Okay, so I don’t want to spoil anything for anybody. If you haven’t seen the last two episodes of Game of Thrones, Season Three, please stop reading right now. Once you’ve watched them, then you can come back and read this article, but I can’t articulate my feelings without massive spoilers.
Everyone still here saw the episodes? Or doesn’t care if I spoil them? Good. Let’s get on with it.
The Red Wedding
So episode 9 gave us one of the most horrifying scenes in the whole A Song of Ice and Fire story – the Red Wedding. When I read A Storm of Swords for the first time, this sequence just made my jaw drop, and I had to pause and digest what’d just happened. I think a Twitter comment I saw summed it up nicely, saying something to the tune of, “Remember when your geeky friend was depressed 13 years ago? Now you know why.”
If you’re still reading, and you haven’t read the books, and you don’t mind spoilers (you odd person, you), the Red Wedding is the wedding between Edmure Tully & Roslyn Frey. At the wedding, despite the fact that they’re protected by the sacred laws of hospitality, Robb Stark, Catelyn Stark, and most of the Stark bannermen are murdered by Roose Bolton, Bolton’s men, and Walder Frey’s men. The ostensible reason is the slight by Robb Stark against Walder Frey. Stark had sworn an oath to marry one of Frey’s daughters, and he broke it when he married Jeyne Westerling (or Talisa, if you’re only watching the TV show.) It’s clear from the story, however, that Walder Frey would never have been so bold as to make a move like this on his own. Without the assurance of the Lannisters’ protecting him, he would likely have borne his insult to his grave.
The TV version upped the ante, having Robb Stark’s wife, Talisa (who is much more interesting and well fleshed-out than Jeyne Westerling, as well as pregnant with Robb’s child) being murdered as well. And it’s one thing to love these characters in the book and to lose them. But the actors in the show all did a marvelous job, so it was doubly hard to watch them go through it all. Richard Madden, who played Robb Stark, said of shooting the death scenes, “Honestly, it was horrible.” For me, one of the hardest moments was the awful sobbing of Catelyn Stark when Roose Bolton kills her son. Her throat being slit is almost merciful at that moment.
It was amazing to watch the Twitterverse explode after the scene aired. A whole new group of fans got to hate at George R. R. Martin. A lot of the comments I read said, “I’m done! Fuck Game of Thrones!” I’ve read interviews with Martin where he said the same thing happened when people read the book. But a lot of people who stopped reading ending up returning to the series later. I’m sure that’ll happen with the TV show. My feelings were summed up by my husband, Steve. He hasn’t read the books and is watching the show, discovering everything for the first time. I asked him about whether he was okay to keep watching the series. “Are you kidding?” he asked. “I can’t wait to see how these assholes all die.”
I think that’s the best reason to keep reading, in a way. Whatever end we come to, it has to be equal to the tragedies we’ve faced along the way. I don’t think we can expect a completely happy ending, but we can hope for something good to come out at the end. Or we can expect to really hate George R. R. Martin. For me, I won’t stop reading until I know which it is.
Oh, if you want to “enjoy” a little schadenfreude, there are some videos out there of people being filmed reacting to the Red Wedding scene. They range from shock, to anger, to terror. It’s almost as hard to watch as the Wedding itself.
Some rough moments and great moments in episode 10, which I just finished watching a few minutes ago as of this writing. I had always wondered, since none of our narrative characters saw it, whether they’d really mounted Grey Wind’s head on Robb Stark’s headless body. Part of me hoped that was some repellant rumor…but apparently it really happened, as we got to see it on film. Yeesh!
One scene that I felt acted like a great close to Arya’s arc for the season was her murdering a man who was talking about Catelyn’s death and the making of the Robb/Grey Wind figure. It show that she’s no longer a child able to bear injury silently, and you can see her pondering the coin that Jaqen H’ghar gave her. We know, of course, that she has a path to follow, and this feels like her first real steps on it.
We know that more fallout must be on the way, but we’re still waiting for it.
A lot of people have said that A Song of Ice and Fire is all about bad choices. The Red Wedding certainly is: Robb Stark married for love, and he paid for insulting Walder Frey. Walder Frey made a decision to offer hospitality to Robb Stark and murder him anyway, and it seems likely some terrible fate will come to him because of this. In the books, it’s stated that more Freys have died since the Red Wedding (and because of it) than had died in the whole War of the Five Kings. Bad choices.
What did you think about The Red Wedding, either in the show, or in the books? Did it make you stop reading or watching? Is no one safe in this dang series? Let us all know.