Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 3, Episode 5 of HBO's "Game of Thrones," titled "Kissed by Fire."
You gotta serve somebody, as Bob Dylan sang, and that unpleasant fact of life is bringing misery to all our favorite intrigue artists on this week's "Game of Thrones."
The Brotherhood Without Banners serves the Lord of Light, so when "He" sees fit to let the Hound slice their leader nearly in half during his Trial by Combat, they let the big oaf go -- no matter how much the decision may boil Arya Stark's blood. I actually like the Hound, and I was proud of him for facing his fear of fire. I don't think we've seen the last of him.
You know who else serves the Lord of Light (or, as I like to call him, LOL)? Stannis Baratheon's weird wife, who is completely FINE with his decision to impregnate Melisandre with a homicidal smoke goblin. She's all, "You two kids have fun -- I'm just going to continue this one-sided chat I've been having with these three jars of formaldehyde. In fact, do whatever you want, as long as you don't look at my hideous daughter."
From the way they set up this scene, I was expecting the girl to look like a cross between Jabba the Hutt and the deformed guy from "The Goonies," but instead, her condition looks like the kind of thing that a competent dermatologist could clear up in a week or two.
Stannis is horrible in every way imaginable, so it's almost reassuring to know that he's a dreadful father, too. Who made you that toy boat, sweetheart? Ser Davos? The only sane, competent person in my orbit? Yeah, he's literally rotting in a dungeon. Welp, nice seeing you, honey. Sweet dreams.
So, yeah, Ser Davos is feeling the pain of being loyal to the wrong person in a big way. Even he has to admit that, technically speaking, he is a traitor. Not to mention illiterate. Suddenly, this storyline is veering into Lifetime-movie territory, but at least the kid has a friend now.
Arya's pal Gendry is sick of swearing loyalty to the wrong people, so he's accepted a blacksmithing position with the Brotherhood. Their leader may be a barking-mad religious fanatic who's been resurrected more times than Andy Pettitte's career, but at least he's democratically elected!
Nobody's quite sure who Jon Snow is serving, but Ygritte intends to find out. She steals his sword and lures him into her sex cave, wasting no time executing the nudity clause in actress Rose Leslie's contract. I loved the part where she asks him, "Why are you still dressed?" Ygritte, have you been watching this show? The girls are always naked and the guys are always in armor. That's how we roll around here! And how about Jon Snow proving that he's "that kind of guy" right off the bat? I heartily approve, but I do wonder if these two, having spent untold hours wandering through zombie killing fields, should have considered bathing before flagrantly violating Jon's oath to the Night's Watch.
Speaking of bathing, how about that scene with Brienne and Jaime in the hot tub? First of all, I don't know who Gwendoline Christie's agent is, but all the other actresses on this show need to give her or him a call, because that's probably the first time a character's breasts were visible to another character but not to the camera. Jaime and Brienne are growing ever more fond of each other, and it was great to finally hear his side of the "Kingslayer" story. Faced with the choice between loyalty to a sadistic mass murderer, on one hand, and regicide, on the other, Jaime chose Door No. 2, killing the mad king and earning the disapproval of Mr. Morality, Ned Stark. Will Jaime's unsentimental view of Ned rub off on Brienne and make her question her oath to Catelyn? Could be!
You know who is not having much luck on the loyalty front? Robb Stark. Things have been going down hill ever since he decided to break his pledge to marry Walder Frey's daughter and now, Richard Karstark has gone rogue and slaughtered Robb's underage Lannister hostages. Karstark's still mad that Catelyn sent Jaime away after he killed the old man's son, but now Robb is enraged that these two harmless boys have been whacked against his orders. Everyone warns him not to kill Karstark -- who, in fairness to Robb, is a total dick -- but he does it anyway, chopping the whiny old bastard's head off himself. As predicted, this decision alienates the entire Karstark contingent of Robb's army, leaving him weakened and vulnerable to Tywin Lannister's forces. His only chance is to take Casterly Rock, the seat of House Lannister, which he can only do by winning back Walder Frey. What a pain!
Over in Daenerys Targaryen's camp, Ser Jorah Mormont and Ser Barristan Selmy are already bickering. Selmy has served a bunch of terrible kings, and he just wants someone he can believe in, damn it. He thinks he's found it in Daenerys, and now he's telling Jorah to step aside to protect her reputation. That is just crazy talk, and I'm not just saying that because nobody sounds cooler uttering the word "Khaleesi" than my man Ser Jorah. Anyway, he isn't buying it. "You're no Lord Commander here," he tells Selmy."You're just another exile, and I take my orders from the queen." Whut!
As for Khaleesi, she's getting to know her new soldiers, starting with a handsome fellow named ... Grey Worm. Upon learning that all the Unsullied have been given degrading slave names on snipping day, she orders them all to come up with new ones -- only to have Grey Worm say he'll keep his, thanks, since it's the one he had when he was freed by the great Daenerys Stormborn. (I'll tell you one thing: I'd rather be called Grey Worm than Barristan Selmy.)
Anybody else think the Lannisters should have their own reality show? I mean, they're richer than the "Real Housewives" and five times as dysfunctional. Cersei thinks she's all slick by proving -- with assists from Littlefinger, a saucy rent boy and some very jumpy editing -- that Margaery is scheming to marry Sansa off to her gay brother, Loras. That gets Tywin's attention, and he starts by instructing Tyrion -- who's been busy trying to cover the costs of the impending royal wedding -- to marry Sansa. As always, Peter Dinklage is amazing. You can see that he's hiding his wounded feelings concerning Shae, but his pity for Sansa also feels genuine.
Then Tywin turns on Cersei. She's getting married, too, he informs her: to Margaery's gay brother, Loras! She won't do it, she says. She much prefers being the Queen Regent. And, one supposes, she'd like to keep her schedule open in case Jaime ever turns up. But Tywin will not be defied. "You'll do as I say and marry Loras Tyrell. And put an end to the disgusting rumors about you once and for all," he thunders, before adding, for good measure, "My children. You've disgraced the Lannister name for far too long."
Something tells me he ain't seen nothing yet.
And now, 10 lines we should all be looking for opportunities to use in daily conversation:
- "Just cause you want him inside you don't make him one of us."
- "I like you, boy, but if you lie to me, I'll pull your guts out through your throat."
- "You swore some vows. I want you to break 'em."
- "What good is the word 'extravagant' if it can't be used to describe a royal wedding?" (Once again, every line in Olenna's scene was pure gold. Here's to a satisfying bowel movement, milady!)
- "Kill me and be cursed. You are no king of mine."
- "Every time I come back I'm a bit less. Pieces of you get chipped away."
- "I don't intend to be the first Lannister to die in a bathtub."
- "Burn them all!"
- "It doesn't matter what we want. Once we get it, then we want something else."
- "This is a plot. Plots are not public knowledge."
"Game of Thrones" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.