Few moments in television history have evoked such a strong rush of emotion from me. “Game of Thrones” has had many of these moments for myself and fans the world over. From the time Lord Eddard Stark lost his head two years ago, it was known that this show does not play by the rules, and any beloved character is fair game. “The Rains of Castamere” will be remembered as a defining moment for this show’s legacy. And the Red Wedding will live on in people’s memories for years to come.
Approaching the Twins, Robb Stark plans his next strategic move. He asks his mother’s advice on attacking Casterly Rock. Though they both acknowledge the great risk involved, she gives her blessing.
In the Riverlands, Arya and the Hound continue toward the Twins. They meet an old man with a busted cart and the Hound nearly kills him before Arya intervenes. Pleading for the man’s life, she convinces Clegane to spare him, and steal his cart. This show seems keen on pairing up as many unlikely couples as possible for implausible road trips. But Arya is always a joy to watch, and the frightening Clegane seems to bring out her inner badass.
“The wine will flow red. The music will play loud. And we’ll put this mess behind us.”
South of the Wall, Jon Snow and the Wildlings approach a horse farm run by an old man. The Wildlings ready for attack, but Jon signals a warning, saving the man’s life for the time being. Ygritte is less than impressed at his inability to commit to the cause. Not far away, Bran Stark and his companions take shelter from a storm in an old tower. The horse farmer soon appears, chased by the Wildlings. Hodor, afraid of the thunder won’t shut up, and Bran uses his warging ability to enter the giant’s mind and calm him. Soon after, Jon is ordered to kill the horse farmer but refuses, sparking a fight with his companions. Bran, warging into his nearby Direwolf, aids his brother’s escape. He then sends off Osha with his young brother, Rickon, to spare them the danger of traveling North of the Wall.
North of the Wall, Sam continues toward Castle Black with Gilly. Along the way, he reveals his knowledge of the Night Fort, an abandoned castle along the Wall. He plans for them to cross into the South there. She declares him a wizard for obtaining such knowledge from “looking at marks on paper”. These two are still fun to watch, but after seeing Sam down a White Walker, this all seems a bit mundane.
Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys plans her attack of Yunkai. Her newest servant, Daario tells her of a back entrance to the city that he can use without suspicion. After discussing it with Jorah, and the Unsullied commander, Grey Worm, the plan moves forward. Daario kills the guards within, and signals Jorah and Grey Worm to follow. They are soon ambushed by a number of Yunkai’s slave soldiers. After defeating the men, a second wave appears. Soon after, Jorah, Grey Worm, and Daario return to Dany, telling her the slave soldiers surrendered. The city is hers.
“Show them how it feels to lose what they love.”
At the Twins, Robb appears before Walder Frey and begs forgiveness for breaking his vow (to marry a Frey girl). Walder is unmoved, and disrespects both Robb and his new bride before digressing. He announces that the wedding will take place that night and all will be forgiven. Water under his bridge, so to speak. The Wedding is lovely and classy. Edmure is delighted to see his new wife is Frey’s prettiest daughter, and the two are sealed before a crowd of Frey and Stark guests.
At the wedding feast, Frey asks Robb to lead the tradition of “bedding” the bride and groom. On his command, Edmure and his wife are carried away to their bedchambers. Soon after, the hall doors are shut and there is a shift in the mood, as the band begins to play “The Rains of Castamere”, a Lannister victory song.
Only Catelyn Stark seems to notice the song choice and becomes visibly worried. Sitting with Lord Bolton, she notices chain mail beneath his clothes; he merely smirks (this really friggin’ smug bastard smirk too). Walder Frey stands and makes a short speech. On that note, Robb’s wife Talisa is stabbed repeatedly, right in the stomach/fetus. From there, it’s a massacre, Frey’s men begin killing Stark men, and both Robb and Catelyn are shot by archers.
“The Lannisters send their regards.”
In the hall, Robb weeps over his Queen’s body while Catelyn snatches Walder’s wife and holds her at knife point. She demands Robb be allowed to leave in exchange for the girl’s life. Walder is again unmoved, and Lord Bolton coldly stabs his King, killing him. Catelyn screams, and slits the Lady Frey’s throat, before soon having her own throat slit.
This is episode is so wrong but it does everything so right. The action is great, and not as brief as usual. All the young actors are terrific, and really shine with some extensive and emotional scenes. After a couple slow weeks it’s great to see some real action and real character development take place. Hopefully the finale will bring the same quality and let the season end on a high note.
I won’t lie and say that the gruesome finale is entertaining or exciting. It’s not meant to be. This episode is not for fun. It’s a brutal, tragic, blow to your emotional core. And that is just what the author wanted when he wrote it. The killing isn’t swift and painless; it’s slow and crushing. It’s gory and unnerving. You feel every slice and stab, and just want it to end. And the silent credit sequence just leaves you just enough time to still completely disbelieve what you just saw.
Like Ned Stark’s beheading, the Red Wedding breaks all the rules and sends the plot into chaos. This episode acts as one final warning to the viewers. This is your last chance to stop watching. If you make it through the Red Wedding, there’s no turning back. You must see “Game of Thrones” to its finish.