The 'A Song of Ice and Fire' Domain


Season 3 Interview: Bryan Cogman

It’s always a pleasure to interview writer and story editor Bryan Cogman, who has so far written an episode of each season, including what are amounting to two of our personal favorites of the series: “What is Dead May Never Die” and his season three episode, “Kissed by Fire”.

Below, I talk with Bryan about the episode, the introduction of new characters, his proudest moments, and much more. It’s a lengthy one but, we hope, a good one. Enjoy!


All right, thanks so much for taking the time, first off!

“Of course.”

Now, often episodes seem to have their titles decided at the last minute—George’s episode went through a couple of different names before it was settled. Was “Kissed by Fire” always the title you preferred for your episode?

“Yeah, this one found its title earlier than my previous two.  I think I hit upon it as we were shooting the Beric/Hound duel.  While it’s not always easy or possible to have one unifying theme in an episode, I realized this one most certainly had a unifying element or image, if you will. Of course there’s the line of dialogue it came from, but you have the fiery sword, the fire imagery in the Selyse scenes, the wildfire and “burn them all” of Jaime’s monologue, etc…”
“And it’s always fun to give the episode titles that excite or are familiar to the fan base—I’ve done with all my episodes so far. I think Season Three has a lot of those.”

It does! A lot of effort seems to go into finding just the right title for each episode. It’s not necessarily a straightforward process.

“No, it’s quite tricky sometimes. We had a helluva time naming the season premiere.”

Really? “Valar Dohaeris” seems such a compliment to “Valar Morghulis”, as a title.

“Oh, yeah - it just took awhile for that to occur to us. It echoed the S2 finale… and it worked well with the final moment, with Barristan coming back to serve the Targaryens.”

A scene quite a few were looking forward to. Nice surprise for the readers. Now, your episode of course has the Beric and Sandor fight. In fact, it starts with it. I thought that was an interesting decision, in and of itself, starting with that action beat. Was it always the intention of having it there at the start?

“Yes, that was how we had it outlined.  We thought it would be fun to come out guns blazing at the start of the episode, then, oddly enough, the “climactic” scene of the episode is three people talking at a table. ‘A Lannister Family Christmas,’ as I referred to that scene.”

I thought that was quite effective. It also, it seemed to me, helped ease through a transition from Daenerys’s big moment at the end of the prior episode, which caused so much excitement. It can be hard to follow up something like that, but I think this fight did it, and the performances that went with it. Great work all around.

“Thank you. It was a real pleasure tracking the making of that scene, from the construction of the cave set, to the stunt rehearsals, to that first moment when our Special FX crew demonstrated the fiery sword… and then, of course, watching Alex Graves stage and direct it.  A real thrill.  And let me tell you, that scene was as brutal as anything we’ve attempted—it got hot on that soundstage with the fire pit in that small space.  And Rory and Richard did that whole fight—in Richard’s case with one eye and a sword on fire!  There are very few shots involving stunt doubles.  A lot of love went into that one.”

Definitely a highlight of the season so far, in my opinion. Pretty much exactly how I imagined it should be.

Next up, Jon’s story ... well, heats up in its own way, shall we say. I imagine the table read must have had some laughter going around…

“Ha!  yeah.  I think Rose Leslie blushed a bit.  Actually, I’m not sure if Kit was at the table read this year… so I think she may have read that scene with Mark Stanley (Grenn)?  Not sure… he read a few roles at the table read this year, but I can’t recall if one of them was Jon’s. His Kraznys was terrific.”


“But, yeah, it was nice to write a love scene in which the man was…er, ‘there’ for his lady.”

One always asks if it’s embarrassing or awkward for actors to perform a love scene—but how is it as a writer, writing it and knowing that these colleagues and friends of yours will be performing whatever it is you put down on the page?

“Ha!  Well… I guess I don’t think about it when writing it.  I worry more about my mom & dad watching.  Everyone works very hard to make everyone feel safe and supported when shooting this stuff. At least I had a guide with this one (the books).  Some of them have to come straight out of my imagination and I have to figure out how the hell to describe certain “acts” without sounding like Fifty Shades of Grey.”

I imagine this was a set too, right? That sort of internal waterfall made me wonder a bit, it looked so natural.

“Yeah, it was a set in Belfast. Actually (not to ruin the magic) it’s the same cave set redressed!”

The set construction always was and remains impressive.

“Gemma and her team are the best anywhere, no question.”

Another set we revisit is Harrenhal, as Jaime and Brienne arrives. This one’s more for the book readers… but in the novel, of course, Roose Bolton seems genuinely annoyed by Vargo Hoat taking off Jaime’s hand, but he’s in an awkward position with Hoat and his men—they’re fairly independent of him, and Hoat has big ambitions. On the show, Locke carries out the same sort of action, but he seems to have some different motivation behind it—he’s not angling to get a big ransom from Tywin, or the lordship of Harrenhal, I think. What sort of motives does Locke have, in contrast to Hoat? Part of it is that it’s not exactly clear what his status is. Is he a hired sellsword, or a sworn man of Bolton’s, etc. That sort of thing.

“Locke’s a sworm man of Bolton’s—sort of a Rodrik Cassel type. As for his motivations… I think his maiming of Jaime really does come out of his disdain for Jaime’s type and what he represents.  I think he’s being pretty genuine in that scene in 303 when he takes his hand.  He’s sadistic, cruel, hot-tempered—but he’s good at what he does so Bolton uses him.”
“Regarding Locke vs. Hoat, the main reason for changing him was for simplicity’s sake.  There were already so many ‘bands’ of people—The Brotherhood, the Second Sons later on… it was determined the Brave Companions could be simplified without really affecting the main story. And the shifiting alliances of Hoat—again, very interesting in the book, but it would have been a lot to throw at the audience, many of whom are just now getting the main families straight! We were still going to call him Vargo Hoat—but when he became a Bolton man (and a Westerosi) George asked that we change his name, and we complied.”
“The other main alteration I made to that Harrenhal scene was taking the joke about Jaime’s hand not being missing away from Jaime and giving it to Locke. The reason for that was we felt we needed to get Jaime to the monologue and give him that catharsis before he could start putting himself back together again, if that makes sense”

Ah, interesting. I’ve enjoyed Noah Taylor’s performance. Comes across as quite a nasty piece of work. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of him.

“Yes, Noah is fantastic.  I couldn’t believe we got him!  Been a fan of his for years and years.  Of course, there’s SHINE, but I always loved his performance as the band manager in ALMOST FAMOUS.”

Me too! A film I’ve noticed I’m happy to rewatch with some regularity. Cameron Crowe at his best.

“Love that movie. I geeked out to Noah on set about that. I try to avoid doing that sort of thing with the cast, but I couldnt resist.”

Of course! That moment of catharsis you spoke of, it really is such a central moment for Jaime. I’m so glad it came out so well. Nikolaj’s performance was something else. Were you on set for it?

“Hell yeah, I was! That, for me, was my proudest moment as a writer on this show, watching Nikolaj and Gwen perform that scene. It was a very intense day. Working in the water was a challenge, it’s a long scene, an emotional scene, I think the longest monologue we’ve attempted on this show so far, and Nikolaj was really digging deep.  I think he’d been working toward this moment since he accepted the role.”

Yes, I recall Nikolaj saying as much.

“We ended up going overtime on that scene - it was a very long day.  But so amazing. I was wrecked by the end, and I was mainly just watching!  (apart from the occasional note). But that was one of my top five moments in all of A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE so I was so thrilled to be able to adapt it for our show and our Jaime.”

Absolutely worth it. I think it’s one of George’s finest moments in the novel, too, that scene. The atmosphere, the emotion, the interplay between the two characters. Jaime is the dark mirror to what Brienne holds dear—everything looks twisted up and corrupted in him, but now she sees why it happened.

“Exactly. And, for Brienne, there’s this amazing, empowering moment, where she owns her… I don’t know the word… her womanness.  That moment where she stands before him, naked, defiant, when he’s challenging her on her protection of him and Renly.  And then that look on Jaime’s face when he’s looking at her before him.  Really powerful stuff.”
“You know, when you have actors with that kind of chemistry, it brings a dynamic to the relationship that I didn’t see when I was writing it. Romance, isn’t the right word… but there’s definitely a… I don’t know how to put it—a tension, a sensuality that isn’t necessarily on the page.”

I thought that was a very strong moment, too. They’re both killing it this season. I’ve said it early on, and I’m standing by it—I think this is going to be remembered as Jaime’s and Brienne’s season, when all is said and done.

“You may be right. We had some crew members who are insisting the two of them end up together! But it is a love story of sorts, not a conventional one by any means…”

We’ll have to see what the future brings… I also thought it was very smart to finish on “Jaime. My name is Jaime.” As I recall, Jaime just thinks that, and you could have just left it out. Leaving it in seemed to me to underscore a really central theme, the problem of identity.

“Oh, yeah, you’re right—he does ‘think’ that in the book doesn’t he? The fact that he’s delirious gave me some leeway there—he probably doesn’t even realize he’s saying it out loud…”
“Now that I think about it, I did that with one of Tyrion’s lines in the final scene.  “I was married, or don’t you remember?”  That’s a thought in the book, not spoken aloud to Tywin.”

Turning to Riverrun, Rickard Karstark’s treason, and Robb’s judgment, came out quite well. I mean, I’ll be saying this a lot about this episode, because a lot really did come out quite well.

“Well, thank you. Yeah, it’s a defining moment for Robb too. We were very conscious of the first episode of the series when shooting that scene—Richard especially.  one of the reasons we had him wield a sword as opposed to a pole axe. That was one of the few times we made in rain on purpose!  Rain machines. We also tried to echo that little hand tremor of Robb’s we established in 108, but I’m not sure if it read or not. Been awhile since I’ve seen the episode.”

I was going to ask something about the Blackfish, but will skip that for a moment, since you brought up the execution. There’s a small change from the novel, besides the sword-axe thing, namely the fact that in the book… well, it’s not a pretty death. Robb kills him with the first blow, but it takes several more to actually take his head off, and there’s something about Robb being drenched in blood by the end of it. Which, it seems to me, would echo the ugliness of Theon’s botched attempt at executing a man. Was that a deliberate change, or just a time thing?

“No, it was deliberate.  Since we played that moment out so memorably on screen with Theon and because it seemed to represent Theon being out of his element and having learned nothing from Eddard Stark—it seemed that, for our purposes, Robb needed to resemble Ned in this moment: strong resolve, proper training, etc.”

Definitely marks a difference between them on the show. Now, the Blackfish. I think it’s great that he’s in, and I admit I was actually a bit surprised that he was cast. I thought for sure he was going to be cut because, while he’s a character who makes an impression, he’s not necessarily critical to anything. He does give characters like Catelyn and Edmure and Robb some important feedback, but I gather that he’s taken on a bit of the Greatjon as well. Is that right, or am I just seeing things?

“No, you’re right about Greatjon.  The stuff he does in the Karstark scene, is the Greatjon in the book… We always liked him—he was in the original drafts of S1… But we needed to thin the cast out and we realized his S1 duties could be filled by Ser Rodrik.”

Another thing that he’s gotten is ... gosh, he sure doesn’t like his nephew, basically.

“There’s a nice, warm dynamic with him and Cat we were able to use this season—wish there was room for more such moments.  it helps when you have an actor with that kind of presence in Clive… but yes, he’s less patient with Edmure in the show. And Edmure is arguably more ineffectual.”

Tobias Menzies is very, very good at that pained, put-upon look. I feel sorry for him. But I felt sorry for his Brutus, too.

“Yeah, he’s a real good sport.  A lot of actors are so vain, they wouldn’t go there.  But he really plays the role beautifully.  And you can see he means well.  He was another actor where I thought: Oh, we got him for Edmure?  Fantastic!”

Casting’s gone quite well this season for the most part, I think.

“Yes, I’m very pleased with it.  I love Diana Rigg, Paul Kaye… Even a small role like Orell has an actor like Mackenzie Crook… an embarrassment of riches!”

Of course, this episode also—perhaps surprisingly—introduces two brand new characters into the story, Selyse and Shireen, played by Tara Fitzgerald and Kerry Ingram.

“Woo hoo!  Another treat for me.  I got lucky when I was assigned this episode.”

When was it decided that they were finally going to appear? Well, you had a stand-in for Selyse in the opening of S2, and I think Melisandre makes a passing reference to her, but this is quite a bump up in visibility.

“It was an evolving thing. Season 2, as ever, we had to be judicious about how many characters to introduce.  It was decided that, dramatically, it made sense for the S2 Stannis scenes to involve this triangle of characters, if you will—Davos on one side, Melisandre on the other, Stannis being pulled between the two.  In the book, you have Selyse on the Mel side but we decided to pull her out of the political discussion, at least for now. But when the decision was made to dramatize the conception of the shadow monster…”
“It was very important that Stannis be a married man, breaking a vow, so we made a point of showing he had a wife.  We came up with the idea of her being shut away in a tower, frankly, at first, as an excuse to keep her offscreen.  At that point, we honestly didn’t know if we would include Shireen or not—we never know how many characters this show can handle so we sometimes hedge one way or the other.  So we made it clear that Selyse had given Stannis “no sons”, leaving the door open for Shireen if we needed her. Anyway, we come to season 3—and this goes to how you adapt the Stannis stuff for TV—Stannis, thus far, is only seen through the eyes of other characters. Mainly Davos and, if you count up his chapters/page count/appearances, it’s not a lot. So it was decided that we needed to create a specific emotional arc for him this season—again, using clues from the book, we didn’t come up with this stuff out of thin air, despite what some Stannis fans say—”

I find many of the “Stannis the Mannis” fans have a superhuman picture of Stannis that isn’t really what’s in the text.

“Agreed! So the idea being that he was really thrown after Blackwater” and with Davos gone and him seeing what he’s seen in the flames, he’s clinging to Melisandre, almost like a drug, an addiction.. Anyway, “his fires burn low” (again, a direct quote from the book) and that means he doesn’t have the life force to create another demon.”

Yep. I thought makeup and such—and performance, too—really sell that he’s quite a bit wearier. He looks a bit older, even.

“Yes.  We figured a great way to introduce is (previously unseen and rarely spoken of) family would be through his eyes. Melisandre has left Dragonstone, he feels abandoned, he’s essentially an addict going through withdrawal and as part of that withdrawal and the guilt associated with his actions in season 2, he decides to check in with his family.”

It’s a bit like he can’t think of anything better to do than to socialize with his family, too. I thought it emphasizes his lack of connection to them except in a notional way pretty well.

“In terms of Selyse—she’s admittedly a bit different from the book, but what we did retain is fanaticism, her fierce devotion to Melisandre and, in show canon (though we didn’t state this explicitly in the show) she was the one that brought Melisandre to Dragonstone.”
“So we asked the question: what would bring someone to abandon their gods and seek answers elsewhere?  Perhaps the stillborn deaths of three sons? And that’s how that scene was born.”

I was going to ask about where that particular image of the stillborn children came from. That makes sense.

“Yes, the three babies came to me in state of half-sleep. I often wake up thinking about scenes I’m writing.

The writer’s life—you’re never off the clock, even when you’re asleep!

“Yeah! I had read somewhere about a mother who encased her stillborn baby’s dead hands in bronze and kept them on her mantle. So I rolled over to my wife, in bed, and said: ‘What if Selyse keeps her stillborn babies in jars?  Preserved in liquid?  Is that just too crazy?’ And she said (thankfully) ‘Well, just write it.  They’ll probably cut it, but give it a try.’ My second proudest moment as a writer on this show was when I walked on set and saw those dead baby props!”

How morbid. Fitzgerald does a great job, another terrific addition to the cast. The moment when you realize that she’s fully aware of and in support of the infidelity was very good. Her zealotry runs so deep that she doesn’t feel shame or anger over something that’s obviously so insulting.

“Right!  And the disgust and horror (but also relief) on Stannis’ face when he hears that.”
“Now, with Shireen—she’s essentially the Shireen from the books.  The main difference is Selyse’s attitude towards her is a bit different.  She has a more overt hatred and resentment of her—she wanted to give Stannis sons, not a deformed daughter.”

A very unhealthy family relationship, all around. Poor Shireen. If Selyse is for Melisandre… in a way, Shireen is for Davos. I thought it was a really good idea to give them more of a personal connection, especially as Edric Storm isn’t around.

“Yes, that came about in the writers room.  Once again I was trying to get myself on the show (as Maester Pylos) and once again my plans were thwarted! But having her teach Davos to read was too good an idea. I love that scene—it’s one of the few scenes depicting… well, kindness, we have on the show.”

Liam’s one of my favorites on the show, he does all these personal scenes so well. Really imbues them with a sense of a real person living a real life, with real relationships.

“Yes, he really… this will sound cheesy but he cares about the show and his role in it. One of my favorite moments in Season 3 is when he allows himself to laugh at Shireen’s little joke about being locked in cells. Again, we had to come up with a strong arc for him to play and mourning Matthos was it.  Since he only has one son in show canon, it’s arguably a bigger loss—he has to find a way to overcome the grief and serve his king.”

You know, thinking along that line was one thing that made me think it might have been interesting having Catelyn interact with young, doomed Willem and Martyn a bit.

“Oh, yeah… I guess it would have! Actually, that scene with her and the Blackfish, an early version of that scene was in my episode. She was reflecting on Martyn and Willem’s deaths and it segued into the “wait for me” speech. But it was felt it was stronger if it came in the opening Riverrrun episode. I think it was the right move—made it more about her father’s death.”


“Funnily enough, the extra scene we DID have with the Lannister boys came later, after the read throughs.  We realized they needed to be introduced on screen or their deaths were just a plot point.”

Going back to Shireen for a bit…  we get Patchface’s song in, too, with Shireen singing it. Should we take it that she learned that from him, or is it something she’s made up herself?

“Ah yes!  Patches.  I think you can take it either way.  I don’t know that we’ll see Patchface on the show, but you can take it that she’s singing the song she’s grown up hearing him sing. My very first version of that scene (before I turned it in) featured Patchface but it simply didn’t work. It was enough to have to introduce his family—having a raving jester in there muddled it more than a bit.”
“Patchface is one of those wonderful, minor book characters that would be really fun to have in the show but would require so much exposition… who knows?  I rule nothing out… in the meantime, her song was meant as a little nod to him.”

When was it decided to record the song and put the whole thing over the credits? Wonderfully creepy touch.

“II like that they used it in the end credits—this weird, disturbing child’s song after witnessing a weird, disturbing father/children relationship (Tywin and his kids). The guys came up with that as we were shooting. So I came up with a few more lyrics based on Patch’s ravings… that was a nice challenge.”

Moving across the narrow sea for a little bit, the Jorah and Barristan scene was interesting in a couple of ways. First, it introduces a new tension—Jorah now feels threatend by Barristan’s presence, in terms of influencing Daenerys. But I also detected an undercurrent of something else—like he was fishing for information about just what Barristan knew about him and his dealings with Varys. Hence the change of not having Barristan on the small council.

“Yeah, that was an interesting scene—fun to watch Iain play.  I actually didn’t write any of the Essos stuff.  It was all scripted by D&D to originally go in 306, but it was moved into my script early in production (well before we shot, so Alex Graves did direct all those scenes).  But, yeah, it’s a different riff on their relationship, to be sure.”
“The Dany stuff is a challenge—she’s also someone who has less chapters than other major characters, so adapting her story and its events is less straightforward than others.”

I actually thought it was a nice touch having her sort of riding around in the background. There’s a whole army there, she’s not always hanging out with Jorah and Barristan. And obviously, they introduced Gray Worm, too.

“Yeah, it’s probably refreshing for Iain Glen! How many times can he explain something about Essos culture to Dany?  ;)”

That’s three new characters introduced half way into the season. That may be a first for the show.

“Well, we try.  And there’s still more to come!”

Now, I have to ask about this one, because for me—I’m sad to say—it was the one sore spot in the episode, which otherwise I think is right up there with the best episodes of the series to date…

“Well, thank you and go right ahead!”

What’s up with Loras getting his head turned, and so quickly? “When the sun has set, no candle can replace it,” was a line I was really hoping to hear. It’s such a naively romantic thing, the intensity of young love and all.

“Ah ha.”

It also sort of sticks him into the same general position of Sansa, as this character who has this idealistic, romantic image of things. (It’s even funnier when you consider that Littlefinger, too, is a romantic, but a twisted version of one.) A lot of characters are actually romantics, though, in the novels. It’s a current that runs through a lot of George’s work.

“Well, in terms of plotting it’s part of a larger storyline we came up with to keep a lot of our players (Cersei, Varys, Littlefinger) engaged this season.  If you look at A Storm of Swords and break it down, there isn’t a whole lot of King’s Landing in the first part of the book—the majority of its story is in the latter section, much of which we won’t see until Season Four…  so the Lannister/Tyrell/Stark marriage plot and its various ins and outs were expanded.”
“In terms of Loras…”
“It’s different, you’re right.  I feel like he’s in mourning, he’s depressed, and this encounter with Olyvar is him medicating his wounds, if you will.  There was a longer version of their scene in earlier drafts that might have made that more clear—as we get closer to production a lot of trims have to be made and this scene was one where I had to do that.  But that’s my thinking - he certainly hasn’t moved on from Renly emotionally. But he’s lonely and here’s this guy who comes on strong and he takes the bait.  I don’t think he’s thinking straight, he’s so confused, which is why he lets it slip about Sansa.  But, yeah, admittedly (and ideally) you’d have more time to lay that track, maybe have him spill the beans about Sansa in a separate scene… but the info had to be discovered in this episode, so there you go.  But, yeah, a different take on the character than his book counterpart, to be sure.”

Fair enough. There’s always that time constraint, of where you can fit in a scene, where you have to compress…

“And I just can’t seem to NOT write Finn Jones sex scenes in my episodes, so there’s the real reason.”


“One other note on Loras/Renly.  While I believe their love was genuine—their dynamic was already established as rather different in the show vs. the book.  It could be argued our Loras is not so much an innocent Sansa counterpart. So show Loras seeking comfort in the arms of a new man isn’t as much of a stretch…”

True. Though you then have the Bluray, with the cut scene (as one of those bloody dragon eggs!), where you can see how he blames himself and it wasn’t really anything like he wanted.

“Ah, yes, but that scene was cut!  :)  But I take your point.  I do think their love was genuine.”

It does nicely set up Littlefinger going to Sansa and ... testing her? Testing his theory that she’s the intended? It was a nice way to wrap that up. Or, I should say, lead us to the wrap up.

“Yes, Littlefinger is meeting with Sansa to see if she’s A) been made aware of her engagement to Loras and B) how she feels about it.  She confirms both questions when she lets him know she’d rather not escape the capitol after all. It was a way to really illustrate to that Sansa truly thinks the Tyrells are the answer to all her problems.  Just when she thought all chivalry and heroism was dead—here’s this amazing family come to get her out there.  And not by sneaking around and escaping!  Through a proper marriage in the sight of the gods.”

“The other reason for complicating this plotline was to give Cersei a little more agency.  She doesn’t like the Tyrells, she can sense they’re hatching their own plots, she enlists LF to find out why and in so doing he happens to uncover that his own plans are about to be thwarted.”

And speaking of Cersei…. To wrap up, lets talk about that last scene, that climactic moment around a table, of all things.

“Yes, please! That was a great day.”

I did love Lena’s smirking through all that. Of course Cersei would feel a great deal of schadenfreude, and of course she couldn’t contain herself. Until, of course, she got that rude surprise.

“Exactly. It’s always fun in these King’s Landing scenes to play with who’s on top and who’s not in any given moment and then pull the rug out. George does it in the books, as well, of course. The main change, in terms of adaptation, was making it an intimate family scene as opposed to a small council scene.  In the book, Varys, LF, and Pycelle are present for this encounter.”
“Well, and of course, Cersei being engaged to Loras instead of Willas.”

Which means it’s been decided that Loras and Margaery are the only children of Lord Tyrell, I take it? No Garlan or Willas?

“At this point, in show canon, they’re the only children of Mace Tyrell.  Margaery is eldest, Loras is the heir.  Considering this plotline dominates the season, it was felt we needed the Tyrell engaged to Sansa (and then Cersei) had to be the Tyrell the audience is familiar with, as opposed to an unseen character.”

Makes sense.

There’s another change I thought which was interesting. You flipped the order around on the revelations. In the book, Cersei’s informed first that she’s being put back on the auction block, so to speak, to make a political marriage, and then Tyrion learns of Tywin’s plan to marry him to Sansa. Did you feel, in writing the scene, that it flowed better by having it the other way around? For one thing, it allowed that gleeful Cersei to last quite a bit longer. Maybe that was reason enough.

“Yeah, that was exactly it.”

Pulling the rug out from under Cersei must be quite fun.

“Cersei thinks she has the upper hand.  She’s proven to her father the Tyrells are scheming, she’s managed to force Tyrion into a marriage he won’t want.  She’s feeling pretty good… then BAM! And it really reinforces what a cold bastard Tywin is.”
“The other element that was fun to play with—we get Tywin (in an indirect way) dealing with Cersei’s affair with Jaime and Tyrion’s scandalous first marriage and the shame and disgust he feels about that (and about them). That’s what the last line is about for me Partly, anyway.”

All right, I think that may be an excellent point to stop. Thanks again, Bryan!

[Edited to add: Bryan contacted me to settle one last point, as many have been wondering about it: ” Gendry’s line “you’d be ‘milady’” is about their class difference.  That’s it.”]