Same as always but seriously do not freaking read this if you haven’t watched the episode. Last chance.
This week in Nudity and Violence Variety Hour, something you’ve all been waiting for since basically Day One finally happened. I’ll touch on the royal wedding in a bit, but first, the other characters we sort of forgot about. I’ll go in order of how many feelings I have about them.
Bran, Hodor, Meera and Jojen
I was hoping for a Rickon spotting this week but no dice. (Side note, if you want to play the world’s worst drinking game, drink whenever you see Rickon…you’ll be drunk in roughly 2040.) I liked how they did Bran’s warg-ing, and I have for a while. Also jeez did Isaac Hempstead-Wright get older. It’s a bit easier to make him look younger by Hodor carrying him all the time, but he’s supposed to still be a baby and he’s not, my little Brandon is growing upppp.
House Bolton and Reek
ROOOOOOOSE. Guys I know you’re going to hate me but the portrayal of Roose Bolton as a stone-cold death-plotting Stark-trolling motherfucker is everything I’ve ever wanted. His shade-throwing, his swishy cloak, his non-smiling stare, it’s just great. Also I seriously love Fat Walda. Chances are we won’t see her again this season or it’ll only be for a minute, but seriously I love her. In the books, she’s straight up proud of being chosen by Roose (Walder Frey said Roose could have his bride’s weight in silver, so he picked the heaviest girl), she’s not the shy woman she was portrayed as in the minute we saw her, Ramsay hates her because she can potentially have trueborn sons, and Roose is actually fond of her. Fat Walda is probably my favorite minor character and y’all should get on this train.
Okay, this isn’t a spoiler, but just to fill you in on a thing that Ramsay does. He (and his men) send women that he’s captured or just finds into the forests surrounding the Dreadfort. He gives them a bit of a head start, and then hunts them. If they give him a good sport, he kills them quickly and then flays them. If they’re truly excellent, he’ll name one of his hunting dogs after them. If they do not give him good sport, he flays them alive. All of them are raped. When I saw that “Miranda” (????) suddenly is a part of this hunt as his little girlfriend or something, I almost lost it. Combined with the weird scene in the Dreadfort with Roose being like “you’re my bastard can u not do things k thnx bai” and Ramsay getting all sad like “why doesn’t Daddy love me,” I’m angry about how they’re showing Ramsay. He is 100% a Charles Manson/Ted Bundy/Hannibal/straight-from-your-nightmares disaster of a human being, and I am not here for you to give him a backstory or try even a little to make him sympathetic. He’s not. He’s the actual worst, and I seriously don’t care if it’s because Roose didn’t love him enough. He chases women through the forest and sets his dogs on them for fun, he strips the skin off of his enemies, he forced a lord’s widow to marry him, left her in a tower to starve, and she ate her own fingers before she died. Nope x1000000. I could forgive them this in comparison with giving Ramsay whoever Miranda is. Ramsay’s hunts are perhaps the worst thing that happens to women in these books, and to act like it’s okay for another woman to join him in the misogyny and targeted violence is unacceptable. And to give Ramsay a line like “you’re pretty, and it’s making Miranda jealous” is so irresponsible I don’t even know where to start. This woman joins you in hunting down girls because she’s jealous of how pretty they are? Unacceptable.
The Royal Wedding
So, my first instinct was a little bit along the lines of “ahhh none of this happened what are you doing to my books” but in actuality, the changes work. We see the Purple Wedding (unlike the Red Wedding, it’s not called that in the book, but the fans call it that) from Tyrion’s POV, and therefore some of the things here wouldn’t ever be seen by him, but could have happened. The one thing that is bugging me a bit is that in the books, Jaime and Brienne do not return until after Joffrey’s death. Cersei doesn’t do her weird “no, no, everything’s changed you got captured ahhh” thing, and Brienne gets locked up when she returns for the murder of Renly. Therefore, Cersei doesn’t do her weird “but you luuuuurve him” thing at the wedding. Not a fan, since Brienne herself doesn’t know what she wants, and the scene with Cersei seemed to force her hand.
I have a lot of Shae-related feelings, but I’ma hold off because I feel like I’ll ruin something for some of you guys. I would like to know from people who haven’t read the books how they feel about her, particularly if she seems like a sympathetic character. I have, so I don’t know if my “dude you are a paid sex-companion, what exactly did you think was gonna happen, you were gonna marry Tyrion? Sure okay totes gonna work” disdainful reaction was because of my book-opinion, but maybe I’m right on. Be realistic, gurl.
ANYWAY. You know what should have been Oberyn and Ellaria’s first scene? The sass-off with Tywin and Cersei, not the weird brothel thing. Again, the sass-off was not canon, and frankly, probably wouldn’t have happened, but dear God did I love it. Everything from Ellaria’s slave-Leia-esque outfit to Oberyn’s “would you like some ice for that burn?” smile was amazing. I also really love Oberyn’s highlighting of what makes nobility actually noble. It’s not refusing to interact with bastards or ensuring those beneath you stay beneath you. It’s protecting the weak and helpless. The whole “oh, I don’t know about y’all, but in MY country it’s pretty bad form to murder infants just because they’re in the way” was wonderful, and I’m really happy one of the few non-white characters delivered it, as it’s a resounding condemnation of the entire Westerosi way of operating. Red Viper OUT. *mic drop*
So, for those of you wondering, yes, a version of the battle entertainment happens in the books: it’s just two people, and they joust, and it’s not supposed to be a War of Five Kings thing. However, the participants are still little people, and it’s used to get Joffrey to instigate Tyrion into fighting them. I’m actually really disappointed that they chose to include this scene. The scene is offensive enough in the books, as Joffrey snorts wine out of his nose laughing at two little people pretending to have sex after being knocked off a pig and a horse in their fake joust. However, once you put the scene on-screen, you have a greater responsibility. There are 5 men who were required to be cast in those parts, and we’ll never learn their names. We don’t even get to see them up close. Their parts were a modern-day equivalent of Munchkin Land. After 4 years of demonstrating that a little person can be a fully-fleshed out character, and with Peter Dinklage winning an Emmy for his portrayal of Tyrion, we’ve taken about a hundred steps backwards. And for what? To include a scene that shows ONE MORE TIME that Joffrey is a piece of shit? Did you think we forgot? My friend Baird put it as the producers thinking they’re in on the joke: they had to remind us Joffrey’s the worst because “WELL YOU MAY HAVE FORGOTTEN WE DO INTRODUCE A LOT OF CHARACTERS HO HO HO” Fuck off. We KNEW this. We’ve known it since Season 1, Episode 2. I’m angry about this in the same way I’m angry about the death of Ros: offscreen, horribly sexualized and violent, and for what? JOFFREY’S THE WORST, WE GOT IT. STOP BEING TERRIBLE AND SAYING IT’S OKAY JUST BECAUSE “WELL, IT’S NOT US, IT’S HIM!”. You have responsibilities; these are now real men and women and you owe them dignity. He’s dead now, so maybe it’ll get better, but maybe not.
Speaking of Joffrey, Jack Gleeson, A++++. The rest of the cast has given him completely glowing reviews, and in all his interviews he’s been a very pleasant, polite, eager young man. This kid is a good kid, which makes me really sad when I see things on Twitter that say “I just want to punch him in his stupid face.” Thaaaaaat’s not okay. That’s Jack’s face. Like there are dartboards out there with Jack Gleeson’s face on it and that squicks me out a little bit. He’s said he is going to quit acting after this and go into academia, and dude whenever you become a professor I’ll come watch you lecture. He’s clearly an excellent actor as we all hate him so much, and he really has the overconfidence + getting flustered if anyone calls him on his behavior thing down. I also really want to give him credit for his death scene. My friend Sarah pointed out that even though he’s this evil, awful person, in his last minutes he really conveyed just being a scared son who needs his mom. You felt a twinge of sympathy for him in his last moments. Seriously, Jack Gleeson, I won’t miss Joffrey, but I will miss you. You did a great job, and I wish you the best, and I reeeeeally hope people saying things about your face isn’t why you quit acting.
Overall, from the people I’ve talked to, the episode did a really good job of surprising people, and although it wasn’t spot on book stuff and some things made me mad, the wedding itself was excellent. I know y’all are caught up in your bloodlust (for the record, maybe tone it down? It’s a little creepy to watch all my friends get super excited over an eye-bleeding poison death), but oh my goodness what’s gonna happen next??? And who do you think did the poisoning? How’d you like the episode? Leave comments if you’d like!