Nothing like a close-up of a dead boy to round out your Easter/April 20 weekend, amiright?! That’s how the third episode of the fourth “Game of Thrones” season began: a close-up shot of a dead, asphyxiated, poisoned King Joffrey — blood and who-knows-what spewing from every facial orifice. This week’s episode picked up just where the last left one off, with Cersei accusing Tyrion of assassinating King Joffrey as the boy-king lay dead in her arms. But as Tyrion is arrested and Cersei orders the arrest of Sansa, Ser Dontos Hollard — the knight turned fool whose life Sansa saved on Joffrey’s name day — leads Sansa through the back alleys of King’s Landing to a rowboat he promises will take her somewhere safe. That somewhere safe? Into the hands of King’s Landing’s deposed Master of Coin: the creepy Petyr Baelish, aka Littlefinger.
In exchange for Ser Dontos’ assistance in delivering Sansa to Littlefinger’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” themed cruise ship, Dontos is shot in the face with a crossbow because “blah blah blah blah silence.” Does this mean Littlefinger killed King Joffrey? Nothing in “Game of Thrones” is ever what it seems. Is it likely? Mmm … sure, let’s go with that one. Just as possible a culprit is Tywin Lannister, Joffrey’s grandfather and the Godfather of Westeros. When discussing Joffrey’s death with heir to the Iron Throne Tommen, Joffrey’s younger brother, Tywin explains what a terrible king Joffrey was and advises Tommen to heed the advice of his closest advisers: none other than Tywin himself. Was Joffrey simply too much for Tywin to handle? Did Tywin want yet another puppet, his grandson Tommen, to add to his web?
Episode No. 3 was a brutal one for the Lannister family. Not only is Tyrion imprisoned and Joffrey dead, but also Cersei is raped by her brother Jaime beside the body of her dead son. Let’s look to Twitter to get some reactions to what was undoubtedly the most troubling scene yet in the series.
RT if you half-expected Joffrey's body to fall over on top of you-know-who while they you-know-what. #GameOfThrones
— Eric Haywood (@Eric_Haywood) April 21, 2014
@JillPantozzi I was repulsed on many levels.
— Jennifer L. W. (@queenofmeh) April 21, 2014
On this episode of #GameOfThrones, uncomfortable incest scenes get even more uncomfortable
— Aaron Sagers (@aaronsagers) April 21, 2014
Game of Thrones has more incest than the Dixon Family Tree. #GameOfThrones
— Rick Grimes (@MeetRickGrimes) April 21, 2014
Raped by your brother next to your dead son #gameofthrones
— Clint Forest (@Mavennn) April 21, 2014
And I see from tweets that HBO really likes making #GameOfThrones more rapey than the books. Which…that should worry y'all.
— Mikki Kendall (@Karnythia) April 21, 2014
Making out with your sibling over your sons dead corpse. This could not get any weirder :| #gameofthrones
— Josh (@ichtotemich) April 21, 2014
Rape is one thing. Raping your sister is another. Raping her next to the corpse of your incestuous son? Only in Westeros. #GameOfThrones
— Jon Linnell (@jplinnell) April 21, 2014
General consensus: difficult to watch and questionably crossing the line. And the episode was intended to be so. It’s already been noted that this gruesome scene was not included in the book. So why include it? “Game of Thrones” has, since its first episode, pushed the boundaries on what is considered “television appropriate.” With the innumerable scenes of sexuality-fluid sex, foursomes and orgies, “Game of Thrones” could be accused of glorifying the brothel and misrepresenting the nature of sexual politics. By including this scene, the directors have intentionally chosen to challenge the audience to face the less acknowledged and horrific side of incest and, more broadly, sex, by forcing the viewer to watch a man we’ve almost come to love, Jaime, violently rape his sister beside the body of their dead child. This change in Jaime’s character has complicated our relationship to King’s Landing’s Buster Bluth. After losing his hand, Jaime was becoming a beloved character — a man trapped in a love affair with the Wicked Witch of Westeros just trying to do the right thing for his family. But now, he is just another ruthless Lannister.
Outside the gates of Meeren, Daenerys Targaryen is continuing to kick ass and make corny speeches about freedom. This time, she’s got an even cornier gimmick: catapulting barrels full of broken slave collars over the walls. Shame on replacement Fabio Jr. for that corny wink — dear god, that was nauseating. Last night’s episode was filled with a lot of don’ts: 1) Don’t trust Littlefinger because he will shoot you in the cheek with a crossbow; 2) don’t rape your sister next to the body of your dead incest-spawn because duh; 3) don’t let your king-husband die before impregnating you, or you won’t become queen … or will you … how the hell do monarchies work, anyway?; 4) don’t piss in front of the Mother of Dragons, or you will have your head cut off; and 5) don’t invite Wildlings to your party, because they will slaughter you and “eat your dead mama and your dead papa.” Last night’s episode had one clear big winner: Tommen Baratheon. Not only is he now king of the Westeros, but he also gets all of Joffrey’s toys! Do you think he gets to keep the crossbow?