If you have read A Storm of Swords, this post is spoiler-free. Pretty much.
If you have not read the book and care about spoilers, back away now. For real, back away now.
By this point in the week (Wednesday evening), I’m usually ready to re-watch the most recent episode of Game of Thrones to gear up for the new one on Sunday. You’d think that since the 70-minute finale airs this coming Sunday, I’d be particularly excited about this small ritual, or maybe even re-watching the whole season. But no.
The episode was called “The Rains of Castamere.” We all saw it coming. RW. A—not the—moment that changes everything, or at least lots of things. Play the song below to add atmosphere to the rest of the post.
HBO’s portrayal was as brutal as it needed to be to stay true to Martin’s original tale, but we’re not surprised HBO carried off brutality, are we?
Michelle Fairley did her finest work of the season, reminding us that it is from Catelyn’s point of view that all the carnage takes place. I keep wanting to use variants of the word “brutal” to describe it because that word just seems to be the best fit, but I’m trying to remember my synonyms and avoid redundancy.
Even though both my husband and I have read the book, we were both left stunned and nauseated by the way everything unfolded.
As the events built to the climax-we-knew-was-coming, we were antsy. Ready to feel . . . ALL the feelings.
A few parts of the episode even dared to be light-hearted and victorious. There were badass heroics by Ser Jorah, Daario “King-of-My-Heart” Naharis, and Grey Worm, my heart’s prince. So we waited, willing our denial to change the course of events.
So like I said, some other stuff happens, and it was all very well done. Daario Naharis, Grey Worm, and Mormont took the city for Dany!
Bran and Rickon split up, which was surprisingly emotional for me given that I generally nod off during Bran chapters. Not to mention the fact that last night was the first time I remember hearing Rickon speak in forever. It was also the first time I noticed how adorable the kid is, which probably explains why I got teary-eyed.
Jon Snow and the Wildlings did some stuff. Jon failed them and took off on a horse. Ygritte looked disappointed and didn’t even bother telling Jon he knows nothing. Bran saw Jon through the eyes of Summer, his direwolf. So close and yet so far away.
Arya and the Hound were a lovably-mismatched duo, almost as lovably-mismatched as Brienne and Jaime, who deserve a spin-off.
But we all knew why we were there, glued to our screens, neglecting our snacks.
And it begins. Everyone arrives at the Twins. Robb valiantly apologizes to Walder Frey and his array of daughters and granddaughters. Robb’s pregnant wife, called Talisa in the show, is the subject of some sexually-harassing language from Frey’s mean old mouth.
Then the festivities start. It’s a nice wedding. Roose Bolton makes a joke to Catelyn about Frey women, but Edmure’s bride turns out to be super hot, distractingly so. The bedding happens. The feast carries on.
Until the guards lock the doors. “The Rains of Castamere” begins to play. Catelyn sees that it’s about to get real.
Arya and the Hound try to get in, but the guard says the feast is over, even though everyone outside can hear the music playing.
The portrayal of the horror show/bloodbath does justice to the book; it somehow ups the stakes by doing something unspeakably horrible to Talisa (who, in the book, is neither called Talisa nor at the Twins) and there are no words.
Catelyn swears if Frey lets Robb go, the Starks will take no vengeance. Frey doesn’t. It’s over. It happened. Cue silence while the credits roll.
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