(Note: to help clear up the discussion thread congestion, we’re publishing two Game of Thrones recaps this season, one for book readers and one for non-book readers. Doing it this way means those who have read A Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows don’t have to begin every conversation with “SPOILER,” or those who haven’t won’t need to worry about learning something they shouldn’t.)
If Game of Thrones has taught us anything, it’s that you should never, ever, ever, ever get married/go to a wedding. Also, pie is superior to cake (COME AT ME), but mostly the marriage thing. First, there was the Red Wedding, and now, there’s the Purple Wedding, in which, if you’ll allow me to put my fancy critic hat on: sh*t. went. down. The king is dead, boys, and while I probably should feel bad about rooting for the death of a 19-year-old kid, I don’t, because I don’t think we’re supposed to.
“The Lion and the Rose,” written by George R.R. Martin, was like the Nickelback’s Greatest Hits of everything that made Joffrey a terrible ruler and an even worse human: laughing at little people, throwing money around like it’s confetti, wasting good wine, taunting his uncle, chopping a book in half with a sword, failing to praise Margaery’s nine-mile-high hair. The episode is practically begging us to admit, Joffrey’s a rotten snake with a belly full of poison, and he deserved what he got.
Let’s go through how Joffrey’s death will affect some key characters:
Sansa: Ser Dontos whisked Sansa away before Joffrey took his final breathe so she could continue breathing. Like Brienne when Renly hit the floor, Sansa’s in an unenviable position: if she stays in King’s Landing, everyone will think she did it; if she flees King’s Landing, everyone will still think she did it, but at least she won’t be around by the time anyone notices she’s gone. I imagine later that evening, Sansa subtweeted, “Ugh can’t believe I used to date him.” (Find her at @JoanOfStark.)
Cersei: while Joffrey’s having the time of his life laughing at the little people and their recreation of the War of the Five Kings, the long, lingering shots of the Purple Wedding guests tell a different story. There’s disgust on their faces, fear even, that this petulant monster is their ruler, and there’s nothing they can do about it. Even Cersei looks disappointed at the actions of this monster, but Joffrey’s HER monster, so while he’s desperately choking on the poison, she’s one of only two people who rushes over to help him, the other being Jaime. But while Cersei’s unable to save him, she is able to swing her dick around and offend everyone at the wedding, including Lady Brienne, Grandmaester Pycelle, and Ellaria Sand. She’s a woman gone mad without power, and she’s going to channel it all at her brother, Tyrion.
Margaery: she’s a tall-haired queen without a smug-faced king. Or at least a king who’s old enough to shoot a whore with a crossbow WITHOUT his mother’s help. With Joffrey gone, Margaery will presumably be forced to marry the next Baratheon in line, which happens to be…
Tommen: ALL HAIL KING…Tommen? That’s like Nazi Germany going from Hitler to some guy named Frank. Maybe he’ll defy Cersei and Tywin’s wishes and be a kindly, gracious ruler who, nope, can’t even finish that. He’s only 12 years old, or thereabouts, and whatever his mom says, goes.
Tyrion: I know Gump Week is over on AMC, but RUN TYRION RUN. No amount of wise-cracking sellswords can help you now, especially when the mother of the king, who also happens to be your sister, accuses you of being the one who poisoned her son while you’re literally holding the evidence. (Not that he’d be stupid enough to commit murder in front of hundreds of people.) The only Lannister who looks worse? Jaime, for rushing to Joffrey’s corpse a split-second too late. Also, Joffrey’s corpse.
Elsewhere in the episode:
-Ramsay Snow is like a free-range version of Joffrey.
-Theon/Reek has never been, and will never be, a favorite character of mine, but Alfie Allen gave one hell of a tortured, bug-eyed performance, toeing the line between savagery and beaten-down passivity.
-Bronn sounds like the kind of teacher who’d grab a beer with his students after class.
-Never drink poisoned wine, never eat symbolic sausages.
-”I SAID I WANTED THE HUNGER GAMES.”
-”There is only one Hell, princess. The one we live in now.” Melisandre would be a bad mom.
-When I touch trees with faces on them, I see dragon shadows, too.
-What’s a Tyrion gotta do to get a front-row seat?
-To be fair, I kind of agree with Joffrey about Sigur Rós.
-Tommen is now 37 years old.
-Who looks the MOST guilty?
-But seriously, never go to another wedding again.
Book Reader Spoilers: director Alex Graves did a wonderful job of showing us who poisoned Joffrey without drawing obvious attention to it. Are we assuming, however, that the poison was in Dontos’ gift necklace to Sansa, and not in a hairnet? One of the biggest book-to-TV show changes so far this season is Bronn, and not Ilyn Payne, training Jaime in how to fight with his left hand. I’m guessing this is for two reasons: character consolidation, and also, the actor who plays Ilyn, Wilko Johnson, has terminal cancer and won’t be with us much longer. That is unbearably sad.
Five Songs Prince Should Have Played at the Purple Wedding
Smell ya later, Joffrey.