Editor’s Note: “The Eye of Newb” contains spoilers from the episode listed. If you have not watched the episode written about, you have been warned. But as Matt has not read the books (as of yet), you do not have to worry about future spoilers
The Eye of Newb (Return of the Newb)
Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 2: “The Lion and The Rose”
“Now go drink until it feels like you did the right thing.” – Bronn
You thought it, didn’t you? Come onnnnnn…. you know you did. Admit it. You thought something along these lines: ‘That bastard! He went and ran out on us again. He’s somewhere near a drink right now, giggling, as we quietly resent his cruel Newb-ish ass.’
Not so fast, Dear Readers! Newb ain’t going anywhere – yet. Suffice it to say that I have an interesting relationship with time. I’m generally aware of it, and yet in no way constrained by it. If that frustrates you, Friends, you must talk to the lovely Mrs. Newb. She’s got you beat on the old frustrat-o-meter, of that I am dead certain.
Thus, I would encourage each and all (3 or so, by my reckoning) of you to think of this column as definitionally ‘episodic’ more like ‘he’ll get around to it in between his recurring episodes’ and less like ‘there’ll be a new post after every episode of Game of Thrones’. It’s a character flaw which I have simply come to accept. It makes the coping so much easier. Besides there’s been the waves of giddy joy to contend with (more on that toward the end).
In any case, off we go!
- We open in the woods with bows and arrows… Hunger Games much? I bet Ramsay would kill it in the Arena, frankly. And who is this poor slip of a lass being hunted like prey? Does it matter? More importantly, with Little Red Shooting Hood, Ramsay’s heartless but skilled co-huntress? Never mind. All of those questions pale at the sight of Theon/Reek’s while the hounds tear the wounded quarry apart. If that was the whole message of this scene, I think I, for one, get that he’s a broken wretch already. Certainly hope that it meant something more to you Overachieving Book-Readers out there among you.
- Cut to King’s Landing… Clever segue from Greyjoy to a big, fat sausage – nyuk, nyuk, Jaime and Tyrion having lunch. Witty repartee, spilt wine, and a hired swordplay trainer for the one-handed Wonderboy. Hmmm. Jaime’s ego and self-pity meet Bronn’s legendary low BS tolerance. This oughta be interesting.
- Add one scream-drowning oceanside balcony, a brace of sparring swords and it is! Smack him around, Bronn – just for the hell of it. That one-armed sympathy junkie could use it – for his own good.
- Off to a gray highway, some horsemen (with a flag! Where’s Eddie Izzard when the joke is just laying there, helpless?), and a castle. What ho? I keep waiting to hear “it’s only a model.”
- Ah, I see. Roose Bolton returns home to his bastard. I bet that smarts if you’re the new Senior Flaying Minister of the Junior Sadists’ League who only wants to just like daddy. Roose wants naught to do with this wild-eyed whackjob, and I can’t say I blame him, especially after the girl-meets-dog action at the open. Also, apparently bringing forth Reek from Theon complicated life for Roose with the Ironborn. Bad move, Ramsay (a.k.a. Captain Freakshow) Snow.
- Egads, the lathering and the shaving and the twitching and the grimacing. Once, Friends, I wished to see the Egoholic Airhead, Mr. Theon Greyjoy, brought low. But this? Painful to watch, even though I do love the twist of the knife from Ramsay regarding the death of Robb Snow. Sick bastard. The conversation does serve to let us know that the Bolton clan (there are too many Snows in Westeros to reasonably track them all) now knows of the continued breathing status of two Stark males, namely Bran and Rickon. So, Roose sends his “pet rat” after the Stark boys and shoves captain Freakshow off the a run-in with the Ironborn – one which I sincerely believe he hopes will be Ramsay’s last.
- Back to King’s Landing we go, and thankfully to the Imp and the Spider. There hasn’t been enough Varys so far this season, in my view. The Imp learns that Shae’s presence and significance are now known by Cersei, thus will be known shortly by a vengeful Tywin, and that he cannot rely on his usual coterie of friends with his father in the game.
- We slide from the Spider and the Imp to the President and Premier of the Junior Sadists’ League himself – One Joffrey Baratheon. It seems that, as he is soon to wed, Joffrey is receiving gifts from special subjects. In doing so, he is surprisingly gracious to his diminutive uncle, despite his obvious disdain for the book Tyrion has given. This graciousness will never do in this particular relationship. Never.
- Aaannd, there it is. Joffrey, enamored of his new Valyrian steel sword (thanks, Ned!), chops his uncle’s book asunder with glee. Asshat.
- Oh, noes! Shae and Tyrion. This must be the big and horrible goodbye. Wow, it is, and can the Imp ever be a total prick when he wants to be. It doesn’t suit him, even if it is pretense out of concern for Shae’s life. Nonetheless, I can’t help but think that the “woman scorned” angle may come back to haunt the Imp.
- Cut to a dark, dank, firelit beach at midnight… ah, scenic Greenland. No, wait, it’s only Melisandre torching some nobodies for science, er, sorry, The Lord of Light or something. This sorceress beeyotch can die any time now. How about a date in a delightful sylvan glen with Ramsay and his pooches? At least Ser Davos brighten the scene a bit. The Onion has grown into one of my favorite characters.
- Jeebus, but dinner conversations in the Baratheon household are about as lively as a deceased flounder on a county highway… flat, weird and gravelly. Although, Stannis the Emotionless does, it seems, have a weak spot – his daughter. So, of course, Melisandre must go and see her. Crap. This show is murder on sweet, intelligent kids. The conversation does reveal that Melisandre believes that she is living in hell already. Thta explains her taste in clothes, at least.
- Whoosh! Hard cut to snowy woods. Must be the North. In a dream. With a wolf. Yoiks! HoDeer was a horror show, Dear Readers. Less of that, please? Or at least warn a brother that he needs a stiffer drink first.
- So, Bran is now a wolf-dream and HoDeer junkie. Better than heroin, I guess. And another thing… why is everyone so bloody serious in the North? Somebody get these fur-clad downers a snowmobile, for chrissakes.
- Oh, dammit, no!! Not another one of those creepy weeping trees. I AM going to need stronger drink for this episode, Friends. Hopefully it’ll improve my writing. Probably not. Expectation management, Friends, is an under-appreciated art form.
- Okay, what the hell was all of that tree-touching Oliver Stone weirdness?! And why no naked Indian? Seriously. That little sequence was probably all 31 flavors of red meat for the Book-Reading Overachievers out there, but it’s an overly-large slice of deep fried WTF to the Newb. A crazy dream sequence just to tell our stone-faced little band of wanderers to keep going the same direction that they were already headed? It’s like the hideous love child of GPS and LSD. GPLSD. Heh, that could be fun. Until it recalculated. Where was this metaphor going, anyway? Oh, right… South.
- To King’s Landing and a royal wedding already in progress. I don’t even like these damn things in England. Why would I care about one in this place? Blah, blah, dearly beloved… blah, blah, pledge this and that. Where’s Peter Cook when you really, really need him? “Wu-uv. Twoo wuv.” Now that was a wedding.
- Cut to outside, and Tywin and the Grand Dame Tyrell on their way to the wedding feast. Just a quick, walking reminder that the gold-sh*tting Ones require the funding of the rosy Ones awhile longer.
- And lots of jump-cutting, this time to Tyrion and the Imp entering the wedding feast itself. Bronn confirms that Shae reached her boat and any followers which he may or may not have had in the process almost certainly did not exist or least have ceased to by now. Well. there goes my “woman scorned” theory. Heh. And Bronn gets the line of the night.
- Also, I cannot be the only one who lapped up Pod’s backward glance at the… ahem… acrobat.
- Ah, Dame Tyrell. Interesting speech within earshot of the King and the Hand. Foreshadowing? Someone is going to die at the wedding feast? All the jumping about is certainly ratcheting up the tension. Intrigued is the Newb.
- Freakin’ bards, man. I gave my love a cherry and suchlike… Now you know by now, Friends, that I am not in the Joffrey fan club, but he did play that little bit perfectly. Take your filthy lucre and get the hell gone, bard.”
- Aaand, Loras seems to… ahem… ‘know’ Oberyn. OMG, OMG, OMG… Shocker!
- Wow, lots of blend cuts to other conversation around where the Director really wants us to look. Jaime and Loras. Threats. Jealous much, O Brother-Lover of the Queen Regent? Jaime is an honest jealous lover, though. Cersei WOULD murder Loras in his sleep without batting a lash.
- Yep, definitely escalating now. Brienne’s congratulation and blessing is the punctuation. That much good, honorable and right can only signal the nascency of something truly horrible.
- No, wait, it’s only Cersei (again!) Brienne’s time and stories with Jaime seem to have stoked her jealousy. Bad for Jaime. Good for me, though. I enjoy watching Cersei rage and squirm.
- Predictably, another blend cut, wherein, also predictably, Cersei takes out her inner turmoil on Pycelle and the poor.
- Jump to Ser Dontos, who wasn’t kidding about being a literal fool. He takes some target practice from the wrong end, and then we shift to…
- Oberyn. Will he be the author of tonight’s badness? No, but he does get full credit for shutting up smug Cersei with exactly the right riposte regarding her daughter’s safety.
- Cut to Joffrey being his usual pompous, whiny self. A special amusement? No! He isn’t really going to bring out Robb’s cooked head for Sansa’s humiliation, is he? (Quick soliloquy, Friends… It may just be all the rapid cuts and suspense-building talking, but I’m actually feeling a bit of tension and anticipation tonight)
- Worse. It’s dwarf-tossing and a joust AND a huge, tasteless swipe at pretty much everyone present. This new “King” is a, well, there are special words, terrifically inappropriate words, reserved specifically for him. Even Tywin and Cersei are not amused, and poor, poor pitiful Sansa must relive her personal horrors again.
- Oh, Joffrey, you complete ass. Calling out the Imp in public again. This will not end well. Look, Producers, I don’t care how this ends, but know that if you take Tyrion from me, I will never watch your show again. I will rent and buy DVDs just to set them ablaze and dance around them. I will extinguish their guttering flames with a stream of my own urine. Just so we’re clear on this.
- Ah, the old wine-on-the-head gag. This is truly escalating quickly now, and Cersei’s smirk is icily priceless. The new Queen tries to reel in the crazy, yet again, to some avail. Tyrion is demoted to cup-bearer, and Joffrey just can’t stop himself. Good for the Imp! Refusing to kneel. Please, Producers… understand that… oh, look – pie!!
- Damn. It truly sucks to be a dove in a pie when there’s Valyrian steel flying about.
- And, Joffrey fires up the crazy again, calling Tyrion back despite the latter’s wine-saturated state. Once more with the cup. This is getting to be a bit of a let-down. We all know Joffrey’s an ass and that he hates his uncle. So what?
- Wait, wait… whaaaaaaat?! No! Can it be?! Oh, bliss. Oh, rapture. Oh, sweetness and light!! Joffrey’s dying slowly and in agony. How I laugh!!
- But, no… Sansa’s disappearing with Dontos, and the Imp just drew the short, sharp end of Cersei’s “momma-bear in torment” wrath.
- Crap. But also, Woo-hoo!! And crap. All over, again.
No matter, Joffrey has shuffled off the mortal coil in a painful and bloody fashion. Now the Newb just has to watch it about six more time until I figure out whodunnit. Until next week – or some future point in time chosen totally at random – I remain your faithful Newb.