Game of Thrones S3E5 “Kissed by Fire” Synopsis
Spoiler Warning: If you’ve yet to see this week’s episode of Game of Thrones, S3E5 “Kissed by Fire”, be sure to turn away now! We’ll be divulging key plot elements and spoilers of the episode in this synopsis.
This week’s episode takes viewers even farther into George Martin’s fantasy series, with deeper plotlines and suspenseful intrigue that is sure to culminate in a battle royale between the great houses of Westeros. From the wintry lands beyond the Wall to the heart of King’s Landing, this week’s episode of Game of Thrones delivers that same distinct visual flair that blends dastardly political plots with medieval swordfights–and, of course, the dazzling array of characters we’ve come to know and love.
The Night is Dark, and Full of Terrors
The episode starts off with the Hound’s trial by combat against Beric Dondarrion, the leader of the Brotherhood Without Banners–a band of mercenary-esque soldiers who are loyal to no king and worship the Red God Rh’llor of Essos.
The Hound, who is quite the brutish and skilled swordsman, is put to the test in a battle of blades–a mix of both skill and luck. Beric, who’s been infused with the Lord of Light’s power, casts his sword with fire–the one thing that the Hound is afraid of. Sandor Clegane looks on with trepidation, his normally cocky nature fractured, and he soon realizes that this fight isn’t to be taken lightly.
The two dance in a deadly tango of clashing steel, slashing and smashing everything in their path. At one point the Hound gets caught aflame by Dondarrion’s fiery blade, which of course makes him fight with desperation and fear. An opportunity presents itself and Sandor delivers the death blow, executing Beric in the process.
The trial is over, and the Hound has been found innocent by the Lord of Light, and as Dondarrion bleeds out, Thoros of Myr quickly comes to him and chants to Rh’llor. The Hound revels in his victory with a stylized insult, which is then met with a cry from Arya, who’s friend Micah had been slain at the hands of Sandor. She tries one last move to stab the Hound as he lay, but Arya is quickly intercepted and stopped, and then Beric delivers a quip of his own.
Although Dondarrion had in fact been slain by Clegane’s sword, the Lord of Light has brought him back to the realm of the living, making him a grim totem for truth and justice. Beric has been slain a few times now, and has been brought back by Thoros of Myr–who seems to be the intermediary that channels the Lord of Light’s power–to lead the Brotherhood forward.
The Brotherhood then lets the Hound go, and they continue on with their plan to “ransom” Arya to her brother the King in the North at Riverrun…but they may in fact realize that cutting a rabid dog loose isn’t the wisest course…
You Know Nothing, Jon Snow…
The episode’s title, “Kissed by Fire”, is a homage to Ygritte’s fiery red hair, as the Wildlings think anyone born with red hair is lucky and has indeed been kissed by fire. The episode chronicles Jon Snow’s voyage from the stoic Night’s Watchmen into a free Wildling, shedding his sworn duties for Ygritte and her fiery locks. The two engage in a bout of passion deep within the heart of a cave, with only the steamy water and their bodies to keep them warm.
We also get to see Jon Snow’s progression and metamorphosis right before our eyes, as before now he’s taken his role in the Night’s Watch very seriously–but his more baser needs take over (along with the need to reinforce his position as a reformed man to survive with the Wildlings) and he succumbs to his lust for Ygritte.
Jon feels guilt for his actions, but the guilt is faraway and forgotten when he’s with Ygritte–a relationship that will most likely end in doom if past indication can be believed–hardly anything ever works out for the better in HBO’s gritty drama.
Not only does Jon’s passionate relationship with Ygritte bring out feelings that have been restrained by his knightly duties, but it also shows that he’s able to turn his back on the sworn vows of the Night’s Watch–to never marry or be with a woman–to the Wildlings, who openly celebrate freedom in their ranks. Jon’s love affair brings him closer to the trust of the Wildlings, and is essential to his survival–to him, though, it’s the real thing: he really does love Ygritte.
Mance Rayder, the King-Beyond-The-Wall, has ordered Tormund Giantsbane–one of his principal generals, if you will–to cross The Wall and scout the forces of the Night’s Watch. To prove his loyalty to his newfound family, Jon is forced to divulge information regarding the remaining men at each of the three castles of the Night’s Watch–Castle Black, Eastwatch By-The-Sea, and the Shadow Tower.
Jon does this with gritted teeth, as he is still a crow at heart and the last thing he wants to do is betray his brothers, but he does what he must to survive. As for the garrison, Jon alters the numbers quite a bit, saying that there are at least a thousand men left–a boldfaced lie as most of the Night’s Watch left on a doomed crusade with Lord Commander Mormont, who was slain by his own starving men in Craster’s Keep.
Nevertheless, Rayder believes him, and the Wildlings are sent onward to climb the massive frozen barricade that separates Westeros from the Lands of Always Winter. Mance and the other wildlings are still extremely wary of the White Walkers, and they know their situation is all to dire, knowledge which prompts their recon expedition…
A Rose in the Lion’s Den
We return to the warm lands of King’s Landing, the capital of the Seven Kingdoms, where Cersei Lannister catches Lord Baelish–known better as Littlefinger–off guard, asking for his professional help. Cersei sees the Tyrells as a potential threat, and has met with her father, Tywin Lannister, to discuss her worries, but was dismissed offhand with an arrogant wave.
Now she seeks Petyr Baelish’s help in the matter, but little does she know that Baelish is scheming and plotting in the background–of course she knows of Littlefinger’s nature, but she doesn’t know exactly what he has up his sleeve.
Baelish is plotting to try to wed the sister of the first woman he’s ever loved–Lysa Tully in the Eyrie–and relocate Sansa to the Eyrie’s impregnable fortress, thus securing the potential rights to Winterfell and all the north…that is, of course, assuming both Robb and Bran pass away.
We then are brought into the inner chambers where Tyrion Lannister and the Tyrell matron, Olenna Redwyne, as they discuss “financial matters”.
It appears the royal wedding between Margaery and King Joffrey is incredibly expensive, and Tyrion, who’s been appointed the new Master of Coin in Littlefinger’s absence, is quite intrigued with Olenna’s impressive acuity when it comes to real matters. The two come to a deal and Olenna agrees to supply the crown with more foodstuffs, establishing secure supplies for the war efforts.
Jaime Lannister: Kingslayer or Savior?
In last week’s episode, Jaime and Brienne had finally been delivered to Lord Bolton, one of the principal lords in the North. Brienne was treated as an ally, whereas Jaime was treated as a prisoner–yet a highly valued one at that.
Jaime’s stump has festered, and Qyburn–an ex-maester who had his chain taken away for his misdeeds and shocking “experiments”–tends to his wound. His stump is indeed infected, and Qyburn has to cut away the dead flesh and soak the stump in boiling wine to try to drive away the infection, prompting a delirious amount of pain for Jaime.
This marks the metamorphosis of Jaime Lannister, known throughout all of the Seven Kingdoms as the Kingslayer and murderer of the king he swore to serve. Jaime has lost his hand–but with it he’s lost his prowess in battle, but his sheer tenacity and sly wit remains.
Brienne is one of the main forces that has instilled Jaime’s personality and kept him from breaking altogether, reassuring him and tending to his damaged psyche, forming a bond with the Kingslayer–a man she despised but was nonetheless sworn to protect.
At the keep, Brienne is taking a bath, and Jaime comes in to wash away the weeks worth of dirt and sweat that’s soaked him throughout his journey. Rather than choosing the adjacent bath, he chooses to sit with Brienne, and despite her disagreement, she finds herself not being able to look away as Jaime sheds his clothes.
Both Jaime and Brienne have a sense of desire between them, a desire and lust that’s been kindled by their adventure and overall circumstance–as well as their general physical attraction, which in itself is quite ironic. Jaime has only ever been with his twin sister, Cersei, who’s beauty is just as renown as his, whereas Brienne is awkward, gangly and overall mannish in her features, a complete opposite of Cersei.
It is here we also learn why Jaime killed the Mad King Aerys Targaryen, a rare bout of history that reveals just what kind of king that Aerys was and why half of the country hated him.
Aerys was a cruel and immensely paranoid king who used fire to burn anyone and everyone he didn’t like or disagreed with him, from lords to ladies and everyone in between. Jaime divulges the cruelties and atrocities that Aerys committed during his time as king of the Seven Kingdoms, painting a picture that actually makes Jaime look like a savior in many ways.
A Dragon is Not a Slave
The episode then takes us across the Narrow Sea into the lands of Esso, where Danaerys Targaryen journeys onward with her new army of Unsullied warriors.
Barristan Selmy and Ser Jorah Mormont are strolling with the men, locked in a discussion that reveals much of their character. These are two true knights, men who do good things and have sterling honor, yet Barristan reveals that he is tired of serving men who are terrible kings.
Robert Baratheon was a great fighter, a great man, but made for a terrible king; he was a drunkard who hunted and binged with the Seven Kingdoms eroded around him. Barristan served under Robert, and under the Mad King Aerys, who’s vile deeds were the stuff of legend. For once, he says, he wants to serve someone he truly believes in.
And with Danaerys Stormborn, Barristan truly believes he’s found the means to end his noble quest and serve a rightful queen that’s true and just.
Up until this point, Dany has been strong where she’s needed to be, however her selfless personality and overall kind heart have gone a long way in winning over the masses as well as kindling a sense of karmic retribution for her enemies. She spreads love and kindred nature wherever she goes–but also has that brutal Targaryen ferocity that allows her to dispatch evil and wrong wherever she sees it–like the ruination of Astapor’s cruel slave trade.
In the Lion’s Den
We then return back to King’s Landing, where the Lannister family is gathered to discuss their plans. Tywin Lannister, the patriarch of House Lannister and the richest man in all the Seven Kingdoms is in attendance, and has created a masterful plan that may ensure not only the end of the war but secure prosperity for his legacy for decades to come.
Tywin reveals that the plan is actually quite simple, and rather than employing mercenaries or sellswords, he means to use his children Tyrion and Cersei.
To claim the North, he means to have Tyrion wed Sansa Stark. Tywin is well aware of Littlefinger’s scheme to relocate Sansa to the Eyrie, thus staking claim to Winterfull and the North, and intends to foil Baelish’s plan and make him regret trying to one-up the great Tywin Lannister.
To secure the South, Cersei will marry one of the Tyrells, who will be one of the chief victors in the war and thus get a nice carving of the southlands.
Both Cersei and Tyrion heatedly disagree with Tywin’s plans, but he calmly reminds them the stakes of this plan, and that it will end the war and quell disharmony in one fell swoop. Both of the Lannisters look at one another, knowing that they would follow Tywin’s orders (as they always have), feeling stuck in a snare trap with no hope of getting free…