Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 2 Review "The Lion and the Rose"

Greg Tito | 15 Apr 2014 00:00
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Festivities start out with a breakfast in which the nobles of Westeros present gifts to the couple, most of them going to Joffrey. We finally see Mace Tyrell - I love that he is portrayed as an unimportant fool from the get-go - give a gift of a massive gold chalice to his king. Tyrion attempts to educate his nephew by giving him a book describing the reigns of the four kings in Westeros regarded to have been the most successful. Meaning they weren't mad, or killed before their time. Joffrey shows impeccable restraint and actually thanks his dwarf uncle not unkindly. Everyone is surprised ... until Lord Tywin presents his gift, the other Valyrian sword crafted in the last episode, and Joffrey becomes an annoying kid again.

He waves the sword around with glee, but without any expert swordsmanship. Joffrey asks the crowd for a name, and after some great ones he settles on the most offensive: Widow's Wail. Seriously? That's the name you go with? Well, then, Lord Tywin cautions his grandson to be careful where he swings it, Valyrian steel can cut anything after all, and wouldn't you know it? Joffrey proceeds to chop up the rare book that Tyrion so kindly had given him not five minutes earlier. Now, this scene certainly does support the whole Joffrey hates Tyrion thing - there were a few slaps here and there that probably sealed the deal beforehand - but I really missed a shot of the chopped up book. Call me crazy, but seeing a book destroyed by a punk kid's careless vandalism would have gone even further in making the audience hate him. Not that we needed more of a reason.

There follows an excellent scene between Tywin Lannister and Lady Olenna of House Tyrell. The two elder statespersons have an obvious respect for one another as the heads of powerful Houses - underlined by the Queen of Thorns' dismissal of her son Mace when he tries to interrupt their conference. The conversation had the ring of an agreement between them, which might lend credence to the Game of Thrones-cast's theory that Tywin was already considering how to remove Joffrey and might even have given Lady Olenna some sign of permission in this scene.

I also really enjoyed the verbal sparring between Tywin and Prince Oberyn. It's all very pleasant, despite Cersei's obvious clodding around attempting to insult everyone, until the Dornishman mentions how it's inappropriate to butcher small children in his kingdom. And isn't that good because that's where the Princess, Cersei's daughter, is being held as a hostage? The scene ends, and I'm left begging for there to be a swordfight so Oberyn can get his revenge. Soon!

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