I probably haven’t said so that much here on the blog, but I am a big fan of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels, and particularly of HBO’s Game of Thrones series. This week’s episode however was a HUGE sucker punch to many fans of the series who did not read the books and were not in the know of what was going to happen in this event that will from here on will be known as ‘The Red Wedding’.
Basically this episode is the BIG Empire Strikes Back moment for GOT- but times ten in terms of impact and horror. This is where the bad guys score big time, offing what seems to be the last of the good guys in this series- along the way carrying out a terrifyingly violent onscreen massacre which I place right up there with the Death of Sonny Corleone in the original Godfather film. Even though I knew what was coming, it still shocked me to see the things happen before my eyes in stark (heh) bloody imagery instead of just words from a page.
Of course the event was made all the more brutal (perhaps overly so, some may say) by the murder that kicked the night off, the stabbing (stabstabstab) of the pregnant Talisa Maeger Stark (the TV-only wife of Robb Stark). Everything else happened as expected, although I have to say that one thing that is different from the books is that we really don’t know or have any names to place with the rest of the Stark entourage within the wedding hall (aside from Cat and Robb), while in the book these were all loyal nobles, knights and Stark bannermen. To have them all slaughtered so ruthlessly and so freakin’ EASILY in one night was absurdly depressing for any Stark-loving reader (as I recall, the Stark army destroyed at the Twins numbered about three thousand).
One thing you may have missed if you blinked- the Blackfish, Brynden Tully (Clive Russell) escaped the fray (heh) by a lucky call of nature just before the band started playing the swan song. So we may see him around still breathing and spoiling for some revenge.
I believe that next episode will give us quite a bit more Frey-and-Bolton crowing about their victory, which may include the very messy and ugly last rites they give to Cat and Robb (hey, they didn’t shy away from showing poor Ned and his peoples’ heads on pikes back in Season 2). It may also show the rest of Westeros’ reactions to this unheard-of act of brutality and desecration of guest-host relations. I also hope this debuts a particularly creepy new character to close out this season, but we’ll see.
As bloody and depressing this episode may be, it’s not the end of the world, peeps. The war is over but the fight goes on. I have to say that I hunger to see how they handle the rest of the series and the still-unknown final two books for this supposedly-7 year TV epic. For now though, it’ll be a great ordeal to wait till next season. Well, let’s hope they have a whopper of an episode next week to keep us in suspense and raring for more.