Game of Thrones: “The Rains of Castamere” Review

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE EPISODE “THE RAINS OF CASTAMERE”

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Well, that was unexpected…

…if you haven’t read the book that is. For me and hundreds of other people, the last 15 minutes of this penultimate episode to Game of Thrones’ third season was a gut-wrenching shock. And even those who’ve read the book, “A Storm of Swords,” are probably still recovering from what took place in those final moments. The Starks just cannot catch a break, can they?

The scene in question is obviously the Red Wedding, and red it was with buckets of blood. Robb , his mother Catelyn, his wife and unborn child, all meet a merciless and tragic end. Despite knowing that something awful was going to happen this episode, I had no idea that something like this would happen until it was happening. I think the most tragic part of it is that even when you know something is wrong, you still hope for the best. I still hoped Arya would be reunited with her mother and brother and all would be well. And even during the chaos, I hoped that Catelyn and Robb would find some way of getting out. But this is Game of Thrones, and it’s better to prepare for the worst. The episode did a fantastic job of creating a positive atmosphere at the wedding to make the end all that more powerful. It just goes to show that when things seem to be going well, don’t expect it to last in this show.

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That’s the great thing about this show. Even if main characters we like are unexpectedly killed, we can be shocked and saddened but we can still love it at the same time. This is a show where no one is safe and we never know (if we haven’t read the books) who will bite it next. Literally anyone can be gone at any time, but whenever a character dies, it may be shocking at first but in the end we realize it had to be done. Catelyn and Robb being murdered at the Lannisters’ orders will undoubtedly set in motion a tragic chain of events. And I’m looking forward to it.

But the Red Wedding wasn’t the only thing happening this week. After a couple of admittedly slow episodes and a week off, “The Rains of Castamere” brought GoT back with a bang. Jon Snow has abandoned the wildlings, Bran has discovered new mind-controlling abilities, Daenyres has a city under her control now, and Arya was a total badass to the Hound. Besides the final moments, my favorite part of the episode, on a more light note, is when Arya tells the Hound that one day she’s going to shove a sword through the back of his skull…well, I don’t know if you can call that ‘light’ but it’s lighter. Foreshadowing, possibly? It’s made better by the fact that the Hound actually saves Arya and gets her away from the chaos of the Red Wedding (before she can see her mother and brother die).

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Overall, this episode proved why Game of Thrones is one of the most addicting and powerful shows on television. The painstaking final moments are proof of that enough, but the rest of the episode is top-notch as well. These are character deaths done right, and does anyone else think Michelle Fairley deserves Emmy recognition for her performance as Catelyn? She’s been a powerful female character since the show’s inception, but just this episode alone-from begging Walder Frey to let Robb go or she’ll cut his wife’s throat, to her cry of pain at seeing Robb die, to even her tragic silence at the very end-the actress gave it all she had for her final episode. Bravo.

5 stars

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