Game of Thrones and The Red Wedding

Oh boy how do I start this one off.  This is for Game of Thrones fanatics, watchers, purists and enthusiasts.  Sunday’s episode featured the most brutal sequence on television in a long time and maybe forever.  This is worse than Noah Wyle and the intern getting stabbed by the patient in ER.  This is worse than Ned Stark losing his head.  It was far worse than anything on Sopranos or The Wire.   Game of Thrones and its creators, original novel writer and actors pulled off a wicked finish to the second to last episode of the third season.  Let me step back a little.

Two months ago I wasn’t even watching the show.  I knew about it, heard the wicked claims and didn’t find time to watch it.  I don’t have time to sit down and read all the books and what fun would that be in following it up by watching the series on TV.   Book readers are a crowd that I respect and admire.  They find time to do that and I just can’t.  I love to write and adore my television.  Suddenly sometime near the end of March, I dove into season 1 and didn’t reappear to normal living conditions until I was 3 episodes into season 3.  You stop your normal evening schedule when you load up on a TV series.  You forget to do certain things, like shower, eat properly or tend to your young son.   You might as well grab a sword, a stick, a horse and ride to Westeros.  I got engulfed in this series and loved every bit.  There are stories I care less about but the general scheme is magnificent and hugely addicting.  There is a tasty complexity to the show that other series’ fail to bring to the table.  All the kingdoms fighting for supremacy in a cutthroat time is cool to watch and the nudity, blood and excess add to the pleasure.  Back to Sunday night.

I am a Twitter bitch and Facebook wanderer.  I knew something was coming.  When Banshee’s lovely leading lady Ivana Milicevic tweets, “OH. MY. GOD” with the hashtag #GOT, something has got to be cooking.   I knew a wallop was hitting the crowd who hadn’t read the story where SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER The Stark family is slaughtered at a wedding held by the Frey Kingdom.  Robb Stark(wonderfully understated actor Richard Maddon) and the woman of the house Catelyn(Michelle Fairley) are sliced up and in the process, Robb’s wife, Talisa, is stabbed in the stomach a few times(5 to be exact).   The only catch is Talisa is pregnant and stabbed several times.  This part isn’t in the book and is instead cooked up by David Benioff and Dan Weiss, the showrunners.  In the books, Talisa doesn’t exist and Robb’s wife isn’t pregnant and stays at home.   In a way, this feverish ambush by King Frey, an old pervert who flirted creepily with Talisa scenes before ordering her demise.  The entire scene was just brutal, bloody, and appetite quenching.  The entire hour you could smell it coming.   Book lovers knew it was coming.   Non Book show addicts could smell it, just like I did.   Once Talisa was telling Robb about naming the unborn child Eddark, you heard a match get lit in the room and the fire started.  The bride and groom were carried off and the door was shut and then the music started. The Lannister music.  “Rains of Castamere”(probably not spelled right but suck it faithful souls) filled the room(with Coldplay’s Will Champion holding the drum).   Catelyn knew the jig was up and when she saw the chainmail under Rouse’s clothing, she tried to stop it.  What was she going to do?  The Stark’s were dead in the water.  Sitting ducks.   They were the gambler way in over his head at the tables at 1am with the real players looking at him with pity.   It was sad.  Robb looked like a serious threat to bring down the Lannisters and then he pulls a fast one on the Freys and pays DEARLY for it.  Not only is his entire army killed and his own life is ended and the life of his mother is stopped, but his pregnant lovely wife is stabbed maliciously.

The toughest moment was Robb crawling up to the dying body of his bride, grabbing the severely bleeding stomach and looking broken.  Once he watched her soul depart, I don’t think he cared one bit about his fate.  His mother tried to reason with the Frey elder, but to no avail.    The turncoat Rouse walked up, grabbed Stark, whispered a greeting from the Lannisters and stuck a knife in his heart.   Catelyn sliced open the neck of the youngest bride of the Frey Elder before her own throat was cut.  End of story.   Poor young Arya, riding with the Hound to the wedding in hopes of being reunited with her Stark family for the first time since her dad’s head was cut off, is knocked out by her unlikely protector and carried away.  A horrible ending for the Stark family for what seems like the duration of the show.

When will this family catch a break?  It reminds you of George Martin’s writing and his ability to go against the grain of natural storytelling.   I thought Robb was going to sack the kingdom of Tyrin Lannister and take over and avenge his father’s death.  Instead, he is dead and so is his army and mother.  The Stark’s jhopes rest in children and the bastard son, Jon Snow.  I believe they will be quiet for a while.

This sets up the finale quite well but I have a hard time seeing the last episode top the Red Wedding.   No way.  How much more brutal can you get?  They could have shown the penis being cut off in the previous hour and I wouldn’t rate it higher than seeing a pregnant woman stabbed repeatedly.   That, I believe, was the show runners pushing the brutal pedal forward into our digestive system and making sure we remembered this episode all week and possibly all year.  Whenever Game of Thrones is mentioned, the Red Wedding will come to mind.  Without the relentless murder of Talisa, the impact isn’t as severe.

The intent of Frey was as direct as a blade itself.  Take away everything Robb Stark has and will ever have after his demise.  No son(or daughter). No wife.  No parents.  No Rule. No kingdom.  Goodnight Stark Avenger(not named Tony).  If you see a Stark this week, buy them a drink or two and tell them its okay.  You may be lying but at least you won’t be carrying a knife or wearing chainmail.

Season 4 can’t be talked about until the season concludes next week.  I may write something then or I may not.   Only certain times do I feel the need to unload a TV solo blog.   My favorite character is still Jaime Lannister because his history is so juicy and complex and his character arc is so interesting to watch and prepare for.   His hand getting chopped off is the next thing on the shock list of Season 3.  From that point on, the Kingslayer changed in more ways than one.

Take this as you will.   It’s a dose of mental extraction from a guy who had the Thrones on the mind all day.   Just a brutally brilliant episode.

That’s it.  Thanks for reading and goodnight.

-DB

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Author: D. Buffa

A regular guy who feels a journalistic hunger to tell the news. I blog because its wired into my brain to write what I think in print. I offer an opinion. A solo tour here. Take regular stories and offer my spin on them. Sports, film, television, music, fatherhood, culture, food, and so on. Commentary on everything. A St. Louis native and Little Rock resident who wants to write just to keep the hands fresh and ready.

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