Monday, April 29, 2013

Episode 25 Discussion: "Kissed By Fire"

Despite the fact that I am no longer writing reviews of Game of Thrones episodes, I do of course still watch each show as they air. I caught last night's viewing of "Kissed By Fire" and have to say I was very impressed. Sadly, we are already halfway through the season now. Where the hell did time fly off to?

Anyway, I wanted to at least give a forum for fans of the show who visit The Bimillennial Man to sound off with their comments, observations, and opinions of what transpired this week. And to start things off, I'll add some of my own quick observations:

R'hllor, the Lord of Light. I'm glad we're finally getting to see more of this mysterious Eastern religion from Asshai and its spreading influence in Westeros. Up until now, we've only been exposed to this new brand of worship during the Stannis scenes. But now we see that Melisandre isn't the only follower of the Red God. Seems that Thoros of Myr, of the mercenary group "Brotherhood Without Banners," is also a staunch follower. Somehow he has been bestowed through his Lord the power to resurrect the dead and/or heal the newly wounded. Hmmm, now I wonder when that might come in handy later on in the season . . .

Duel of the Fates. That was one kickass sword fight between The Hound and Beric Dondarrion. Some of you may recall back to season 1 when Beric was the man Ned Stark sent out to the Riverlands to hunt down the Lannisters' top lackey, The Mountain, and bring him to justice for crimes against the lowly farmers and village folk living there. Apparently in that time he's been stabbed, hanged, and suffered who knows how many other morbid horrors in-between. And yet somehow he keeps being brought back by Thoros, a little "lesser" of his former self each time. Thoros defeated The Hound in tournament melees three times in the past, most likely due to his flaming sword technique, exploiting Sandor's one true fear in the world. So when Beric sets his own sword aflame before The Hound's trial by combat, the contest takes on extra peril for the younger Clegane. I thought it was rather impressive how The Hound still managed to kick ass despite his crippling fear of fire. As a result of winning the duel, Sandor is deemed "innocent" in the eyes of the Lord of Light, and is allowed to go about his business. Beric Dondarrion, on the other hand, is once again brought back to the world of the living.

A quick note about R'hllor that some of you may be overlooking, particularly if you have not read the books. You may be wondering how a religion of such obvious potency could have remained relatively unknown to Westeros for all this time. For unlike that land's Seven Gods, this religion of fire and light seems to have some actual teeth to it. Well, it has been mentioned already in this show ... things are changing now that there are dragons in the world again. That was the whole purpose of the red comet at the start of the 2nd season, remember? Magic is alive once again! This is the start of a new age. Or, as some will have you believe, the rebirth of a cycle already experienced some 8,000 years prior. For as the White Walkers begin to stir once more, an opposite but equally potent force is needed to combat such a threat. And what is the epic weakness of wights again, class? Why, yes -- FIRE! Trust me, there is a method to all this madness. One that, to be honest, has yet to become fully realized even in the books. So, we still have a looooong way to go on that front. Be patient.

Rub a dub, dub, dub. My favorite scene of the episode--hells, probably the entire show--has arrived! I've been waiting a long, long time to see this exchange between a defeated Kingslayer and the erstwhile lady knight, Brienne of Tarth, given justice on the small screen. Fans of the books can now rejoice! Writer Bryan Cogman pulled it off beautifully, with exactly the right nuance, pathos, and chemistry delivered by the wonderful actors themselves. Bravo! For me, no arc has been more poignant and satisfyingly unfolded in the books than that of Jaime Lannister. It was this very development which gave me my first real lesson in how to effectively write a long-term character. There has to be some development there, and what Jaime reveals of himself in this one simple scene amounts to a mountain of character exposition. I've been savoring this moment for so long, hoping for viewers to finally understand that there is a lot more to this tragic hero's tale than what is realized at first glance. No, he is not perfect. He did push a kid out of a window to cover up his incestuous affair with his twin sister, after all. And, in the tv show at least, snapped his own cousin's neck just to save his own. But hey, I never said he was a morally righteous hero. It was so much fun seeing the Kingslayer appear in a new light in Brienne's eyes. The dawning of just want this man has been through all these years is so clear on her dumbfounded expression. In life, nothing is ever what it appears at first blush. Such an excellent scene! I want to rewatch it over and over again.

This one is called. Grey Worm! Yay! I am so ecstatic that we finally get our Grey Worm. I actually liked the actor they got to portray him. Good things are to come. Good things. We didn't get much from the Daenerys' plot line this episode. Some dick measuring between Ser Barristan the Bold and Ser Jorah Mormont, sure. But that's to be expected. They both are jockeying to be their queen's right hand man. At the moment Ser Jorah still holds that elevated position by his khaleesi's side, but Barristan does have the advantage of having served her family once upon a long time ago. And, as he stated himself, for once he would like to serve a just and righteous ruler. Just this one time. Purdy pweese! With a dragon-flambĂ© cherry on top, pweese? How can you refuse an old man such a request?

Let the heads roll. And so it begins. Robb Starks' plotline has come to the inevitable turning point I've so dreaded all these years. Pretty ominous that Theon's tune "Pay The Iron Price" is playing during this darkest of scenes when Lord Rickard Karstark must be made an example of if Robb Stark is to keep any semblance of his authority intact. This is the tune that also played when Theon executed poor Rodrik Cassel last season and thus began all his current woes in life. Unfortunately for Robb, his decision flies in the face of advice given to him by his mother, wife, uncle Edmure, and great-uncle Brynden the Blackfish. That can't be good. I mean, look: we get that he had to be his own man in this. After all, he alone is the King in the North. But damn! this scene did not feel good. I actually cursed out loud when Lord Karstark's head fell. "Shit," I said to the screen. Shit. Here we go now . . .

So, those are my thoughts. Maybe not exactly quick, but these were the scenes that stood out the most for me. I'm a little peeved by Stannis's crazy wife, Queen Selyse, keeping her miscarried fetuses in jars. Ick! And . . . wtf? This was never in the books, and I know that as a tv show they need to get across rather quickly that this woman is not all entirely with us. But I thought this was a little too over the top. She's not as crazy as Catelyn Stark's sister, Lysa Arryn, after all. Just a little, well . . . weird in the books. We're clearly never meant to entirely like her, obviously. But I just thought this was too heavy handed and not believable. By contrast, though, I absolutely fell in love with little girl Shireen Baratheon. It's not explained yet in the show what affliction she suffers from, but apparently she's being kept locked away in a high tower ala The Man in the Iron Mask. She only gets visits from her papa and the Onion Knight. But in just a few short scenes I already love this little girl. Way more than in the books. I always found her a bit on the bland and boring side there. But here on the show I actually find myself feeling miserable on her behalf.

Now that I got all that out of the way, what are your own thoughts? Sound off in the comments section below and get this discussion rollin'!


  1. Okay, I have to admit, for most of this series I was perfectly content with hating Jamie Lannister. The man seems to NEVER show any remorse or any negative feelings at all for his sins. The past two eps started making him more relatable, and more mystifying since he's been acting against his established character.
    But THIS ep is what "broke" me.

    First with the surgery scene... "Then I'll scream loudly." My jaw was on the floor when I saw him just take that. And all I could think is: Why would he do that?

    Then there was the convo in the tub with Brienne. I found it more powerful that he delivered all of that pathos in such a deadpan, emotionless way. Anything else would have come across as fake and/or an attempt to curry favor. My favorite line of this ep came from that scene:

    "Jamie, my name is Jamie."

    I'm a bit surprised that "Lord Of The Light" religion is cropping up in all places in Westeros. From what I've seen of the show, it seemed that the religion was completely alien to them. And it was EXCEEDINGLY creepy seeing R'hllor bring Beric back to life. I always thought that Westeros had dragons, so they didn't need to worry about the LOTL religion, but it is surprising that suddenly the belief is everywhere.

    The Lannister family meeting was another interesting bit for me, as I was considering the idea of Sansa getting Tyrion to help her get out of King's Landing, EXACTLY when Tywin suggested their marriage... I don't think the wedding would be a suitable one, they are way too different in personality, but the combination of Sansa's emotional strength and Tyrion's mind would be UNSTOPPABLE!

    I think the producers of GoT are capitalizing on the Wall of Heads from the Walking Dead with the floating fetuses, personally. Or they are thumbing their noses at the whole "George Bush" head on a stick controversy they had previously.

    And I am completely with you with Shireen. She is simply adorable. And she does lend some insight into Stannis' mentality. He has no healthy children, it looks like he believes everything he touches becomes sickly or dies so he is latching on to LOTL to give him something that won't be corrupted or die on him.

    This was a seriously messed up episode!! LOVED IT!!

  2. And when is Arya going to start killing people?? I want to see her use some of her dance lessons!!

  3. It's always interesting to me what people who have not read the books choose to focus on. If I don't bring it up, there's a good chance that it's not very important at this point in time. For instance, the proposed wedding between Tyrion and Sansa. Knowing what I know, I know that this is actually a red herring. Although maybe not in the way you might assume after reading that.

    See, I have to remember that sometimes my not discussing a scene might in fact imply that it's not very important to grander picture. And thus, give away stuff to those not in the know. For that I apologize.

    And as for Arya -- again, there's a reason I barely mention her in these discussions. Without giving too much away, I'm afraid it's a VERY long time before she has anything interesting to do. I'm sorry, Rodney, but she won't be putting those skills to much use anytime soon. Also, she's actually not all that good right now. Something big is going to happen to her, but unless there's been a change in the production ordering of events, we probably won't see it for another year or two. Definitely not this season. I would suggest you focus your expectations elsewhere for now.

    And, no, I'm not being coy. The arcs to pay special close attention to this season are Jaime & Brienne's, Jon Snow's, Tyrion's, Theon's, and most important of all -- Robb Stark's. The others are mostly setting pieces in motion for next season and the seasons after that, even. Daenerys' arc seems to be speeding up considerably this year, and there may or may not be a very pivotal moment coming up when her army reaches the city of Yunkai soon. I think it will happen at the end of this season, but it's just as likely to show up next season instead.

  4. I agree with you. I have been waiting for the scene in the tub with Jamie and Brienne. LOVED IT!!! That whole execution scene, starting with the murder of the two Lannister boys, was disturbing.

  5. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau did the damn thing! I was waiting for that and was not disappointed! He pulled that off perfectly! He played the emotion of Jamie like a master!

    Beric is so cool. And his battle with the Hound was pretty awesome! You could see The Hound's battle reflexes fighting with his overwhelming fear the whole way. Again, a very well done scene.

    Even knowing what's to come I was with Rob when he hacked off lord Karstark's head. Angry ass old man.

    Jon Snow is no longer a maid! HA!

    Shireen Baratheon was the coolest! "What can they do to us? Lock us in cells?" That was wonderfully done.

    Grey Worm looked cool. Can't wait to see more of him.

    I loved Tyrion's reaction to his marriage announcement from his father. I'm so looking forward to how the show is going to handle THAT coming "confrontation". [You know of which I speak. I will not be the one to leak spoilers here for the non-readers out there. ;-)] But it is fairly obvious there is unfinished business between that father and son, as they alluded to very quickly in that meeting. Cannot wait!

    This episode was wow! I'm damn curious how they're going to carry out the rest of the season. Color me very impressed so far!

  6. "kissed by fire" sounds like a great title for a story! :)

    come on, you know i just HAD to make a comment! hehehe

  7. Sprite -- Yes, you're right. That was all pretty disturbing. I did not see the killing of the little boys coming at all. It just happened out of nowhere, and was quite jarring. Although I did not think it was a good idea to execute Karstark, a part of me was glad to see it happen. That's why I love this show!

    Tarrell -- Yeah, I know what you speak of. I've been watching very closely how they deal with Tywin this season. I feel they made him too likeable in the previous season. Or at least, someone you could possibly root for. But audiences need to learn to truly despise this man in order for a certain scene to play out effectively later on down the line. That's my two cents.

    Yvonne -- That is a great title, tho. Within the context of this particular episode, it worked on multiple levels referring to multiple things. The fire sword of Beric Dondarion. Ygritte's comment to Jon with regards to her fiery red hair. Even the anger that overtakes Robb Stark and causes him to make a fateful decision. I know you don't watch the show and don't know what the hell I'm talking about -- but yes, it is a very apt title. :)


Panama Trip - Day 1: Here There Be Balboas!

In late May, 2017 I embarked on a trip of a lifetime. A trip to Panama's steamy tropical province, Bocas del Toro. Now, before 2017 ...