An explosive and dramatic penultimate episode to series three provided some truly breathtaking scenes and events which may haunt your dreams for a while to come. This episode followed the activities of Jon, Daenarys, Sam, Bran, Arya and Robb/Cat. Please DO NOT read this if you haven’t already seen this episode as it contains SPOILERS!!!! Instead you should immediately turn off your internet as it is full of terrible people who will tell you what happened, then lock yourself away to watch the greatest episode of anything EVER!
We will start with Daenarys so we can focus on the Starks together. With the help of the newly recruited Daario, Daenarys aims to sack the city of Yunkai and free its many slaves. Daario musters up a plan to go through a moderately unguarded gate with Ser Jorah and Grey Worm, kill the few guards that patrol the entrance, then open the main gates for the army to do their thing. This doesn’t go according to plan, but does lead to one of the best battle scenes that Game of Thrones has seen in its three year running. The three men win the first battle with the guards, before many others arrive and surround them. As the scene changes we expect that all may have gone wrong, but Ser Jorah arrives to boast of victory to Daenarys, who immediately asks about Daario’s welfare. At this point you can see the heart of Mormont break in two as he studies the look on Dany’s face when Daario presents himself to her unhurt. A truly spectacular couple of scenes for entirely different reasons, and may have been the dominant talking point of most episodes. But it wasn’t.
Next we will discuss what happened to Jon and the wildlings. They all decide to steal some horses from a horse breeder in order to get to Castle Black quicker. Jon manages to aid in the breeder’s escape by alerting the horses of the wildling attack by smashing his sword on a rock during the charge to the house. This clever idea nearly pays off, with the old man managing to semi-escape on horseback before being eventually captured. In an abandoned mill very close by, a frightened Hodor begins to shout his name in panic due to his apparent fear of thunderstorms. Bran and his group are aware of the wildings outside the mill, knowing that Hodor may get them killed. In all the chaos of trying to calm the untameable Hodor, Bran inadvertently uses his warg abilities to take over Hodor’s mind for a split second and render him unconscious. Meanwhile outside, a suspicious Orell demands that Jon should kill the old man to prove his loyalty to the wildlings. Long story short… he can’t bring himself to do it and eventually Ygritte kills the old breeder, leaving the wildlings to gang up on Jon. Bran manages to take control of Summer intentionally for the first time to help Jon escape. Jon manages to escape with help of Summer and Shaggy Dog, killing Orell in the process. Jon escapes with a face full of eagle as Orell wargs himself into the bird and seems a bit pissed off. Later Bran tells Osha to go with Rickon somewhere safe, so that Bran, Hodor, Meera and Jojen can travel North of the Wall. These scenes are done perfectly, with the viewer being fully aware of the dangers each character is in, along with the awareness that Jon, Bran and Rickon are so close together without being able to reunite. This ‘so close but not close enough’ when it comes to the reunion of the Stark siblings, really sums up the series and the struggles the characters go through. Sometimes they seem to be within reaching distance of happiness, only to be pulled further away once again.
I will briefly mention that there is a short scene with Sam and Gilly as they reach the Wall. Here Sam mentions that there is a ‘secret door’ which will allow them to safely pass through the Wall.
Lastly, we have Robb, Cat and Arya. We see Lord Walder rudely accept the apologies of the King in the North for not committing to his vows, offering him and his men food, drink and protection. The wedding itself seems to be a joyous occasion as Edmure gets to see the bride he has been dreading to see ever since the wedding was suggested. She turns out to be a young, pretty bride and you can tell he gets an instant boner. The feast begins after the wedding and everyone is as happy as possible, with Arya getting very close to being delivered by the Hound to her mother and brother (Again like before, there is a huge element of ‘so close, but so far away’). It’s all so painfully happy and not very familiar in the series. Most people (even if they haven’t read spoilers or the books) may know that something is going to go wrong. Edmure and his wife are carried to bed to consummate their marriage as Robb, Talisa, Cat and the rest remain at the feast. It may be important to note that the Blackfish at this point goes to the bathroom and is therefore absent from the hall during the subsequent scene.
Then it happens.
At this point in the book, Cat notices that the band (who have started to play The Rains of Castamere) are terrible at playing their instruments, raising suspicions that they’re not actually musicians. Here however, she notices an increase in guard activity, with doors being sealed. As Lord Frey then starts to address the hall, Cat notices that Lord Bolton is wearing chainmail. She looks at his face and that tells her everything. She immediately announces to Robb that they have been betrayed, and what follows is a relentless bloodbath. Lord Frey claims he has a present for the Queen who is then butchered in the stomach (destroying the theory by readers that the book equivalent of Talisa is pregnant, as she did not attend the wedding in the books and therefore remains alive). Crossbows then fly all around killing all of the Stark men. Arya witnesses the murder of Stark men outside the gates, as well as the slaughter of Grey Wind. The hound restrains the distraught girl, knocking her out to get her away from the danger (…So far away…). Inside, as Robb crawls to his dead wife, Cat calls for a truce, taking Lord Frey’s wife as a hostage. As Robb climbs to his feet in utter bewilderment, Walder grins and claims that he will just get a new wife. Bolton proceeds to stab Robb in the heart, saying that the Lannisters send their regards. I had no idea how the series would successfully show the madness that then ensues Cat’s mind; but they did a brilliant job! The acting was phenomenal as the face of cat showed the complete collapse of emotions as she slit the throat of Walder’s wife. She then get’s her own throat slit. Roll silent credits.
No doubt a shock to many, and there’s not much I can really say. The best episode of anything I have ever seen. Converted from book to television amazingly, although many readers of the series may be confused as to why the presence of Talisa was required. The feeling that something may actually go well for someone seems possible at many points, but with the exception of Yunkai’s sacking, the main characters have a really bad day which leaves the war seemingly won by the Lannisters. But as you all know there are many seasons to come, meaning that trouble in paradise may hit other families pretty soon. The Rains of Castamere is a sensational episode that the finale will struggle to match. Everything was perfect from the scenery to the acting, and I feel I have no choice but to give it a 10/10. Another crucial point of the series has come and gone, but there is many more to come. Will the rest of Stannis’s leech sacrifices be successful? Keep watching and you may find out.
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