(SPOILERS AHEAD if you haven’t seen this episode yet)
I don’t know about you all, but that was hands-down the best wedding to which I’ve ever been invited.
Yeah, let’s not dilly-dally and play around avoiding Sunday’s huge Game of Thrones moment.
(SPOILER right here)
Everybody’s favorite King — har har har — Joffrey Baratheon, is dead! Yay! He’s dead! He’s really, really dead! D-E-A-D DEAD! (Cue the band and accompanying ticker tape parade.) Not to dance on a young boy’s painful-looking death by poison, but this tune’s my jaaaaaaammm! I’m sure we’re all feeling crazy-good. And by now no one was surprised to see a big, shocking, main character death on this show, right? We’ve all learned at this point that all men must die and that means all the time. Bastards and kings die all the time on this show; with Joffrey, it just so happened to be a twofer. Man, the fantasy fantasy league just got good, y’all.
And after last week’s mostly exposition-y premiere episode, it was nice to see some serious intrigue and danger thrown into the mix. But before we talk about the best part, let’s go over what groundwork was laid out in the first episode, like Ramsay “Bolton” Snow’s allegiance-building psychowork after a fun little romp in the woods with his arrow-happy lady Miranda — where the duo ended up hunting a young girl (but he left the actual killing to his two dogs because why not) with Reek meekly in tow. But Roose wasn’t too keen coming home to a flayed Theon, considering his worth to Bolton whole. But Ramsay insisted that there were merits to his madness. F’ed up plaything that he is, Reek/Theon admitted that Rickon and Bran were still alive and possibly heading to the Wall and Jon Snow. This pleased Roose to some degree, as he sent Ramsay to take Moat Cailin to take the stronghold with the caveat that if he succeeds, he’ll consider making Ramsay a real-live Bolton instead of a bastard.
Back in the Red Keep, the moment we’ve all been waiting for is upon us — but not without a few morning muck-abouts first. (The Lannister’s house words should actually be “The Lannisters Always Get Involved.”) Like Tyrion helping Jaime get into a left-handed groove with the help of private lessons from Bronn before imploring Shae head off to Pentos (in order to keep her away from Tywin, not that he tells her that); Varys admitted that she’s in danger — he can’t lie about who Shae is to Cersei and Tywin — and so Tyrion pulled a Harry and the Hendersons (“Go! Get out of here! I hate you! Get out of here! Get!”) in order to get Shae to leave.
But familial problems weren’t just amok at the Dreadfort and Kings Landing: there were also the marital issues of Stannis and Lady Selyse to address. Their loveless marriage is marked by the unstable obsession with the Lord of Light that the Lady harbors. Still Selyse is insistent that their daughter, Shireen, gets educated on the Lord of Light. So she sends Melisandre to give her a cheery pep talk and record-setting conversation about which gods are right and wrong. “There’s only one hell, princess: the one we live in now.” Sounds like everything in the world of R’hllor super-rules and is fun all the time.
Over in frozen hell, we’re finally returned to the merry band of misfits North of the Wall — Bran, Hodor (Hodor!), and the siblings Reed — via one of Bran’s warg-y spells. He’s been getting a bit lost in the mind of Summer and it’s no bueno for anyone if he gets himself lost in there forever, Jojen warns. But Summer leads them to a weirwood in the middle of the woods beyond the Wall. “Look for me beneath the tree…North,” the voice proclaims. Wait… is that Coldhands?
Down south, Joffrey’s wedding moves on with all the pomp, circumstance, and douchebaggery you’ve come to expect from the mad king 2.0. Tywin and Cersei schemed while Tyrion attempted to instill some knowledge in young Joffrey, giving him a book on the kings of Westeros. But the second Joff got his hands on the Valyrian steel gifted to him by Tywin, that rare history text was in tatters in no time. Hey, at least he lived and died true to himself: a total nutter asshole.
But soon after came The Purple Wedding. After a quick ceremony we heard the (now) all-too-familiar strings of “The Rains of Castamere,” this time performed by Sigur Rós (there’s that cameo we heard about). Their rendition didn’t last long, though: the band’s performance was cut oh-so-generously short thanks to pelted coins at the hand of Joff. What a generous thank you (a/k/a, “get the eff out of here now”)! Naturally, Margaery comes in to save the mood with the announcement of a charitable donation of the leftover food to the poor of King’s Landing. (Not that the kindness lasted long — Cersei and her blind, raging jealousy made sure of that — ugh. Apple, tree, etc…) After a quick eye-f-ck of Loras by Oberyn, we got a brief, but pitch-perfect, verbal tête-à-tête between the Knight of Flowers and the Kingslayer. “You’ll never marry her,” Jaime asserts of Cersei. To which Loras quickly snapped, “neither will you.” Ooh, love a good incest burn. But the joy doesn’t last long, as tense emotions flare up following Brienne’s admission-by-silence of her love of Jaime AND a heated (in a passive-aggressive sorta way) between Oberyn, Ellaria, Tywin, and Cersei. Don’t forget the Martells have Myrcella down in Dorne, thanks to a marriage agreement.
Following that terseness, Joff decided to have 5 midget kings perform a rousing rendition of the war of five kings, much to everyone’s offended senses. Joffrey and Cersei and Tywin all dig it, of course, but the fun didn’t last long, mostly because Joffrey is worse than any bridezilla that ever was or will be. The little shit sets off a dangerously tense dance of power between himself and the uncle he so clearly wanted to offend with the wee joust. Of course the pigeon pie appeared right in the nick of time… to distract Joffrey from his anger enough to get himself killed. With a quiet and unknowing ingestion of poison, the bastard brat got his due, clawing as his face puffed, blackened, and drew its last breath. Naturally all the blame gets put on Tyrion and he’s taken into custody. But not all is lost: Sansa has been whisked away by Ser Dontos, off, hopefully, to live. We probably shouldn’t get this much joy from the death of a child but, y’know what? Given the shades of gray all the other characters are shrouded in on this show — making for one hell of an ever-churning emotional El Niño — we’re going to revel in this brief allowance of pure, unadulterated hatred, alright?
UPDATED: Game of Thrones Fantasy Fantasy rankings
(Editor’s note: we’ll do our best to get these figures out to you in a timely fashion, but as many of you are finding out, there’s a ton of characters! These are calculated by game creator Andrew Nielson. Some of you have slightly different counts in the comments, but any disputes should be resolved by Small Council or your local Game Maester.)
Week 2 – “The Lion and the Rose”
Stannis Baratheon: 4 points
Melisandre: 2 points
Tyrion Lannister: 1 point
Ramsay Snow: 1 point
Shae: -1 point
Theon Greyjoy/Reek: -1 point
Joffrey Baratheon: -5 points
All other characters received a net score of zero points. We will do our best to have these scores calculated for you the day following the original episode’s run.
How are you celebrating the death of the most-hated character in television history (probably. I mean he’s got to be, right)? Let us know in the comments!