I'm both a book and TV show fan, I have read the books all to date and so am coming to the table with some foreknowledge. However the wonder of the show is not just that they are not just retelling the book instead they are putting their own stamp on events. As such watching the show has actually spoiled the book in certain plot lines. I will try my hardest not to spoil any future events but as far as I'm concerned events in this and past episodes are fair game.
Has the way TV seasons are now scheduled just been changed forever?
With the eating of a pie and drinking of wine the end of a king has occurred. On watching last week’s episode I had a sneaky suspicion the Purple Wedding was going to unfold in this week’s episode and to say it rewrites what can we expect from a television series is something on an understatement. A death of this magnitude has usually been kept to the end of the season. Both Rob and Ned Stark died in episode 8 of the third and first seasons respectively. The fact this is the second episode shows that not only is no one safe but predicting the way a series will unfold is also no longer as easy as it has been previously. Even though I pretty much knew it was coming the tension that grew throughout the episode was almost maddening as we travelled around the whole of Westeros. However at no point did I feel the story drag, this must go down as one of the best if not the best second episode of a season I have ever seen and to find out why continue reading below.
A look at the Episode.
Our Episode begins not in the majesty of Kings landing instead we find ourselves in a wood following some hunting hounds. This is by no means unusual for the kingdom as hunting game is a natural way to gather food, but when are things in Westeros ever simple. Our next batch of images show a girl running and then we get to see Ramsey Snow (Bolton) on the chase with his hunting partners Miranda (pictured to the right) and Reek. This is a stark reminder of the way the Bolton’s value human life but what do you expect from a house who displays a flayed man on their banner. Throughout this episode the theme of respectful treatment of humans comes up time and again. Admittedly Ramsey takes this to a whole different level firstly with the killing of the girl and then with his display with Reek. In previous season people have questioned why we needed to see the torture and psychological breakdown of Theon tonight gave us the answer. The shaving scene was a great performance by both actors and now we know that where once there was Theon we now have Reek.
Continuing the disregard for human life we find Melisandre offering human sacrifices to the God of Light. Stannis seems to be going along with his wife’s new found deity, however the rightful king of Westeros seems ill at ease. This may be as he has just watched his brother in law sacrificed or the loss of the war but it may just be something closer to home. His protection of his daughter Shireen is noble to say the least but from her verbal parley with the Red Woman he may need to work even harder to protect the young princess especially with Melisandre telling her that is only one hell and we are living into it. It’s a powerful statement tells you a lot about the motivations for the followers of light.
The episode though is not all about the negative. The way Jamie has been treated so far has been pretty awful and it takes Tyrion to show that human kindness still exists. His meal with Jamie is a tender point in the episode and shows how jointly protective the brothers are over each other. When Tyrion offers a sparring partner it comes from the desire to help his brother. His teacher is none other than Bronn and the brief sparring session we get to see is intriguing to say the least. As we know the sellsword is an accomplished fighter and even from the outset he is teaching Jamie to fight instead of fence.
Unfortunately later in the episode Tyrion really is singled out for some terrible treatment from his nephew. Has there ever been a more deplorable character in TV and literature thAn Joffrey Baratheon? The jumped up spawn of an incestuous relationship has shown he is both evil and a coward throughout the previous three seasons. This is continued in tonight’s episode as he uses his new Valyrian steel blade to decimate the wedding gift Tyrion gives him. Joffrey’s torture of his uncle continues during the wedding and is crowned by a Mammas show featuring a troupe of dwarves. It’s a slap in the face that Tyrion fights with words and has seemingly won until he is crowned himself with a cup of wine. The revulsion in the faces of not only Margaery (Pictured left) but a great deal of the major players in Westeros is something to savour. It not only marks the hatred for the king but also the suspects for his death.
Now though his brief reign of tyranny has come to an impromptu end. His passing however was as undignified as the rest of his time on earth, his death from poison was not a noble death (if there is such a thing) instead he suffered to the end and bled from his nose pointing to uncle until his last breath. Tyrion is the obvious culprit but would a man of his intelligence really make so great a mistake. Admittedly his torture was extreme but the murder of his nephew does not seem in his character. Cersei though is already convinced and we get to see Tyrion being taken away by guards just as Sansa is being taken away by Sir Duntos to an unknown destination.
Even though the Death of Joffrey is the crowning moment of the episode the battles that take place during the wedding really set this episode apart. The wonder of the books has always been the political interplay and although it is rather rammed down our throats in this episode we get a great glimpse of it here. These are headlined by Olena Tyrell the Queen of thorns and Prince Oberyn who between them take the Lannister’s down a peg or two even before the Kings passing. The verbal parlays are numerous and I have already enjoyed a second watch of the wedding (thanks to SkyGO)
We do get to check in with Bran Stark on his journey through the North and realisation of his considerable power. This is essential to the further development of his story and he is moving along at a fair pace.
This episode though is a celebration of the death of the king and although he was loathed he made a stand against all that is good and just in the world and for that we salute at Backwards Compatible salute him.
Knowing the way the game is played I'm pretty sure they will.
Images courtesy of BSkyB