BY DEREK KUHN
*CAUTION SPOILERS AHEAD*
Yes! The moment most “Game of Thrones” fans wanted to happen finally happened. King Joffery is dead! (Is there ever an uneventful wedding in Westeros?) Who filled the goblet full of poison? Was it Joffrey’s uncle Tyrion? Cersei seems to think so, but I’ll wager that it isn’t that simple — it never is in “Game of Thrones.”
The show has killed off its last one-dimensional character with the poisoning of Joffrey. Really the only other one-dimensional character in the series was the perpetually honorable Eddard Stark who died late in the first season.
It will be interesting to see whether any character can evoke as much fan hatred as Joffrey did. Ramsey Snow probably is the leading candidate for chief jerk.
With that being said, the episode starts off with Ramsey, Reek (a.k.a. Theon) and new character Miranda chasing down a damsel with warhounds. An arrow is put through one of the damsel’s thigh, and Ramsay sicced his dogs on her. The dogs rip her to pieces. Yep, Ramsay definitely is the frontrunner for chief jerk.
Ramsay’s father and new warden of the North, Roose Bolton returns to the Dreadfort. Roose isn’t too happy with the way his illegitimate son has been acting while he was away. Roose wanted to use Theon as a bargaining chip with the Ironborn who are still harassing the North. But Theon is no more, he is now Reek — a battered and brainwashed Theon minus a few appendages. So now, Ramsay and Reek are off to drive the Ironborn from Moat Cailin.
We also catch up with Brandon Stark for the first time this season. He, Jojen and his sister Meera Reed, along with Hodor (Hodor!) are north of the Wall. They are hungry, and Bran is becoming more withdrawn — spending hours controlling his direwolf Summer. During their trek, Bran is drawn to a Weirwood tree. It’s at this tree where he has a vision. Bran sees the three-eyed raven and where they need to go (among other things).
When we finally catch up with Stannis Baratheon, we are treated to three bonfires with three heretics placed atop them. One of them happens to be Stannis’ uncle by marriage. Oddly enough, Stannis’ wife Selyse is perfectly fine with the red priestess Melisandre sacrificing them to the Lord of Light.
After the bonfires, Stannis, Selyse and Melisandre sit down to a nice awkward dinner. Stannis seemed unnerved by the ceremony. Selyse’s devotion to her new faith is quite unsettling.
The shifting to the Dreadfort, Dragonstone and to Brandon’s group provides a nice diversion from the centerpiece of the episode — the activities at King’s Landing.
Before the Purple Wedding, Jamie admits to Tyrion the loss of his right hand has left him unable to fight with a sword. Jamie is prideful and doesn’t want the high-borns of King’s Landing to know the renowned swordsman is now barely able to wield a sword. Luckily for him, Tyrion knows a tight-lipped sellsword — Bronn.
Tyrion also has an emotional scene with Shae. It’s too dangerous for Shae to remain in Westoros, so Tyrion has purchased passage to Pentos for her. Shae refuses, and Tyrion has to say hard things (that he doesn’t mean) to get her to leave.
After Jamie and Bronn’s training session, the wedding kicks off.
We watch their uneventful wedding ceremony, but the reception is where the real entertainment begins.
The reception is rife with great character interactions such as the jabs exchanged between Lady Olenna Tyrell and Tywin, the passive aggressive interaction of Oberyn and Tywinn and Cersei, and the acrimonious interchange of Loras and Jamie. Although the interaction between Cersei and Brienne of Tarth was my favorite. During that exchange (or rather Cersei giving while Brienne took), Cersei asks Brienne if she loves Jamie. It’s at this point Brienne realizes that she does.
During the reception, Joffery is up to his old antics of belittling his dwarf uncle Tyrion and generally being a poor excuse for a human being. (Man, I really love to hate his character.)
As the festivities (or atrocities) continue, Joffrey denigrates Tyrion in front of everyone at the reception by making him his cup bearer. As Tyrion is standing tall refusing to kneel to the king, Margaery deflates the situation by announcing the wedding pie has arrived.
It’s at this point, Joffrey remarks that the pie is dry and tells Tyrion to fetch him his wine goblet. Tyrion does, and as Joffrey drinks the wine, he starts choking. The wine was poisoned, but we don’t know by whom.
Tyrion is taken into custody by the order of his sister Cersei.
This was a great episode. Joffrey was really a horrible person in this episode. It’s fitting he died after being so rotten during his reception. The tension kept building until the end of the episode when Joffrey was poisoned. It was nice to catch up with Brandon, and seeing Theon completely accept his new identity as Reek was interesting. This isn’t an actual dig on the episode, but I would’ve liked to see Joffrey suffer more — maybe spit up more blood. (He deserved it.)
+ Sometimes you can have your cake and eat it, too.
+ The dynamics of the show just changed.
+ Lady Olena’s dismissal of her son as she was talking to Tywin perfectly articulates their relationship.
+ Great tension and pacing.
+ Seeing how broken Theon is (it might set up a good revenge scene later on).
+ Brienne and Cersei’s exchange.
-Maybe I’m be a bit of a sadist, but I really wanted Joffrey to suffer.