Warning – the following recap contains spoilers. Do not read unless you have seen ‘The Lion And The Rose’
If you think you have a claim to the Iron Throne in Westeros, you had better keep it quiet – because once you utter the infamous words, ‘I am the rightful King’, you should expect every person you meet to be an enemy…or at least happily betray you for a good price. Yet, for the past three seasons the audience of Game of Thrones has been left to question when and how Joffrey Baratheon would meet his end – and that question was finally answered in the second episode of the fourth season, which saw Joffrey kick the bucket (or goblet) at his own wedding.
As much of a spectacle as we anticipated it would be, The Purple Wedding treated us to scenes that contained jaw clenching tension, only broken up by moments of witty dialogue at just the right times. From Margaery interrupting Joffrey and Tyrion’s standoff by loudly proclaiming ‘Look, the pie!’ and Loras shrugging off Jaime’s threats of him never marrying Cersei by snapping ‘And neither will you’, the Tyrells shone this episode and filled in the huge hole that the Starks left – though they are much more cunning than their unfortunate counterparts and manipulative. The Tyrells are proof that in Westeros you have to be willing to play the game dirty even if you have respectable ideals for ruling.
After so much foreshadowing in this episode that something would go wrong, it finally did in the style of Joffrey beginning to choke. Aptly grotesque and painful for such a despicable tyrant, Cersei and Jaime watched helplessly as their child died right before their eyes, confirming that indeed they were powerless now in their new roles (as during the party they had tried to hard to grasp for any kind of power they could take). Knowing what we know about Cersei and her suicidal behaviour if it wasn’t for her children (even Joffrey), there was sympathy but only for a mother losing the son she had laboured so hard to bring into the world.
This episode was also not without its other shocks – mainly the shock of how much psychological trauma Theon had suffered at the hands of Ramsay Snow. Forcing him to abandon his identity as Theon Greyjoy and adopt the name and persona of Reek, Ramsay used his power over him to prove to his father he should be considered a Bolton. The intensity of the scene in which he made Theon shave him whilst telling him that his father had killed Robb Stark was incredibly powerful and gut wrenching, as the camera lingered for far too long on the blade at Ramsay’s neck, cutting to Theon trying to process his emotions upon hearing this news. Like most of us, the audience were probably expecting Theon to finally break free and use this chance to make his escape or at least exact his revenge. However, this was not Theon Greyjoy – this was Reek. And it was Reek that decided to ignore this news and tell Roose that the youngest Stark boys were still alive. Ramsey ultimately was shown as the new big bad – the ultimate villain in this series (or at least in Westeros now that Joffrey has departed).
The next episode will likely have us watch as Tyrion tries to keep his head as he defends himself against Cersei’s claims that he murdered Joffrey, and with Sansa making a swift exit with Ser Dantos, this will be just as tense, if not more, than this episode. However, for those of you wondering who really did do it, all you need to do is watch the episode very carefully again and you will see (and even hear) the moment Joffrey was poisoned. (Or alternatively read the books or Google the results – either way, you will most likely be left with more questions than answers, as George R.R. Martin likes to do)
Monday’s, Sky Atlantic, 9pm