Game of Thrones S3E9: The Red Wedding


289 Responses to “Game of Thrones S3E9: The Red Wedding”

  1. mappo says:

    You know, pointing out how long book fans have been holding back from spoiling the Red Wedding is something of a spoiler itself.  You’ve now told me that this is as bad as it gets, which takes away from the feeling of “sweet jeebus ,what won’t this author do to his characters?!”

    • BookGuy says:

       Maybe not.  (I haven’t read the books.)  Holding back from spoiling this doesn’t mean there aren’t more huge events to come, only that this was the first. There are zombie-ice monsters and another character has multiple suitors and dragons–chances are good that things will end poorly for multiple somebodies.

      • mappo says:

        I disagree.

        “Book fans have been waiting for the Red Wedding since the series began, most of us quietly sitting on our hands and gnawing on our knuckles the closer we got to the mighty, shocking event.”

        That pretty much says that this was the big one.

        • Roose_Bolton says:

          Nah. Don’t worry, there’s plenty more.

        • Jarrod Henry says:

          This is A big one.  This is just the first big one that make everyone lose their innocence in this series :D There are lots more big ones.  And probably a lot more bigger ones to come if he’s to really finish this story.

        • Jim Saul says:

          Before that, Ned’s Head was the big one. It’s not so much a matter of magnitude so much as inverted expectations.

          Show watchers haven’t even found out that Hodor is actually a troop of dwarves standing on each other’s shoulders, or that Old Nan was one of the disguises Varys wears.

          • FoolishOwl says:

            It’s nothing compared to the shock they’ll have when they find out that Cersei Lannister, Daenarys Targaryen, and Melisandre are actually the same person.

          • phuzz says:

             Especially once you finish reading the books and realise that the one who was prophesied  to come back and defeat the white walkers with the help of dragons was none other than Dolorous Edd, who eventually becomes the king of all Westeros.Oh shit, I might have spoiled that one, sorry :(

          • nowimnothing says:

            @phuzz:disqus On a more serious note, I love the out-there theory that Rhaegar was the chosen one and that all this is for naught.

          • ac_mire says:

            Just like the gypsy woman said!

        • NeuroticalMe says:

          Ask and ye shall receive…and weep bitterly.

        • Cola says:

          Haha, you’re cute.

        • ac_mire says:

          We were also waiting for Ned’s beheading. We were also waiting for Renly to be killed by Melisandre’s shadow baby. We were also waiting for the Battle of the Blackwater, and for Tyrion to get his nose chopped off. We were also waiting for Beric Dondarrion to be resurrected.

          The Red Wedding is just the latest one, and the one we’ve been waiting for the longest until now. This series is full of twists and turns, don’t worry.

    • Jamie Tucker says:

      don’t worry, there are plenty more shocking plot points I could spoil for you

    • embryoconcepts says:

      Actually, I had no problem holding back, simply /because/ there are more momentous moments.  Like the ending of the latest book…

      • nowimnothing says:

        As I told my wife, don’t worry there are at least 2 more weddings planned.

        Never know what may happen at a Game of Thrones wedding. Maybe two savages will kill each other and have sex in front of everyone, maybe a little person will be humiliated, you just know that they are hardly ever boring affairs.

    • Steven Lord says:

       We held back from spoiling Ned Stark’s execution in season 1 as well. There are still major events, some good and some terrible, coming up (and no one, except maybe George R. R. Martin himself, yet knows what’s to come in books 6 and 7. And if he can’t finish in 7, books 8+.)

      • Jarrod Henry says:

        There’s no way he finishes this in 7. Currently, I just hope he finishes it before his ill health gets the best of him :(

      • I am currently (right this very second) holding back from spoilering things related to the aftermath of the Red Wedding that are, if not quite as “holy shit”-able, only lesser secrets because they involve fewer people. 

        • Cola says:

          I know what you mean. I was in the car while the boyfriend listened to the part to which you’re referring on his headphones and his dawning horror was one of the sweetest moments of my life. 

    • Cynical says:

       I’d also point out that pointing out that they play the Lannister song at the wedding is a pretty huge spoiler to have before the jump, especially as it’s when a lot of people seemed to have realised what was about to happen. If I hadn’t already seen the episode, just saying that would have brought together a lot of things I have been wondering about and completely ruined the surprise for me…

      • Reed James says:

         At this point if people aren’t watching the show before Wednesday they really don’t deserve much pity.

    • Rick Adams says:

       Two books haven’t even been written yet so nobody really knows how many more surprises are going to come.

    • mausium says:

      If it bothers you this much, read the books.

    • Jim Saul says:

      Just wait until he introduces Haviland Tuf. Now there’s an interesting character.

    • gracchus says:

      After the Red Wedding, I’ve decided that Martin’s capable of anything. I kind of dig it, too.

      • Doc Aay says:

        I totally agree with this! That said I think the translation to HBO has been a great benefit. The whole thing is so much tighter and engrossing. I find myself wondering at the end of each episode where the time has gone. I also find myself feeling fond of the most non-endearing characters…Jaime, the Hound, Tywin Lannister…I know, I know….

    • mindfu says:

      I’ve read the books, and I actually think it gets worse after this.

    •  You have no idea…. This is merely one stop on a very cruel ride.

    • peteykins says:

      Don’t worry, there are plenty of shockers to come.

  2. David Voss says:

    I guess we can lay the “Lannister honeypot” theory to rest.

    • In the books, the character of Robb’s wife was, basically, implied to be a Lannister honeypot. 

      • Jim Saul says:

        The whole “oh Grey Wind is kept in a cage now because he goes psycho around my new wife’s family” kind of gives it away.

        Dudes… if your magical universe gives you a supernatural soul-bonded dire wolf familiar… try to trust its instincts about people.

      • Stacy G says:

         **SPOILERS** I actually disagree, if you’re referring to the “Roose Change” youtube vid. I still think it’s plausible. Perhaps she fell in love with Robb in spite of her role? Perhaps she only knew she was to distract him and had no clue about RW?

        • markduval says:

          Just watched that “Roose Change” vid on YouTube. That’s brilliant! I’m convinced. Not sure why they killed her though if she was a plant.

          • In the books, they don’t kill her. (Robb’s wife is also a different character in the books.) 

          • markduval says:

            Ahh, that’s right. It’ll been awhile since I’ve read that books. Thanks. I think I’ll have to reread them before the next book comes out.

      • ryuthrowsstuff says:

        If I’m remembering right its heavily implied, but the girl herself seems unaware. Twas the parents.

        • nachoproblem says:

          It was definitely the parents. Pieces of work, those two.

        • TrollyMcTrollington says:

           Yes, parents trying to avoid being the new Reynes and getting back into Tywin’s good graces…..with a dose of Westerosi RU486.

      • Cola says:

        I think it was probably more an accident and her parents did the only thing they thought they could to protect their daughter and their house from the Lannisters after the fact. That said, I don’t feel the change from Jeyne to Talisa affected that whole part of the very much, except that the writers clearly felt it was originally too complicated and not impactful enough for the audience.  

    • Thariinye says:

      The funniest part about the Lannister Honeypot theory was that it was called Roose Change. Had a whole conspiracy theory video and everything!

  3. Brainspore says:

    This was my first thought.

  4. gellfex says:

    I first experienced this event on audiobook in bed, and woke my wife by whispering  “oh shit, oh shit, oh shit…”.

    Why do you suppose they killed Robb’s bride rather than keep her and her fetus around as a plot point as in the books?

    • Brainspore says:

      Because George R.R. Martin wasn’t finished fucking with readers.

    • Marijn Lems says:

      Probably for three reasons:

      1) To kill off speculation that that dangling plot thread will ever be important in the books;
      2) To show Robb’s utter cluelessness about what’s coming (in bringing her to the wedding and putting her in harm’s way);
      3) For the shock value of not only seeing Robb killed, but everyone he loves as well.

    • Charles Buckley says:

      There was no fetus in the books. Not even a hint of one. The hints are that her family was involved in the plot and that they kept feeding her drugs to keep from getting pregnant.

      They have not diverged in major points in the tv series. If there is no child after the Red Wedding in the series, there was none in the book either.

      Seriously, the Lanisters would have killed the wife instantly had they found she was pregnant.

      • ryuthrowsstuff says:

        Right but by killing the equivalent character in the show they pretty much show she was ultimately unimportant after that point and kill the ridiculous fan theories. 

        • Charles Buckley says:

          Martin brought the bride into Book 4 just to address that also. She was not pregnant when she appeared in Book 4. Did nothing to stop fan speculation.

  5. Marijn Lems says:

    Finally the recap is up, so I can ask Roose_Bolton what kind of an insane psychopath he is to take his name from such a singular bastard! When he smugly showed his chainmail to Catelyn, basically saying “I’m SO going to enjoy killing your son, daughter-in-law and unborn grandchild in front of you”, he instantly shot to the very top of my “I need to see him die” list, beating out even Joffrey and Walder Frey.

    • Brainspore says:

      Remember when we all thought the character fucked his own sister and threw kids out of windows was going to be the “bad” guy?

      • Marijn Lems says:

        There’s no coming back from this. Even if he had his reasons, the look he gave Catelyn makes him utterly irredeemable (to me).

      • NeuroticalMe says:

        Thanks, I didn’t notice that before. And when I think about it, if he hadn’t done that, everyone could have been killed with perhaps less ado; no warning sounded.

        I think it definitely shows not only the detail work that goes into each part of the scenes, but also the depth that the actors are working out their characters. 
        I think the reasons for  Roose’s chainmail give-away itself could be bandied about for awhile…

      • FoolishOwl says:

         One of the remarkable things about Martin’s writing is that several times as the story progressed, I’d pause, and realize how radically my perception of a character  had changed.

    • Swampdog says:

      I’ve read teh book but am just starting the tv series.  Has RAMSAY Bolton been introduced yet?  The bastard?  He makes his father look like a pussy cat.

    • Roose_Bolton says:

      I just found him to be one of the most intertesting characters in my favourite fantasy series ever. No biggie.

    • digital_pariah says:

       Did Roose show Cat the chainmail, or did she slide his sleeve up as the horror of the situation dawned on her? I thought it was her, but I’ve deleted my recording of the episode now =

      • grimc says:

        He gave her a glance to look at his sleeve.

      • Marijn Lems says:

        He flicked his eyes from her to his sleeve, inviting her to roll it down to reveal the chainmail underneath, IIRC.

      • Carpeteria says:

        That part in the book was a little more logical – it’s not Roose, but one of the Freys, and Cat chases him down after he loudly and strangely rejects a dance from one of Robb’s main guards. When Cat grabs his arm to stop him, she feels the chainmail under his silk garment.

        Makes more sense that way, but it’s obviously not something that could be shown on screen, so I’m ok with the new version.

    • gracchus says:

      Yeah, Roose_Bolton … you have some explaining to do.

      My mistrust for the character started in the books a while back, but I didn’t think he’d screw over the Starks in quite this way. I should know Westeros better by now.

      • Roose_Bolton says:

        At the point you’re at in the books, surely they’ve related by now the history of Bolton on Stark violence lo these last thousand years, no?

        • gracchus says:

          I knew there was the usual power-jockeying that comes before one house ends up the lord and the other the vassal, and the lingering hard feelings. I guess I should have known where this was going between Ned’s death and the sacking of Winterfell, but Bolton seemed to be one of Robb’s more sensible and competent supporters.

          • Roose_Bolton says:

            I knew he was worth keeping an eye on once I read of his family’s proclivities re: skinning of their enemies.

          • Doc Aay says:

            Martin harps on the banner being The Flayed Man as well. I guess you can tell a little by the banners, but what does one make of a flowery one?

          • gracchus says:

            That’s just typical medieval stuff. I sorta respected him for being up-front with the savagery, but it slowly became clear he’s just as sneaky and treacherous as Tywin.

      • nachoproblem says:

        The books really make a point of how the expression “bloodless” describes Roose Bolton. Him and his leeches, and his whispering, which is something you unfortunately don’t get in the show. You know way ahead of time that he’ll turn out to be a bad guy, because… just look at him!

    • phuzz says:

      Roose is an arsehole, but a cunning one.  He realises he’s supporting the wrong side, and takes steps to ally himself with the most powerful man in the land (Tywin Lanister).
      Mind you, if you think Roose is a bastard, wait until you meet his son…

  6. georgia o'queef says:

    It could still be possible, I think, only with Tywin finishing up loose ends.  He wouldn’t want a potential Stark heir left lying around if he went to the trouble of getting winterfell for Tyrion

    oops, this was meant to be a reply to David!

  7. Marijn Lems says:

    I’d just like to thank all you book readers for not spoiling this. I had heard the term “Red Wedding”, of course, but I totally thought it was going to happen in King’s Landing. When the doors closed and the band started playing, I knew that this had to be it, though. The fantastic build-up of the scene and the almost casual slaughter of the Starks made it as horrifying for me as it must have been for those who read it in A Storm Of Swords. It’s a brilliant narrative move by Martin, as he explains in the EW interview: to drive home the point that the just do not always prevail, you need to not only kill your heroes, but you have to do it in this completely senseless, unheroic way. The way that Michelle Fairley just went dead inside after seeing her eldest son murdered will stay with me for a long, long time.

  8. georgia o'queef says:

    Even having read the books didn’t prepare me for how badly seeing it was going to affect me.  I didn’t anticipate Talisa dying, for example.  Watching Cat slowly put the pieces together was terrible, and the look Roose gave her was perfect in how chilling it was.  A lot of book readers seemed upset Grey Wind didn’t manage to escape and take down a few Freys or Boltons but his last scene really brought home how hopeless the situation had been since the moment they stepped onto Frey land.

    I thought Grey Worm saying he trusted Daario was interesting. I love Grey Worm, so I’m curious what this means – is Daario therefore trustworthy? or just trustworthy when it comes to battles?

    sorry Jorah, but lmao at your ralph wiggum heartbreak face.

    • Jim Saul says:

      I love Iain Glenn, and he’s made Jorah into such an appealing character… but when I feel sorry for his scorned puppy love all I have to remember is that he’s something like 35 and she’s something like 14 in the books.

      Daario is far different in the show than in the books… in the books he’s such an over-the-top douchebag in clown makeup, while in the show he might be a cocky playa but at least he actually does something other than bullshit and tag slave girls..

      • georgia o'queef says:

        Im glad for the changes to Daario to be honest. Like Leigh said, it’s one of those things that would have translated rather clownishly to screen. This way his character has far more potential (and I find deviations from the books kind of refreshing in that I don’t know /everything/ that will happen)

        • Jim Saul says:

          Me too…

          I hope Selmy is given a chance to show his skills soon, since we don’t have his locust-loving side-kick in the show. He looked like he was getting kind of drunk while they waited for news… perhaps he thought they left him behind because he’s gotten old.

          • georgia o'queef says:

            Aw, that would be terrible! Barristan deserves better.

          • nowimnothing says:

            I am still holding out hope for a Strong Belwas in season 4 or 5. Since we did not have Selmy’s deception it is ok to cast/introduce him later kind of like they did for the Reed kids.

          • georgia o'queef says:

            it’s possible he might be one of the slaves liberated from Yunkai!

        • nachoproblem says:

          The way I pictured Daario from his description in the books is utterly ridiculous, but I’m also not sure how it was intended. The way he is in the show is probably not an unreasonable way of visualizing him. 

          Either way, I think the way they portray him in the show is the right choice.

      • L_Mariachi says:

        And in the show Jorah’s like 50 and Daenerys is like 20. Bigger age difference and still well outside the “half your age, plus seven” rule.

        However, Glenn’s performance, to me, conveys a tripartite conflict. He has paternal protective instincts towards her, he admires her as a queen, and she’s way hot. You can see how that would put him into some emotionally difficult places.

        • TrollyMcTrollington says:

          Glenn’s doing a great job with the character, but is very physically different from his book incarnation, where his appearance, demeanor and future side-job are repeatedly compared to his house sigil.

        • MarkTemporis says:

          Also, IIRC, Jorah’s wife was a lot younger, beautiful, and so high maintenance he had to turn to slaving to keep her in jewelry which is why he’s here in the first place. 

      • TrollyMcTrollington says:

        I must be alone in preferring the book Daario, changed from a take no crap blue-bearded killer that Dany bean-diddles over to a Fabio clone,  more fitting for the Harlequin-novel HBO has made ASOIAF.

  9. petelectro says:

    Walder Frey officially surpassed Jeoffrey with the amount of hate he receives from fans of the show. At least that’s what my twitter feed looked like.

    For the episode itself and the last scene in specifc: I haven’t read the books (well just the first two) and I was literally shaking after it. I think it is one of the greatest scenes I’ve ever seen on television, cinema or a stage. Just the little things like Robb and Talisa talking about naming their baby, the jokes at the tables, the scene with Aryia and the Hound where they talk about fear… And then, at the end, silent credits.

    This is truly one of the most intense experiences I had with fiction in my life and I’m really looking forward to what is coming in the season finale after this amazing episode.

    • nachoproblem says:

      Oddly, the thing that galled me most about the RW when I first read it was Walder Frey. We already knew he was a wretched old shitstain and I expected he would pull something at the wedding, like maybe capturing the Starks and selling them to King’s Landing. We see Walder as somebody slowly and deliberately amassing power for his house – he doesn’t have a big army or lands to speak of, he just has this river crossing and hundreds of offspring that he is trying to insinuate by marriage into every other house or position. So then he would completely demolish all their reputations forever with this one fell stroke??? Well, that is partly true. His people are not well thought of thereafter, but you eventually figure out that if the Lannisters had a hand in it then he must have been bought off or granted immunity somehow. And it makes sense that he would have to kill them because he wouldn’t get away with anything less. Yes, it would have been a perfectly ridiculous thing to do for the sake of petty vengeance, but there is almost certainly more to it.

      What makes Walder Frey even more infuriating than Jeoffrey is that he can’t be punished in any way that you can think of. He’s already at the age of half-past dead and he doesn’t really care about anything — even concocting schemes for his children seems to leave him cold at this point, or maybe he’s just given up on them. One thing that struck me is how utterly stupid and ineffectual they must be to let him run the House the way he does. But of course, we’ve already seen the Freys being as stupid and ineffectual as you could imagine a festering swarm of inbred louts being, so that’s no real surprise. If I recall correctly they even had to get mercenaries to do all that crossbow stuff, because Freys suck at everything.

      So talk about killing your heroes in a completely senseless, unheroic way, there you go.

      • petelectro says:

        Well that is a interesting point. All of the characters we see have some amount of power that mostly relies on their “families” (even the *mother* of dragons, claiming “daughters” back in season 1 and still being proud of her heritage). They always rely on and use their names to their advantage and somehow this old man made himself invincible by not giving a damn about anything.

        He is in a position where everything that follows the violation of the guest rights won’t bother him directly and this is so against the whole notion of keeping your family, reputation and name above everything else. All of the systems this society developed to ensure something like that won’t happen (or never goes unpunished) don’t apply to him anymore because this old man doesn’t care about what will happen after he’s dead. 

        It’s still odd that he is one of the few characters that freed himself of that and used it to take vengeance for something that wouldn’t even bother him anymore. He clearly stated that he doesn’t even care for his wife (son in the books) and he openly sells his children and grandchildren as long as some profit can be made. So maybe he’s really just gone mad in his age (and he probably has all kinds of STD’s, let’s not forget about that).

        • TrollyMcTrollington says:

          That change annoyed me a bit.  The trade of Robb, Cat’s firstborn, last surviving son, and a king for Frey’s youngest, mentally-broken, jester son was an important point in the scene IMO.

          • nowimnothing says:

            I did not mind it since that same girl was set up as a sympathetic character in Cat’s eyes in season two. So there was still an undercurrent, just different.

          • nachoproblem says:

            But you don’t like any changes at all, so that’s moot.

          • TrollyMcTrollington says:

            Guilty as charged.   Well, mostly.

            One detail that made more sense in the show:  ‘The Lannisters send their regards’ vs. ‘Jaimie Lannister sends…’.

            I was incorrect in my reply above, Jinglebell was Frey’s grandson, not son.

  10. daramcq says:

    “Book fans have been waiting for the Red Wedding since the series began, most of us quietly sitting on our hands and gnawing on our knuckles the closer we got to the mighty, shocking event.”
    Which knuckles are you gnawing if you’re sitting on your hands?

  11. Roose_Bolton says:


  12. Randy Walters says:

    Leigh, you mentioned that you [couldn't] imagine what it would be like to watch, not knowing what was coming.

    (raises hand)

    Well, I hadn’t read the books… I was paying attention to the episode, kind of drifting along with it as I do, almost in a dream state. Aware, but passive. 

    I’m a musician. I noticed the shift to a significantly different piece of music, and it got my attention. I thought… that’s an interesting choice…

    And then, of course, my attention shifted from passive to riveted. It accelerated, mounted, and left me genuinely shocked as the credits ran the only way they could – silently.

    It’s no joke, and not a cliché, to quote Col. Kurtz from the end of Coppola’s Apocalypse Now - 

    “The horror… the horror…”

    • Jim Saul says:

      You might like one of these t-shirts, once the shock wears off a little.

      • Randy Walters says:

        First, I laughed… and then I thought “hmm… is that funny?”

        Yet another reason to make sure musicians are always well fed, and have access to an open bar at any social event.

    • randy randy says:

       The music tipped me too. Being absolutely, 100% ignorant as to what was to transpire in the show, it was the closing of the doors and the change in music that got me rattled. I said to my wife, “oh shit, something bad is gonna happen.”  Even though at that point I suspected something was up, it did not in the least prepare me for what happened. Stunning.  It was the first time ever watching a television program that I went through all five stages of grief during the credits.  I’m still working through the “acceptance” phase though. 

  13. digital_pariah says:

    I knew what was coming but despite/because of this, my heart was pounding. I could actually feel it. And the silent credits. Oof.

  14. georgia o'queef says:

    Another neat thing about the s109, s209 and s309 is how tonally different the three episodes are. Baelor was a dreamy operatic climax, whereas Blackwater had a big action hero feel to it, with explosions and heroic speeches, and this one was like a brutal mob movie.

  15. trentboyett says:

    Couldn’t have been choreographed to be much more brutal.

    Every character was allowed to see the person they most cared for die ahead of them in a separate beat, starting with Talisa’s unborn child.

    It worked in GoT because the show is well written and acted. 

    I wonder how many crappy new shows next fall will feature main characters that will meet gruesome deaths in an attempt to replicate this.  You can bet that the industry is looking at the reaction to this episode
    and thinking to themselves that all they need to do to generate buzz is
    to brutally kill off some protagonists. 

  16. TheOven says:

    I’ve been following Maisie Williams’ Vine feed.

    Thankfully I had just watched this episode a couple of days after it aired before I saw her Vine about it. She gives it all away in 6 seconds: “They  dead. Like so dead. Like OMG dead. Ma Muttha and Brutha are dead.”

  17. gwailo_joe says:

    Yes. Actions have repercussions. 

    The heir-apparent has more time for booty than battle plans…soft talk and sweet words in a time of blood and death; and leaves himself open to the whims of a wronged and powerful bitter old man…?

    The King of the North is dead…long live King (?) Bran!

    Arya and the Hound…a fine pair….that kid is goin’ places.

    Catelyn…poor belaboured woman thou art, your worst nightmare made flesh before your very eyes: go softly into that good night unfortunate Queen.

    All the players are so well realized in this production…the casting is So Perfect!

    Yet while the fanciful nature with its ice zombies and fire breathing lizards will never reach the realms of High Art…it sure is a pleasure to behold. Damn fine entertainment: and the TV version thankfully mitigates the endless dripping turkey legs and middling heraldry…you can’t imagine it unless you’ve been there.

    And after untold pages read…I eagerly await Ms. Targaryen astride dragonback sweeping Westros of evil from Dorne to the Wall and beyond. (my desire only…not writ by a long shot…)  

    But Fantasy has it’s place: Daenarys astride and leading an inexorable, unstoppable uber-herd of bison might result in the same destructive effect…but there is little poetry there…


    (this message is not for the actor who is doing a fine job, but the character who is such a royal fuck up…I find his actions painful to read and watch: will he ever find himself? He should be a desiccated icicle by now.)

    Anyhow…one more episode! Let the chips fall where they may…

    • georgia o'queef says:

      Aw, Sam gets so much shit. No one has killed a white walker in living memory, and they were being pursued by a flock of killer crows. I’d do the same!

    • aliktren says:

      so glad you said this :)

      • gwailo_joe says:

        I realize we are supposed to empathize with his good heart and inexperienced bumbling…but that Walker killing was the best thing he’s ever done in his life: and he screws that up too!!
        AARRGGHH. His archetype wallows in traits I condemn in myself: squishy, mewling, luckless, uncoordinated and utterly incompetent…thus, for me, a hard guy to like…

        Joffrey is a far more horrible person…but he’s more of a ‘love to hate’…Sam just makes me squirm and grit my teeth.

    • Jules Smith says:

      As if Catelyn could rest peacefully after this…

      When I first listened to the audiobook describe the red wedding, I lost my shit. This episode brought the same level of intensity, despite me knowing what was coming. The guest right is stressed so often and held to be so sacred… I imagine the Frey’s will be facing a proportionally terrible fate in consequence.

      I also immediately was reminded of Arrested Westeros, I felt like it must have been slipped in their intentionally.

  18. Charles Dickens approves:

  19. April Poarch says:

    Not having read the books, I was clueless what was happening until Talisa got stabbed.  The music didn’t tip me off and I didn’t know why Cat slapped Roose.  I thought the Starks were clawing their way back up to the top slowly but surely and a lovely reunion with Arya was about to happen.  I woke up sad Monday morning.  I was shocked just how much of an impact it had on me.  Especially considering that in the end, I’m rooting for Dany. 

  20. helloandy says:

    Well, I kinda had the same feeling when I watched The Pillars of the Earth. People were dying all the time in that show too, even the favorite ones.

  21. gellfex says:

    Why such untempered sympathy for Catelyn? Does no one remember that her poor judgement and hotheadedness in kidnapping Tyrion, for her misplaced suspicion in the knife attack on Bran, precipitated a war that cost the lives of many thousands besides that of her son and husband?

    • Brainspore says:

      Why such untempered sympathy for Catelyn?

      This is just a hunch but I think it has something to do with her being forced to watch her daughter-in-law, unborn grandchild, and first-born son brutally slaughtered in front of her eyes just before being murdered herself.

      • *Bites knuckles to keep from spoilering*

      • georgia o'queef says:

        Not to mention suspecting her other two sons have been murdered during the sack of Winterfell by her oldest’s best friend, or that her two daughters are in the hands of the Lannisters or also dead. Her husband is dead, her dad just died.  And to be fair to Catelyn, she had no way of knowing her sister’s insanity was going to make such a botch of Tyrion’s trial.

        • Jim Saul says:

          Well there’s some nice irony – Lysa’s bat-shittiness actually resulted in Tyrion’s justified exoneration. Though he did confess to making the bald man cry in Cersei’s turtle soup.

    • Linley Lee says:

       I have always hated her.  Still do.

  22. aliktren says:

    Great write up Leigh, I have to say I have read very little fantasy over the years since sixth form so this was a complete shock, there I was sitting over my lunch watching it on sky +, just thinking how the family Stark was so well played, how the mothers character was very well done, with great dialogue, then BAM! – all dead.. blood…everywhere, I was just screaming HOL|Y SHIT at the TV for a few mins… it was awesome. I don’t know why everyone is so upset though, it’s Drama, can’t you all be admiring in instead for beguiling you, tricking you and then giving you a dose of what the real world is like ?, apart from Moma Stark all the interesting ones are still about anyway :)

  23. charlesrichter says:

    Violating the “bread and salt” tradition is not “almost” a spiritual violation–it is exactly that. The books make it clear that in the context of the religion of the Seven, it is a sacred covenant, the breaking of which will ensure divine wrath. Oathbreaking is one of the major themes of the story, and the transcendent element of the many oaths taken (and broken) is crucial in understanding what they mean to the characters. Walder Frey, by harming those under his protection, is risking damnation for the sake of revenge and Lannister support. Either that, or he has, like many, lost faith in the Seven.

    • georgia o'queef says:

      The tv guide for next week says that Bran tells a ghost story, so I suspect they’re gonna make it clear to watchers how badly violating guest right goes for the violators with a gruesome northern scary tale.

    • missmimipoppy says:

      Maybe Walder was willing to risk it since he’s so old and pissed.

      • nachoproblem says:

        That was my read. Too old/bitter to give a damn.

        Plus, what all did the Lannisters give him, exactly? I don’t think we know yet.

    • Jorge Velasquez says:


    • nachoproblem says:

      As I said above, I thought it was odd that he seemingly torpedoed his own life’s work of getting his children all married advantageously and such. The name of Frey will be mud in Westeros for the foreseeable future. But also as mentioned, there may be other things at stake.

      My impression of Westeros religion (as a generalization) is that only peasants believe in the Seven.  OTOH, that may be a bigger deal than some people expect…

      • nowimnothing says:

        In the books it is more of a very weak version of the Catholic Church. We could probably debate as well about how much the nobility in Europe really believed in religious doctrine vs used it for power.

    • Glenn Rice says:

      I noticed Walder Frey did not take any salt — just the bread.

  24. gracchus says:

    A few comments on your observations:

    The bread and salt was a nice touch, another way Martin goes against the standard expectations of fantasy. We should understand at this point in the series that all these vaunted rituals of honour are broken the moment it becomes expedient for the warlords who rule this place, and yet we’re still surprised when the sacred “guest right” is violated to this extent. If this doesn’t kill the reader’s and viewer’s inner Sansa, nothing will. No more illusions for me, George RR Martin! 

    The same goes for expecting a reunion between the members of the Stark family. The lack of reunions were torture … so close and yet so far. From now on I’ll take the Hound’s advice: “you’re almost there, and you think you won’t make it.” And you won’t in Westeros, the worse for poor Arya

    Your confession about her is controversial indeed. Arya is one of my favourite characters, not because she’s an archetypical martial tomboy but because she’s true to herself and has been from the beginning, even if it means rejecting the rules of this brutal place. They carry that over well into the show.

    I also disagree about Catelyn. She may be wiser than her brother, but that’s a low bar to clear. She isn’t wise enough to see the long-term results of her actions and advice — a lot of the recent misery and bloodshed in Westeros can be traced back to them.

    The portrayal of Daario in the show works for me. In the books he’s older, and what’s needed here is a jealousy conflict with the less age-appropriate but probably more true Jorah.

    Continuing with the theme I’ve seen throughout the season, the aspect of honesty and openess being portrayed in this episode are the various characters proving themselves true or false to the others and themselves. Trust is earned or decimated, personal codes are honoured while societal codes are thrown out the window, the Wall loses its magical power for Gilly but Sam Tarly becomes a wizard in her eyes because he proves the value of understanding marks on a page. Another nicely crafted episode.

    A grueling episode, too, but I’m okay. Thanks for asking.

    • L_Mariachi says:

      Of course we’re surprised when the sacred covenant is broken. We wouldn’t be surprised in the real world, because we know the sky fairy isn’t going to do jack shit about it. But in a world of decade-long winters and magic and weeping tree gods, you’d expect people to tread a little more carefully around that stuff.

      It’s been pointed out that Walder has one foot in the grave already, but I suspect there are things worse than death in Westeros.

      • MarkTemporis says:

        She (Catelyn) may be wiser than her brother, but that’s a low bar to clear. 
        Wiser than the one who was forced into marriage, maybe, but that’s neither here nor there. Her other brother, the Blackfish, is better than her in every concievable way.

  25. gellfex says:

    It’s an interesting inconsistency of book vs tv that many of the characters are cast older than written. Michell Fairly appears to be in her mid 50′s, while Catelyn married as a teen and Robb is still a teen, putting her in her mid 30′s.  Had she and Ned been cast that 20 years younger, they would have had less gravitas on screen, changing the story not a little. 

    • Brainspore says:

      That’s probably due at least in part to the fact that many people aren’t comfortable watching (let alone filming) so many nude and/or sex scenes involving underage actors. And by “many people” I also include the FCC.

      • gellfex says:

        Robb & Jonn are still portrayed as late teens, I don’t see how your point is relevant. She was no more than 18 when she was married off to Ned, 18+18=36, a best guess MAX age for Catelyn.

        • Brainspore says:

          Ah, I thought you were asking “why are most characters portrayed as older than their book counterparts” in general.

          I think the “older with more gravitas” works in the show’s favor though. Besides, it’s not like middle-age-or-older actresses are hogging up all the best gigs in Hollywood.

        • Jim Saul says:

          Perhaps he’s suggesting that HBO couldn’t make a love story out of showing Dany getting fucked by a giant barbarian at age 13. Especially since in the books it was less rapey than in the show… which actually makes it even more creepy.

          • TrollyMcTrollington says:

            IIRC, Dany makes the first move on her wedding night.
            She eats a whole raw horse heart for him, (unknowingly) sacrifices her unborn son for him, kills for him and pines for her ‘sun and stars’ well into ADWD.

      • FoolishOwl says:

        I was getting uncomfortable with it while reading the books — but I think we’re supposed to be uncomfortable.

        • georgia o'queef says:

          being one of the minute few consensual couples is just one of the reasons I’ll miss robb/talisa :(

      • nowimnothing says:

        I don’t think the FCC applies to HBO. They could have gotten caught up in some federal lawsuits on child porn but that would have likely been shot down on artistic license, see Lolita, Romeo and Juliet, etc. 
        No, it was probably a combination of viewer comfort and getting good actors who won’t change their looks too much over several years, (yes we are looking at you Bran.)

    • Jardine says:

      Wikipedia says she’s 48 or 49 though there’s no citation for that. Keep in mind that these people go through some long fucking winters with medieval technology so they probably appear older by our standards. Especially our standards for actresses.

      • MarkTemporis says:

        Also how anyone measures years in Westeros where winters and summers are not of any standard length is anyone’s guess. I think that, like how crows work, is one of those things GRRM hand-waves away. 

  26. technobee says:

    Perhaps its because I watched soap operas growing up (everyone dies once or twice when contract negotiations fail) but their deaths weren’t surprising. Shocking, because I didn’t go into the episode thinking it would happen. I never read the books, but I knew something was up before the band started. My husband and I looked at each other and said “something really bad is going to happen.” And I couldn’t tell you that it was the Lannister song. And given that any character you like is killed I was waiting for them all to die at that point. However the way they killed Talisa was one of my irrational fears while being pregnant, so that was way too much for me.  But I never really trusted/liked her anyway. What will get me is if they off Arya. And Michelle Fairley should get an award for her portrayal of Catelyn, solely for her last scene. 
    As for Sam, we yelled at him to get the knife. That boy is seriously daft sometimes. I’ll be a bit disappointed if he survives. But I expect that girl will turn on him. 

    Now I need to read the books. 

  27. mrjellybeans says:

    I blooming well called it as well! But when I predicted Robb’s death I never thought Catelyn would go too. She was just about my favourite character in the darn thing and not just because of my monumental crush. 
    I watched the final 10 minutes of the episode with my hand over my gaping mouth. Absolutely amazing television, this never happens! 

    The angry reactions on twitter were hilarious. 

    As Catelyn’s throat was cut I actually made a noise, a noise sort of like a high pitched whelp. The credit roll was really abrupt too eh? Seems to have happened a few times this season, just like BANG. END.

    I had just about recovered but this has brought it all flooding back. Thanks a lot Leigh!

  28. mrjellybeans says:

    I’d probably say this has been my favourite series too. Anyone else agree?


  29. dr_bombay says:

    i read the books, and i’m still shocked and horrified. the sheer brutality was quite stunning. so heartbreaking.

  30. RMac says:

    As much as I loved the books (I read them all over and over waiting for each new publication), I may even love the show more. Mostly because I think HBO has done a bang-up job of giving the female characters more depth. GRRM created male characters who are stunningly complicated, weirdly sympathetic and fully-realized, but female characters who sometimes seemed trite stereotypes, and failed to adapt and evolve. 

    I despised Catelyn in the books: cold, unyielding, proud, and often wrong. Some subtle changes and additions (the story of prayerfully repenting of her cruelty to baby Jon Snow), as well as the phenomenal acting made me genuinely grieve her character after this last episode. Whereas after reading the Red Wedding in the books, I thought, “well, at least we don’t have to deal with Catelyn chapters anymore.” 

    •  ‘Whereas after reading the Red Wedding in the books, I thought, “well, at
      least we don’t have to deal with Catelyn chapters anymore.” ‘

      I remember thinking the same thing. Ironically, at the very start of that chapter (which was a Catelyn chapter…) I remember commenting publically “not another bloody chapter of ‘I’m so proud of my son’, ‘he’s growing up so fast’, ‘she can’t wear those shoes with that skirt!’”
      followed up twenty minutes later with “Oh.” Needless to say, everybody knew what I was talking about…

    • nachoproblem says:

      >>I despised Catelyn in the books… “well, at least we don’t have to deal with Catelyn chapters anymore.”
      Oh Lord. I confess, me too. You get some real hate on SoIAF message boards if you admit to disliking Catelyn. I’m not even sure she’s meant to be liked, but try explaining that to a bunch of rabid fans.

      My least favorite thing in book 2 was turning the page and seeing either “CATELYN” or “BRAN” at the top. Not that I even dislike Bran, but those Winterfell chapters were really dull. I just had to close my eyes and picture Chevy Chase saying, “In other news, Brandon Stark is still crippled.”

      • Leigh Alexander says:

        You know what, I couldn’t stand Catelyn’s chapters either. I was surprised by how much I came to love the character in the show, given how indifferent I was to her in the books. Actually, while reading, “can she just die already GET TO THE JAIME AND CERSEI AND TYRION PARTS’ crossed my mind a few times!

  31. gloriana232 says:

    I’m really enjoying your write-ups, Leigh. Thank you.

    I will admit that this particular time may be partly because of your comment of sympathy for Catelyn. I think it’s very interesting that over and over, Catelyn is often raised as the catalyst for the war, as if the participants had no choice but to war, and the war has been prolonged for no reason except the seizure of Tyrion … which, to me, has long ceased being the reason for this war. (Remember when there was still a possibility of peace between the North and King’s Landing, until Joffrey cut Ned Stark’s head off?) 

    Her release of Jaime Lannister is more questionable; I can’t really say I remember the book events perfectly, but I think in the show, Karstark wants Jaime executed for murdering one of his sons, so that’s at least partly the reason Catelyn releases him. 

    Also, Catelyn did end up brokering the agreement with Walder Frey … which Robb broke, not her. I found it a bit funny that both Robb and Edmure were so unhappy about marrying for political expediency. Catelyn, as a woman, would have known what it was like to marry for a purpose like that (in fact, like Cersei, or any other noblewoman). She was just lucky to marry into the Starks.

    In the books, I think she actually often gives sound and knowledgeable advice, as a noblewoman who then became the lady of a prestigious house. Ned, being Ned, would have brought her into his lordly confidence more than other husbands probably do. You can see how she and Ned brought up good kids and have such loyal people in their household. (If anything, one of her greatest personal flaws is her hatred for Jon Snow.) 
    One of the other great flaws of Catelyn’s I don’t seem to see a lot about (in my own experience, of course) is the one most of the Starks suffer from … trusting the wrong people. She trusted Littlefinger, and she trusted Lysa, not knowing how paranoid and unstable Lysa had become. 

    • georgia o'queef says:

      completely agree. compared to her son and husband, cat was downright suspicious. But she was only human and her hatred of Jon Snow, while vicious, was understandable within its context

      • Linley Lee says:

         I don’t think it was understandable actually, she’s basically blaming the victim.  It was awful and it made me hate her.

        • georgia o'queef says:

          He still had a home, training in reading, writing, swordplay, besties with his step-brother, siblings that adored him, and a father that clearly loved him.  How much did Cat really influence Jon Snow’s life? 

    • FoolishOwl says:

      She also distrusted Tyrion Lannister, the one Lannister who could have been trusted. Indeed, I have to wonder if the situation was manipulated so that the two of them, specifically, would hate each other.

    • AlexG55 says:

      In the books, Jaime kills Lord Karstark’s sons in battle.

  32. llazy8 says:

    Wasn’t Littlefinger s’posed to be at the wedding?   

    • gracchus says:

      The new Lord of Harrenhal is supposed to be in the Eyrie, arranging his own wedding to Catelyn’s nutty sister Lysa. As a Lannister loyalist his presence at the Red Wedding wouldn’t be welcome by anyone (even us — if anyone would survive that bloodbath, it would be him).

    • georgia o'queef says:

      Littlefinger sailed off to woo a bride of his own at the Eyrie.

  33. anansi133 says:

    The most gruesome, vivid memory I have about the book’s red wedding, was all those soldiers being burned alive. Simple enough to ambush the army’s leadership in the house, but annihilating an entire army took amazing luck, bad weather, lots of wine, and torches. I can see how the show would choose to low-budget that part, it isn’t essential, but I miss it all the same. 

    • Jim Saul says:

      Along those lines, they show couldn’t do justice to the horror that happened in Blackwater Bay. The battle was a great episode, but the book was a little more clear about the thousands upon thousands of people burning alive.

      • anansi133 says:

         Yeah, to my reckoning they told less than half the story of the Blackwater, Tyrion’s chain was brilliant- and made me glad I’d bothered with the book. Then when they shortchanged Dany’s ordeal in the puzzle prison, I figured they’d blown their whole special effects budget on the previous episode.

        • georgia o'queef says:

          The House of the Undying is one of my only big disappointments with the show.  But the show definitely doesn’t place any value on prophecy the way the books do.

  34. Peter says:

    I’d heard the phrase “Red Wedding” as being a big one coming this year, although I didn’t know which wedding it was (I wondered if it might be Joffrey’s), and I’d heard SOMETHING bad would happen to Robb (possibly but not necessarily his death)… and not being a musically inclined person, I couldn’t recognize the song when it played, so the surprise for me was just seconds before the first stabbing when I thought, “Oh, man, he’s going to kill Robb’s wife!”).

    But then the deaths didn’t stop there. 

    Wow.  Messed up.  And mom killing Frey’s wife, essentially out of spite (and to honor her vow, I suppose, but I’m morally okay with breaking vows that involve pointless murders)…

    And then the realization…


    I mean, Dany’s still too far a way to be a viable factor, and until Joffrey dies (my hope, not any book-gained knowledge) I can’t root for the Lannisters… and… that’s pretty much it, there are no other major armies actually in conflict for the throne (the undead and wildlings and the water people strike me either as minor skirmishes/raders or looming threats that will eventually be the big plot but probably not until a lot more things are settled)

    So that’s it, in this war, I root for Joffrey or Stannis. :P

    Ah well.  I can still enjoy my favorite characters… luckily none of them died, at least not in this episode.

    • Roose_Bolton says:

      Root for Bolton! Join the cool kids!

      • Peter says:

        Not until he adopts at least one puppy.

        (I actually did root for him a little, up until the betrayal, but part of that was the “no drinking” thing, since it’s a characteristic we share)

        • Brainspore says:

          The awesomest character is a drunken lecher. Just sayin’.

          • georgia o'queef says:

            the awesomeest character is rickon. ofc.

          • Brainspore says:

            Who did you THINK I was talking about?

          • nachoproblem says:

            Close, but not quite. It’s actually Hodor.

          • Brainspore says:

            @boingboing-e69219486d79f823e8048101bb844acf:disqus : Hodor’s character was just a blatant attempt to win over Pokémon fans.

          • Peter says:

            True, but that doesn’t mean that all drunks are going to be awesome, or that someone who doesn’t drink can’t be awesome.

            (And I though I was the only one who noticed Arya’s drunken lechery!)

        • Jim Saul says:

          You’re in luck! The Boltons may be vicious to humans, but they are renowned for loving their dogs.

        • Luther Blissett says:

          Nonono! Don’t! Say! That! I haven’t read the books, but a quick check on real world history would imply that Bran and Rickon get caught (and silently disposed), and Edmure  will be King for a while, before being killed by another King arriving from the Mainland. His corpse would be publicly shown in a pub called The New Wake.*And I, for one, DON’T want to see this.*Otherwise, of course, I welcome our new Overlords.

      • Marijn Lems says:

        Yeah. Not bloody likely mate.

    • Nothing wrong with supporting Stannis! Sure, he’s rigid and inflexible towards morality and duty, and this sometimes blinds him, but he’s aware of this weakness which is why he chose a trustworthy advisor in Davos to keep him on the straight and narrow. He may not be the king Westeros wants, but he probably is the one they deserve.

      • nachoproblem says:

        There is one very important thing wrong with supporting Stannis: it’s no fun.

        • If Stannis were king, his reign would be dull and boring.

          Hey, he’s got my vote!

          • Camp Freddie says:

            His reign would be short and bloody. At least this is what Varys says to Tyrion when he asks why Varys helps defend King’s Landing from Stannis’ attack.
            He’s moral, unbending man who fervently believes in a foreign god. He’s not going to live and let live in the moral cesspool of the Westeros.

        • MarkTemporis says:

          Think of it as supporting Melisandre. That chick’s all kinds of fun; especially if blood rites, penis leeches, and snatch demons are your idea of fun — and why wouldn’t they be? 

      • TrollyMcTrollington says:

         He’s also the only one (of the kings anyway) who knows who the real enemy is, and acts on it.

  35. Dcoronata says:

    You may not like Arya’s book character very much but her chapters in books 4 and 5 are the best in the entire series.

    • nowimnothing says:

      Yeah I think that changes her arc tremendously from the stereotype Leigh outlined above.

    • gellfex says:

      Do watch the spoilers!  Those who haven’t read are assuming after the Red Wedding that no character is safe, you just assured them of Arya.

      • nowimnothing says:

        Just because a character is alive in latter books, does not make them ‘safe’. Sorry but even given Martin’s penchant for killing characters, that is a pretty minor thing to be worried about.

        • Dcoronata says:

          Spoiler (not really, we’ve already seen one…) alert- you can kill a character, but you can always bring them back.

      • Dcoronata says:

        I agree, and I am sorry if I caused anyone spoiler-fatigue.

        So here’s another- even though she has very few chapters, they are again (I think) the absolute best writing that GRRM did in the entire series.

        It isn’t just the character arc, its the style and the descriptions.

  36. Scurra says:

    Here in the UK, the BBC have just finished a rerun of I, Claudius – which was a lovely reminder of what Martin is doing in GoT that people keep forgetting: he’s doing history, not “fantasy” (dragons aside), and history doesn’t have that nice narrative flow that we tend to embrace more easily.  I think that’s why the books have kept their following through Martin’s erratic schedule. (Also, it’s nice to have something that doesn’t slavishly adhere to the wretched Hero’s Journey for a change.)

    The only innovative thing here is that the books and adaptation are prepared to show stuff which previously was perhaps only implied – to take the Claudius example, I can’t imagine Messilina’s sex competition would have remained entirely behind closed doors these days!  Go back and read some history books and practically nothing in GoT will shock you…

    • Jim Saul says:

      “Wretched Hero’s Journey” might be a nice way to label the GRRM story technique.

    • gellfex says:

      I read far more historical novels than fantasy, and it seem to me GRRM is reluctantly throwing in the magic just to remain in the genre that has been kind to him. It really doesn’t affect the plot significantly very often at all.  Eliminate the secondary effect of walkers driving the wildings to the wall, and there’s almost none.

      • nowimnothing says:

        While based on real history I would say magic is integrated pretty well. We are still dealing with a world where magic has not been very apparent for hundreds of years. The birth of the dragons and the coming of winter has resulted in the reappearance of magic everywhere. From the Red God to the House of the Undying to Bran.

    • Luther Blissett says:

       Actually, your comment is most sensible. However, “fictional history with dragons, giants, and ice zombies” is still pretty much “fantasy”. I remember distinctly that a lot of Marion Zimmer-Bradley’s Books are also very loosely based on a historical framework, and are also developing like history. Still, It’s fantasy because of the supernatural stuff included. And she is never that much interested in politics, but more in the character development (as in Bildungsroman).

      Heading over to wikipedia, checking Richard III. again. In several languages, to get more details. Oh my, oh my, I don’t like this at all.

  37. alex w says:

    So does Mark still show his daughter a ‘safe’ version of GoT? This episode’s going to be real short…

  38. alex w says:

    Anyone else wondering if Mark still shows his daughter edited episodes of GoT? I think the safe version of this one runs for about ten minutes…

  39. g0dai says:

    Forgive me if this has already been said here, but I’ve been surprised at all the bloggers and authors out there representing fans of the books as they collectively pat themselves on the back for not spoiling the events of this episode.

    Give me a break!  I came across so many people making underhanded references to the Red Wedding during season one that I gave up on comment forums.  Sure, the details weren’t spoiled – but I saw enough comments along the lines of, “you think this is cool?  Wait until the Red Wedding…” that when it happened, I actually thought to myself, “oh, this must be that Red Wedding thing finally.”

    Hell, even in this comment forum, there are people stepping up not to spoil all the good stuff yet to come.  I’m a bit shocked that there aren’t more overt references to the events’ names, so that the commenters can both praise themselves for keeping their mouths shut and satiate their desire to ruin the experience for those they deem haven’t earned the right to enjoy it firsthand because they haven’t read the books.

    • Jim Saul says:

      Welcome to the internet. As a general rule of thumb, it’s a less useful venue for avoiding information than for finding it.

      The books are worth reading. You should get started on them before the show ruins all the surprises for you.

    • nachoproblem says:


      Some other stuff is going to happen.

  40. pjcamp says:

    I figured it was GRRM throwing up his hands and saying “I’ve got way too many characters here.”

    But maybe that’s just me.

    • FoolishOwl says:

       My favorite social media reaction was, “Why can’t George R. R. Martin use Twitter? Because he killed all 140 characters.”

  41. FoolishOwl says:

    I started reading A Song of Ice and Fire a few years ago, probably indirectly influenced by the popularity of the show. For some reason, I gave up in the middle of the fourth book, about a year ago. Two months ago, I started over with the fourth book, and I was enjoying it immensely, then found out there was a fifth, which I just finished a few weeks ago.

    Initially, I’d read fan reactions to the Red Wedding, and felt a bit annoyed with the reaction. It’s shocking — but once it happens, how can you not see how everything was leading to it? And it was in a book published thirteen years ago.

    But then it occurred to me that the reason I’d given up on the fourth book, the first time I’d read it, was that I read it immediately after finishing the third, and I was reading the fourth as largely an account of the aftermath of the Red Wedding — that is, I was strongly affected by the Red Wedding, enough to make me stop reading after my inertia wore off.

    However, it made a difference, to take a break, and start the fourth book fresh. Not to spoil anything, but Martin really is an excellent storyteller, and there’s lots more story.

    • georgia o'queef says:

      AFFC was pretty universally disliked, and I think your POV (as a denouement to the Red Wedding and aftermath) is a good explanation of why.

      FWIW i really like AFFC, probably my favourite after ASOS.

  42. penguinchris says:

    I was surprised, but not shocked. I have found the deceased characters’ story the least interesting part of seasons 2 and 3 (along with Theon’s story), and I never liked Robb or Catelyn.

    In fact while the Starks are clearly set up as the archetypal heroes, that label only genuinely applies to Ned and Arya (probably Bran too, but he has yet to really do anything). The other Starks are noble compared to the other families, and are sometimes sympathetic and/or strong characters (particularly Sansa and Catelyn), but they are not likable (to me), including Jon Snow.

    It’s terrible, but I think I mainly feel relief after this. It got rid of some characters I don’t really like (though not in the way one doesn’t like Joffrey, obviously) and will now allow the main plot to radically move forward (it was starting to get a bit stale, IMO). And it will obviously help Arya become more awesome – pretty obvious that she needs to remain separated from her family (or get separated again, if this hadn’t happened) for her story to advance.

    Now that this storyline is out of the way, think of how much more time can be devoted to characters I actually like! Of course, I fully expect that new stuff will fill the void as well.

  43. Colin Rosenthal says:

    Ok, I know this episode was shocking, but I’m still worried about poor old Theon who’s now spent several weeks having his manparts removed off-camera.

  44. J Scott Peter says:

    Are you deliberately trying to have an incorrect opinion about everything? I work in video games too, but I have somehow managed to preserve my taste and insight.

    Daario’s portrayal is great! He’s arrogant, but honest, and uses his bravado (so far in the series) in the service of justice. And I think he is physically very appealing, as well as classically swashbuckling (speaking as a straight male, for what it’s worth). How are we “meant” to not like him???

    Also, you didn’t like Arya in the book? Dafuq??? She is not anything like the cliched videogame heroine (Lara Croft and all her successors), which is essentially a male badass personality transplanted into a hyper-feminine body.  Yes, she’s fierce and independent, but also vulnerable, awkward, and often scared. If anything, she’s similar to Hermione. And the show’s portrayal of her is even more strong and confident than the book’s. Which plunges your whole analysis even further into wtf-land.

  45. TrollyMcTrollington says:

    Jon got away without his going away present from Yggritte.    A portent of another change down the line at their next meeting?

  46. Mochabean says:

    Many thanks for a thoughtful review. I knew what was coming, multiple reads of the books, yada yada yada and I was still devastated.  The show handled the RW so damn well.  Agree  that the actors (particularly those playing Cat and Arya) have given those characters more nuance, but I also think that is the nature of the medium.  
    The characters on this show (and in the books) are human — flawed, often stupid, complicated, prickly, and above all, interesting.  (As noted by Roose_Bolton, leech-lover and knuckle purveyor extraordinaire) So while I agree with you that book-Arya is more conventionally “likable”  for precisely the reasons you identify (and I share your discomfort with that trope) I think both book and show Arya present depth and complications that subverts those expectations.  Yeah, Arya is “feisty” “plucky” and above-all, not “girly” but she is getting closer and closer to the flip side of the Ramsey Snow/Bolton coin.  And watching that process is really disturbing, because we are rooting for her.

  47. nowimnothing says:

    Cat’s brother was taken off to the bedding ceremony, her uncle, the Blackfish went out to pee. I expect they may spend just a short amount of time next episode wrapping those up.

    edit: I don’t mean wrapping them up like in body bags :), just that they left it up in the air whether they lived or not.

    • Garrett Eaton says:

      Ah right, now I remember Blackfish saying he was going to find a tree to piss on. I don’t see how Frey could let them live… seems too dangerous!

      • nowimnothing says:

        Well Edmure’s marriage to his daughter gives him ties to Riverrun so it would make sense to keep him alive at least until he can be sure he knocked her up. Maybe that is part of the deal he made with Tywin, getting control of Riverrun. It would be quite a step up from the Twins.

        (I have read the books but I don’t remember anything about this, so no spoilers, just speculation, I promise.)

  48. FrankenPC . says:

    Have NOT read the books…  My take away from the GoT on HBO so far is this:  In a world where corruption and greed reign supreme, idealism is an incredibly foolish behavior (unless you own fire breathing dragons).  The Stark’s were fools and they paid the price.  Also, the winter IS coming.  And all this parry, dodge, lunge behavior as the game of thrones plays out will be for naught.  So, a world at war with a few less Stark’s makes no difference.  Brilliant move by GRRM.

  49. MarkCyst says:

    It’s been said that A Song of Ice and Fire is fantasy for those who don’t read fantasy, and as evidenced by The Red Wedding, George RR Martin is not a conventional author.  Some people might be put off by this approach to story telling, however it’s a much more honest way of writing than adhering to a predictable storyline just to appeal to a reader’s (or in this case, the viewer) expectations.  

    Indeed, the Red Wedding, along with the wars of ascension being fought over the throne of Westeros are themselves inspired by historical incidents.  Rarely are there a fairy tale endings in real life, that’s just the stuff of fantasy, which is precisely why the series differentiates itself so well from others.  In a way, it’s almost more like historical fiction, which makes the fantasy elements all the more intriguing (they aren’t an overwhelming aspect, and Martin writes sparingly of them, this subtle approach only serves to enhance their impact and make them much more shocking and powerful than if they were an everyday occurrence).  At least thats my impression.  

    This is a very interesting point in the story, we’re not quite through some of the other more startling events that occur in A Storm of Swords, yet the season finale is at hand.  There is no way the season can end along with the book, given there is just so much ground to cover.  I suppose a tremendous abridgment could occur, however I seriously doubt that it will.   Alas, the next book will open up the world even further, it’s going to be interesting to see how they handle so many new threads to the storyline…

    • nowimnothing says:

      They split book 3 into 2 seasons. I am very glad they did because like you said there is a lot left to cover.

  50. liliandarmono says:

    ‘It’s new for TV, too’. HELLO? You write for BoingBoing and not have watched anything Joss Whedon made for TV???

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