Previously on recapping Game of Thrones: We began our journey into a season full of characters transitioning into new lifestyles. There was the 40 year old amputee, the so very very sad newlywed, and the dreamboat recast as a type more in line with his portrayal in the book (or something,) among others. This week…
Season 4, Episode 2: “(Every) The Lion and The Rose (Has Its Thorn)”
Well, a little bit more of the same; I mean, we didn’t catch up with everyone last week now, did we? But, let’s ignore all of that for now and get to what every one is losing their minds over.
In the end, it was not beauty, nor hubris, nor choking on a piece of pie with a dove’s head lodged in it (serious health inspector aside: who in their right mind would eat a slice of that pie? EW) that killed Joffrey. All it took was a strategically placed cup of non-descript poison, yadda yadda yadda, cue “The Rains of Castamere.” In a word: Shocking. In several other words: abrupt and ultimately unsatisfying, yet with the potential for driving a crazy good season of the show and hey, was that Jónsi from Sigur Rós singing at the wedding?
I have a fear that the death of Joffrey is going to be celebrated for the wrong reasons. Everyone is going to be so caught up in their utter disdain for the character, consuming lists of “69 ways that Joffrey’s death solved world hunger” from the BuzzFeeds of the world, and filming their grandmother’s reactions to the scene, that they might miss the greater point: The King is dead. This has infinite implications for the future of the show. In the immediate aftermath, it looks as though Tyrion is going to take the heat for this one, which does not bode well for him and is distressing for his fans, namely me. (Rough week for Tyrion all around, having to break up with Shae in disastrous fashion and having his generous wedding gift to his nephew chopped to bits by his nephew. Though… I guess he couldn’t read it now anyway even if he hadn’t chopped it, so really just that break up then. Still, rough!) Think of the iron throne as well. Sure Daenerys is still trying to cross the Narrow Sea after three seasons, Stannis is sacrificing his extended family to fight the darkness, and Gendry is floating on a raft somewhere, but they’re all out there! There’s probably some wild cards out there too that we have not even thought of nor met yet. Focus on that, not the death of a fictional child, as big of a monster as he was. (Or I could just be reading peoples’ reaction all wrong. Also, when did this get so analytical, remember when I was a “fun” writer?*) A wedding is not a happy occasion in Westeros. I don’t want to speculate, but George R.R. Martin must have been rejected once at a wedding by someone he was hopelessly in love with, except the feeling was never mutual and he was greatly humiliated and then retreated from life to write these books, because this guy does not want anyone to have a good time at a wedding ever. But again, I don’t want to speculate. (*Much better.)
At some other location in this crazy world, we catch up with Theon, who is now a barber named Reek serving the still completely insane Ramsey. Even Ramsey’s dad, Michael Bolton, is distressed with his bastard son’s actions against Theon, but still can’t help but be impressed with how good of a barber Theon has been trained to become; he’s been wanting to get a shave as close as Theon can provide for ages! For those reasons alone, he sends Ramsey to capture some old Stark territory, which R.R. Martin willing, will end up providing some measure of redemption for poor Theon.
The cult of Stannis forges on too with the sacrifice of his crazy wife’s brother, and some other dudes to the Lord of Light, all of which Mrs. Stannis is completely happy with. In a show full of crazies, she has to be the biggest one, lest we forget the unborn sons being preserved in her home. Melisandre, who in a way is the Game of Thrones equivalent of Stevie Nicks (which I guess makes Stannis Lindsey Buckingham?), gets some face time with Stannis’ daughter, breaking the news that there are no seven hells, no seven heavens, and no 7th Heaven, because that’s been off the air for ages at this point. Can’t wait for Stannis to actually do something. Should be any day now.
Finally, we have some POV wolf action, which can only mean one thing… Brandon is off doing warg stuff again *insert some funky theme song here*! Bran has lost all apprehension about doing warg stuff that now everyone is complaining he’s doing it too much. Like, make up your minds people, yeesh. Anyway, they spot a tree with a face, Bran touches it, has a vision of that darned three-eyed raven and now knows where they need to go. It’s a shame they only sprinkle some Bran on this sugary goodness of a show every few episodes, because his stuff could be really intriguing if they would actually get into it on the regular. Hopefully that will change this year.
A little house keeping before we wrap up. Last week I said that Joffrey was probably going to end up killing Ser Dontos for giving his mother’s necklace to Sansa. Last season I said that I could not see Joffrey’s life ending in any other way than the living Stark children standing around him in a circle and repeatedly stabbing him, like a similar scene in Office Space. Looks like I was wrong on both accounts, with seemingly the exact opposite happening in the case of the former,, putting me in the hole at 0-2 when it comes to making bold predictions about the show. Also, to introduce something new at the last minute for no reason at all, because of what it will likely mean for the show going forward, but subtracting points for abruptness, I have to rank the poisoning of Joffrey at number two in the “Season 4 Kill Power Rankings”, which for those now keeping score, puts it behind Arya killing Polliver (because, c’mon) but slotting in ahead of The Hound slamming that guys’ face onto a knife repeatedly. R.I.P. Joffrey; may the actor who portrays you now get proceed with his humanitarian efforts to make the world a better place.