Game of Thrones recap: A (purplish) wedding and a funeral

Those who have read the A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF) books know that King Joffrey Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell’s nuptial, or the Purple Wedding as it is fondly called by fans, will be one of this season’s highlights. Honestly, I was expecting to see it during the fourth or fifth episode because after the said wedding, the showrunners are left with only few materials to work with for this season. Remember that this season of Game of Thrones is based just on the second half of ASOIAF’s third book and not on its fourth (the fourth and fifth books, I believe, will be told in seasons five and six).

The Purple Wedding being shown in the second episode is tantamount to HBO declaring that there are a lot more to expect this year. So to my fellow fans, we better be prepared for what’s in store for us in the remaining eight episodes.

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And here goes the recap:

The episode opens with Ramsay Snow, a female companion, two big dogs and Theon Greyjoy, who by the way is now called Reek, hunting a terrified young woman. As you may have predicted already, the woman died. The purpose of this scene? To establish Ramsay’s ruthlessness and ability, or so I think. I hate watching Ramsay and Theon’s scenes precisely because aside from digressing too much from the books (George R.R. Martin devoted not even single page for them in the books), I cannot see those scenes’ importance. Sure it’s an effective filler and it has kept viewers interested during season three. But really, what does it bring to the table? Nada. And frankly, it’s the dullest moment of this episode.

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Episode two also saw major character developments for two Lannisters. Jamie tries his very best to regain his fighting skills and change for the better. He enlists the help of his brother Tyrion who, in turn, paid the mercenary-turned-bodyguard Bronn to be Jamie’s practice buddy. Meanwhile, Tyrion has finally decided to break up with Shae as he fears for her safety in King’s Landing where all eyes are watching his every move. He wants to send her to Pentos and promises her that she will live a comfortable life. But Shae didn’t take the separation so well (because really, who would?); before storming off, she wailed loudly and slapped Bronn so hard it almost felt like she punched him straight in the face. To quote William Congreve, “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned; nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.”

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We also saw Stannis Baratheon’s faction back in Dragonstone where Melissandre and her devout followers have decided to sacrifice three people to The Lord of Light by burning them alive. The three share an intimate dinner together where Stannis’ daughter Shireen was mentioned. Later on, Melissandre was seen attempting to proselytize Shireen.

We also got a glimpse of Bran’s travelling party this episode. With him are the Reed siblings and Hodor – all of them are still on their way to search the three-eyed crow. Bran’s powers are getting stronger by the day; he is beginning to live as his direwolf during his sleep. I am rooting for Bran as much as I am rooting for Arya and Sansa. They deserve a chance at avenging their family and rebuilding their fallen House.

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And then there’s the wedding. It started out ordinarily: the two exchanged vows, shared one passionate kiss and then proceeded to the reception right away. So did everyone else.

In the reception, Oberyn Martell, Cersei Lannister and Tywin Lannister had a moment of confrontation. Why am I pointing this out? Because this conversation is the perfect foreshadowing of the shit that’s about to fall on the Lannisters. Oberyn deliberately mentioned her sister’s rape while Cersei and Tywin remained visibly proud and unshaken. In a snap, the tension between the two Houses have been rekindled and built up; and this was executed in a subtle yet clever manner. This scene, folks, is what good writing is all about.

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But enough of the sideshows, let’s move on to the main event. During the reception, King Joffrey decided that he wants to remind his guests of how he “defeated” the other claimants to the throne. As a result, little people who were dressed as himself, Robb Stark, Balon Greyjoy, Renly and Stannis Baratheon came out to entertain everyone. As if this sideshow isn’t humiliating enough for his uncle Tyrion, Joffrey verbally engaged him in a scathing word war, poured wine on his head and made him his cup bearer.

But things turned queer after that. When King Joffrey had his share of the humongous pie, which he described as “dry,” he asked for Tyrion to fill his goblet with wine. However, as soon as King Joffrey took his first gulp, he began to choke. When the choking became too much for him to handle, he fell on his knees and began to drool. When blood started gushing from his mouth, Cersei and Jamie came to his rescue but all they can do is stare at the King. His eyes then turned bloodshot and started bleeding. But before taking his last breath, he was able to point to Tyrion who was still at the dais, picking up the goblet that caused Joffrey’s ordeal.

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The scene played exactly the way it was described in the book: it was haunting and it was highly satisfying. Jack Gleeson, the actor behind the despicable character, delivered a performance worthy of an Emmy nomination. As much as I want to see Jack showcase another masterful acting exhibition, I know that everyone has had enough of King Joffrey. So good bye, Jack, you’ve served us well.

Some observations:

  • Probably the next big highlight the show is gearing up for is either wildlings’ attempt at attacking Castle Black or Oberyn Martell and Gregor Clegane’s trial by combat.
  • That Arya has no scene this week was a grave mistake. Perhaps it’s because she is left with only few materials to work with?
  • The showrunners are evidently trying hard to extend Jon Snow’s book three story arc. I’m missing Samwell Tarly tho.
  • The dragons and their mother are probably tired this week.
  • Big question: if the showrunners can come up with Ramsay and Theon’s story that did not happen in any of the books, why can’t they do it for three of the show’s biggest and most popular characters? Hmmmm…

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