Warning - This article contains spoilers!
Season 3 Episode 9
"The Rains of Castamere"
A void that’s been missing here on Fanboys Anonymous is anything discussing the hottest show on premium television: Game of Thrones. Well it’s high time someone comes in to fix that! As a note, these articles are written about the television series only and contains no references or knowledge from the books. Spoilers of future events in the books shall be refrained from appearing in these articles.
I’ve just finished watching this weeks episode “The Rains of Castamere” and the goosebumps are still settling. This will no doubt be remembered as one of the most impactful and thrilling episodes in the series. Not since Ned’s execution at the end of “Baelor” in season one do I remember being left with such heightened levels of surprise, confusion, doubt, and heart-break.
The episode starts with Catelyn & Robb Stark gathered around a war map. Robb admits his mistake in not listening to his mothers counsel concerning Theon Greyjoy which resulted in the fall of Winterfell and the disappearance of Bran & Rickon. Robb then asks for Catelyn’s advice on his planned siege of Casterly Rock from the Lannister family. This scene realigned the mother & son after the rocky times they’ve had since the release of Jaime Lannister. The Stark family is currently split across all parts of the kingdom and the need for blood to remain close has never been more important. Winter is coming, as they say.
Later on the Stark family has convened at the Twins, the castle of Walder Frey. The daughters & granddaughters of Frey enter as Robb Stark makes his apology for breaking his oath to marry one of the Frey girls. Walder accepts the apology, but not until after making a number of rude remarks to Robb’s wife Talisa. Walder has always oozed that creepy old man vibe, as a man who mates with his own daughters (not that incest is an uncommon thing in this land). Just in case you thought he might be going soft, they had to throw in sexual harassment to make sure you don’t fully trust this guy. And you’re wise not to...
Jon Snow continues to impress me with his bravery and heroism. Now that he and the rest of the wildling army have passed The Wall they begin their descent into the North. They come across an old man horse-breeder where Tormund commands the wildling army to kill him and raid his home for goods. Jon Snow, however, knows this is not honorable and causes a distraction that allows the old man to get away on horse-back. Before long, however, he is chased down at an old tower and surrounded by the wildlings. Tormund prepares to cut his throat until it is suggested that Snow do it to prove his allegiance. Snow refuses, causing the wildlings to begin attacking him. With a little help from his love interest Ygritte, he manages to escape but leaves her behind. While it’s great to see Jon Snow stand up for what’s right, this may not have been the best time to lift the wool up from over the wildlings eyes. There still seemed much to learn about their plan of attack and having Snow kill the farmer may have been worth it to show his dedication to his duty. The biggest question here is why did Snow leave Ygritte behind? Has he forgotten about her? Was tricking her all part of the plan too? Was his tongue just an instrument in his master plan? What will Snow do now? Can he return to the Night’s Watch? Would they behead him for being a deserter or would they be understanding of his betrayal in the name of saving the entire kingdom?
In a near reunion, that very same abandoned tower that Jon Snow was just outside of is providing temporary shelter for Bran Stark and his entourage. Bran continues to learn more about his mystical power as he is able to enter the mind of his oafy friend Hodor. Bran declares that he must continue searching for the 3-eyed raven and requested Osha to take his younger sibling Rickon to Last Hearth, home of the Umber family. Even though Rickon has played a very minor role in the series so far (Now that I think of it, I can’t recall any other time he’s spoken before this episode), it is disheartening to see the Starks continue to separate even more. However, the voodoo-like powers that Bran has been discovering intrigues me and I’m glad to see that he will continue with his search beyond The Wall. I only hope that it does not result in him becoming White Walker food. Then again, that would require them to actually have White Walkers on.
On their way to the Twins are The Hound & Arya Stark. Two of my absolute favourite characters on the show and I’m loving the duo getting time together. After many episodes of Arya wishing death to The Hound and even making near-attempts herself, I see a slowly budding bit of respect showing itself. This week the two butt heads over killing a traveling farmer for his goods or letting him live to possibly send trouble. Arya defends the farmers life, but shows that she is not soft but knocking the farmer out with a blunt object. Arya then approaches The Hound about his past, declaring that she knows about his fear of fire. Arya has had more growth than any other character since episode one, showing unmatched bravery by continually stepping up to the Hound. Though she still swears to one day shove a blade through his skull, I believe Arya will defend The Hound before this is done. By the end of the episode they remain together and this story will continue.
One of the stories I’m less interested at the moment is Sam Tarly & Gilly running in the woods with a baby. To his credit, after the big cliffhanger at the end of season two, Sam is the only person we’ve seen interact with the White Walker’s all season and twice at that. However, it remains that I’m just not invested into either character. And after Sam was silly enough to leave the obsidian dagger behind at the end of last weeks episode, I really wouldn’t mind seeing Darwin’s Law take it’s effect.
Daenerys took a step back this week, and probably for the best. She’s been red hot this season so far and a little focus on the other characters will give time for the tension to build back up with her storyline. With an infiltrated mission lead by her new recruit Daario Naharis her army successfully sacks the city of Yunkai. One can assume she will offer the slave people the same deal she did with the Unsullied and ultimately end up recruiting them for her army. What next though? Wait in Yunkai for the perfect time to advance? Or continue with the momentum and march on to King’s Landing? While I see them continuing to make us question the loyalties of Daario, I believe Ser Berristan Selmy is the one to keep an eye on at all times. Commander of the King’s Guard is a lifetime position after-all.
|Together to the End|
While I had a feeling that Robb Stark’s days were numbered since there wasn’t much going in his favor, I did not see it going down like this. Game of Thrones once again takes the big risk and kills off not just one but two major characters who have been there since episode one, not to mention a hefty number of other side characters. However with the death of Robb, Catelyn would not have many places to go so perhaps it’s better this way. The effects were top quality as always. The stabbing of Talisa’s womb was one the more brutal moments of the show, and the blood gushing from slit throats was intense but not over-the-top to a point of being comical. I also really appreciated that they left total silence for the credit’s roll to let the final moment really sink in. Earlier this season they followed up the severing of Jaime Lannister’s hand with punk music which completely took me out of immersion and luckily they didn’t make that same mistake here.
|"The Lannisters send their regards."|
While this was a highly eventful episode we saw no appearances of many major characters. We’re left wondering how the marriage of Tyrion & Sansa is panning out. Jaime Lannister has been winning over many viewers with his rescue of Bree, however neither were seen this week. The dreadfully slow moving story of Theon Greyjoy was given a week off but I’m more than okay with that as that story is going nowhere fast and every segment this season has felt like a waste of time. And with Robb Stark down, this leaves Stannis Baratheon with only 2 more on his list on his quest to be king, however he was also absent this week.
While Game of Thrones is always enjoyable, one thing I’ve felt this season is that everything has been moving at a snail’s pace. In fact the story has felt almost stagnant. After all the hype of “things are about to get big in season 3,” I’ve felt rather let down. All of that has been fixed in this one episode. And the best part is, there’s still one more episode left this season!