"OH HOLY JESUS JUST WATCHED GAME OF THRONES!!!"In case you couldn't tell, Clovis had just watched the Game of Thrones episode, The Rains of Castamere, where (SPOILER) lots of people die at a wedding. And by lots of people, I mean thousands of soldiers, a recurring character, and two major characters. Needless to say, this came as a bit of a shock for people who, like Clovis, are fans of the HBO series, but have never read the books. On the other hand, there are people like me who have been a fan of the books for a long time (with me it's been 11 years and counting) and have been waiting three seasons for this scene. Dubbed the "Red Wedding" in The Song of Ice and Fire series, it's as seminal an event to the books as the death of Ned Stark.
In order to help Clovis cope with the trauma, we decided to have a therapy internet chat session to hash out the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Rains of Castamere. I've cleaned up the grammar and punctuation and edited some of the hour long dialogue, but for the most part, these are our stream of consciousness thoughts. Enjoy!
Me: I am super curious to hear about your reaction to the episode, so, Clovis: what did you think??
Clovis: Well, before we get too into the details, let me just say this: you and I are both fans of Joss Whedon, so if ever there were some people who are primed to accept horrible, painful deaths of beloved characters, I feel like we fit the bill.
Me: Excellent point. Hmm....that reminds me of something I saw on the internet (shares link):
Clovis: That said, this may have been one of the harshest character death episodes of tv show that i have ever seen.
Me: So which character death are you referring to? Robb? Cat?
Jason: Well, all of it really. It was kind of carnage!
Me: I remember when I read Storm of Swords, I literally had to put the book down and walk away and question whether the Red Wedding had really just happened. It was actually very similar to my response when Ned died in Game of Thrones.
Clovis: Similar to that death, this is not the cliff-hanger. In other words, two of your main characters are just removed and you still have to make it through a lot more story.
Me: But I give the show runners credit...there were enough changes to still make it extra horrifying for those who had read the book. Like Robb's wife getting stabbed IN THE BABY.
Clovis: OH MY GOD YES!
Me: I mean, I can see stabbing someone--that's just business. But stabbing IN THE BABY. That is some cold shit. Clearly Filch is still upset that someone petrified Mrs. Norris.
Clovis: I had a bad feeling the second they got all twee about what they were going to name it and didn't Robb want to teach young Ned Stark about the beauty of the world while riding around on sepia-toned horses or something, but OH MY GOD! Yes, that's exactly what he's pissed off about.
Me: I can just see the Instagram photos of baby Ned Stark now but NOPE. In the book, the wife (Jeyne) is not there nor is she pregnant....I believe but the pregnant part made it way worse.
Clovis: So this is just added spice on the part of the show to go right to our guts.
Me: Ha, guts I see what you did there.
Clovis: Though, I have to say the hardest part for me was Cat.
Me: Some people just can't catch a break and remember, she believes that almost all of her kids are dead at that point.
Clovis: I KNOW!
Me: A lot of people have a problem with Cat because of her treatment of Jon Snow, but I think she is an amazing character...she felt real--good people are often jerks.
Clovis: I agree!
Me: But that doesn't make her not a total badass.
Clovis: I like that she's complex; I like that she admits to herself that she couldn't love Jon Snow even though she knew it was her duty to do it. She gives herself some shit for that.
Me: Exactly, she is strong. I see a lot of her in Sansa actually (apparently so does Littlefinger).
Clovis Oh that's interesting. And yeah, that makes sense, given Littlefinger's obsession with Sansa. But to return to the scene of the crime for a moment...the thing is, I was worried that something was going to happen to Cat with they way they filmed her reactions during the wedding and the feast. I just had a sick feeling, because of all the Starks, she was the one who kept saying that Filch (whatever his name is here) was not going to be pleased and was going to make problems for Robb's impulsive decision. Cat was just sort of convinced that because she was a Tully, somehow they could maybe mitigate the damage or something.
Me: Yes, that entire scene was great at building up dread and then when she started noticing little things, and the slow drums started you knew shit was going to GO DOWN.
Clovis So when the arrows start coming out, at first she goes down, but then hauls herself back up LIKE A BOSS and tries to retake control. I went back and forth between thinking "okay, Cat's going to make it. I guess Robb will too?" to thinking "well, they can't just kill the wife - she's not THAT central of a character".
Then down goes Robb and the wife and I think for a minute that Cat will be left alive to just have to live with the misery and the actress gives that horrible, heart-breaking wail. And then, almost as an after-thought, her throat is just gone. Ugh.
Me: I don't think I can remember any other book or tv show that dispensed with so many main characters at one time.
Clovis : RIGHT!!!!
Me: But that's why I love this series.
Clovis: That's what got me. NO one was safe.
Me: With the books first, and now the tv show, NOBODY IS SAFE and normal tropes don't hold true. I love being surprised, I hate guessing the end and you can NEVER do that here some people cannot handle that.
Jason: Definitely not. Also, how badly do you feel for Arya? I just feel like there's no amount of industrial strength therapy that is ever going to save Arya's poor sense of safety.
Me: Arya has ALL THE PTSD.
Clovis: She's going to be going into Westerosi POW camps when this whole thing is over and giving the war wounded shit for being pansies for only losing two legs or something.
Me: The Onion had a really funny article about the Red Wedding where even George RR Martin, was like, "Oh, shit! I totally forgot that happened!" I have to admit moments like this almost make me wish I hadn't read the books. I mean, I love them and they are fab and I had my own freak out when I first read Storm of Swords but I feel like there was this big collective event that happened on the HBO series and I now stand kind of outside it.
Clovis: You mean you feel that way right now, as the world freaks out over the show reacting to knowledge that you already had? I can see that. It's hard being an early adapter.
Me: But to know that it was coming had its own challenges. They really expanded Robb's role in the show and worked on breaking down and repairing his relationship with Cat . And then to know this was coming.... of course there was the question, "will they go through with it???" but I never really doubted.
Clovis: I do really like he structure of their relationship, especially this season. We got a really nice sense of how difficult Cat's decision to let Jaime go was and what that did to Robb's credibility. Watching them deteriorate only to have to build back up their relationship is right out of classic Greek tragedy, but that's why its so effective. It makes it hurt so much more to know that they were just starting to get back on good footing again.
Me: I also liked how we spent time with Robb mapping out his plan to take Castlery Rock. In fact, now I am like: "Wait! That was an awesome plan! I wanted to see Tywin's face!" I suppose they had to have a legit reason for him to return to the Twins and kiss Frey ass. So what's the overall lesson here?
Clovis: Aside from trust and love no one, ever?
Me: The lesson is Tywin Lannister is smarter than you. Walder Frey may have been morally bankrupt enough to actually kill these people...but this has Tywin written all over it. "The Lannisters send their regards" STAB.
Clovis: Oh totally - one of the nameless characters that I can't keep track of said something to that effect as he delivered the killing knife plunge into Robb's chest.
Me: Next time, just send a card, mkay? Oh, that guy was Roose Bolton! The flayed man is his sigel. His bastard son is the one torturing Theo. Actually I don't know if the show has made that clear, but I believe it has been referenced .I say bastard, meaning literally bastard.
Clovis: Oh that makes sense! I hadn't realized that, but once you put it in context...
Me: That's why that guy likes peeling off Theon's skin. And the Boltons are clearly all assholes.
Clovis: So, another theme to this episode, which is MASSIVELY echoed in the horrible final minutes, is the members of this fractured family getting SO CLOSE to being together only to be torn away. Again this also happened with Bran seeing Jon Snow fighting off the wildlings at the base of the tower. You could also argue that something similar, if smaller, is evident in Ygritte's reaction to Jon Snow running off once that fight is over - they were just getting close and now they're falling apart.
Me: Absolutely. This entire season has been about puzzle pieces slowly getting maneuvered into place. Oh, and we need to talk for a moment about Rickon actually getting speaking lines.
Clovis: I know! So proud of that little guy! It's almost like he had a character!
Me: Haha and he wasn't terrible, so bonus. Also: Bran is a super strong ward. Poor Hodor. STFU HODOR or, ok, I'll just possess you.
Clovis: I have to assume there's more to his story as this entire series goes on, but again I was struck with "wow, yet another Stark is being separated from his only family members."
Me: I almost see the land beyond the wall as Bran's underworld. You know, hero's journey and all that.
Clovis: That certainly sounds like it's what they're building to--all this business about needing to find the three-eyed raven certainly has a lot of that going on. Also, it should be clear that Martin, as you said, is always moving chess pieces on the board, so clearly Bran's story isn't a throw-away one.
Me: If I could get metaphysical for a moment, I wonder if the Stark kids are supposed to represent parts of a whole. Like Bran is the spirit ,Robb is the heart, Arya is the hand, and Sansa....is the uterus? I don't know, that's all anyone cares about with her. Oh, and Rickon is the pinky toe and Jon is the mole on the ass that nobody ever wanted.
Clovis: Theon is the raging case of herpes that was contracted in college.
Me: Some mistakes you can never live down. You spend the rest of your life disclosing to everyone about stupid Theon.
Clovis: What happens on the Iron Islands stays on the Iron Islands. Except for Theon. That comes back with you.
Me: And doesn't just burn your genitals, but your WHOLE DAMN CASTLE.
Clovis Yeah, your "house" is never really the same after that, is it?
Me: Nope what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except for Robb and Cat since they are way dead.
Clovis: So, should Jon Snow be getting worried that he's next?
Me: ....you shouldn't ask me things like that you know. This is when I make my nah nah face.
Clovis: That's true NO SPOILERS!!!
Me: Because I KNOW WHAT HAPPENS. I will remind you however that the name of the series is Song of Ice and Fire. So someone is ice and someone is fire, but who???
Clovis: That's what I've been guessing! I figured Ice and Fire had to be people, I mean, the easy answer would be that Jon Snow is Ice and Dany is Fire.
Me: Maybe they will get married. And rule the entire world.
Jason: But that could also be a red herring of some kind.
Me: Like communism.
Clovis: Sweet, dragon-y communism
Me: I am a Jon/Dany shipper. I need to look up some fanfic.
Clovis: There you go.
...and that pretty much ended the conversation. See you at the season finale, gentle readers!