All aboard the Hype Train! In preparation of Season 8 of Game of Thrones, Kelly is doing a rewatch for the greater good to refresh our memories, catch the things we might have forgotten, pick up the things we might have missed, and maybe make predictions! Hold onto your fur rugs from Ikea and AWAY WE GO.
Rules of this series: We’re deep diving into these episodes and I’m watching them on a per-episode base because I like digesting the episodes. Spoilers lie ahead. As much as I can, I am going to try and keep things episode/season specific. It’s out of respect to the narrative as well as the later seasons. Onwards!
3.5 Kissed by Fire
“Kissed by fire” is a phrase used by the Free Folk to describe redheads, who are considered lucky North of the Wall. AKA Ygritte, who then kisses Jon, and he is literally… kissed by fire. Daw. This is an incredible episode- lots of great dialogue and every road trip pairing gets to a new level of friendship. Also, Riverrun’s been added back to the credits after missing out on the last episode! Astapor has also been replaced by Yunkai, the second slave city that Dany is in before she gets stuck in Meereen.
In the Brotherhood cave, Thoros mumbles a bit of prayer in honor of the Lord of Light before Beric lights it the fuck up. Literally. He slices his hand open and sets his sword ON FIRE in his own blood. The choreography in this show has gotten significantly better- not sure if it’s the fire and the lighting or illumination, but Beric moves pretty gracefully and both characters have a style that matches their character. I wouldn’t say it’s as fast or as brutal as other fights, but it’s definitely one of the more impressive fights in the first few seasons.
Anyway, the Hound is rightfully terrified of the flaming sword and slices Beric in half. Arya attempts to stab the Hound anyway but Beric is brough back to life by Thoros and drops a Syrio-inspired “Not today.”
I’m, like, 99% sure that Syrio was a follower of the Red God and that the Red God and Many Faced God of Braavos are one and the same or at least somewhat related and they spend the Westerosi-equivalent of Christmas together.
With the Free Folk, Jon feeds Orell and Tormund just enough truth to make his lies sound real, explaining which parts of the Wall are manned and that there are 1,000 men (cough-lies) at Castle Black. Some good acting here by Kit, indicating his unease but then Jon remembering his duties and what he has to do. Ygritte has spent a ton of time defending Jon and demands that he somehow pay her back, leading him to a cave and thus the #cavesex was born. They should really just title this episode “Caves Galore!”
This is absolutely my Scene of the Episode. There are times that I really dislike nudity and sex on a show and this is actually one of the reasons why I was resistant to the show at first- there is a ton of unnecessary nudity, particularly with females, that I think just exploit women. And not all of it is necessary. Most of the Littlefinger brothel scenes are entirely gratuitous. This scene was one that was injected with enough dialogue and movement between Jon and Ygritte that it felt absolutely crucial to Jon’s character as well as their relationship. Ygritte advances her feelings and uses it as an opportunity to challenge Jon’s loyalty, saying that if he’s really left the Night’s Watch, he’ll have no issue sleeping with her; meanwhile, we can see Jon’s first experience with a woman really affecting him. He’s constantly reminding himself of what his true goal is and he’s rightfully afraid to fall in love with Ygritte while at the same time- he can’t help but do exactly that as she’s the first person who he lets his guard down with. This is Jon completely unhindered by thoughts of duty or his name or his expectations- maybe the only time we ever see him really, truly happy. It’s another high point of their relationship and everything in this scene is executed so perfectly, as Ygritte tells him she never wants to leave the cave- excuse me. I’m crying.
Something else happens with Beric and the Hound, but whatever because I’m still thinking of how perfect Jon and Ygritte are together.
We are back at Harrenhal, where Locke hands over Brienne and Jaime to Roose Bolton, who is occupying the castle in Robb’s leave. Roose is displeased that Locke mutilated Jaime, which loses them a bit of leverage and any future favor with Tywin and he immediately sets about treating his hostages a tiny bit better. Anyway, Jaime asks about how King’s Landing is doing and Roose Trollton is born as he implies that Cersei might have been raped during the Battle of Blackwater before dropping that the Lannisters won and everything is dandy.
Remember that one alive guy that Talisa found? And how it was Qyburn? He repairs what he can of Jaime’s stump and says he was kicked out of the Citadel for being too experimental. He then proceeds to trim out some of Jaime’s arm as to save the rest and… ew. Whatever high I was just on from the Ygritte/Robb and then Roose Trollton has diminished.
In King’s Landing, Cersei opens up her distrust of Margaery to none other than Petyr Baelish and tell him to spy for her. It turns out Petyr’s been hiding his Arya information from Cersei so they apparently are not on the same page as she thinks.
Tyrion and Olenna are hanging out because the Royal Wedding, as royal weddings do, is costing the Crown quite a bit of money. Olenna says she has no intention to stop spending and that the Tyrells have contributed a ton of soldiers and supplies and will gladly foot half the bill of the wedding to make it an event to remember. She’s so much fun. Just gets shit done.
Down by the Waterfall, Gendry tells Arya that he plans to follow them when they drop her off with the Starks and she begs her big brother figure not to go saying they could be family, but he gently reminds her of their class differences before she runs off.
In Camp Stark, Tommen 2.0 is still playing a Lannister cousin and he and his compadre are killed by Lord Karstark as revenge for Jaime strangling his son. Karstark is still pointing fingers at Cat for letting Jaime go and ultimately causing the turn in the War of the Five Kings, and then proceeds to insult Robb further, saying that Robb is an incompetent ruler and doesn’t know any loyalty before spitting down a sarcastic “King in the North.” Robb has his hands tied and in order to show firmness, sentences Karstark and the men who helped him to death; both Cat and Talisa plead with Robb to show a bit of mercy as they still need the loyalty of the Karstarks and their men to fight in the war. (Oh, NOW Talisa cares about the loyalty of the North? Cool. Got it.)
This talk goes nowhere and Robb beheads Lord Karstark, showing more honor and respect to the Lannisters and his enemies than to his own men. It’s a good scene, but a weird one as Theon’s Iron Islands theme plays in the background. Perhaps this scene is supposed to mirror the execution of Cassel? It just doesn’t really make sense.
At the Brotherhood Cave, Arya is still miffed that the Hound got away but gets to interrogate Beric about how he has been brought back from death. He’s been brought back a total of six times, having been killed by the Mountain, stabbed in the belly, hanging by Lannisters, etc.- I don’t think they mentioned this on the show, but I know in the books Beric is somewhat of a ghost legend as multiple witnesses have seen him die but then he appears everywhere else. He reveals that every time he is brought back, he feels a little less, but Arya’s lost in the conversation and asks if it was possible to bring back a man without a head- and the answer is no. It’s almost as if she knows that Ned’s death was the cause for 90% of what’s going on and perhaps if he never died, she and the others wouldn’t be in their predicaments.
As if we need more Lord of Light shenanigans, Stannis’ wife Selyse is praying for her husband’s return and wouldn’t you know- Stannis is at the door so the Lord of Light must be real. Selyse immediately comes off as a fanatic, insisting that everything Stannis is doing- including having an affair and killing his own brother- is in the name of the god and as the god commands, and therefore anything he does is not a sin and she also keeps her unborn baby fetuses in jars and- just… get this away. Stannis isn’t really there to see Selyse, but to see his daughter Shireen who his wife has more or less disowned due to both her being a girl and the grayscale she has. Stannis isn’t paternal by any means, but he is slightly affectionate with Shireen, even allowing a smile and sitting down to speak with her face to face. Shireen immediately asks after Davos, which makes Stannis uneasy but Shireen, the show’s purest character without any ounce of bad, trusts Davos to no end and this really kills Stannis. These few minutes of interaction with Shireen might have convinced Stannis, or at least played a part in convincing him, to keep Davos around.
Back in Harrenhal and much to Brienne’s chagrin, Jaime joins her in a bath and Brienne immediately covers up and cowers in the corner. Jaime is exhausted from losing his hand and acknowledges that Brienne is capable of real loyalty, stating that he does trust her to hold her word in getting him back to King’s Landing. Jaime unexpectedly opens up to Brienne about the Mad King, who enjoyed burning people and how half the country was ready to rebel. As a member of the Kingsguard, Jaime saw firsthand how Aerys grew more paranoid every day during Robert’s Rebellion, commanding that wildfire be made. Jaime was actually so loyal in his position that he told Aerys not to trust Tywin, who promised to defend him in the Rebellion, knowing Tywin would sack the city and that Aerys would resort to devastating means, using the wildfire to destroy the city in order to hold onto the crown. Instead of doing as the Mad King commanded, Jaime chose to save the thousands of people in King’s Landing- effectively breaking his oath.
Over in Dragonstone, Shireen has snuck out of bed to bring Davos a book- but Davos can’t read and Shireen immediately offers to teach him. There’s a fatherly look that comes over Davos’ face as he gazes at Shireen and it’s a beautiful little moment as he sits, rotting away in his dungeon.
Somewhere across the Shining Sea, Barristan and Jorah are catching up on old times, still in awe of Thoros’ flaming sword. As Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, Barristan has seen kings come and go- mediocre ones and straight up terrible ones, and he lumps in Robert with that latter category. Meanwhile, Dany has the Unsullied elect a captain- and it’s Grey Worm! Cool. I think one of my issues with Dany as a character is her lack of dimension when delivering these lines in Valyrian- they don’t allow for much diversity and she’s more or less stuck in that aggressive, demanding tone for a lot of it. It probably doesn’t help that her costars don’t have much to work with early on in their appearances. Anyway.
Jorah’s still trying to feel out exactly how close Barristan was to Robert and if he knows that Jorah was Robert’s source of information on Dany but Barristan says that since he killed some of Robert’s friends in the rebellion, he wasn’t invited to the Small Council, meaning he has absolutely no knowledge of anything.
In Camp Stark, it turns out that half the Northern forces have left as a response to Robb executing Lord Karstark. (I actually forgot this happened. Baby Man Karstark joining Ramsay in Season 6 now makes more sense to me but that’s 3 years removed and the impact gets lost.) This leaves Robb in a truly desperate position, as he needs more men. As he can’t march on the Lannister army with the amount of men he has and can’t turn home, as his men will not want to leave again once they get there, he decides to hit up Casterly Rock as he still wants to hurt the Lannisters but less violently. On the way, he plans to recruit Walder Frey’s men, who he just slighted by not marrying his daughter- just how is this a good decision?
I’d also like to point out that Talisa admits she doesn’t even know where Winterfell is and girl- you’ve been in Westeros for how long now? You’ve been in Camp Stark for how long and you didn’t bother to study a map of the “kingdom” you would help run? This makes me mad. “But Kelly, they married for true love!” you proclaim; but why is Robb loyal to his duty/role in every other form- like taking his mother prisoner and executing Lord Karstark for mistreating prisoners? True Love Robb would have abdicated if this were the case. It could be that Robb really is this selfish, but I find that hard to even consider knowing his upbringing.
Sansa and Margaery are watching Loras train and a pretty looking squire immediately runs over to serve Loras a cup of wine and- well, let’s just say it looks like Loras is over Renly now. And YUP- this guy is a Littlefinger plant. Loras lets it drop that he’s planned to marry Sansa very quietly and Littlefinger immediately heads over to Sansa to see if this has affected her judgement at all- and it HAS. It’s a scene of YUPs. Littlefinger immediately reads through Sansa’s hesitance as her desire to marry Loras and you know he’s immediately going to feed this information to Cersei so that she and effectively HE keeps Sansa in line.
In the Tower of the Hand, Tyrion, Cersei, and Tywin chat about the Tyrells. Tywin openly refers to Sansa as “The Key to the North” and dismisses any notion of Robb being a presence- which makes me think that the letters he was previously seen writing were to Walder Frey and Roose Bolton, planning the Red Wedding. He also seems to have quite a bit of insider knowledge on the status of Robb’s army. Tywin, you golden, golden lion. Tywin’s okay with the Tyrells being in King’s Landing- and only King’s Landing; he doesn’t want their hands near any other part of the monarchy. Tywin’s solution is to marry Sansa off to Tyrion, making him the Warden in the North with a legitimate heir to the North. Cersei is reveling in Tyrion’s misery until Tywin drops that she is also to be married to Loras to tie up the other loose end. Cersei begs not to be married off again, but Tywin isn’t having any of it.
Tywin also drops that this will “end the disgusting rumors” about Cersei- oh, so he HAS heard about the incest. He just refuses to believe it. Interesting. Anyway, the episode ends with a Tywin mic drop and him getting his way. Total power moves. MVP this episode.
Up next: 3.6 The Climb!