Game of Thrones Seasons 3 Episode 9 Recap: “The Rains of Castamere”

Posted on Jun 4 2013 - 10:32pm by Meredith Collins

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The entire internet is talking about it. This is the episode that motivated the Game of Thrones creators to film the series. And now we’ve seen it, The Red Wedding. We’ll talk about it, but that’s not all there is to talk about in terms of relationships, romance, and love in this most shocking episode.

I’m going to be a rebel and start with Jon and Ygritte. For me, this was almost as startling and sad as the Frey’s betrayal. The wildlings reach The Gift, a fertile area of land that is protected by the Night’s Watch and farmed by those who physically support the crows. This is a real test of Jon’s loyalty because these people in his eyes are innocent and uninvolved, but the wildlings have no emotional attachment to them and simply want things like shelter, food and resources, which they can get by killing and looting one solitary old man. One wildling in particular, Orell, calls upon Jon to do the killing because doubts Jon and, not incidentally, wants Ygritte to be his woman. The wildling leader Tormund agrees. So this is Jon’s moment; he has to choose Wildlings, Night’s Watch, or just Team Jon & Ygritte. He chooses the Night’s Watch, tries to save the man’s life, and rides away amidst the chaos of two direwolves attacking the wildlings. He rides away from Ygritte, presumably forever. Two direwolves, you say? Yes. Two direwolves. Because hidden up in Queen’s Tower nearby, Hodor, Bran and the Reeds are staying on their way north. Bran taps another one of his warg powers to quiet Hodor, going into the soft-headed man’s mind very briefly to quiet him. He was bellowing in fear of a thunderstorm so loudly that he was on the verge of revealing their location to the wildlings.

Okay, now to the Red Wedding. Robb Stark and his family (those who aren’t lost, captured, or presumed dead) and his bannermen and armies go to The Twins to see Emure Tully marry a mystery Frey daughter or granddaughter. The apology is humbling and awkward. Walder Frey makes Robb apologize to the girls after hearing his own apology. We get to see all of the Frey girls, and presumably Edmure’s bride is among them and the news isn’t great for a fellow who wants a pretty wife. Then Walder makes Talisa come forward so he can see what motivated Robb to ditch his promise. He is blunt, craggy, and rascally, but he seems to accept, however grudgingly, Robb and Talisa’s union.

Then to the wedding itself, which seems much more hopeful when Edmure lifts his bride’s veil only to see a much much prettier girl than he’d expected. This is Roslin Frey, soon to be Roslin Tully. The wedding has piles of food, scores of musicians, and a truly boisterous atmosphere through the point when Walder Frey calls for the bedding ceremony. The bride and groom are carried out of the room by scores of Freys. Moments later, we realize something is wrong only when Catelyn touches Roose Bolton’s arm and realizes that he wears chainmail under his wedding finery. The doors slam shut. The musician’s change their tunes quite literally. Then the killing starts, first with the pregnant Talisa, followed by Robb Stark, and Catelyn Stark, Grey Wind, and the Northern army. The scene is brutal and poignant by turns. After all of the struggle and change the Stark family has endured since the execution of Ned Stark in season one, they are simply crushed. Whether we think the reason is Frey’s pride, Robb’s love of Talisa, or Catelyn’s making a bargain for Robb she shouldn’t have, the consequences have many logical threads reaching back into the story. Those reasons don’t make it any less shocking or painful for Stark supporters though. So sudden. And so permanent. That’s the red wedding.

So, since the Starks have broken our hearts, we need to comfort ourselves by checking in with the Mother of Dragons. Khaleesi approves a plan that asks Ser Jorah, her Unsullied leader Grey Worm, and her new Second Sons leader Daario to go into Yunkai through a loosely guarded gate and then open the main gates for her armies. They are extremely successful, and when they get back, extremely bloody. For a moment it looks like they’ve come back without the prettyboy Daario, and this scenario troubles Daenerys extremely. I predict a dalliance between these two soon, or a concrete obstacle to prevent one. Though I want the Khaleesi to get what she wants, I’m pretty sure wanting Daario is a bad idea, so I hope it doesn’t happen.

Arya and the Hound come very near The Twins in an attempt to deliver/sell Arya to her family. At various moments during their continued travels Arya tries to run away again and threatens to kill The Hound. They work together better than either of them realizes, but they aren’t having a good time. By the time they arrive at Walder Frey’s castle, the wedding has turned red and they get sent away at the door. Arya runs away, only to see the fighting outside the castle. After it dawns fully on her that she will not get to be reunited with her family tonight, she sees Robb’s direwolf Grey Wind attacked and killed by Freys.

The slow courtship of Gilly and Sam continues at a creeping pace. Gilly hears from Sam about a secret passage through/under/around the wall that can get them safely to the south. When he explains that he has learned this and much more from old books, she’s awed. She even calls him a wizard, making him feel pretty swell. I hope that they’ll manage to survive long enough to really get to know each other not surrounded by untold reaches of snow.

One episode left in the series. What will we see?

About the Author

Meredith Collins is a book nerd with more than a few guilty pleasures, among them sweet potato fries, trashy fiction, hard cider and all things Victorian. She is owned by three beautiful cats who try to keep her from writing on a daily basis. Somehow she manages because she writes hard cider reviews at AlongCameCider and contributes articles to a number of online publications. Catch up with all of her obsessions on Pinterest

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