Everyone has seen the clichéd shot of a man pouring a path of gasoline on the ground that bends and curves away from what he’s actually trying to blow up. He then lights the match and we see the flame dance along the ground, ending in a fiery explosion. That’s how the past three seasons of Game of Thrones have been written — a calculated path of gasoline leading towards an explosive penultimate episode (Ned’s death, The Battle of the Blackwater, The Red Wedding). But that’s not the case this season. Rather than the slow burning path of gasoline, we are being forced to walk amidst a field littered with landmines. There’s no telling when one will explode, as last night’s episode “The Lion and the Rose” convincingly proved.
All we can hope for as this season progresses is that our favorite characters escape the minefield quickly and in one piece.
As always, spoilers after the jump.
Faller of the Week: Joffrey
Ding dong the bitch is dead! Finally! I give all the credit in the world to Jack Gleeson, the actor who so convincingly made the entire world hate him. In a world full of morally-grey characters, Joffrey was glaringly black. There was no rooting for him. Although I would have rather seen Arya or Tyrion or Sansa shove a dagger through his golden head, Joffrey’s death was long overdue. When I read the third book, A Storm of Swords, I remember being quite angry after absorbing the tragedy of the Red Wedding. But I only had to grit my teeth through another hundred pages or so until I got to the Purple Wedding (named for the color Joffrey’s face turns). I may not have gotten Robb Stark back, but at least I was done with Joffrey. As the Rains of Castermere played during the credits of the Red Wedding last season, I felt bad for my show-watching friends. They would have to wait, letting Robb’s death marinate for eight months before any sort of payback would unfold. Like I said, it was a long time coming.
Joffrey may be dead, but we still don’t know who killed him. Don’t, for one second, believe Joffrey’s ghost won’t do some haunting.
Riser of the Week: Margaery Tyrell
There weren’t many options this week, as “The Lion and the Rose” knocked almost every other character backwards a few rungs. I couldn’t think of anyone but Margaery who came out ahead. She started the episode engaged to Joffrey and she ended the episode as Queen, with Joffrey dead. Talk about a fairytale wedding.
What do you think of Margaery? Is she up to something? Did she plan the murder? Or is her good fortune just the side-effect of someone else’s plotting?
Extra Baggage: Bran Stark and the Weirwood
Believe it or not, there was more to last night’s episode than the wedding. Bran Stark may have had only one scene thus far this season, but last night’s weirwood encounter has me excited for one very specific reason: flashbacks. Weirwoods are sacred trees for the followers of old gods and have faces carved into the trunks. The Starks famously pray to the old gods. A greenseer, such as Bran, can form a connection with these weirwoods and see through the eyes in the tree, and since weirwoods have no sense of time, the greenseer can look deep into the past. That is why when Bran looked through the tree, he was transported back to one of the earliest scenes of the show when Ned Stark was cleaning his sword near the weirwood in Winterfell. The creators of the show, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, have publically stated they wouldn’t be forcing flashbacks into the story. Perhaps, via Bran’s weirwood connection, flashbacks might work their way into the series. This would be exciting, as quite a few theories can be answered with Bran’s greenseeing.
Object of Power: Reek
Reek, Reek, it rhymes with weak.
Theon Greyjoy is no more. The heir to the Iron Islands will never produce an heir. He’s been reduced to nothing, to merely an object to be exchanged or given away. Ramsay Snow has trained Reek to be his most obedient dog, so obedient that he trusts him to shave his neck while informing him of Robb Stark’s death.
Roose Bolton plans to give Theon back to the Greyjoys for their alliance. He also learns that Bran and Rickon were not murdered by Theon. If Roose wants to successfully take over the North, he must erase all Starks, even the bastard. Locke, the man who chopped off Jaime Lannister’s hand, has been dispatched to the Wall to kill Jon Snow while Ramsay must bring his pet Reek to Moat Cailin for a trade.
We may have lost Joffrey this episode, but Ramsay seems to be the likely frontrunner to replace him in the “fuck that guy” competition. They’re both bastards after all.
Joe Brosnan is an editor and writer for Criminal Element who graduated from Marist College. He spends his time obsessing equally over the Game of Thrones series and the New York Giants, and is only now realizing how weird it is to write in the third person. You can follow him on Twitter @joebro33.