Game of Thrones: “The Lion and the Rose” Season 4 Episode 2 Review

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Okay, like it’s literally the second episode of the season and I probably woke the neighbors with my screams of shock.

First, a warning: MASSIVE SPOILERS ARE IN THIS REVIEW.

Still here? Good.

Ladies and gentlemen, that little prick is dead. The Starks were dealt a huge blow (in that they barely exist anymore) at the Red Wedding last season, but now it’s time for the Lannisters to feel some pain. For once I was screaming at my television in happiness! Thank you Game of Thrones! I feel rewarded for all my suffering from last season.

Much like the Red Wedding, Joffrey’s wedding to Margaery seems to be going all too well before Joffrey chokes to death on poison. There’s the usual Cersei threatening people and Joffrey torturing Tyrion, but the whole event seems pretty normal as far as the Lannisters are concerned. But then Joffrey is constantly taking food from different sources. The wedding pie is brought out, he forces Tyrion to serve him wine. Then he chokes and spits blood, his face turning purple before his last breath. Only Joffrey deserves a death this pathetic.

But the brilliant thing the show did beforehand was make just about every guest imaginable a potential suspect. Actually, just about the only person who can be ruled out is Tyrion (because there wouldn’t be any dramatic irony otherwise). Was it Margeary or her grandmother? Was it Sansa? Was it our fresh face Oberyn? It’s the new “Who shot J.R.?”, except more fantastical. I can’t wait to find out who did it, even if it’s several seasons from now. Joffrey’s death was one hell of a shocker, especially this early in the season. Whoever is responsible deserves a medal (including the showrunners).

Okay, so who else was in this episode? Just about everyone who didn’t show up in the premier.

At the very end of Season 3, we found out that Roose Bolton’s bastard, Ramsay Snow, was the one torturing Theon. Bolton’s visit to his son was just the jolt this story needed. It was legitimately creepy how Theon didn’t just slit Ramsay’s throat while shaving him. Is he actually that brainwashed, or does he have something up his sleeve? Now that we’re past the repetitive torture scenes from last season, Theon has become interesting again.

Stannis and his family had a lovely introduction to Season 4 that wasn’t creepy or sad at all. Except not, because Melisandre is still alive to birth demons and say “The night is dark and full of terrors” once a season, as the fine print of her contract reads. Stannis’ family seems like a lost cause at this point. Thankfully, we still have Davos to mirror how uncomfortable we are with just about every situation this storyline presents to us.

Bran had a brief scene of being a warg this episode. Had such a pivotal moment like one of the series’ main villains being killed off not happened, I would have appreciated more time with one of the last surviving Starks. But, considering the circumstances, it can be forgiven.

The Lion and the Rose needed to be all about Joffrey’s wedding. It’s a huge moment for the series and a turning point for so many characters. So even if Bran got the short end of the stick this week, the show is better for it in the end. This was an episode worth celebrating. The North remembers. Grade: A

By Matt Dougherty

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