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Game of Thrones Recap: The Rains of Castamere


Fellow Game of Thrones fans, do you need a hug? Some comfort food? Tea or hot chocolate? How ’bout a blanket? A non-red one, of course.

Good luck reading this through your tears.

The episode started with Robb and Catelyn discussing Robb’s plans to attack Casterly Rock. He explains to his mother that he didn’t listen to her when she told him not to send Theon back to the Iron Islands, and look how that turned out, so he’d really like her advice on whether attacking the Lannisters’ home is a good idea. She notes that it’s risky but says go to ahead and do it anyway.

I imagine that people who hadn’t read the books saw this as a nice bit of mother-son bonding, a much-needed mending of their long-strained relationship. It certainly was that, but knowing what was coming at the end of the episode I had to stop myself from screaming at my computer “Oh my God, why are you starting this ep with Robb and Cat feels? Aren’t you going to make me suffer enough?!”

The Starks arrive at the Twins and are greeted as “honored guests” by Filch Walder Frey, who proceeds to treat them not very honorably by passive-aggressively parading his daughters and granddaughters—one of whom Robb earlier agreed to marry—in front of the King and saying to Talisa that Robb must’ve married her not for love but because she’s pretty and he wanted to sleep with her. He’s incredibly insulting and talks to Talisa like she’s a piece of meat; you see Robb step forward to defend his wife, but Catelyn holds him back. Best not to insult Lord Frey any more than they already have. If only it weren’t already too late.

From there it’s to Yunkai, where Daario proposes to Daenerys that he, Grey Worm, and Jorah sneak into the city and open the gates from the inside, allowing her to conquer it with minimal bloodshed. Jorah doesn’t trust him, big surprise there. Daenerys OKs the plan for that very night. Ser Barristan offers to go with them but Jorah says no, reminding Barristan that as a member of the Queensguard he should do whatever his Queen asks, even if that’s staying behind when the action starts. He’s right, of course, but in his words were more than a hint of “No! My Khaleesi! I do the important stuff for her! NYAAAH!” When it comes to Daenerys he’s like the world’s oldest 12-year-old.

Above the Wall Sam gives an impromptu Night’s Watch history lesson to Gilly, who’s amazed at his knowledge and compares him to a wizard. His face when she said that made my heart grow three sizes. All the better for it to be shattered later.

Sandor and Arya, on their way to Catelyn and Robb, find a commoner on his way to the Twins to bring food for the wedding. Sandor knocks him out and prepares to kill him, but Arya sasses him about killing old men and little boys and, when that doesn’t work, asks him to please spare the man’s life. He agrees noting that Arya’s kindness will get her killed. She shows how very capable she is of not being kind when the commoner wakes up and she knocks him out again with zero hesitation. Sandor: Secret softie. Arya: Not-so-secret badass.

After that we catch up with Bran, who’s still headed to the Wall with Rickon, Osha, Hodor, and the Reeds. Not much goes on in this scene plot-wise, but I just want to highlight how Rickon has a line. And it’s not just a few words. He has a whole sentence. Specifically: “Old Nan says they’ll [the Wildlings] turn your skull into a cup and make you drink your own blood from it.” He doesn’t seem scared by it; he sounds like he thinks it’s kind of cool, in fact.

All hail Prince Rickon!

Speaking of the Wildlings, Jon and his group, now below the Wall, see an old man with some horses. Jon tries to convince Tormund to take the horses and spare the man, because the Night’s Watch will send more men after them for murder than for thievery. Tormund’s response: “Uh, yeah. Killing crows is kiiiind of what we do. Jesus, Ygritte, your boyfriend’s dumb.” Unable to save the man with Westerosi logic, Jon intentionally makes noise as the Wildlings approach, alerting him to the danger and giving him time to escape.

Bran, meanwhile, is taking shelter from a storm in a tower, when who should show up but the rider from the previous scene, pursued by the Wildlings and Jon. The streams are crossing! Hodor’s freaking out about the thunderstorm, which is going to get them found by the Wildlings, so to get him to shut up Bran wargs himself into Hodor’s brain (which is something no one’s ever been able to do with a human before) and makes him sleep.

Down below, the rider’s been captured. Orell suggests that Jon be the one to kill him to prove his loyalty, but he can’t make himself do it. His cover officially blown, Jon pushes Ygritte away and fights his way through the Wildlings to make his escape. He gets a little unexpected help from Bran’s direwolf Summer, who’s actually Bran-warged-into-Summer. Jon kills Orell but rides away without killing Tormund and Ygritte, the latter of whom looks piiiiiiiised.

Oh, my heart with this scene. The brothers were right there. And Jon didn’t even see Bran! *rends at hair*

Then wer’e back to Yunkai, where Grey Worm, Daario, and Jorah sneak into the city only to be set upon by far, far more guards than they expected. There’s a fight scene. Daario saves Jorah’s life. I got distracted by Grey Worm. It’s all good.

Then it’s time for Edmure’s wedding to Roslin Frey, who’s escorted down the aisle wearing a veil, which you know was intentional on Lord Frey’s part because he wanted Edmure to worry she’d be unattractive. I love how most of the characters have really serious personal conflict going on this season, but Edmure’s main angst is that he might be forced to marry an ugly person. But, surprise, Roslin’s pretty. This wedding’s going so well!

In the next scene, be still my heart, Rickon gets even more lines. Bran is still determined to go north of the Wall, but that’s really dangerous, so he asks Osha to take his little brother to one of the Stark family’s allies. There’s a tearful goodbye where Rickon says he wants to stay and take care of Bran and Bran is so older brother-y that it hurts my soul a little bit. Then Rickon and Osha disappear into the night. [Book 5 spoilers] Have fun with the unicorns and cannibals!

Back outside of Yunkai Daenerys is waiting to hear what happened with the attack on the city when Jorah and Grey Wind march in with the news that Yunkai’s slave soldiers put down their arms. Daario isn’t there, and it looks like he might’ve fallen in battle… until he swaggers in with a trophy and proclaims Daenerys’ victory. Daario, Daario, Daario. That’s some Roose Bolton-level “Jaime, did you hear about that big battle? It was so brutal. Your sister is………. alive!”-type trolling right there.

I was a bit confused here, as the plan was that Daario, Jorah, and Grey Worm would open the gates to let Daenerys’ army in. Did that happen, and they just didin’t show it? I’d assume so, but Daenerys didn’t seem to have any info on how things were going, and if her army was engaged in battle surely she’d be aware of it. Yunkai’s slave soldiers putting down their weapons could’ve meant her army didn’t have to fight, but I have a hard time believing that all the slaves in the entire city did that. And Jorah, Daario, and Grey Worm taking the entire city by themselves seems unlikely, for all that they were kicking some butt earlier on.

Then we’re too the part where every book reader started to tense up even more than they had already: The Red Wedding. It’s the feast after the ceremony and everyone’s all happy, except Catelyn, who’s having to make small talk with Roose Bolton. But Robb and Talisa are having a good enough time for everyone, being all flirty and making plans to make their unborn child after Robb’s father if it’s a boy. Edmure and Roslin are carried away to consumate their marriage, and then things get bloody.

Catelyn sees one of the Frey’s guards locking the door, and that, coupled with the fact that she notices Roose is wearing armor under his normal clothes, clues her into the fact that something is very wrong. A guard walks up behind Talisa and stabs her repeatedly in the stomach, killing her, while Robb gets multiple wounds courtesy of the crossbow-wielding Freys who’ve popped up on the balcony. Catelyn, meanwhile, gets shot in the back, but she’s still able to put a knife to Lady Frey’s wife and threaten to kill her if Lord Frey doesn’t let him go. Lord Frey, because he’s the worst. ever., says to go ahead because “I’ll find another.” Catelyn does everything she can to try and save her son’s life, even offering herself as a hostage, but it doesn’t work: Roose walks in and delivers the killing blow, saying “The Lannisters send their regards.”

With zero hesitation Catelyn slits Lady Frey’s throat. Then her own throat is slit, a Tarantino-esque fountain of blood spewing from it.

Welp. We made it through the Red Wedding, guys. The scene was a teensy bit melodramatic for my tastes, particularly Talisa being stabbed in the stomach, but I might just feel that way because that didn’t happen in the books and my brain was “bzuh?”ing at the change.

While all this is happening Arya and Sandor have finally made it to the Twins, but they can’t get into the castle itself because the Freys are kind of busy killing most of Arya’s remaining family members. Arya slips away from Sandor and finds where Grey Wind’s locked up in a cage. Even though I knew what happens with Grey Wind—though the more, er, gruesome bit didn’t make it in this episode—I was half-expecting her to release the direwolf. But my wishful thinking came to naught, as instead she witnessed the Freys kill him. She tries to get to her family but is stopped by Sandor, who knocks her out and carries her away.

Notes for book readers:

  • I would like to take this opportunity talk about Show!Robb vs Book!Robb. In this episode Walder scornfully refers to Robb marrying Talisa for love as “honorable,” which had me internally yelling “No, it isn’t, that’s the whole point!” In the book he married his wife because, in a moment of emotional weakness, he had sex with her, and to not marry her after that wouldn’t be… wait for it… honorable. It’s established through Robb’s actions that he, like his father, is honorable to a fault. In the show Robb breaks his vow to the Freys not out of obligation to someone else but because he fell in love, and say what you want about that, what it’s not is honorable. Walder calling Robb such is the show telling us how much Robb is like his father when the books showed us that. Sorry, I just have feels on this subject.
  • So I guess Jeyne Westerling, Robb’s wife in the books, won’t be that important in books six and seven, because her show doppelgänger is dead? GRRM told the showrunners the general plot of what happens in the rest of the series, and I can’t imagine they’d paint themselves into a corner by killing someone who’s relevant later on.
  • Here, have a tasteless gif.

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