Marriage is the focal point of this episode. There are all kinds of marriages: royal (Joffrey & Margaery); arranged (Stannis & Selyse); political (Tyrion and Sansa); passionate and sensual (Oberyn & Ellaria); intellectually like-minded (Tywin and Olenna); financial (Roose & Walda) and malevolent (Ramsay & Myranda).
We start off with the gruesome hunting activities of Ramsay, Myranda and Theon. Only, Theon is an empty shell of a man, forced to run along behind Ramsay. We see a young girl get pierced with an arrow, due to Myranda’s jealousy. She is attacked and killed by a pair of hounds. The look on Theon’s face while this is happening tells us that he is damaged beyond repair. During a reunion scene between Roose and Ramsay, we see just how cold and calculating Roose is. Theon finds out it was Roose who killed Robb Stark. Theon also admits the youngest Stark boys are still alive. Roose, being the ruthless man that he is, sends Locke on a ‘hunt’ with the promise of a holdfast and plenty of acres as a prize for killing Bran and Rickon. Roose Bolton likes to tie up all loose ends. He sends Ramsay on a mission to take down Moat Cailin. How fortunate that Theon gets to accompany him there. We also get a glimpse into what Bran and company are doing: they’re not doing so well, cold, hungry and travelling further north. After touching a weirwood tree, Bran has another vision and sees short bursts of familiar and unfamiliar images. They keep on travelling north, in search of something or someone, beneath the tree.
At Dragonstone, we see Stannis and Selyse watching as several people are burned/cleansed of their sins. One of those people happened to be Stannis’ own brother in law, Axel Florent. Davos promptly reminds him of this, only to get shut down soon after. Stannis and Selyse have as exciting a marriage as watching wet paint dry. Melisandre has a chat with Shireen. Shireen, ever cautious of the Red Priestess, stays wary. Melisandre says there are only two Gods, not Seven.
The Lannister brothers are reunited and share a breakfast. Jaime laments that he can no longer fight. He spills wine and feels weak. Tyrion spills wine right back and says, “It’s just wine.” Oddly enough, spilled wine and being disadvantaged are major themes. Tyrion tells him to train harder and smarter. And what better person to have to train with then Bronn. What I found appealing is how Bronn didn’t care that Jaime is a golden boy and the Commander of the Kings’ Guard. He gets straight to the point and pummels Jaime over and over again. If you ask me, I am all in favour of Jaime having to redeem himself. He was arrogant throughout the first two seasons. How the mighty have fallen.
At an exclusive wedding breakfast, King Joffrey is showered with gifts. Except that he is stupid enough to cleave the one that really mattered in two – a priceless book about the Four Kings given to him by Tyrion. His phony smile betray his actions – after being given the second Valyrian steel sword, the sociopath cuts it into many bits, while his equally sociopath mother looks on, endearingly. Clearly, insanity runs in this family. Tyrion overhears Tywin and Cersei speaking about Shae. Tyrion swiftly acts upon this and dismisses Shae, telling her that ‘Sansa is fit to bear my children and you are a whore. How many men have you been with?! 500? 5000?!’ This was something cruel but necessary, as Varys had previously warned Tyrion that Tywin does NOT make idle threats. One has to wonder, did Bronn do his job properly? Did Shae actually leave on a boat to Pentos? Hmm…
Ah, weddings. Nothing says “I love you” more than watching a pair of people exchange vows and pledge a lifetime of happiness and fidelity to each other. Let’s end with the most anticipated portion: the Purple Wedding. In case anyone has questions as to why it was called the ‘Purple Wedding,’ well, the colour purple played a particular theme in these nuptials. Purple has traditionally been the colour of royalty. Purple was also the colour of Sansa Lannister’s attire, it was the colour of Sansa’s necklace, (the one given to her by Ser Dontos) and was the colour of the wine served at the feast. We see the ceremony and relish in the fine detail of Lady Margaery’s exquisite dress. I love how the angles position Oberyn on the left and Olenna on the right, while the Septon says that Joffrey and Margaery are now one and that none should tear them asunder. Hmm, the camera angles signify something a little…dark, devious, perhaps?
Olenna and Tywin, the illustrious grandparents in laws, share a forth right chat about war time expenses, keeping up appearances and the mysterious Iron Bank of Braavos. Very cryptic that Lady Olenna says that ‘sooner or later they have their due.’ Wonder what she is implying…? They head to the ceremony and sit at their respective places. Olenna makes it a point to show some tender concern towards Sansa, fixing her hair and telling her to come to Highgarden to experience some peace and tranquility. Sansa, who has known nothing but misery and pain for a very long time, smiles at the prospect of getting out of King’s Landing and relishes in Olenna’s suggestion. Grandma got GAME.
Kudos for Oberyn and Ellaria for throwing some SERIOUS SHADE to both Cersei and Tywin. Wow. It was an emotionally charged moment, with Oberyn and Ellaria keeping their cool, while their remarks were poisoned tipped arrows piercing deeply. House Martell, mad respect!
What viewers get is a disgusting, uncomfortable wedding feast, all due to King Joffrey’s insufferable and sociopathic behavior. His mood swings from sarcastic to pompous, from petulant to arrogant. Where else can you find a wedding feast that has half time entertainment the deliberately goes out of its’ way to offend your new bride’s family, your own uncle and your aunt’s (through marriage) family, butchered at the hands of the groom?!
Tensions runs high when Joffrey treats Tyrion with such disdain that he ends up making a scene. Insulting his uncle’s honour, he forces him to fetch his cup, only after kicking it. It is here we see Sansa’s first small token of allegiance to Tyrion, as she fetches the goblet for her husband. Mockery and theatrics aside, points to Tyrion for staying cool under fire, even remarking about the entertainment and how Joffrey should go out there and ‘fight’ amongst the players. Margaery, for her part, tried on several occasions, to intervene when things got terse or ugly but it didn’t matter. Joffrey was out to make a statement. The way he gutted the large pie was almost like a veiled threat towards anyone who might try and stand in his way. Those poor doves.
However, being a sadistic and rude punk is hard work. Someone get the King a drink already! The moment that fans across the realm had been waiting for: Joffrey drinks deeply, while Margaery is feeding him some more pie when we see something odd. Joffrey begins to cough a little bit. His cough gets louder. His actions become alarming. It takes a few seconds but between Tyrion, Margaery and Joffrey, we see that His Unmercifulness is choking. Chaos ensues. Margaery begins screaming. In the panic and confusion, Sansa slips away with Ser Dontos. Cersei comes flying around the table, clutching at Joffrey, who is now on the ground, clutching at his throat, blood dripping from his mouth, eyes and nose. Jaime comes running to the forefront (way to go, nice touch in rushing to your son’s aid – doing nothing to dispel the rumors) but is helpess. Joffrey dies in a fit of agony.
Justice was served. Vengeance was the real wedding gift on display. Only one problem: unfortunately, it was Tyrion that gave Joffrey that goblet.
“Who would murder a man at a wedding? Only a monster.”
Here’s a preview for next Sunday’s episode, “Breaker of Chains”: