And that's why you should never get married in Westeros.
King Joffrey, the first of his name and one of the most hated television characters of all time, has died, poisoned at his own wedding in front of thousands of guests. The people of King's Landing are probably celebrating just as much as everyone on Twitter. While that last shot of Jack Gleeson's purple face, shaking as blood pours from his nose and Lena Headey screams above him is no doubt the high point of the episode, it's the events that lead up to the poisoning that were truly entertaining, as all of the wedding guests took each other on with barely contained contempt.
First, though, we have the celebratory breakfast for the Lannister and Tyrell families, an event that is only really important because it seals Joffrey and Shae's fates. While the tiny tyrant brags about his military prowess and chops Tyrion's gift to pieces, Cersei and Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance), set their sights on Shae, intending to take Tyrion down via his love. But Shae might be the only person this side of Dorne who isn't afraid of the Lannisters, which means Tyrion must force her to leave by insulting her and claiming that she never meant anything to him. It's a surprisingly heartbreaking scene, with Sibel Kekilli's proud determination breaking down into heaving sobs while Peter Dinklage struggles to maintain his disinterested facade. The relationship between Tyrion and Shae has been one of the show's stablest and most affectionate, so it's hard not to feel as if the Lannisters have won even if Shae managed to escape with her life. Although, like Tyrion, we have a feeling that Shae might not be gone for good.
But with a wedding to celebrate, there's no time to dwell on lost loves. The Purple Wedding receives most of the episode's attention, and with good reason. All of the characters present at the royal wedding hate each other, and the stakes are high. As Cersei wanders through the wedding, insulting Brienne and reversing all of Margaery's decrees, it's clear that she still percieves everyone who isn't her immediate family to be a threat, and she plans on picking them off one by one. Headey plays the interactions with the perfect note of pettiness — Cersei is upset about the wedding, about losing her son and her crown to a family who might be even more skilled at playing the game than she is — and yet she maintains an air of power and sophistication about her, never losing face even as prince Oberyn delivers his cutting remarks.
Whatever Game of Thrones is losing in Joffrey and the Starks, they are more than getting back with the addition of Oberyn. His interactions with the Lannisters are still incredibly entertaining to watch, and Pedro Pascal delivers every veiled insult and threat with a charming smile and a barely suppressed sense of glee. Cersei and Tywin don't seem to view him as a genuine threat yet, although his ending remarks condemning rape and murder make it very clear that he holds them personally responsible for what happened to his sister. Oberyn might also have an ally in Loras Tyrell (Finn Jones), who is possibly even more unhappy with his arranged marriage than Cersei is. Between Joffrey's "joust" insulting the memory of Renly and Jaime attempting to threaten him about the upcoming nuptials — a threat which Loras manages to cut down with a beautifully timed burn — it seems like Loras might be reaching his breaking point with his new in-laws.
But none of these interactions can hold a candle to the wedding feast itself, with Joffrey's despicable behavior making his sudden death seem well-deserved. Gleeson turned everything up to eleven for his final moments, swanning about and revelling in his percieved glory. Joffrey's always been a spoiled brat, but he's never seemed more childish than he did making the crowd throw oranges at Ser Dontos or pouring his wine over Tyrion's head.
It's this final showdown with Tyrion that really ratchets up the episode's tension, with Dinklage working hard to keep his face and reactions neutral even as Gleeson slips into open revulsion. One of the best things that "The Lion and the Rose" does with these scenes is to keep cutting back to how uncomfortable everyone sitting at the high table is during these exchanges, because it gives you hope that someone will intervene and brake through the tense, awkward atmosphere before something terrible happens. Once Joffrey instructs his uncle to kneel at his feet, a humiliation beyond measure for Tyrion, and one that the camera accentuates by filming Dinklage from above, we, like the wedding guests, can hardly watch.
The scene drags out every glare, every stony silence and every insult so that each time that Margaery interjects and distracts her new husband, the relief is palpable. Natalie Dormer plays up the character's innocent facade in these moments, finding just the right moment to put on her charm and pull Joffrey away from the situation before he does something irreversible. George R.R. Martin, who wrote the episode, times every beat of these scenes perfectly, so that the audience exhales along with the guests and feels the same kind of excruciating awkwardness that the characters feel in that moment.
And yet, when Joffrey finally does die in his parents' arms, the satisfaction and shock we feel is undercut with a tiny bit of sadness. Yes, this child is a monster, but he's also still a child in many ways, and the fact that we can feel sad as he convulses on the ground is a testament to Gleeson's talent. We might not miss Joffrey — and nor, it seems, will anyone else, as not a single wedding guest moved to help him — but we will certainly miss the actor who brought him to life.
Elsewhere in the Seven Kingdoms, we catch up with the characters who couldn't fit into the jam-packed premiere. Even though their expository scenes are undercut with a bit more action and violence than some of their counterparts, they all pale in comparison to what's going on at King's Landing. Ramsay Snow continues to be a complete pyschopath, although his pride at transforming Theon Greyjoy is cut short upon his father's return. Iwan Rheon is delightfully creepy in his scenes, and he hints at a desperate desire to please Roose Bolton underneath all of his bravado, but the real star of the scene is Alfie Allen, who literally shakes with timidity as the broken Theon/Reek. Meanwhile, Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) is heading further North himself, and his warging abilities are growing stronger, and over in Dragonstone, everyone has completely dedicated themselves to the Lord of Light, believing it to be all Stannis will need to win the war.
While we're not so sure if we agree with them, this would be the ideal time to strike, as it's only a matter of time before the King's death sends Westeros into complete chaos once more. Turns out that Joffrey's death has a bigger impact on the world of Game of Thrones than his life ever did. Farewell, Joffrey: You will be remembered, although not very fondly.
Episode grade: A, or three wise-cracking Tyrions.
Game Of Thrones star Sibel Kekilli struggled with her lines during the first season of the hit TV show as it was the first time she had acted in a major role in English. The German actress initially had trouble understanding the different accents of her co-stars on set and admits she "didn't understand anything" before her language skills improved.
Kekilli originally had her scripts translated into German, but her grasp of English increased by the second series - much to the disappointment of actor Peter Dinklage.
She tells The Hollywood Reporter, "I had to get used to it. Because it was my first time acting in English, everyone on set was difficult to understand. It was a mix of Scottish, Irish, British and American English.
"To understand a Scottish accent or an Irish accent was so hard. I didn't understand anything. In the first season, they translated lines to German for me. In the second season, Peter said 'oh your English is getting better, so now I can't make any jokes in front of you.'"
To those not caught up on the first season of Game of Thrones (you'd better hurry up!), the following contains a good deal of spoilers.
Despite the strength in Game of Thrones’ ensemble, Ned Stark (Sean Bean) was considered the de facto star of the show. With the hero suffering from a bad case of head-on-a-stick, fans might wonder who will shoulder the responsibility of playing the fantasy drama’s lead. Thoughts might immediately turn to Ned’s bastard son Jon Snow (Kit Harington), who has a great deal of avenging to do in Season Two. Another great contender: Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), whose first season epilogue promised that she and her dragon lineage will soar back to power. But mighty and compelling as they may be, there isn’t a character on Game of Thrones who is as invigorating, as entertaining, and as perfectly performed as Tyrion Lannister, played by rising breakout star Peter Dinklage.
From the early episodes of Game of Thrones, Dinklage was the man fans were talking about. Even with his character taking a backseat to Ned and company, the actor's performance was one of the brightest gems that has made the HBO series such an unbelievable hit. The character of Tyrion Lannister is a dense one, and fruitful territory. But it is Dinklage's acting prowess that makes him so strong and engaging, despite the odds of Tyrion's long list of misfortunes. Speaking from the point of view of someone who has not read George R. R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice book series, I can only speculate on where the character of Tyrion will travel from here on out based on Dinklage's performance. Considering that alone, I'd say we have a lot to look forward to.
Tyrion Lannister is the dwarf brother of Game of Thrones’ resident Lady Macbeth, Cersei (Lena Headey), and her incestuous twin lover, extreme narcissist Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). Viewers meet Tyrion as a drunk and a philanderer, and a decidedly unhappy man — but never a victim. Even when he is thrust into physical danger, the viewer doesn’t worry about Tyrion. There is rarely an instance when things seem completely beyond his control. While the rest of the world overpowers Tyrion in size and strength, he reigns supreme as the pinnacle of Westeros’ intellect.
As we learn more about Tyrion, through Season One, we find out about his history of being rejected. Never loved by his father or respected by his brother, Tyrion built a shield between himself and the rest of the world. His family’s murder of the woman with whom he fell in love — a prostitute, a fact initially unbeknownst to him — hardened Tyrion’s heart, driving him further toward reliance on his psychological superiority to not only survive, but to identify himself. After a life of heartbreak, the Tyrion the viewer meets is quite possibly a genius, though nowhere near emotionally available.
This psychological makeup lends to the most captivating thing about Tyrion: where he lands on the hero-to-villain spectrum is a bit ambiguous. Tyrion is a self-serving man, but not one without his code of ethics. At the very least, Tyrion consistently lives up to the motto, “A Lannister always pays his debts.” But it is his capability to do both good and bad that makes Tyrion such a fun character to watch. He has exhibited sympathy and softheartedness on occasion. As Tyrion says in the eponymous episode, “I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples, bastards and broken things.” Towards the end of the season, Tyrion begins to accumulate a small band of misfits, made up of the “honor-less” mercenary Bronn (Jerome Flynn) and the sharp prostitute Shae (Sibel Kekilli). Learning where the determined mastermind will lead his troupe is perhaps the most exciting prospect on the way for the second season.
Okay, the dragons might be the most exciting, but this is up there.
Season One gave its viewers a hero who was earnest, consistent and honor-bound. While Ned Stark was the perfect vehicle to bring audiences into the strange and exciting world of Westeros, he wouldn’t serve as well for a second season. This time around, you need a more complicated player. Someone who not only understands the rules of the deadly, deceptive Game of Thrones, but is more than willing to play them. Tyrion Lannister might be at steady opposition with most of his world, but that doesn’t mean he can’t excel at its game. Although you might not always be sure what his intentions are, you always know they will come from an amplified understanding of the people and constructs around him, and, perhaps more importantly, will be a heck of a lot of fun to watch unfurl.
Game of Thrones returns Sunday, April 1 at 9 PM ET/PT on HBO.
New Game of Thrones 22-Minute Video Preps Fans for Season 2
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Actors Aaron Eckhart and Hope Davis were part of the jury who awarded the film the Best Narrative Feature prize, while Sibel Kekilli won Best Actress for her role as a mum who leaves an abusive husband by fleeing with her son from Turkey to Germany.
A statement from the judging committee says, "(When We Leave) examines one woman's struggle for personal freedom. It's a theme that is often explored - but rarely told with such humanity, subtlety, craftsmanship or immediacy."
The Best Actor title went to Eric Elmosnino, who portrayed French musician Serge Gainsbourg in Gainsbourg, Je t'Aime... Moi Non Plus, reports the Associated Press.
The New York festival, co-founded by Robert De Niro, comes to a close on Sunday (02May10).
Source: Tribeca Film Festival
After more than a week of screenings, panels and special events, the 9th annual Tribeca Film Festival is winding down and the winners have officially been announced.To read reviews on select films, including The Disappearance of Alice Creed and The Trotsky, click here. We've got the entire list of awarded works, so read on to find out what films and actors have been honored:
World Competition Categories
The Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature
"When We Leave" (Die Fremde), directed and written by Feo Aladag
Special Jury Mention
"Loose Cannons," directed by Ferzan Ozpetek and written by Ozpetekand Ivan Cotroneo
Best New Narrative Filmmaker
Kim Chapiron for "Dog Pound," written by Kim Chapiron and JeremieDelon
Best Actor in a Narrative Feature Film
Eric Elmosnino as Serge Gainsbourg in "Gainsbourg, Je t'Aime ...Moi Non Plus," directed and written by Joann Sfar
Best Actress in a Narrative Feature Film
Sibel Kekilli as Umay in "When We Leave" (Die Fremde)
Best Documentary Feature
"Monica & David," directed by Alexandra Codina
Special Jury Mention
"Budrus," directed by Julia Bacha
Best New Documentary Filmmaker
Clio Barnard for "The Arbor"
New York Competition Categories
Best New York Narrative
"Monogamy," directed by Dana Adam Shapiro, written by Shapiro andEvan M. Weiner
Special Jury Mention
Melissa Leo for "The Space Between," directed and written by Travis Fine
Best New York Documentary
"The Woodmans," directed by C. Scott Willis
Short Film Competition Categories
Best Narrative Short
"Father Christmas Doesn't Come Here," directed by Bekhi Sibiya,written by Sibongile Nkosana, Bongi Ndaba
Special Jury Mention
"The Crush", directed and written by Michael Creagh
Best Documentary Short
"White Lines & The Fever: The Death of DJ Junebug," directedand written by Travis Senger
Special Jury Mention
"Out of Infamy: Michi Nishiura Weglyn," directed and written byNancy Kapitanoff, Sharon Yamato
Student Visionary Award
"Some Boys Don't Leave," directed by Maggie Kiley, written byMatthew Mullen, Maggie Kiley
Special Jury Mention
"The Pool Party," directed and written by Sara Zandieh
Tribeca Film Festival Virtual Categories
Best Feature Film
"Spork," directed and written by J.B. Ghuman Jr.
Best Short Film
"Delilah, Before," directed Melanie Schiele