This week’s episode of Game of Thrones has a few major happenings. Firstly, the episode was written by George RR Martin, the author of the books. Secondly, it has a royal wedding! If you’re a fan of the show then you know that major weddings in Westeros are often dangerous events. The first half of the episode has several location jumps, while the second half is all about the royal wedding. While some fairly important plot points were established in the first half, some of the scenes were dull and full of plot-summary soliloquies. The royal wedding was fun and I’m sure that Game of Thrones fans that hate-watch King Joffrey will love it. Here are some random thoughts on Game of Thrones s4e2. Be sure to turn on your spoiler shields.
Reeking in the North: That bastard Ramsay Snow is hunting a young girl, while the captive formerly known as Theon Greyjoy is now called Reek. This brief scene shows how sadistic Snow is (as if his numerous torture scenes from last season didn’t clue you in) and also shows how low Theon has fallen. Theon has been completely beaten down physically and mentally by Snow. He has no sense of the noble-born human he once was and is now the barely-human Reek. Finally, Snow lets his hounds devour the young girl, as Reek watches.
Brothers’ Breakfast: Meanwhile, back in King’s Landing…the Lannister boys are eating breakfast and speaking in plot summaries. Jaime is still moping over his lost hand, while Tyrion gives a convenient recap of where things stand as of Game of Thrones s4e2. As expected, Tyrion gets in a nice zinger when he refers to his family as, “the dwarf, the cripple, and the mother of madness.”
Jaime confesses that he can no longer fight. He feels empty, as his legendary swordsmanship was a huge part of his identity. In a change from the books, Tyrion tasks his henchman Bronn with teaching Jaime how to fight with his left hand. I’m sure some purists will hate the change, but I’m totally down with it. Bronn owns.
Bolton Family Matters: Back in the North, Roose Bolton has arrived home to Dreadfort. For those of you that don’t remember, Bolton (no relation to Michael) betrayed Robb Stark and helped engineer the infamous “Red Wedding.” Ramsay Snow is Roose’s bastard son and yearns to become a legitimate Bolton. Daddy Bolton scolds his bastard for torturing Theon Greyjoy when he could have been used as leverage.
Snow shows how thoroughly beaten down Reek is by allowing his slave to shave him. It’s pretty ballsy to let a man that you’ve tortured hold a razor to your neck. Snow provides some convenient plot summaries, revealing to Reek that Robb Stark is dead and revealing to Papa Bolton that the other Stark boys are still alive.
99 Problems and a Whore is One: Heading back to the Westerosi capital, spymaster Varys tells Tyrion that Queen Regent Cersei Lannister knows about his whore lover, Shae. The Queen Regent has told their father, Tywin Lannister, who once promised to hang the next whore he found with Tyrion.
In a pre-wedding shindig, guests are presenting gifts to the soon-to-be-married Joffrey Baratheon. Joffrey’s future father-in-law, Mace Tyrell, looks like an ancestor of the Burger King. He gives the boy king a fancy goblet. Tyrion gives his nephew a book and Joffrey feigns gratitude. Tywin gives his grandson a Valyrian steel sword, which Joffrey uses to gleefully chop up the book his uncle gave him. Dick. He then names the sword Widow’s Wail, to “honor” the beheading of Ned Stark. Uber dick.
Back in Tyrion’s room, Shae checks on her beloved lion. Tyrion tries to get her to leave for Pentos. He’s concerned for her safety, but acts cruel. He repeatedly calls Shae a whore and tells her that she’s unworthy to have his children. Shae is crushed, Bronn comes in to bring her to a ship, and Tyrion is heartbroken. The scene was short, but powerful.
Burning Man: Over in Dragonstone, the followers of R’hllor are holding a lovely ceremony. They’re burning infidels as an offering to their god. Stannis Baratheon continues to be stubborn, his wife continues to be a zealous believer, and trusted advisor Davos Seaworth continues to be one of the few voices of reason in Stannis’ camp.
Stannis’ daughter, Shireen, is being discussed at a post-sacrifice dinner. Priestess Melisandre visits the girl after dinner. The “Red Woman” tries to educate the lass on the “true” religion. The creepy scene ends in an abruptly creepy way that leaves you worried for Shireen.
Over the Wall: In the far, far, far North, Bran Stark is warging, enjoying life through his wolf’s eyes. His companions warn him that too much warging
will make him go blind is dangerous. If he stays in his wolf too long then he’ll lose all sense of himself. This will, of course, ruin their mission to find the three-eyed crow and figure out how to bring peace to Westeros. Considering that the party consists of a bunch of kids and a mentally-disabled half-giant, I don’t have much faith in their plan. It’s like entrusting the Scooby-Doo gang to bring peace to the Ukraine.
Bran uses his mystical powers to communicate with a godswood tree. A trippy scene of flashbacks, future events, and assorted imagery ensues. He gets a completely obvious clue that the gang needs to head north. Well, duh.
A Nice Day For a Dead Wedding: It’s wedding time at King’s Landing! Joffrey weds the sexy (and power hungry) Margaery Tyrell. After the ceremony, Tywin Lannister and Olenna Tyrell trade barbs. Yeah, they’re two of the oldest characters in the cast, but they’re also two of the coolest.
Tyrion and Bronn chat about their plan to send Shae to Pentos. Bronn tries to assure everyone’s favorite dwarf that things went as planned. Tyrion has his doubts and is concerned for his beloved whore. Bronn ends their chat with the wise advice of, “Go drink until it feels like you’ve done the right thing.” Yeah, I love that Bronn has a bigger role in the television series than he does in the books.
Joffrey is acting like a spoiled brat. Unhappy with the entertainment, he cuts off a dull rendition of “The Rains of Castamere” by hurling coins at the musicians. Queen Margaery announces that the leftovers for the wedding will be given to the poorest people in King’s Landing. Yay generosity.
Loras Tyrell and Jaime Lannister have a brief exchange. Jaime is unhappy that his sister/lover Cersei has been promised to Loras. Being not-so-secretly gay, Loras isn’t thrilled with the arrangement either. Jaime threateningly says that Loras will never wed Cersei. Loras blows off the strong statement with, “And neither will you.”
Brienne of Tarth and Queen Regent Cersei have a conversation. Cersei unveils that fact that Brienne is in love with Jaime. This is an interesting change from the books. Brienne’s feelings for Jaime are implied in the books. In the TV show, it’s said outright…which brings me back to this column.
Maester Pycelle, being a dirty old man, is perving on a young lady. He offers to examine her personally in his quarters. I’m going to have to try that line. Cersei cuts off the proposition and instructs Pycelle to give the feast’s leftovers to the hounds. So much for Margaery’s charity.
Oberyn Martell has a brief but effective scene. He confronts Tywin and Cersei Lannister. Digs are made and differences in the treatment of bastards are revealed. Oberyn not-so-subtly hints that he’s still angry about how his sister and her children were murdered, and also suggests that Cersei’s daughter could be in danger in Dorne. This guy is a bad-ass.
Joffrey cuts off the merriment and presents his own entertainment. He has a band of dwarf mummers perform “The War of the Five Kings.” The show pokes fun at Renly Baratheon’s homosexuality, Robb Stark’s trechourous murder, and more. Joffrey is cracking up at his distasteful show, while Tyrion, Sansa, Olenna, and others look on in disgust.
Joffrey wants Tyrion to join the show, while Tyrion wants his nephew to show off his martial prowess (of which he has none). Embarrassed by his uncle’s clever words, Joffrey pours wine over Tyrion’s head. He then has Tyrion serve as his cupbearer. Joffrey drops and kicks away his goblet before Tyrion can fill it. He calls for Tyrion to kneel and things come to a standstill.
Thankfully, the ceremonial pie arrives. Joffrey goes off to slice the pie with Widow’s Wail. Tyrion and Sansa attempt to slip away quietly, but Joffrey calls his uncle back to refill his wine goblet. Mysteriously, Joffrey’s goblet has been infused with poison. He chokes to death, Fool Dontos helps Sansa escape, and Tyrion is blamed for the murder.
While this wedding wasn’t as shocking as the “Red Wedding” from last season, it sets up the rest of the season nicely. Many fans of the show will feel great satisfaction over Joffrey’s death and some will wonder how the goblet got poisoned. Fans of the books will wonder how the showrunners condensed a fairly intricate plot into several minutes of television. While I didn’t enjoy this episode (especially the first half) as much the season premiere, Game of Thrones s4e2 lays the groundwork for future episodes.