Game of Thrones Recap: Long Live the King

Game of Thrones Season 4 RecapThe following is a Game of Thrones recap, which means it includes spoilers. Read on at your own risk.

Joffrey and Margaery are married on this week’s Game of Thrones, but we’re the ones who get the biggest gift of all.

That’s because Joffrey, the whining, moaning, selfish, psychotic, sniveling, power-hungry boy king who has sorely needed his comeuppance since Season 1 finally gets it.

In the terminal sense.

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Yup, Joff chokes to death at his own wedding reception, and his demise (or is it murder?) throws the palace into a tizzy that’s likely to last the rest of the season and just may take down a few of your favorites in its wake.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s savor every delicious morsel of Joffrey’s just desserts as we review “The Lion and the Rose.”

HOUSE BOLTON | We’ll deal with the non-wedding storylines first; pleasure is so much sweeter when it’s delayed, don’t you think? We open on a group of young people frolicking in the woods. Oh wait, no – it’s actually Ramsay Snow and a woman excitedly chasing a very frightened girl through the trees. The pair carry bows and arrows and very aggressive dogs, and Theon aka Reek trails behind, barely keeping up. The huntress pegs the girl through the thigh, then Ramsay lets the dogs have at her; the whole enterprise seems to be little more than sport to the sadistic pair, though Reek looks like he’s having a hard time with it.

Back at the castle, Roose Bolton has returned to the Dreadfort with his new wife, who’s one of Walder Frey’s daughters, and Locke, otherwise known as the man who de-handed Jaime Lannister. He’s not psyched to see that Ramsay has flayed his “prize”; Roose had hoped to trade a “whole” Theon to Balon Greyjoy in order to remove the Ironborn from Moat Cailin, thus freeing the Bolton army to take by force the northern lands Tywin Lannister gave him in name only.

But Roose’s bastard maintains that while “Theon was our enemy,” Reek “will never betray us” – and proves it when he hand Balon’s son a straight razor and asks for a shave. While Roose watches, Reek confesses that the boys he burned at Winterfell weren’t Bran and Rickon and learns that Roose killed Robb Stark. Theon pauses in his work, affected by the reveal, but doesn’t use the razor to slit Ramsay’s throat – though he easily could. While I contemplate whether this shuffling, shaking, apologetic husk of an individual really can be the brat formerly known as Theon, Roose sends Locke to find the Stark survivors and orders a happy Ramsay to “take the moat for the family.”

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HOUSE BARATHEON | Melisandre sacrifices three more people – including Stannis’ brother-in-law – to the Lord of Light, an event that doesn’t sit well with Davos. But Stannis doesn’t want to hear it; food supplies are running low and he’s preoccupied with his crazy wife’s estimation that their daughter’s soul is in trouble. At Lady Selyse’s behest, Melisandre goes to visit the imprisoned princess for a little religious re-education. It’s rather tame – not a leech in sight! – but I worry, nonetheless. By the old gods and the new, can’t Davos just grab Shireen and make for the hills?

HOUSE STARK | Meera wakes Bran from a warging dream and warns him that the longer he stays in Summer’s mind, the more likely it is he’ll forget his family and his mission. As they continue north, Bran asks Hodor to carry him to a heart tree that, when touched, overwhelms the invalid with images of the three-eyed raven, Winterfell, Ned Stark and such. “I know where we have to go,” Bran tells his friends after he comes around. (Side note: Best part of this sequence? The dying deer saying, “Hodor.”)

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HOUSE LANNISTER: NOTHING-GOLD-CAN-STAY EDITION | Over a private meal, Jaime laments that he can no longer keep the king safe with his sword hand gone. Tyrion suggests he learn how to fight with his other paw, which leads to a rather interesting arrangement: Bronn and Jaime are going to be sparring partners until the Lannister twin gets his groove back. During their first lesson, Jaime is humiliated by having to use a blunted sword instead of his beloved Valyrian steel blade, but he likely forgets about that when he’s forced to use everything he has to hold his own against the sellsword.

Meanwhile, Varys informs Tyrion that Cersei knows about his relationship with Shae; it’s only a matter of time before Tywin keeps his promise and has her killed. So Tyrion does what he must. (Spoiler alert: It’s terrible and will make your heart hurt.) After summoning Shae to his quarters, Tyrion tells his lover, “I’m afraid our friendship can’t continue.” “Our ‘friendship?'” she replies in a tone that makes me afraid, and I haven’t even done anything!

Shae quickly sees through his lame excuse about upholding his vows to Sansa. She knows he’s afraid of Cersei and Tywin, but she wants to fight them together with him. Her show of love and solidarity leaves Tyrion no choice but to go nuclear, and it clearly hurts him as much as it devastates her. “You’re a whore” who’s not fit to bear his children, he states, almost crying – and certainly not able to look her in the eye – as he berates her.

Once Shae is reduced to sobs,  she angrily leaves and Bronn follows her with orders to make sure she gets on a ship bound for Pentos.  (Side note: If you’re in the mood to get even more depressed, re-watch my favorite Shae/Tyrion scene ever – from the second season.)

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HOUSE LANNISTER: THE-MAIN-EVENT EDITION | So that brings us to the festivities surounding Joffrey’s wedding to Margaery, which kick off with a gift-giving ceremony. Tyrion presents his nephew with a “book every king should read.” And once Tywin hands his grandson the Valyrian steel sword that’s a companion to Jaime’s, that book gets julienned.

A ceremony in the sept – good God, Margaery’s hair is nearly scraping the rafters here, isn’t it? But she looks lovely – goes off without incident, and Joffrey soundly kisses his new queen before the entire congregation as Tyrion whispers to Sansa, “Better her than you.” PREACH, Brother Lannister. (Side note: Who wants to hazard a guess as to which adjective best describes Joff’s kissing style? Reptilian? Lizardy? Slobbery? Whatever it is, you know it ain’t pleasant.)

The reception gets off to a good start, as well. Well… “good” graded on the King’s Landing bell curve, that is.  Jaime warns Loras that Cersei will murder him if they are married, and the Knight of Flowers gives as good as he gets by reminding Jaime that he’ll never wed Cersei, either. (Snap!) On the other side of the party, Brienne, wearing some culottes that look like they were modeled on Dr. Crusher’s TNG lab ensemble, is nearly done in by Cersei’s guess that the lady knight is in love with Jaime. (When you’ve got a sec, rewind and re-watch the affection and warmth on Gwendoline Christie’s face get wiped away by pure shock; it’s a beautiful transition to behold.) And Oberyn and Ellaria enter the bash only to be immediately drawn to a contortionist practicing her craft. (NORMAL.)

When the singers, jugglers and firebreathers have bored Joffrey, he announces entertainment of his own design: “The war of the five kings!” he says proudly as dwarves dressed like caricatures of Renly, Stannis, Robb, Balon and himself engage in a faux battle designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Though many laugh, Tyrion, Margaery, Loras and Olenna are among those stonefaced – as is Sansa when the Robb stand-in feigns decapitation.

Tyrion’s ire leads him to subtly dress Joff down in front of the whole crowd, and while I’m fairly certain the blonde snot doesn’t know exactly what happened, he knows he doesn’t like it. So Joffrey forces his uncle to fetch him some wine, which he quaffs… then starts to choke.

In the ruckus caused by Joffrey’s emergency, Dontos the fool appears by Sansa’s side and tells her if she wants to leave, they’ve gotta go now. No one notices, given that the boy king is bleeding from the nostrils while Jaime and Cersei flail uselessly around him. As Joff’s eyes bug out and he breathes his last, he lifts a hand and points at Tyrion… who has the supreme bad luck of picking up Joffrey’s cup and inspecting it just as all eyes land on him.

“He did this! He poisoned my son, your king! Take him!” Cersei screeches, demanding Tyrion’s arrest as Joffrey, dead and streaming blood and drool, stares blankly at the sky.

Good riddance, boy king. If there’s any justice, Ned Stark’s standing at the gates to the afterlife, you dig?

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Joey says:

    Did Kimberly make a little error when making this post? :P

  2. Nathalia says:

    Best episode EVER!

  3. WTactualF says:

    Poor Tyrion. Seems like he always gets the shaft. I hope we find out who really poisoned Joffrey.

  4. CK says:

    I love that they put the detail in and had the poisoner get the poison during the episode. I won’t spoil it for non book readers, but everyone that read the books probably saw the exchange take place.

  5. zacqua10 says:

    The only thing that could’ve made this episode better (for me at least) was if they revealed who sent the assassin to kill Bran back in the first season. I actually sort of think they aren’t going to bring that up again since I don’t know how they would do it without Tyrion’s interior monologue.

    • NR says:

      Don’t Cersei & Jaime figure it out at some point?

    • Lili An-noln says:

      Now we have (at least) three unsolved crimes on the show:
      From the first episodes of Season 1:
      – Who killed Jon Arryn (former Hand of the King)?
      – Who hired the man to kill Bran?
      From Season 4, Episode 2:
      – Who poisoned Joffrey?

      • zacqua10 says:

        All of those were answered essentially one right after another in the book. That’s what made the third book so excellent. So I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s reactions to when these questions are answered.

        The producers are correct when they are saying this season is sort of like a transition season. A LOT of stuff gets answered and characters go in different directions.

      • xeffect says:

        Suspects: 1. Little Finger and Lady Olenna for Killing Joffrey
        2. I suspect Little Finger for Jon Aryn as well
        3. Either Cersei or Joffrey hired the man to kill Bran

  6. Robert says:

    Loved it. Ding Dong Joffrey’s Dead. I cheered when I got to that part of the book.

  7. Joe says:

    Seems George R.R. Martin hates weddings – 2 weddings, many murders!

    • jag says:

      all weddings for that matter. If you get wed, then be prep to be beheaded, imprisoned, unhappy for the rest of your life, get massacred or the latest bleed by poison. I’m not complaining. This show has the best advise before getting married.

  8. Teeny Bikini says:

    Couldn’t have happened to a nice dude ;)

  9. Joey says:

    The thing I’m still wondering about is, even though they’re going to be working their way into AFFC and ADWD, are they going to end the season with the epilogue of ASOS? Because I think for non-readers, it would be a great way to end the season.

    • DL says:

      My guess is that they are. I’d hoped for it to close last season, I agree that it’s a great season ender.

    • Lili An-noln says:

      Of course they are. Are you kidding me? If it was *that* awesome on page, can you imagine it on screen? With the level of brilliance brought by this particular member of the cast?

      There is no way they will cut the epilogue from the show. And it’s got be the final scene. Nothing can top that.

      • Joey says:

        Plus they did add in a line in the first episode regarding this, and it’s funny, because if you don’t know what’s coming, it sounded completely like a throwaway line.

  10. whitewalker says:

    Brienne was almost as shocked as Jaime, I bet this is the very first time she has ever consider this could be love, which is all sorts of endearing considering he must be as clueless as she is, if nor more.

    • jag says:

      i agree. She was confronted with the truth. and the shocked face was priceless. could see the regent queen turning green with envy. Selena much?

      • whitewalker says:

        I reckon Brienne didn’t even know love could be like this: raw, flawed, imperfect. Like Jaime she was taught to aim at an ideal as unattainable as Renly and, as romantics as they may be, neither Brienne nor Jaime can see real love even if its right there in front of them.

  11. “Good riddance, boy king. If there’s any justice, Ned Stark’s standing at the gates to the afterlife, you dig?” I was hoping Arya would be the one that killed him. That, to me, would have been justice.

    • OJ says:

      I don’t care who kills him, as long as the nasty piece of work is dead. All praise to the actor, though, who’s made me loathe Joffrey since day 1.

      • Ruby says:

        All accounts say that Jack Gleeson is lovely in real life, which makes his performance even better. I can’t imagine a more loathsome character in the history of Television, especially after what he did to Ros last year.

  12. Apples says:

    Brilliant ep. Loved the whole wedding sequence (the Cersei-Brienne, the Jaime-Loras, the Oberyn and Ellia v Tywin and Cersei etc as well as the murder).
    Need more.
    Vale to Jack Gleeson who did a wonderful job with a wretched character.

  13. DarkDefender says:

    King Joffrey is dead. Huzzah!
    For the body of work, Gleeson should get an Emmy. Another great episode and we are only 2 into the season.

  14. Kevin H. says:

    YOU SUCK!!!

  15. Kre says:

    King Joffrey is dead. What an EXCELLENT way to start the week!!!

  16. MJ says:


  17. Scott says:

    Yeah any of this could ever happen. You’ve been reading too much fan fiction.

  18. Anon says:

    I’m a book reader, so I know all this stuff, but I think this post is extremely rude. This is not a spoiler article and other readers have no expectation of getting all that revealed.

    This is trollish.

  19. Peter says:

    Most TV weddings don’t seem to go off without a hitch. And this is Game of Thrones, so multiply that trope by a thousand. I do love however that it isn’t a question of ‘will’ something happen so much as ‘what.’

    Anyone else need a cigarette now that Joffrey’s dead?

    • jag says:

      hahaha the cigarette is really true. the beheading of ned, the red wedding as well as the purple wedding are chapter opener. And after what happened, it will turn the turning tables while it’s already turning. Power here shifts so fast. If i have to give advise, don’t get married.

  20. M3rc Nate says:

    I havent caught up in the books to this point so idk who killed him or what is coming next, it could (probably will be) awesome…BUT…..

    I was wishing when Joffrey would die, it would be MUCH more satisfying. That type of poisoning and cant speak death…. :( it was Joffrey! He should have been tortured or killed with a blade or SOMETHING that pays back everything hes done…i was hoping for SOMEONE to be like “this is what you get” and him scared like the b**** he is as he gets sliced by a sword. :( oh well.

    • jag says:

      i think the way he died is very symbolic. he unable to talk and choke is the greatest hubris. i always have dreamed him punished by cutting of his tongue. but choking is just as good. For me it signifies weakens, being killed with your hands. hubris well served.

    • LaLa says:

      Since you say you haven’t caught up in the books, I’ll just say that reading about it was much more satisfying for me – though watching it and looking for little signs here and there was quite awesome, too. For me, reading it and letting my imagination run – it was better. But for those who haven’t read the books, I KNOW this episode was great!

    • Alice says:

      I like that he didn’t get a heroic death. He wasn’t cut down like Robb or beheaded with a ceremony. He died terrified, in his mothers arms, without any dignity whatsoever covered in vomit. Perfect. The only thing sad about it is that Jack Gleason isn’t acting after this role, so its the last time we get to see him on screen.

      • M3rc Nate says:

        True, i can understand all your replies (Jag, Lala etc)…and after reading a after the episode aired interview with G-R.R.Martin i get that he went for that type of death on purpose, symbolic and different…to make people think what Jag said.

        It still wasnt very satisfying, but thats okay…something that would have just made me go “mmmmm YES….YESSSSSS…DIE YOU LITTLE BRAT!!!” would have been if he squeaked out a “Mom!” with a mega frightened look on his face while dying…truly showing what a little boy he was and how he never really had any power.

    • awesome says:

      yeah i wanted that too.joffrey needed to have horrible death,that couldnt be imagined like in the movie ‘SAW’

  21. FtheFrey says:


  22. FtheFrey says:

    Jack Gleeson should get performer of the week for this episode.

  23. WTactualF says:


  24. Dee Shore says:

    I actually cheered when this aired! I haven’t screamed excited in such a long time. Rot in hell!

  25. Lillie says:

    even though i knew it was coming it was still awesome,finally he got what he deserved no just kill his horrible mother and give tyrion the throne

  26. w aterbug says:

    What is next for Jack Gleeson? Wonderful actor. I will be looking out for him now in the future. Hope the bring him back in flashbacks this season.

    • Mia says:

      He is retiring from acting …

      • Steve F. says:

        Yeah, I read that acting stopped being fun for him a while back… which is a a shame, as he was REALLY good playing bad. Seeing how he’s pursuing academia and philosophic ventures, I can only wish the kid good luck, and hope he rediscovers his passion one day.

  27. Lovely says:

    This episode was so amazing! As a non book reader I didnt see this coming at all. Its only the 2nd episode… wow.

    I am so happy that psychotic royal jerk finally got his- YEEEEESSSSSSSS! Poor Cerse… just kidding. Haha… thats whay you get you nasty heiffer. But they cannot kill Tyrion, he is my very favorite. Overall, LOVED this episode.

  28. Alice says:

    I dunno, while deer Hodor was a nice touch- my favorite part about the Heart Tree sequence was seeing the shadow of the dragon flying over King’s Landing.

  29. hello says:

    Three dead kings on Jaime’s watch. He needs a new job

  30. NR says:

    A – You are a terrible person and TV Line should remove this comment immediately
    B – This isn’t even an accurate summary of the book
    C – I don’t think all of these things will happen in the TV series given character changes

  31. BrianR says:

    He got off easy. I was hoping Dany would get to have her dragons cook and eat him alive.

  32. martina says:

    it was about time! i hated jeoffrey :) but i think the actor did a wonderful job, i wish him all the best for his future carrier, he was really good!

  33. Dave says:

    the troll deserve it all… go back inside the cave you waste all your time dreaming you could be different. TROLL get kicked in between the legs (no balls grew down there, never will) and watching in the mirror it will be THRILLED just for a second for being such a TROLL.. then it will realize what it really is.

  34. jm says:

    i prefer the wedding at the book that the one, we got here… there were some stuff that it was not on screen at it is important to know who do what, and to know who guess who do that…

    another point, i really love how at least Sansa showed a little of mercy to Tyron… she had been quite a jerk to him, while he was always respectful to him… pity that she had to run away with dontos… looking forward to seeing what happen next

    About Bran, there is so little more for him… and i wonder if we are going to see anything about Rickon and Osha… Natalie Tena is so talented… but in books they are nowhere…

    My favourite characters is the Red Priest… is she devil? is she good?… she showed a bit of mercy to Stannis daughter…

    Looking forward for more

    My favourite moments of this chapter
    – Mrs Bolton the fat… she looked so frightened
    – Queen of Roses faces all around the ceremony
    – Sansa helping Tyron
    – Cersei seeing her son dying… 2 to go now

  35. Colleen says:

    Ye God, performer of the week needs to come from this episode. Jack Gleeson would be a top pick. He was phenomenal his entire run. He really amped it up for this episode until all the audience plus the vast majority of the other characters had to be wishing Joffrey would just drop dead. Good luck to him in whatever he chooses to pursue.

  36. w aterbug says:

    Did anyone else notice after the initial scene involving Reek.fades to Tyrion forking a sausage from the platter. too funny! A reminder of Reek’s sausage, (or lack of).

  37. Elyse says:

    You’re the worst kind of human.

  38. rachelle says:

    Squab, you are a COLOSSAL piece of garbage.

  39. Lovely says:

    Did that make you feel good you piece of dog feces? You pile of turtle vomit. You dirt from a monkeys ball sack. You diseased semen from from a crack prostitutes condom.

  40. Lovely says:

    You have the audacity to call someone else obnoxious when posted the spoiler above just to be a jerk… STFU and go away TROLL

  41. pinchmuhbutt says:

    I think Sansa killed him. She picked up the cup and handed it to Tyrion just before the little bastard choked on poison.

  42. Summer says:

    What I did not realize until later was the musicians performing the lannister song at the wedding actually are the real musicians who recorded it. At least they got a cameo until Joffrey tossed the money at them.

  43. Rich Abey says:

    Joffrey is dead at last. He didn’t deserve to die easily & appropriately the god’s listened for once and he died chocking for a priceless few seconds when all of our hearts were alight for finally avenging Ned Stark’s death!