Game Of Thrones season 3 episode 9 review: The Rains Of Castamere

Review Ron Hogan 3 Jun 2013 - 08:00
Game Of Thrones

This week's much-anticipated Game Of Thrones is the high water mark for the show. Here's Ron's review...

This review contains spoilers. 

3.9 The Rains of Castamere

One of the few predictable things about Game of Thrones is that the ninth episode of every season is going to be the one that everyone talks about. From the ultimate end of one of show's anchors in season one to a pivotal battle in the War of the Five Kings in the second season, the ninth episode is the one where seasons are made or broken. If the pivotal ninth episode had failed to live up to the hype, it would have been a down note on an otherwise great third season. Fortunately, that was not the case as The Rains of Castamere proved to be quite possibly one of the most stunning events since Ned Stark's noble head rolled in King's Landing. 

At times, this season has felt like moving pieces around on a chess board, without any real action. It was all set-up, no punchline. This week, we got the punchline, and it definitely delivered on all the building up the show has done with its scattered collective of characters across the continent of Westeros. All season we've seen Jon Snow and his wildlings head south while Bran and Rickon and their frog-eating retainers angle north. We've seen Arya Stark and The Hound moving towards The Twins, while Robb and Cat and Mrs. Robb were headed in that direction for the marriage of Edmure Tully and a random Frey. 

With the pieces in place, the making is there for a brilliant episode of Game of Thrones, and this was not a disappointment. Watching the near-misses as reunions we want to see just slip past one another in between some pretty spectacular bits of combat is enough to create suspense, and then the episode's real centerpiece happens. I've been careful to avoid spoilers as best I could, but I couldn't help but sneak ahead and read about the events that close out the episode. Even with a vague idea of what was supposed to happen, watching the events actually play out live was incredible. There's just the right amount of menace, just the right amount of utter shock, and just the right amount of bloodshed to make it a cringe-worthy, brain-melting moment of complete and utter insanity. Despite kind of knowing it was coming, I still wasn't prepared for it. 

There's something to be said for the way that David Bradley plays Walder Frey that just makes me glad to see him on screen being evil. There's a certain quality that people of a certain age have, where they've gone far past the point of caring what anyone else thinks or says about them, be they king or commoner, and Bradley captures this brilliantly. Walder Frey is a man who owns the fact that he's the most important person in the kingdom (thanks to The Twins), owns the fact that he's a sleazebag, and revels in his ability to make people uncomfortable with his teeth-sucking crotchetiness. Between Joffrey, Balon Greyjoy, and Walder Frey, Game of Thrones might have the best villains on television. He instantly makes anything more repulsive, and it's great that the only people he seems to hate more than the rest of the world is his own family. It's a great role for a great actor, and one of the better scenes written this week by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (though Catelyn Stark gives Michelle Fairley an Emmy moment this week, too). 

Credit to director David Nutter for turning in a wonderful episode. The show usually looks great, but this week's episode was beautiful in a far grittier way. I like the way it has built up a visual shorthand; we see one spear and shield soldier, and we know we're with the Unsullied in Yunkai. One shot of a castle on a bridge, and we know it's The Twins. An underrated note that the creative crew is able to get across is during the fight scene at Yunkai where Jorah, Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson), and Daario Naharis (Ed Skrein) are trying—and failing—to sneak into the city. All three men, if you watch carefully, fight with completely different styles. The show must have a genius fight choreographer, because Jorah fights with Westerosi hack and slash, Daario moves almost like a water dancer with his curved blade, and Grey Worm is the world's most dangerous majorette with that spear and shield. The way he handled the violence, framing the various action sequences, was a very impressive, and he's able to crank up tension without too many clues as to what's going to happen. When the trap springs, it's sudden and painful and leaves Game of Thrones with one of the most memorable final shots of any episode of the series thus far. 

I look forward to stumbling through the next episode with a blank, shell-shocked look on my face. I'm not sure how I can possibly pull myself together for one more episode, but wow, I guess I have to. This might be the high water mark for the series. I'm not sure even a host of fire-breathing dragons can top the look on poor Robb Stark's face.

Read Ron's review of the previous episode, Second Sons, here.

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IF U SPOIL IT IT'S NOT A 'REVIEW' IT JUST SHOWS U CAN'T WRITE...

Just watched the episode, & holy s**t its shocking I have not been this disturbed for a while by watching a TV show, those of a squeamish disposition should probably skip the last 10mins. Saying that it was a good episode, it starts out slowly drawing you in and getting you emotionally invested then bam the last 10 minutes completely rip you up.

i couldn't agree more, i watched it 5 minutes ago and i'm still shaking... H-O-L-Y CRAP

my jaw dropped as i was trying to comprehend wtf was happening, and then, when those silent credits came on, just ..... no words.... just a gaping hole for a mouth.

Love this show checkout link for fullvideo..q.gs/zgcs

Loose the capslock, we can hear you. And there's a reason it says "this review contains spoilers." right under the freakin introduction text. So you spoil it for yourself if you keep reading past that point without having seen the ep. Well done, well done.

Utterly utterly lost for words! Before this i didn't think it possible to be truly shocked & saddened by a TV show. The most intense, heart-wrenching and unbelievable 10 minutes of television ever created......

I couldn't put it better Nick. I'm trying to verbalise what just happened. So I might copy what you just said.

I still in shocked! Can't believe what happened to the Starks!

You*
It, it's*
'Review'. (';' also acceptable)
You*.
I think that covers the basics. Go home, write it out 50 times and come back for your next lesson.

OH. MY. GOD.

If you read a review that says "This review contains spoilers." and then complain about spoilers, it shows you're a moron.

I was waiting for arya to walk through the doors for ages, going in my head, why are they dragging out the reunion for so long... was so surprised and moved by the ending though. As someone who is only now catching up on the books, I had no idea how this episode of episodes would end. I almost feel like 've been hearing a story with the ending cut short or a joke with no punch line. Such a cruel story, but moves me and makes me care for the characters like not many other shows. Will keep watching and hope to read ahead next time so i can brace myself for episode 9 season 4

can someone post a link where i can watch this ???

I'd say that is to discredit several scenes from Breaking Bad, The Wire and even Mad Men, but this certainly matched those moments!

I agree. OMG just finished watching and my hart is still beating like a drum...
honestly i don't like this ending...only 4 Straks left...

This episode really sucks and shows that they are really losing quality.

What? This is much better than Breaking Bad and Mad Men, and I have watched every single episode of all those 3 shows.

You suck

I am really glad to see I was not the only one with that sickness in the stomach at the sense of shock and loss after watching last nights episode. I literally have never had that feeling watching a TV show or movie ever. It's refreshing to see others shared these emotions too!

Fairly sure a link would be removed so google "free tv online" and follow the top one, I find putlocker links the best.

I'm assuming you've not read the books. That can be the only reason you felt this episode sucked. It was THE best GoT episode yet. I knew what was coming. I've been anticipating last night's episode all season long. I was dreading it as well. When I read the chapter that describes the Red Wedding, I threw the book across the room and didn't pick it up again for a couple weeks. I was THAT angry, upset and sickened by what had happened. I did pick up the book again, though, and I'm very glad I did. Seeing what happened visually instead of in words was just as heartwrenching, with the added shocker of Talisa's fate (which wasn't in the books). All in all, a VERY well done episode depicting what GRRM said was the most difficult part of the books he's written.

Sometimes I imagine GRRM really travelled to some other universe and stole their history books. Game of Thrones is not fiction, it's history, just not from our world.

Actually he didn't travel anywhere. He lifted most of this stuff from the War of the Roses history in England.

it's a reinvention of real history right from our own world dumbass. war of the roses. read up on history.

The final moments of One Minute and Dead Freight (and several season 4 episodes) all illicited guttural responses from me. I wouldn't say this was better, although it was extremely good. Just like Breaking Bad, it hurts because of how much it all makes sense. A tragic surprise that seems so obvious in retrospect; Breaking Bad's had that to a T for years, Game of Thrones hit that note perfectly last night.

i was getting so happy that Arya was going to see her mum again, and thn BAM HOL,Y MOTHER OF JESUS CHRIST! I CRIED!!!

is that fat old beardy fart actually going anywhere with his story?

tubeplus

what a creative man he is... /irony off
if that's the case, I don't need watching this no longer. A Lannister and a Stark will have angelbabies of whom one eventually becomes a fat, evil, sick, homocidal king who's only friends with his fool Will.

why do you care for the characters if there are harldy any left worth caring for?

Even knowing what was coming, it was still a shock. Though I've seen one or two of my friends who've not read the books crying on Facebook over the episode and how it's killed off main characters.

So, it's decided: don't go to Westeros for your wedding...

the starks really suck at this game dont they

t'was really interesting to see lady stark proceeded to slice walder's wife's throat anyway knowing it does nothing to walder or anyone..imo she did it out of anger at her fate and... desperation of wanting to feel a brief moment of relief before the inevitable "mercy" killing as oppose to honouring her threat to walder..and of course the shock of witnessing the massacre right before her eyes numbed any remaining rational senses..

Great words as per usual Ron.
Having not read the books & trying my best to stay away from spoilers. Last nights episode left me excited, shocked with a mild to bitter taste in my mouth. Best bit of television I`ve seen for a very longtime.

oh, that's what everyone thought when Ned Stark died but they did a fine job of making us care for the lot being executed in this episode so I'm sure R. R. Martin will have us caring again soon enough before he pulls out the rug from under our feet again.

that did add to the overall sense of hopelessness.

guess I better write this in a language you understand:
THE REVIEW SAID "CONTAINS SPOILERS" BUT YOU PROBABLY MISSED IT, NOT BEING WRITTEN IN ALL-CAPS.

I filmed my girlfriend while this was on. I've read the books and she hasn't. Her face is a picture of horror

The episode was slightly disturbing. For a moment I even moved my eyebrows up a bit. But then I calmed down. Did you feel the same?

This episode was so brutal...even though i knew what was going to happend becasue i read the books. However a certain character there didnt die in the books...

Wish I'd thought of that. Like the Two Girls One Cup reaction videos all over again. Could be a sensation!

I WANT TO CRY AFTER WATCHING THAT

After having read the books, I was aware of what was coming, but the sheer brutality of it!!! Well kudos to the creative team at HBO. They take the fantasy of literature and ground it completely. Maybe especially after the horrible barbarism which took place in Woolich recently, this episode seems especially poignant. Long may this dramatisation of George Martins novels continue.

Well, that's perfect TV. That IS perfect TV! I've read the books, I've been through this. I'm been angry, shocked and emotional. But I still wasn't ready. What an incredible end to a pitch-perfect episode! Brutal, shocking, emotional, the works! (And they even added in some horror for us book-readers with the traumatic death of Talisa and her unborn child. That got to me quite badly!) But the rest of the episode was so well-done as well. The Yunkai invasion was a beautifully choreographed piece of action, Rickon's farewell was immensely touching, the constant near-reunions were extremely painful.... I'd put this up there with Blackwater as their best yet. Fantastic!
And, Ron, you've once again shown the value of being a non-book reader going into this series. I watch with my dad, who hasn't read the books, and he screamed at the TV. It's truly wonderful to see someone go through these twists and turns, to watch them suffer so beautifully. This is up there with Breaking Bad for me as the finest thing coming out of American TV right now. It really doesn't get better than this!

is it just me who thinks that george r r martin is one sadist person?

everyone on here keeps forgetting about tony stark. I'm pretty sure he's going to be pretty peeved off after what's just happened.

Blatant trolling, c'mon guys don't fall for it.

Having read all the books, I don't know if knowing that it was coming made it worse for me, heart was beating like a drum from about 30 minutes onwards. Walder Frey is a despicable character, and I really hope Roose Bolton starts to get some of the hate he deserves too.
It's fantastic how this show draws you in. The subtle change of music to "Rains of Castamere" was genius, the brutality was just about spot on, and they even had something in there for those who had read the books with the massacre of Jeyne Westerling*.
I will be mightily, mightily impressed if they can make S4E9 as stunning as this. Bravo, GoT team, bravo.

*Using this name as I have no idea what her name is in the TV series, I'm pretty sure it only cropped up once.

I just watched it and it actually made me sick the first thing that i thought and still thinking is well that is it for game of thrones im not watching it anymore good luck to the sick MF producer i believe that lots of people are going to stop watching this show there is no reason to, what are they going to do introduce new characters to then cut their throats off all at once, sorry but after watching a show for a while you become attached to the characters and when you kill them you just killed a reason to watch the show.

Missing the point of the story I think... the emotions seem to be there there tho.

More like they're playing the wrong game.

Would be interesting to hear tales of older Starks, like Brandon the Builder and King Torrhen.

'main characters' lol.

I'll just say the show isn't ruined for those who think it is. It was never about 1 particular family, the overarching story actually doesn't depend on any particular characters/families in the end. It's about what's happening in this world and it's great because anything can happen. :)

Wow, you're an arse hole.

Go away then. GoT isn't aimed at cry babies like you anyway.

As a musician who has felt the pain of sitting through numerous weddings playing corny string quartet rip offs of popular music, I do hope I'm never called upon by a host to massacre guests by raining crossbow bolts on them from the choir loft! That said, I thought this episode was excellent, in spite of its extremely disturbing nature....

I wish people stopped saying "You didnt read the books". It is a TELEVISION show and as such has to be able to hold its own. As a piece of television the killing off of all these characters fails as there really is no one left to care about that much. The child actors are somewhat weak (aside from Joffrey) and Dany has no on-screen vendetta as of yet. So why did I waste the last 3 years when all the main characters of the TELEVISION show are now dead without any real progression. It has been 2 seasons of map reading only for Rob to get murdered.

Sorry... but given that the series is based on a series of books, it's something that needs to be said. There are a lot of folks who are mad at HBO and the show writers as if they just made last night's episode up out of thin air.. Five books (of seven, allegedly) have been published thusfar. The Game of Thrones is primarily a bunch of megalomaniacal individuals trying to outwit, backstab, and screw over each other. Yeah, there are battles, but it's primarily an intellectual struggle.

Stunned. Can not believe it. Like Ned Stark times 100.

Exactly. So so close. God dam it. 4 more seasons and 4 and a half more Starks.

A television show needs to work as a television show regardless of it's source material. This leads me on to a wider complain aimed at the series, it has terrible pacing issues and the lack of screen time per character really detracts. Is this the books fault? No. Is it the writer's fault? Partially, although there isnt really anything else they can do.

No. And while I'll probably get all down votes, I'm losing interest in the show. Why? Because I prefer to have protagonists I can cheer for --- last night was just a glorified, overdone medieval snuff film. There is not a single character at this point I care to see rule (other than the Stark kids, but the way Martin is, I don't have much hope for any of them). He seems to relish torturing the Starks, it's a bit weird imo. I think he just wants to shock, regardless of whether or not it makes sense.

Let's face it, Arya's going to go all Kill Bill.

It's not about being a cry baby, or ignorant as it is in your case. What GRRM and the producers of the show must watch out for is turning away the general public by not giving them a strong payoff. It's a powerful move in any writing to make people feel the loss of a loved character, but there has to be a certain balance in the end. So far, there has been next to no payoff in this show, or at least none that equate the losses we as an audience have been made to endure. The show is even taking liberties from the book to make things even worse than in the original story. Remember what happened to Lost, or the X-Files? They set up the mysteries so much so and never flinched giving away anything. The audiences didn't get their payoff(s) (just more questions) and eventually went away. The shows died under their own weight even though Lost did attempt to change its diet, audiences just didn't come back. They fizzled out and ended on poor budgets, poor ratings and somewhat campy or crappy endings.

HBO's GoT has brilliantly set up the audience, now there has to be a payoff for our emotional troubles and in my opinion, that means one of the "good" characters, as few as they are left, needs a major win.

If I want to see bad guys win, then I'll watch the news. Entertainment should allow me to escape from reality, even if it's only for ten hours in a year. What I'm trying to say is that if your so-called cry babies go away, then so will the show, 'cause that's most of the audience.

Get it?

No, I'm sorry, but I agree with imbenking. You want to talk about the books, then go comment on a blog that only concerns itself with the books. The TV show should stand on it's own merits and delivery as it is a different medium, and THAT's something that needs to be said.

There's nothing truly intellectual about what these megalomaniacal individuals are seeking, not in this story anyway. And the main drive here being greed, imo, has never been about logic or intellect, because it only leads to self-destruction.

It's also funny that you would criticize people's initial adverse reaction to this episode, when you yourself threw the book across the room and didn't pick it up for 2 weeks when this event occurred in the story. Let those who differ from you in their literary choices deal with this story like you had when you experienced it for the first time.

Are you being a cry baby?

I wasn't criticizing people's initial adverse reaction to the episode. I expected it. I would have been more surprised if people *weren't* affected adversely by last night's episode.

Veen didn't give any reason why s/he felt the episode sucked, just that it did. I don't know what s/he means by the show is losing quality.

I love the show all on its own. When GoT first started, I hadn't read any of the books. After the first episode, I bought the four books that were published, primarily because I don't like being blindsided, and I could tell from the get-go that the show was going to be dark/grim. In the first season, I read to keep pace with the series, because it's awfully difficult to capture 1000 pages worth of source material in 10 episodes and not lose track of who is who and such. When I read the Red Wedding chapter, it blindsided me *hugely*. Last night's episode brought back all the upset/anger/hearbreak/nausea I felt when I first read that chapter.

By intellectual struggle, I meant it's more mind games (power, greed, wealth, cunning, strategy, etc.) rather than just plain overpowering someone else with swords and shields.

Sorry I raised folks' hackles by bringing up the books.

What a totally boring post. Schooling the Old school? Not even close, kid. Also what you said about Lost is absolute lies! The budget didn't take a hit and it never lost all its viewers. How many tuned in for the (brilliant) finale? Exactly. Campy and crappy ending? Thats your opinion only and its minority as well.

If you want happy fairy tale stories then stick to Disney stuff, kid. Game of Thrones is based on historical events. The red wedding is based on the black dinner ...look it up and school yourself. In real life the bad guys don't always win, just because it's a fantasy setting doesn't mean it should not havea gritty and realistic turn off events where the good guys can fall.

Thrones is one of the most watched cable shows in history and the viewers keep climbing every week so I don't think they'll notice if You switch off, in fact I'd think they would rather do away with the cry babies Who had/have a sheltered childhood and failed history.

Most of the audience is the cry babies? Probably the stupidest thing you've said so far. Judging by all comments on here tonight it shows I'm right. Looks like I schooled you, boy.

When Ned died I knew this show had no problems killing of characters we love, in fact I realised at that point the show wouldn't follow the rules used in most TV shows. In most shows the main characters don't usually die, some guy named Henson does, and we are happy to explore new situations with the characters we come to love and hate. Not with this show though, life isn't fair, and neither is GOT, And as much as we grow to love certain people within its world there is no certainty they won't meet a foul end. GOT shouldn't be watched like a normal TV show where the characters will be around next week, The GOT should be watched like an organic story, where anything can happen to anyone, and light doesn't always win. The real story is the history playing out in front of our eyes, and not any one character, in the end its the sum total that is GOT and I can't wait for more

True, but audiences will go away if they don't get to see some good characters win every now and then, and I mean substantial wins. And I'm not talking about getting rid of tertiary characters that no one really cares about or simply escaping from a bad situation. I'm talking full blown, spit-in-your-face-as-I-gut-you bad guy snub scene.

Great, now you've resorted to trolling me. Go protest against war or hug a tree ... or something do goodery.

I would say LOST is still the best show ever made....

Better than all those and even GoT

haven't had this feeling to the end of a show since the Nina reveal and killing of Jack's wife in season one of 24.

I've always been dubious about that. Yes, that was a game of thrones, but the taste for gore, horror and promiscuous sex came straight from pulp fiction, not history.

You can add Fringe to that. Seasons 2 and 3 were some of the best television story telling I have ever seen. But, oh dear, seasons 4 and 5.

Yeah, I remember dragons from the War of the Roses. Dumbass.

I think i'll stick to just reading the books, lots of stuff just gets washed over in the show and they cant put as much emotion in it. Show is great don't get me wrong, but i wanted to see big umber, little umber and girl umber wreck some freys day, but they all got gutted like pigs in two seconds, plus the fact of changing of robs wife all together has taken the show to far to a weird place. Will still watch but wont be expecting anything to just wow me. Also yes i know i cant be surprised if i'm reading the book, but i read harry potter before the movies and it still got to me. just wished they had stayed a little closer to the score.

It was all the more shocking as none of them were played by Sean Bean.

All the more shocking as none of them were played by Sean Bean.

Yes - but after watching Tyrion and even Cersei's stories, villians grow on you too. So there is no need to fear that you will run out characters to love. Although, George RR Martin should have allowed Mrs Stark to live to carry on her grief and plight to find her other children.

F Game of Thrones we should all cancel HBO

"As a piece of television the killing off of all these characters fails as there really is no one left to care about that much."

That's not a critic for this episode, but for the next one.
Killing your heroes is a bold move, and it's been done brilliantly here.
Will the show still be interesting to watch without them ? We'll only know it after watching the next episodes. So wait before criticizing something you haven't experienced yet.

One point seems to be lost among the carnage...

well played Tywin, well played...

My jaw is still on the floor. What an amazing episode. What an unbelievable show. I can't think of too many times I've felt that shocked and saddened while watching a tv show. Wow...just...wow!

This for me is Pretty much like troy, when Hector died, I lost all interest in the movie. That just happenned to me in this show, I mean, let´s be honest, anything can happen some say, only to the good guys I say. Everything bad that´s happened so far has been directed toward the Stark, what have the Lannister lost? Bran got thrown off the tower, Eddard decapitated, Winterfell burned to the ground, now this. Let´s be honest, not even Daenerys has suffered so much and she is a cast away woman with no title in a strange land. This show finally pissed me off, they throw you a bone showing you Brann doing his thing and then they shove all of that aside with an ending that will be remembered as the day hundreds stopped watching this bitter show.

I am so pissed off!!!! Now we have two things that we are certain about, the ninth episode of every season is the most shocking and significant, and the certainty that something GOOD for the Lannister is about to happen. I guess it makes sense, cats have nine lives, they are lions, and the ninth episode always favors them.

Awful episode.

Lost was nothing but filler. If they compressed it to half the episodes then that may have been so...but probably not

Such a great job of capturing the horror of Robb's demise! I still wish the series would emphasize the importance of the dire wolves more. I wish they would have shown Robb's dire wolf going crazy as soon as they got to the Twins and Catelyn's repeated warnings to Robb to keep his wolf close to him.

Arya, Sansa, Bran, Rikkon

(does John Snow count? in my mind he does, so maybe 5 left)

All the main characters of the Television show are dead...so Dany, Jon and Tyrion also died then? What about Arya or Stannis? Jamie, Cerscie or Brienne?
Too suggest that Robb and Cat were THE two main characters of the entire show (around which all the story-lines resolved) is a very big stretch!
You might have been watching exclusively for the Robb and Cat storyline, but it clearly wasn't the only thing the show was about! (And if you think there hasn't been any real progression you haven't been paying attention.)

Just you wait. :)

I didnt say all the main characters were dead but I accept your point. All I am saying (and I have calmed down a bit since watching) is that it wasnt a very satisfying death or plot twist IMHO for the TV audience as he never achieved anything, or even tried but failed to achieve anything. His character never got going enough for me.

I am of the understanding that in the book he a) is not such a big character, and b) obviously gets more time devoted to him, so perhaps the death works better in the book. But again, this is not about a book, it is about a television show. When Ned died, it was shocking but also was a brilliant plot device. I will need to see how this one plays out.

Without giving anything away (as I don't know) and no one say either if you do if it's a story plot spoiler, but we still don't know what happened to Ned's Brother Benjen who disappeared in series 1 on a patrol from Castle Black.

If you want good things to happen to the good guys then you're watching the wrong show. Try Merlin or Doctor Who.

I think Martin's approach is to show just how honourable and good the Starks are by showing just how low everyone else will go, which usually results in bad stuff happening to them.

If you look at people considered heroes in real life, what makes them heroes? It's the fact that they've survived some terrible things or died sticking to their principles. Whereas those who'll do anything for power or success generally come out on top despite doing morally dubious things to get to the top.

Personally, I think it will make the victory even sweeter when the tide begins to turn in the Starks favour and scores begin to become settled.

It's weird i had no idea it was all going to blow up , but the music they start playing for some reason made me think ,double cross . We shouldn't have been too surprised coming to think about it , Bolton was there and he had already freed Jaime

Your exact words:
" So why did I waste the last 3 years when all the main characters of the TELEVISION show are now dead without any real progression. "
Nothing I was talking about was related to the books vs the television show...the fact that so many people are reacting so strongly to the death suggest that enough of them think there was enough going on with Robb for this to be considered a shocking twist and they gave the exact reaction the writer's were hoping to get.
(And incidentally in the books there is probably less time devoted to him than we have had in the series, we never see him meet his wife or much of any battles, it almost all takes place off-screen.)

My vote for the most repulsive being in Westeros is CRASTER

Having been randomly spoiled by idiots on Facebook and Twitter (I was late to the episode this week due to circumstances), I had sadly already read more than enough to know almost exactly what would happen in this episode, but damn, those were some drastic measures, weren't they? Quite a shocking rug-pull.

yeah its gonna happen

Like :)

To be honest, there are a few surprises which don't involve the Starks (Jamie losing a hand!), and more to come. It looks they will be pushed into the next series though.

Don't give up ;)

if it was me i would get a massive army together wipe ot walders army, rape all his daughters and then kill him very very slowly!!!!

Lol, I don't know about trolling... more like I'm just trying to get my head around what you're trying to say here. Good suggestions by the way!

First off, you're not schooling anybody here. Second, you're just full of assumptions, aren't you? I say, let's play your game and assume: if you're an '87's kid (as per your handle), then you should be in your mid 20's which means you're most likely vain and think you know it all, and by your posts, I'd say that's acurate. I'm not impressed with your "I know history because I looked it up on wikipedia" approach to argumentation. And even if that weren't the case, even if you are studied in the history of Scotland, or Europe of the Middle Ages, how much do you know about the history of the World? How about the history of the Americas, or the Orient as a whole? How about the History of Scotland in 1000 B.C.? No? and that's okay, 'cause no one can know it all and that bit of wisdom comes with age. You'll get there just as soon as you get over yourself and how awesome you think you are. There's also the fact that we should always take any historical reference with a grain of salt 'cause we just never know how accurate those accounts are. Nevertheless, thanks for the Black Dinner reference, I will look it up in detail and be glad to know a bit more.
"... based on historical events" I'm sorry but it's not. Inspired? Maybe. I also never said I didn't agree with what's been done so far in GoT, just that there need to be a balance and I hope to see it soon. I would hate for the show to start losing out, risking cancellation, because they couldn't let the audience see some "good guys" retribution. Personally, I don't mind a "bad guy wins it" story. I just really want GoT to go on to the end as a miniseries. HBO's Rome was a great miniseries, but it got cancelled after only 2 years because they couldn't find enough of an audience. That's most likely due to the fact that we couldn't really cheer for any of the characters because they were all bad people (or good people who didn't do anything).
As for Disney stuff, well, I'm glad you brought it up. Disney just so happens to be the biggest entertainment conglomerate at the present time, that means what they put out works with the biggest chunk of the international audience. Like it or not, you're part of the minority: those who can enjoy a bad, gritty ending. That's why you'll never see a movie like Saw break a billion dollars at the box office.
As for the ratings, yes they keep climbing because everybody likes a great villain, and GoT has many. But that will only take them so far, because everybody also likes great good guys. I personally greatly enjoyed Ned Stark's character. He was a good guy, but with great subtle and nuanced flaws. They killed him and it was unfair, frustrating and made for great TV drama. I don't think I've ever felt so invested in a miniseries before, but like everything we invest in, there has to be a payoff.
As for Lost, it did lose audiences along the way and its ratings were a rollercoaster from season 3 to the end. They hit some highs and some historical record lows. The finale tried to pass itself off as this great revelation, but was really anti-climactic, flat and somewhat predictable.
To finish, what I understand by "cry baby" is a sentimental person (just a more macho-bullshit and derogative way of saying it), and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I'm also sorry you feel what I'm saying is stupid. You want to keep thinking you're right, go on ahead. I'll say I've learned something here, and I hope you did too.

Strong points. I agree though I'm not adverse to bringing up the books, just labeling people who didn't read them. "Mind games" is a better appelation and it does make for better drama than just slashing away. I also think we saw the most powerful turn in the series by way of BETRAYAL. It wasn't just that he broke his word to Rob, but that Frey also broke the age old tradition of breaking bread. He'll surely make Arya's list. I just wish they didn't kill off Talisa as well. It's funny though, I think it's the first time a TV adaptation indirectly spoils a book's storyline. What I mean is now it's fairly safe to assume Rob's progeny won't have any impact in the history of the the Seven Kingdoms, in the books anyway (lol).

I don't know, I guess I'm the forgive but never forget kind of guy. Tyrion is a tragic good guy. His good heart is constantly being flayed by those around him and his circumstances. Cersei may have suffered, but I don't really feel any sympathy for her. The only one I'm really on the fence for is Jaime. That one confuses the hell out of me, pushing Bran off the Tower with intent to kill just feels out of character after seeing and learning what we know about him thus far. I can only see his attempted murder of Bran as Cersei's powerful will over him, as in she pushed Bran via Jaime.

I keep on hearing about this being the end of the Starks, and I can't help but think '...but the junior Lannisters/Boltons/Freys/etc aren't developing insane magic powers'. If Bran, without any training, is already more powerful than any warg in history (in that he's the first to be able to do 'the impossible' and possess another human), surely that's got to be counted as an advantage up there with Dany's dragons?

from what I know, he is an avid student of history and wrote GoT based on his studies... our own history is an ongoing battle filled with betrayal, good people getting killed (Ghandi? MLK?), deviousness, imbalance, injustice, and tons and tons of brutality... also, there's beauty, there's people fighting for good, there's times when it wins out and we try to hold onto that. But I think GoT mirrors both history and life in an unflinching way that, if we give it space in our heads/selves, can maybe help us make some sense out of our own history as a species... even if it's just to know that life is unpredictable as hell..

who the hell cares about audience? This is a story being written (filmed) because it was so powerful it needed to be told. Luckily Martin is more interested in handing us as good a story as he can, rather than please a bunch of crybabies who just want to see the good guys win and the bad being spanked.

Lost... : P

Good on ya, George, my old boss.

Read the books before the series came out (my wife hadn't) I'm so glad the Red Wedding has finally arrived. I've had to remain blank faced when asked questions for a long long time as not to spoil it.

Yes it is utterly shocking and handled beautifully by the GOT team. Disappointing however to see those who have decided that they no longer wish to engage as they lost some of their fave people in the series.

So a message to them; be brave but remember, winter is coming...

Best TV series... ever.

Having read the books, I know that GRRM gives everybody their just deserve eventually. He strongly advocates for karma and the "what goes around" philosophy and I happen to agree with it. But things like Talisa's [viscious] death are added in for shock value and I find it gratuitous given that doesn't happen in the books. What I'm saying is that if they take liberties from the source material in favor of bad guys, then they should balance it out for the good ones, even if just once in a season.

HBO cares about the audience. In turn, you should care what HBO decides to do with the show. Therefore, you should care about the audience. If you think good stories are only the ones where bad guys win the balance, then I don't think you get the core concept of storytelling. And a bad story, powerfully told can easily pass as good when it's not. Don't confuse the two.
I believe what GRRM is trying to say with ASOIAF, to put it simply, is that power struggles only lead to total destruction. BUT, in the real world, there isn't just power struggles, otherwise we wouldn't have build or created so much throughout history. Otherwise, we wouldn't stilll be here. Even in GRRM's fantasy world, there have been great lapses of time with no war and great prosperity. Stories of fabled characters who did great things. Good people rebelling against tyranny and winning, but not without a real fight. At this time he's clearly showing how greed, hatred and all other villanous things infect the world with despair, BUT there has to be hints of hope that things could get better, otherwise what's the point? Why don't they all just up and cut their own throats? What's everybody's motivation to keep going... THAT's what the show needs to give us, especially after an event like in this past episode.

I agree with you on this one. But I would also add people who survived some terrible thing and managed to stick to their principles (assuming they have a good moral compass, in the general sense).

9 times out of 10 Doctor Who dishes out the pain just like GoT does, maybe not as brutal, thankfully, but still painfull nonetheless.

Don't despair, i'm not giving details but don't lose interest as you will be happy about events next season!

I haven't read the books so I didnt exactly know how this was going to play out. The build up was so effectively done... My stomach was in knots and growing with dread and I knew something horrible was going to happen. My fears were confirmed when they shut the door. it was gut wrenching, sick and horrifying and also frustrating because I was looking forward to Arya's reunion with her family.

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