‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 4, Episode 2 Recap: The Lion And The Rose

Above: It's another wedding in Westeros. Those never go badly, right?

Every Monday, our resident Game of Thrones fanatic E. Spencer Kyte will recap the previous night’s episode. Here’s his take on Season 4, Episode 2—The Lion and The Rose.

Warning: what follows is a review and analysis of what happened on Sunday night’s episode of Game of Thrones. If you haven’t watched it and don’t want to encounter spoilers, I suggest you go read something else on this site. Consider yourself warned.

In the immortal words of Ron Burgundy, “That escalated quickly.”

After being on a constant build last season leading up to “The Red Wedding,” Season 4 has already arrived at a major moment, as Sunday’s episode brought both the marriage of King Joffrey to Margaery Tyrell and the end of the sadistic young ruler of King’s Landing.

While we got our first sightings of Theon Greyjoy and his maniac captor Ramsey Snow, the bastard son of Robb Stark’s killer, Roose Bolton, and Bran Stark and his band of weary travelers, the majority of the episode and the unexpected events it contained took place in the capital, as House Tyrell and House Lannister-Baratheon were joined in holy matrimony.

When showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss said this season had a lot more electric moments than the previous three seasons combined, you’d have been hard pressed to find a non-book reader that expected Season 4 to get serious so quickly.

Everything about this episode was excellent—from the brief, but important interactions between characters milling about prior to and during the royal wedding to the climactic scene itself, “The Lion and The Rose” cranked up the intensity on the season and should have fans counting down the hours until next Sunday evening arrives.

Let’s just get this out of the way right here, right now: that snide, maniacal little douche everyone loves to hate, King Joffrey Baratheon is no more, felled at his own wedding by a poisoned cup of wine.

It was glorious. You’re allowed to say that when a fictional character dies, especially one as easily despised as Joffrey.

Before we get to the climax, a little of the build up.

Over lunch with Tyrion, Jaime laments the loss of his hand and all that it means to him. The way he sees it, he can no longer fight, and if “The Kingslayer” can no longer fight, what good is he? Tyrion, however, offers a solution, recommending his brother learn to fight with his left, and enlists his hire gun/sidekick Bronn to help Jaime learn to wield a sword with his off hand.

Walking around King’s Landing, Lord Varys informs Tyrion that Cersei’s spy has identified Shae as his mistress and passed along the information to their father, “The Hand of the King,” Tywin Lannister, who once promised his middle child that he would hang the next whore he found him with.

This puts Tyrion into action, as he forces himself to dispatch Shae, hurling insults and hurtful comments and untruths at her until she’s in tears. She will be put on a boat and sent across the Narrow Sea, where a better life — a safer life — awaits her.

After a quick church ceremony, we’re off the celebration of Joffrey and Margaery’s wedding. Some of the high points before the big finale:

  • Loras Tyrell likes what he sees of Prince Oberyn Martell and his lady friend
  • Jaime and Loras have a fun little repartee, culminating with the Jaimie declaring, “You’ll never marry Cersei!” to which Loras replies, “And neither will you” with a sassy pat on the shoulder.
  • As Cersei and Tywin are strolling around at the reception, they cross paths with Prince Oberyn, who makes a point of noting that Cersei is no longer Queen Regent and suggests it must be a relief. He also notes that she’s lucky her daughter was sent to a land where the rape and murder of girls wasn’t condoned, a not-so-subtle dig at Tywin over the death of his sister.
  • Joffrey has a band of imps “re-enact” what he calls “The War of the Five Kings,” his own warped telling of the war and his ascension to the throne where he mocks his wife’s former husband, his uncle Renly Baratheon, and Sansa Stark, who is forced to watch a play depicting the death of her brother, Robb.
  • When the play is over, Joffrey invites Tyrion to join the performers, but he counters well, saying one battle was enough for him, suggesting instead that Joffrey join them, given what a great warrior he has proven himself to be.

And here’s where things get interesting.

Joffrey’s response is to pour a cup of wine on his uncle’s head, and when Margaery tries to move on from her husband’s public mocking of Tyrion, Joffrey declares that Tyrion will be his cupbearer for the rest of the event. After filling his goblet and presenting it to him, Joffrey demands that Tyrion kneel, but he refuses and an awkward standoff ensues.

A giant pie is brought out, breaking up the tense moment. As Joffrey is eating, Tyrion and Sansa try to depart, but the King will have none of it. He says the pie is dry and that he needs drink, demanding Tyrion bring him more wine.

Tyrion obliges and Joffrey starts choking.

As Sansa watches on like everyone else, Ser Dontos—the King’s Fool who gave her the necklace last week—appears and instructs her that they have to split, immediately.

Joffrey collapses, weasing and vomiting. Jaime and Cersei rush to the fallen King—their forbidden lovechild—but he’s busy turning purple. With his last bit of strength, he seems to point to where he was previous standing eating pie, where Tyrion has picked up the goblet that contained the poisoned wine.

“He did this. He poisoned my son, your King. Take him. Take him! Take him! Take him!” barks a sobbing Cersei, at which point the King’s Guard hauls off Tyrion.

With a final look at an officially dead Joffrey, the credits roll.

My Thoughts:

First and foremost: awesome!

Not just because Joffrey was a tyrant (and ultimately a boring character because he had no real depth), but because this ups the ante for Season 4 starting now and this show is at its best when there is action and intrigue to focus on.

Secondly, who did it?

Tyrion obviously didn’t because he’s the one accused of doing it. I wouldn’t put it passed Cersei because she’s power-hungry and no one would suspect her, but my dark horse pick is Margaery because she would now be the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, which isn’t a bad place to be for a twice-widowed young lady.

Guess we’ll all have to keep watching to find out the answer.

Tags: Game of Thrones, HBO

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