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GAME OF THRONES Re-Throned: “The Lion and the Rose” (S4, E2)

GAME OF THRONES Re-Throned: “The Lion and the Rose” (S4, E2)

Winter is coming, but not soon enough. So to help pass the time until season seven of Game of Thrones, we’re doing a weekly re-watch of the series, episode-by-episode, with the knowledge of what’s to come and—therefore—more information about the unrevealed rich history of events that took place long before the story began. Be warned, though: that means this series is full of spoilers for every season, even beyond the episode itself. So if you haven’t watched all of the show yet immediately get on that and then come back and join us for Game of Thrones Re-Throned.

Because the next best thing to watching new episodes is re-watching old ones.


Season 4, Episode 2: “The Lion and the Rose”

Original Air Date: April 13th, 2014
Director: Alex Graves
Written by: George R.R. Martin

If we are trying to imagine what seasons seven and eight of Game of Thrones might look like, “The Lion and the Rose,” featuring the horrible but glorious death of Joffrey at the Purple Wedding, is a sneaky good candidate. Not because it has any big battles, like the many we are sure to see throughout the last two seasons, but because it brought together a myriad of characters that had never interacted before, resulting in one of the best episodes the show has ever done.


Written by George R.R. Martin himself, this episode is unlike any other through the first six seasons. The wedding brings together all of the Lannisters and Tyrells, as well as Oberyn Martell and Ellaria Sand, Sansa Stark, Varys, Bronn, Grand Maester Pycelle, and Brienne. And as much fun as it is seeing dangerous characters like Oberyn and Tywin not-so-subtly threaten one another, it’s just as much fun seeing Loras and Oberyn flirt with one another from across the venue. The whole wedding is compelling and fascinating, where each interaction has so much backstory and weight behind it you wish you could spend hours there eavesdropping on each discussion.

Even the first few episodes in the series, which brought King Robert and his family to Winterfell, were not quite like this. Not only did we not know the characters yet, the conflicts between them were rooted in the past (still buried for convenience sake). By this point in the show every character, even allies, was in some sort of conflict with one another, giving greater significance and emotional resonance to each conversation. When Jaime tells Loras (someone he is now bound to by royal marriage no less) that Loras will never marry Cersei, Loras bites back, “And neither will you.” It’s funny but it’s also stunning, because Loras is acknowledging that the dirty rumor about Jaime and Cersei is true—and he knows it, and he wants Jaime to know he knows it.


Joffrey’s reign, and thus the power and safety of House Lannister which is now intimately aligned with House Tyrell, depends on that secret remaining unspoken, but Loras throws it in Jaime’s face, and Jaime silently accepts it. So few words convey so much.

The whole wedding sequence is full of these powerful, exciting, potentially explosive moments, and it’s all done with nothing more than a few words and fake smiles. It’s the kind of scene you can only achieve when you develop characters and their motivations as well as Game of Thrones does.


And now with Jon and the forces of the North coming together, and with Daenerys heading to King’s Landing—alongside Tyrion, Grey Worm, Missandei, the Greyjoy children, and the remnants of Houses Martell and Tyrell—to face off against House Lannister and the Mad Queen Cersei, the show is about to embark on a grand meeting of characters that will make the Purple Wedding look like an intimate gathering of friends.

Only with the promise of way more battles and way more deaths. That’s a very alluring idea.


So even though we don’t really need much of a reason to get excited for the inevitable coming together of all of these formerly separate stories and characters, re-watching “The Lion and the Rose,” and seeing how it is still as fun and exhilarating as it was when it first aired, makes the coming character convergence even more promising.

If only they could find a way to kill Joffrey a second time.

But what do you think of this episode? Where does it rank among the most fun hours from the show? Have a drink of wine and tell us in the comments below.

Images: HBO

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