Game of Thrones: The Lion and The Rose

Ding dong the king is dead!!!

Time to break out the bubbly am I right? This has to be the moment that TV fans were praying for and book / tv fans were eagerly awaiting. I know every time I heard someone wish out loud that an anvil would fall on Joffrey’s head, I was giddy with secret knowledge. Just wait guys – the bratty bitch king will get his. And did he ever!!! In “The Lion and The Rose,” during his wedding festivities, Joffrey started choking on his wine mid-sadistic taunt and fell to the ground gasping for breath. As his grief-stricken mother looked on, King Joffrey sputtered helplessly and bled from every orifice until all the life left his evil little eyes. Sad? NOT! Never has a character been so utterly rotten, pathetic and despicable as Joffrey Baratheon. Never has a viewing audience so unanimously loathed a fictional dude. Joffrey was sadistic, cruel and violent with no amount of strength, humour or sex appeal to dull the impact. He was weak, cowardly, whiny, selfish, and completely incompetent. And now he’s dead. Thank the Gods!

So how did it all go down? It was a bright sunny day in King’s Landing when Joffrey forged his union with Margaery Tyrell. The groom donned his fakest smile for the occasion while the bride rocked a plunging neckline and a bizarre bouffant. There was much celebration afterwards with musicians, jesters and dwarf pantomimes. The food and wine were plentiful of course, but gourmet meals alone could not satisfy the young king’s appetite. Joffrey had a taste for torment and he was fixated on his Uncle Tyrion, who had far too often challenged his authority and pointed out his ineptitude. As the wedding feast wore on, Joffrey continued to humiliate Tyrion. First he took a sword to a thoughtful wedding gift / priceless manuscript. Then he taunted his uncle by suggesting he join his fellow dwarves in their goofy re-imagining of the war. Finally he appointed Tyrion his official cupbearer, repeatedly knocking the goblet out of his grasp and forcing him to fill it on command. Even Margaery’s attempts to distract Joffrey failed miserably for he would not be deterred from his mission. But when Tyrion handed his nephew a final goblet of wine, things went horribly wrong. Joffrey began to cough, sporadically at first, and then desperately. The wedding guests watched in horror as their King fell to the ground in agony and died before their eyes.

This joyful moment was only sullied by Cersei’s immediate accusation against Tyrion. Her precious son had been poisoned somehow and her injured brother seemed the most likely culprit. Cersei bellowed, “Seize him” and Tyrion was dragged away by the guards. Did Tyrion serve his nephew a cup full of poison on purpose? How would he have managed it?

The Aftermath

Well…this certainly changes things doesn’t it? Just as the fighting in Westeros seemed to be calming down, the king dropped dead. Now the realm is once again without a leader. If you ignore the fact that Cersei’s children are illegitimate products of incest, her youngest son Tommen should be the next in line. Who? Yes, despite the fact that he’s had virtually no screentime, there is a second Baratheon / Lannister bastard hidden away somewhere. However he’s a silly child with no capability to rule a country so there’s now way he…oh wait, I just realized he’s basically Joffrey.

Of course Stannis has a stronger claim to the throne and he’s still out there sulking and brooding. And Dany – who has the strongest claim of all – is across the Narrow Sea with three teenage dragons and an ever-growing army. Psstt Dany, this might be the perfect time to strike. Maybe you want to stop wandering around the desert and come home to take back your throne? No? Okay. SIGH.

Poor Margaery Tyrell is a widowed queen for the second time in her very young life. She’s heartbroken I’m sure. Seriously, what does this girl have to DO to keep a crown on her perfectly coiffed head?!

In the chaos that followed King Joffrey’s demise, Sir Dantos grabbed Sansa and told her to come with him if she wanted a chance to escape. Hopefully she’ll hightail it out of there. Things will get very difficult for her if Tyrion stands accused of murder.

Elsewhere in Westeros

A few things did happen outside of King’s Landing this episode:

– Stannis burned his brother-in-law at the stake for refusing to take down his false idols (i.e. the Seven Gods that everyone else still worships). Stannis’ wife continued to exhibit cuckoo for cocoa puffs behaviour.

– Ramsey Snow took his new pet Reek (the artist formerly known as Theon Greyjoy) on a fun people-hunting outing. Awww isn’t that sweet! When his father, Roose Bolton, returned to the Dreadfort he was not amused by Ramsey’s poor treatment of the hostages. How can he trade Theon to his father if he’s missing his…err…appendages? But he was very interested to learn that Theon had not actually slain Bran and Rickon at Winterfell. Roose immediately sent men to track down the Stark boys down before they threaten the Lannister’s position.

– Bran, however, is not at all interested in making power plays. He’s still trudging along on his magical journey through the north, having visions of ravens and jumping into his wolf’s body for kicks. But it looks like he’s also talking to trees now…so that’s new.

I really, really loved this episode. And I thought it was very smart of the writers to keep most of the action centered on King’s Landing. Sometimes Game of Thrones can feel a little scattered. As soon as you really get into the meat of a scene, you’re ripped away to some far away place. It can hinder your ability to lose yourself in each story. It’s a nice change of pace when we really get to sit with the characters for long periods of time. And we needed that leading up to the shocking moment of Joffrey’s death.

Favourite Moments

There were some really horrible / great moments during Joffrey’s cruel dwarf performance and it was interesting to see the wedding’s guests struggle to keep their cool. He openly mocked Renly’s sexuality and his manhood in front of his reputed lover and his former wife. Loras stormed off and Margaery looked pained. She may not have loved Renly, but she has at least some respect for human life. Sansa was forced to look on as a dwarf wearing a wolf’s head was cut down and defiled by the dwarf in Joffrey’s attire. There is little love for the Starks in King’s Landing but many people looked horrified at the tacky display.

I love how Cersei couldn’t resist undermining Margaery at her own wedding. Margaery made a big show of announcing to everyone in attendance that the leftover food would be donated to the poor. But Cersei went behind her back and ordered the servants to deliver the leftovers to the kennel instead. Trust Cersei to make an underfed population suffer just so she can stick it to her younger, prettier competition.

So what did you guys think of Joffrey’s big exit? 

Photo Courtesy of HBO

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