Warning. This review’s first line contains a spoiler.
So. Joffrey is dead. Let the celebrations commence!!
*Plays David Guetta remix of Rains of Castamere*
We have to say that we did not see that coming, at all. Joffrey was being more than his usual obnoxious self at his wedding to Margaery Tyrell, but we didn’t think he’d croak it, and so early on in the season too. Valar Morghulis indeed!
We’ll come back to Joffrey’s death in a bit, but let’s see what everyone else was up to. No Wildlings, Jon Snow, or trips across to Essos this week, which is understandable as the cast is growing so not everyone can have screen time in one episode; this isn’t True Blood.
Where is your prize?
We’re not sure how much time has passed in Westeros since the end of Season 3, but Ramsey Snow seems to have finally broken Theon Greyjoy. The opening scene with the hunting of the girl in the woods shows, as if we needed reminding, how dark things have got for Theon. His new home at the Dreadfort looks even more unwelcoming than Pyke, and certainly a world away from his life at Winterfell.
We had a mention of the Greyjoy’s rebellion continuing, but no sign of Theon’s sister Yara, who stormed out of Pyke on a rescue mission at the end of last season. With Theon and Ramsey Snow heading toward the Greyjoy army, we wonder how seeing his sister will affect Theon, or should that be Reek now?
The Boltons’ now know that Bran and Rickon survived the fall of Winterfell and are still alive, and that their claim to the North will be in doubt if any Starks remain. Unbeknownst to them is the fact that Bran is beyond the Wall, and clearly a boy on the edge, spending more and more time in the mind of Summer; this is a brilliant sequence ending with the Hodor Deer – he’s distant and snappy with his companions. The company come across a weirwood, Bran touches it and gets a selection of clips from the three previous seasons flow through his head, with a request to come ‘North’ from a really big tree. No mention of Rickon, or nod that we might see what has happened to him and Osha after splitting up and heading for the Umbers.
There is only one hell Princess.
While it doesn’t look too warm where Bran is, it’s a bit too hot for us over at Dragonstone. Stannis, and his obsession with the Throne has all gone a bit dark, with him burning his ‘heathen’ brother in law in front of his wife, not that she minded, all while Melisandre chants on and smiles. The only sane people seem to be Ser. Davos, and Stannis’ daughter, Princess Shireen. The scene with Stannis, his wife Selyse, and Melisandre eating was one of the most awkward dinner table conversations outside of Come Dine With Me. At the end of last season, Melisandre saw the White Walkers in a vision, and proclaimed that only Stannis could save the Kingdom; there doesn’t appear to be much of a sense of urgency with that.
What sort of a monster would do that?
Before we get to the wedding, let’s take a moment to remind ourselves how brilliant Peter Dinklage is. Tyrion’s heartbreaking rejection of Shae was so well played, you could see Tyrion forcing the words out in order to protect Shae from Cersei and Tywin. This was probably a good thing considering how the wedding turned out.
The wedding of King Joffrey to Lady Margaery of House Tyrell was a sumptuous affair, filled with all the back biting and bitchiness that any good family wedding is made of. Cersei in particular was on fine form, and we were actually worried for Brienne when she questioned her about Brienne’s feelings for Jaimie. One of the scenes that intrigued us was between Tyrion and the brilliant Olenna Tyrell; the conversation about money, the war and the Iron Bank. As far as we are aware, there hasn’t been an Iron Bank mentioned before. Game of Thrones is such a tightly cut show that something wouldn’t get a mention if it wasn’t important. Right?
Anyway, back to the wedding, and Joffrey’s idea of ‘entertainment’ went down like a lead balloon; managing to offend at least 70 percent of the top table, only the only exceptions being Tywin and Cersei. The standoff between Joffrey and Tyrion was tense, and we thought we were in for another Joffrey slapping .gif, but no, in came the pie and down went Joffrey.
So who did it? At this point the only ones who we don’t suspect are Tyrion, Jaimie and Cersei. Anyone else is fair game. Could Sansa have finally flipped? Maybe the wonderful Olenna Tyrell decided she couldn’t allow her granddaughter to marry him? Another possibility could be Prince Oberyn as revenge for his sister?
‘The Lion and The Rose’ is a really strong second episode, and gains top marks for an ending that we didn’t see coming. Unfortunately, like ‘The Rains of Castamere’ last year, and ‘Baelor’ in the first season, the ending is likely to be the only thing anyone remembers from it. But that doesn’t matter for now, all that matters is that Joffrey is dead, and much credit has to go to Jack Gleeson; it can’t have been easy playing a character with absolutely no redeemable features – at least now he might not get abused in the streets.
The death of Joffrey, along with Arya’s cold killing of Polliver last week, gives us hope that maybe this will be the season that justice will win out. After three years of the bad guys ending up on top, are we about to see their past deeds come back to haunt them, and the ‘good’ guys finally catch a break?
Game of Thrones continues on Mondays at 9pm on Sky Atlantic.