Last week’s “Game of Thrones” was a masterpiece. The action-packed hour delivered a piece of television the likes of which you don’t find anywhere else. This week, “Kissed By Fire” delivers a different kind of perfection. Continuing the momentum of last week’s epic showcase, we’re treated to a quiet, brooding episode that will leave its mark through raw emotion and brilliant performances.
The Brotherhood Without Banners prepares to give the Hound his trial by combat. He and Ser Beric duel while the others watch. In the end, the Hound slays Beric and is set to be released. Arya is furious and attempts to kill the Hound, but is stopped. It is then revealed that Beric has been resurrected, a feat he has performed six times now with the help of the priest, Thoros. After this, Arya’s friend, Gendry, decides to stay with the Brotherhood, while Arya will be taken to Riverrun to her brother and mother. Maisie Williams is brilliant this week, and Arya is quickly becoming a favourite of mine (and I’m sure everyone else).
“Every time I come back, I’m a bit less. Pieces of you get chipped away.”
North of the Wall, Jon Snow travels with the Wildlings toward the Wall. When asked how many men are defending Castle Black, he answers “a thousand”. Tormund warns that he’ll kill Jon Snow if he’s lying. Later, the woman, Ygritte leads Jon into a cave and the two have sex, breaking Jon’s sacred vows. I’ve not been a fan of Jon Snow’s portrayal on this show, but it’s nice to see him cut loose a bit finally and not whine so much.
Across the Narrow Sea, Jorah and Barristan discuss old battles and current intentions. Jorah seems distrusting of the old soldier’s motives for joining Dany’s cause.
Meanwhile, Dany meets withe the officers of her Unsullied army, and greets the man they chose for their leader. Upon hearing the man call himself Grey Worm, she offers them the chance to choose their own names. Grey Worm decides to keep his, as it is the name he had when she freed him. Each week, we’re seeing more and more how Dany has grown into a powerful leader, loved by her followers.
“I’m going to take their home away from them.”
In Riverrun, Lord Karstark and his men murder two captive Lannister boys. King Robb, decides, against the advice of his wife, mother, and Generals, to execute Karstark for his crime. This drives away the other Karstak forces and leaves the Northern army weakened. Robb has a plan, however, to forge a new alliance with Walder Frey, the man whose daughter he was supposed to marry. Knowing how insane Frey is about his children, it’ll be interesting to see how this unfolds.
In Kings Landing, Cersei continues her crusade against the Tyrells enlisting the help of Littlefinger. Meanwhile, Sansa and Margaery discuss marrying her to Loras to get her out of the capital. The scheming continues as one of Littlefinger’s spies beds Loras and discovers the plot. Later, Tyrion and Cersei meet with Tywin to discuss these issues. Tywin decides to wed Sansa to Tyrion to secure the North, and Cersei to Loras to secure the Reach. The Lannister children are less than pleased.
“My children; you’ve disgraced the Lannister name for far too long.”
In Dragonstone, we’re finally introduced to Stannis Baratheon’s family. His wife, locked away in a tower, discusses her unconditional love (and worship) for her husband, and allows him to see their daughter. The girl is disfigured, and this seems to be a trend with his wife’s offspring (his sons all seemingly stillborn). Later, the girl visits Davos in his dungeon and attempts to teach him to read.
The episode’s high point is the fantastic scene between Jaime and Brienne. After being delivered to Lord Bolton, the pair are cleaned up and locked away. In the bath, Jaime tells Brienne how he became the Kingslayer. During Robert’s Rebellion, the Lannister forces came to the capital under the pretense of aiding the Mad King. Jaime warned the old man against letting them in, but wasn’t heard. When the Lannisters sacked the city, the Mad King attempted to burn the city and its people with caches of wildfire. Jaime killed him to stop this from happening. This final reveal of Jaime’s character really gives a new look into him and all his past actions. It may not fully redeem him, but it certainly transforms how we view the Kingslayer.
“Burn them all… burn them all…”
This week’s episode is just a joy to watch. Aside from the early fiery duel, there’s very little action. The show’s strength is drawn from its great dialogue and awesome character development. We get brand new perspectives on numerous characters, with Jaime’s story punctuating the episode’s best scene. The interaction between Stannis and his family is also heartbreaking. The epiode’s focus seems to be family as the Stark’s, the Lannisters, and the Baratheons are all given ample screen time dedicated to issues of love and loyalty. It’s also completely devoid of Joffrey and his stupid ass, and that is just terrific.
“Game of Thrones” continues to astound me week after week. “Kissed By Fire” is another hour of perfection from Westeros and filled with intriguing story twists and character growth. The season is shaping up to be the best yet, and that is saying a lot after the powerhouse that was season 2. The intricate scheming of all the real power-players is beginning to intertwine the various side plots and a solid destination is finally beginning to form. This story is far from over, but it’s moving along nicely. Westeros is still in chaos, and the future holds nothing but death, flames, and more death. Aren’t you glad that we finally know it for sure though?