Well, GOT fans, here we are. Many knew this day would come – that of the Red Wedding. If you are strictly a show-watcher and not a book reader, then you were awfully surprised at what was in store for the Stark family in this week’s episode, “The Rains of Castamere.” I knew it was coming despite not having read the books (accidental Internet spoiler over a year ago), but it was still highly traumatizing. We at least got to spend more time with fewer groups of people this week, so the pace was not nearly as frenetic and hopping around as usual! I’d like to credit that to director David Nutter, who I am very proud of since I’ve known his work from his X-Files days, since he directed this episode and next week’s finale. Onward, into bloodshed!
Littlest Starks and Jon Snow
Finally, some of our disparate and wandering groups are crossing paths. The little Starks – Bran and Rickon, accompanied by Hodor, Osha (Tonks) and the brother/sister Wildling warg team, holed up in an abandoned mill tower to wait out the rain. Not too far away, Jon, Ygritte, and their band of Wildlings decide they need to steal some horses, and Jon knows an elderly farmer who breeds them for the Night’s Watch. The Wildlings want to kill the old man, but Jon heavily objects. He allows the man to escape, although they track him down on horseback right outside the abandoned mill tower that houses Bran & co. The thunder and lightning gets really bad, and Hodor starts “hodorhodorhodor-ing” very loudly. The Wildling band will surely kill them if they are found, and out of desperation, Bran wargs into Hodor’s mind and quiets him. The young warg boy with them is shocked – while many can enter the minds of animals, he has never heard of anyone who can enter people’s minds. Bran is certainly special, and this show of strength and ability leads him to a bit of confidence. He decides that he and Hodor will go with the siblings to further discover his gifts, and that Rickon and Osha will split up and go to find a Stark-friendly family to stay with until they can get back to Rob and Catlin. Rickon finally has some lines, and does not want to be parted from his brother. He wants to protects the disabled Bran, which leads to a very sweet scene with the two boys. I am a bit sad we are splitting the party here, but Bran’s idea makes sense.
Suddenly, all hell breaks loose below the tower – Jon was being forced to kill the elderly horse breeder as a show of loyalty to his new Wildling fellows, but instead Ygritte does it for him. This prompts him to knock her to the ground so she won’t defend him, and he kills many of the Wildlings, telling the Jerk Warg among them that he was right – he was always a crow a in his heart. He then kills him, and we are not sad about it because that dude was an ass. Bran and Rickon’s dire wolves are hunting nearby, and Bran is afraid they will give them away, so he enters their minds and attacks the remaining Wildlings. Jon hops a horse and rides away – leaving a shocked and angry-looking Ygritte behind.
Dany and the Dragons
Jorah, Grey Worm and Fabio (his name is actually Daario and he’s the hot sell-sword that Dany likes – don’t blame her) decide to through a back door into Yunkai to take the city in the night. They slaughter a bunch of guards but are surrounded, and we all worry. The next day, Dany sits waiting for them and worrying, but Jorah and Grey Worm show up covered in blood and declaring they’ve won. She is pleased but immediately asks for Fabio, who makes a dramatic entrance a few minutes later, also covered in blood, and tells her they’ve taken the city. She looks at him adoringly while Jorah sulks in the background.
Arya and the Hound (come close to Camp Stark)
The Hound is taking Arya to Robb and Catlin for ransom. They find a merchant farmer on the road and the Hound knocks him out, intending to kill him and take his cart of wine and food. Arya doesn’t want him to die, but she isn’t so compassionate that she doesn’t knock him on the head again. They are just over the hill from her family when she and the Hound have a grouchy conversation about how she’s afraid she’s so close and yet won’t see them. FORESHADOWING! Ahem. I felt that was a bit heavy-handed, but what can you do. Arya informs the Hound that she will someday put a sword through his eye and out the back of his skull. I like this girl.
Camp Stark – Robb, Talisa, Catlin and her family
Here we go, you guys. At the start of the episode, Robb is debating in his tent over taking Casterly Rock from the Lannisters. Catlin tells him to do it, and let them feel how it is to lose what they love. Then we see them in House Frey, with Robb sincerely apologizing to Lord Frey (Argus Filch of the Harry Potter movies) for breaking his promise to marry one of his (mostly ugly) daughters, one of whom is now set to marry Edmure Tully, Catlin’s brother. Frey doesn’t let Robb off the hook very easily, and demands to see Talisa, Rob’s wife. He looks her over and tells Robb that he betrayed Frey for “firm tits and a tight fit” – so gross. What an asshole. Frey also says that they’ll put it behind them and drink some wine and have a marriage, so you think all is forgiven. Wrong.
Later, we see Edmure and one of Frey’s daughters – a pretty one, to Edmure’s joy – get married. Catlin sits at the table with her uncle, Blackfish, and chuckles over Edmure being fed grapes by his new bride. Robb and Talisa tease each other, and then she tells him that if the baby’s a boy, she wants to name him Eddard, after Robb’s father. She paints a lovely image of Robb teaching little Eddard to ride horses and learn swordfighting. The writers are obviously trying to make us cry here.
Edmure and his bride are carried away for the bedding ceremony. The string quartet strikes up a rather sad tune, which Catlin seems to recognize and immediately looks worried and scared. She nervously sits down next to a bannerman, Roose Bolton. The doors to the hall are closed and bolted, and Robb starts catching on that something isn’t right. Frey nastily declares that he forgot to Robb a wedding gift, and the music stops playing. Catlin flips over Bolton’s sleeve and sees that he’s wearing armor – to a wedding. She stands up and gives Bolton an almighty slap, screaming Robb’s name. Then, someone runs forward and stabs Talisa in the stomach, repeatedly. She is screaming and bleeding and Robb is just shocked. But a ton of arrows are fired into Robb, and his surrounding men are shot or stabbed to death. Robb crawls to Talisa, who has died. He knows his is about to die as well, but he is just so horrified that his young pregnant wife has been brutally killed.
Outside, Arya escaped the back of the Hound’s cart, and is hiding behind some barrels. She is surprised to see that the hall is being sealed up, and even more shocked when her brother’s bannermen are suddenly murdered by Frey soldiers. She sees Robb’s wolf, caged up, and starts toward it but scrambles back under cover when men come and shoot him wolf and other dogs. Arya sees the dead wolf underneath the door of the cage as the Hound comes up behind her, tells her it’s too late, knocks her on the head and takes her away, essentially saving her life.
Back in the hall of carnage, Catlin sees that Frey’s young wife is hiding under the head table. She drags the girl out by her hair, holding a knife to her throat. She says to Frey that if he doesn’t end this, she’ll kill his wife – he tells her he’ll get another one. She begs him to let them go, promising they will forget the treachery, but Frey reminds her of a promise she already broke. Catlin looks back to Robb in despair, and he says “Mother.” Just then, Roose Bolton steps in front of Robb, tells him that the Lannisters send their regards, and stabs Rob in the chest. Blood gushing out of him, Robb falls to the ground dead. Catlin is screaming a terrible, mournful scream. She slits the girl’s throat. A man comes up from behind and then slits Catlin’s throat, her blood gushing forth as she falls. The screen goes black, and the credits silently come up.
My thoughts: Holy frakking frak, people! That was so disturbing! I was bracing myself for it but it was SO UPSETTING. I really liked Catlin, I always have. While Robb’s death was sad and Talisa’s was too, Catlin’s was heart-wrenching. Michelle Fairley is an incredible actress and deserves many awards for this performance and death. I will also miss adorable Robb and his quest to avenge his father as King of the North. The good guys lost yet again, which made me very sad.
The political dynamics of the Red Wedding are a little odd to me. I understand that Frey was pissed about Robb marrying someone else, but it doesn’t seem to warrant that kind of carnage (in my opinion!). Not to mention House Frey is going to garner enemies as a result. I guess he saw which way the wind was blowing and decided to ally himself with the Lannisters? Ugh. What a despicable person. I now hate him much more than Joffrey. Somehow I understand that Joffrey is a total d-bag because hhe was indulgently raised in a pit of vipers. Frey just…I don’t even know. Someone please seek revenge and kill this guy and all his kids, please. I nominate Arya – poor, poor Arya. Such a dark, hate-filled path she is on. She doesn’t even know what is really going on, although she has probably guessed that Robb is dead. She is an orphan now, and her oldest brother gone – she has Sansa and her two little brothers, although no one knows what will happen to them. Sansa has no power either, and am sure will be utterly devastated by the news. Tywin clearly helped in planning this move, and I hope he gets his just desserts in the end. Although like I mentioned earlier, the good guys suffer the most in this series, so that is a wish that may never come true.
Episode rating: 10 out of 10 direwolves. I’m not happy with it, but it was damn good TV. Writing, directing, acting – spot on. A++ to all.
I am scared about the finale…who else is going to die? My heart can’t take it!