s butts
After Jaime’s emergency wrist-repair, he meets up with Brienne in a bath tub. His lack of modesty creeps out Brienne, up until his harsh words lead her to show off her goods, too. They both have excellent asses. I guess trekking across the country on a no-food diet will do that for you.
But it’s not all great asses and awkward non-sexual coed baths. Jaime tells Brienne the true story of what led him to kill King Aerys Targaryen. Targaryen went mad, wanted to kill everyone and have Jaime bring him his father Tywin’s head. Jaime says he couldn’t stomach it, his oath aside, and stabbed him in the back. Jaime then goes into shock in the bathtub, leaving Brienne to call for help.
WINNER: The Unsullied’s sunny dispositions
Daenerys has the Unsullied choose a leader amongst themselves and their choice is a guy named Grey Worm. Missandei explains that the men are given mildly humiliating names after they get neutered as part of their integration into that slave warrior life. Dany tells Grey Worm and the others that they should choose their own names moving forward, names that’ll bring them pride.
But Grey Worm says that his old named was cursed. He was turned into a slave with that name. But as Grey Worm, he was made a free man by Daenerys Stormborn, so the name now brings him pride. This guy is awfully optimistic for a dude who was a slave 48 hours ago and lost his nuts in the process.
WINNER: Robb Stark’s strategy
Robb Stark has an epiphany about what his next move should be in his army’s march against the Lannisters. He’s going to try to take Casterly Rock. But to do that, he’ll need more in his army. And the only army big enough that he might be able to get access to is from the man whom Robb promised to marry the daughter of…Walder Frey.
Shut up, book readers.
LOSER: Every man with an interest in Sansa
Margaery is attempting to spin Sansa into a marriage with her brother, Sir Loras. Sir Loras then spends five minutes having hot gay sex with some bro in the episode. Littlefinger is also ambiguously interested in freeing Sansa, but he’s such a creep that it just gives me the oogies. Tywin Lannister points out that, because of the situation with Robb, Sansa Stark is the real heir to Winterfell. Allowing her to marry a Tyrell would not be good strategy. So, to bridge the gap into the North, Tywin and Cersei are on board with marrying Sansa…to Tyrion.
But just when Cersei has a shit-eating grin on her face, Tywin says that she’ll also be getting married…to Loras Tyrell. Cersei doth protest and Tywin wants none of it. She’s still fertile and she needs to dispel the ugly “rumors” about her penchant for incest. Tywin leaves and reminds them that he’s disappointed with both of them. He and Stannis probably read the same books on fatherhood.
Tough to follow an episode like the last one with so much mayhem paired with transcendent moments like Dany freeing the Unsullied. But this one trucked along at a breakneck pace with more time spent with the various characters in non-consecutive scenes than has usually been the case in previous episodes this season.
Book readers — or people like me who’ve read the gist on Wikipedia — will see a ton of hints for what’s shaping up to happen fast in the second half of the season. I’m sure there’ll be some deviations along the way but, for now, it’s probably a bit of an anticlimax if you know what’s coming.
As tends to be the case with the bizarrely paced Game of Thrones episodes, there were still a fair amount of great moments. Jaime’s kingslayer background in particular was a beautifully acted scene and the Wildling/Jon Snow poking was beautiful in its own way.
Given the above, my rating for this episode: Three-and-a-half makeout sessions with a Wildling crotch out of five.