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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Game of Thrones 3x9 - "The Rains of Castamere"


You know, you wait years to see something. You know it's coming. You think you're ready. And then it happens. It's one thing to see it in your mind's eye. It's another thing to see it. And it is beyond fucked up.

Anyway...

You are cordially invited to the wedding of Edmure Tully of House Tully and Roslin Frey of House Frey, hosted by Lord Walder Frey with special guest the King in the North, Robb Stark of House Stark.

The Red Wedding. It's the social event of the season!

Over his War of the Five Kings of Westeros chess set, Robb lets Catelyn in on his plan to take Casterly Rock from the Lannisters. It's theoretically a good plan full of pro-Stark symbolism. If they can take Casterly Rock, they get Tywin Lannister's gold and power base, plus it sends a message to the realm that the Lannisters are not invincible after all. Of course, to do any of this, Robb needs Walder Frey's men and cooperation, and even if he has those, an error in timing would allow Tywin to send his army from King's Landing, trapping the Stark-Frey forces against the Lannister Army and the sea. It's a risky game of Risk. Catelyn has her doubts the plan could work even if she didn't deeply suspect the intentions of Walder Frey. But see, Robb made this bed and he has to sully its sheets because what else can he do?

Finally arrived at the Twins, Lord Walder greets the Starks with the Westerosi custom of bread and salt, thereby offering them his protection. But that doesn't mean they're protected from Lord Walder being a skeevy old asshole. Walder sends his harem of daughters and granddaughters out for display - he knows most of their names - to show the King in the North what he missed out on when he broke his oath to make one of them his queen and instead marry that Volanti girl. But he saves his extra skeeviness for Talisa, who he evaluates with his Old Man Frey X-Ray Vision, seeing through her dowdy dress to the tight body underneath that made the King in the North an oathbreaker. As if he were the Larry Flynt of Westeros, Lord Walder sized Talisa up like a piece of meat in front of her husband the King. Oh sure, Robb begged forgiveness from the Freys for his offense, and that he married Talisa out of love, but Lord Walder isn't entirely wrong in pointing out lust had more than a little to do with it too. Edmure, who still doesn't know which Frey daughter he's going to make an honest Tully out of, was pretty funny making faces in the back of the room.

The Red Wedding (as it will become infamous for) proceeds immediately. It's a classy affair, done up in all the traditions in the light of the Seven gods of Westeros. Lord Walder brings forth Edmure's bride and instead of throwing up, Edmure is delighted! Roslin Frey is hot! Lord Walder's been holding out on us. That clever old coot. Biggest laugh of the night was Walder and Robb making faces at each other. The relief of Edmure's face is palpable as he marries the hottest Frey and came away from this with the literal pick of the litter. Lord Walder's full of surprises, but that was the only good surprise.

In the riverlands en route to the Twins, Arya and the Hound bicker and banter as the Hound knocks out a merchant delivering salt pork to the Twins for the wedding feast. Arya doesn't want the Hound to kill the old man but she's cool with bludgeoning him into unconsciousness. The Hound, in his way, is actually being kind of noble, and he seems to have a soft spot in his heart for unfortunate Stark girls victimized by affairs beyond their control or understanding, but those Stark girls hate him and always will. Arya sure does. She knows the Hound is scared of fire like the Martian Manhunter and promises to kill him herself some day. She's nervous, being so close to the Twins, her mother and brother, just on the horizon, yet so far. What if something goes wrong? Something always goes wrong. On an unrelated note, agreed with the Hound, pig trotters are good stuff.

Across the Narrow Sea, Daario Naharis pours on the sexual tension with Daenerys as he maps out his foolproof scheme to sack Yunkai. It seems simple: He walks right in the back door by just being Daario Naharis, kills some guards, brings in Grey Worm and Jorah Mormont, then they open the main gate and let the Unsullied army in. Jorah is suspicious because Jorah's always suspicious. It's Grey Worm who gives Daario the thumbs up, and that's good enough for the Kahleesi. And so it was Daario marched into the back gate of Yunkai just by saying his name, whistles for Jorah and Grey Worm (he's one of the world's best whistlers), and they stride right in to a waiting horde of guards. Whom they fight and kill. Dig how Grey Worm fights, perfect form, smooth as silk executions with his long pointy stick. And faster than you can say "we did not have the budget to show the actual battle", the three amigos return to Daenerys' tent with the awesome news: Yunkai has fallen. The city is hers'.

Sam and Gilly make it within sight of the Wall as Sam regales Gilly with more Facts You Learn From Books that Gilly can't understand how he can possibly remember. Gilly calls Sam a wizard. Like the big fucking nerd he is, Sam takes it as the greatest compliment he ever received.

Meanwhile, in The Gift, Jon Snow and the Wildlings make it to the farm house of the old man who breeds horses for the Night's Watch. Tormund Giantsbane and Orell the Warg still don't think Jon is one of them as he tries to talk them out of killing the old man. The Wildlings storm the old man's farm and chase him as he heads off. While this is going on, the Endless Camping Trip lead by Bran has made their way to a stone tower, where they hide out from a gathering storm. Hodor is apparently freaked out by thunder and won't shut up with the Hodoring. It seems like Hodor is about to Hodor it up for them with all his Hodoring as the Wildlings chasing the old man end up right outside the tower. Bran Wargs it up somehow and enters Hodor's mind, putting him to sleep. This is a big deal; Wargs can enter animals but a person's mind? Then again, it's just Hodor. Surely the direwolves' minds are more complex. Outside, the Wildlings force Jon to kill the old man but unless your name is Quorin Halfhand, Jon just can't bring himself to do it. So Ygritte puts an arrow in the old man and that sets off a Wildling revolt against the two of them. As Tormund restrains Ygritte, Jon slays the Wildlings and kills Orell ("You were right about me!") but Orell Wargs with his dying breath into the raven above and nearly pecks Jon's eyes out. At the urging of Jojen, Bran is able to Warg into Summer and saves Jon, who gets on a horse and gallops like hell out of there, leaving an incredulous Ygritte behind. You know nothing about escaping with your girlfriend, Jon Snow.

In the stone tower, Bran makes the executive decision to break up their Camping Troop for good. Osha and Rickon are to make for the protection of the Umbers, while Bran, Hodor and the Reeds will continue North of the Wall to find the three eyed raven. Rickon has the most lines he's ever had in the series as he tearfully says goodbye to his older brother and for all we know the viewing audience because how often are we going to check in with Rickon Stark from here on out?

Back to the Red Wedding, everything's going splendidly. The King in the North isn't seated on the dias with Lord Walder, Edmure, and Roslin, but he doesn't seem to care. And hey, Lord Roose Bolton made it to the wedding feast. That's gotta bode well. Edmure is a happy, happy camper with his hot new wife, which doesn't escape his sister Catelyn or their uncle the Blackfish. Meanwhile, Robb and Talisa are all lovey dovey. But it's time for Joffrey's favorite part of a Westerosi wedding - the bedding ceremony! This involves all the men crowd surfing the bride Roslin to the bed chamber while the women grab ahold of a giddy Edmure and help wisk him off to consummate their holy union. While they watch. A custom Talisa doesn't understand. Talisa does tell Robb that if they have a son, she wants to name him Eddard. Robb is the happiest guy in the world.

Hey wait, why's that guy barring the door to the chamber? Catelyn's Spider-sense is tingling. Why is the house band ominously playing "The Rains of Castamere", the most famous song in the realm about that family who dared challenge the Lannisters and was wiped off the face of Westeros?

Outside of the Twins, Arya and the Hound are denied entry with their salt pork since the wedding feast is over. Arya's Spider-sense goes off and she sneaks away to see Frey men slaughtering the Stark soldiers. Grey Wind the direwolf is caged and his direwolf sense is going off, but the Frey men line up their crossbows and slaughter Grey Wind. Arya finds herself back in the arms of the Hound, who has figured out this place is bad news for anyone named Stark, so he knocks out his Stark and carries her out of there, lest she join the fate of her family inside.'

And finally, Lord Walder Frey plays his hand, breaking his oath to protect Robb Stark just as Robb Stark broke his oath to him. Turnabout is fair play, except it's horrible. It's pure blood spurting slaughter. Talisa is knifed in the belly, killing her and the Stark child she carries. Crossbows open fire on Robb and Catelyn, who noticed the chain mail Lord Bolton mysteriously was wearing too late to save herself or Robb. In her last act as a bad ass, Catelyn grabs onto whichever Frey girl Walder was married to and begged for Robb's life or else she'd kill the girl. Lord Walder couldn't have given a shit. Lord Bolton delivers the death stab to Robb on behalf of the Lannisters, who he sold Robb out to. Catelyn slits the Frey girl's throat, Catelyn gets her throat slit, blood spurts everywhere, and the most batshit sick and crazy event in Game of Thrones' history has now been televised for the viewing pleasure of audiences around the world. 

It was as good and even more horrible than I imagined. Bravo.

Say hi to Ned for us, Robb.










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