Episode 2: The Lion and the Rose
This episode is primarily based in King’s Landing and showcases Joffrey, Margaery, Lady Oletta, and Tyrion, as well as Bran and Theon.
When we rejoin the action, Melisandre and Stannis Boratheon–remember him?–are burning people at the stake as a ritual sacrifice to the Lord of Light. This makes Ser Davos very uncomfortable, for obvious reasons, especially since Stannis’s wife Selyse is totally cool with burning her own brother to death for his lack of faith. Afterward, Selyse asks Melisandre to speak with her daughter Shireen, and the two discuss the merits of organized religion. Melisandre cooly informs Shireen that “there is only one hell…the one we live in now.” Pretty astute, Melisandre.
Over in the Dreadfort, Ramsay is up to his usual sociopathy, hunting a girl with dogs and crossbows for sport. Theon–now answering only to Reek–accompanies the hunting party. Soon after Ramsay has slaughtered his quarry, his father Roose Bolton returns from his adventure at the Red Wedding. Roose is angry and disgusted with his bastard son for how he’s tortured Theon, who was Ramsay’s “prize”; Roose assumes that a flayed and distraught Greyjoy will be of no use as a hostage. Ramsay proves how broken Theon truly is by allowing Theon to shave him with a straight razor. Not even when Ramsay gloats over Robb Stark’s murder does Theon hurt his new “master.” Moreover, Theon reveals that Bran and Rickon Stark are still alive, prompting Roose to begin a search for the children after sending Ramsay to capture Moat Cailin from the Greyjoys.
Almost everyone in King’s Landing is focused on the upcoming nuptials of Joffrey and Margaery–except Jaime Lannister. Distraught at having lost his sword hand, he visits Tyrion to lament his fate. Jaime knows that only his reputation as a great swordsman keeps him from being humiliated for the moment; if he were pressed into a fight, he’d be unable to defend himself with only his left hand. Tyrion encourages Jaime to practice with a partner who can keep his mouth shut–Bronn. The two begin meeting in a remote location to spar with pratice swords, much to Jaime’s chagrin.
Before his wedding, Joffrey is offered a parade of gifts from his subjects. He accepts some of them more thoughtfully than others. Tyrion presents Joffrey with a massive book containing wisdom from previous kings. After studying it, Joffrey thanks Tyrion sincerely for the present, saying that everyone should look to the past for knowledge in troubled times. The courtyard is stunned. Immediately afterward, though, Tywin presents Joffrey with another present–the second Valyrian steel blade made from Ned Stark’s sword Ice. Joffrey names it “Widow’s Wail” and chops up the rare tome in front of Tyrion.
In fact, Tyrion is having an especially rough day. After seeing the book destroyed, he returns to his rooms to try once more to chase Shae out of King’s Landing for her own safety. Shae is stubborn, saying she doesn’t care about the danger, but Tyrion is more determined than ever to see her safe. He claims that he could never love a whore like her, hoping that Shae will be so hurt by his words that she will leave and not come back. Shae becomes distraught and leaves, apparently to get on the next boat out of town.
Finally, Joffrey and Margaery are married, and the reception begins. Joffrey treats his subjects to many entertainments, including a grossly offensive show featuring dwarves who reenact the War of Five Kings in grotesque pantomime. Tyrion watches, silently seething. But the worst is yet to come, as Joffrey has decided to single Tyrion out on this day and makes his uncle into his cupbearer. Joffrey pours wine over Tyrion’s head, rolls his cup under a table, and is generally unpleasant. Eventually, Margaery distracts Joffrey with the wedding cake; Joffrey takes a bite and tells Tyrion to bring him his cup again. Taking a sip of wine, Joffrey begins to cough violently, falling the to ground in a seizure. Cersei rushes to her son’s side immediately, only to watch helplessly as Joffrey turns purple and dies. Weeping, Cersei shrieks that Tyrion is to blame as the episode ends.