Sunday, June 2, 2013

Game of Thrones Review: "The Rains of Castamere"

The title of the 9th episode of the 3rd season of Game of Thrones is in reference to a victory song of House Lannister. Cersei explains the story behind the song in the 8th episode to Margaery Tyrell. It is sung as a reminder to the fate that awaits any who cross Tywin Lannister and his house.

Yes now the rains weep o'er his hall,
and not a soul to hear.

Warning: Spoilers Beyond this Point

As someone who has not read the books I was in utter shock at the major event occurring in this episode. I knew something big was coming; as it seems to be a recurring theme for the 9th episodes.  I have felt for a while though, that Robb Stark was doomed. In a world where honor is held in such high regard, there was no way he would make it out unscathed. The new deal made with Walder Frey seemed to simple and easy for it to be true, but I didn't expect the mass murder of so many beloved characters at once.  

At first, I thought the talk between Robb and Talisa was a little cheesy, but I obviously didn't see what was coming next and the importance of that conversation.  The scene following this is one of utter brutality. After the bedding ceremony begins and the doors close, and "The Rains of Castamere" is played to signal the bloodbath. It is evident that Catelyn recognizes the song and realizes something is up. She pulls back Roose Bolton's sleeve to reveal chainmail, but it is too late for her to save herself or her family.

 Talisa is stabbed several times in the stomach, killing her and of course her child, while several arrows are shot down into Robb. Catelyn is struck by one.  The scene then cuts outside where Arya is attempting to get into the castle.  On her way, she hears Robb's wolf howling. As she heads towards its cage to free it, soldiers come out and kill the dire wolf as well; another painful sight.

Inside again, Catelyn grabs Walder Frey's wife and threatens to slit her throat if the bloodshed is not stopped. Walder doesn't seem to care and simply says, "I'll find another." Roose walks up to Robb and utters "The Lannisters give their regards," and stabs him in the stomach with his dagger. Catelyn lives up to her promise and kills Frey's wife and let's out a long scream in disgust as a Frey guard slits her throat.  This description really doesn't do the scene justice. It was several minutes of pure chaos, one blow after another, and a story arc put to rest.

Check out the full scene below.

So what does all of this mean for the overall story?  Well, it is clear that the Lannisters have won the war with the help of Walder Frey and House Bolton.  We are now left with five Stark's in total (including Jon Snow).  All of which are very young, and hold little power to change their current situation for the mean time.  We saw a little more into their story arcs, with the exception of Sansa in this episode, even though that is a little hard to focus on after the events at the Red Wedding.

Let's backtrack in the episode. Jon Snow has been traveling along with a few wildlings this season, which has been a very slow story arc, but was kicked into high gear after he is asked to kill an innocent man to prove he isn't a crow.  His honorable conscious keeps him from going through with it, which starts a brawl between him and the wildlings.  He is able to kill Orell, the warg during the fray. As Orell is run through with Jon's sword, he jumps into the eagles body who then attacks Jon once again, scratching his face.

All of this goes on near a northern fort, where Bran and his crew are staying, proving that Jojen's visions were correct, in that Jon is with the wildlings. Hodor became frantic due to a storm brewing in the area. Bran attempts to calm Hodor down to avoid being heard by the wildlings outside, but it was to no avail. Suddenly, Bran's eyes rolled back in his head as he warged into Hodor, putting him to sleep, keeping the group hidden. This is a talent that we have not seen from any other character thus far; the ability to warg into other humans.

After the battle has ended Jon rides off, surprisingly, without Ygritte.  Bran decides it is time to leave his brother Rickon and Osha to journey North of the wall to find the three eyed crow. Yet again, the Stark family becomes further separated from each other. No two Starks are with one another any longer.

We were given a short scene in Daenerys' story arc in Yunkai. Jorah, Grey Worm, and the newly aquired Daario make their way into the slave city to free the slaves. The scene is gritty and action packed, and even while it was short, it was very satisfying.  After the first round of guards were dealt with, more come from all sides, but somehow this led to the freeing of the Yunkai slaves as it wasn't shown. Perhaps that will be shown in later episodes. It seems like Dany has made a reputation for herself now as a liberator of slaves, and her army grows larger and larger by the episode. How long will it be until she makes her way to Westeros for her chance at the Iron Throne? Only time will tell.

So what will we see in next weeks season finale?  I'm not sure how the story will move forward after the Red Wedding, and how they will approach wrapping that up further. Perhaps they will go ahead and show Joffrey's wedding, but they will probably save that for season four. We'll see next week, and then we'll have an entire year to discuss.  Here's to hoping they can follow up this episode and end the season with a bang. I've linked the preview for the season finale below.

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