Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 2 Recap and Review
Throughout the first three seasons of Game of Thrones, we’ve been made to feel a multitude of emotions. We’ve been excited, frustrated, terrified, inspired, and awestruck. We’ve definitely been devastated. But not once, until this episode, have we been allowed to feel true, unbridled happiness. And damn, does this episode feel good. It feels good.
Obviously, there’s a huge spoiler ahead. If you haven’t seen the episode or read the series, you may not want to read on.
Joffrey finally dies.
We have waited for this for so long. We have yearned for this for so long. After all of our patience awaiting his death — and frustration at watching some of our favorite characters die instead — George R.R. Martin has finally thrown us a god damn bone and killed off the character considered by some to be the most odious character ever created.
It all starts at Joffrey’s wedding.1 The ceremony itself is, oddly enough, devoid of much special attention. In fact, it’s quite a brief scene, in which Joffrey cloaks Margaery (I’m still trying to put my finger on the specific sexual undertones of that symbol, but they definitely exist) and kisses her before the large audience.
Then we head to the reception.
The first thing we see is entertainers running wildly around the outdoor reception, spitting fire off of torches using (presumably) alcoholic breath. There’s a moment of comfort in realizing that even some of your most unruly drunken habits from college still qualify as entertainment for a royal wedding in a fantasy world. But we’re quickly redirected to the Lannister table, where Lady Olenna Tyrell is inviting Sansa to visit her at Highgarden, solidifying the Tyrells as that creepy friend who always seems just a little too eager to have people over.
Next, we see a group of minstrels playing “Rains of Castamere,” which appears to be the Westeros equivalent of “Freebird” given how much it is played and requested. The mere sound of this tune being played at a wedding reception is, to say the least, unpleasant.
After this, we see Loras Tyrell and Prince Oberyn make eyes at each other from across the party, offering heavy-handed foreshadowing that they’re going to do tons of the sexnasty all over each other in the coming season. So. Yeah.
Something amazing proceeds. Joffrey, indisputably the veiniest bag of dicks in all the Seven Kingdoms, starts acting even veinier and baggier and dickier than ever before. I mean, he’s always been an enormous doucheblock, but this kid is just heaping on the douche. He is drowning in douche. You can’t see it, but there is a deluge of douche — a delouche, perhaps — overtaking King Joffrey. He is insulting his entertainers, he forces Tyrion to act as his cupbearer, and then he brings on five midgets to reenact the death of his opponents while he shriek-giggles like a quirky and artistic girl-next-door from an uninspired Hallmark movie.
And, oddly enough, it is good that he reaches an apex of douchebaggage, because it makes it just that much sweeter when he dies a gruesome death by poison. He drinks his wine and eats his cake, and then he starts choking. When he first starts choking, you don’t feel confident enough to even think, “Maybe this asshole is going to die,” because it would just be too good. Instead, it seems more like he’s putting on a drawn-out joke against Tyrion, like your roommate does when you blow a 45-point lead playing the Red River Rivalry in NCAA Football 2009. But he keeps choking. And choking. And he doesn’t stop choking. And you think to yourself: “Holy shit. Is he going to die? Could he possibly die? Is there a benevolent God that would give George R.R. Martin even the briefest moment of mercy to bestow upon us?”
And the choking continues.
At this point, Joffrey’s face is ghastly; his eyes are bloodshot, his veins are popping (again, he’s a veiny bag of dicks), and his nose is bleeding. He suffers for a minute on the ground while Jaime and Cersei tend to him, and then he breathes his last breath, and dies. It is a horrific death — sort of how I imagine watching someone die from lethal injection. But it’s Joffrey, so it’s okay, because he is Joffrey Baratheon, first of his name, Douche of the Seven Douchedoms.
There is a minor downside, of course; Tyrion (being Joffrey’s temporary cupbearer) is suspected to be responsible for Joffrey’s death, and is arrested.2 But as sad as I am for the bleak outlook on Tyrion’s future, the good far outweighs the bad in this situation. It’s kind of like Hitler’s death. Yeah, it’s sad that Hitler killed his dog, Blondie, before killing himself, but in both cases, the prevailing emotion is certainly excitement over the death of a tyrant rather than sadness over the death of a friendly little creature.
For the sake of formality, I’ll gloss over the rest of the episode — relatively unimportant, since the producers dedicated a hefty 22 minutes to Joffrey’s death and the events preceding it. Outside of King’s Landing, not much happened in this episode: Daenerys, Jon Snow, Arya, and Ygritte (and their respective subplots) aren’t even included in this episode at all.
We do discover that Ramsay Snow has turned Theon Greyjoy into a sheepish, submissive creature now known almost exclusively as Reek. We see the first on-screen interaction between Ramsay and Roose Bolton, which looks like it has the makings of one of the more exciting relationships on the show. Roose Bolton, preoccupied with ruling the North, sends men out to hunt down Bran and Rickon Stark after Theon admits to faking their deaths. Stannis burns some infidels, because he’s fucking Stannis Baratheon, and Bran Stark continues having his dreams, which are cooler than my dreams in which I take an international flight with 80 Pikachu clones and one of them is a terrorist who I have to stop from hijacking the plane and crashing it into the residence of Iceland‘s lesbian prime minister.
But Joffrey’s death is truly the centerpiece of this episode; nothing else seems to matter as much. Most importantly, we can rejoice in the fact that no character in Game of Thrones (or really any series for that matter) will ever be as loathsome as the character that just died a tremendous death.