Ding dong, the bastard’s dead!
There has not been as highly anticipated a moment as Joffrey’s death for fans of this show. Since episode 2 of the first season (“The Kingsroad”), we’ve seen how sadistic and cruel Joffrey can be. Each season has seen the bastard grow more and more despicable. His pettiness and cowardice have been shown countless times. The Purple Wedding is the culmination of all those hideous moments.
The scenes involving the other characters are set-ups for later episodes and will have to be referenced by fans because of the singular bright memory of watching Joffrey choke to death. It’s a fitting end for the character so many have long despised. As a fan of the book series, it’s a moment I treasured reading. Seeing it brought to life creates the sensation of fulfillment that sometimes the bad guys get what they deserve. But it is a jumping off point for the rest of the stories this season of Game of Thrones will show its audience. The accusation that ends the episode (along with Joffrey’s death) will have far-reaching consequences for Westeros and some of the more beloved characters.
The grandeur of the Purple Wedding was eye-candy of the highest order. The behind the scenes featurette of this undertaking showed how extravagant it was to produce. Some of the actors even remarked that it was like working on a small film. But the events leading up to death of Joffrey were expertly paced by the director and the writer (George Martin wrote this episode). We see Margaery reaching her wits’ end with Joffrey’s petty cruelty. We see Tywin and Lady Olenna (the fantastic Dame Diana Riggs) conversing about matters of grave future importance. We see Sansa spirited away by the drunken Ser Dontos to parts unknown.
And we see Tyrion, about to face the world all alone. This episode hits home the notion that Tyrion is alone. His family, save for Jaime, despises him. The scene with Shae is masterfully acted by Peter Dinklage, who manages to show how difficult his task is without uttering words. In two short seasons, this character has gone from having all the cards in his hand to having nothing at all. With the exception of Theon, no other character has to eat so much shit as Tyrion.
The rest of the episode stands out as little scenes that establish some interesting character moments. The pieces are moving on the board. Ramsey Snow, our other monstrous bastard, is now in complete control of Theon, who doesn’t even take the opportunity presented to murder his tormentor. Their travels to Moat Caitlin will help to cement (as if last season didn’t already do that) Ramsey’s status as the new character fans can’t wait to see die. It’ll be interesting to see how they bring in Theon’s sister to the mix. And Locke, another sadist with free reign, is given the charge to hunt down Bran and Rickon. He might more than he bargains for with this hunt.
Bran’s journey beyond the Wall brings viewers into the mystical elements of Game of Thrones more so than any other setting (even Dragonstone and Melisandre). His visions of the past, present, and future foretell more sorrow and misery for Westeros. The Three-Eyed Raven waits for him. I’m looking forward to how they present this part of the story.
Overall, the episode was fun to watch. The fact that the final portion was a continuous setting made the tension of the event fun for me, even though I knew what was coming. If you thought the Red Wedding was a game-changer for the show, you haven’t seen anything yet.