It's just not safe to get married in Westeros these days.
Ever since he ordered the beheading of the heroic Ned Stark in the first season of "Game of Thrones," viewers have been patiently waiting for the insufferable boy-king Joffrey to die. (Preferably in as painful a manner as possible.)
Sunday night, they got their wish. Episode two of Season 4,"The Lion and the Rose," written by George R.R. Martin himself (hallowed be his name), ends with the despicable teenage tyrant's poisoned face turning blue as blood drips from his mouth. (Cue the Hallelujah Chorus!)
But who has done the deed? Was it the Tyrells? (They have the motive.) The Martells? (They, um, also have the motive.) The Iron Bank? (Well, the bankers, too, have the motive.) Sansa? (The Starks most definitely have the motive.) Cersei immediately blames Tyrion – setting up the most hate-filled family-feud we've seen yet on the show. And, apparently, Tommen is now king.
It was a strong episode, despite the lack of any appearances by crowd-favorites Daenerys, Arya or Jon. (How can I find something wrong with an episode in which Joffrey gets killed?)
As much as I personally hated his character Jack Gleeson did such an expert job playing Joffrey that I'm actually sorry to see him go. (Give the kid a supporting actor Emmy nomination already!) In the so-called "Purple Wedding," Gleeson portrayed Joffrey as entitled, bullying, cruel and soulless – in other words, he played it perfect.
Earlier, in the capitol city, Tyrion and Varys are worried about Shae's safety, but she refuses to leave King's Landing.
Tyrion rudely tells Shae she's not worthy of him. (He, of course, doesn't really mean this. He just wants Shae to leave the city so she can be safe from Tywin and Cersei's scheming.)
Tywin, upon learning that his son is involved with Shae, asks for her to be sent to his room before Joffrey's wedding. (What a great dad.)
At the celebration of the royal wedding between Joffrey and Margaery, Tywin gives his grandson the gift to the Valyrian blade he's made from Ned Stark's sword.
Joffrey, being terrible as usual, waves the blade around in Sansa's direction
"Every time I use it, it will be like cutting off Ned Stark's head all over again," he says of her father.
During the wedding reception, Joffrey, apparently having grown bored, orders up a performance of dwarves aimed at insulting everyone but him.
Margaery is offended by the insulting of Renly. Sansa is offened by the insulting of Robb Stark. Tyrion is offended by the entire show. But Joffrey laughs hysterically.
Now enjoying himself, Joffrey decides to have a bit more fun by pouring wine on Tyrion's head, demanding his uncle refill his cup and kneel before him.
As Tyrion goes to refill the boy-king's cup, he takes wine from in front of Olenna Martell, the queen's grandmother, and serves it to Joffrey. Joffrey also eats from a pie, killing a bird as he cuts it.
Minutes later, the most hated character on the show is writhing on the ground, dying of poison. (Ding, dong, the boy-king's dead!) Was it the pie? Was it the wine? Did he choke? Was he poisoned? We are now at the beginning of a very interesting murder-mystery.
Other things happened on the show, of course. At the Deadfort, Theon's transformation through torture into the slavish, dog-like Reek is complete; Melisandre and Stannis' wife, Selyse, are burning folks at the stake, including Stannis' brother-in-law; and Bran sees some really cool prophecies. (Prophecies, so key to the books, have been largely missing from the shows. More of that, please.)
But the Purple Wedding will surely be what everyone remembers from this episode. While not as shocking or horrible as the Red Wedding, it was damn satisfying. I just wish a Stark could have been the one to do the killing.
Episode grade: A.