Game of Thrones, Season 3, Ep 9 “The Rains of Castamere”

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

Wow. What an episode. There was some pretty astonishing stuff in this one. And none of it happened in King’s Landing! In fact, King’s Landing didn’t appear in the episode at all. Let’s get to it!

Yunkai: Daario has a plan to conquer Yunkai. He says that he and his mercenary co-leaders (now dead by his hand) used to enter by a back gate for carousing purposes, and the guards at that gate know and trust him. He’ll sneak in, kill the guards, and then call Jorah and Grey Worm inside, so they can sneak through the city to open the front gate and let Daenerys’s army in. Jorah says he doesn’t trust Daario – it’s obvious why he doesn’t trust him: Daario is putting smooth operations on Daenerys and Daenerys likes his Fabio-like long hair and muscular body, so Jorah is jealous. Daenerys trusts Daario, and asks Grey Worm to cast a deciding vote. He says he trusts Daario too.

They put the plan into action. Daario enters the back gate, then whistles for Jorah and Grey Worm to follow. Daario has dispatched two guards and all is well… until another group of half a dozen or so guards arrive and they have to fight those. They rest and Jorah thinks okay, we managed that, but what if Daario really is setting us up for an ambush? And then even more guards arrive and surround the trio…

Later we see Daenerys fretting that the plan is taking too long, and why isn’t there any news. Ser Barristan says maybe Daario did betray her, Jorah, and Grey Worm. But then the trio arrive at her tent, covered in the blood of their enemies, and Daario says, “Yunkai is yours, my queen.” Daenerys throws him and admiring glance, and Jorah’s jealousy goes a bit more green.

The way things are going, it seems inevitable that Daenerys and Daario will become romantically involved, and that Jorah will hate that. So far Jorah has been very restrained around Daenerys, but maybe this will push him over the edge and he’ll do something drastic or stupid. Anyway, she now has another city to add to her collection, and an even bigger army. She didn’t even need to use her dragons! I thought she could just go around flattening cities with dragons from now on. She holds all the aces and looks nigh unstoppable.

North of the Wall: Sam leads Gilly towards an abandoned fort in the Wall, which has a gate on the north side, that they should be able to get through, according to knowledge he picked up by reading a book. Gilly is astonished that Sam can learn things by looking at marks on paper, and calls him a wizard. I thought Sam would say it’s not magic, you just need to learn it, and offer to teach Gilly, and this would be a bonding moment. But no, he says nothing. Gilly is primed to fall in love with Sam, but I don’t know if Sam can avoid messing it up.

Farmlands of the North: Bran’s party reach an apparently abandoned farmhouse with a mill tower. They wonder why it’s abandoned, being far from any war. Bran says that Wildlings raid here near the Wall, and apologises when Osha gives him an angry glance. They decide to rest here for a while, as a storm is brewing.

Meanwhile, not far away, Jon and the Wildling party find the house of a horse breeder. Jon explains there is a single man with many horses because he breeds them for the Nights Watch. The Wildling leader decides to attack and steal the horses. The old man escapes, riding off towards the mill, where the Wildlings catch up to him as the storm breaks. Jon argues to let the old man live, but the Wildling leader demands Jon execute him, in a show of loyalty.

Peering out from inside the tower, Osha says there is a band of Wildlings outside. As thunder cracks around the mill, Hodor becomes agitated and yells in fear. Osha and Bran try to calm him, saying that the Wildlings outside will hear them. Indeed, we see one of them looking up suspiciously to the mill window, as he hears shouting over the thunder. Bran suddenly goes creepy, his eyes turning up to expose the whites, and Hodor falls asleep. Jojen says Bran has the power to enter not only the minds of animals, but also people, which is unheard of! Bran tries to deny it.

Outside, Jon raises his sword to cleave the old horse breeder’s neck, but suddenly turns to attack the Wildlings, saying to the one who suspected him of still being loyal to the Nights Watch, “You were right about me all along!” Ygritte kills the horse breeder with an arrow, but then moves to help Jon, but another Wildling grabs her. Jon is in danger of being overwhelmed! Osha, or maybe Rickon, sees that it’s Jon outside, and his wolf is with them. Jojen urges Bran to enter the wolf’s mind to help Jon, but Bran is reluctant, saying he doesn’t know how, but then he does, and the wolf saves Jon, allowing him to grab a horse and ride off. Ygritte is left behind, restrained from following by a fellow Wildling. Her feelings are clearly mixed.

In the morning, the remaining Wildlings have left, and Bran’s party departs. Bran orders Osha to take Rickon and “Shaggy Dog” (Rickon’s wolf, I guess) to safety, while he, Hodor, Jojen, and Jojen’s sister Meera head further north to the Wall to find Jon. Rickon is tearful at the parting, but heads off with Osha.

Heading to The Twins: Sandor “The Hound” Clegane continues carrying Arya towards her family at The Twins. They reach an overlook, where Arya can see the twin castles on either side of the river. She thinks about fleeing to run there on her own, but Sandor says she won’t get there without him. They have a verbal confrontation, with Sandor saying he knows fear, and he sees it in Arya – fear that she’ll never see her family again. She ripostes that she knows his fear – she saw him cower from the flaming blade back at the Men Without Banners cave, and she knows why he’s afraid of fire – because his brother Gregor “The Mountain” pushed his face into a fire when they were younger. Arya rounds off her backchat by saying one day she’ll push a sword through Sandor’s eye, and out the back of his skull.

Arya’s said a lot of things about getting revenge on various people, but so far she hasn’t had the chance to achieve any of them. Her story needs to turn around from this endless wandering to get to a point where she can buff up, gain some levels, and then go implement some of this vengeance that seethes inside her. I don’t doubt that it will happen, but it’s taking an awful long time.

They head towards the Twins and encounter an old guy fixing a cart. Sandor helps by lifting the cart so the man can put the wheel back on, then he flattens him to the ground with a backhanded fist. He’s about to finish the cart driver with a knife, but Arya intervenes and argues against the needless killing. The man gets up while Arya argues, and she turns around and cold cocks him herself! They leave him there and steal the cart, which is full of pork, including a hilarious looking pig’s head.

The Twins: Robb is planning to attack Casterly Rock, the Lannister home base. He asks Cat what she thinks. She says why do you care what I think? He says that twice in the past he’s ignored her advice and bad things happened. Cat points out that if the Lannisters hear about the attack and an army arrives from King’s Landing before Robb can take Casterly Rock, his army will be caught defenceless between the Lannister army and the sea… At this point I just know that she’s going to say, “Do it.” And she does, but in more words. This plan relies on an alliance with Walder Frey to have enough men to mount a successful siege…

Robb’s army finally arrives at the Twins, bringing his uncle Edmure to marry one of Walder Frey’s daughters to cement the alliance. Frey receives them and makes a big deal of Robb breaking his oath to marry a daughter, and makes lewd comments about his wife Talisa, which Robb bears stoically. Frey then parades his many daughters and grand-daughters so Edmure can get a look at them – they are all homely and Edmure looks unhappy at having to marry any of them. There’s no indication whether he gets a choice, or if Frey will choose for him.

The wedding happens. Frey walks a veiled daughter down the aisle, but when Edmure lifts the veil he sees a beautiful girl and is shocked and delighted. Frey gives him a sly wink which seems to say, “Hah ha! Fooled you!” Things take a pleasant turn and everyone seems happy as the wedding feast gets underway. It looks like the alliance has indeed come together. The guests carry Edmure and his bride off for the traditional bedding ceremony, which Talisa comments to Robb is a strange custom to her foreign eyes.

Cat has noticed that one guy in the feast has refused to drink any wine, and now she notices he is wearing chain mail under his shirt… a bit suspicious for a wedding. She realises it’s a trap, but it’s too late. Frey gives a sudden order and his men leap to attack Robb and his company. One stabs Talisa repeatedly in the abdomen to kill her baby, Robb is shot by crossbows, and Cat takes a crossbow bolt too!

At this point we see Sandor and Arya arrive at the gates, claiming to be delivering pork for the feast. The guards turn them away, but Arya sneaks off while Sandor is talking. She sneaks inside and sees Robb’s men being killed. They also kill Robb’s wolf. Sandor appears and grabs her to carry her away to safety.

But inside, things are grim. Cat grabs a knife and Frey’s wife. She demands Frey let Robb go alive or she’ll cut his wife’s throat. But Frey says he’ll find another wife, and orders his men to finish the deed. One stabs Robb and says, “the Lannisters send their regards”. Cat slices Frey’s wife’s throat, and then another of Frey’s men grabs Cat and cut her throat!

So much blood. Dead: Robb, Talisa, Cat, Robb’s wolf, a whole bunch of Robb’s men. There’s no sign of Edmure, but I’m betting his bedding ceremony with his bride will have been an ambush and he’ll be dead too. And once again poor Arya is frustrated in her attempt to rejoin her family. Rather terminally in this case. Wow, what a shocking ending. And this is only the second last episode of the season! I can only wonder what sort of dramatic cliffhanger they have planned for the next episode.

So we’ve seen two weddings in two episodes: Tyrion and Sansa last time, and Edmure and Frey’s daughter this time. We still have two weddings to come: Cersei and Loras, and Margaery and Joffrey. One of the things I’d heard about Game of Thrones before starting this journey of watching the series was that there is an episode called “The Red Wedding”, which is notorious for being incredibly shocking. With all of these different weddings planned for a while now, I’ve been waiting to see which one was the red wedding. I reckon it will be Margaery and Joffrey’s – that is the most obvious candidate, though of course maybe there’ll be a surprise. It’ll need to be pretty spectacular to match this one, but I have no doubt that whatever happens it’ll be gruesomely amazing. I expect Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane to be heavily involved. Or maybe Daenerys… ooh, that would be cool. Or Melisandre and Stannis, and rivers of demonic blood!

Anyway, what now for Arya? Could she by any chance now go to the same place that Rickon ond Osha go to? That would be nice, to see at least them reunited. Which means it probably won’t happen. And what for Jon? Where is he going to go now? Back to Castle Black? Or maybe he can find Sam and Gilly?

Actually, this has been yet another party splitting episode. Jon and Ygritte are now separate, and Bran and Rickon have also separated. You couldn’t split the party more effectively if this were a tabletop roleplaying game. We had roughly a dozen separate character threads already, now we’ve got two more. Do any of these characters ever join up again at any point?? I sure hope so.

Next up: the Season 3 finale. Should be exciting!

One Response to “Game of Thrones, Season 3, Ep 9 “The Rains of Castamere””

  1. Lauri T. says:

    Ha! I bet I’m not the only one who’s been waiting for you to reach this episode. To clarify: what you just witnessed was, in fact, the infamous Red Wedding – so it’s not an episode title, but it’s such a universal moniker for Edmure’s wedding that it’s commonly used as a substitute for the actual title. Presumably there are quite a few people who don’t even know/remember that’s not the actual title. The name is coined in-universe, so I expect you’ll hear it spoken on the show soon enough. As for whether there are even more spectacular weddings up ahead, well, I’ll leave you to discover that for yourself. :)

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