In addition to being a comedian and an actor, Jeff Garlin is also the host of the podcast By The Way, In Conversation With Jeff Garlin. In an unexpected turn of events, a conversation with Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan about TV production values morphed into Garlin going off on the Red Wedding, specifically how <cryptic> the scene was altered from the book to do a certain thing to a certain female character </cryptic>.
It’s an interesting read. Unmarked spoilers for season three of Game of Thrones are behind the cut, as is some bleeped-out cursing, but if you watch Game of Thrones you should be able to handle that.
First, for a bit of context: Michelle MacLaren, who directed the two episodes preceding gore-fest “The Rains of Castamere,” was in the audience. Quote is bolded for emphasis.
“Yeah, I’m not gonna watch it anymore, though. I’m sorry. Don’t get me started. It pissed me off. I loved that show up until the second to the last episode. It made me angry … It’s an amazing production, but I’m still not gonna watch it.
I don’t trust them anymore. I don’t trust the Game of Thrones people. (To Gilligan:) By the way, kill Walter White. You’ve already done it maybe. Do what you want, but don’t stab a pregnant woman in the stomach. That’s all I ask of you. Am I wrong?! A character who doesn’t die in the books, not only she does she die, but brutally?
(To MacLaren:) You didn’t direct that episode, did you? (MacLaren: No, I didn’t.) Will you go back and tell them how upset I am that a character who didn’t die … ’cause I don’t mind the other characters dying — they died in the books. Why not? But a pregnant lady? Stabbed in the stomach? F*** you! That made me nuts. That was the most violent thing I’d ever seen … I saw Drive — that was way more violent than anything I saw in Drive. That made me nuts! F*** HBO.
… I love HBO. They’ve been great to me, and hopefully, there’ll be more Curb Your Enthusiasm. But … but … ahhhh! That’s all I’m saying. It’s a big ball of wrong.
(To Gilligan:) And I’m just telling you here, you could’ve done anything you want with those characters. You didn’t stab Skyler when she was pregnant. Were you tempted to? (Gilligan: No.) Exactly. Breaking Bad, a violent f***ing show, would have never stabbed a pregnant lady!”
The character in question is, of course, Robb Stark’s wife pregnant Talisa (Oona Chaplin). Her book counterpart Jeyne Westerling wasn’t even at the Red Wedding, so Talisa getting stabbed multiple times in the stomach came as a surprise even to book readers who knew what was about to happen to Robb and Catelyn.
Compare Garlin’s reaction to that of Robb Stark himself, Richard Madden, who really got a kick out of all those videos of fans freaking out when Robb, Talisa, and Catelyn met their maker:
“It made me laugh so much because there’s so many cameras that are just, like, shaking with someone laughing at how terribly everyone’s reacting to it.
It’s so good. It’s the same thing as when my dad read the books and he threw it across the room and didn’t read it for two weeks. I love it.”
“I love it.” *shakes fist at the sky*
I know it’s been a few months since the episode in question aired, but whether you first experienced the Red Wedding in the show or the books, it’s not something you ever really recover from. So let me ask you: What did you think of Talisa being stabbed in the baby? Did HBO go too far in pursuit of traumatizing its viewers, or just far enough? Dredge those feels back up and let’s discuss, readers.