Monday, April 14, 2014

(TV) Game of Thrones: Season 4 Episode 2 "The Lion and The Rose" TV Review

The Boy king dies !, the boy king dies! , the boy king dies! down goes Joffrey!, down goes Joffrey! Forgive our joy at watching a boy die a slow and horrible death but never in the history of fiction has a boy earned such a death as much as that spiteful, cowardly, and all round twat Joffrey Baratheon.

Usually we would review the show by order of events but this weeks episode was dominated by the main set piece that was Joffrey's marriage to Margaery Tyrell. There is only one question that needs answer besides the obvious question of who killed the boy king; why do people have weddings on this show? or get married at all as every marriage we've seen on Game of Thrones save Catelyn and Ned Stark's and his son's marriage to Talisa has been either unhappy, political or awkward or an ever combustible mixture of the three. 

After a short scene where we see the "happy couple" exchange nuptials and kiss, we are introduced to a grand party and feast in the gardens of King Landing rich with sights and sounds from fire breathers and jugglers to sexually suggestive acrobats. However, it become quite obvious that all isn't well just because the boy king "put a ring on it". Things begin quite well as Tyrion gives Joffrey a thoughtful wedding present that the boy king accepts with unfamiliar grace. however things go Pete Tong the moment Joffrey pulled out Tywin's ill advised wedding gift of a freshly forged valyrian steel sword which Joffrey uses to hack Tyrion's gift into pieces.

From that point on , the little shit seemed to be on a mission to remind the audience at home why he is one of the most hated villains in the history of TV fiction and prove Bron's well observed argument that "there no cure for being a cunt"(except death!!) well beyond any reasonable doubt. 

From hurling coins at the musicians, making his fool the closest thing Westeros has to a pinata to his truly distasteful and insensitive take on "The War of Five Kings" (lets not forget his maniacal laughing throughout), Joffrey was in fine form as the royal prick we have come to love to hate him for (or just hate him outright). However he saved his worst for last as he began a campaign of public humiliation on his uncle. Tyrion and Joffrey have never seen eye to eye as Tyrion has been the only person on the show who has called the boy king out on his lack of kingly grace, cowardice and his ability to be world class level prick to all comers. 

So it was no shock when Joffrey targeted his uncle for special treatment when he poured his cup of wine all over Tyrion's head after he declined to join the "theater" while managing to throw a thinly veiled jab at the boy king about his kingly "virtue". The humiliation didn't stop there as after emptying his cup on his uncle head and Margaery doing her best to rescue the event from her new husband's cruel delight in dominating others, the boy king appoints his uncle to be his cup bearer and orders him to fill his cup.

Not satisfied with drenching his uncle with fine dornish wine and in one sentence relegating his status as Master of Coin to glorified servant, the boy king continues his assault on Tyrion's pride by dropping the cup then kicking it under the high table on purpose ordering his uncle to get it . 

Game of Thrones can be an real ordeal to watch at the best of times as good and honorable characters die for being good and honorable and the worst survive because they are the worst but the the boy king's public humiliation of Tyrion was truly awful as the injustice of it all was hard to stomach never mind watch. it was even more horrible watching Tyrion having to crawl between table legs to pick it up before Sansa, once a subject of similar torment, picks up the cup and hands it Tyrion. 

The boy king then orders his uncle fill the cup with wine which he does but makes his uncle draw the line when he asks his humiliated but furious uncle to kneel. Humiliated, angry and drenched in fine dornish wine, Tyrion looks his detestable nephew and all the hate and ill feeling he has for the boy king in his body seems to arrive in his eyes. After ordering his uncle, now resolute with hate and anger, to kneel several times, Margaery once again interrupts the boy king in full flow by diverting attention to the wedding pie.

Up until this point, the wedding scene that took most of this week's episode had become hard to watch even for the guest at the high table as while the boy king's acts up to this point were insensitive, cowardly and cruel the quick but telling reaction shots on the Tyrells and Lannisters really brought it home as members of both families, all poker-faced game players, found it a real challenge to hide their loathing, disgust and concern towards a boy king in full prick mode.

Things seemed to calm down and some joy was allowed to enter the festivities for once as the boy king used his freshly forged greatsword to cut through the large pie as doves flew out of top of it. Things mellowed even more as servants served the newlyweds and guests portions of the pie as Margaery feeds her husband the first helping. However, the pie doesn't seem to have eased his desire to take his foot out of his uncle arse as he once again makes Tyrion serve him a goblet of wine (which he does) as he eats pie too dry for his liking. That pie must have been the driest pie in all the seven kingdoms as the boy king begins a series of hacking coughs as he's finding it a real struggle to get his breath back.

his breathing problems don't improve with long sips of wine as he begins to choke and cough and before long pandemonium begins take over proceedings as it becomes apparent that the boy king isn't a victim of dry pie as the boy king hits the deck with his breathing restricted and his hacking coughs producing nothing but blood and spit. Pushing through all before them, Jamie and Cersei rush to the aid of their son, once all powerful now unable to breathe the fine air.

Once Jamie and Cersei manage frantically to turn their son onto his back, we're greeted with unpleasant sight, or if you are a large majority of GOT viewers across the world (we're talking just about everybody who watches this show), the very pleasant sight of the boy king blue in the face, eyes blood shot, choking and still hacking for breath denied by what surely was a vile and fast acting poison. In his final moments, his last act as king, was to point to the man he held responsible for his impending doom, his uncle Tyrion, suspiciously caught picking up the goblet the now dying boy king had been drinking from all day.

Then finally, the boy king slip away as blood slithers out his nostril and the hacking suddenly stops. Hopes and wishes of GOT fans across the world had been granted as the boy kings meets and grisly and lets face it and well deserved end. GOT has made its bones killing characters we like making sure viewers never get complacent but today we actually get a death we can all get behind as George R.R. Martin penned this episode bringing an end to his most horrible creation.

All in all, "The Lion and The Rose was a great episode and triumph of great acting, writing and directing and the acting world will be poorer without Jack Gleeson who plans to quit acting. He had for three years managed, somehow, to make a detestable boy king with no redeeming qualities a compelling watch which in less skilled hands would have spoiled the show as the nature of the character would have allowed much room for a hammy performance.

Simply put, this is GOT and indeed Television at its best.

Episode Rating:


Connect with us on Twitter @TCRblogspot and check out our review of last week episode, "Two Swords".

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