Game of Thrones Recap: Betrothed, Bewildered and Bothered (Not to Mention Bathed and Boffed)

Game of Thrones Season 3 RecapIf David Tutera ever needs to take a week off of My Fair Wedding, he need look no further than Game of Thrones‘ Tywin Lannister. The speed with which Papa Lion arranges for two of his children’s marriages in this week’s episode is impressive  — and would leave plenty of time for dithering between “celery-” or “sea foam-” hued bridesmaids’ gowns. Meanwhile, the elder Lannister son engages in a bathtub confession that is far less sexy and far more moving than it sounds, and Jon Snow does the wild thing with a wildling. Let’s see what all of your favorites were up to in “Kissed by Fire.”

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HOUSE LANNISTERS: THE-UNTOLD-STORY EDITION | Jaime and Brienne’s captors bring them to Roose Bolton, who releases Brienne and apologizes for her treatment, then sends Jaime to get some medical attention. The maester removes Jaime’s bandage and — once I stop dry heaving — Jaime refuses milk of the poppy while the “corrupted” flesh is cut away and the infection is burned off. He screams. A lot.

Later, he bathes – choosing to strip and hop in Brienne’s tub instead of the empty one adjacent to it. He makes a crack about how poorly she protected Renly, which makes her stand and nearly charge him, boobs be damned. He immediately apologizes and, good God is this possible?, seems like he truly means it. “You’ve protected me better than most,” he admits, then asks for a truce. “You need trust to have a truce,” she says warily. “I trust you,” he responds quietly.

Maybe his defenses are so low that he doesn’t care what happens to him. Maybe he truly sees Brienne as someone who might understand him. Whatever the reason, Jaime then tells the entire story behind his “Kingslayer” moniker, and here’s the condensed version: The Mad King, true to his name, hid pockets of glowing, green, explosive wildfire all over the city. When Robert Baratheon stormed the city and Tywin was only looking out for himself, Jaime urged the king to surrender peacefully… but Maester Pycelle suggested that the king trust the Lannister head. “So he opened the gates, and my father sacked the city,” Jaime says sadly.

Another plea for surrender ended with the king ordering Jaime to bring him Tywin’s head and ordering the pyromancers to destroy the city — men, women, children, everyone. Jaime looks at Brienne, near tears, and asks, “Would you have kept your previous oath then?” In the end, he killed the pyromancer and ran his sword through the king, then slit the monarch’s throat on the off chance that King Aerys was going to be reborn as a dragon, as he believed he would be. And that is when Ned Stark walked in and, in a split second, made up his mind about what had happened. In Jaime’s depleted state, the anger and sadness over the memory nearly makes him pass out; Brienne catches him in her arms, the two of them forming a watery pietá. She yells for someone to help the Kingslayer. “Jaime. My name is Jaime,” he whispers shakily.

HOUSE LANNISTER: GETTIN’-DRAGGED-TO-THE-CHAPEL EDITION | Tyrion and Lady Olenna meet to discuss the bill for Joffrey and Margaery’s wedding. She agrees to help financially, but owns him (it’s rare someone can leave Tyrion speechless; it’s pretty awesome to witness) when she says, “I was told you were drunk, impertinent and thoroughly debauched. You can imagine my disappointment at finding nothing but a browbeaten bookkeeper.”

Tyrion later thinks he’s being called to a meeting with Tywin to report his success, but is surprised to see Cersei there and even more surprised to hear that, to thwart the Tyrell’s plan to marry Sansa to Ser Loras, he is now Lady Stark’s intended. See, if they marry, the Lannisters will have “the key to the north” – i.e. heir-to-Winterfell (if Robb dies) Sansa – and will be much more powerful than the Tyrells. Cersei looks mighty pleased with herself – “This is more than you deserve,” she hisses at her gobsmacked younger brother — because her intel helped bring this development into being… but just wait, blondie. Daddy Lannister then announces that Cersei will marry Loras instead, tying everything up nicely and putting “an end to the disgusting rumors about you, once and for all.”

THE WILDLINGS: JON-SNOW-KNOWS-SOMETHING EDITION | The men Mance sent with Jon to the wall still don’t trust the former Night’s Watch brother, but one plucky, redheaded wildling most definitely has his back… and she’s about to have a lot more. Ygritte steals his weapon and makes him chase her into a cave full of waterfalls and pools to get it back. But she’s got a different sword on her mind, which becomes clear as she starts to strip. “You swore some vows,” she says matter-of-factly, the skins of many dead animals hitting the ground until she’s nekkid. “I want you to break ’em.”

Jon’s face as he beholds her bare form, by the way, is a hilarious mixture of sheer terror and rapt reverie.  He makes minimal effort to stop her from kissing him, but it’s all over when he wraps her in his arms and abandons himself to the task at hand. (With him still fully dressed in all of his furs and her bareassed, the effect is a little like Chewbacca wandered into a soft-core flick and decided to make himself at home.) Ygritte starts to tease Snow about still being dressed, but her mocking is cut short as he drops out of the frame; pretty soon, winter isn’t the only thing that’s coming. (Side note: As they later discuss, Ygritte is Jon’s first — though not vice-versa. And he clearly rocked her world in a way that – wait, is my mom reading this? Mom, if you are, you can stop here. Nothing of interest happens later in this recap. Bye! – takes a bit of time and instruction to master. Maybe Podrick’s offering some kind of correspondence course?)

HOUSE STARK: RINGSIDE EDITION | Arya has a front-row seat as Beric Dondarrion prepares for his fight-to-the-death with the Hound. “Show us the truth. Strike this man down if he is guilty, give strength to his sword if he is true,” Beric prays to the Lord of Light just before both men arm themselves. Though Clegane is bigger and stronger, Dondarrion’s clearly got some mystical mojo working for him: He slices his palm and sets his blade against the wound, then the entire sword burst into flame and stays that way throughout the fight.  When he lights the Hound’s shield on fire, it looks like the Banned Brotherhood’s leader is going to win. But then, Clegane wheels around and lands his weapon in Beric’s chest near his shoulder, and the smaller man collapses as his blood arcs through the air.

Thoros falls upon his friend and immediately starts praying, but Arya ain’t got no time for that. She grabs a knife, makes a beeline for the Hound (who’s wheezing with fatigue on the ground nearby) and nearly gets to him before she’s detained. “Burn in hell!” she screams but is interrupted by Beric’s voice. Whaaa? “He will,” the revived man promises. “But not today.” Against young Lady Stark’s wishes, the brute is released – and she’s got another blow coming:  Gendry has decided to stay with the brotherhood. “I’m done serving,” the smith tells his ticked-off travel companion, who wants him to join Robb’s army instead. “I never had a family,” he says, trying to make her understand how he belongs somewhere for the first time in his life. “I could be your family,” she says; the naked need in her voice makes me ache. “You’d never be my family,” he replies, but his voice is kind. “You’d be m’lady.”

Later, Thoros informs Arya that they’ll take her to Riverrun and ransom her to her family — not because they want to, but because they need the money. Also of note: Thoros has brought Beric back from the dead six times, but “Every time I come back, I’m a bit less.” After the earlier exchange with Gendry, Arya just about ends me when she meekly asks, “Could you bring back a man without a head? Not six times, just once.” And for the first time in a long while, I’m reminded exactly how young Ned’s younger daughter actually is.

HOUSE STARK: IT’S-KINDA-HARD-OUT-HERE-FOR-A-KING-IN-THE-NORTH EDITION | Rickard Karstark, the father of one of the men Jaime killed, and a few other men murder the Lannister boys Robb’s keeping as POWs. Robb lobs off Karstark’s head for it, thereby losing the loyalty of the dead man’s men. After talking to Talisa, the King in the North comes up with a new plan: He’s going to take Casterly Rock, the seat of House Lannister, but he’s going to need more men. So he settles on the army belonging to Walder Frey, the only forces that haven’t yet taken a side in the fighting. If Frey’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the father of the woman Robb was supposed to marry but jilted in order to wed Talisa. Don’t worry, Robb. I’m sure he’s totally over the slight…

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Did you get a little verklempt when Grey Worm told his Khaleesi why he was keeping his name? Did you immediately fall in love with Stannis’ neglected little girl? Is your fear for Sansa’s fate mounting as the weeks pass? Sound off in the comments!

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