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'Game Of Thrones' - 'The Lion And The Rose': Come Crawling Faster, Obey Your Master

By TK | TV Reviews | April 14, 2014 | Comments ()


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Note: as always, please refrain from book spoilers in the comments. Any comment that contains spoilers will be deleted without exception, in its entirety, with or without spoiler warnings.


Throughout the history of Game Of Thrones, there are two phrases that regularly appear. They are less common in the television series, but any reader of the books knows them, and knows them well. They are the two phrases that have become the heart and soul of this world, that embody every beautiful and terrible act that occurs. Spoken in a doomed language, everyone must remember them if they are to be a part of this world. Two phrases in High Valyrian that perfectly sum up the second episode of this season, “The Lion And The Rose.”

“Valar Dohaeris”: “All Men Must Serve”

The episode began with a nightmare that we became all too familiar with last year. Ramsey Snow, Roose Bolton’s bastard, plumbing new depths of depravity and madness. Hunting through the woods of the Dreadfort, taking down a poor girl who did nothing more than exist. His is a savage madness, without conscience or consequence and all around him either serve or suffer, and thus, we find poor Theon — or Reek — a broken half-man, reduced to serving. And it’s there that we see Roose Bolton, the great betrayer from last season, as he discovers just what the cost of that madness is. This creature that he has raised is brilliant and sick and remorseless, and yet — and yet — Roose learns that there’s more to Ramsey than just insanity. There’s ambition and hunger and fury and a keen, ruthless intelligence. Thus he learns the truth of the Stark boys, alive, spared, and now — hunted. It’s why he entrusts Ramsey yet again, despite knowing that he’s releasing a wild dog into the world, inflicting suffering wherever he treads. It’s because all of those traits, that ambition and hunger and ruthlessness — they’re all traits that the two men share. And so, Ramsey will serve, and Roose will trust him, and Reek will be forced to live and re-live his tortures.

As for the Stark children, we find Bran still traveling with the Reeds and Hodor, but more importantly and more dangerously, still desperate to feel whole again, so much that he begins to lose himself in his direwolf, as if that dream-state, that nether-world of possession can somehow be a substitute for reality. Though for Bran, who knows what reality is. Is it the world around him? Or is it the world behind it, the dreams and visions, the three-eyed crows and vivid memories, some that are his, some not. Whatever it may be, it appears that his future will lie to the north, and so he will continue to follow his dreams, to serve a purpose that he still does not understand.

At Dragonstone, who is serving what master becomes a question of increasing complexity. Melisandre serves her fiery god, sacrificing the blasphemers and idolaters, converting those around her to His service. Queen Selyse Baratheon continues her unfaltering zealotry, refusing to see anything but the light of that same Lord, but it is tinged with a craziness far less measured than Melisandre’s, so much so that it now threatens her daughter. And Stannis, Lord of Dragonstone and King of nothing, serving a Lord who kills more of his own men than those of his enemies, plagued by doubts in the form of Davos Seaworth. Stannis is bitter and angry and pitiless — except when it comes to that same daughter.

As for King’s Landing, men and women serve there most of all. Tyrion must destroy Shae to save her, and so who and what she is, a whore, a servant, a woman of no consequence, is hurled into her face. He must tear her down, tear her apart, break her heart if she is to have any hope of survival. And Jaime Lannister, who desperately wants to serve, yet cannot. So Tyrion offers him the only hope he has in the unlikeliest of allies — Bronn, cocksure and arrogant and purposeful (interestingly, this is a huge departure from the books, where it was Ilyn Payne, the mute executioner, who began Jaime’s training), who must break Jaime back down to build him back up.

“Valar Morghulis”: “All Men Must Die”

But those who do not serve must rule, or they must die. That seems to be the basic law of Game Of Thrones, and so we find ourselves at the wedding of King Joffrey, and it’s there that we see the excess and opulence and vulgar graces of the royal family. It’s there that we see Joffrey sneer his way through his own wedding ceremony, and Margaery begin to dread the life that she found her way into. It’s there, at that wedding, that we see barbs traded left and right — Jaime and Loras, each bitter for different reasons, each terrified of the future with — or without — Cersei. Cersei herself and Brienne, tormenting the warrior with her only weakness, her inability to function in the world she was born into. Tywin, Cersei, and Oberyn Martell, who start with civilized proddings, and end with glowering eyes and veiled threats, simmering with violence and rage.

Joffrey and Tyrion. Tyrion, forced to be the fool. Forced to endure insult after insult, to see his gift destroyed, his wife derided yet again, his existence spat upon. For all men must serve, and Tyrion is no different, and no matter how smart and noble and clever he is, he’s still the man with wine in his hair, a wife near tears, forced to watch as his nephew does his best to break his spirit.

And yet, all men must die. We forgot this, you see. Well, perhaps we didn’t forget. Perhaps we simply lost hope in the wake of the Red Wedding, in the wake of the death of Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon and everyone else we once loved and saw destroyed. Did we lose hope that there could be justice in Westeros? Never fear, for it was this night that finally there was a sliver of justice. Who knows what it will mean — for Cersei, aggrieved, for Tyrion, accused, for Sansa, absconded, for Margaery, abandoned. The world has changed yet again, and as we watched — perhaps gleefully, perhaps with shock — we saw Joffrey choke and twist and collapse and suffer, as we saw the blood pour from his mouth and eyes and nose, as we watched a kingdom torn asunder as he fell to the ground, we must remember that no one is ever fully protected. No one — good or evil — is ever safe.

All men must die.


You can email TK here, or follow him on Twitter at @TKhatesyou.







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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Brotman92

    Ding dong the bitch is dead!

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Margaret appears to be a Kingslayer in her own right. She's kinda doomed. Who would be brave enough to marry her now?

    Any hints in the fact that Mace Tyrell gave a chalice with the wish that they drink deep and live long?

    And I didn't pick up on it, but saw mentioned elsewhere - what did the Hound say about people who name their swords?

  • I started watching Season 1 for the hell of it last week, got hooked instantly and crammed in all three seasons by Sunday (the flu helped). What I keep marveling at - with so much Joffrey in such a short span - is what a prissy little bitch he is - excuse me, WAS. So jarring and bizarre to see someone take THAT much pleasure - PHYSICAL pleasure, i daresay - in the infliction of pain, yet display so much cowardice at the same time - not just towards his powerful, domineering grandfather, but toward ANYONE who threatened him with the least HINT of an ass-whupping. Kudos to Jack Gleeson for portraying such a contradictory little 'stain.

  • I know I'm late to the party, but this made me chuckle... although I'm guessing Margaery's colors were not blush and bashful.

    ETA - sorry the picture attached three times. Disqus.

  • Seriously...that epi was perfection, but I would NOT have complained if Tom Skerrit had shown up with his shotgun to scare the doves out of the pie.

  • Jifaner

    Cersei was particularly awful in this episode. Her glee at the terribleness of her son was really something. I kinda wished he'd shared some of his wine with mom.

  • Srw27

    Yeah just when you think she CAN'T get any worse, she does....

  • So very awful. Here and there she affects these little moments of honesty and despair over him, and you start to get sucked in and think maybe she just read that "Tiger Mom" book a few too many times. But then you see her take such visceral pleasure in his cruelty, and you're reminded... the apple doesn't fall far. Her son is every bit the sociopath she is, he just lacks the self-restraint to conceal it.

  • Valar

    Maggie Simpson.

  • Valar

    So many Game of Thrones reviews, for the past three years, on many websites, read like people are totally unaware of Dark and Gritty fantasy as a large and thriving genre, with its own narrative conventions by now, and not something confined to GRRM and shockingly original as perhaps it was 10+ years ago. Maybe so for the screen, but a lot of us are avid readers as well. I'm just tired of being solemnly told for the umpteenth time that anyone can die, characters can have grey morality and on and on...

  • manting

    Did anyone else catch the sword names people yelled out when Geoffrey wanted a name for his new sword? Stormbringer was the first yelled out, which is the name of the amazing sword wielded by Elric of Melniborne. Martin, who wrote this episode , was giving a shout out to a great fantasy series that he borrowed heavily from. I though it was a cool easter egg.

  • Bryan

    Geoffrey was the butler on Fresh Prince. The king's name was JOFFREY. ;)
    (of course, now his name is Worm Food...)

  • Tinkerville

    Great catch! I hadn't noticed that. The Elric series is one of my all time favorites.

  • manting

    If you have read the GoT series then you can see the huge amount Martin has borrowed from Moorecock and his Elric series.

  • stella

    Damnit. I'm at my parents house which has no HBO, and this is the episode that I missed? Is this serious???

  • Shannon

    HBOgO

  • UMNomad

    Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa - I never loved Robert Baratheon.

  • John G.

    this is from the book, but NOT a spoiler, ok

    I just wish they would have had one tiny, throw-away line, and I don't care who said it, that that book that Joffrey destroyed, that nice gift his uncle gave him, that book was one of 4 copies in the entire world. It would have added maybe point 2 seconds to the running time, and added an extra world of depth to the scene. Why not include it?

  • Maddy

    I think Garlan says it in the books. I know he's a really minor character but I miss him. He's a cool dude.

  • manting

    it was one of 3 remaining works illuminated by the hand of Grand Maester Kadeth himself if I remember correctly

  • VohaulsRevenge

    ^
    Yep. After Joffrey cuts it up, he says "Now there are only two." I also loved the irony of his naming the sword "Widow's Wail".

  • grr arrgh

    I haven't read the books but I did wonder if that book was rare. At the very least, it may have been handwritten so writing another copy would've been incredibly time-consuming. I think even without that line Tyrion's face kind of hammered it in that that book was important and that Joffrey is so focused on spiting others he didn't even see that the book may be useful to him.

  • John G.

    what's great about the scene in the book is that someone else entirely brings it up, so Joffrey can't turn it back on Tyrion and be petulant about it.

  • Zeus McGuinnes

    -making Jamie spar with Bronn instead of ilyn payne. goddammit

  • mzbitca

    The actor who plays Ilyn Payne has terminal cancer and out of respect they chose to retire the character rather than recast. I like Bronn so the more Bronn the better

  • Zeus McGuinnes

    well shit.

  • Without spoiling anything, I was surprised that we didn't see two small beats last night:

    - Sansa's reaction at Joffrey's new sword
    - Joffrey demanding a new gift from Tyrion after splitting his book in two and what Tyrion surmises out of that.

  • vic

    I dunno, there was a very brief shot of Sansa's face when he unsheathed the sword that implied she knew what it was. Could just be me projecting, though.

  • Debra Kessing

    I saw that too. Very subtle like all of the acting by Sophie at the wedding.

  • Kala

    Same here. It was just the slightest look on her face, but it was enough to convince me that she knew the origins of that sword. I was grateful for the moment, as I'm still pissed over the destruction of Ice.

  • ljridley

    No, I got that too.

  • space_oddity

    Midget circus!

  • Ben

    Honestly kinda dissapoitned to see him go.
    I mean he was an awful awful person, but probably my favorite character on the show. Just every time he was on I was anxious about what he would do and what was going to happen. Fucking enthralling to watch his stuff go down.

    Without him the show is gonna be missing something. I mean I guess We've got crazy torturer dude but he just doesn't bring the same kind of dread that Joffery did.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    We probably can look forward to Cersei, Unhinged.

  • AvaLehra

    All I know is that I haven't seen the show in two seasons and caught that last bit and I was applauding. That Joffrey, what a little shit.

  • Jelinas

    *slow clap*

    Now that's a review.

  • Maddy

    Am I imagining things ... or was there a flirty look between Oberyn and Loras? Because the only gay and bi characters in the show needed to have a random sexual moment I guess

  • Srw27

    Well, we all know how Oberyn feels about young twinks ;D

  • ferryman

    Yes, I noticed a lingering look of mutual admiration between the two.

  • Aaron Schulz

    Maybe iits supposed to be that Oberyn saw the sassfight between him and Jamie, and its sort of a mental highfive. Or they wanna boink, i dunno.

  • Ben

    The look was before the sas fight though. Loras was eyeing Oberyn not paying attention where he was going and bumped into Jamie that started it all.

  • Aaron Schulz

    Yeah after my second viewing i realized that, now im going to say it was a complicated plot on Oberyns part to cause that interaction, he let loose the sassy gay to take Jamie down a peg.

  • Afferbeck

    So who has the throne now? Surely it's Marge who's now officially the queen? Can't see her lasting long. I can imagine Cersei doing something deliciously evil like chopping her up and feeding her to the poor or something, Cartman style.

  • Monica

    They didn't even get to the bedding so there's an argument to be made that it wasn't consummated?

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Yeah, got to play the "didn't consummate with Renly" card and she can't really have that both ways.

  • ferryman

    The line of succession follows the king, so Joffrey followed his "Father", Robert and now Tommen would follow his brother, Joffrey.

  • Lauren_Lauren

    Best review yet, TK. Well done!

    I have mixed feelings about this episode, but that death . . . oh, that death . . . that felt good.

  • Jenn Hamm

    It really looked good, too. It was graphic and painful to watch. One of the best "death by poison" scenes ever.

  • ferryman

    Gleeson has done a fine job of portraying Joffrey, and I was expecting more of the same admirable acting tonight. Unfortunately he only choked.

    Ser Ferryman of House Velcro (We do not SEW)

  • Salad_Is_Murder

    Two drums and a cymbal fall off a cliff...ba-dum tssh.

  • Maddy

    The stuff with Tyrion and Joffrey was straight from the books and it was so well done. Also, Cersei's reaction at the end was so powerful.

  • Shannon

    Even then I was like "That bitch did it."

  • Fabius_Maximus

    A lot of the dialogue was straight from the books (another example is the banter between Oberyn, Cersei and Tywin).

    Considering Martin wrote the episode, that's not surprising.

  • Aaron Schulz

    that was some of the best barb trading this show has had, and damn has it had a lot

  • LL

    That was a very horrific death scene. Everyone usually just gets a major body part chopped off, but that face contortion and colour alteration was beyond disturbing. His eyes looked like they would pop out of his head.

  • Maddy

    I was surprised they went there, but it was really well done and horrific.

  • Maddy

    Am I the only one that thinks Roose is kind of attractive? I think I'm jealous of Fat Walda (also yay for Fat Walda!)

  • He's very intense. But super creepy.

  • Ben

    If you haven't yet, then you should probably watch Misfits
    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-JQMw...

  • Maddy

    I have seen Misfits and I really don't like having my love of Simon being ruined by Ramsay!

  • Shannon

    My cat (so far, the love of my life and I'm okay with that) is named Ramsey :/ That's what they named him at the shelter.

  • Pat

    Pedro Pascal is killing it as Oberyn. I can watch a show where he just trades subtle insults with Charles Dance.

  • Afferbeck

    This might be relevant to your interests if you haven't seen it already
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

  • Srw27

    That? Is amazing...I love British tv...and Charles Dance!

  • Emma

    Sweet mother of all things holy, I won't even make it to my bunk this time...

  • BWeaves

    OMG! If Charles Dance had read 50 Shades of Grey to me, I would have actually enjoyed the book.

    10,000 upvotes to Afferbeck.

  • Debra Kessing

    very satisfying last look at Joffrey. I will miss Jack Gleeson's performance though.
    I was so proud of Tyrion and Sansa, keeping their dignity through all that shit. Jaimie and Loras was the funniest. Bronn replacing whoever to get more screen time is the best. He needs to be heard regularly, his verbal jousts with Tyrion are amongst the highlights of the entire show and now Jaimie, well that will be a great match also. Jaimie is not as smart as his brother, but he got that sarcasm gene !

  • Maddy

    I loved them showing Sansa's face during the dwarf perfomance. Sophie Turner is the best.

  • Sean

    She is normally the weak link in any scene. This time, she nailed it. The best acting she has done to date. Utterly heartbreaking without a single word.

  • Maddy

    Strongly disagree - she's great as Sansa

  • Sophie Turner has really grown into her role and she is KILLING it as Sansa. I love how much the actress loves and defends the character, as well.

  • Maddy

    Definitely - Sansa haters can sit the hell down. She has one of the most difficult jobs in the show playing such an internalised character. I have some minor issues with some of their writing decisions, but I have no complaints about her.

  • I have this http://feministfiction.com/201... bookmarked for when Sansa haters pop up. Sansa is not my favorite (that would be The Hound) but she is smart, and capable.

  • Maddy

    Alfie Allen as Theon/ Reek ... his perfomance breaks my heart. And I'm not even a Theon sympathiser.

  • His face when he heard about Robb was just breathtaking. He's doing an incredible job with Theon. As is the makeup department.

  • Maddy

    It (almost) justifies all those torture scenes

  • I'm re-reading ADWD and those chapters are just heart breaking. Theon's not my favorite character, but it's hard to not feel for him.

  • Maddy

    I KNOW. Even when GRRM gives you what you want (punishing Theon) he makes it awful and terrible. And then you feel bad for wanting it.

  • Aaron Schulz

    you want him to get his comeuppance for turning on the starks, but good lord just kill him

  • I am waiting to see if Theon gets any redemption. Because being inside his head and seeing what he's going through, you kind of want that for him when he eventually (probably, I have no idea, this is total speculation) dies.

    Because I am paying attention and am painfully aware there are no happy endings.

  • Aaron Schulz

    yeah im curious if they will use someone else to be his inner monologue like they have with a jamie a few times

  • Aaron Schulz

    yeah, i do hope they have his internal monologues about forcing himself to forget his name and what not

  • YEE-MOTHEREEFFIN-HAW.

    Even for a book-reader, that was a brilliant episode. The tension was so well mounted, I thought I would pee.

  • Danar the Barbarian

    As a book reader, every time he picked up the cup and took a drink, I held my breath. Now THIS is the cup for Joffrey! No? Still breathing, still making other people suffer? Damn. Okay, wait, he's drinking agin - now THIS is the cup for Joffrey!

  • Ha! I did the same.

  • There was some grade-A book reader trolling in this episode from GRRM.

    I highly approve.

  • Tinkerville

    The way the tension in this episode just grew and grew with every single scene was masterfully done. You could have spread that suspense over toast like butter.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    Melisandre looked so done with Selyse's shit already. It's the only thing elevating her one dimensional red priestess shtick from Cersei's bitter little feuds.

  • BendinIntheWind

    Not a spoiler, considered it's already mentioned above, but I believe the change of Jaime's sparring partner from Ilyn Payne is due to the fact that the actor who plays Ilyn Payne was diagnosed last year with a terminal illness (cancer, I believe), so maybe they're quietly writing him out?

  • BWeaves

    While that is awful for the actor, they have replaced the Mountain, and Faabio and other actors, so I think they could have recast Ilyn Payne if they wanted to. I for one look forward to more Bron.

  • BendinIntheWind

    Certainly, they could have, but in this case, it would feel maybe... disrespectful? Fabio and The Mountain got recast because they had other jobs, not because they were dying. :-/

  • BWeaves

    Sad to say, but I don't think respect comes into it.

  • Ben

    What makes you say that?

  • BWeaves

    Producers aren't normally known for not recasting a role out of any kind of respect for the dead or dying. It just seems more likely to me that they would like you to think that, all the while giving that actor's bits to a more popular character.

  • BendinIntheWind

    I don't think it comes down to one or the other, this really seems like a win-win all around (minus the dying, obviously. Wilko Johnson doesn't have to see someone else assuming his role, and we get fun scenes between Jaimie and Bronn.

  • BWeaves

    AGREED!!!

  • Guest

    Certainly, they could have, but it feels maybe a little... disrespectful? Faabio and The Mountain were replaced because they got other jobs, not because they were dying :-/

  • Ben

    I think they tend to treat it a bit differently if it's a character not fitting into the role versus if the actor has come down with something. They did the same with the Starks Nanny that used to read Bron stories after the actress playing her died. Instead of recasting they had Osha take over a lot of her role.

  • TK

    I did not know that, though I admit I'm a little surprised that they didn't just re-cast Payne's character. There's certainly precedent, though the circumstances are a bit different this time around.

  • Maddy

    It's not like Ilyn Paye is this super important character that they couldn't just retire from the story at this point to be honest. I'm not going to complain about more Bronn

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