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Game of Thrones – The Rains of Castamere

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Game of Thrones - The Rains of Castamere

On a very special Game of Thrones, Robb Stark helps a school friend deal with addiction. Meanwhile, the rest of the Westeros gang have various misadventures while on a shopping spree. None of that is true, but, you know, spoilers.

This was the big one, the episode everyone who’s read the books has been waiting for. Even George R.R. Martin has said he couldn’t wait for the show to reach this point. Meanwhile, we’ve all been desperately trying not to spoil it, obtusely talking about “the RW,” or just, “It.” Non-readers have probably sensed the collective tension that’s been building. But I doubt many people imagined it would be this brutal. Now, no one can ever have a Game of Thrones themed wedding.

There were other storylines going on this week, though, and they weren’t insignificant. Indeed, many of them are converging together in preparation for the season finale next week. First, Danaerys’ new captain Daario hatches a plan to easily conquer Yunkai: he can sneak in through the back gate, kill some guards, then open the main gate to let her army in. Accompanied by Grey Wurm and Jorah Mormont, this is exactly what they do.

That whole enterprise was awesome not just as another stop on Dany’s World Anti-Slavery Tour 2013, but also because of the astonishing CGI establishing shot of Yunkai at night. Better still, the epic badassery of the warriors three taking down scores of Yunkish guards. Other than perhaps Jaime Lannister or Robert Baratheon in their primes, this was basically the three greatest warriors in Game of Thrones fighting side by side. Every now and then, Game of Thrones lets a standard fantasy trope slip through, and sometimes that’s pretty cool.

There was a brief scene with Sam and Gilly approaching the Wall. They plan to get through a secret entrance in the Nightfort, an abandoned castle not used by the Night’s Watch in centuries. Gilly is amazed by Sam’s literacy and creates an instant meme by saying, “It’s like you’re a wizard.”

Bran and co. find their way to a deserted tower. In any self-respecting D&D game, this would have been the former abode of a necromancer who’d left behind his magic items and a host of unnatural creatures. Instead it just gave Hodor a chance to freak out about a thunderstorm and yell HODOR over and over at the worst possible time, right when Jon Snow and his wildling buddies show up chasing the horse farmer.

Snow finally splits from the wildlings, refusing to execute the innocent man (though Ygritte does it anyway). The one wildling who kind of looks like Jack Sparrow hears Hodor yelling just before Bran slips into Hodor’s brain and makes him fall asleep. Then Bran jumps into the wolves and uses them to help Jon fight the wildlings. Jon flees on a horse and leaves behind a stunned Ygritte. Honey, he’s just not that into you.

Afterward, Bran decides to keep heading north of the wall on Jojen’s advice. He sends Osha and the Stark No One Cares About south to shelter with the Umbers. Meanwhile Arya and the Hound head toward the scene of the wedding, which, well…yeah.

The wedding. The Red Wedding. Possibly the single most infamous scene in any book (and now TV show) ever. It was all set up to be even more horrific by buttering you up with some humor, like Walder Frey’s crass and hilarious introduction of his many daughters, and Edmure’s glee at getting the pretty one.

I’m not sure how much there really is to say about that scene. It was brutal. Beyond brutal. A pregnant woman stabbed in the stomach over and over. A mother pleading for her son’s life. The son, already dying, looking into his mother’s eyes and giving up. Rampant slaughter. Walder Frey’s nonchalant viciousness, initiating this insane massacre because his feelings were hurt. It was stunning in the most literal way.

And so what now? The war, for all intents and purposes, is over. The Lannisters rule with impunity. The only competing force in the north is the Greyjoys. The only competing force within King’s Landing is the Tyrrels. Dany is still a long way off with her dragons and her free armies. You could almost tie a bow on this thing and call it one very unhappy ending.

But it isn’t. This wasn’t even the season finale.

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Posted by on Sunday, June 2nd, 2013. Filed under Dark TV, Headline. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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