Game of Thrones recap: The Lion and the Rose

Game of Thrones recap: The Lion and the Rose

Sorry, friends. The Lion and the Rose in this Game of Thrones episode were not Jaime and Loras finally making your fanfic dreams come true. Nope, the Lion and the Rose referred to in the title were Joffrey and Margaery because...somebody's getting married!

Blah blah Purple Wedding blah blah. This episode was all about books. Here's how.

The Purple Wedding: This episode went from a Hunger Games-style hunt featuring Ramsey Snow and Reek, nee Theon, to Stannis and then to Bran and then finally the show landed on Joffrey and Margaery's wedding for almost the last half hour. So, maybe the episode a little disjointed and lopsided. I came into "The Lion and the Rose" assuming that we'd get to the Purple Wedding, but we were spending so little time on Joffrey, I wondered how we'd get there. Alas, we did. I guess it's fitting that we spent so little time with J-Dog in the first half of his final episode. For the entire run of the show, he was always just sort of there, anyway, pulled into a scene every once in a while to remind us all what a jackass he was. So, RIP, King Joffrey. I wish I could say you'll be missed.

Books come into the equation here because a book was the gift Tyrion chose to give Joffrey for his wedding. It was a nice gesture, on the surface. A doting uncle giving his nephew an important book that would guide him through his marriage and his rule as king. Joffrey pretended for a hot second that he was totally down with book reading, until his grandfather gave him a new sword of Valerian steel (which Joffrey, that see-you-next-Tuesday, named Widow's Wail), and Joffrey immediately tested it out on Tyrion's gift.

This was the first indication (in this episode, anyway) that all was not well between Tyrion and Joffrey. Not that things have ever been good between them, but yeah. Tyrion gave Joffrey a gift of a book, which Joffrey took as an insult (because he knew Tyrion was implying that Joffrey was an idiot and because, come on, a book...as a wedding gift?!?). Then, at the wedding, Joffrey hit back by hiring a bunch of dwarfs to reenact the war among the five kings (loved the little touch of Balon Greyjoy riding a kraken). Tyrion felt bad for the performers and told Pod to give them each some extra gold. Then he made a comment that he'd figure out a way to thank Joffrey later. DUN dun dun.

Joffrey tries (yeah, I'm switching to present tense now) to get his uncle to join the show, but Tyrion tells him that it would be much more powerful if the king were to get out there and show everyone how "brave" he had been during the battle of Blackwater, though he worries that Joffrey might be taken advantage of by one of the little people, which would be such shame on his wedding night. Joffrey, in retaliation, anoints Tyrion as his cupbringer. Tyrion acquiesces, probably hoping to just get this over with, and then tries to leave the wedding with Sansa, which, smart. But Joffrey won't allow it. He really, really wants Tyrion to be his cupbringer. So, Tyrion brings the cup, but he will not kneel in front of Joffrey.

The two stand there facing each other for a while until, thank goodness, the pie arrives and Joffrey has a chance to murder a few doves with Widow's Wail. He's so easily distracted by shiny things. After he and Margaery take a bite of the pie, he starts choking and his face starts to turn purple (Purple Wedding!) and then Jaime and Cersei are running to help their son, as he dies in their arms. And no one is sad but them.

Tyrion remains at the head table, inspecting the cup, and Cersei orders her guards to arrest her brother because, obviously, he did this (...or did he? No, he did not). Tyrion killed Joffrey (no, he didn't). Ding dong the king is dead, and Ser Dontos is whisking Sansa away to a place where she can be safe.

Stannis: Hey look! Stannis is back. I'll assume that sound I just heard was you not caring. He and his wife and Melissandre are burning family members for not properly shunning their gods and worshiping the Lord of Light, so not much has changed. They're starving, though, so there's that. The dire food straits remind Selyse of more innocent times back before Stannis was king, when they were living on an island somewhere and he'd make her book soup. Like, literally, he would put book glue in water and call it soup. The good old days.

Sticking with the book theme, Melissandre has no patience for Stannis's daughter's book learning. Shireen has learned all about the Seven by reading The Seven Pointed Star, and she seems pretty cool with just continuing to worship those gods. But Melissandre pulls out the old, we're not that different, you and I argument, and maybe Shireen is buying what her father's mistress is selling. Melissandre can be very persuasive.

Bran: No books with Bran, but he is doing a lot of learning -- learning how to be a warg, that it. Warg lyfe is tuff. It's a lot of napping and killing deer with your mind grapes. Jojen worries that Bran is getting in too deep, but Bran doesn't want to stop. He feels a godswood tree and knows where he has to go -- North of the Wall, y'all! That's where these fools are headed.

Theon/Reek: Ramsey is quite a catch, I think we can all agree on that. He's taken to hunting his lady friends in the woods when they do something annoying, like make one of his other lady friends feel less than beautiful. He doesn't eat the meat himself; he saves that for the dogs (Hey, he and Cersei have a lot in common. They both like to feed dogs and couldn't care less about people! The two of them should date). Ramsey's little party, however, comes to an end when his daddy, Roose Bolton, comes home to take back the Dreadfort. Ramsey meets his new stepmother, Walda Frey (yes, of those Freys), who takes to him right away (watch out, Roose!).

Roose is not pleased with how Ramsey has been running things. He's not happy that his bastard son decided to flay Theon Greyjoy rather than use him as a bargaining chip with Balon Greyjoy and the folks of the Iron Islands. But then Ramsay was all, "I tried, but Balon didn't want him...so I created this neat party trick!" And then he had Reek/Theon give him a close shave with a super sharp razor, and, wow, Ramsay Snow is really talented at training people and dogs. He should have a reality show. He even gets Theon to admit that he didn't kill the younger Stark boys and now Roose has sent his best guy (i.e. the dude who cut off Jaime's hand) to find Bran and Rickon. Watch out, Bran and Rickon!

Roose decides to give his bastard another chance -- take Moat Cailin at the Neck of the North, and we'll talk. Ramsey is so excited to win his daddy's love. It's sweet, really.

Other stuff:

  • I loved the cut from the dogs eating that poor girl in the woods to Podrick serving Tyrion a giant boar sausage. This works on several levels (Podrick's penis levels) that I realized only just now. I'm slipping.
  • Cersei, in fact, can't get enough of boar sausage, which may explain her dissatisfaction with Jaime. Once you go boar sausage, you never go back.
  • Book Change ALERT! The silent guy who helps Jaime get his groove back is not Bronn, but tongueless D.J. Ser Ilyn Payne. Poor, D.J. Ser Ilyn Payne. You have been demoted (you didn't even get to cut Joffrey's pie; that's not a euphemism for...anything). You are now the T-Dog of Game of Thrones.
  • I love how Ramsay Snow thinks that Jon Snow could be a threat to take over Winterfell. Got to support the bastard team!
  • Speaking of bastards, we also officially met Ellaria Sand of Dorne, where bastards are allowed to run free.
  • Speaking of Ellaria Sand, her boyfriend Oberyn Martell sure does seem to like Loras Tyrell. Loberyn 4EVA!
  • Shae has been put on a ship and sent to Pentos, FYI. That seems...important...to note. Because it's probably not what happened.
  • Tyrion is so kind to Sansa, it's lovely. Finally someone is. Besides the Hound, of course.
  • That was Sigur Ros playing at Joffrey's wedding. Olenna Tyrell really did shell out some coin for that party.

After reading Todd VanDerWerff's recap this morning, I started thinking about how this show definitely messes with the idea that television needs to be stable in order to succeed, which does make sense. If they start killing off everybody, who will be there for you to watch next week? That said, one thing George R.R. Martin has done brilliantly with his books is fill it with rich characters with compelling stories about which we've barely begun to scratch the surface. Most of the "good" characters are there now, already on the show. Just because they're not flashy like Joffrey or principled (and moronic) like Robb, doesn't mean they're not worth watching. Pay particular attention to Davos (if you can figure out which one Davos is), Brienne, and that bastard Jon Snow. These are your future favorites (if they're not already your favorites).

What did you think? Will you miss our beloved Joffrey?

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