The Lion and the Rose

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"The Lion and the Rose"
Game of Thrones episode
Game-of-Thrones.S04-E02.Purple.Wedding.jpg
The color of Joffrey Baratheon's face after his death led to his wedding being referred to as the "Purple Wedding".
Episode no.Season 4
Episode 2
Directed byAlex Graves
Written byGeorge R. R. Martin
Featured musicRamin Djawadi
Cinematography byAnette Haellmigk
Editing byKatie Weiland
Original air dateApril 13, 2014 (2014-04-13)
Running time52 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Two Swords"
Next →
"Breaker of Chains"
Game of Thrones (season 4)
List of Game of Thrones episodes

"The Lion and the Rose", (sometimes referred to as "The Purple Wedding") is the second episode of the fourth season of HBO's fantasy television series Game of Thrones, and the 32nd overall. The episode was written by George R. R. Martin,[1] the author of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels of which the series is an adaptation, and directed by Alex Graves.[2] It aired on April 13, 2014.[3]

The episode focuses principally on the long-awaited royal wedding between Joffrey Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell, which ends tragically as Joffrey dies after drinking poisoned wine at the reception, a plot development that despite being in the books came as a shock to viewers since it abruptly killed the show's principal villain just a few episodes after the Red Wedding had violently killed off several of the show's protagonists. Other storylines include House Bolton's quest to retake the North, and Bran's continued journey north of The Wall. The title refers to the sigils of the wedding couple's respective houses – a lion for Joffrey Baratheon, who is in truth a Lannister, and a rose for Margaery Tyrell.

Off-camera, "The Lion and the Rose" is notable as the last episode Martin wrote for the series. Unlike his previous three episodes, his draft of the screenplay has some major differences from the episode as produced, with more minor characters and detail at the wedding feast. Most significantly, it sets up some plotlines from the books that the series would ultimately not use, such as Ramsay marrying an impostor woman posing as Arya instead of Sansa. It would have also resolved the unanswered question from the show's first season of who had been behind the attempted assassination of Bran Stark by implying more strongly than the books did that it was Joffrey, rather than Littlefinger as the series would suggest several seasons later.

Plot[edit]

At the Dreadfort[edit]

Ramsay Snow sadistically hunts a young woman in the woods, with the assistance of his servant, Reek (formerly Theon Greyjoy), and his bedwarmer Myranda. When Ramsay's father Roose arrives at the Dreadfort with his new wife, Walda (granddaughter of Walder Frey), he asks to see Theon and chastises Ramsay for having castrated and tortured him. Roose intended to trade Theon to the Ironborn in exchange for Moat Cailin, a fortification that is preventing the Bolton army from returning to the north, which forced Roose and his party to have to be smuggled back into the North. Ramsay, in an effort to prove how well he has broken him, has Reek shave his face. While doing so, Ramsay coaxes Reek into admitting to Roose that both Bran and Rickon Stark are alive, as he could not find them, and burned two farm boys in their place while holding Winterfell. Ramsay also spitefully tells Reek that Roose betrayed and murdered Robb Stark who had once been like a brother to Theon. Despite this, a visibly emotional Reek completes his shave without harming Ramsay, thus proving his trustworthiness. Roose dispatches Locke to find and kill Bran and Rickon, who pose a threat to his new position as Warden of the North. Ramsay suggests that they also find and eliminate Jon Snow, who has Stark blood in him and will also likely oppose the Boltons. Roose also orders Ramsay, along with Reek, to capture Moat Cailin, implying that he will reward Ramsay by legitimizing him as a true Bolton.

Beyond the Wall[edit]

Bran, while using his abilities as a warg, sees through the eyes of his direwolf, Summer, and kills a doe. Awoken by the voice of Hodor, he is then reminded to use the warg abilities sparingly by Jojen and Meera Reed, as spending too much time as Summer will cut him off from his human body. After stopping at a weirwood, Bran has a vision of the three-eyed raven, his father, dragons flying over King's Landing, and his paralyzing fall at Winterfell. In the vision he hears, "Look for me, beneath the tree . . . north." Bran reveals that he knows where the group must go.[4]

At Dragonstone[edit]

At night, Melisandre orders several of Stannis Baratheon's subjects burned at the stake, including Lady Selyse's brother Ser Axell Florent, as a tribute to the Lord of Light. At private dinner with Stannis, his wife Selyse, and Melisandre, Selyse expresses her disgust towards her daughter Shireen, causing Stannis to angrily defend the girl. After dinner, Melisandre speaks to Shireen about the Lord of Light and how the Seven Gods are a lie. Despite her young age and sheltered life, Shireen appears somewhat suspicious of Melisandre and cautiously talks with her.

In King's Landing[edit]

Jaime reveals to Tyrion his embarrassment at the loss of his sword hand. Tyrion encourages him to train his left hand and arranges for clandestine lessons with Bronn. On the way to the wedding breakfast, Lord Varys informs Tyrion that Cersei knows about Shae and will soon tell Tywin. Lord Mace Tyrell presents King Joffrey with a large gold goblet, and Tyrion gives him a rare book, before he is presented with the second Valyrian steel sword that Tywin had forged. Joffrey uses the sword to slice through the large book. In his chambers, Tyrion tries in vain to get Shae to leave, but succeeds only when he lies that he could never love a whore. Bronn escorts the forlorn Shae to the boat and later assures Tyrion that she has indeed left for Essos and is out of harm's way.

After the wedding ceremony, Tywin and Olenna trade barbs at one another. Olenna reminds Tywin of the debt the Crown now owes to the Iron Bank of Braavos. Margaery announces that the leftovers from the feast will be given to the city's poorest residents, earning much acclaim. Jaime threatens Ser Loras Tyrell by telling him that should he wed Cersei, she would likely kill him in his sleep, and Loras retorts with an implication that he knows of Jaime and Cersei's incestuous affair. Brienne is confronted by Cersei, who accuses her of being in love with Jaime. Cersei, bitter at her loss of power and disapproving of Joffrey's new queen, confronts Grand Maester Pycelle and threatens to execute him if he does not leave the wedding and command the feast chefs to give the leftovers to the royal hounds instead. Tywin and Cersei are later confronted by Prince Oberyn and his paramour, Ellaria Sand. The four share a tense conversation filled with veiled insults, as well as Oberyn's note that Cersei's daughter, Myrcella, is currently being held in Dorne.

Joffrey then presents a crude play with dwarves depicting the War of the Five Kings, to the amusement of some guests but to the disgust of many others. Loras leaves in anger when his relationship with Renly is mocked by the play. Tyrion is infuriated at the distasteful spectacle. Sansa is nearly brought to tears by the depiction of her recently deceased brother, Robb. Joffrey tries to get Tyrion involved in the play due to his size, but Tyrion refuses, instead requesting Joffrey display his own talent with a sword. Humiliated, Joffrey pours his wine on top of Tyrion's head and shortly after orders him to be his cupbearer, toying with him by intentionally dropping and kicking the goblet.

Eventually, Tyrion fills the goblet and hands it to Joffrey, who repeatedly orders his uncle to kneel, but Tyrion is defiant. Margaery defuses the situation by drawing attention to the wedding pie. As Joffrey eats the cake that Margaery gives him and drinks wine from the goblet Tyrion gave him, he begins choking. While the emergency draws the crowd's attention, court fool Dontos implores Sansa to flee with him. As Olenna yells for everyone to assist the king, he falls to the ground, the clear victim of assassination by poison. Before dying, Joffrey points accusingly at Tyrion, who is examining the dropped goblet. Furious with grief, Cersei orders Tyrion arrested on charges of poisoning the king.

Production[edit]

Writing[edit]

"The Lion and the Rose" was the series' final episode scripted by the author of the original saga, George R. R. Martin.

The episode was written by George R. R. Martin, author of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels. This episode was his last contribution to the series. Chapters adapted from A Storm of Swords to the episode were part of chapter 9 (Bran I), and chapters 59 and 60 (Sansa IV and Tyrion VIII).[5]

Original draft[edit]

In 2018, Vanity Fair writer Joanna Robinson compared the episode as aired with an early draft by Martin archived at the Writers Guild of America library in Los Angeles. Unlike the two previous episodes he had written, this draft had significant differences from the produced version. Martin considers it the moment the show began to diverge considerably from the books, whose plotlines it had begun to outpace, and believes this may be why Martin wrote no more for the series.[6]

The most significant difference was an earlier, and different, resolution of the Catspaw plot arc, involving who had masterminded the attempted assassination of Bran Stark in season 1, precipitating the War of the Five Kings that dominated the next two seasons, than that ultimately filmed. In Martin's script, after Joffrey is presented with the Valyrian steel sword, reforged from that of the executed Ned Stark's Ice, as a wedding gift by his father, he says "I am no stranger to Valyrian steel." This remark prompts Tyrion Lannister, who was framed for the assassination attempt, to realize that Joffrey was actually behind it (as the books heavily imply); Tyrion then makes remarks to Joffrey, and later Sansa, insinuating that he knows this.[6]

Scenes that built on this disclosure remained in the final script. "Had this made it to the screen, Robinson explains, "it would have helped explain why Joffrey is so publicly monstrous to his uncle at his wedding, and also set up Tyrion as a more credible suspect in the Joffrey poisoning plot—he threatened the boy just that morning." Tyrion in Martin's draft is also more violent to Shae when he warns her (honestly, as opposed to the series) that since his father knows why she is in King's Landing, he will have her killed, which "better sets up [her] eventual betrayal of Tyrion but may have too heavily foreshadowed Tyrion strangling her by season's end."[6]

In Martin's draft, Bran's first vision is more extensive. While it does not include the Night King's first appearance onscreen as it does in the series, it would have been an extensive montage of scenes from the past, present and possible future in the series. Flashbacks would have included scenes of Ned cleaning Ice beneath a weirwood tree from the show's original pilot, Bran's uncle Benjen and Lyanna Stark as children (later shown in a more extensive flashback in season 6), King Aerys watching and laughing as Ned's father and brother are burned and Jaime and Cersei embracing in the old keep at Winterfell just before Bran discovered them. Scenes reflecting the show's present included Jon with Ghost, a bloodied Robb surrounded by the Red Wedding dead, and Arya holding her sword Needle as her face blurs and changes (perhaps foreshadowing her training with the Faceless Men in seasons 5 and 6). Possible future images include a dragon's shadow passing over King's Landing, "hints of strange small children with very dark eyes" and a group of four distinctive northern hills behind a very large weirwood.[6]

The episode would also have set up some of the plotlines from the books that were not used in the later seasons of the series. Roose Bolton tells Ramsay that he has arranged for him to marry Arya as a way of consolidating the family's hold on the North; a role assigned to Sansa instead in the next season. Several lines were also intended to set up Jaime's trip to the Riverlands, which in the books immediately follows Joffrey's wedding but in the series was largely replaced by Jamie and Bronn's expedition to Dorne to bring Myrcella back to King's Landing. The two characters who take that trip instead in the books, along with many other minor characters from the wedding scenes, were in Martin's draft but eliminated from the produced version as showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss were beginning to focus on the more established characters in the later seasons.[6]

Robinson believes a note by Martin in the script suggests a different resolution to Ramsay's plot arc in the books, where he is still alive and in power at Winterfell at the end of A Dance with Dragons, in contrast to his death at the end of the sixth season of Game of Thrones. Martin's note told the showrunners that Ramsay's dogs would eventually battle the Stark children's direwolves, so the show should emphasize the former as much as possible to build audience anticipation. However, that never happened onscreen, where all but two of the wolves are dead as of the end of season 7, and seems unlikely in the books. Robinson believes this indicates that Ramsay will have a very different plot arc in the series' two final books.[6]

Lesser differences include a more protracted, bloodier death scene for Joffrey as the poison drives him to slash his own face, a more lavish feast, and Theon's appearance as Reek following Ramsay's extensive torture more closely resembling that described in the books, complete with whitened hair and missing fingers, something that would have required more extensive special effects for the remainder of the series, as well as speaking in rhyme. Similarly, the burning of the heretics on the beach at Dragonstone would have demonstrated the power of the Lord of Light, with the bonfires suddenly changing to different colors and apparitions of the now-forgiven dead seen briefly above; the scene would have also foreshadowed Shireen's sacrifice by the same method the next season. The scene where Varys warns Tyrion that Cersei has told Tywin about Shae, a short conversation on a garden path in the finished episode, instead takes place at more length in the Red Keep's dungeons, with Varys dressed as "a denizen of the dungeons" in armor, carrying a whip and wearing a false beard.[6]

Martin also wrote that some of the scenes should be shot from an individual character's point of view, much as most of his book chapters are written from the point of view of the character they take their name from. While he admitted that it had been difficult to bring that aspect of his story to the screen, he nevertheless attempted it here, calling for the scene where Ramsay and Myranda chase the woman to her death at the hands of his hounds to be seen from the woman's point of view as she runs and then falls to the ground, then from Theon's as he looks on defeated. The producers did, however, shoot scenes from the point of view of Bran's direwolf Summer, which Robinson notes saved them money since the animals have been expensive to shoot scenes with.[6]

Casting[edit]

Members of Sigur Rós appeared in the episode.

The episode has the introduction of new recurring cast members Roger Ashton-Griffiths as Mace Tyrell, the Lord of Highgarden, and Elisabeth Webster as Walda Frey, Roose Bolton's new bride. Young actor Dean-Charles Chapman takes over the role of Tommen Baratheon as of this episode. In a cameo appearance, the Icelandic band Sigur Rós performed their rendition of "The Rains of Castamere" at King Joffrey's wedding, and again during the credits.[7]

With this episode, Iwan Rheon (Ramsay Snow) is promoted to series regular.

Reception[edit]

Ratings[edit]

"The Lion and the Rose" was watched by an estimated 6.31 million people during its first hour.[8] In the United Kingdom, the episode was viewed by 1.651 million viewers, making it the highest-rated broadcast that week. It also received 0.095 million timeshift viewers.[9]

Critical reception[edit]

The episode received unanimous critical acclaim; according to Rotten Tomatoes all 35 reviews aggregated by the website were positive, with an average score of 9.5 out of 10.[10] James Poniewozik at Time called it "perhaps the best episode" of the series, singling out the protracted wedding sequence for particular praise.[11] Writing for The A.V. Club, Todd VanDerWerff gave the episode an "A" grade, calling it "one of the best episodes of this show, and Joffrey’s wedding is one of the best sequences in the whole series." VanDerWerff praised Martin's script as well as the directing by Alex Graves, which he said "smartly creates a real sense of tension throughout the sequence, even when nothing particularly dramatic is going on."[12] In his review for IGN, Matt Fowler gave the episode a 9.4/10 and noted that it "featured a shocking death that was actually an immense crowd-pleaser."[13] TVLine named Jack Gleeson the "Performer of the Week" for his performance in this episode.[14] James Hibberd of Entertainment Weekly named it the third best television episode of 2014.[15]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result
2014 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister Nominated
Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series Diana Rigg as Lady Olenna Tyrell Nominated
Outstanding Costumes for a Series Michele Clapton, Sheena Wichary, Alexander Fordham, and Nina Ayres Won
Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series Anette Haellmigk Nominated
Outstanding Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series Kevin Alexander, Candice Banks, Rosalia Culora, Gary Machin, and Nicola Mount Nominated
Gold Derby TV Awards 2014 Best Drama Episode[16] Nominated
1st MTV Fandom Awards OMG Moment of the Year[17] Game of Thrones – The Purple Wedding Won
2015 Writers Guild of America Awards Episodic Drama George R. R. Martin Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Here is your season 4 writers breakdown". WinterIsComing.net. February 26, 2014. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  2. ^ Hibberd, James (July 16, 2013). "'Game of Thrones' season 4 directors chosen". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
  3. ^ "(#32/402) "The Lion and the Rose"". The Futon Critic. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
  4. ^ Walsh, Katie (April 13, 2014). "Recap: 'Game Of Thrones' Season 4, Episode 2, 'The Lion And The Rose' Is A Nice Day For A Westeros Wedding". Indiewire. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
  5. ^ "EP 404: Oathkeeper". Westeros.org. 2014-05-03. Retrieved 2014-05-10.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Robinson, Joanna (December 7, 2018). "Game of Thrones: The Secrets of George R.R. Martin's Final Script". Vanity Fair. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  7. ^ "Listen: Sigur Rós' cover of "The Rains of Castamere" for Game of Thrones". Consequence of Sound. April 13, 2014. Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  8. ^ Bibel, Sara (April 15, 2014). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'Game of Thrones' Wins Night, 'Real Housewives of Atlanta', 'MTV Movie Awards', 'Silicon Valley', 'Mad Men', 'Drop Dead Diva' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
  9. ^ "Top 10 Ratings (14-20 April 2014)". BARB. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  10. ^ "Game of Thrones: Season 4: Episode 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 19, 2016.
  11. ^ Poniewozik, James (April 13, 2014). "Game of Thrones Close-Up: Ain't No Party Like a Westeros Party". Time. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
  12. ^ VanDerWerff, Todd (April 13, 2014). "Game of Thrones (experts): "The Lion and the Rose"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  13. ^ Fowler, Matt (April 13, 2014). "Game of Thrones: "The Lion and the Rose" Review". IGN. Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  14. ^ "TVLine's Performer of the Week: Jack Gleeson". TVLine. April 19, 2014. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  15. ^ "10 Best TV Episodes of 2014". Entertainment Weekly. December 4, 2014. Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  16. ^ Montgomery, Daniel (August 20, 2014). "'Orange is the New Black,' 'Breaking Bad' sweep Gold Derby TV Awards". Gold Derby. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  17. ^ "Nikolaj Coster-Waldau And Natalie Dormer Accept The Award For OMG Moment Of The Year". MTV. July 27, 2017. Retrieved February 8, 2017.

External links[edit]