We're back! And Joffrey's face is more smackable than ever! This time it's Cersei Lannister who does the honors, but now that he's king, he can threaten her with death if she does it again. The entire kingdom now knows he's not really Robert Baratheon's heir, but he's the only king who has possession of the actual Iron Throne, so he still seems to be the favorite.
Robb Stark has decided to be The King in the North, which means he just wants Joffrey and any other potential kings to stay in the south. He also wants to trade Jaime Lannister for Arya and Sansa Stark, but he's got two problems. First, the Lannisters don't actually have Arya. And second, Joffrey doesn't care that much about Jaime, since he'd prefer to have a giant war. He's the worst! Tyrion is supposed to be talking sense to him, but nobody really likes hearing sense, do they?
A new king enters the fray in the form of Stannis Baratheon, Robert's brother. Stannis is being led to this by a creepy woman, who survives an assassination attempt by a gentleman with very impressive muttonchops.
In other news, Jon Snow is off north of the wall dealing with a weirdo who marries his own daughters. Mance Rayder is up there amassing his own army and calling himself a king, because why not? Daenerys is also a king, or possibly a queen. She doesn't do much, but the dragons are still cute. And Bran is trying to run Winterfell, but he's still a tiny crippled child.
Oh! And there's a comet in the sky that everyone regards as some kind of omen.
Previously on Game of Thrones: Bran Stark got shoved out a window because he saw Jaime and Cersei Lannister having sex, Jon Snow had to go guard a giant wall that's being menaced by occasional zombies, Viserys Targaryen pimped his sister out then got his head covered in molten gold, King Robert Baratheon died, Khal Drogo died, Ned Stark died and Robb Stark captured Jaime Lannister after deciding he was the King in the North. The current King Count stands at three, I think: Robb (King in the North), Joffrey the Smackable ("secretly" the son of Jaime and Cersei, who are twins. GASP!) and Renly Baratheon (who left town late in the last season and is presumed to be raising his own army). Confused? You won't be after this episode of Soap. But then we're going to have to come back to Game of Thrones and its cast of millions. Let's go!
The opening credits include the following places: King's Landing, Dragonstone (where we have not previously been), Winterfell, The Wall, back to King's Landing, Vaes Dothrak and that's it. For some reason, Vaes Dothrak is always shown sideways. I choose to believe that's to symbolize that they're a different culture. Or something.
We start the episode proper with: Fighting! Wooh! Specifically, The Hound (I can tell it's him from his cool doggie helmet) wallops some poor dope and knocks him off the wall and onto his death. Joffrey pronounces it "Well struck," and Sansa agrees with her traditional lack of intonation. But I think she's supposed to be acting like that, so I'll give her a pass. This tournament is happening in honor of Joffrey's Name Day, which is what they call a "birthday" here. Except their seasons last like eight years so who knows how their calendar works? That's a rhetorical question. Don't email me.
The next battle is delayed when one of the fighters is late and fat. And possibly drunk. Joffrey is not pleased, which is not news. The fighter claims he's only had two cups of wine, and Joffrey insists that he have another: "See that he drinks his fill." I think this happened in Caligula. Some goons shove a drinking horn in his mouth and pour a keg of wine in. Those drinking horns make it really easy to force wine down someone's throat. I guess that explains why those goons were so good at getting into position for this operation. Normally you'd think "force this guy to drink a bunch of wine" is something you'd need to plan for. Sansa gasps in horror, but she knows better than to tell Joffrey what to do. So she makes up some nonsense about it being bad luck to kill anyone on your Name Day. The Hound backs her up, so Joffrey decides he'll just have the guy killed tomorrow instead. That's very clear thinking, and it forces Sansa to come up with a second thought in the same day. She suggests that Joffrey make the guy a Fool instead of killing him. Sure, Joffrey's into that. As long as he's humiliating someone, he's easy to please. And what about the tournament that was going on? Does the other guy win automatically just because he was slightly earlier and slightly less drunk than this one?