Game of Thrones "Kissed By Fire" Review: Sewing Your Oaths

Game of Thrones S03E05: "Kissed By Fire"

I hope you like talking, Thronies, because the fifth episode of Game of Thrones' third season was heavier on wagging tongues (not that kind, Jon Snow) than it was on the fire-spewing dragons and Night's Watch riots that characterized last week's action-stuffed installment. But you know what? You can take the week off, action, because "Kissed By Fire" was incredible in its own right, full of strong tests of loyalty AND hot-tubbing. 

But what made "Kissed By Fire" work so well was the way it felt so different from other episodes of Game of Thrones. It wasn't a collection of scenes from around Westeros as the others have been, telling bits and pieces of individual stories with little concern for what's happening elsewhere. This felt like an episode of television written specifically with bigger themes in mind. Loyalty and oaths were at the forefront, which made for some striking character developments. We learned a lot more more about Robb, Jon, Barristan, and Jaime in this episode than we ever have, and it all came down to what makes these men who they are through acts of defiance, temptation, nobility, and morality. 

There were no huge battles or giants or dragons, and it's okay if you missed them and felt let down. But also realize that there was some crafty writing going on that reminded us of what Game of Thrones does best: build characters. Okay, the dragons are pretty cool, too. But characters, people! Now strip naked, jump in your bathtub, and let's discuss "Kissed By Fire."


"The judgment isn't ours to make." —Beric Dondarrion

For a religion that's spreading across Westeros like wildfire, we'd seen very little evidence that this so-called Lord of Light could do so much as light up a lantern. Yes, Melisandre once squeezed out a Smoke Baby that smoke-killed Renly, but was that The Lord of Light or just a crazy new-age guru working some black magic? 

Despite being fairly tame when compared to the last two episodes, "Kissed By Fire" started off swords-a-clanging, with one of the series' most memorable sword fights. This was The Hound's trial by combat, where innocence is proved by not dying, and the judge was Beric Dondarrion's wicked awesome flaming sword. The Hound made his case for his innocence quite convincingly by digging his blade a foot or so into Beric's chest through his shoulder, a marvelous cut and quite possibly the best court argument I've seen on television. Why can't all lawyer shows be like this? Why can't The Good Wife's Alicia Florrick unsheathe a machete and start flailing away at the prosecutor or the plaintiff? Who wouldn't want to see Ally McBeal soaked in blood, another win under her belt and that Dancing Baby macarena-ing in Ally's defeated (and guilty!) foe's muck? And then Community can spoof it. Just a thought. 

But might I remind you that it wasn't Beric Dondarrion on trial here! And when Arya screamed at The Hound to "burn in Hell," it was Beric–umm, the guy who just DIED–who replied, "He will, but not today." It's one damned important moment for Lord of Lighters everywhere. This is the miracle witnessed that might just turn you into a believer, and it's another case of Game of Thrones wisely choosing its moments for magic, or whatever voodoo brought Beric back to life, for maximum impact. This is the equivalent of seeing Tom Cruise walk on water for those who question Scientology. The Lord of Light and its powers are very real, and though The Brotherhood Without Banners are using it only to clean up the countryside, should any real threat to the Iron Throne learn how to harness it, he or she would be someone to reckon with. Stannis isn't looking so wimpy anymore, is he? 

One person who didn't share my love for gladiatorial lawyers (Glawdiayers?) was Arya, who almost took justice into her own hands before a Bailiff Without Banners caught her. Arya's still full of revenge, and seeing The Hound let off only reminded her how cruel this world has been to her. She's lost her way and is losing people fast. Last week it was Hot Pie, this week it looked like it was Gendry, who is finding comfort in chilling with his new bros without feeling like he's property to be bought and sold. There was a bittersweet heart-to-heart between Gendry and Arya, in which Arya offered to be Gendry's family because he's never had one. Even if they made it back North, the fact of the matter is Gendry is a commoner (ignore the fact that he's Robert's bastard) and Arya is a princess, and the best Gendry could hope for is a few nods of the head as they passed each other in the halls. It's the sad truth, and Arya took Gendry's blunt "You wouldn't be my family, you'd be m'lady" pretty rough and downward spiraled into longing for her dad. Someone give Arya a hug, please. 


"For the night is dark and full of terrors..." —Selyse Baratheon

Need more proof that the Lord of Light isn't just a passing fad? Even Stannis's wife Selyse prays to fire, and she's totally okay with Stannis getting his with Melisandre because Melisandre is a Red Priestess and she gave him a son (or so Selyse thinks). Of course those who follow the Lord of Light aren't necessarily the most sane bunch. Selyse keeps dead babies in jars, for crying out loud. Can we all agree that this woman is loony? Selyse was able to give Stannis a lovely little daughter in Shireen, however. And Shireen's insistence on teaching Davos how to read was adorable. Game of Thrones can be a grim journey, but this was one of those rare moments where it proved life in Westeros has its moments. Other than that, I'm not sure what to take away from the Stannis-Davos scenes other than maintaining the series' minimum quota for introducing at least two new characters per episode. I don't think I'm shocking the world when I say Stannis and Davos are a little light in the story department this season, and though the rest of the episode fit together nicely, these scenes dangled off to the side. 


"Why are you still dressed? You know nothing, Jon Sno-OH!" —Ygritte

Well, apparently Jon Snow knows SOMETHING, Ygritte. What he doesn't seem to know is which game he's playing. He's so deep undercover that he's forgotten whether he's Jon Snow the crow, a loyal member of the Night's Watch, or Jon Snow the wildling lover and spelunker. He fed the wildling warg Orell and the awesomely bearded Tormund Giantsbane some misinformation (at least I think it's misinformation) about the Night's Watch, claiming that there were a thousand men at Castle Black and giving up the details on the other manned posts. That probably wasn't a good idea, as the wildlings will eventually figure out his lie, so I can only assume that he has an exit strategy before they reach the Wall. 

But while that was an important detail, what we're all here to talk about is the bow-chicka-wow-wow between Jon and Ygritte. While Tormund and Warg doubted Jon's loyalty to the wildlings (and they should), Ygritte believed him and defended him. But juuuuuuuust to be sure, she asked him to prove it via some naked oath-breaking. This is a big deal! The sworn oath to the Night's Watch is as important to the club as putting a sword through a wildling's heart, and Jon broke it in stellar fashion. I'm not saying Jon is switching sides on us, but he's wobbling a little, isn't he? Perhaps a little confused? I have to tell myself this because I can't believe he'd break the oath just because he's an undersexed male in his prime with a hot redhead ready to give herself to him in an awesome snow cave with a jacuzzi. Okay, on second thought, maybe I get it. 


"Leave me to the king, he wants to give me a scolding before he sets me free, that's how he deals with treason. Ah, the King in the North. Or should I call him the King who lost the North?" —Rickard Karstark

Yikes. Just an all around BAD DAY for Robb Stark and the shit he has to put up with as would-be king. The Karstark powder keg blew up in Robb's face when Lord Rickard took justice into his own hands and slaughtered the Lannister child prisoners as payback for his own sons dying at the hands of Jaime Lannister a season ago. That gave Robb two choices: Spare Karstark and call it an eye for an eye but risk having his power undermined and his sense of honor tarnished, or kill the loose cannon because murder shouldn't be tolerated, the costly side effect being the loss of Karstark's army. If you ask me, Robb has been tested several times and has always done the right thing, but this was the biggest test of all. Robb chose duty and honor, like his dear old dad would, making the extremely difficult decision to behead Karstark even in the face of those closest to him imploring him to do otherwise. #RobbStrong! I'd vote for this guy again.

The problem, of course, is that Robb now has an entirely new matter to deal with: severely diminished troops. With the Karstark host packing their bags (and who can blame them? Robb just killed their lord who brought them justice...) Robb's army was halved, which—as I can tell you because I'm an experienced combat general—isn't good for combat. But sensing those left behind might need some inspiration, Robb decided that he needs to hit back at the Lannisters hard by leveling Casterly Rock, their HQ. And in order to do that, he needs men, so he made the call to turn to the one man who isn't committed to either Lions or Wolves, Walder Frey. You'll remember Frey as the creepy old man who has more kids than Shawn Kemp (pro basketball humor!), and the father of the girl Robb had agreed to marry in exchange for an alliance and safe passage through The Twins. Except Robb didn't marry that girl, he married Talisa. And Catelyn told Robb that Walder Frey isn't a man to be crossed. I'm sure this will go over swell and many happy endings will be had.


"It doesn't matter what we want, once we get it, then we want something else." —Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish

Our soap opera needs were met beyond our expectations in King's Landing this week, as plot met counter-plot met counter-counter-plot. And it seems like I say this every week, but behind it all was Westeros's weaselly mastermind Littlefinger. At Cersei's request, Littlefinger got the scoop on Varys's and the Tyrells' plan to marry Loras to Sansa, thus giving the Tyrells an inside track on the North. That info went back to Cersei, who told her dad, who came up with his own plan to take advantage of Sansa's lineage: He's going to have Tyrion marry Sansa! Soap opera shocker! And so, so good!

But here's where it got even more devious. Littlefinger, knowing Sansa thought she was going to marry Loras, paid a visit to the Stark heiress (ignore the whole Bran and Rickon are still alive thing for a bit) to gauge her temperature on taking his offer to leave with him. Sansa's change of heart to stay confirmed to him that she was content to marry Loras, so he spent the rest of their conversation essentially reminding her that the offer was still on the table and blatantly lying through that tiny mouth of his with, "I hope you know that I am your friend, Sansa. Your true friend." Ugh! I nearly threw up in my mouth listening to him warp her little mind. But you have to respect Littlefinger's ability to anticipate things for his own benefit. While I can't prove that Littlefinger knew that Tywin would take the Loras information and turn it into a Sansa-Tyrion wedding, I think he knew that would be Tywin's move. Anything to keep the Tyrells from marrying Sansa and gaining power in the North, and Littfinger knew Tyrion was Tywin's only option to keep Sansa close. Knowing that Sansa, a regular reader of Westeros TeenBeat Magazine, wouldn't be jazzed about marrying an older, scarred little person, Littlefinger figured she might change her mind about not going with him to the Eyrie once she heard of Tywin's plan. That's how Littlefinger got to where he is. Even when his own plans are ramrodded, he adapts to bring things back in his favor. I cannot wait to see Sansa's face when Loras is ripped away from her and Tyrion is there instead. It might be the most GIF-able image in television history. 

Speaking of fantastic faces, Cersei has been serving them up all season long and last night was no exception. Her smug half grin cast at Tyrion when she knew about his impending nuptials was priceless, but it was her shock at being told to marry Loras that I'll remember. DUN DUN! Cersei and Loras? Oh man, the relationship history in this show just got awesome. Tywin is orchestrating a masterful plan. If you can't beat them, marry 'em. The race for Sansa's hand in marriage is on, but it seems only Littlefinger knows everyone's plan. 


"You're not Lord Commander here. You're just another exile. And I take my orders from the queen." —Ser Jorah Mormont

Look out, we've got ourselves a cat fight! Dany's storyline this week wasn't so much about Dany as it was about Ser Jorah Mormont and Ser Barristan Selmy jockeying for power under Dany. The two have verbally had at it before, but now they're openly at war. It's like the Westerosi version of Grumpy Old Men! After some chummy talk about battles past (that Thoros of Myr is totally mental!), Barristan claimed that Jorah needed to step down for the good of the cause, because his reputation back in Westeros has been tarnished by some ill-advised slave trading. Barristan didn't out and say it, but he thinks he should be Dany's lead adviser. I'm trying to understand Barristan's play here, but I'm not sure I can. Like Jorah said, Barristan has only been around for a couple of days and he's already pushing Jorah around. Shouldn't he get used to dealing with the desert heat and hanging out with dragons before starts attempting to climb the ladder? Wouldn't it be wise to take this Jorah-bashing conversation to Dany instead of Jorah himself? Or is Barristan that much of a confident stud that he doesn't mind speaking his mind to Jorah's face? Barristan talked about what's good for Dany's rule, but I don't think discord among the ranks is doing anything positive to get her butt onto the throne. In other words, chill out Barristan! I thought you were cool. 


"Jaime. My name's Jaime." —Jaime Lannister

The humanization of Jaime Lannister continued with what was probably the season's best dramatic moment thus far, and one that will be hard to top. Jaime's been baring himself more and more, and while hot-tubbin' with Brienne he bared himself entirely, both literally and figuratively. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau was splendid in this scene (add his name to the Emmy race), revealing the truth about the infamous act that earned him his well-known "Kingslayer" moniker. Jaime gets a lot of grief for breaking his oath to the Mad King, but the alternative would have been even worse to live with. Aerys Targaryen was certifiable, but he was king, and Jaime was sworn to obey and protect him. But when Aerys asked Jaime to take arms against his own father during Robert's siege of the city as Aerys plotted to set King's Landing aflame with wildfire to avoid letting someone else take it, Jaime ended the madness with a sword poke and knife slash. It's a story that isn't sung in the songs, because it's a story that only Jaime knows.  

What an absolutely stunning turn for one of the show's most vilified characters, and what a wonderful monologue penned by Bryan Cogman. But it's Coster-Waldau who made it palpable with the stand-out performance of the season. And props to Gwendoline Christie for making the difficult task of emoting pure shock look easy. What a wonderful chemistry these two have developed together.   



WEEKLY POWER RANKINGS

Each week, I'll rank the episodes of Season 3 from best to worst. But remember, these are just my opinions! Feel free to post your own in the comments!

This week:
I'm not gonna lie. I'm a sucker for death and action and slave masters burning, so while I thoroughly enjoyed "Kissed By Fire," I don't know if I can put it ahead of the previous two episodes. Catch me a on a day when I'm feeling a little more intellectual (which is like never) and sure, this one'll jump to the top. But for now, it settles in nicely behind "Walk of Punishment." 


1. "And Now His Watch Is Ended" (Episode 4)

Jaime vomited horse pee-pee, Varys crafted a plot to derail Littlefinger's plan to marry Sansa, the Brotherhood Without Banners brought the Hound to trial, Dany got her army with a little trickery, and anarchy took over the Night's Watch. 

2. "Walk of Punishment" (Episode 3)

Dany concocted a plan to buy the Unsullied from their slave master and offered a dragon as payment. Jaime and Brienne found out that being untrue will cost them a lot more than their honor. Tyrion got a new job as Master of Coin, Catelyn attended her father's funeral, Hot Pie said goodbye to Arya, and Jon was headed to the Wall.

3. "Kissed By Fire" (Episode 5)

Themes of loyalty and oaths were explored with the help of Bryan Cogman's excellent script, creating an episode unlike most. Jon and Ygritte went hot-tubbing in a cave, Jaime and Brienne went hot-tubbing in custody, and Stannis's dead babies went hot-tubbing in jars. 

4. "Valar Dohaeris" (Episode 1)

The season premiere found Tyrion wondering why he wasn't getting dap for saving King's Landing, Jon getting pledged into the Wildling fraternity, Davos pissing off his friend's girlfriend, and Dany shopping for an army.

5. "Dark Wings, Dark Words" (Episode 2)

We saw Arya, Jaime, and Bran for the first time in this season. But the most exciting parts of the episode were the introductions of the Queen of Thorns, Thoros of Myr, and the Reed super siblings. And we may as well mention that Joffrey got a boner from imagining Margaery killing things, that pervert. 




NOTES FROM THE RAVENS

– Not cool for Beric to light his sword on fire and take swings at the pyrophobic Hound. That would be like someone coming after me with a sword that has a Great White Shark duct-taped to it. 

– I loved the transition between Shireen telling Davos the story of Aegon the Conqueror and Dany's army marching; it was a nice history-coming-full-circle moment there. Game of Thrones doesn't have a lot of opportunities to do things like that, but this episode was so tight that it worked out well.

– Would you keep your name if it was Grey Worm?

– Well Tyrion, that was easy, wasn't it? All it took was the threat of downsizing the royal wedding to get the Tyrells to pay half of the expenses.

– Between Podrick's bedroom exploits and Jon Snow's cave-sex skills, Game of Thrones is giving virgins everywhere hope that they too will be tomcats in the sack once they get it on. 

– Lots of butts in this episode. Who's was your favorite? This is an important question!

– Housekeeping: Sorry for the delay in getting this out, but HBO is no longer sending out screeners for Game of Thrones. Expect shorter reviews in the future as I race to finish them!




Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter if you want to: @TimAtTVDotCom
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Am I the only one that noticed these two things:

*Out across the sea, they were talking about battles past, and there was mention of "Thoros of Mir" not Mr. On Eye, that was utilizing a flaming sword? Interesting.

*Varys's story about the sorcerer? And the fire? SPEAKING? Ahem, Varys doesn't just have an axe to grind with magic users, but the cult of fire SPECIFICALLY. Makes his helping at Blackwater bay al the more pertinent, as he vocally mentioned.
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Um, just saying but Cersei and Loras have been shirtless hugging for a while now. FYI.
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No they haven't, Cersei was sleeping with her cousin and Loras is the gay one, who was in love with Renly.
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Good point. It was Lancel. My bad. I honestly believe Game of Thrones has rotted my brain. :(
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Brilliant Episode that captures why m st people are addicted to the show to the great performance by the characters of the show. Jaime's journey to humanity is sad and its amazing how he is turning into a hero despite his previous evil acts. Robb is turning out to be an impulsive leader making hasty decisions based on emotion despite the consequences and i hope his council can be more influential before he loses everything.
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I loved the Jaime Brienne scene in this episode. Jaime becoming all soul baring and such. As a book fan I've been waiting for the Jaime Brienne road trip since like... season 2 started. So I'm paying special attention to seeing Jaime Lannister humanised. I also loved the scene between Gendry and Arya. I just wanted Gendry and Arya to have a hugging moment and Arya to just demand that Gendry go with her even though I know it's not going to happen. I'm a huge Gendrya shipper. (nods)

Gendry Sighting!: Several
Ghost Sighting: 0 (bummer I miss Ghost)
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baristan baited jorah to make him confess his betrayer of dany to varys
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I wouldn't keep my name if I was Grey Worm. But I would keep the name I had when I was freed from being a slave and wouldn't want to go back to the name that lead me to being a slave so that kinda makes sense.

I think the Tyrells would've always been willing to help pay for the wedding. I think Lannister's used to be the family with money and influence (hence Robert marrying Cersei). Now it's the Tyrells. They are the family with money and influence.
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"I'm sure this will go over swell and many happy endings will be had."...good one :)
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Also.....some quality asses in this episode. I thought they were all tip top, to tell the truth. That Ygritte is a saucy one......
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A technical aid/reminder for those (like me) who occasionally miss crucially important snippets of softly mumbled dialogue......don't forget that HBO provides closed captioning! I can't tell you how many times CC has saved my ass (and my hearing) by making every word apparent. It's really invaluable and a great boon, especially to those of us who haven't read the books. And much of the time, there's a LOT of medieval-ish mumbling going down! And, Tim, I just wanna say.....you da man! Your reviews rock and are quite valuable in helping me keep it all together......
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The Davos/Stannis plotline is a slow one, but it will grow to be very important, don't worry. Nothing in this story is a mere detail. NOTHING!
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You just gotta love this show...

Nice change of pace after the last episode. You can't have just action-filled episodes. That would make for a serious lack in character development and storytelling. I love a good fight just as much as the next guy, especially if Dany and dragons are in it, but you have to have a good story background in order for the fight to mean anything.

So, I like episodes like this one just fine. Especially if the storytelling is done in such a great way. I do have one small issue with it though, maybe its just me, but sometimes I get confused by the number of different storylines, characters and plots. In those moments I get the urge to rewatch the whole thing, but who has the time?! I just hope it doesn't get any more complex, or I will get more and more lost :D

Favorite butt: I have to say Brienne ^^ Her getting up out of the water kind of threw me back in my chair. I did not expect that from her.

Btw Tim, as far as I'm concerned, you should take your time with the reviews. Better to have a good one than a fast one. :D

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My fav butt? Ehm, I think brienne...
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Loved this episode for a reason that I couldn't quite put my finger on before. It has to do with the fact that I really hated Ned Stark from the first time I saw him (I haven't forgotten it Boromir). I watched him decapitate that boy from the nights watch and I was fairly pleased that he ended up the same way.

Why did I hate him?

That idiotic pride.
This episode marks the confession of almost all cool characters that they had followed the wrong masters. The Hound, Jaime, Davos, Mormont and even Jon Snow all (sort of) confessed they were loyal when they shouldn't have been. Men like Ned Stark were the cause of that. That generation had corrupted the whol of the realm and now their children are standing up against them.

I think it's great and I love it.

The only thing I didn't understand is why those wildlings chose to camp in the ff-ing snow when there was a nice warm romantic cave underneath, including a bath tub?
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Am I the only one who finds it weird that Tim keeps quantifying the amount of mystical beasts and bloodshed per episode as if anybody was keeping track? I typically don't even notice the amount of CG-slash-violence until he points it out. This episode felt more action packed (in that more stuff happened in it) than the average for the show and, considering there was a man cut in half, full frontal nudity and a bunch of sex, I'd say it met all of HBO's quotas as well.

So yeah, I liked it. It was good. Nobody is complaining when GoT doesn't pull out the flashy monster-making computers, Tim, you can stop keeping track.
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Honestly, shorter reviews will be welcome, it's a bit tiresome :O

Awesome episode though.
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Help! How can I vote this comment down? The longer reviews, the better!
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i thought for sure jaime was only pretending to faint so that he could cop a feel of brienne and freak her out. i like what they did, but i wouldn't have been surprised if he had.
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Correct me if I'm wrong here but doesn't Barristan know that Mormont has been leaking secrets to Varys? I thought they showed at the very beginning of the episode the flashback of Eddard Stark talking to the council and them reporting that Mormont has been reporting back to them about Dany. Was Semly not present for that conversation?
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Selmy told Mormont that King Robert didn't want him on the small council (in those few cases he actually attended), but my guess is that Selmy wants to give Jorah an easy way out, and if he doesn't take it he will tell Dany.
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1. Littlefinger's spy's but was the best

2. I'd be willing to wait an extra day for an unrushed review. You write the best GoT reviews I've seen on the web by far!
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I agree, most reviews of this episode on other websites talk about "OMG they shown buts".
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I didn't read the review when I saw the ranking of this episode is number 3 :P
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"Jaime, my name is Jaime" made me tear up. That scene was surely emmy worthy. And Robb, you make a great king but you're shit at leading an army. And i loved his "My mother didn't do this" line to Karstark. It was long overdue.
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3rd place for this episode? I thought it was the best this season so far! As you said; impressive story-writing-job with a story that's already set! By the way, I wouldn't mind trading places with Ygritte there for a moment ;)
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Haha, well I wouldn't mind trading places with Jon there for a moment! :)
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Anyone else waiting for the wonderful insights of FringeFanatic?? Haha I'm a sucker for his comments. I have been checking every 5 minutes or so since yesterday. I may have a problem..
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Great episode. The whole thing with Jorah and Selmy was great. Here you have this legend of the kings guard who was humiliated by King Geoffrey at Court by being retired from a position he wasn't ever supposed to be retired from. Of course he has a lot of anxiety and anger. Why didn't Varys keep tabs on him when he left Kings Landing? He wants Dany to be worthy of his service. Jorah may not find out for a long time that his dad is dead so Selmy better stop breaking his balls. Love the scenes with these characters.

So Shireen is the product of two utter imbeciles procreating and neither can see her value and that they didn't deserve her? She's my new favorite.

My father read the books and when I started watching Season 1 I was asking my dad about the characters but to not be too spoilery and when I asked about Sansa Stark he says, she's the one married to the imp, right? That made absolutely no sense to me in the least. Thanks for the spoiler dad, 2 yrs later it finally makes sense.

Best butt: Ygrette. The Night's Watch Oath is stupid Jon Snow.
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What a dickish spoiler from your dad. But also kinda cool. Like "Jon Snow? Isn't he the one who BEEEEEP after the BEEEEEEEP at the end of BEEEEP?"
Come to think of it - it could have been worse. Much worse. The spoiler possibilities are legion with GoT.
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It was just accidental, he really was trying to not do it because he had dropped HBO years ago so he had no idea where the show was and that I had just started watching it from the beginning. He just assumed they were where he was at in his reading. It was so little, just a nugget and only made me aware that Sansa was safe for a while at least.
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Good to hear. Thank God you didn't mention Ned Stark back then.
THAT could have been ugly ...
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And would have been. He just simply said, "You love dumb Ned don't you?" I was all "Hell yeah, Sean Bean is awesome" and he gave me nothing else. I had no idea until the axe swung. ...:)
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Top 10 most awesome characters GoT:

1. Daenarys Stormborn & Dragons (Goosebumps everywhere in "And Now His Watch Is Ended")
2. Tywin Lannister
3. Tyrion Lannister
4. Jon Snow & Ygritte
5. Littlefinger & Varys (playing an equal game, probably the 2 most dangerous men
6. Arya
7. Jaime Lannister
8. Direwolves
9. Sandor Clegane
10. Brotherhood Without Banner (esp. Thoros & Beric)

runner up : Olenna Tyrell
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Arya and Jamie are not high enough.
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What a great episode !
* Best Sword fight in GOT so far .
* Arya : I can be your family ......<3
* Jaime was a fuckin superb in the bathtub scene.
* I was shocked that Brienne has a fine ass ,when she stand up on the bathtub , I was like 0_o .....but none can compete with the #1 butt in GOT and that's definitely go for Jaime :P
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Butt-doubles abound, alas. All is not as it appears...
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Fantastic episode.

Very little adaptation compared to some previous episodes as all the key scenes were almost entirely scripted from the books. Not that I have a problem with the adaptations but when the book contains so much quality (as book 3 does) I guess it just makes sense to script it all up as is.

Jaime and his scene with Brienne was (as many have said) the best of the episode. So glad we finally got 'The Kingslayer' story. Many people have been wondering since last episode why us book readers seem to have more respect and empathy for Jaime as opposed to others e.g. Theon. Well here's your answer, he has lived a life of scorn all for an actually heroic act of saving thousands (well the ones that his father's men weren't currently busy sacking, raping and killing).

The lord's kiss with Jon and Ygritte was handled well and again took very little deviation from the books. My only problem with this story is the feigned ignorance Tim shows in respect to this story. It's just not necessary when you've read the books and know what's going to happen.

Robb did a good job showing who he is, a man of honour who has to take the right course. However Karstark's drive is not unwarranted considering how lightly Robb treated Catelyn for treason. Perhaps Robb is really more Tully than Stark, 'Family, Duty, Honour'. My only grievance is that they danced around one line from the books without saying it outright:
Rickard Karstark: "How can it be treason to kill Lannisters!"

The Hound, ok this character love is far less justifiable than Jaime and others but he's got to be one of my favourites. Once again his revulsion at fire was acted well and not much more praise can be poured on that fight than has been already, simply brilliant. Arya and Gendry's moment was great as well and showed how although they've been together so long they were never truly searching for the same thing. Arya for her home whilst Gendry just wanted any home.

Nice humanising moments for Stannis and yes we can all agree than Selyse is pure crazy. Shireen was more interesting than she has been in all the books so far and the her grayscale was appropriately harsh on the little princess. Just a shame there was no Patchface (Interesting point for book readers: If you listen to his songs at the beginning of book three he actually prophecises the big even from this book albeit in coded crazy singing about under the sea).

Dany and her brooding guardians was brief but fascinating. At first I thought 'How unlike their book versions, they seem to be getting along well' but it was all a nice build-up to a revealing moment of their true thoughts on each other. Selmy regards Jorah to be lacking in true honour, whilst Jorah is terrified that Selmy knows that slaving isn't the only sin under his bearskin.

Finally the Lannisters being their perfect selves. Tywin ruling like a boss and with no regard for happiness, simply the preservation of House Lannister. Cersei's face and reaction were very well done. Again a scene almost one to one with the books and was great to see that Tywin unlike the other two has a more caring heart. Sansa's going to be regretting that escape with Littlefinger, which reminds me although I was slightly worried with the restructuring they've done with this story (no Willas Tyrell, no Kingsguard Loras) I think I can now see the route they will take and think its going to have just as much pay-off.

Fully agree that it was brilliant for a more traditional flow of stories between one and another, and honestly think each episode is getting better and better (mainly off the progression of the preceding episode) so would rank this right up there as the best of the season. That is until next week and 'The Climb'.
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* Tyrion unlike the other two has a more caring heart
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Isn't the lord's kiss forbidden in some states?
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I really don't understand how comments from you, such as this one and a great review in its own right, doesn't get more likes. You thoughts, apart from being almost identical to my own, are always insightful, well conveyed and eloquent.
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Thanks, very much appreciated. I'm always surprised that people actually read them, mainly as I seem to accidentally always write a mini-essay, I swear every week I set-out with the idea of just a couple of paragraphs but never fail to ramble on. The subject matter is just too vast and complex.
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I have to agree with you on this episode being the best episode of the season so far. Although the end-scene from "And now his watch is ended" gave me Goosebumps everywhere. I wonder if they can top that scene..
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Robb Stark following his instructs about honour is probably going to lead to his downfall. Seems like having honour is a bad thing in this show Ned Stark lost his head, Jaime does something good and loses his hand, Winterfall was lost because they sent troops to help a village under attack etc.

Doing the right thing is dangerous to your health in GoT! I'm not liking the chances for the Stark family unless they actually start playing the game, Cersei's comment in season one to Ned you either win or you die - playing by the rules seems to be a very bad idea.
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That's partially why I love this story and why it continues to break my heart. GoT is basically about how survival in a cutthroat world is not about love and honour, eventhough we want it to be, but about fighting, fighting in whichever way you can to keep your life. Some try to do the right thing and keep their lives, but all do certainly lose their innocence and belief in justice (think; Tyrion, Dany, Jon). This story also greatly questions identity and what it means. How birth is hold in such high esteem but essentially means nothing in regards to character. I could go on forever about my love of this story and by extend this show, but that would take too long.
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Definitely agreed. It makes the conflict more real knowing the good guys don't just win and you feel there pain. The show keeps asking the question how far would you go to survive or grab power?
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Jaime's scene alone was worth the price of admission. But then there also was Arya, Arya's always good, and there was a Lannister family meeting which is also always good, and some Littlefinger-intrigues which is ok I guess, but most of all FIRE SWORD! Seriously though, Thoros shoulda known setting your sword on fire is no good for the steel, this whole shoulder business could've been avoided.
I only was a tad disappointed by Jon and Ygritte's love cave. Expected more of a roomy one with little streams going everywhere, going with Ygritte's story about that one dude who did something there.
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Fantastic episode!

Ah, Starks and their honor. It was Ned's downfall and now it's lost Robb half his army. While anyone else might have let Karstark live, the son of Ned Stark could not. It's partly why it's so easy to identify and champion the Starks, they take what they genuinely believe to be the best option. (Like Robb marrying Talisa, after sleeping with her he had no other choice but to marry her.) Just a pity no one else seems to have as much honor as them!

I'm loving seeing the scheming in King's Landing, it's a big part of what makes the series great - the scheming and underhandedness that goes on as everyone grapples for as much power as they can. It almost makes me feel sorry for Sansa that she is being bandied about as the potential key to the North. And Cersei's face was truly priceless when she found out that she would have to marry Loras. Wiped that disgusting smirk right off her face. (I really, really, really cannot stand Cersei!!)

Poor Arya, nothing seems to ever go right for her. And now losing Gendry as well, he's definitely the closest thing to family she's got at the moment, bless her. And now she's to be ransomed off.

Jamie and Brienne are an awesome pairing, the chemistry they have is great. His interactions with her are doing wonders for his character. And the scene in the tub was fantastic. Jamie finally got to tell his story and have at least one person realise that he is not the despicable monster everyone believes him to be. (Also best butt by far, Jamie!)

And it appears Jon finally knows something, good for him! lol Can't wait for them to reach the wall!

Great episode, great pacing, so much more great stuff to some. I found the second season a little disappointing but this season has totally restored my faith! Love it!
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Season 3 is great, as book 3 is great. The whole Ygritte - Jon Snow during & after dialogue was hilarious "You seemed to like it" hahaha.

I was really hoping they would have "Patches" with Shireen (readers of the book know what I mean. Her scene with Davos in the jail was so touching.

I agree Coster-Waldau must get a Golden Globe & Emmy nod for the "truth about the Kingslayer moniker" scene. I have never hated Jamie, always thought of him as a victim of his unfortunate love for Cersei (her I love to hate) & the unfair Kingslayer bad rep. I mean seriously Robert is okay for taking the throne, but Jamie is the bad guy? Jamie & Brienne's chemistry in the show is so great, as I hoped it would be.

I understand why Rob did as his is his father's son but it was a mistake leading to the consequences of his other mistake with the Freys (drooling for next ep book readers know what I mean)

I am tired of hearing this ep wasn't action-packed or didn't have that, yeah "Drakaris" scene great (I root for Daenarys being Queen) but this ep moved us so along in the book & done so masterfully. The Tyrion/Tywin/Cersei scene was brilliant too, making you drool for the implications of Tywin's decisions in that conversation. And seeing Cersei stumped is so gratifying.

I think what the Unsullied said about keeping his name was touching.
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So, Beric is the actual Lord-of-Light champion with the flaming sword that Melissandre thinks Stannis is, right?
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And not quite. Though he has a clear talent for alighting swords, the prophecy stated that the 'chosen one' would pull a sword from the fire, as they had Stannis do.
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He's not The Lord of Light, he is somehow using the Lord of Lights power to come back from the dead.
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Thoros is the one bringing him back
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Thoros simply says the words, the Lord of Light brings him back.
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I agree I was just saying Beric isn't the one doing the "bringing back"
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Looooved this episode. Especially the final scene between Jaime and Brienne. And I don't give a shit what anyone says about her, I would jump her bones in a second, especially after getting that sweet flash of buns after she leapt out of the hottub. Those two need to get it on, asap.
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I agree completely about Brienne, I know she is supposed to be ugly like in the novels, but Christie is not ugly in the slightest.
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Ya they do her best to dress her down, but she's entirely too pretty. The same with Tyrion, with Peter Dinklage being much better looking than Tyrion is described in the books. But I am okay with this.
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I think, if they had made Tyrion look like in the books, especially after the Battle of Blackwater, it would make his make up way to complex to do for each episode
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I loved this episode, and would probably rank it above Walk of Punishment, but I think ranking season 3 is pointless at the moment, this season has just been that good(IMO), I hope they can keep the momentum going. I love Arya so much, and I loved how they really showed in this episode, how she is very much still a child, and very much alone. Jamie and Brienne continue to be great together, and Jamie is very much a likeable character in my eyes now, and I hated him in season 1, I can't say the same for his lover/sister. I hope we get more of Bran and the Reeds next week, I know it is a very convoluted stories, but Jojen and Meera are two of my favorite characters, and I want to see more of them. As for favorite butt, I've got to say Brienne. Brienne the beauty, indeed.
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GoT became really slow...

why ???

it's become boring... seriously...
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You can't expect a big event in every episode! No other show is like that, why do you expect this one to be?!
Characters need to be developed, as well. And if you are watching the show strictly because of the action, then switch to Arrow or something of the likes.
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yep...

you're right....

but this episode was really bad. I found it was empty, something was missing...
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Well it was all talking, but if you like the characters, you should be fine with it. If you don't like them, then maybe you shouldn't watch.
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By that respect, you must've found, Breaking Bad, The Wire, Generation Kill to be tremendously "boring" TV. Damn those brilliant writers for trying to make us utilize our brains and care about these characters! Dude, debating with you lessens everyone's IQ. It's people like you who keep the CW and shows like Jersey Shore still in business. You should try reading more. You 'll have a higher understanding as to why even episodes like 'Kissed by Fire', which may not have contained a huge amount of explosions and killing was still a magnificent piece of storytelling. You should try to use your brain a little more and connect the dots and maybe you'll see that every scene they show is not for nothing.. or 'boring' as you so childishly put it. If not... i think CSI still runs every 30 mins on some channel or another. Those guys still need viewers like you.
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Apparently, fantastic writing, character/plot development and drama leaves you wanting...perhaps this show isn't for you!?!
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And the award for the shittiest comment on this thread goes to... fuckin Baiken! Your vampire diaries beckons, this show doesn't need dumb shit viewers like you, its way to good for you.
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go to hell....

It's your first comment on the site...

on this thread ..

be nice ... go suck a bag of d*cks...
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Arya may not have killed the Hound but she murdered my feels this episode.
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Book readers....I read fairly quickly and can be a little annoyed with what is called high fantasy. How long would it take me to read? I think I read The Passage and the Twelve in about six days. I can provide other references.
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Find the audio book, dats if u are like me can could not care for reading very long books
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As the other said, this isn't "high fantasy". That goes to things like Dungeons and Dragons and Lord of the Rings. Magic and sorcery and so forth plays a very diminished role in this show, and non-human races are barely seen at all. This show and the book series focus far more on the over-arching events, the scheming and the plotting, far more than heroic tales and sword and sorcery.

That having been said, the series can take some time to read (obviously depending on your reading speed). There is only currently 5 books in the Song of Ice and Fire series (With the 6th currently being written), but each is 800+ pages, with a couple over 1k, so they are definitely lengthy reads. But totally worth it.
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Only the first book is actually unter a thousand pages (but not much). All the others are over a thousand. They are great books to take with you, when you have to go to the hospital for a week ^^
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From my experience, and if you enjoy the show, it could be a fairly quick read, amongst my college course, I was still able to read book 1 in 3 days, If you read at a steady pace, you could probably finish books 1-5 by the season 3 finale.
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Fairly quickly, I'd say - George R.R. Martin has a very good writing style, and his books are easy to read, even though the setting is medieval. The book series is not actually "high fantasy", I think many call it "low fantasy". The difference in impression comes from the fact that the material in the books is bigger than the one in the TV series, so the series create the impression that magic is much more frequently present.

I think you might be able to catch up with the story before the season is over. Mind that season 3 will cover about half of "A Storm of Swords", the third book in the series, so you don't have to read all three books to be up-to-date with the story. There is another issue, though - if you finish the series, you will be wanting even more of it, and the next book will not come earlier than 2015, I think (depends on Martin, of course).
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Though in my experiene, if you want to catch everything Martin throws in there, every side-jest and reference, it'll take you quite some time. Definitely not a Harry Potter kinda read since everything is so complex.
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One problem with this episode: Jon saying seven hells. He is from the north and doesnt follow the southern religion
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It could just be a common saying, like how atheists still say Gods name in vain.
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Not really. Lets pretend Jon Snow or another northsman is an atheist. They still wouldnt say seven hellsbecause that religion is not common up there. He would just say Gods as the other northmen say.
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He was brought up in a household where the old gods and the new were worshipped so it's plausible he would say seven hells if he was used to hearing it said often growing up
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Technically Jon was raised strictly on the faith of the old Gods, since the only reason the other Starks were raised on both was because of Catelyn, but i agree that he may of said because his other siblings said the phrase.
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I did not think they could top last week but they came close if not passed it. This episode was AWESOME in its own way!!!!!!!!!
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I think you're underselling the importance of the Stannis/Davos/Shireen scenes. Stannis defied the crazy queen and insisted on seeing his daughter, whom he obviously loves despite her representing his failure to beget an heir. It was a humanizing moment for a character who gets very few. And the song that ran over the credits was absolutely incredible.
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Yeah. But to me it seems like foreshadowing to a conflict. Maybe Stannis will feel jelly because of Davos' great relationship with his daughter?
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Yes great review Tim as always. And Yes booties everywhere. I would have to say Brienne's bum wasn't too shabby, maybe just because I wasn't expecting it. I really like that woman beast. Poor, poor Jaime he is such a tortured soul...no wonder he is so nasty. And sorry Ygritte is as skinny as a little scare crow...her butt was ugly. But best of all was the face on Cersei when ol pop told her she had to merry that little gay flower.....take that you evil hell spawn bitch....babies in the jars creeped me out....
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Personally I never thought less of Jaime for killing the Mad King, he was a psycho and had already murdered a bunch of people, even though it made it even more justified I still wouldn't think less of him if he had killed Aegon in his sleep. Pushing Bran out of the window and attacking Ned (I don't think he intended to kill him, but he did kill Jory (the guy he stabbing in the eye) which was a shitty thing to do, Jory was cool) are the only bad things he's done in my eyes, and even though I still hold that against him he's redeeming himself. I wouldn't say I'm on his side yet but I don't dislike him anymore.
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Basically a show in which everybody is trying to kill everybody, and everybody has serious revenge issues with somebody, and just about everybody has excellent reasons to do so and for us to feel sympathy for them. All that in such a way I can no longer keep track of all the death issues involved, or who is supposed to be a good guy anymore. Like, when the Hound was declared innocent I was wondering "wait, is should I root for or against him? I thinking I kind of like him, but now I remember I think he killed Ned Stark, so no wonder Arya is pissed. Anyway... Lots of legitimate candidates for the same throne. Just slice the kingdom in as many parts as necessary and get it over with. But even so I still love the show.
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Joffrey, for all intents and purposes killed Ned, Ilyn Payne(sp.), the executioner took his head.
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I think the guy who is missing a tongue took his head...I think the butcher's son is all we know for certain as far as his innocent kills go...even so it was an order not his free will. I never hated him. Too bad Arya hates him they could make a good team
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All right, the butcher's boy. It's just there's so much killing, and so much killing of CHILDREN that one loses track of it. I like the Hound too, and wouldn't want him to die either.
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About the exchange between Ser Jorah Mormont and Ser Barristan Selmy. He's concerned about his part in the plot to kill Dany is going to come out. That's why he was sounding him out about being on the Small Council - I'd have to re-watch Season One but I think he knows about it and his just keeping that one close to his chest for now. Watch again and you will see a Jorah looking uncomfortable about whether this new comer knows of his treason.
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I hope it comes out...see if she can find forgiveness she owes him allot.
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Excellent episode with great character moments all around. The Beric/Hound fight was epic and was way better than the Brienne/Jaime fight earlier in the season. Dany once again showed she was born to be a leader, though tensions seem to be arising between Baristan and Mormont. Though she was great and the last episode belonged to her and her magnificent closing scene, it was the Lannisters that ruled this episode. Jaime's reveal of why he killed Aerys was a landmark for this show, and not only adds a another layer to this already complex character, it will serve as a turning point for this character as well as strengthen the dynamic between Jaime and Brienne. As for the other Lannisters, I think we delved even further into seeing how big of an ass Tywin is. Making his children marry this way is cruel, though it was nice to Cersei make that transition of a cold taunting bitch to a sad bitch. Not so fun to taunt now is it? As for Robb, as cruel as Tywin is, he at least knows how to play the game in Westeros. I understand why Robb did what he did, but it doesn't change the fact that he is a moron that is in over his head, and his actions will definitely have long term consequences. I feel the Starks are doomed.
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Lol cold taunting bitch to sad bitch LOL. No pity for poor Cersei ;0)
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The episode was awesome. I really liked the slower pace, especially since it followed last week's action-packed episode.

The Jaime/Brienne scene had me absolutely riveted. Fantastic acting on both sides.

Tyrion's reaction when he was told that he was going to marry Sansa was amazing. It felt like one of the first real, honest reactions from Tyrion to Tywin. Usually he covers with snark and sarcasm and his intellect, but this time it was all honest emotion and horror for Sansa.

Favorite butt...Jaime.
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We have suspected that Christie is much more attractive than Book-Brienne, but now we know for certain. Best butt!
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I have a thing for fiery redheads, it drives me wild. On another note, is it just me, or is GoT somewhat backing down from the sex and nudity?
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I think it's just less present in the books at this point, it might increase or it might stay at this level but I can't see it dropping. There are certainly less post coital (and fully nude) talking scenes than in season one. I think the more grim everything becomes the less sex there is, understandably so. In conclusion, no, it's not just you.
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I was so glad that I finished my dinner BEFORE seeing the scene with Jaime and his hand.... I'm not usually easily gross out with things, but just to think how badly the smell would be, especially with mud, and dirt, and how long Jaime has been a captive and doesn't take a bath? Well, he sure took a bath in this episode!!! I was hoping he would wash his face before the monologue, but ok. The tears rolling down as Jaime explained why he was the Kingslayer, said it all. Brienne, please, calls him Jaime from now on.
"Why are you still dressed? You know nothing, Jon Sno-OH!" Laugh so hard!!!
I love your review, Tim, but I have to disagree with you. For me, this was the best episode of this season so far.
And, as for the butts, Ygritte has a fine body, but I'm a girl, so even covered in dirt, Jaime has my vote!
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Loved your review (as always) but I disagree with your ranking. I'm gonna have to put "Kissed By Fire" at #1. Loved, loved, loved it.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau & Gwendoline Christie *applause*

Maisie Williams - when Arya asks if they can bring back a man without a head, oh my feels :(

Oh Tywin. LMAO @ Cersei's face going from "smug" to "say what now".

Robb - this new plan of his, *smh*.

I thought last week's ep was awesome (and it was) but this week's, perfection!
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I had to turn up the volume a bit to hear Jaime's monologue, but it was great.

Yeah, a lot of full moons in this episode - didn't expect Brienne to have such a nice one. But Ygritte wins as always.

And Tim - best review of the season! Extra points for the title, that's a winner if there ever was one.
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I had to turn up the volume too. I have to watch it again though because I couldn't hear everything. I guess didn't make it loud enough. Ha. The entire scene was great anyway so it deserves another viewing, IMO.
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Did anyone catch what Jaime said to Brienne that prompted her to stand in the tub? I replayed it 3 times but couldn't make it out. I think I heard Renly mentioned.
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'No wonder Renly died, with you guarding him!"
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