Firstly, the disappointment of not seeing Theon Greyjoy ‘Reek’ in Series 4 Episode 1 was obliterated within the first few seconds of Episode 2. Audiences see him along side his most disturbing captor Ramsay Snow. The somewhat darkness of the character escapes viewers for a few minutes, with some light music. With what appears to be a frolic through the woods.
Of course this is Game of Thrones. Not surprisingly, ‘The Frolic’ is in fact a manhunt. We discover the manhunt is for one of Ramsay’s accomplice ‘whores’ in the previous season. Since she made the other ‘jealous’ she in the mind of Snow she now deserves to die. By being eaten alive by his Hounds. The mental torture derived by this character in my eyes is truly captivating; especially since viewers slowly get to see even more of the mental breakdown of Theon Greyjoy. Overall, this ensured the Episode had my full attention. With under 2 minutes of footage.
Also, an aspect I thought was interesting when revisiting Reek and Snow was the conflicting relationships of Snows and their fathers. Eddard Stark (despite being dead since Season 1) and his relationship towards Jon Snow lives on. It is shown through many of Jons’ actions. The love was clearly there, he was an ‘honorary Stark’ in his fathers eyes. The relationship between Lord Bolton and Ramsay is completely different. He primarily expresses verbally how he is not his son. Then however, says he will give him the title if he gets what he wants. The representation of this relationship, as well as overall Episode was shown well; a reminder of a postmodern belief at the shame of ‘Bastard’ children.
Ned Stark was also remembered, in a more visual sense, through his son Brandon’s visions. A reminder that can still bring heartache to many fans. Even though Sean Bean was killed off three seasons ago. May he RIP, I feel he will never be forgotten. Especially now his sword ‘Ice’ lives anew with the Lannisters. Brans’ visions also showed footage never seen before, some of which may be from future Episodes. but also the past occurrences of the Starks and those they hold dear.
A shock factor was that some courtesy shown by everyone’s most hated character, Joffrey. Some villains can be loved, this one there is no hope. His grateful demeanour at the presentation of a gift from his uncle (Tyrion the Imp), brings a face of shock replicated by characters and fans alike. Of course Joffrey’s courtesy could not last long. him being the ‘right royal prick’ we all know and hate. He uses ‘Widow’s Wail’, formally known as ‘Ice’, to destroy the given book to him. Again a perfect example from the producers of the many differing faces of the characters of Game of Thrones. Every character has their problems, this is abundantly clear.
Two of these characters are Tyrion and Shae, from which the viewers witnessed the breakdown of their relationship, in this Episode. I enjoyed how Tyrion finally had to be cruel to push her away. It was like his inner ‘Lannister Lion’ finally come out to play. We could argue he did it for the greater good, but isn’t that what the Lannisters believe anyway?
Viewers also got reintroduced to Stannis, his wife (Selyse) and ‘The Red Woman’ (Melisandre). I genuinely thought it was hilarious when the three where eating together. Instantly I thought about an awkward Love Triangle or a plot similar to a soap opera, than a Game of Thrones Episode. As usual, the passive illusion was quickly shattered. When the mentally unstable Selyse spoke of Shireens’ sin, (even The Red Woman didn’t believe the daughter should be punished). We know for sure she is not particularly merciful to the young. I am glad for the intergenerational conflict in Game of Thrones. The Lannisters, Greyjoys and Baratheons especially explore the concept in times of conflict.
Two characters of the same generation who in my opinion, have equal ‘sass’ is Tywin Lannister and Olenna Tyrell. From past Episodes, debates around incest and homosexuality between the families have arisen. Their somewhat casual attitude towards one another as well as quick wit and sarcasm is to be admired. In this Episode in particular, Olenna foreshadows the death of the King. When speaking to Sansa about the loss of her brother and how it is ‘just cruel to kill at a wedding’.
Of course I would leave the best until last, I think it is clear now Margaery Tyrell doesn’t have the best luck with husbands. King Joffrey of the House Lannister is dead….Finally. I enjoyed the way Pigeon Pie was presented. A simple pie would not be so noticeable at a wedding. Making it one that was wheeled in with pigeons released, from inside was definitely a good choice. The mystery of who committed the crime is a storyline many TV fans can hold on to. The anticipation of Joffrey’s death was almost unbearable, for a book fan it was clear most of the Episode was leaning towards the event. Being a personal fan for the developed Jaime Lannister, there was a pang of sympathy felt for him. Mother and Father watching their son die, when all around there is only hate. I hope that he finds solace in his sword training with Bron, a match that albeit wasn’t meant to happen, but I believe they will compliment each other. Overall I thought Episode 1 didn’t have much of a shock factor, Episode 2 definitely makes up for that with many intriguing and mysterious events.