Video Podcast of Game of Thrones, Season 3, Episode 5, “Kissed by Fire”

In this episode, Scott Eric Kaufman of Lawyers, Guns, and Money and I discuss the relationship between nudity and truth, the question of loyalty and honor, the necessities of power, and Scott’s Grand Theory of Significant Asses.

Check it out!

EDIT: we did a follow-up on religion, as you can see below:

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12 thoughts on “Video Podcast of Game of Thrones, Season 3, Episode 5, “Kissed by Fire”

  1. Sean C. says:

    Regarding how the show handles the upcoming Tyrion/Sansa stuff, I’m not looking forward to more reactions from the segment of the fandom who hated Sansa for being so “mean” to Tyrion. It’s impossible to separate misogyny from those sorts of responses.

    • stevenattewell says:

      Me neither. It often devolves into a mess of misogyny on the one hand, and ableism on the other.

      Really hoping the showrunners manage to thread the needle there.

  2. Raenelle says:

    Tyrion’s words are all about how awful it would be for Sansa, but there’s more. Everything we know about Tyrion is that such a marriage would be a horror for him as well. It would increase the public ridicule, and he would face Sansa’s repulsion, or pity, relentlessly. He doesn’t say this, because he wears his size like armor. He never admits how sensitive he is about his size. But we know that as a tactical decision rather than as loving acceptance of himself.

    • stevenattewell says:

      Sure, you can see that from Tyrion’s chapters – his POV is kind of obsessed about his looks, how Shae couldn’t possibly love him, etc.

      Read something really good once about how the fandom really doesn’t understand the hollowness of Tyrion’s comment about “never forget what you are – wear it like armor,” but I can’t remember where.

  3. Raenelle says:

    There was a nice parallel in the Cersei-Tyrion arranged marriages. For Tyrion, he would be an object of derision because a beautiful girl was forced into marriage with a hideously maimed dwarf. For Cersei, the derision (and that has to be what she feared, for fidelity doesn’t mean a lot for her) would come from a forced marriage to a beautiful man who could not possibly want her.

    • stevenattewell says:

      True. Although I think Cersei’s bigger fear isn’t so much the person she’s marrying as marrying at all: if she married Loras, she’d lose the Regency and would have to live in Highgarden, where she’d be under the thumb of the Tyrells. The Regency represents for Cersei her “moment in the sun” that’s meant to make up for all the years in which her gender denied her the power she sees as her birthright; hence why she fights so hard against Tommen making any moves toward independence in AFFC.

      • Sean C. says:

        One thing about that (especially on the show) is that Cersei’s regency has a very imminent expiry — Joffrey’s age is kind of vague at this point on the show, but he’s clearly on the verge of the age of majority, where even in the books he was like 12 and she had a decent span of years to look forward to. Once that happens, she’s just the dowager, and she has no particular influence over Joffrey (which already makes the regency a bit hollow even when she has it, since Joffrey for much of his reign acts more or less like he doesn’t even have a regent).

        Being Lady of Highgarden and the Reach would theoretically be a decent perch for her long-term, but Cersei lacks both the advance planning skill to see that and the people skills that would be necessary to turn in into a position of real influence (that’s one area where Tywin’s “secure the Reach” idea doesn’t really hold up — if Cersei went around acting like she normally does, it’s rather unlikely she’d be much of a factor in Tyrell family planning).

        • stevenattewell says:

          Actually, Joffrey was more like 14-15 in the books, and there wasn’t a hard and fast date for his maturity. That’s kind of why Cersei hustles to have him crowned, which she shouldn’t have done as Regent, because she needed him on the Throne to counter Eddard. Which made it hard for her to rule him later and why she overreacted with Tommen.

          I think the people skills is the issue, but also it’s fair to say that Olenna would have completely ruled her and she knows it.

      • Sean C. says:

        At first, sure, but Olenna’s old, and will die in the not-too-distant future.

  4. darrylzero says:

    Great podcast — so many things I wished I could weigh in on as they were happening, and a bunch of interesting differences of opinion between the two of you (stated and implicit) that you didn’t have time to explore. Last week’s might have been more fun to listen to (and more informative, with SEK really bringing the film studies knowledge), but this was more engaging, if that makes any sense.

    What I really don’t get about people who think Sansa needs some kind of redemption arc or whatever is their lack of sympathy for her age. She’s what, like 14 at the end of AFFC (and maybe 13 when she marries Tyrion)? How many of us weren’t shitheads in one way or another at 13/14? What few memories I do have of that time alternate between patting myself on the back for being so mature, maybe 20% of the time or so, and cringing at basically everything else. So, yeah, I hated girls like that when I was a teenager, but I know a number of them who grew up and became perfectly lovely people without having to atone for being annoying when they were 13. We all were!

    (This is also at the center of my confusion about the way people relate to the changes in Robb’s storyline in the show — they do make him appear a little more selfish, but for me the whole point of Robb’s character is that he was tragically young, thrust into a situation that no one his age could reasonably be expected to navigate, and that all of his heroic, golden-boy qualities can’t save him from that fundamental truth. So whether it’s his naive feelings of love or his naive feelings of honor that undo him doesn’t matter much to me. Either is compellingly tragic for a 15-16 year old boy but doesn’t wear very well on 20-something character being played by a man who looks like he could be 30). This point in my tirade is about when I usually realize that the person I’m arguing with on the internet might still be a teenager himself, and I once again question my impulse to engage in online debate of any kind.)

    Sansa, for me, is GRRM’s most careful attention to a genuinely plausible origin-story for a hero, something he also clearly works at with the other Stark kids and Dany (though the rest all seem to have some more obvious inherent qualities that make them more predisposed to some form of greatness). In a classic (and lesser) fantasy novel of this kind, Ned would have been beheaded at the end of the prologue, and most of the characters’ climaxes from book 3 (and in some cases, like Sansa’s, maybe even book 4 or 5) would have been the end of the first novel. (Which, of course, was sort of how Martin initially plotted it out — the first book of his planned trilogy was originally going to end with the RW). So many characters real contributions to the game of thrones or the battle against the Others are yet to come, but this is particularly clear in Sansa’s case.

    So, whether or not you like Sansa at the beginning is irrelevant — I think we’re mostly not supposed to, but that we *are* still intended to sympathize with her (like many other characters). I hated her at first but grew to feel for her over time, which I think is roughly what Martin planned for me. After reading AFFC, though, my attention focuses immediately on the Sansa-to-come, and everything before reads as totally embryonic, the kinds of life experiences that could ACTUALLY take a realistic little girl — in a world that has told her unrelentingly that her only role in society is to be a fair and courteous bride (and eventually a noble, faithful wife and nurturing mother) — and turn her into a young woman with the drive to take control of her own destiny.

    Where I read sexism (I think misogyny is a little strong, though the vitriol sometimes makes you wonder) is in the disbelief that this transformation is possible and the desire to treat a young girl with some negative qualities as if those things speak to her innate, unchanging nature rather than the societal pressure she’s under. But I think it reflects even more the underlying reactionary nature of way many of us relate to fantasy as a genre — the kind of stuff that leads people talk about the pseudo-fascist current within Star Wars or LOTR (great man theory of history, etc.). They refuse to see these people as in progress, their stories as a process that takes them from being someone we can relate to and turns them (eventually, after some fits and starts) into someone who can actually affect the course of history — something we ourselves are not capable of and *cannot* relate to, though sometimes we lie to ourselves about that.

    I’ve read this time and again by those people who refuse to sympathize with Theon or Jaime as well, people who say in no uncertain terms that they don’t believe people change, and that they’re basically annoyed that Martin is trying to force character growth down their throats. I disagree, and I even think that those people missing the most impressive aspect of ASOIAF, its radical empathy. But I’m more sympathetic to those arguments (certainly, character growth doesn’t equal redemption, which is a thorny, subjective thing). It’s when when those kinds of arguments are applied to children that I really shake my head. There’s no question that Dany and Sansa get this worse than the boys (or the tomboy), which I think is primarily about sexism, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t seen any number of comments that suggest that 10 year old Bran warging Hodor makes him a bad human being. It’s madness.

    TLDR: She’s a child, you idiots! (Not that I think SEK is an idiot — far from it — just that he’s not seeing clearly on this issue). White and/or upper class privilege is annoying as hell, but we can’t expect 14 year-olds to really grasp what it means. At best, they’ll be courteous and kind to people of different stations and backgrounds, which Sansa does a pretty good job of once she’s no longer a star-struck 12 year old. And who among us wouldn’t be affected by the possibility that we might marry the crown prince/princess of some country or another, let alone all of Europe? I’m disgusted that monarchies linger in this world, even constitutional ones, and I *still* bet that I would be pretty bowled over if some hot royal came courting.

    You’re not better than Sansa, people! In fact, you’re probably more like her than any of the other main characters.

    OK, rant over, apologies for the absurd length.

    • Sean C. says:

      It’s very hard to ignore the sexism in many reactions to Sansa, even discounting the aforementioned “nice guy” attitudes towards her not loving Tyrion (and one should note that she was indeed aware that he’d tried to be kind, but there was no way the situation could have been made palatable).

      So many of the criticisms about her tie back into her girliness (usually contrasted unfavourably with Arya’s more masculine interests). She’s criticized for being passive, for instance, ignoring that it’s the situation she’s in that essentially compels passivity. She’s criticized for being naive in a girly way, while characters with boyish fantasies don’t get the same scorn.

    • stevenattewell says:

      Well, I certainly find Sansa interesting from Book 1.

      I think the main thing is that we haven’t seen Sansa take charge of her destiny yet, although to be fair we haven’t gotten much of her story since ASOS.

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