The last drop of wine has long since been drunk, the joyousness of Sunday night’s celebrations linger no longer and the ghosts of Monday morning’s regretful headaches have dissipated. And so now there’s a bit of distance to talk about Everything Else that occurred in the second episode of Game of Thrones.
The hunts, the breakups, the visions, the pageantry, and of course the spoilers for show and book.
Since we caught up with the most popular characters last week – Jon, Dany’s dragons, Arya and the Hound, we were kind of left with the B-Team, but the hour was no less thrilling for it. Or rather, the half hour. The second half of the episode showcasing Joffrey’s wedding to Margaery was like a mini-movie unto itself.
The torture of Theon is complete, to the point where he no longer responds to his name, instead going by Reek. It rhymes with weak. Kudos to Ramsay’s girlfriend for making me hate her even more than I already did for her part in Theon’s gelding. She looked the perfect partner for Bolton’s bastard. Imagine if Tauriel from The Hobbit movies had a penchant for sadism and also gigantic insecurity issues. That’s this girl. Ramsay didn’t look too pleased to see his daddy come home to the Dreadfort, though he was oddly pretty gracious to his new stepmom, “Fat Walda” Frey.
We are definitely getting into Dance of Dragons territory with the return of Roose Bolton, who will now send his bastard to re-capture Moat Cailin, a strategically important location in the North, presently in the hands of some gutsy Greyjoys. Now that Roose knows Bran and Rickon are alive, somewhere, he very stupidly sends Locke to go find them. Yes, do send the man who just maimed a very valuable prisoner. Though I guess if I had to pick between a one-handed knight and a castrated heir, I know which unlucky soul has been less depreciated. Will Roose find Rickon before the season finale? Because that would indeed be going beyond what George R. R. Martin’s published thus far. It’s definitely a situation to watch out for. Can I also say that whoever is editing these last two episodes deserves a prize. Between Joffrey and his pompous statue last week and Theon and Pod’s waggling sausage this time, the transitions are subtly snarky enough to be worthy of The Amazing Race.
Another point of speculation over book-canon vs. show-canon is Shae. Book readers know her fate and I wonder if, instead—because this TV-Shae we all seem to really like and care for—her story will take on attributes from another whore that was important and loved by Tyrion. I really, really hope she got on that boat to Pentos. Bronn said he saw her off. Or did Tywin get her to his chambers afterall? I really, really hope it’s the former. Shae has been forced to act like an ugly psycho girlfriend trope and it just didn’t seem to fit her character, at least on the show. She should be smart enough to know her situation and Tyrion’s and not be so “Oh! So now you only want to fuck your wife?!” He didn’t ask for his situation either. Up until very recently, I really liked TV-Shae and I hope that she can be redeemed.
Over at Dragonstone, everything’s pretty much the same, i.e. dour and religious and creepy. And probably full of rotten fish smells. I thought you were riding for the Wall already, Stannis.
At least a whole lot of more of the same is more interesting beyond the Wall. Bran’s vision through the weirwood tree brought up some interesting parallels with Dany’s visit to the House of the Undying in season two. Both were shown an empty Iron Throne in a snowy hall. Winter is coming to King’s Landing and who will be in power when it arrives? Bran also caught a glimpse of Dany’s dragons flying over the capital. A taste of things to come… if George ever gets there. What a frustrating, tantalizing tease. We also saw some Walkers and possibly a Child of the Forest? I couldn’t quite tell, but, this is the second week in a row where my heart broke just a little seeing Ned for the briefest of moments. Things were so much simpler then.
But really, after this quick reintroduction, the real centerpiece of the hour was clearly Joffrey’s wedding.
This party has everything: stilts, grumpy spiders, a Dornishwoman dressed like a cobra, Sigur Rós, and a Human Wikipedia Entry. A Human Wikipedia Entry? Yeah, it’s that thing where you hire five dwarves wearing fake butts to reenact biased battle scenes that publicly humiliate your uncle and new in-laws.
Some wedding highlights:
- Did you catch the Elric shout-out among the suggested names for Joffrey’s sword/pie-cutter?
- Olenna and Tywin griping about money, the spending and the lending of it. We heard our first mention of the Iron Bank of Braavos, which means Mycroft Holmes is coming!
- Olenna’s “It’s time I ‘ett’ some of this food I paid for.” That accent.
- Drunk Cersei wasn’t nearly as funny-mean as she was during the siege of Blackwater. Instead she was just miserable-mean. You almost feel sorry for her. She can’t help being such a wretched, jealous, bitter person.
- Everything about Oberyn and Ellaria was just perfect again. Shade must be Dorne’s #1 export because the two of them were throwing it at Tywin and Cersei like they had some to spare. “Former Queen Regent.” “A rich man’s affliction, I’m surprised you don’t have it.” “I have ten thousand brothers and sisters.”
- Ellaria putting Margaery’s burrito dress to shame. Now that’s a frickin’ hairnet. She looks like… a sand snake. Perfect.
- Is Loras the only gay man in King’s Landing? You knew he’d get cruised by Oberyn, and I wouldn’t blame him for smiling back, but really. Stop trying to make Loras happen. He was awesome in the books. Here he’s just skinny. What knight has skinny arms?! A TV show actor-knight, that’s who.
- Varys Can’t Even With This Shit:
- “Oh, look! The pie!” Can’t wait to use this to diffuse unbearably awkward situations at the office.
Of course the real highlight was Joffrey’s death. I still think I preferred the book’s version, where it seemed more ambiguous if Joffrey choked or was poisoned. I mean, readers know he was poisoned pretty quickly, but all of those noblemen in the back of the hall, they would circulate conflicting stories. Here, there was nothing ambiguous. He was poisoned.
I watched the wedding three times at least and definitely saw Olenna take a jewel from Sansa’s necklace. But I didn’t see the moment someone (I heard it was Margaery) dropped the poison into Joffrey’s cup.
The only person I know who didn’t do it was Tyrion. Ugh. Can’t we just have anything completely nice on this show?
And I notice Joff never said anything about his familiarity with Valyrian steel, so I guess we’ll never find out who attacked Bran after his fall, so long ago. Because Tyrion didn’t do that, either. To be fair, most viewers probably forgot about that by now anyway.
Joffrey’s death comes with mixed feelings. There was elation at first, but also sadness. Joffrey was my favorite character to hate on this show because he was so extreme in his warped behavior. Who will I hate as much now?
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9pm ET/PT on HBO.
Theresa DeLucci is a regular contributor to Tor.com, covering True Blood, Game of Thrones, and gaming news. She’s also the resident Hannibal fannibal at Boing Boing. Follow her on Twitter @tdelucci