“What a Lovely Day for a Wedding”- Game of Thrones Season 3 Episode 9 Review- ‘Rains of Castamere’
This review is conducted by someone who has not read the books, so cool your jets, people.
These ninth episodes always act more like a season finale than the episodes to follow. The last episode of the season is usually a denouement, showing us where each character will be heading when we step into the next season nine or so months later. This is probably due to the fact that the series is based on books, and the last chapter of a book is normally reserved for “And all was well, and Jimmy paid handsomely for the vases he broke whilst fighting evil,” whereas a season of television would end as evil opened up a portal to Hell and said “Look at it, Jimmy! Look at it!”
And, oh, boyhowdy did we get our fair share of season-ending surprises tonight…
After last week’s festivities, the Lannisters sat this one out, but that’s okay, because their presence is sincerely felt after my previous “boyhowdy” and, oh God, the tears! The salty, bitter television-rooted tears!
As usual, we’ll take this one character by character and at the end, I’ll award tonight’s winner…
Bran Stark, Faffing About Significantly Less Than Usual
Don’t let that sub-heading throw you off. I still don’t like the boy (perhaps because the acting tends to border on insufferable), but he proved himself tonight of being worthy of at least my most-certainly still-divided attention.
Young Bran actually seems to be proving himself as someone who might turn into someone to actually care about, incapacitating Hodor with his mind and being infinitely cooler than he has at any point in the past.
EDITOR’S NOTE: I don’t know much about how plagiarism works, but I am 90% certain the dialogue exchange of “What did you do?” “I don’t know.” is one that happens at least 8 times in the Harry Potter franchise. Just saying. End of note.
Unfortunately, our intrepid band of dull explorers seems to be splitting up, or at least I think that’s what I was supposed to glean from all of that whining. In the schism we all care about so much, it looks like Bran will be separated from Osha, making him even less interesting to me, as I’ve already mentioned that Osha is pretty much what makes these sections tolerable. Rickon will be headed off with Osha, which basically means that hey, Rickon is still alive.
Tonight’s section with Bran, and the one to mentioned and cried over later about Arya, are the biggest occasions of interlocking storylines the show has had in a while, nearly reuniting multiple pairings of Starks, until things take a nasty turn on both fronts, although this one less so because it is mostly about Jon Snow being either noble or a pansy.
Jon Snow, Being Either Noble or a Pansy
My money is on pansy.
The Starks were big on mercy tonight as Jon fought to save the life of an old man with the unfortunate affliction of owning horses the Wildlings want, and Arya stood up to the Hound to prevent him from doing away with some poor pig farmer.
There is some debate to be had as to why Jon shoved Ygritte over at the beginning of the fight, so I’m going to list my list of potential reasons from most probable to least probable:
1.) He was ensuring that she did not attack her own people and thus did not have to be put to death when he ran away like a pansy on one of the horses he fought so hard to make sure still had an owner.
2.) He believes she is inferior because of her natural leanings towards having a vagina. Not the smartest idea if that’s the case, but as they say, “You know nuffin’, Jon Snow.”
3.) It was an accident and he is just really bad at swords.
Of course, such transgressions cannot go unpunished, and Ygritte will probably have to taste some kind of Wall Justice before too long. I have compiled a list of possible punishments that have the good chance of being brought down upon Ygritte, ranked from most likely to least likely:
1.) Attempted rape
So this should all end very well and most likely with Jon Snow swinging in on a chandelier to save his lady or something else of a similar nature that would actually be pretty cool if it didn’t involve Jon Snow.
Also still alive.
For an episode that contains her conquering an entire city, there wasn’t much to chew on here tonight. Mostly just her sending out Jorah and the Unsullied to free the slaves as Danny makes her intercontinental tour of famous places where people own people.
I’m also still not a very big fan of the new guy on the scene, mostly because I feel he is only there to fuck and/or betray Danaerys, most likely the “and” option.
I think Jorah knows this, too, which is why he seemed more than a little jealous tonight. Of course, he was trying to do his job, but everything he said in Pretty Boy’s direction had a sense of teeth to it that only comes when someone is trying to nail your woman. And as I’m still ‘shipping Dorah (a fruitless endeavor but one I refuse to step down from), I’m on Jorah’s side with this one.
I’d also like to mention that Grey Worm is proving to be a fascinating character in what few scenes he has. He is relearning all of his former programming, a life of killing babies and not having testicles, and seems to be adapting at least partially well. I look forward to seeing his journey progress as we wait for Danny’s dragons to grow up.
The Stark and the Hound (By the Old Gods and the New, please don’t let them turn into another Jamie and Brienne. That is one ‘ship I will not board)
We were so close…
I predicted last week that Arya reuniting with her family would bring me to tears. And I was right. But in all the wrong ways….
I fear all of these paragraphs will end with ellipses…
It seems as if The Hound has a heart after all, and seeks to look after young Arya in a similar way that he looked out for Sansa during some of the unrest on King’s Landing. It was over. His chance at getting a reward for the delivery of Arya is gone, and he still chose to save her. I don’t know what’s going to happen to these two in the future, but I foresee what could be a very intriguing partnership in the works.
I love that the show knows that everyone on Earth loves Arya and keeps throwing her in with other intriguing characters. Tywin, the Brothers without Banners, and now the Hound. They’re doing it right with this one.
I also rather enjoyed their conversation next to the pig cart. The repartee between these two is priceless. I really hope that the Hound’s “It’ll get you killed” comment wasn’t foreshadowing, but I do hope that Arya’s threat of putting a sword through his eyeball and having it come out the back of his head was a threat, because that’d be very cool to see.
In typical Game of Thrones fashion, something was said tonight that was supposed to be very profound and insightful that I just don’t think was entirely on base. Arya insinuates that because The Hound was scared of Beric’s flaming sword that he has a fear of fire due to a very traumatic event that happened to his face many years ago. To this I counter: Who the hell isn’t afraid of a flaming sword? Stupid people, I assume. It is a sword, which in and of itself is a pretty formidable object, and adds into that mix fire, which has the strange trait of also being pretty terrifying. It’s probably true that the Hound is afraid of fire, but there was nothing about his face during that fight that wasn’t infinitely better than anything my face would be doing during that same fight.
And this all could’ve ended on such a happy note if this was a different show, and if good things ever happened to Arya (who I feel is going to just kill everybody at some point), and if I didn’t have to crown tonight’s winner…
TONIGHT’S WINNER: No no no no no no no no no no no no no NO NO NO NO NO!
I brought this upon myself, really. I kept complaining about how this show had too many characters and seemed a little afraid to kill them off, and I got my wish a hundredfold tonight. My terrible, awful wish.
I love a good drama with great and surprising character deaths, and Game of Thrones definitely delivers on that front, although primarily keeping it to the Stark family when it comes to killing people off.
The novelty of watching Argus Filch from the Harry Potter films play matchmaker was quickly washed away as Robb, his wife, and my dear, sweet Catelyn were all cut down by a vengeful father who just wanted to see engagements fulfilled.
Tonight, Robb Stark became a tragic hero, as it was his own flaws and weaknesses that got him killed. As the King at Dragonstone remarked, he wouldn’t have done any differently given the tight form of the woman who broke up the marriage, but I suppose he feels that killing everyone and everything was a valid reaction to a broken pinky swear.
Looking back now, all those scenes of the deepening of Robb’s marriage this season were all building to this, trying to make the scene where he crawls to the corpse of his dead wife and unborn child the most utterly heartbreaking and riveting moment the show has accomplished this season. Robb will never get to teach young Eddard Stark how to be a right and proper King in the North.
Personally, I will miss Catelyn the most. As has been proven on this blog many times, I have a thing for powerful women and watching the regal and tenacious Tully do her work and recite the most beautiful monologues you’ve ever heard has been one of the highlights of the show since it began three years ago. Catelyn will always be in my heart, and I will treasure her more at the inevitable time when I rewatch this show, and not just because that final shot of her was one of the most badass things I have ever seen.
We have officially closed out the Robb Stark storyline, and there is now one less head vying for the Iron Throne. Perhaps another Stark will pick up the mantle, but that seems unlikely as Jon Snow rides away on a pony and Bran still has to be carried places by a thunder-hesitant giant. My money’s still on Arya.
If we were going to lose Robb and Catelyn, at least we lost them in the best death sequence the show has ever done. Renly’s death added a layer of intrigue to the show and a pound of depth to both Stannis and Melisandre’s characters, and Ned’s beheading back in Season One was phenomenal for the sheer shock value of it all, but the ambush of the wedding party was the most well-executed and heart-rending out of any so far, except for that terrible, hopefully nonexistent time where Littlefinger dies, at which point I quit.
Rest in peace, Robb Stark. You have won an episode for the second time. And the last.
I am now starting to really think that Melisandre is right about the Lord of Light, as last week’s unsettling leech ritual ended with Stannis wishing Robb Stark to be dead and now Robb Stark is dead. I’m scared for Danaerys…
And how much are the Lannisters involved in what happened tonight? I know Roos Bolton said something to that effect as he stabbed Robb Stark, but I wonder how deep this goes. I suspect Joffrey had very little to do with all of this. I smell the cunning hand of Tywin encroaching in.
See you all next week, when we most likely will have to deal with Theon again.
Chekhov’s Gunman is a film and television blog moderated by Kevin Lanigan, a future writer of movies and TV and current writer of inspiring things on Post-It Notes. Come back every week for coverage of Game of Thrones, movies, and television, and also our Mexican Standoffs, and the Good Stuff.
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