Of course, first we had to catch up on a few old friends...or in Ramsay Snow's case, enemies. I'm glad they seem to be done with the gratuitous Theon torture, but I for one am not going to be 'enjoying' Ramsay and/or Theon scenes any time soon. And who the heck is this 'Myranda' girl, anyway?
Every time they switched back to King's Landing, I swear my heart started pounding. Though I'm not quite sure how I feel about a lot of the changes that have been made from the books to the show, it was nice seeing Tyrion and Jaime interact, and the decision to have Bronn be involved in Jaime's training was interesting to say the least.
As for the Dreadfort, well, meh. I loved seeing Fat Walda, of course, but surprise surprise she wasn't wearing pink. That, and there was no snarky Ramsay/Walda banter, but hopefully I can tack a 'yet' onto the end of that observation in hopes that we'll get that soon ;)
Thankfully the wedding breakfast scene was nearly perfect. It was a lot shorter than the way it's described in the book, of course, but the way it was written and portrayed for the screen was really better than I could have hoped. One thing that really caught my attention was Cersei tattling on Tyrion and Shae, and Tywin ordering that Shae be brought to the Tower of the Hand. Even though Tyrion argued with/yelled at Shae in an attempt to get her to leave King's Landing, and even though Bronn insisted that she got on the ship to Pentos, I'm fairly certain that we'll see her again this season...and not in a posh ship's cabin or a comfortable home across the Narrow Sea.
The additions of some Dragonstone and north-of-the-wall action between Joffrey's breakfast and the Purple Wedding was probably necessary - I mean, we didn't see Stannis and Co. or Bran's little travel group at all in the season premiere - but again, I just kept waiting for the show to cut back to King's Landing. It probably didn't help that the Dragonstone bits consisted of burning people alive, an awkward family dinner, and Shireen putting Melisandre in her place...followed by show!Bran being way too old to act the way his character does in the books. I mean no offense to Isaac Hempstead-Wright - it's just that, in aging Bran up a lot of what he does and says in the show becomes far more annoying than it seems in the books.
Considering all the royal wedding hype, I was surprised that the actual ceremony was so short on screen. Not that I mind, per se...but for all Natalie Dormer's talk about this being the best on-screen wedding she's ever had, I guess I expected a bit more from the ceremony itself ;)
|(p.s. most awkward kiss ever)|
Of course, what we didn't get from the ceremony we got during the 'reception'. Some great Tywin/Olenna interaction, a bit of Loras vs. Jaime snark, and Cersei awkwardly calling out Brienne on her love for Jaime...not to mention a sort of mini Oberyn/Tywin confrontation.
A lot of that seemed at first glance to be filler, but at least it was interesting/amusing filler, I suppose...all leading up to, not two jousting dwarves, but five of them...the War of the Five Kings, in fact, and I'm still not sure how I feel about that. It's as if the writers weren't certain they'd really drilled it into us that Joffrey is an insane[ly awful] jerk, so they had to show him insulting not just Tyrion, but Margaery, Loras, and Sansa as well. It was nonsensical on several levels, including Loras' reaction considering just minutes before he'd been making eyes at Oberyn Martell.
That, and I just hate seeing my baby Sansa having to deal with things like this.
Side note: Tommen grew up just a little bit, didn't he? At first I didn't even understand who the blond kid next to Cersei was, and then it hit me about as hard as puberty apparently hit him.
Back on track, though. I'm not fond of Sansa helping Tyrion pick up Joffrey's cup; I suppose I can't help but feel as if they were trying to build on that relationship, but perhaps I'm just being paranoid - her handing Tyrion the cup is also a good way for them to implicate her in Joffrey's murder, after all.
Speaking of that murder not-so-foul, even knowing that it was going to happen didn't make waiting for it much easier. Seriously, the wedding reception seemed to drag on forever...and I was torn between being on the edge of my seat waiting for The Big Moment and groaning over how long they were taking to get there, and reminding myself that better this than having reason to complain about all the things they changed or left out ;)
And in the end, no matter how awful Joffrey was, it was still rough watching him die. I guess part of that was how great of a job Jack Gleeson did, but the creepy makeup job really put it over the top. Seeing not just Cersei, but Jaime and Cersei running to Joffrey's aid was heart-wrenching as well...though creepy dying Joffrey pointing at Tyrion - and Cersei insisting on his arrest - somehow didn't move me the way it did when I read it from Tyrion's point of view.
I'm not a wedding person, myself, but if I lived in Westeros I'd be wary as hell of them right now, that's for sure!
While I certainly enjoyed this episode (and it was far superior to the second installments in previous seasons), surprisingly it didn't quite draw me in as much as Two Swords did...and it leaves me wondering whether next week's Breaker of Chains has any chance of living up to the great pacing we've so far enjoyed in season four.