Why do people keep going to weddings in Westeros? The invitations at this point must read like preemptive obituaries. “Come celebrate the blessed union, in the light of the Seven, of this lord to this lady. Merriment and joviality to follow… LOL JK EVERYONE DIES IN THE END, K?”
The plot devices are starting to take shape here in ‘The Lion and the Rose.’ Only in episode two of season four, there’s been a shift in the writing direction. Much like in ‘Two Swords,’ this episode has taken the opportunity to hone in on specific story arcs. Without being “that guy” who shoves reading the books down your throat, suffice to say that this is how the source material is handled as well at this point in the series.
That said, we’re left in the dark about the goings on north of The Wall. Are the sworn brothers preparing for a wildling raid? Has Ygritte faced further accusations for letting Ned Stark’s bastard live? Like Jon Snow, you guessed it, you know nothing.
Fan favorite Arya Stark’s adventures with The Hound have been pushed aside, leaving us to wonder how the characters are handling wandering through the desolation caused by our favorite burn victim’s brother.
Though pictured in the show’s ever-changing opening credits, this episode noticeably avoids checking in on Dany at Meereen. The lack of inclusion of the Mother of Dragons is as striking in the episode as it is in King Joffery’s wedding entertainment. During this display of pint-sized-mockery of those who would lay claim to the Iron Throne, it is made apparent that the Lord of the Seven Kingdoms no longer considers the Targaryen princess a threat. A play within an episode based on a book. How meta of you, Mr. Benioff and Mr. Weiss!
Before a new queen is crowned in the south, ‘The Lion and the Rose’ starts us off with a visit up north to see how Reek Greyjoy is faring in the hands of Ramsay Snow. Lord Bolton’s bastard son is trying really hard to win the “Most Sadistic Dude in the Seven Kingdoms” award. Without revisiting his…surgical events of last season, we see his other favorite pastime–hunting girls with ferocious dogs! Lovely! Theon tags along for this venture, just in case he isn’t broken enough. The Greyjoys are a difficult family to “Root for,” but a clash between the Flayed Man banners of the Boltons and Yara Greyjoy’s fleet will be most welcome!
A pivotal scene from this week’s episode is Bran Warging his brains out when touching a Weirwood tree that he happens along while traveling north. Bran’s importance in the goings on of Westeros has been a little down-played in the show compared to the books–but I don’t expect that to last for long. Brandon Stark, now heir to Winterfell, in theory, sees intense visions of…stuff? The past, the future, glowing trees, three eyed ravens and his dead father in captivity. All this is to say, cryptically…something? Whatever it is, Bran gets it and onward he goes.
Without question, the meat n’ potatoes of this episode is The Purple Wedding. Basically, Joff offends everyone ever and is poisoned to death. The end. The list of suspects here is as long as the King’s Road. The combination of being a little jerk whenever possible and having a liking for placing heads on spikes, the King of the Andals and the First Men has made enough enemies during his reign to fill a Maester’s library. In fact, coming up with a list of people who wouldn’t like to see his blonde head hoisted above the Red Keep is rather difficult. As a viewer, it is easy to concoct plots and motives for almost all of our main characters, but in the eyes of the King’s only real ally–his dear mother–there is only one suspect: The Master of Coin, Tyrion Lannister.
While The Purple Wedding is less shocking than its Redder counterpart from last season, expect the fallout to shake the Seven Kingdoms. After all, the War of Five Kings was started after Robert Baratheon died at the hands of a wild boar. Add some treachery to the mix and we’re in for quite a season!
I have a wedding to attend this weekend. If I don’t tweet within 24 hours, please send a raven –> @theactualkurt