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TV Review: Game of Thrones – ‘The Lion and the Rose’

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Natalie Dormer and Jack Gleeson

Natalie Dormer and Jack Gleeson

Attending a wedding on Game of Thrones seems to be a very dangerous thing.  You just never know if you’ll make it to the end alive.  But before we get to the wedding of King Joffrey and Lady Margaery, let’s catch up with everyone else.

Ramsey Snow aka The Mad Man (Iwan Rheon), is on a hunt and loving every minute of it.  He’s gleefully running through the woods with his companion Miranda and new plaything Reek formerly known as Theon Greyjoy.  The Mad Man is hunting a young girl for sport, all because the clueless thing made Miranda jealous, or so he claims.  Miranda shoots the girl in the leg with an arrow, leading to a most gruesome demise as Ramsay commands his dogs to tear her apart.  Poor Reek is terrified beyond belief as he’s forced to look on.

Iwan Rheon

Iwan Rheon

Brothers Jaime and Tyrion are having a meal, although the Kingslayer doesn’t seem to have much of an appetite.  He’s worried that everyone will know that he can no longer fight thanks to the loss of his sword hand.  But Tyrion, always the optimist, has Bronn train Jaime in a secret spot so no one is the wiser.  Bronn starts the training session right away and doesn’t hold back, forcing Jaime to use his left hand for battle.

Roose Bolton arrives at the Dreadfort with his new wife, one of Walder Frey’s daughters.  His crazy son Ramsay is there to greet Roose and his men.  Bolton asks about his “prize,” meaning Theon.  But Ramsay has destroyed Theon/Reek, destroying his father’s bargaining chip in the process.  Roose, although cool as a cucumber, announces his displeasure with Ramsay and thinks he has put too much trust in his son.  But to prove Theon’s/Reek’s loyalty, he is commanded to shave Ramsay’s beard with a straight razor.  Theon/Reek admits that Bran and Rickon Stark are still alive, who could be a an asset to securing the North for Roose.  Ramsay reveals that Robb Stark has been killed just as Theon/Reek hovers the razor near the Mad Man’s throat.  Theon/Reek is clearly upset, but continues to shave Ramsay’s beard.  Roose tasks Locke with finding the two Stark boys, starting with their brother Jon at Castle Black.

Back in King’s Landing, everyone is all atwitter thanks to King Joffrey’s and Lady Margaery’s upcoming nuptials.  Plans are being made, food is being prepared and of course, secrets and lies are all around those in the Red Keep.  Lord Varys warns Tyrion of Cersei’s spy.  The young girl has revealed Shae’s relationship with Tyrion to his sister, who plans to tell Lord Tywin.  The last time Tywin had a conversation with his son about his choice of female company, Daddy Dearest promised to hang whomever shared Tyrion’s bed should that person not be of noble birth (I believe the word he used was “whore”).  Tyrion, already used to these warnings, tells Varys to come up with a good lie to keep his father at bay.  But this time, Varys isn’t having it.  The Spider tells Tyrion that he won’t be covering for him any longer in order to save his own head, and that he needs to get Shae out of King’s Landing if he wants to save her life.

Later, at the pre-wedding dinner, attendees present the Brat King and his bride-to-be with gifts.  Margaery’s father, Mace Tyrell, presents the couple with a wedding cup in hopes of staying on the King’s good side.  Tyrion offers the book The Lives of the Four Kings to his volatile nephew, which Joffrey graciously accepts (and if that doesn’t put you on your guard, you haven’t been watching the show closely enough).  Tywin presents the second of the two Valyrian-steel swords forged from Ice, Ned Stark’s blade.  The Brat King is ecstatic, using the sword to hack Tyrion’s gift to pieces, as expected.  To be even more of a jerk, Joffrey says with a smile, “Every time I use it, it’ll be like cutting off Ned Stark’s head all over again.”  Yeah, that kid is a peach.

Back in his chambers, Tyrion sends for Shae, who think she’s there for some bedroom fun.  Instead, her Lion proceeds to insult and belittle Shae, making her cry and telling her to take a ship to Pentos.  We all know this is a just a ruse to keep Shae safe, but it doesn’t make hearing those words coming out of Tyrion’s mouth any nicer.  Bronn escorts Shae to the ship, but not before she slaps the taste out of his mouth.

On Dragonstone, Lady Melisandre is sacrificing more of its residents for the Lord of Light, one of them being Stannis’ brother-in-law, Lord Florent.  Stannis’ wife Selyse, a zealot if I ever saw one, watches in raptured awe as her brother burns.  When Ser Davos tries to reason with Stannis, he tells the Onion Knight that his brother-in-law was an “infidel” and deserved to die.  At dinner, Selyse babbles on and on, mostly being ignored by her husband and Lady Melisandre until she mentions Princess Shireen.  Selyse says that their daughter is sinful and stubborn and needs a good spanking, but Stannis says no.  Selyse asks Lady Melisandre to speak to the girl, which she does.  Shireen has many questions, the main one being about heaven and hell.  The Red Woman provides no comfort, saying that “the only hell is the one we live in now.”  Alrighty then.

Isaac Hempstead-Wright and Kristian Nairn

Isaac Hempstead-Wright and Kristian Nairn

Bran is living la vida direwolf, inhabiting Summer’s body so he can run, jump and hunt, things he hasn’t been able to do since his “accident.”  Bran/Summer are in the frozen woods, searching for food and finding it in the form of a deer.  Just as Bran/Summer are about to chow down, Hodor’s voice snaps Bran out of his warg-dream.  More than a little peeved, he asks why his companions woke him up.  Meera and Jojen warn Bran that staying inside his direwolf too long will have consequences and that he would forget what it means to be human.

In King’s Landing, the royal wedding has commenced.  Anyone who’s everyone is there to watch the Brat King become a husband.  Lady Margaery, playing her part, dutifully looks at Joffrey with love in her eyes.  But her grandmother knows better.  Lady Olenna knows that her granddaughter has married a monster and will need all of her wiles to keep Joffrey from removing his wife’s head from her shoulders.  Once the ceremony is over, Sansa says, “We have a new Queen.”  Tyrion drily answers, “Better her than you.”  Wiser words were never said.

At the reception, fire breathers, contortionists and other performers do their best to entertain the King and his guests.  Margaery, now the Queen, announces that all of the leftovers from the wedding feast will be given to the poorest residents of King’s Landing.  Brienne makes an appearance, to offer her well-wishes to the newly married couple.  Before she can leave, Cersei does her best to make Brienne feel like crap, until she realizes that the tall drink of water may be in love with Jaime.  That definitely does not sit well with Cersei, who feels threatened by another woman having Jaime’s heart.  To be spiteful, Cersei commands Maester Pycelle to inform the kitchens that the leftovers should be given to the dogs instead of the poor, as the new queen previously announced.  Feeling good about what’s she done, Cersei’s pleasant mood is short-lived when she and her father run into Prince Oberyn and Ellaria Sand.  The Prince irks Cersei to no end, calling her the former Queen Regent more than once after she insults Ellaria for being a bastard.  Oberyn reminds the former Queen Regent that her daughter is now a resident of Dorne, which we all know is a thinly-veiled threat. 

Pedro Pascal

Pedro Pascal

Meanwhile, the lavish décor and rich food aren’t enough to keep Joffrey enthralled.  He decides that there has been enough “amusement” at the wedding.  Just then, the giant lion’s head comes to life, expelling a red carpet and five dwarves all dressed up as the five kings:  Joffrey, Stannis, Robb, Renly and Balon.  The dwarves (clearly a dig at Tyrion) perform a reenactment of the war that brought so much death and destruction to the Seven Kingdoms.  As Joffrey laughs like a silly little child, his guests look on in horror, especially Tyrion and poor Sansa (really, hasn’t she had enough misery?).  Once the show is finally over, with Fake Joffrey as the victor, the Brat King thinks someone else should challenge the Five Kings, meaning Tyrion, of course.  Because why not make his uncle feel worse than he already does?  In true Tyrion style, he graciously refuses the offer while telling Joffrey to show everyone what a real coward he was during the siege on the Blackwater without really saying it.  For his efforts, Joffrey pours wine over his uncle’s head, then commands Tyrion to be his cupbearer.  Joffrey drops, then kicks the cup away from Tyrion, causing him to crawl on the ground under the table.  Thankfully, Sansa gets the cup for her husband, sparing him what little dignity he has left.  Tyrion fills the cup with wine, handing it to his nephew, who then demands that his uncle kneel.  Before things get any worse, Queen Margaery judiciously announces that the wedding pie has arrived.  Using his new sword, Joffrey slices open the pie, releasing a slew of white pigeons (and cutting the heads off a couple more).  Tyrion and Sansa try to make a break for it, but no, Joffrey wants to add a bit more humiliation to his wedding feast. 

The Brat King demands more wine, which Tyrion stoically provides.  When Tyrion requests that he and Sansa be permitted to leave, Joffrey begins to protest but starts coughing.  The coughing gets worse, until Margaery realizes that her new husband is actually choking.  Joffrey falls down, spewing wine and pie, as Jaime runs to his aid.  Cersei runs to her son, turning him over to figure out how to help him.  Joffrey’s face is grotesque, blood coming from his nose and mouth and clearly in pain.  At that moment, Joffrey no longer is the evil twerp we’ve come to hate, but a young boy afraid to die.  He raises his hand towards Tyrion, who we know is going to be blamed for this one.  Ser Dontos appears beside Sansa and tells her to come with him if she wants to live.  Joffrey makes a last gasp for breath and then, it is over.  King Joffrey Baratheon is dead.

What does this mean for the Lannisters?  How will the family survive this tragedy?  What does Joffrey’s death mean for the Iron Throne and who will succeed him?  And most importantly, who killed him?  Stay tuned.

Game of Thrones airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.

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About Writergirl2009

Writergirl2009 is a Paralegal by day, but wishes to release herself from the tedium of her daily life to write full-time. She loves writing about films, televisions shows, books, music or people on the New York subway, where she currently lives (in New York, not on the subway).