Thursday, April 17, 2014

(does anyone care) whodunnit?

Contains (show, not book) spoilers for the most recent episode of Game of Thrones ...

Medieval fantasy world wedding planners take note. Westeros may not be such a hot idea as your go-to wedding destination. While everyone is still reeling from last season's eventful and bloody Red Wedding, last Sunday night gave viewers the nuptials of twerp-king and all-around bad guy Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) and the lovely Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer). Or as it is better known to fans of the fantasy series, the Purple Wedding.

Head for the hills — it's a wedding in Westeros (Image from The Big Lead)

Apart from Margaery and Joffrey's happy day there were other things going on in "The Lion and the Rose," including check-ins with Bran (good), Ramsay Snow and Theon/Reek (disturbing), and Stannis (still as boring as ever), but who are we kidding? There was a royal wedding in King's Landing, and that's the only place I wanted to be. "The Lion and the Rose" is also the only episode this season written by A Song of Ice and Fire author George R. R. Martin.

Fans of the series may not have had any cool CGI White Walker zombies this episode, but they certainly got something they had been waiting a long time for - the demise of one of the nastiest characters in the series or on television. Yes, finally, we watched Joffrey die, but not before he either insulted, tormented, or offended everyone in the vicinity.

The episode had fun teasing its audience by throwing in some clues (or red herrings) as to who may have poisoned the brat king. If Hercule Poirot or his Westeros equivalent has been on the scene he would undoubtedly assemble a list of suspects in the Iron Throne Room and grill them all. As it was, the hateful and heartbroken Cersei (Lena Headey) pointed at her despised brother Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), accused him of murdering his nephew, and ordered the guards to grab him.

Tyrion offers Joffrey his wine cup as Sansa looks on 
But did Tyrion do it? He certainly had ample motive. Seeing Joffrey taunt and disrespect his uncle in "The Lion and the Rose" was just as uncomfortable onscreen as it was to read in the book. Tyrion did handle Joffrey's wine glass, at the king's own mocking insistence, but he did so in full view of all the wedding party and guests. Joffrey, possibly the most widely hated of Game of Thrones characters, invited murder from many angles. Such as:

Sansa (Sophie Turner). A person who may have had more motive than anyone for wanting Joffrey dead, Sansa did handle the wine cup as she handed it to Tyrion. But she has always been a reactive sort, not one to take action. Now if Arya had been there ... Could Sansa be in cahoots with Sir Dontos (Tony Way), once a knight, and now a Fool, who she once stopped Joffrey from having killed? She was wearing the necklace that Sir Dontos gave her at the wedding.

The Tyrells. This ambitious family wants to rule in King's Landing, but they have been very carefully and systematically scoping out just how much of a monster Joffrey is before the wedding. Margaery did feed Joffrey pie - but was the poison in the pie or the wine? As heinous as the prospect of being his bride might be to Margaery, would it really be in her advantage to kill him off before they produce an heir? She is Quenn now, but with Joffrey dead, will she stay that way? Lady Olenna (Diana Rigg), her grandmother, who paid for the event, was hovering nearby and could have spiked the wine. She might be doing her granddaughter a small favor by killing off Joffrey before the wedding night, but how will his death affect the family politically in the long term? 
Lady Olenna, trying to console Sansa about her brother Robb's recent death, “War is war, but killing a man at a wedding. Horrid. What sort of monster would do such a thing? As if men need more reasons to fear marriage.” 
Olenna eyes the fateful cup
Prince Oberyn (Pedro Pascal). He has a long-standing grudge against the Lannisters, as he made very clear to Tyrion last week. Plenty of motive, but less likely to have had access to Joffrey's wine or food.

As much as the death of Joffrey was the main event (and shock to those who haven't read A Storm of Swords), there were some other fun things happening at the wedding. Until her beloved first-born monster died in her arms, Cersei was having a great time, trying to thwart Margaery's efforts to feed the poor, making noble Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) beyond-uncomfortable, insulting anyone who crossed her path. Good times.

But now the broken-hearted and vengeful mother has found a way to finally eliminate little brother Tyrion. What will Tywin (Charles Dance) think or do? Will he be broken up about his grandson's death? Where does this leave Margaery and her clan? And who will viewers love to hate as much as the evil Joffrey? I may have to reread A Storm of Swords). I don't know if I can wit until next week to find out.


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