‘Game of Thrones’ recap: Review of Season 4 Episode 2’s ‘The Lion and the Rose’

Game of Thrones‘ season premiere was full of all our favorite characters, and overall it was a pretty uplifting episode. This week was slightly different. As I’m pretty sure that you’re all fist pumping the air and losing your minds right now, after one of the darkest (and greatest) episodes we’ve seen, let’s jump right into it and recap the winners and losers of Season 4 Episode 2’s ‘The Lion and the Rose.’

LOSER: Theon Greyjoy, aka Reek

HBO screenshot

The opening scene focuses on the masochistic bastard that is Ramsay Bolton, son of Roose Bolton, who’s been given control of the North as a reward for his role in the killing of Robb Stark at the Red Wedding. It appears that his bastard son, Ramsay, who previously cut off Theon Greyjoy’s tallywacker, has really continued to flourish in his newly empowered life as Chieftain of the Psychopaths.

Reminder of the greatest Ramsay Bolton GIF ever:


In no time at all we see him chasing down a presumably innocent girl, who he presumably used to get it on with, and proceed to end her life as miserably as possible: death by hungry canine, but only after being shot through the leg with an arrow. This guy’s a real peach. It isn’t until moments before her death that we hear Theon Greyjoy’s newest nickname: Reek. We can only assume that we’ll later find out more about the origins of this nickname, but for the time being it seems degrading enough for a yellow-bellied backstabber, so we’ll take it.

LOSER: Jamie Lannister’s Ego


Does this look like the proud face of a Lannister? Or does this look like the face of a one-handed beotch who can’t fight anymore? In the second scene of ‘The Lion and the Rose’ we see Jamie Lannister pouring out his heart and woes to his lil bro Tyrion. ‘I can’t fight, I only have one hand, our sister won’t even bang me anymore…’ This dude’s turning into a broke record, am I right? In all seriousness though, the once detestable Jamie Lannister is nothing but endearing these days, so it’s rather pitiful to have to see him as a shell of a man.

Lil bro peptalk aside, we then get a glimpse of Jamie’s left-handed sword skills. Suffice it to say that if his monstrosity of a son, King Joffrey, was ever attacked by sword, Jamie and his left hand would be the first to go. +1 to Ser Bronn and his ever-fattening wallet, -1 to Jamie Lannister’s ever-diminishing sense of worth…

WINNER: The Boltons


We next get a glimpse of Roose Bolton returning to the Dreadfort, now capital of the North to the defunct Winterfell that was razed by the bastard Bolton, Ramsay. Roose sets in to making his illegitimate spawn feel like a loser until Ramsay skillfully executes a display of mind-f*ckery by giving Reek (Theon Greyjoy) a blade to shave him with. Not only does Reek (Theon, this is your last reminder) NOT take the opportunity to slit his damn throat and end his miserable existence, but he then proceeds to give up all his precious secrets of how he didn’t actually kill Bran and Rickon Stark, and where they may be headed. Ramsay thus far appears to be some sort of diabolical genius, with a real penchant for torture. +1 Ramsay for earning his father’s respect, +1 Roose for being the current Warden of the North, -1000 Reek for once again putting the Stark’s lives in danger.


Of note: it appears that the ‘Iron Born’ hold this land of Moat Cailin, and Reek is on his way to being a major pawn in the recovery of this precious piece of land required to hold the North. Let’s keep a close eye on this in episodes to come.

LOSER: Tyrion Lannister

HBO/Neil Davidson

Can this dude not catch a break? He’s constantly being belittled by King Joffrey and his father. The only happiness left in his life was his concubine, Shea, and now we find out that his entire family knows about her and he has to cut off all ties with her for fear of Tywin Lannister having her head chopped off. Where does it end? He can’t (wont?) even bang his own wife Sansa Stark, all he had was his exotic woman behind closed doors, whom he genuinely loved. AND the only way he can send her off is by being a MASSIVE prick to her in order to convince her he’s earnest. Oh, AND he’s still only half a man.

If those aren’t the breaks then I don’t know what are.

Also, foolish move giving Joffrey a BOOK as a wedding present. Real clown move bro. Where’d you think that was going to take you? Deeper into the affections of a psychopathic-inbred King? A King who just received a sword made of Valyrian steel (the other sword made from Ned Stark’s sword, Ice), the sharpest steel in the world. Clown move Tyrion, you’re smarter than that. Don’t push crazy people because they act unpredictably, it’s that simple.

WINNER: Lord of Light

Helen Sloan/HBO

Did I mention how dark this episode was? After Tyrion’s admonishing of his whore, we jump straight into a scene with Lady Melisandre & Stannis Baratheon in which he’s setting three ‘sinners’ on fire, one of whom is his relative. Stannis appears to be at wit’s end if he’s barbecuing three of his supporters. Let’s be honest, how many actual supporters can he possibly have? Like 30? 300? Either way, killing off three of them in a public bonfire seems pretty foolish.

From there we meet Stannis’ daughter for the first time this season, who has some facial deformity supposedly bestowed upon her by the Lord of Light.

Overall this entire scene seems to serve as a reminder of the presence of Lady Melisandre and Stannis, who weren’t seen in last week’s premiere. With the Starks decimated at the Red Wedding, Daenerys (Khaleesi) on the other side of the world, Stannis appears to be the main challenger still to the Iron Throne, and we have to assume that we’ll be seeing an inordinate amount of him in the coming episodes.

WINNER: Bran Stark


The first glimpse we get of the eldest full-blooded male Stark is through the eyes of his direwolf, of whom he now appears to have complete control over as a warg (person who can control animals with their mind). Life doesn’t seem to be too wonderful on the run for Bran as his friends are already getting on him about never eating and spending too much time living vicariously through the awesomeness that is his dire wolf.

As his band of travelers so cheerfully point out, it has to be glorious for Bran to not feel like a cripple again, and life through the eyes of his dire wolf is preferable to reality any day of the week.

Flash forward to this bat-sh*t crazy montage of the world when Bran places his hands on the Weirwood, the trees used in the North for prayer to the Old Gods. As his eyes gloss over in the same way they do when he takes over his dire wolf, we see quick glimpses of the past, present, known and unknown. We see the three-eyed crow, we see the crypts of Winterfell, his father Ned Stark sharpening his sword, shots of the barren white snows beyond the Wall, another Weirwood that looks as old as time itself (and presumably significant), a zombiefied horse, snow over the Iron Throne, Bran falling from the tower when he saw the Lannisters copulating, enormous shadows of a dragon flying over a city, all narrated by a voice telling Bran to look for him ‘beneath the Wall.’

I know, lots to take in here as it all happened so quickly. But Bran comes away from this moment *knowing where they need to go, which is great, because as it stands they were just off galavanting throughout the North in search of whatever the opposite of a beheading is.

Bran’s merry band of of frog people, Jojen and Meera Reed, have always insisted that Bran is of the utmost importance. Thus far we’ve only seen his abilities as a warg, but now we have a glimpse into what appears to be an expanding repertoire of badassery. +1 Bran Stark.

LOSER: Margaery Tyrell

Helen Sloan/HBO

This poor girl, power hungry for queenhood, is now married to Joffrey. There are some truly detestable people in the world, and I’m not saying she’s one of them, but out of the worst people I can think of I’d STILL not wish that any of them be married to Joffrey Baratheon.

Thus far, this wedding seems to be getting along 10,000 times better than the Red Wedding of last season in which we saw the Starks brutally murdered.

There’s some well acted back and forth between Tywin Lannister and Lady Olenna Tyrell, in which see a game of cat and mouse over politics and money. Her reminding him of how important the Tyrell fortunes are to the livelihood of King’s Landing and the Throne, and Tywin basically telling her ‘Bitch, I’m a Lannister, we do what we want.’

In the next scene we see Tyrion Lannister confirming that his former paramour, Shea, has left on a ship and can no longer be used against him in the ‘Game of Thrones.’ So for a brief moment all his happy in the world of Tryion.

WINNER: The Seven Kingdoms

Macall B. Polay/HBO

FINALLY!!!! Oh sweet, sweet justice. The detestable boy king has been murdered. Though not before a serious belittling of Tryion in public. And a few other trivial conversations amongst characters of increasing importance (Brienne of Tarth, Prince Oberyn Martell). You’d think that Joffrey dying would be enough to placate Tyrion after a complete public shaming, but after Tyrion was forced to serve Joffrey his wine, and the entire crowd observed Tyrion’s shame, and subsequent theoretical motive for wanting to kill Joffrey, Tyrion Lannister has found himself as public enemy #1.

The relationship between Tyrion and Cersei has always been frosty, at best, but I honestly did not think that she’d have it in her to accuse her brother of killing her wicked beast of a son. Things for Tyrion appear to be going downhill, and fast. As the episode ends with drunk Ser Dontos (who we saw last episode trying to give Sansa a necklace), telling Sansa she has to flee with him in order to live. Which can only increase suspicion of Tyrion Lannister’s complicity in the death of Joffrey, when his wife is nowhere to be found.

Here are your money shots of the night, soak it in.



Ding dong, the wicked King is dead.

So, things and people we didn’t see in this episode: Jon Snow, Arya Stark, and Daenerys Targaryen. I made my opinions of Arya well known in last week’s recap of the season premiere, that she’s my favorite character. So I was moderately bummed that we didn’t see any more badassery from her and The Hound (Sandor Clegane) this week, but I’m guessing it won’t be long before we see her and Needle once again.

Major takeaways from this week:

Cersei Lannister is losing her grasp. She’s already challenging Queen Margaery’s newly cemented power (she ordered all the leftover food be fed to the dogs, and not to the peasants as Queen Margaery had ordered). She also referred to herself as the true Queen. So clearly her struggle at the loss of power is something we need to keep an eye on, as her complete unraveling after the death of her son could be rather amusing to us all…

Tyron is fuuuugggged. He’s now accused of poisoning the King, his own kin, at the Royal Wedding. His family didn’t utter a word to defend him when Joffrey was belittling him in front of the entire audience, which is indicative of their overall feelings towards Tyrion. And for the first time we saw what appeared to be a glimpse of sympathy from Sansa towards her monstrosity of a half-man husband, only to be told she has to flee the capital with the Fool, Ser Dontos, if she wants to live. Really, things could not have broken worse for Tryion. The world has dumped a steaming pile of crap on his tiny chest, and we have no idea what’s in store for him next but things only appear to be getting worse.