Game of Thrones Episode (4×02) Review – “The Lion and the Rose”

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Game-of-Thrones-Review

The Dwarf, the Cripple, and the Mother of Madness in this episode review on Game of Thrones

Last night the moment we’ve all been waiting for happened: King Joffrey Baratheon, the First of His Name finally got his just desserts. Game of Thrones usually has a tendency to put characters in peril and then slaughter them in the penultimate episode with a few lesser characters biting it around the halfway point. Last night the tables turned as the entire episode seemed like an advanced screening of the next film in The Hunger Games trilogy. From Ramsey Bolton Snow chasing an unarmed girl through the woods with a pack of wild dogs and a crossbow, Melisandre sacrificing folks to The Lord of Light on Dragonstone, and Joffrey getting poisoned at his own wedding, no one seemed safe. Not only that, but the episode was rife with verbal backhands and side-eye. It was everything a viewer could want and more. Now that one of the most loved to be hated characters has choked on his pigeon pie, the die has been cast, and the gauntlet has been thrown as a warning to viewers that George R. R. Martin & Co. are coming for us. Which one of your faves do you fear will be next on the chopping block? Considering most of mine were at the “Purple Wedding,” it seems time to crack a cask of Arbor Gold, grab a case of Kleenex, and grab my rosary beads, cause folks, this is going to be one hell of a scary ass season! So time to string up our harps and begin singing the “Rains of Castamere” in honor of Sigur Ros who didn’t get to finish their rendition at the wedding, and discuss episode 402, “The Lion and the Rose.”

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Must I Bow So Low?

This week’s episode was filled with folks getting their ass handed to them. Not only has Jamie Lannister been humbled by the loss of his hand, but Tyrion has fared no better. The parallel between Tyrion filling Jamie’s wine cup at the beginning and at the end during Joffrey’s wedding was beautifully done. When Tyrion acted as Jamie’s cupbearer, it was to bring comfort to his once mighty brother. Once one of the fiercest swords in the land, Jamie can’t even drink a cup of wine without knocking it over. This was bookended with Joffrey publicly humiliating his uncle by making Tyrion serve him during the wedding feast. Two similar acts, but one was done out of love and the other out of hate. Tyrion had to suffer humiliation publicly, but Jamie was lucky only Bronn got to see him brought low. Though Jamie and Bronn’s training scene was only a tiny blip in the episode, it gave loads of promise that Jamie may rise up again. When that time comes, all those who laughed at his fall better watch out.

Jamie: What kind of warrior are you to attack a man when his guard is down?

Bronn: Best time to attack a man.

Game of Thrones Joffrey Dies in Season 4

Only a Cat of a Different Coat

Now that Joffrey’s bit the dust, viewers still have another character we can love and live to hate. Ramsey Bolton, or Snow, as his father Roose reminds him is one sadistic bastard! Not only has Ramsey cut up Theon Greyjoy like he’s a Thanksgiving turkey, but now he’s taken to hunting defenseless women in the woods with his paramour. If you can call her that. I like to call her his next victim, but whatever. Tomatoe/Tomato… Anywho, anyone who thought Jofrrey’s brand of evil couldn’t be topped hasn’t been paying close enough attention. As evident from the way Tyrion’s witty attempts to help Joffrey save face in front of his wedding guests went completely over the Young Lion’s head, Joffrey’s cruelty is very impulsive. Ramsey, on the other hand, is methodical. It must take immense patience to break a person down the way he’s done with Theon. Ramsey has that fool so trained, he didn’t even take the opportunity to slit Ramsey’s throat when it was presented to him. Joffrey continuously taunting Sansa and Tyrion during his wedding festivities was child’s play in comparison to the games Ramsey Snow can play. When Joff smiles, people cringe because they know he’s about to do something horribly malicious. Ramsey’s smile is so disarming that you never even see him coming, and this is what makes him an even bigger monster in my book. The one you never see coming until it’s too late.

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Pray The Lord My Soul to Take…

While history was made in King’s Landing, sacrifices were being offered up to The Lord of Light. As it goes, Stannis Baratheon has to be the most boring character in this entire series, but at least he loves his little girl. Good thing, too, since his wife Selyse would most likely offer the poor child up to the LOL (LMAO!) if given the chance. Selyse’s jealousy over Shireen is dangerous. She has not one maternal bone in her body. Make that familial bone, as the enthralled Queen burnt her own brother at the stake. This menage a trois between Stannis, Melisandre, and Selyse is the most interesting aspect of their storyline. Not only is Selyse perfectly ok with sharing her husband with Melisandre, but I have no doubt Selyse would give the Red Priestess a go given half the chance, and who could blame her? Melisandre is beautiful, ambitious, and powerful. She’s also dangerous. Never one to suffer a non-believer, Melisandre’s visit to little Shireen was as eerie as it was sweet. Though Melisandre didn’t do as  much talking as she usually does in this episode, her silence was a threat in and of itself. Either Shireen converts to the LOL, or she’ll burn. Considering the only person keeping Shireen from the flames is the father who murdered his own brother for the sake of the Faith, Shireen’s odds aren’t looking good.

Melisandre: There’s only one hell, princess. The one we live in now.

Games of Thrones Episode 4x02

Now the Rains Weep O‘er His Hall

The “Purple Wedding” was everything the “Red Wedding” wasn’t. It was light, darkly comical, and chocked filled with foreboding. As soon as Joffrey began hacking at the book Tyrion gave him as a wedding present during the morning’s breakfast feast, you just knew something bad was about to happen. Tyrion has been on Joff’s bad side for a while, and this tantrum was part of Tyrion’s motivation for breaking up with Shae. If Tywin didn’t have her hanged, Joffrey sure would have. Joff’s torments didn’t end there. Throughout the wedding he continued to ridicule his uncle as well as most of the high born guests in attendance. Thanks to his Dwarf Joust that replayed the War of the Five Kings, Joff managed to insult the Tyrells by having a Renly Dwarf mounted on a faux Loras take it up the bum by Fake Stannis, and fake Robb Stark lost his head during the melee. This taunt was deplorable, and as the camera panned around the crowd it was easy to pick out the few people who didn’t care enough to pretend to find it humorous. Loras Tyrell stalked off in anger while his sister Margaery tried her best to reign in her anger now that she’s the new queen. Olenna Tyrell stared daggers, and she was in good company as Varys, Sansa and Tyrion did the same. Even Oberyn Martell seethed with fury, which wasn’t a surprise since he already made his threats to Tywin and Cersei earlier on in the day.

Cersei: The leftovers will feed the dogs, or you will.

Whether it was Jamie and Cersei issuing threats to Loras and Brienne respectively, Cersei threatening everyone, or Olenna Tyrell verbally slapping both Tywin and Tyrion over how much money the Tyrells have paid for the war and this lavish wedding against common custom, everyone was out for blood, and it was the best ever! The “Purple Wedding” put many characters we usually don’t see together and set up an almost Agatha Christie like Whodunit? that will undoubtedly continue on throughout the rest of the season. Though in his final moments Joffrey pointed the accusing finger at his uncle Tyrion,  those who haven’t read the books have probably compiled a huge list of possible suspects.

Joffrey: A royal wedding isn’t an amusement. A royal wedding is history.

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When author George R. R. Martin pens an episode, you know it’s going to be killer, and “The Lion and the Rose” was just that. Martin’s episode followed closely to the source material, A Storm of Swords, but offered something new to book fans. By killing Joffrey off in the second episode, Martin managed to change viewers expectations that big kills happen in the 8th or 9th episode. It also gave a sense of foreboding by signaling the more death was sure to follow. Alex Graves’ direction was flawless. All the characters featured got the opportunity to shine. From Varys’ continued side-eye and dread throughout the entire wedding as he failed to crack a smile throughout, Sansa’s willpower to endure humiliation in an effort to stay out of Joffrey’s way, or Shae’s mournful tears when Tyrion dumped her. When he told her, “You’re a whore! Sansa is fit to bear my child and you are not. I can’t be in love with a whore. I can’t have children with a whore. How many men have you been with, five hundred? Five thousand?” I almost cried with her. Whatever else Shae may be, one thing’s for sure, she loves Tyrion. Truly.

Jamie: No matter what, you’ll never marry Cersei.

Loras: And neither will you.

Now that Cersei has had Tyrion seized as a Kingslayer and Kinslayer, things are about to get even worse for the dwarf. As one of my favorites, I’m dreading something bad befalling him. As for Cersei, Lena Headey stole very scene she was in. Whether she was threatened by Brienne’s friendship with Jamie, or saving a serving girl from that letch Pycelle, Cersei was in rare form. Even though she’s not the most likeable character, it was hard not to feel sad for her as she cradled her dying child in her arms. No matter how big a monster Joff may have been, no parent deserves to watch their child die.

We’re currently only two episodes into the season, and a major character has kicked the bucket. Thanks to Bran’s foray into the woods to visit a hearttree, things in Westeros aren’t looking too bright. Though we only got clips of what Bran saw, every bit of his vision looked bleak. And we wouldn’t expect for it to be any other way. Would we?

It’s a Nice Day for a White Purple Wedding…

  • Ramsey and Theon’s shaving scene was reminisicent of Celie “fixin’ to shave Mister” in The Color Purple, or was that just me?
  • Speaking of movie lines, Sir Dontos issued one to Sansa when he offered up a variation of “Come with me if you want to live” from the Terminator films.
  • Suspect List: Oberyn, Varys, Margaery, Olenna, Sansa, Tyrion, and Loras. Oh, and let’s not forget how keen Sir Dontos was to get Sansa away from the feast after Joff died. Anyone else I may have forgotten? The list has to be nearly endless!
  • Did Margaery truly think she could control Joffrey? If so, his behavior at their wedding should have alerted her to how much she was dreaming.
  • No one throws shade better than the Queen of Thornes, Olenna Tyrell. No. One.
  • Threatening Loras to stay away from Cersei probably wasn’t the best way for Jamie to cover the fact he’s screwing his sister.
  • Viewers may be elated to see Joffrey go, but I’m sorry to see Jack Gleeson bow out this series. Gleeson breathed life into Joffrey in such a way it’s hard to imagine anyone else doing it better. A phenomenal actor! You will be missed, young sir.
  • Who do you think killed Joffrey?
  • Are you all as excited as I am to jump aboard the Oberyn/Loras ship? No?