It has always been my opinion that one of the hardest challenges an actor will ever face is to soliloquize while naked in a bath. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime) had his opportunity in this episode. He was so good with the delerious  revelation of why he had to kill Mad King Aerys that I forgot the NPM count and you all know I’m a big fan of Gwen Christie (Brienne)

 “The traitors want my city…. but I’ll give them naught but ashes. Let Robert be king over charred bones and cooked meat”. – Aerys the Mad

Aerys, the last Targaryen to sit on the Iron Throne, went all Howard Hughes with foot long fingernails, long scraggly hair and deluxe version paranoia. His faithful Mormon bodyguards…excuse me the Kingsguard, enabled the insanity. They tolerated a king that couldn’t get sexually aroused except when someone was burning and incidents like when Aerys ripped out Ser Ilyn Payne’s tongue with hot pincers for suggesting that Tywin Lanister truely ruled the Kingdom. It fell to the last remaining honorable Kingsguard, Jaime Lannister,  to save half a million people from the funeral pyre of a madman. Von Stauffenberg should have done as well Jaime.

The bath scene between Brienne and Jaime had already inspired an incredible amount of fan fiction.

Jaime’s soliloquy as he bathed with the Maid of Tarth was one of the strongest moments in the show so far. What at first seems to be a patented HBO sex scene turns to be a moment between comrades. Brienne is naked and vulnerable but what Jaime actually needs is someone he can trust to keep him from drowning if he passes out. He then reveals to Brienne that the Mad King had stored wildfire throughout King’s Landing and had planned to burn that city and all its inhabitants rather than surrender. It casts his part in Aerys’ death in a whole new light. There is a reason this epic story is called A Song of Fire and Ice and here we are given an episode full of fire and steaming volcanic springs where that fire meets ice.

Thoros, the Red Priest sent to interest fire fascinated Mad King Aerys in the god of flame and shadow, was once known for wielding a sword set aflame with wildfire at tourneys. Three times he defeated Sandor Clegane with a sword of fire in the mêlées. The Hound, who was burned by his brother as a child, is terrified of fire and this time it is no mere doctored sword but one genuinely kissed by the fire god.

“I don’t think it works that way, child,” Thoros tells Arya after she asks if he can bring back someone who had their head cut off. In a world of magic and gods that grant such tangible gifts I’d also be asking “why not my family” after the Hound kills Beric Dondarrion and Thoros revives him with the power of his god. I think mad Kings and mad Gods had best beware of this angry girl who’s obviously unsatisfied with the answers given.

Rose Leslie – Photography Jen Carey

In the North the plot is still tangled and unsatisfactory for those of us who’ve read the books. I’m not sure how to score the NPM count when it’s a star of the show like Rose Leslie who plays Ygritte Spearwife. Should I double the count if it’s not Anonymous Hooker Six? You might remember Rose from her role as the housemaid Gwen on Downton Abbey. Rose grew up in Lickleyhead Castle, her family’s 15th century ancestral seat in Scotland. The daughter of Clan Leslie displays her beautiful bottom in this episode and then denies Ygrittes signature statement “You know nothing Jon Snow” in a steamy sex scene where  she moans in surprise as Jon kisses her in interesting places.

Robb Stark again proves he has no practical grasp on the Game of Thrones. We understand the obligations of House Stark have come full circle from the first moments of the show when Ned Stark personally executes a deserter from the Night’s Watch. A more skilled player like Ned  never would have been put in the position of needing to execute Rickard Karstark. The whole situation with Catelyn willing to do anything to secure her daughters should have been resolved long ago. Robb just isn’t his father, Ned never would have broken a pledge over a silly thing like love. If he had we’d know who Jon Snow’s mother is.This is Westeros there are always consequences to breaking a pledge.

In Kings Landing the Lannisters and the Tyrells play the more genteel game of bartering fertile women. I have never liked Cersei and will cheer her walk of shame but you have to feel sorry for her when she realizes that her father thinks she’s nothing more than breeding stock just like ignorant little Sansa and that Tywin intends to dump her on the ever more gay Loras of the Roses.

The confrontation between the Lannister Lion and the Queen of Thorns just serves to show us that the House Tyrell is far more sophisticated in the civilized game than the House Lannister. Lady Olenna has hidden sharp claws but it’s not a civilized time and Tywin is a past master at violent betrayals. Remember, “A Lannister always pays his debts.” You would think he’d remember his children are Lannisters too. Tywin betrayed a King after being told he was no more than an able servant. Does he think Cersei or Tyrion would do any less?

“You are my most able servant, Tywin, but a man does not marry his heir to his servant’s daughter.”

There is a new city in the Emmy winning title sequence created by Elastic. The astrolabe of rotating rings engraved with the song of fire and ice turns and on the surface of the inner sphere gears raise the city of Yunkai instead of Astapor.  Yunkai is the next destination of the Khaleesi of slaves and her dragons.

Daenerys Stormborn is a Queen where Rob Stark is a boy pretending to be King.. It’s not only the lucky Grey Worm that recognizes her worth. Already the sycophants are beginning to squabble for the right to be close to the seat of power. Jorah Mormont was disgraced in Westeros by selling slaves. Did he redeem himself by displaying fealty to the Queen when she was nothing but a child bride sold for gold to barbarians? I’ve got no idea because the TV show is wildly divergent with this plot line and it could go anywhere.


I’ve stopped minding terribly when the show diverges from the novels. Too many of George R.R. Martin’s characters were just flat cardboard fillers in his mighty plot and the show is good at giving them flesh and bones. Margaery for example has become the wicked disciple of her grandmother the Queen of Thorns and I love it. I’m absolutely certain that the tangled plot in the North will be straightened out and if they want to show more of the backside of the Lady of Lickleyhead Castle I’ll enjoy that as well. HBO has never hesitated to reward us with little treats like that whether we’re fond of the buttocks of Ygritte, Loras, Jaime or even tall Brienne. Maybe someday they’ll even treat us to a show like Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake where there is both sex and consequences.

Keep watching because the Iron Throne is yet to be a firm seat for anyone. Get the books if you’re  reader and addicted to the show. There’s a lot that the producers just can’t afford to show you. They work hard to keep things authentic though. Just when you think she’s been written out of the show Princess Shireen appears to sing the oh so important Summer Under the Sea. Alas though, George R.R. Martin has confirmed on his “not a blog” that Strong Belwas will not appear. Whatever will I do with all these Honeyed locusts?

READ: Game of Thrones: And Now His Watch is Ended

READ: Game of Thrones: Walk of Punishment

READ: Game of Thrones: Dark Wings, Dark Words

READ: Game of Thrones: Season Three Premiere

It’s always summer

Under the sea

I know, I know

Oh, oh, oh

The birds have scales

And the fish take wing

I know, I know

Oh, oh, oh

The rain is dry

And the snow falls up

I know, I know

Oh, oh, oh

The stones crack open

The water burns

The shadows come to dance

My lord

The shadows come

To play

The shadows come to dance

My lord

The shadows come

To stay