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GAME OF THRONES Re-Throned: “Kissed By Fire” (S3, EP5)

GAME OF THRONES Re-Throned: “Kissed By Fire” (S3, EP5)

Winter is coming, but not soon enough. So to help pass the time until season seven of Game of Thrones, we’re doing a weekly re-watch of the series, episode-by-episode, with the knowledge of what’s to come and—therefore—more information about the unrevealed rich history of events that took place long before the story began. Be warned, though: that means this series is full of spoilers for every season, even beyond the episode itself. So if you haven’t watched all of the show yet immediately get on that and then come back and join us for Game of Thrones Re-Throned.

Because the next best thing to watching new episodes is re-watching old ones.

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Season 3, Episode 5: “Kissed By Fire”

Original Air Date: April 28th, 2013
Director: Alex Graves
Written by: Bryan Cogman

The fifth episode from Game of Thrones‘ third season, “Kissed By Fire,” is yet another fantastic installment in the series (season three has a real claim to being the best season of them all). We get to see how Thoros of Myr can bring back Beric Dondarrion from the dead, which will prove slightly relevant after Jon Snow eats a belly full of knives, and we also witness just how little regard Tywin has for the happiness of his children, when he tells an incredulous Tyrion he is to marry Sansa Stark and that Cersei is to marry Loras Tyrell. The family name matters far more than the actual family.

But it’s a scene with Tywin’s other child that still stands out as being one of the best, most powerful, and most revealing from the show—and that’s Jaime‘s revelation about exactly what happened the day he killed the Mad King. It’s an emotional scene that not only completely changes how we view a character that thus far we thought was nothing more than a villain, but one that proves just how messy concepts like duty, honor, and justice really are.

jaime-lannister

Sitting in a bathtub with an embarrassed Brienne, the Kingslayer—considered by all to be a “man without honor”—reveals that he didn’t put a sword through Aerys II’s back because he abandoned his vows, but because it was the only way to save thousands of innocent people from the Mad King’s plan to “burn them all.” He had pleaded with the Mad King to turn himself  over peacefully, but instead he was ordered to bring back the head of his father Tywin. Yet even that wasn’t what really made Jaime murder him, it was when the Mad King placed the order to set off his scores of wildfire he had hidden under the city.

Jaime, a knight sworn to protect the innocent, was faced with the choice of breaking one sacred vow in the name of the other, and so he chose to protect the innocent instead of the madman who wanted to see them all burn. And Jaime’s reward for this act of heroism was complete condemnation and hatred from every subject of Westeros forever.

brienne-bath

Brienne asks him why he never told anyone the truth, and he says it’s because when Ned Stark found what he had done he immediately judged Jaime as an oathbreaker, and that explaining himself wouldn’t have accomplished anything. Sure, Ned was rebelling against the king, but Jaime was his sworn shield who only killed him at the end when the war was over and Tywin had taken the city. To Ned, oaths weren’t subject to the changing winds of life, and Jaime had done something unforgivable.

We see, in this very episode, the exact same kind of stubborn adherence to duty that made Ned despise Jaime Lannister from Robb Stark. Lord Rickard Karstark, in a mad fit of rage, kills the two innocent Lannister boys that were Robb’s captives. He slaughtered them, two children, to get his revenge at Jaime. It wasn’t just murder, it was treason.

Robb ignores the good, reasonable, pragmatic advice of his wife, mother, and uncle, about keeping Lord Karstark alive as a prisoner to ensure the loyalty of the Karstark forces, and beheads him. Of course the Karstark army abandons Robb, which ultimately leads to Robb going back to Walder Frey for help. That….that doesn’t work out. The Red Wedding doesn’t happen if Robb put aside what was “right” for what was “smart.”

Robb was a good, just leader, and he would have made a great king, but unfortunately the same attributes that made those things true also got him killed He never understood that sometimes difficult choices must be made in the name of the greater good, the same mistake that Ned made. Both were such honorable men that it got them both killed.

robb-stark

Meanwhile, as a young man Jaime Lannister made an impossible choice and in doing so saved countless lives, an act of courage that he paid for it with his own honor. When he dies someday he will not be remembered with love and respect the way Ned and Robb are remembered, he will forever be a man without honor.

We know he might once again be called to make an impossible decision, if he is the only one who can stop his sister the queen from accomplishing what the Mad King couldn’t because Jaime killed him, but even that sacrifice and bravery won’t matter.

That’s because life isn’t fair, not in Westeros, not across the Narrow Sea, not anywhere. Duty, honor, justice—these are concepts that don’t always mean what we think they should, and that’s why he never Jaime never told anyone what really happened until he sat in that bathtub as a broken man. He didn’t think anyone would care.

The sad thing is just how right he was.

What did you think of that scene? What about this episode? Tell us in the comments below.

Images: HBO

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