Game of Thones: “The Rains of Castamere” (ep. 3.9) Episode Recap
**full spoilers for Season 3, Episode 9 “Second Son” below**
I don’t really need to talk much about it, because you know what happened here…but I will anyway.
Grim silence was the best – and perhaps only – thing to play over this episode’s closing credits. “The Rains of Castamere” began with some heavy tension as Robb went over the plan to take Casterly Rock with his mother, tension that only grew when they made their way to Frey’s keep. Once the old lecher made his disgusting comments and the festivities began, you almost thought for a fleeting moment that everything might work out. Everyone seemed jovial, and happy, and those idyllic moments between Robb and Talisa are always just perfect. In fact, much of the episode was particularly light, with chipper little moments that brought some levity, even calmness to what has otherwise been a crazy clustercuss of a season three for the show. My favorite of those lighter moments was the genuine look of terror on Edmure’s face for the entire first half or so until he saw that *gasp* Roslin Frey was actually quite pretty.
Yet unfortunately, the Red Wedding still happened. Orchestrated between Lord Bolton, the Lannisters, and Walder Frey, several of the few remaining Starks are now dead. Catelyn, Robb, Talisa, and their unborn baby were slaughtered while defenseless, along with a couple thousand bannermen and Robb’s direwolf, Grey Wind. Having Robb crawl over to Talisa’s bleeding and dying body was just devastating. Their relationship has been the most enjoyable one for me to watch in the whole series, imbued with a very natural chemistry. To see it all end mere moments after they cutely decided to name their baby Eddard Stark was just…an abomination. When Robb stood in his final moments, only to be shanked by Bolton, how can you describe the look on his face? Shock? Horror? Confusion?
Catelyn, in her final moments, was utterly freaking out and rightfully so. She’s never been the type to take anything quietly, this last time even going so far as to kill Frey’s silent wife. A great final performance by Michelle Fairley, that’s for sure.
As awful as it was to see some of our favorite characters die, what was even worse was how the murders took place. The massacre at the Red Wedding violates a sacred custom known as the Guest Right, which if I remember correctly, is actually similar to ancient Greek customs of hospitality. Basically, if you take someone into your home and serve them food, neither party can harm the other. To violate this tradition will supposedly incur the wrath of the Old Gods and the New, but perhaps not that crazy Red God – who knows. What I DO know is that this massacre effectively makes House Frey utter trash, House Lannister full of conniving scumbags (like we didn’t already know that…), and Lord Bolton is basically worse than Benedict Arnold and Cassius combined.
And how terrible was it to see Arya minutes away from reunion with the most central people of her family only to arrive just as the massacre was taking place? So close to salvation yet suddenly forced to remain in the custody of somebody on her infamous death list. I’ve thought much of Arya’s story this season was a bit weak, but things have changed entirely for her. Her remaining siblings are scattered and in danger. There is no more safe haven for any Stark. What can she do? Where can she go? Time will tell.
The Bran and Rickon party has been effectively dissolved, with Osha taking Rickon, and Bran continuing on to the Wall with the Reed siblings and Hodor. Seeing them so close to Jon Snow was beyond tantalizing. More and more, Game of Thrones seems to be about how divided and destroyed the Starks are. To have Bran and Rickon so close to Jon and then Arya so close to Robb and Catelyn just makes me anxious knowing that they are all now more scattered or dead than they ever have been before. Bran’s new power sure does seem cool, and perhaps it makes me insensitive, but I can’t help but wonder if Hodor’s mental capacity has something to do with it? Regardless, if Bran can enter the mind of a human, who knows how many others he can control like that?
We can’t forget about Jon Snow! In this Stark-centric episode (sans-Sansa), he still counts! He seems to be getting a bit sick of his undercover gig, being unable to kill the horse breeder that supplies the Night’s Watch and effectively giving himself away to the suspicious warg wildling and Red Beard – who apparently is Tormund….NOT Mance Rayder. Why did I think that was Mance? Anyway, Jon wasn’t very likable in this episode. For some reason it’s okay to break one oath and have sex with Ygritte but not okay to break the oath to kill a random horse breeder? Don’t get me wrong, I think anybody would have an easier time having sex with her rather than beheading some dirty bald guy, but STILL. To top it all off, he abandons Ygritte. In addition to my favorite couple on the show being murdered in this episode, now Jon had to go ruining my second favorite couple. Oh well. At least there’s still my third favorite couple:
Despite the fact that Daenerys’s story felt like a bit of an afterthought amidst more pressing matters, for the first time in half of a season, things actually got interesting. Things were set in motion to take Yunkai. Daario’s plan was to lead Jorah and the top Unsullied through the back gate of the city, killing guards along the way, until they could open the front gate. The plan included a really great fight scene:
Lastly, I can’t help but wonder what might happen in the aftermath of the Red Wedding. Does this mean that the war is effectively over? What does Robb’s death mean for Stannis? What’s next for Tyrion and Sansa? What is the next step for Melisandre’s spell? If you remember, it spelt the death of Robb, Beylon Greyjoy, and Joffrey. And what is Edmure going to make of his sister being murdered, you say?