King Joffrey is dead. This week’s “Game of Thrones” showcased several versions of cruelty before ending with the death of the reviled, sniveling teenage king. Here are five key moments from last night’s episode, “The Lion and the Rose.”
1. Finally, we get to see the transfigured Theon. Last season, we watched as bastard Ramsay Snow tortured the ironborn princeling until he was stripped of his identity, dignity and manhood. Now known as the eunuch Reek, he meekly congratulates his new master on his ability to hunt down a woman in the woods and then feed her to his rabid dogs. “What did you do to him?” Snow’s father asks upon his return to the castle that he had placed under his bastard son’s control. “I trained him,” Snow replies. “He was a slow learner.”
2. What’s that smell? Oh, only infidels burning at the stake. The sorceress Melisandre is back to her old ways of rooting out the unbelievers back on the island of Dragonstone. Lord Stannis is his usual mild, numb self until his daughter is brought to his attention. Then he gets paternal, and allows the sorceress to go give his daughter some advice during a nice nighttime chat (is there any daylight in this place?) “There’s only one hell, princess,” she tells the girl. “The one we live in now.”
3. Weddings aren’t the same unless there is tension between the in-laws. One scene reveals the balance of power between houses Lannister and Tyrell. As they amble arm-in-arm along a path, the matriarch and patriarch of the two houses — Olenna Tyrell and Tywin Lannister — discuss debts incurred by the wars and the lavish wedding. It soon becomes clear that they are mutually bonded over money, and it appears Olenna is winning this game.
4. Bran Stark and his friends continue their trek north, but make a quick stop so that he can be one with a tree that has a face. After his arboreal convening, Bran says he knows where he has to go. Good! They better keep moving because Ramsay Snow’s dad is sending out a search party to hunt Bran and his brother down to snuff out the last of the Stark clan before they can rally the North.
5. With all the madness and cruelty going on in this episode, it was nice to finally have a break with a royal wedding party. There was drinking, music and a fun little re-enactment of the “war of five kings” featuring little people. Okay, all of that was pretty awful. But it ended with the gruesome death of the reviled King Joffrey — a sort of wish fulfilled for many a GoT viewer. Now, the good news is that at least one of the most malevolent baddies in the show got what he deserved. Bad news? Tyrion Lannister is being accused of orchestrating his murder.