Wow. Let’s get right into discussing this episode. Life-ruining spoilers below! Please don’t read if you haven’t seen this episode yet!
Firstly, before I discuss the obvious, let me discuss my partner’s further adventures in not knowing any of the character’s names. This time he was referring to Theon just as “Greyjoy”. He referred to Bran as “no leg Stark” at least once. Later on, he asked about “blonde lady”, and I asked him to clarify since there are at least three or four blonde ladies in the show. He responds, “the tall one”, referring to Brienne. Poor Mr Film Grimoire. He should have read the books.
Actually, let me discuss everything except the one big event that I really, really want to write about, which I’ll save for last.
The design of the Dreadfort in the opening sequence is really badass and totally appropriate for its citizens. It has pyramid studs on it like a cool belt from 2002. I like it. Meanwhile, as for the men of the Dreadfort, I continue to be impressed by Roose Bolton and Ramsay Snow. Ramsay is the perfect mix between villainous and legitimately crazy, and Roose’s composure whilst being totally evil is chilling. Love them both, and loved their interactions this episode. Ramsay’s chasing of a woman through the woods who eventually gets eaten by dogs reminded me of that amazing scene in Moonraker (1979).
Alfie Allen killed it in this episode. He’s made the transition from Theon to Reek in the perfect way. He’s a trembling, twitching, nervous wreck – and who would blame him? I love that Reek is so scared for his life in a subtle way rather than overtly wincing or flinching. He’s gone so far beyond scared that his character is trapped in a constant state of fear, and it’s interesting how Allen has integrated this into his speech and mannerisms. I love what he’s doing with this character. The way we see Reek in the books is totally different; Theon is unrecognisable and it’s not for many chapters until we realise that Theon and Reek are the same person. So the show is handling it in a way that’s new to readers of the books, which I’m enjoying. The scene where he’s shaving Ramsay’s face whilst discussing the Stark kids was perfection. Last season his constant torture started getting old (and torture porn-ish), but I’m so looking forward to more of him this season if he’s starting this strongly.
We finally got to see where Bran, Jojen, Meera and Hodor are up to! Still walking towards somewhere only Bran subconsciously knows about. I really like how they’re portraying the warg-ing in the show. I also loved his vision as he touched the heart tree (a term which I don’t think they’ve used in the show so far). A very nice mix of things we’ve already seen and things we haven’t seen just yet. I wonder, who is the source of the voice in his vision?
We also finally got to see Stannis! It looks like the show is still hellbent on portraying him in a negative light. He and his zealot wife just look crazy. We’re also meant to pity him, contrasting his meagre feast of rancid meat to the decadence of King’s Landing. But we’ll see how this develops. Particularly now that Melisandre seems to be getting some more character development, and Stannis showed quite a bit of cynicism through passive aggressive facial expressions. I would have loved to see more Davos in this scene (loooove him). But this was a pretty good start to his role this season – burning family and comrades who didn’t believe in his god. Nice one Stannis and Melisandre.
Tyrion’s break-up scene with Shae was heartbreaking. He truly loves her, but he wants to send her away for her own safety. It’s a shame that she’s too stubborn to see it. Sibel Kekilli is an alright actress in general and hasn’t impressed me that much over the series, but in this scene I just felt so sad for her. I also felt so sad for Tyrion. If anyone was questioning Tyrion’s morality, they would have no doubt that he actually is a good person after watching this scene, and his scene last week where he comforts Sansa in her depression.
I also loved the scene between Bronn and Jaime, where Bronn is teaching Jaime how to fight with his left hand. Jaime is the best, post-hand chop. Non-hand chop Jaime would never resort to learning skills from a lowly sellsword, whereas post-chop he has an awareness of what it’s like to be someone outside of the norm. He is willing to broaden his horizons, and to accept help from people ‘lesser’ than him. Jaime is turning into a completely different character, and kind of like Theon/Reek, I’m so impressed with how Nicolaj Coster-Waldau is integrating these changes into his performance.
No Daenerys or Jon Snow in this episode, and I have to say that I didn’t miss them at all. I almost totally forgot they existed. I also forgot about Arya and the Hound this episode, which is crazy because I love Arya and always look forward to seeing her. Having read the books, I knew what was coming and I was literally sitting on the edge of the couch with my hands over my face the whole time because I wasn’t sure how GRRM was going to play it (he’s the writer this episode – the only episode he’ll write this season).
Onwards, to the wedding!
Some small thoughts first:
- Tywin and Lady Olenna Tyrell’s chemistry is so great.
- Sigur Ros! If they played at my wedding I wouldn’t throw coins at them.
- Ser Loras is so sassy and I love it.
- Loved that mention by Oberyn Martell that Myrcella, Cersei’s only daughter, is ‘safe’ in Dorne. I wonder if we’ll see Myrcella this season (probably not).
- Cersei is amazingly bitchy. Lena Headey is playing her to perfection. I always look forward to her in every episode!
- I don’t like that they’re setting up a Brienne/Jaime crush storyline this soon. As far as I can remember, in the books she eventually develops an affection for him, and she learns some valuable life lessons from him. Not some ‘teehee do you like him’ ham-fisted young adult novel sub-story. Brienne is too fierce for that BS.
- That dwarf jousting match was so painful to watch.
- There’s a new actor for Tommen! (Cersei’s youngest son.) See far left below! That was a surprise. I thought they would keep the younger actor.
Sophie Turner was amazing this episode. Sansa’s face as she was watching all the horrible events during the wedding was an absolute portrait of grief – particularly as she was watching a version of her brother having his head pretend-chopped off during the dwarf joust. I think she’s mastered the thousand-yard stare of someone who’s living their worst nightmare. At the end of the episode she’s whisked off by Ser Dontos, but they didn’t show her leaving the wedding – just missing from the overall scene.
The whole wedding was filled with so much tension. You just knew something bad was going to happen, not only because of the Red Wedding last year, but because the bad vibes just kept escalating.
I feel like I’m forgetting something. Oh, wait.
Finally, it happened – the moment that everyone who watches this show has been waiting for! Ever since he ordered the killing of the butcher’s boy and inadvertently had Sansa’s direwolf put down, and probably even before that, Joffrey has been a pain in everybody’s backside. And he’s more or less responsible for all of the war and horrible things that have happened since he had the honourable Ned Stark’s head chopped off. So for many people this was a welcome end to a total gimp who had nothing nice to say about anybody. I actually think there was a collective cheering from the entire internet when it happened. For myself, I was sitting on the couch with my hands over my face going “FGSHGJGJSFJKSGF!”, until after the episode was over when I jumped up and had a bit of a dance around the house.
But his death raises a lot of questions. Who killed Joffrey? There were a number of people at the wedding who would have loved to see him dead. It could have been anybody! What happens next? Who inherits the kingdom? What will happen to Tyrion after Joffrey accused him of the dastardly deed? How is Cersei going to fare after the death of her favourite son!? It’s kind of like that ‘Who Killed Mr Burns?’ episode of The Simpsons.
The final shot of the episode was brutal. In the book, GRRM describes Joffrey’s face going dark red or purple (can’t remember which), and it certainly sounds very violent but I didn’t imagine the extent of the image. I didn’t even consider how they might have interpreted it for the show, which was probably a bit near-sighted of me. In reality, his purpling face with protruding veins, the bleeding eyes and nose, and the broken capillaries on his cheeks were quite disturbing to look at. Even though I hated Joffrey soooo much. But it was an excellent way to end the episode and it gave fans of the show exactly what they wanted.
Let’s relive some beautiful memories with Joff. Rest in peace buddy.
THANK YOU to the wonderful Jack Gleeson for providing everybody with a character that we could all unite in our hatred for. Even if everyone fundamentally disagreed on everything else about the series, we all had one thing to bond over: our utter dislike of this wholeheartedly horrible character. It takes guts to have such a strong commitment to a character like Joffrey, and Gleeson has been on point in every scene. An overwhelmingly excellent job. I’m almost sad to see him go.
Where do we go from here? Margaery has just married someone who died. Is she still technically Queen? Joffrey’s death does indeed raise a lot of questions for the future of the realm. Who knows what will happen next? (People who’ve read the book.)
Episode rating: 5/5