Genre: Historical Fantasy
Watched: Episode 32 – April 13, 2014
Title: The Lion and the Rose
Summary: Martin has a thing for Weddings
Episode 2 of the season takes a moment (or two) to fill in the characters left out of the premier before moving on to the royal wedding. We’ve been leading up to this “blessed event” for some time, so lets see how it stacks up compared to its predecessor, the infamous “Red Wedding.”
As usual, I’ll break down the episode into threads by character. Although this gets a little tricky in king’s landing.
Theon – The episode opens with Ramsay Snow (aka the Bastard of Bolton) hunting down an attractive girl through the forest. He’s joined by hounds, one of his bedwarmers with bow and arrow, and Theon, looking more than a little worse for wear (like a guy with a bad crack problem). The hunter girl shoots the other (is it the girl she was with in season 3?) and Ramsay sicks the hounds on the victim. As if we didn’t know he was a nut before…
Next, his father, Roose Bolton returns to the Dreadfort. As a nice nod to his story about the fat wife, we see her too. Turns out the guy who chopped off Jaime’s hand is a friend of the bastard — go figure. In conference Ramsay shows off Theon, now christened Reek. It’s gratifying that the show continues to unravel the books bizarre chronology into a more linear fashion. These reveals occur in book five, but are pulled forward to what is essentially the second half of book 3. George R’s expedient (at the time) choice to place character before chronology never really worked for me, so it’s good to see it back in order. But poor Reek.
Ty – dines with Jaime. If we have the dwarf and the cripple, where is the “mother of madness?” Jaime confesses he can’t fight and Ty sets him up with Bronn on a fishing platform near Dubrovnik. In any case, as both Bronn and Jaime are so much fun, they continue the sport together, which makes for a fine scene. This is a notable change from the book, which features the tongueless Paine as Jaime’s silent sparring partner. I’ve heard this has to do as much with that actor being ill 🙁 as with the writing per se. Still, Bronn is played so well, we won’t complain.
Ty wanders the gardens with Varys (good to see the spider) and the eunuch tells him Shae has been seen by Cersei’s spies. They are apparently heading toward a wedding gift ceremony and Ty gives Joff a history book, but Joff, ever the twerp, uses his father’s gift, the other Valarian steel sword, to chop up the book: so it begins.
Ty tries to send Shae away. To get her to take him serious he has to play the butthead, even though he doesn’t want to. Shae is definitely much more developed than in the books.
Melisandre – is up to her usual tricks, burning a collection of Stannis’ relatives alive for heresy while his queen gloats on. They segue into discussion about Stannis’ daughter and then lady Mel visits the girl.
Bran – gets a very brief snippet, which isn’t too surprising given that he basically takes at least a 1,000 page leave of absence in the books. We are treated to some wolf cam and a bunch of trippy visions that work for me.
The Wedding – forms the bulk of this episode, at least half the screen time. The marriage itself, grand Sept wedding that it is, goes off smoothly enough. Marg somehow has imported a hairdresser from Versailles, as she’s sporting Marie Antoinette hair.
The transition from ceremony to reception includes another cute talk between Tywin and Lady Olena. Good fun as always, but not as amusing as their first.
Then on to the reception itself. As the production stated, this is a BIG scene. Virtually every character in King’s landing is there — and the sets look gorgeous. There are all sorts of nods going on. Loras and Oberyn. Cersei and several others. And no small share of threats. The royal pavilion seems rather Moorish in style, but despite the opulence, Joff is bored.
Nothing like a bored homicidal maniac at a party. Joff interrupts the eating and drinking to bring in a troop of dwarves playing the 5 (mostly) defeated kings. This little number, besides filling the air with tension thick enough to cut, is pretty medieval. Dwarf fools and performances were common enough, as was their bawdy irreverence. Tyrion does a bit to feed the fires of hatred between him and his uncle, but the lion’s share (haha) goes to Joff. The mad boy just won’t let it go. He heaps it on and on and on. Marg tries to diffuse it, at least twice, but I’ve been in this sort of situation myself (not at a royal wedding). It’s hard to stop that train once it gets going.
In the end… well we get to an end, for some. Certainly not all the doves in that pie made it…
All in all a great episode, fairly focused as it goes (at least in the second half), and centered around Tyrion (who is such a delight on screen). Unfortunately for me, I was so busy taking notes I didn’t get to enjoy it — which is why I’ll just have to watch it again.
HBO’s official Inside the Episode: