“Who can rule without wealth or fear or love?”
This week’s Game of Thrones, “A Golden Crown,” revolves around the shifts in power that continue to dictate the future of Westeros. King Robert's grasp on power is a tenuous one, and the Lannisters and Daenerys Targaryen are poised, in their own ways, to challenge his claim to the throne. How can he hang onto his title? And is it best for Westeros if he doesn't?
The Lannisters continue to administer their particular brand of influence over the kingdom with their wallets. Though he hasn't appeared on-camera yet, family patriarch Tywin casts a phantom presence over the show—both through regular dialogue referring to him and in the presence of his three children Cersei, Jaime, and Tyrion. (Tyrion in particular, shows the impact of his upbringing in his crafty escape from the Eyrie and his continued insistence that “a Lannister always pays his debts”). In truth, Tywin's deep pockets may have more power of the fate of Westeros than anything that the king actually does.
We've previously seen the intensity with which Tywin’s daughter Queen Cersei is grooming her son Joffrey, the presumed next-in-line for the throne. But it isn't until “A Golden Crown” that we discover why: Joffrey is not the king's actual son, and given his appearance (and the tryst we witnessed in the premiere episode), he’s likely the result of the incestuous affair between Cersei and Jaime. If this is Cersei’s calculated attempt to gain the iron throne for the Lannisters, it's too bad she doesn't have a better candidate than the bratty, amoral Joffrey.