Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 5: "Kissed by Fire," provided a breather — well, relatively speaking — from the never-ending onslaught of violence and depression this season. Romance, character revelations, and even some true laugh-out-loud moments interwove into what may be our favorite episode of the season so far.
Relive the magic with our in-depth recap below.
Cave of Justice: Trial by Immortal
We start with the Brotherhood Without Banners, where Beric is busy testing the Hound's guilt in a trial by battle — and fire. Fire god, fire sword, fire pit ... fire immortality?
Yep. After one of Game of Thrones' signature brutal sword fights (now with added shields on fire), The Hound manages to stab Beric straight in the heart. Arya screams and tries to attack him herself, but wait! Thoros whispers some prayers and surprise! Beric is a-OK. Though sadly for Arya, the fight is still over. The Fire God has deemed The Hound not guilty — or at least not worthy of death just yet. Sounds pretty inaccurate to us, but Beric lets him go, because that's how this religion rolls. (Remind us again why Stannis thought it was a good idea to pledge himself to this god?)
As we learn later, this fight is far from the first time Thoros has brought Beric back from the dead. To be precise, it's the sixth (and the second against a Clegane — apparently Beric was felled by The Mountain, too). Beric admits that he's "a bit less" each time, because as anyone who has ever interacted with a fantasy story knows, bringing people back from the dead always comes with a price.
Meanwhile, though the Brotherhood seems pretty decent, at least compared to most of the people we've met on this show, they're still planning to sell Arya back to Robb for gold. To add salt to the wound, Gendry has joined the Brotherhood; he's part of their family now, and though Arya begs him to be her family instead, he's not swayed to leave. So now Arya has no friends to keep her company, just her list of people she wants to kill.
Beyond the Wall: Jon Snow Knows One Thing
On the hike to the Wall, Jon's master spy skills are put to a test when he's forced to betray important info on the Watch's meager strengths (remember, he's part of a scouting group for Mance's Wildling army, which plans to attack the Wall). He reports Castle Black has a 1,000 men protecting it.
His vows are instantly tested again when Ygritte leads him to a cave and strips bare, like the sexuality confident Wildling woman she is. Jon proceeds to give her awesome head and then presumably bang her, because hey, gotta keep up the act, right?
After Jon's devirginizing, the new lovers have share a romantic bath, where they stare into each others' eyes and gush about never wanting to leave the cave, like a pair of freshmen skipping class. Cute. One complaint: There is not nearly enough shirtless Jon in this sequence.The least the show could do is offer up some equal opportunity ogling.
Harrenhal: His Name Is Jaime
Jon and Ygriette aren't the only ones to get their male-female bathing on this week, but the second instance is less romance — and about ten(thousand) times more interesting.
Jaime is brought to Harrenhal, where Roose Bolton is currently in charge. Bolton once again proves himself to be a cold but surprisingly fair man. He immediately declares Brienne under his protection, and although he's a dick about it he even tells Jaime the truth about the situation in King's Landing — ie. Cersei is alive and well. Plus, he lets Jaime's infected stub be tended to, by an ex-Maester with questionable ethics but what seems to be decent medical methods, given the time period.
Okay. Now, the bath scene. Or, for those of us who have read the books and love Jaime (*cough* your recapper *cough*) THE Bath Scene. The scene where The Kingslayer is finally allowed to explain himself, and everything we thought we knew about how he earned that name is flipped on its head. It's one of the most memorable scenes in the book series, and the show did not disappoint, largely because of a phenomenal performance by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Vulnerability, anger, fear, bitterness — it's all there in what might just be the most memorable speech in a series rife with memorable speeches.
So. Jaime and Brienne share a bath because Jaime is Jaime and he don't give a fuck. He offers a truce, but Brienne points out you need trust to have a truce; the implication is that she doesn't trust him. No one trusts him. He's the Kingslayer. Oathbreaker. Lowest of the low. And he ain't taking it. Not from Brienne. Because he has a side of the story, too, and from where we're standing it's a fair one.
See, the Mad King was obsessed with Wildfire (remember that? Green magic fire of doom?). He loved to use it to burn people, because you know, Mad King. So mad that he had stashes of the stuff planted all over King's Landing, and as the war was coming to a desperate end, he was going to literally burn down the entire city. All of it. But not before ordering Jaime to kill his own father. Then, Jaime killed Aerys: not to please Tywin, or to suck up to Ned and Robert, and certainly not as a bid for power. He did it because what the hell else are you supposed to do in that situation?
Brienne, looking a bit shell shocked, wants to know why Jaime never told Ned this. "You think the honorable Ned Stark wanted to hear my side?" Jaime spits before going into a rant about the Wolf judging the Lion and then collapsing into Brienne's arm. "The Kingslayer!" she shouts. "My name's Jaime," he protests, just in case you missed the point.
If it's not clear we Love. This. Scene. That is all.
Riverrun: A Betrayal and a Plan
While Jaime recollects the defining decision of his life, Robb is busy making a few defining decisions of his own.
Lord Karstark and his men decide to take vengeance into their own hands by killing the young Lannister hostages we learnt about in Episode 3. Robb is furious, but Karstark doesn't give a damn. Cat let Jaime go, so they had to take out their anger on someone. Definitely a good justification for child murder. Then Karstark needles Robb about not being tough enough as a king, which backfires pretty spectacularly for him. Our Young Wolf proves exactly how kingly he is by killing everyone involved with the murders. Like his father taught him, he beheads Lord Karstark himself.
Daaaamn. The Young Wolf is all grown up.
But spoiler alert: The Karstark forces don't like this at all, and abandon Robb. No kidding. Robb has no idea what to do now that half his forces are gone. Talisa tells him that what he really needs is give his men a new focus, to keep them energized. He comes up with a plan: Attack Casterly Rock, to undermine the Lannisters by stealing their home. One problem: he needs more men, and apparently the only person with a ton of troops who isn't sworn to the Lannisters is Frey. You know, the guy whose daughter Robb was supposed to marry? So, we'll see how that goes.
Dragonstone: Parents of the Year
In Dragonstone, Stannis finally visits his cloying, Fire Lord-loving wife, who is just as devout about her religion as Melisandre, but way less hot. He tries to confess his infidelity, but she already knows; Mel broke the news a while ago, and apparently it made Stannis' wife weep... with joy. Then she shows off her collection of stillborn babies and rambles about how Mel gave Stannis a son. It's even more creepy than it sounds.
Stannis asks to see his daughter. His wife protests but relents, and we get to meet Shireen, an adorable little girl who's kept in a cell-like room, presumably because half her face is covered with a disfiguration. For someone with such a bad life, she seems pretty chipper, until her father coldly tells her that Davos, who she apparently really likes, is a traitor who's locked in the dungeons. Apparently the Baratheon’s are trying to compete with Tywin Lannister and Balon Greyjoy for the Worst Parents in Westeros award.
Shireen, undeterred, brings Davos a book, because she is great. When he confesses he can't read, she declares she'll teach him. "Why not?" she asks when he protests. "What will they do, lock us in cells?" And then they laugh because ha ha ha, the man they both look up to and love treats them terribly. Hilarity!
On the Road: The New Queen
As Dany and her new army march, uh, somewhere, Jorah and Barristan bond over battle stories and wanting to serve someone they believe in. But don't worry, they're as competitive as ever. And Jorah is still totally head-over-heels for Dany. So, not much change here.
Dany, meanwhile, has managed to get the Unsullied to pick a leader, because they are free and all that. They choose a hot young thang called Grey Worm. Dany doesn't like that derogatory slave name, but Grey Worm wants to keep it, because it's lucky. Why? It's the name he had when Daenerys Stormborn set him free. No lie, we choked up a bit.
King's Landing: A Marriage Made in Heaven
Ah, King's Landing. The city of plotting gets even better this week, after Cersei, having failed to convince Tywin to help her fight the Tyrells last week week, teams up with Littlefinger, since he's the next best thing. Sure, he agrees. Why not?
Sansa wants to know when she can get on with marrying Loras, who is busy flirting with — and way more than flirting with — his new squire. Who is, unfortunately, one of Littlefinger's spies. So now Littlefinger knows about the Tyrell's plans for Sansa. So, of course, he tries once again to tempt Sansa with leaving King's Landing; when she turns him down, he spills all to Cersei, or so we presume.
End result: Tywin is pissed, and is not about to let the Tyrells steal the key to the north from him. No, he's not going to openly defy them; after all, their plans for Sansa "is a plot, and plots are not public knowledge." He'll just do what you always do in political intrigue: counter their plot with a different one.
Which is? Oh, just to marry Sansa to Tyrion. Tyrion, to his credit, is appalled by the idea. Sansa's a child, and this is just cruel. Cersei is totally smug about the whole thing, until Tywin drops his second bomb: She's going to marry Loras and move to Highgarden, putting to rest the "rumors" about her (AKA, twincest). Cersei is horrified at the prospect of being forced into a marriage she doesn't want for a second time. Well, at least she can rest assured there won't be too much sex in this one.
Let's not forget the endlessly entertaining scene between Olenna and Tyrion, in which he manages to get her to agree that the Tyrells will pitch in half the cost of the terribly over the top Royal Wedding. Hey, give the man a job, even a bad one, and he'll do it. Even if his only reward is the awkwardest marriage in the history of awkward marriages.
The ex-Maester and Jaime: "There will be pain."/"I'll scream."/"Quite a bit of pain."/"I'll scream loudly." Love. Jaime.
Littlefinger on facts: "Myself, I often find them a hindrance."
Olenna line of the week: "What good is the word 'extravagant' if it can't be used to describe a royal wedding?"
Tyrion line of the week: "She's finally free of him, and now you give her to me? That's cruel."
What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments below!
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Rebecca Martin is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @BeccaDMartin.