Game of Thrones – 32

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“The Lion and the Rose”

I could pretty much just go with “Karma’s a bitch” and I think this episode would be pretty well covered.

Needless to say, I fully expect you to have seen the events of this ep before you read this, I’ll be dispensing TV spoilers freely (though no book spoilers). 

Let’s start with the big issue.  No, I’m not going to tell you who did it.  Theoretically I don’t know exactly who did it, in fact.  But Martin and the episode director, Alex Graves, say that if you watch the episode carefully enough you’ll find the answer.  I have my own ideas that I’ve had since it happened, and I’ll just say I saw nothing to make me question them, and it should be pretty obvious who didn’t do it.  If it’s a question of motive, well – that’s certainly an embarrassment of riches, isn’t it?

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Without a doubt, the best line of the episode for me was Olenna’s “As if men needed another reason to be afraid of weddings!” to Sansa (though Bronn’s “Drink until it feels like you did the right thing” is a close second).  That was spoken in reference to the Red Wedding, of course, but what’s come to be known among fans as the “Purple Wedding” had almost as memorable an end.  Can one feel pity for a vile demon like Joffrey as he dies in such a fashion, or for Cersei, so horrified to witness it?  Maybe one can, but I can’t – the little pissant got what was coming to him, and we were given a first-hand reminder this week of what a vengeful, petty bitch his mother is, even if she does love her children.

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Everything in King’s Landing has been indescribably tense the last two episodes – Tyrion and Shea, Jaime and Cersei, Cersei and everyone, Tywin and Jaime.  And then you add Oberyn Martell to the mix, and you’ve really got a live wire hanging out, exposed and sparking.  Was his reference to Myrcella a not-so-veiled threat, or merely a pointed reminder of how morally inferior he considers the Lannister clan?  About the most pleasant conversation in the capital, in fact, was the one between Tywin and Olenna, who certainly do have a chemistry as the two biggest dogs in the pack. 

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Apart from the wedding there were indeed other goings on, in King’s Landing and out, starting with a change from the books in having Bronn (rather than Ser Ilyn Payne) teach Jaime how to fight left-handed.  It’s not huge in and of itself, though I rather liked the idea of Payne being the perfect man for the job for obvious reasons.  We also got a scene between Jaime and Tyrion, which have been rare (mostly for obvious reasons), a reminder that there is one member of his family that loves The Imp. 

Up North, more signs that the bastard Ramsey Snow’s role is continuing to grow far beyond what it was in the books.  He’s a psychopath about on Joffrey’s level I’d say, just with greater opportunity.  I dislike the character and what the TV has done with it, and I’m not seeing anything to change my mind on that, but at least we don’t have to watch him flaying Theon piece by piece any longer.  We also get a check in with the other psychopath, Melissandre, as she’s in the process of giving more infidels (this time the Florents, Stannis’ subjects and the relations of his wife) the gift of salvation by burning them at the stake.  It’s really no wonder Stannis constantly looks constipated, as he obviously finds all this as easy to swallow as the rancid meat that’s all that’s left in his larder.

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Apart from a few seconds with Davos, in fact, about the only time spend with the good guys this week is a short check-in with Team Bran as they make their way north.  Bran is apparently growing increasingly fond of his time spent in Warg state, which Jojen is understanding of, but still reminds Bran of the dangers this presents.  There’s also a close encounter with a Godswood, giving Bran a clue as to where he needs to go from here.  If you think the TV is cryptic about where Bran’s arc is going and what it means, trust me the books are too – but even if it sometimes feels disconnected from the rest of the story (as Danerys’ arc does in a different way) it’s a vital piece of the puzzle.

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Really, though, all of that is second fiddle to the most awkward wedding in history (and that’s saying something).  So much venom is flying through the air it’s hardly a wonder that Joffrey ended up swallowing some of it.  The coup de grace – both for the wedding and Joffrey’s despicable character arc – comes with his infantile and disgusting attempts to humiliate Tyrion at his wedding.  Even Sansa is forced to admit to herself here that there really is a difference between Lannisters, which has been obvious to the rest of us for a long time.  If you didn’t think it was possible to hate Joffrey more (and really, how could you sell him short after all this time?) think again – and give praise to Jack Gleeson for bringing one of the most hated characters in TV history to life so brilliantly.  He says he’s retiring from acting after this and honestly, as exits go this would be a pretty hard one to top.

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  1. R

    People usually don't "recognize" the great work of jack gleeson as joffrey. He really did a good job.

  2. G

    I think he got off quick. He was dead in seconds. He should have been flayed to make up for all the grief he has caused. Its pretty obvious who poisoned him and all the clues are in this (and last week's) episodes.

  3. J

    Amen, he should have gotten the Theon Tortures Treatment!

  4. J

    To me things look pretty damn obvious, it was the Tyrells. Just look at the way they reacted when Joffrey started dying, "Oh the poor boy, he's choking!". Both women were way too casual during the whole scene. And it makes the most sense, they wanted to have the queen in power without having to suffer the spoiled, evil King boy. Plus, the main two ways Joffrey died was either by being poisoned through the wine or the pie, both of which came from the Tyrells.

    If there's anything that's making me doubt, is the fact that it looks simply way too obvious.

  5. H

    Who inherits the power of the king now? Tommen? Or the Margaery until Tommen comes of age?

    I heard George tried to make the death seem like it could have been caused by simply choking on food. Now, I've never seen someone choke to death before but I can't imagine blood pouring out of your nose and eyes solely due to choking. So doesn't that make it blatant to us (and the cast of characters) that it's poison?

    It also makes me wonder why they would use such fast acting poison (assuming that the poison was in the wine or pie). Wouldn't it be easier to hide your tracks if the poison was much more delayed?

    As usual, GoT delivers a gripping episode. In the meantime I'll continue slowly reading the books. Currently at the beginning of A Storm of Swords.

  6. Think about the motives of the killer or killers and you'll have your answer to the second and third questions.

    As to the first, it's a mild spoiler to answer but if you follow how this sort of thing works in RL monarchies, Westeros pretty much follows the same standard.

  7. D

    If I remember correctly, the actor portraying Ser Ilyn Payne was diagnosed with a serious cancer before this season, and he wasn't recast. And in some respects I can understand. Whilst his sparring with Jaime in the books was very interesting due to both men being handicapped in their own way, I don't think Jaime having dueling scenes with a silent and stoic opponent would have translated well into the TV show. And I guess Bronn was the only choice outside of introducing a new character entirely.

  8. A

    Yes, Wilko Johnson (out of the band Dr. Feelgood) has terminal cancer and really wasn't expected to live as long as he has. He recently released an album with Roger Daltrey (out of The Who, for younger readers). So it's understandable that they changed that bit for the TV show.

  9. N

    !POSSIBLE SPOILER (though some may have noticed it)!
    I for one love how they actually had Olenna take a jewel from Sansa's necklace without making it too obvious to the watcher. Very nice touch IMO

  10. H

    Wow… I didn't notice. It was very subtle.

    Well now I get the feeling that the Tyrells are the perpetrators while also setting up Sansa as the poisoner.

  11. w

    I feel sorry for Jack Gleeson, he gets such awful abuse around college for playing Joffrey. It's a good thing that he takes it as a testament to his acting ability. He truly gave a gloriously despicable performance. I'll be curious as to where the non-book audience (of which I am a part) will go from here now that it's one common enemy is dead.

    I plan to spend the next few hours rewatching the last two episodes for clues, but for now I'm ruling out the Tyrells as suspects. If I'm not mistaken, since Joff died before consummating his marriage to Margaery she'll have no claim to the throne, so if they had planned to kill him they would have waited a while longer.

    Now hopefully Cersei will kill herself with grief. I've never liked or pitied her. Understood her point of view to an extent, but always disagreed and hated her. I don't know what poor Jaime (who may be my favorite character) sees in her. I also really liked the little verbal spar between Jaime and Loras Tyrell, "Neither will you." I always thought Loras and the Tyrells as a whole are much cleverer than given credit for.

  12. If there's one thing GoT has in spades, it's characters to hate. Joffrey will be missed but there are still plenty of common enemies.

  13. w

    I dunno, he's the only one I've never heard anybody say anything besides "I can't wait until he dies."

  14. N

    There is also Ramsay Snow (and Boltons in general)!

  15. A

    I wouldn't be at all surprised if Jack Gleeson comes back to acting at some point, because I can see that after doing such a great job at breathing life into such an odious character as Joffery he'd want to get away from it all and avoid typecasting. Good luck to him.

  16. G

    Jack is also in Batman Begins as the kid on the fire escape Batman gives his glasses to.

  17. You need to listen harder!

  18. w

    Perhaps, but I don't think there's a character who's caused such a united hatred amongst fans. I think next in the hatred pecking order is Walder Frey, but even then I've heard of people who were impressed with him.

  19. Who the hell is impressed with Walder, LOL. Of all people!

    I find Cersei especially hateable myself, though Tywin may just be the most evil person in the cast. But he's just such a magnificent bastard. Melissandre is up there, too.

  20. w

    Oh I know, but you'd be suprised..

    Cersei'd top my list as well, I think it's the pettiness that really knocks her up there. I mean, was there really a need for her to go behind Margaery's back and send the food to the kennels except to feel like she's in control?

    Tywin IS evil though. I'd love to see all the tables turned against him, but damned if I wouldn't miss him.

  21. M

    I think Ramsey is the most reprehensible creature in Westeros. He gets into his victims minds, dangles false hope on a stick, then squeezes them like a piece of ore for nothing but enjoyment. There's a faint scent of vulnerability to the other villains that Ramsey evidently lacks.

    At lest the Lannisters send their regards.

  22. Z

    I've never forgiven the wench Cersei ever since she had Lady killed.

  23. M

    Now someone's killed her "cub". Karma is a son of a bitch.

  24. y

    The answer and explanation as to who poisoned Joffrey is here, with pictures. It was expertly done.

  25. Given that we can't spoiler tag comments, I'd prefer not to be that specific filling in the blanks.

  26. S

    As a book reader (full of contempt for George R.R. Martin's ability to conclude a plot arc/ anything), I'm so grateful that the red lady was given less screen time than possible for this episode. I don't want to say anything else about that due to spoilers, but any deviation from the Martin's story is very much welcomed

  27. L

    As Guardian Enzo said, in thinking about the motives (I haven't read the books so I can be way off here…), I'm pretty sure Olenna did it. Reasons would be: 1) to get rid of Joffrey because he's evil and cruel, 2) get rid of Tyrion so Sansa can marry her grandson, 3) have death come quickly so people will suspect Tyrion and to not have the Joffrey-Margaery marriage consummated so Margaery can marry Joffrey's younger brother. In this way, House Tyrell can rule the Iron Throne and with the supposed last Stark married into the family, placate the north as well.

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