It really pains me to admit this, but I’ll confess it anyway: I like Jaime Lannister.
Yes, he pushed innocent 7-year-old Bran Stark from a window, paralyzing him. And, yes, he very-grossly has sex with his own sister. And, yes, he’s deceitful, traitorous and completely untrustworthy.
But Season Three of “Game of Thrones” has taken Jaime Lannister from a villain and changed him, undoubtedly, into a hero.
In the books, George R.R. Martin accomplishes this feat by choosing to make Jaime a point-of-view character in the third book. As with any point-of-view character, the audience can’t help but empathize with someone once we’re placed into his or her head.
On the show, Jaime’s actions will have to speak louder than his inner-monologue.
And they did Sunday night.
Set free from Harrenhal, and on the road to King’s Landing, Jaime got some startling news: Brienne of Tarth (who he has a love-hate relationship with) was going to be tortured and possibly killed.
The old Jaime would have laughed and rode on, concerned only about himself. But he’s not the old Jaime, anymore.
The older Lannister brother rushed back to Harrenhal in time to see Brienne pitted in a Roman Gladiator-style, fight-to-the-death against a brown bear. Yes, a brown bear, not one of those little black bears. And, anyone who knows anything about grizzlies knows brown bears are natural born killers.
Jaime -- who only has one hand, mind you -- risked his own life, jumped into the bear pit and rescued Brienne. Pretty damn selfless and heroic.
Earlier in the episode, Jaime even promised to find Sansa and Arya Stark and return them to Catelyn.
"I will return the Stark girls to their mother, I swear it," he pledged.
What has gotten into him? Not sure, but if he keeps this up, Jaime might soon become a fan favorite.
North of the Wall
Meanwhile, Jon Snow and the wildlings have successfully scaled the 700-foot ice wall separating the north from the south, and they're plotting an attack on Castle Black.
A bit of jealousy emerges, as Orell reveals his crush on Ygritte, who has totally fallen for Jon. (Incidentally, I'm really beginning to like Ygirtte. She's funny, sarcastic and a helluva good archer.)Jon warns her that if the wildlings attack the Night's Watch, they'll lose.
"Six times you’ve invaded and six times you’ve failed," he says. "If you attack the wall you’ll die, all of you."
Robb Stark’s camp
Robb and his crew are traveling to The Twins, controlled by House Frey, for the wedding of Edmure Tully to one of Lord Walder Frey's daughters.
"I've seen wet s---- I like better than Walder Frey," Edmure's uncle, The Blackfish says.
They're held up by pounding rain, lateness which will likely make the nasty Lord Frey even nastier. (He's already mad that Robb ditched his daughter for Lady Talisa.)Lady Talisa is spending most of the day laying around naked, when she breaks the news to Robb that she's pregnant with his child.
In the capitol city, Sansa is standing round being her usual pathetic self, upon learning she must marry Tyrion.
"I’m stupid, a stupid little girl, with stupid dreams who never learned," she says. (True.)Tyrion isn't terribly excited about it, either, he says.
"Shae isn’t going to like it," he says. (Also true.)
Bronn calls this bluff. "You want to f--- that Stark girl," he says. "You just don’t want to admit it."
Meanwhile, the boy-king Joffrey is sitting around whining that his grandfather, Tywin Lannister, is holding small council meetings in the Tower of the Hand, and the His Grace would have to walk up a lot of steps to get there if he ever were to attend.
"We could arrange to have you carried," Tywin sneers at him.
Joffrey is worried about Daenerys' dragons, but Tywin dismisses the beasts as "curiosities on the far side of the world."
(I hated Tywin in the books; he was a miserable, hateful man. But in the show, I love how he consistently puts Joffrey in his place.)
Melisandre is sailing with Gendry Baratheon past King's Landing, where she reveals to him -- to his astonishment -- that he is Robert Baratheon's bastard son.
"There is power in a king’s blood," she says.
Having freed all the slaves of Astapor, Daenerys is looking to do the same in other neighboring cities.
She and her army march to Yunkai, where 200,000 people are enslaved.
"We have 200,000 reasons to take the city," she says.
(Dany's title is growing in length: She's now "Breaker of Chains" in addition to "Mother of Dragons," "Queen of the Andals," "Khaleesi," etc.)
When the Yunkai send a representative offering gold to negotiate with her, Dany isn't in much of a mood to negotiate. "You will release every slave in Yunkai," she tells him, before her dragons nearly roast him alive and she keeps the gold.
Dany's advisers tell her the Yunkai will not bend.
"What happens to things that don’t bend?" she replies, ominously.
Camp of the Lightning Lord
Arya is angry the Brotherhood Without Banners sold Gendry to Melisandre. "I don’t talk to traitors," she says.
After another dispute with her supposed protectors, she runs away. But she gets less than a football field away, when she's captured.
By who? It couldn't be much worse: The Hound. (Gulp! Please don't hurt my favorite character!)
Mysterious torture chamber
Theon still being tortured, but it's getting even worse and more gruesome.
Two girls begin to (very-weirdly) seduce him when his torturer returns and attacks him again -- this time in his most sensitive place. It's very likely that, after this latest maiming, Theon will never be able to have kids.
On the road with Bran
After Jojen saw Jon Snow at the wall in a dream, the group is headed north.
Osha promises to get them to Castle Black, but no further. She tells an alarming story of her encounter with a wight (what the frozen zombies are called after a White Walker turns them).
"The north was no place for men to be, not any more," she warns.
And that's a warning all of Westeros should should hear.