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"Game of Thrones" Review/Recap: “The Lion and the Rose”

Mary Baker ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Jack Gleeson and Natalie Dormer in Game of Thrones. Photo Credit: HBO.
Jack Gleeson and Natalie Dormer in the Game of Thrones episode “The Lion and the Rose” Photo Credit: HBO.

It was a beautiful day for a wedding in Westeros. The bride, Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer), looked stunning in blue and the groom, King Joffery Baratheon (Jack Gleeson), stole the spotlight as the little brat finally bit the dust and turned purple as viewers across the world cheered.

Ding dong, the witch is dead.

Joffery’s death was the main plot of the second episode, but don’t be fooled: a lot of other stuff happened besides the death of the world’s most hated king. Source material author Geroge R.R. Martin writes one episode per season and “The Lion and the Rose” was his choice for season four. One might wish he had decided to take on an episode with more primary characters involved (we didn’t get any Jon, Dany, or Arya this episode) but the episode still delivered a hearty heap of violence and witty dialogue, along with (for once in Game of Thrones’ four seasons) a character death viewers could cheer for.

Theon/Reek (House Greyjoy/House Bolton)

Theon’s (Alfie Allen) story has been jumped all the way to A Dance With Dragons, the fifth book of the Song of Ice and Fire series. It’s an excellent example of how the showrunners have begun to break out of their “one book-one season” mold in order to adapt to the nonlinear story.

Anyways, we open the episode on a woman running away in fear from some unknown hunter. As always, when someone is looking at the face of death, it’s usually Ramsay Snow (Bolton), who pulls a Most Dangerous Game and shoots the girl in the leg, hunting her for the pure joy of the chase. We also get our first look at Theon this season. Even though he is lacking a few choice parts, he is still recognizably Theon physically. Mentally, he has become a slave to Ramsay, the bastard son of Roose Bolton, who is one of the masterminds behind last season’s to-die-for wedding.

We see Theon (or Reek, as Ramsay calls his new pet) meet Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton), who chides Ramsay for destroying their best bartering chip with Balon Greyjoy (Patrick Malahide). Ramsay proves Theon’s obedience by having him give him a “close shave”, and while Theon has a razor at Ramsay’s neck, he breaks the news that Robb Stark is dead. Theon has a visible reaction that actually makes the viewer feel bad for him, but continues to obediently shave Ramsay’s face (even though the viewer might be pulling for him to do a Sweeney Todd and rid Westeros of two irredeemable villains in one episode.) You can’t always get what you want, though, and not only does Ramsay live to torture another day, but his dad finally recognizes him as a Bolton and Ramsay spills the beans about Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and Rickon (Art Parkinson) being alive.

Bran (House Stark)

Another character whose story has been progressed to book five, Bran & Co (Jojen, Myra, and Hodor) are, unsurprisingly, hungry and cold. Bran has been spending a lot of time in a warg state as Summer, his direwolf, which is dangerous to his mental state. He discovered he can connect on a spiritual level to the heart trees that are integral to the Northern religion and can see back in time.

 Liam Cunningham and Stephen Dillane in the Game of Thrones episode "The Lion and the Rose" Photo Credit: HBO.
Liam Cunningham and Stephen Dillane in the Game of Thrones episode “The Lion and the Rose” Photo Credit: HBO.

Davos (House Baratheon)

We get only a quick scene with Stannis (Stephen Dillane), Melisandre (Carice van Houten), and Davos (Liam Cunningham) this episode. Melisandre burns all the traditional priests in order to clear the way for her God, the Lord of Light. This disgusts Davos. At a meal after, Stannis’ wife expresses concern over her daughter’s ungodliness, claiming an unseemly birthmark was the god’s way of showing their disapproval. Melisandre, on Stannis’ wife’s wishes, goes to talk to the girl.

Everyone at the Wedding (Houses Lannister/Tyrell/Baratheon/Martell/Tarth/Stark)

Basically the entire King’s Landing cast showed up for the biggest wedding of the year. Cersei drank and got jealous of Margaery, who stole the hearts of the kingdom once again while also becoming Queen as Cersei is downgraded to “lady”. She and her father, Tywin, had a sass match with Oberyn Martell and Ellaria Sand, again proving to be scene-stealers. We see Olenna Tyrell looking jolly to finally see her daughter married into some power, however despicable it might be. She takes a touching moment to comfort Sansa about Robb’s death and invites her to come stay at Highgarden. We see Jamie also having a sass-off, but this time with Loras, who is scheduled to marry Cersei. (This means Cersei would be marrying her son-in-law.) Jamie tells him he will never marry Cersei, while Loras counters back with a “neither will you.” Cersei, showing characteristic territoriality over Jamie, confronts Brienne about their relationship. The viewer is led to assume that Brienne is in love with Jamie, a fact that disturbs Cersei very much.

Natalie Dormer and Jack Gleeson in the Game of Thrones episode "The Lion and the Rose" Photo Credit: HBO.
Natalie Dormer and Jack Gleeson in the Game of Thrones episode “The Lion and the Rose” Photo Credit: HBO.

Things escalate as Joffery brings out the entertainment—dwarves dressed to look like the five kings (Renly, Stannis, Balon, Robb, and Joffery) and they battle. This disturbs many in the crowd, but Joffery has the time of his life laughing at other people’s pain. Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) grabs Sansa’s (Sophie Turner) hand in a show of support as her “brother” is brutally beaten, and the two prepare to go. Joffery had none of that, though, and requests Tyrion be his cupbearer, a high insult for the King’s uncle. Things escalate, Joffery eats the wedding pie and drinks the wine, and eventually he begins to choke, falling dramatically into the aisle as his mother and uncle/father attempt to save him. Whoops, too late, he’s already purple. Darn.

Overall Episode Grade: A-

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