[Warning: Spoilers ahead for Sunday's episode of Game of Thrones, "Kissed by Fire"]
Wedding plans and young love abound in this week’s Game of Thrones. But don’t worry—the HBO hit hasn’t gone soft on us.
Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) were delivered to the custody of Lord Bolton (Michael McElhatton) at Harrenhal. He showed Jaime a kindness by sharing the news that the Lannisters had prevailed in the Battle of Blackwater, and setting him up with medical attention from a disgraced maester.
We saw gruesome shots of Jaime’s stump, and the Kingslayer showed what a tough guy he is by refusing milk of the puppy for the horrible procedure that is to come.
The money shot (both in the traditional sense of the term and plot wise) came when Jaime and Brienne shared a bath, and the Kinglsayer revealed why he drove his sword through the Mad King. In a heart-wrenching monologue, he told of the Mad King’s obsession with wildfire, and how the monarch had stocked it all over the city.
When it became apparent he would lose King’s Landing, the king ordered Jaime to kill Tywin (Charles Dance) and told his pyromancer to ignite all the wildfire in the city.
“Burn them all—burn them in their homes, burn them in their beds,” the king said.
“Tell me, if your precious Renly commanded you to kill your own father and stand by while thousands of men, women and children burned alive, would you have done it?” He asked Brienne. “Would you have kept your oath?”
Jaime has lived with this shame for 17 years, when in fact he’d been a hero, preventing mass murder. We rate the scene as the finest Jaime moment so far in a season in which he has routinely stolen the show.
The Hound (Rory McCann) faced his trial by combat, with the Beric Dondarrion (David Michael Scott) lighting his sword on fire to play up to Sandor’s fears of flame. But Hound struck him down, killing him. One of Beric’s men whispered an incantation, asking the Lord of Light to bring him back to life.
“It looks like the God likes me more than your butcher’s boy,” the Hound said to Arya (Maisie Williams) a reference to her friend he murdered in season one.
“Burn in hell,” Arya screamed. Then – in a totally badass moment – a resurrected Beric rejoined: “He will, but not today.”
It seems the God of Light has powers beyond providing Melisandre with killer shadow babies. Even the Hound seemed shaken by the incident. We later learned this is the sixth restructuring for Beric, though he is diminished each time he comes back.
Beyond the Wall, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) proved he’s no longer a crow when Egret (Rose Leslie) convinced him to break his vow of chastity. Thrones has had rare moments of levity this season, first with Podrick’s (Daniel Portman) successful romp at the brothel, and now with this tender but playful scene.
Lord Karstark (John Stahl) led a gang of five to kill Robb’s (Richard Madden) young Lannister hostages. Robb dished out cruel justice, ordering four of the men hanged. When one protested that he was only the watcher and hadn’t done the killing, Robb replied “This one’s the watcher. Hang him last so he can watch the others die.”
Robb then killed Robb Karstark himself. Robb has felt the weight of his rule more and more this season, and his decision to execute Karstark by swinging the sword himself (as was his father’s way) is a biggie.
But as his wife and mother warned, the Karstarks promptly abandoned his cause. Is Robb, like his father, doomed to have honor be his downfall?
Some big news was saved for the final scene, with Tywin revealing his master plan to secure the Seven Kingdoms for his family. He ordered Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) to marry Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Cersei (Lena Headey) to wed Loras Tyrell (Finn Jones).
Teenage pouting ensued.
And now for some odds and ends…
Robb Gets His Groove BackAfter
After falling into a despair when abandoned by the Karstark’s, Robb found a course of action he’d be happy with: take Casterly Rock. One problem: his master plan involves enlisting the help of Lord Frey, whom he scorned by failing to marry his daughter. Hmm…we’ll see how this one works out.
Tyrells Are Politically Brilliant
The Queen of Thorns (Diana Rigg) proved once again she can dominate anyone at anytime. After schooling Tyrion on how much the Tyrells had given to King’s Landing for the war effort, she noted that a royal wedding was an essential expense. Showing a strong understanding of the hoi polloi, she noted people “crave distractions,” and must be provided with them or else they would create their own.
“And their distractions are likely to end with us being torn to pieces,” she said.
She went on to zing Tyrion, saying she’d heard he was a debauched drunkard.
“You can imagine my disappointment at finding nothing but a browbeaten bookkeeper.”
Stannis Gets a Pass on Cheating
Stannis (Stephen Dillane) visited his wife Selyse (Tara Fitzgerald) in her creepy chambers – which included her stillborn sons in jars – where she revealed she knew all about his dalliances with the Red Woman. She gave him her blessing, saying she was happy the sorceress had provided him with sons. We also got a look at his daughter, Shireen (Kerry Ingram) who has a facial deformity and his best friends with the onion night.