Another Sunday another episode of Game of Thrones. The King is Dead. Long Live the King. Spoily type spoilers to follow.
So we start off where we left off. Joffrey’s dead. Like dead, dead. Like we see his pale, purplish, blood streaked poisoned face staring up at us dead. I clapped all over again.
Meanwhile, Cersei is losing her damn mind like Cedric Diggory’s pops in Goblet of Fire. “That’s my boooooooy!” She and Pappy Lannister have both decided that Tyrion is to blame, because…derp. Only question is, where is wife Sansa? Turns out she was smart enough to get the heck up on up outta dodge, aided by none other than the bumbling Ser Dontos. “Ser Fool” takes her through the back alleys of King’s Landing and then onto a rowboat, which further gets them to a ship. And who is waiting on that ship? Littlefinger of course.
Petyr Baelish welcomes a surprised Sansa on board. Ser Dontos it turns out was following orders, to get her to safety. When “Ser Fool,” still in the rowboat, asks for his agreed upon payment, his answer are a few crossbow bolts. A horrified Sansa cries out that Dontos had been her savior. Littlefinger however makes it clear that Dontos had only been following his orders; all his claims of a noble knight had been nothing more than the words of a drunk lackey promised money. And as Baelish puts it rather matter-of-factly, “I don’t trust drunk fools.” Poor Sansa. Out of the frying pan…
Elsewhere, Margaery Tyrell (who got married and become a widow on the same day) sits talking with the Queen of Thorns. Margaery wonders if she’s still queen after this little mishap, and ruminates on her luck with husbands. Remember Renly? Grammy however tells Margaery her circumstances may have improved. She says that after handling the Monster, dealing with her next husband should be a cakewalk.
We shift to a scene with Pappy Lannister and Cersei standing watch over the dead body of Joffrey, with the younger Baratheon boy Tommen (actually another Lannister through incest). Pappy Lannister takes the moment to explain to Tommen that as Joffrey’s younger brother, he is now next in line to take the Iron Throne. He asks Tommen what truly makes a good king. I personally wanted Tommen to reply: “To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women!” But after a series of less than satisfactory answers that take us through the kings of Westeros, Tommen finally lands on the right answer–wisdom. But, Pappy Lannister asks, how do you know wisdom? As he puts it, a wise king listens to his council–just so happens the elder Lannister leads just such a council.
In a stinging rebuke, he tells Tommen his brother (Joffrey) was not a wise king, or a good king. If the Monster was either of those Pappy Lannister says, he might still be alive. Damn. Body’s not even cold dude. And like Don King crowning a new champion, he drops Jeffrey the Zero and focuses in on the new hero..Tommen…leaving Cersei to grieve her dead son.
She’s joined by his (secret) brother-daddy, Jaime Lannister. In her grief, Cersei reveals her heartfelt conviction that Tyrion was Joffrey’s murderer (by poison) and calls on Jaime to avenge their son. She wants Tyrion dead. Like yesterday. But Jaime is reluctant, and is uncertain Tyrion is to blame. Besides he wants something else. It starts off with what seems to be Jaime trying to console Cersei–a brother showing sympathy for his sister. It quickly turns incestuous, but Cersei breaks off, not wanting to continue. An angry Jaime however decides that “No doesn’t mean no.” And then, with the body of their dead son feet (nay, inches) away, in Westeros’s version of a church, he…well…rapes her.
My eyes HBO. My eyes!
A minor break in my normal recap to say, What in the name of the Drowned God was that!?? Who thought this scene was cool or even necessary? I don’t recall Jaime ever raping Cersei. It’s enough that they are brother and sister and are having a forbidden ick-factor sexual relationship. Was there really a need to go full rape trope? By this time in the books Jaime is achieving some form of redemption. Yes, you often need to remember he tossed a kid out of a window, but he’s becoming a person who gets your sympathy. It’s going to be kind of hard to get the image of him raping his sister out of my head now! Further, Cersei is supposed to be slowly coming into her own as a figure of power. Yet here we see her reduced through rape–which would be the second time for her as it’s acknowledged that King Robert Baratheon often raped her, something that usually angered Jaime. Don’t get this move that so radically diverges from the book. At all. Not to mention it’s the second created explicit rape scene on the show, the other being Drogo’s wedding night “mounting” of Daenerys. Frankly, I’m beginning to think someone at HBO just likes graphic rape scenes.
Soo… back in the land of clean, wholesome, non-incestuous consensual sex, we encounter The Viper doing his orgy thing. We even get what might be the first bit of male sexposition in the series. In the middle of the writhing bodies, he gets a visit from Pappy Lannister–who obviously doesn’t know how to knock. There’s a subtle interrogation of the Viper, who it turns out is a master of poisons. Pappy Lannister even brings up The Viper’s earlier private meeting with Tyrion. Then things get kinda tense (again), as Oberyn brings up his sister’s death at the hands Pappy Lannister’s henchman, the Mountain.
But Pappy Lannister is there for a different and surprising reason–he wants The Viper to sit in judgment of Tyrion. He even offers Oberyn a seat on the royal small council. When a suspicious Viper asks why, Pappy Lannister lays out the many threats to Westeros–a divided kingdom, Wildlings and Dany the Conqueror and her dragons (so they believe that now) across the sea. He points out that Dorne was the only region to withstand Aegon the Conqueror (and his dragons) back in the day. And the Viper realizes that Pappy Lannister is shoring up the throne, preparing for some rocky times ahead and incredibly asking for Dorne’s help.
Somewhere beneath King’s Landing, in a cold dark cell, Tyrion sits waiting his fate. Squire Podrick Payne (he who is nice with the ladies) comes in to tell him what’s what. When Tyrion learns Sansa is missing, at first Podrick thinks she might have been the one to poison King Joffrey. Now wouldn’t that be something? The master-string puller in all of this, the true winner of the Iron Throne, will be Sansa Stark going all Keyser Söze (You know back when I worked with that barbershop quartet back in Winterfell…). Naaaah. But again, wouldn’t that be something?
Anyway, Tyrion dismisses the thought and begins to put the pieces together, linking his framing in this murder all the way back to his framing for harming the young Stark boy…which pitted the Starks against the Lannisters and set off the War of the Five Kings. There’s a greater hand at work here he surmises, pulling the strings. Realizing everyone is in danger, he orders a reluctant Podrick to leave King’s Landing and leave him to meet execution himself if need be.
Out at dreary Dragonstone, word reaches Stannis that Joffrey is dead. An angry Stannis sees this as proof of the Red Lady’s magic of king’s blood and leeches, and badgers Ser Davos Seaworth to get him an army to press his advantage and claim the throne. The “Onion Knight” suggests none other than the Golden Company across the sea. But Stannis balks at sellswords, and asks where will they get gold–to which the smuggler has little answer. A frustrated Davos heads on to continue his literacy lessons with Stannis’s shut-away daughter. While there, he gets the genius idea to wire the King of Zumunda at the Iron Bank of Braavos for a credit line. Second mention of the bank in the series this season.
Out in the countryside, Arya and the Hound continue their odd-couple thing, managing to find lodging with a farmer loyal to House Tully. After a bad bit of table manners, the farmer tries to hire on the Hound as a helper and protector–foolishly revealing he has some silver. Man what’s wrong with you?? The Hound agrees–only to later steal the silver. When an angry Arya confronts him, he basically says the farmer and his daughter are dead come winter. The farmer is weak. He can’t protect himself or his daughter, and silver doesn’t mean much to the dead. When Arya shouts back it isn’t right or fair, the Hound replies back that life isn’t fair. “How many Starks do they have to behead,” he asks, “before you figure it out?” Arya, for once, has no witty retort.
Back at The Wall, Samwell Tarley tries to keep Gilly safe from the other men of The Watch–who don’t exactly have wholesome backgrounds. Also…no one believes his bit about White Walkers. He eventually gets she and the baby away from Castle Black, though not exactly to star accommodations. But The Watch have much more to worry about. The Wildlings are attacking and on the move, slaughtering whoever gets in their way. In a brutal scene, the fine young cannibals, the Thenn, capture a boy and force him to watch as they butcher his parents for a midday meal. Then they send him to run to Castle Black and carry the message. The Night’s Watch greets this news with a thirst for vengeance. In the midst of this, Grenn and Dolorous Edd return. They confirm the story of the mutineers at Craster the Molester’s home. Jon Snow reminds them they have to go back and put a stop to those mutineers before they reveal the awful truth–there aren’t but 1000 members of the Night Watch standing between a vast Wildling army (with mammoths and giants no less) and Westeros.
Finally, across the sea en Essos, Dany has finally made her way to the great slave city of Meereen. The Good Masters and the entire city watch her army arrive with fascination and a bit of humor. They send out a champion to ride past the harpies to fight for their honor. He tosses some insults, urinates (we get the oddest nudity-penis-camera angle ever) and talks much sh*t. Oh and then new Daario kills him. After killing his horse. Gangsta. Then it’s his turn to urinate. An ode perhaps to the actions of the much missed Strong Belwas? Dany then talks directly to the slaves of Meereen, and does her John Brown thing–catapulting small barrels into the city that shatter on its stone walls. What do they hold? The broken irons of slave shackles.
Bout to get a bit Nat Turner up in this piece.
Update 5/22/2014- so Big Poppa himself GRRM has been pressured to speak on the created rape scene in the HBO adaptation. Make of it what you will.