Zack & Nick's Culture Cast

Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!

Game of Thrones – Season 4, Episode 2 – The Lion and the Rose

**Massive Spoilers – Be Warned**

Let it be said that no royal wedding in Westeros ever went smoothly. That should be the lesson we have learned from four seasons worth of Game of Thrones episode. Tonight’s wedding was, of course, no different from the embarrassing antics of the Tyrion/Sansa wedding or the horrifying madness of the Red Wedding last season. The impending marriage of Joffrey Baratheon to Margaery Tyrell had been building up since the end of season two, and it does not disappoint. It almost makes up for the continuing boring adventures of Bran Stark and his creepy friends up north (almost).

Joffrey finally marries Margaery in last night's episode of Game of Thrones.

Joffrey finally marries Margaery in last night’s episode of Game of Thrones.

Though the wedding was of main import in last night’s episode, we were also granted a scene explaining just what was going on with Theon Greyjoy last season. Held captive by a mysterious young man, we eventually learn that Theon was to be used a bargaining chip in a ransom and that his captor was none other than Ramsay Snow, bastard son of Roose Bolton. Yes, this was given away somewhat in the season finale at the end of the third season, but the exposition helps fill in some of the gaps, some of the stuff we weren’t really privy to.

Roose Bolton and his bannermen return to the Dreadfort from the Twins, having attended (and helped plan) the Red Wedding. Roose has been made Warden of the North, but Lord Balon Greyjoy still controls much of it. It was Ramsay’s job to use Theon to appease Balon and get the Greyjoys out of the north, but this did not go as planned. Ramsey instead humiliates and tortures Theon for an extended period of time, so much so that Theon is now known as “Reek” and serves as a slave to the Bolton family. Roose is less than pleased, but sends his bannermen, headed by Locke (the man who took Jaime Lannister’s hand last season), to Castle Black to find out the location of Bran and Rickon Stark, who were previously thought dead. See, that filled us all in, didn’t it?

Meanwhile, Bran is beyond the wall figuring out what he needs to do next. He’s been spending too much time as a “warg” controlling Summer, his direwolf. His two companions (I’ve forgotten their names and don’t care to look them up) warn him not to spend so much time like this, as it is likely he will begin to lose his humanity. At this moment they spot a strange tree much like the one found at Winterfell. Hodor carries Bran to the tree and has a vision of dragons flying over King’s Landing. A motivated Bran knows now where to head next, and the companions head off on their new adventure. Hopefully this story starts getting more interesting soon, because so far it’s been crap after crap.

The meat and potatoes in this episode obviously goes to the royal wedding in King’s Landing, where King Joffrey is to marry Margaery Tyrell. The events begin with a ceremony of wedding presents. Tyrion presents the young king with a book of the history of four important kings of Westeros. Joffrey uses another of his presents, a Valerian-steel sword, to chop the book in two, insulting his uncle and making a spectacle of himself. The symbolism here is a bit too obvious to even write down. Later, Tyrion orders Shae, his prostitute girlfriend, to leave King’s Landing, entrusting Bronn with the duty of carrying out the order. Though Bronn claims he followed through, there’s reason to believe he did not. Bronn also shares a scene with Jaime Lannister, teaching him to fight with his left hand.

The actual wedding itself is next, and it is an expensive and splendid affair. There’s food, wine, fire-breathers, musicians, and all the good stuff that comes with a royal wedding. We get some great banter between Oberyn Martell and Cersei Lannister, and even Loras gets in a good dig at Jaime (noting that Jaime will never be able to marry his sister, spoken in retort to a threat from Jaime). Tywin remarks about the expense of the wedding, and is reminded that the throne owes millions to the Iron Bank of the free cities, just to remind the audience that something might happen with that this season.

Throughout the entire ordeal, Joffrey is just a nightmare for anyone around him. He pays attendees to throw oranges at his fool. He throws a handful of gold at the musicians to get them to stop playing. He is irritable, impulsive, and irrational throughout the entire affair. He saves the best of his insults and childish behavior for belittling his uncle Tyrion, however. At one point he spills win over Tyrion’s head, and then makes his uncle be his cupbearer, intentionally kicking his golden goblet under the table, where Tyrion must fetch it in an embarrassing manner.

It is shocking still what happens next, however. After feasting on pigeon pie (a wedding tradition in King’s Landing I suppose), Joffrey takes a drink of wine, and then dies a horrible death, apparently poisoned. The suspect, Tyrion Lannister, is taken into custody by order of Queen Cersei, and the episode ends. An ignoble end for Joffrey that I did not see coming so early into the second season. I would have expected Joffrey’s death to be a bit more dramatic, to the point that I expected him to be stabbed a thousand times and then beheaded. To be honest, poisoning was probably a bit too good for Joffrey. But he’s dead now, and Tyrion is the main suspect. I imagine we’ll find out more next week.

-Z-

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