Game of Thrones: “The Lion and the Rose” Review
“Kneel before your King”
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
Seriously, why the hell would anyone even have a wedding in Westeros anymore? You’re just asking to die a horrible death! There is of course only one place to start this week and it’s the excruciating and totally welcome death of Joffrey Baratheon, everyone’s least favorite boy King. While “the Red Wedding” last year had fans reacting in outrage, “the Purple Wedding” (the fan-made name for this particular event) will surely encourage completely opposite reactions. Over the course of the previous three seasons, we’ve had plenty of villains pop up, but none have been so downright vile and unsympathetic as Joffrey. Jack Gleeson has done a fantastic job portraying the sadistic regent, but it’s hard to say the character will be missed.
Even if you haven’t read the books, you could probably guess something was going to happen. With tension brewing between a whole host of different characters, it looked like it was only a matter of time before this “joyous” occasions got interrupted. With Oberyn Martell having already proved himself to be an unpredictable element, he might have seemed like a prime suspect, but as time ticked away on the episode, the focus narrowed to Tyrion and Joffrey. Joffrey’s continued disrespect of his uncle reached its lowest point as he trotted out a group of dwarves to put on a shambolic portrayal of “The War of Five Kings,” something which in fact also offended a whole load of the other guests there.
Considering the method of assassination here was poison, it narrows down the list of people who could have carried out the act to the people in Joffrey’s general vicinity. With Tyrion acting as cupbearer for the King, it’s pretty obvious that he’s going to be accused of regicide and treason here, but did he in fact do it? A lot of people have grievances with the Lannisters so the suspect list is a long one indeed. Oberyn has a particularly large act to grind, so he’ll be pretty high on that list along with Tyrion. One other thing of note is Ser Dontos running off with Sansa in the middle of all the confusion. Whether he was acting on instinct or had prior knowledge of what was going to happen, it looks like Sansa’s story has taken an interesting turn.
There were a few other noteworthy events in Kings Landing this week before all of the wedding madness. After finding out that his relationship with Shae had come to his sister’s attention, Tyrion found he had no choice but to drive her away. I found it a little hard to believe that Shae couldn’t realize what Tyrion was doing, but in the end she was escorted to a boat out of the city by Bronn. Speaking of Bronn, his new job is to help Jaime learn how to use a sword with Jamie only having one remaining hand. While both of these characters have been incredibly dangerous with a weapon in their hands, they’ve also been incredibly entertaining to listen to. I imagine their verbal sparring will be a highlight of their moments in episodes to come.
Now that Joffrey is gone, there are some very large, sadistic shoes to fill. Seeming to step into those shoes is Ramsay Snow, Theon’s tormentor and Roose Bolton’s bastard from last season. As if carving pieces off Theon last season wasn’t enough to let us know he’s a horrid human being, we get to see him hunting down some poor girl here and letting her get torn apart by his dogs. In the time that has passed since we last seen them, he has also completely broken Theon who has now become the obedient, quivering Reek. Theon was never the most sympathetic character but to see him reduced to this is certainly hard to see, especially his reaction to learning of Robb Stark’s death at the hands of his father, Roose. With Roose Bolton learning that Theon didn’t actually kill Bran and Rickon, his search for the remaining male Starks may be a driving point of their story this season.
Speaking of Bran, we briefly caught up with him, Jojen, Meera and Hodor here as they continued their trek up North. Despite multiple warnings, it seems like he is continuing to drift deeper and deeper into his warg abilities. These abilities did lead to one of the most interesting scenes of the series so far as Bran had a vision of what looked like the past, present and the future, which even included a little glimpse of Season 1’s Ned Stark! There were also quick looks at the Iron Throne and a huge dragon’s silhouette over a city. The whole thing was quite chilling, but it also gave Bran a clear look at what he has to do next. Kind of like Daenerys’ story, Bran is completely cut off from the rest of the action, so his story is going to have to stand on its own. It’s off to a good start here.
We also briefly caught up with Stannis and Co., starving over on Dragonstone, but this episode will only ever be remembered for one thing: the death of Joffrey. His death will be the driving force of events at Kings Landing going forward this season, and it will have major repercussions for a huge amount of characters all over the world. We had no scenes with Daenerys, Arya and others this week but as I said in my review of the premiere, that’s OKAY for the first few episodes. The show needs to catch up with everyone, along with establishing the storylines for this season, and they’re off to an exceptionally good start with what they’ve accomplished already in two hours.
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