It’s only the second episode of the season and we’ve been hit with an absolutely jaw-dropping episode that is sure to have shocked the non-readers. Yes, the long-awaited ‘Purple Wedding’ has arrived, but did it live up to the huge expectations placed on it? Spoilers to come.
Viewers everywhere rejoiced, because Joffrey Baratheon, King of the Seven Kingdoms and one of the most hated characters in television history, is dead. After the heartbreaking deaths of Robb and Catelyn Stark, it was about time a villain died and this felt like some sort of justice for our fallen heroes. However, it was slightly soured by fan favourite Tyrion being falsely accused of poisoning his wine and being arrested. The real killer is not made obvious, and non-readers must be scratching their heads trying to figure out who did the deed – it’s not as if Joffrey lacked for enemies.
The Royal wedding took up a large part of the episode, and with so many characters flitting around there was lots of opportunites for character interactions we didn’t see in the books. The ones that stood out where Jaime and Loras trading barbs, Cersei giving Pycelle a piece of her mind and Oberyn’s thinly-veiled attack on Tywin. Less interesting where Brienne’s interactions with Margaery and Cersei – Brienne didn’t appear for most of the second part of A Storm of Swords, so the show runners are having to come up with lots of new material to give her enough screen time, and it shows. The wedding went sour when Joffrey unveiled his five dwarves who re-enacted the war of the five kings, which was rather uncomfortable to watch – as was probably his intention. Overall, I felt a little underwhelmed by the wedding, but that was probably just because of the massive amount of anticipation I had for it.
Earlier in the episode, the character interaction I have been looking forward to most took place – Bronn and Jaime training at swordplay. As they are my two favourite characters, I was delighted they would be sharing scenes, and it didn’t disappoint. Hopefully we will see a lot more of them together. Later on, Tyrion sent Shae away to Pentos on a boat – this is a very strong deviation from the books, as Shae is involved in an important scene near the end, which surely won’t be written out. Hopefully D & D know what they’re doing with this storyline.
We also spent some time with the Bolton family and their pet, Reek. Roose returned to the Dreadfort, and chastised Ramsay for mutilating Theon, who was a valuable hostage. Ramsay revealed to Theon that Robb was dead while Theon had a knife to his throat – that Theon did nothing showed how Ramsay has truly broken him. Roose also finds out that Bran and Rickon are alive, and sends Locke out to catch them. This is an interesting deviation from the books. We also saw Ramsay on one of his hunts, with his show-only girlfriend Myranda. Whatever your thoughts on them, Ramsay and Roose are always entertaining to watch.
We also caught up with Team Dragonstone – what I felt was the weakest part of the episode. Their scenes felt rather pointless, as if D & D just wanted to remind us that Stannis and his family exist. Selyse was annoying, Stannis and Davos had the most boring writing possible, but Melisandre was her usual cool self. She had probably the best line of the episode, to Shireen: “There is only one hell Princess. The one we live in now.”
Finally, we caught up with Bran and Co. north of the wall. He had his first experience with a weirwood tree, and we saw a cool vision sequence. A lot of book fans are up in arms that Coldhands seems to have been written out, but I don’t get the hype around him personally, and I don’t think he is that big a loss.