Game of Thrones – Season four, episode two, ‘The Lion and the Rose’

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For whom the wedding bell tolls…
Why would anyone in Westeros ever want to get married again?
In the very first episodes of Game of Thrones we were informed that a Dothraki wedding with less than three deaths was considered a dull affair, and their Westerosi counterparts are certainly developing a similar perspective of nuptials.
Though not quite a match for the quantity of corpses that littered last season’s Red Wedding, The Lion and the Rose will long be remembered for the death of arguably the most detested figure in the series, King Joffrey.
Scripted by the book series author George R.R. Martin, this episode doesn’t waste a second. With a few short sequences catching us up on the few characters missed out on last week (Theon, Stannis, Bran), the episode focuses on the royal wedding between Joffrey and Margaery Tyrell. But beyond the presents, dwarfs matinees and bloodied pigeon pie, the machinations of political manoeuvring are spinning at a dizzying rate.
And if we needed one more reason to hate Joffrey then surely cutting off Sigur Ros’ cameo performance mid-song delivered it.
While most of the immediate attention will focus on who killed Joffrey, the rationale for his demise is as of as much importance.
In the world of Game of Thrones people don’t get bumped off because the morals of the universe demand it (in fact the most noble, moralistic characters have quite pointedly become the source of their own ends), but because they become politically expendable.
Joffrey has always been the quintessential spoilt brat, wielding a disproportionate amount of power. Harkening back to the execution of Ned Stark, the greatest danger Joffrey posed was his unpredictability and predilection for gruesome violence as a show of power. Joffrey’s demise was not any real response to the horrors he committed, but primarily due to his inability to be controlled.
So who finally got to Joffrey? The Lannister and Tyrell alliance was supposed to bring peace to the realm. However, while they were successful in defeating Stannis and Rob Stark in a military sense, the squabble for the spoils is only beginning. Not to mention the appearance of Oberyn Martell with a very campaign of vengeance against the Lannisters; Sansa’s long-term torment; the knight turned fool Ser Dontas who appeared long enough to drag Sansa away; or indeed Tyrion.
If one psychopath trudged off this mortal coil, then we’re provided with ample evidence to suggest that the realm certainly has no shortage of them.
In a scene that may have been directly lifted from an instalment of Criminal Minds, Ramsey Snow hunts down a girl with his new pet, Reek (aka the man formerly known as Theon) in tow.
Easily the most criticised aspect of last season, Theon’s drawn-out torture and eventual transformation into a mindless servant by Ramsey has been horrifying to watch. While for many the ends have not justified the means, the establishment of Ramsey as a man capable of immense psychological damage as much as physical is an important development, and a key point of difference to Joffrey.

One response to “Game of Thrones – Season four, episode two, ‘The Lion and the Rose’

  1. And, you know, the big question is, will this lead us – will there be any evidence that Christie knew what was going on? And then the story really blows up on to a new level. It's possible it kind of peters out and we see a lot of embarrassing emails among kind of state functionaries.

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