Review & Recap: 'Game Of Thrones' Season 3 Episode 9, 'The Rains Of Castamere' Is A Shocker

Television
by Katie Walsh
June 3, 2013 9:57 AM
50 Comments
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So is everyone as horribly traumatized by episode 9, "The Rains of Castamere" as I am? We can work through this together. Recap therapy. We can do it. Yes, once again "Game of Thrones" lived up to its Penultimate Episode Promise of being bananas batshit crazy insane! We now must always fear episode 9, because you can't trust anyone in these games of thrones, especially director David Nutter, who helmed this truly shocking episode. Trying to look past the events of the plot though, it's an action-packed episode, as swords clash in Westeros, across the narrow sea and in the North. It's also an expertly plotted and paced episode, building to an unexpected and effective climax, with some unbelievably stellar performances to boot.  

In the Land Across the Narrow Sea

Though it's out of episode chronological order, let's start with Danaerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), because I just can't get into the Stark business just yet. Danaerys, along with her new lover/warlord, Daario Naharis (Ed Skrein), have begun planning their attack on the city of Yunkai. Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) doesn't trust his intentions, but Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson), the stoic and young commander of the Unsullied believes him to be true and they decide to follow through with the plan for Daario, Grey Worm and Ser Jorah to infiltrate the city. Ser Barristan (Ian McElhinney) is more than a little disappointed to have to stay behind to serve as the Queensguard. 

When they broach the gates of Yunkai, Daario does keep his word, and the three warriors manage to hold off a host of Yunkish guards. A nervous Danaerys awaits back at the camp for news, when a blood-spattered Jorah and Grey Worm return with news that the slave army refused to fight for their overlords. Mormont looks positively gutted when her only concern is the safe return of boy toy Daario, who returns the conquering hero with the city's flag for his new Queen. Freeing slaves, taking cities, hot new boyfriend? Our Khaleesi is on top of the world (right now, always a "right now" caveat with this show). 

In the North and Near the Wall
Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) and Gilly (Hannah Murray) are on their way to the Nightfort Castle, and apparently over their horrific White Walker attack. What I want to know, is did he go back for the magic dagger?! Wither the magic dagger? He impresses Gilly with his book learnin' of history and such wizardry, but she's even more impressed with casting her eyes upon the Wall, something her father Craster said no Wildling ever did and lived. Well, we'll see how that goes, Gill. 

Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright), Rickon (Art Parkinson), and their crew have made it somewhere! YAY! They aren't in the random woods anymore, they are in a random village! It's terribly exciting. Bran remembers from his schooling that with Maester Luwin that it's called The Gift, given to the Night's Watch for their sustenance and support. But, as he explains to the Reed siblings Meera (Ellie Kendrick) and Jojen (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), even though it's a fine spot, and out of the way of all that warring down South, those nasty Wildings like to come a-raiding, no offense to Osha (Natalie Tena). They sense a storm coming and decide to hole up in the stone mill. 

And don't those Wildlings come a-raiding: Tormund Gianstbane (Kristofer Hivju), Gareth from The Office UK Orell (Mackenzie Crook), Ygritte (Rose Leslie) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) are here to steal some horses from an old horse breeder. Of course, Jon disagrees about killing the old man, and tries to appeal to their practical side, but Gingerbeard would rather draw the Night's Watch out of their Castle Black anyway, and so the pack of Wildlings make a break for it across the field, yelling like the pack of barbarians they are. 

Funnily enough, Bran finally has arrived at his once-intended location, which was wherever Jon Snow is. While he's cooped up in the mill, stewing about how to get past the wall, Jon is just outside, ruining all the horse stealing plans and thwarting Ygritte's kill shot at the old man. Hodor (Kristian Nairn) starts to freak out at the storm, and as things get chaotic inside, Orell notes the noise coming out of the old mill. Almost involuntarily, Bran wargs himself into Hodor to stop his panic attack and everyone is shocked. Meanwhile, Giantsbane talks Orell out of investigating the noise and into peer-pressuring Jon to kill the old man, something he can't bring himself to do, Ygritte finally loosing her kill shot into him. This unleashes an unholy battle of Wildlings against Jon and Ygritte. While they wrestle in the mud, Jojen pressures Bran to warg himself into one of the dire wolves outside, who dispatch the Wildlings post-haste, while Jon skewers Orell. Right before dying, Orell wargs himself into an eagle and attacks Jon, and good Lord, now we have eagles and wolves fighting, dogs and cats living together! Jon hops on a horse and rides off to his escape, leaving behind his Wildling missus, and she's pissed. 

After the melee, Jojen tries to tell Bran just how crazy awesome it is that he can warg into a human mind. Even though he saw Jon Snow all up in the mix out there, he decides he needs to head North and find the three-eyed raven like Jojen said. Because Osha refuses to go there, he sends her to take Rickon to the Last Hearth for safety from the Umbers. Rickon adorably protests, in the most lines he's had EVER, but Osha scoops him up and takes him on their way right quick. Bran is stepping up to the plate as a leader in the Stark family, making sacrifices and embracing his own unique powers. And um, the Starks are gonna need him, as we will find out... 

The Crossing
Arya (Maisie Williams) is so close to her family, after being on the road for so long in search of her family reunion that she can't quite believe it will actually come true. She still doesn't trust her traveling companion, the Hound (Rory McCann), and who can really, the man's a savage. But she more than proves own ferocity, clobbering random hog farmers in order to commandeer their wagons and promising to put a sword through the Hound's skull someday. She also knows his one true weakness: fire. It's the one trump card she holds and she lets him know it. 

Arya's hoping her reunion with her mother and brother will take place at the wedding of her uncle Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies) to one of Walder Frey's (David Bradley) daughters-- you know, one of the daughters Robb Stark (Richard Madden) spurned when he decided to marry hot foreign nurse Talisa (Oona Chaplin)? Yeah, one of those daughters, and Frey trots out the whole wretched lot for Robb to apologize to. Edmure looks pained at his prospects. Robb, during his apology, can't help but still declare his love to Talisa, who's standing right there. AWKWARD. Frey, of course, calls her up to sexually harass and denigrate her in front of everyone, making mention of her "firm tits and a tight fit," but he seems to sweep it under the rug, acknowledging that he's a connoisseur of lovely ladies as well, and gets the party started. 

At the wedding ceremony, Edmure is more than pleased when Frey unveils daughter Roslin (Alexandra Dowling) and reveals her to be a total stunner. Frey's all, "IN UR FACE, ROBB," and is really just lording this whole situation over their heads, which they grimace and put up with because they need Frey's men in order to take Casterly Rock and really stick it to the Lannisters. Frey's other daughters even make eyes at Robb's great uncle Blackfish Tully (Clive Russell). 

At the reception, the Starks are relaxed and happy, enjoying the proceedings with each other and bannerman Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton), who happens to be married to a Frey daughter himself. Walder Frey calls for the bedding ceremony (we finally get to see one!), which we find, involves carrying off the married couple and watching them copulate and consummate the union. Edmure is only happy to be carted off by a bevy of Frey beauties. Somehow, all the Westeros wedding customs are making Robb and Talisa, secretly married, all lovey-dovey, talking about naming their baby after his father, and making out right out in the open. 

Lady Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) starts to suspect something when the doors to the hall close, and the band starts playing that merry old dirge "The Rains of Castamere" (remember two weeks ago when Cersei literally spelled out the meaning of that song for Margaery?). Outside, dire wolves are locked up and the Hound and Arya are denied entry to the wedding feast. The final straw for Catelyn is when Roose Bolton meaningfully offers her his sleeve, which when she pulls it back reveals his chain mail. She's no dummy and wastes no time busting him a fierce slap and shouting a warning to Robb, who's listening to Frey drone on about hospitality. It's far too late, though, as Frey hospitality involves, like, A LOT OF STABBING. Stabbing Robb's pregnant wife repeatedly. And crossbows. The entire room attacks them, and Robb and Catelyn take several hits, as Frey sits there drinking wine. Outside, Arya watches as Freys shoot the wolves, kill Stark soldiers, and the Hound bops her over the head and throws her over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes in order to get out of there. 

Inside, Robb and Catelyn have managed to survive, though Talisa has not. Catelyn quickly grabs Frey's wife and holds a knife to her throat in order to plead for mercy for Robb. Frey doesn't care, as wives are a dime a dozen for him. Nevertheless, as Robb stands, Roose Bolton gives him a quick stab to the midsection with the greeting "the Lannisters send their regards." Goddamn, you KNOW Tywin (Charles Dance) is behind this. The coward. And Roose Bolton, having admitted to marrying a Frey for the silver he was promised, has already indicated that he's only motivated by money. 

As Robb collapses, Catelyn wails in pure agony, and she slits the Frey wife's throat anyway, before a Frey guard puts an end to her misery and slits her throat too. SO MUCH THROAT SLITTING. SO MUCH BLOODSHED. This performance is Fairley's swan song on the show, and she lays everything of Catelyn's experience out on the table: all of the rage, grief, anger, mother's love and ferocity that she always kept at bay, simmering below the surface in order to not ruffle feathers and keep the peace. Ultimately, she proves herself to be one of the most fierce warriors of the Tully and Stark clans. This is Emmy clip reel stuff, people! 

Do we all have PTSD after that? What a cruel mistress "Games of Thrones" episode 9 is! In previous seasons, episode 9 brought us Ned Stark's beheading and the Battle of Blackwater. Season 3 ups the ante with the deaths of three major characters. I don't even know what to think anymore. 

Not seen: since so little attention was paid to the Starks in previous episodes, this one was extremely Stark heavy. No Lannisters, no Baratheons, no Greyjoys. With only one more episode to go, there's so many strings that need tying up. But since I heard that book three may have been split into two seasons, there's no reason to expect much closure next Sunday. And with tonight's episode, there's no reason to expect anything at all really. Except blood. Lots of blood. 



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50 Comments

  • Rolando | April 15, 2014 10:29 AMReply

    I think the review is way too negative about the Hound. I really like the Hound, and Arya may not like this, but they suit perfectly together, both have a good heart and both are rugged. This episode was shocking to me. How can someone murder a leader, while his full army is outside?
    I do not think that that is very realistic. Further on the trouble I have is that Catalyn Stark died without knowing that Arya and Sansa, Bran are alive and well. So much I wanted Arya to be reunited at the wedding, that would have made it the perfect day. That was a major disappointment. I saw it yesterday, so im still recovering.....

  • Martch | June 12, 2013 4:52 PMReply

    WTF? WHY RUIN GOOD SERIES? OMG........ stupid, completely stupid, wont watch season 4.

  • inagony | June 9, 2013 1:05 PMReply

    dont forget the robb's still born. that'd take an extra juice in your brain to think how much cruelty is enough :P:P:P

  • César | June 8, 2013 3:29 AMReply

    Well...I must say that I'm a bit dissapointed with the decisions taken by the writers at the red wedding scene.I respect different artistic points of view from a book, but there are details changed at the slaughtering.ESPOILER AHEAD.At the red wedding Robb is deheaded and the Frey's assemble a wolf head to the body,if I remmember correctly,and Caitlyn kills in exchange a mentally handicaped son of Lord Frey.Not his wife.Finally Caitlyn loses her mind and her own hand scratch her own face and then she's murdered.ESPOILER ENDS.
    This details make of the red wedding an even more cruel scene.Idon't know if they tought it could be too much,but I doubt it,watching a pregnant woman stabbed so crearly...I think they tried to...change Caitlyn character,because killing a mentally handicaped boy changes what we could think about her.It isn't my thinking,it could've shown Caitlyn's will in a dark way.

  • Midnightdawn | June 6, 2013 11:37 AMReply

    Meh. This series started out well but the writing is very amateurish, sophomoric and dudebro-ish whenever it diversifies from actual book canon. Also, the emotional attachments and development between some of the characters, essential to their story arcs, haven't been done properly at all. Case in point: Sansa and the Hound, Sandor Clegane...instead his lines were shunted off to of all people, Littlefinger.( And his knowledge of Sandor's burns? Never explained, just ridiculous.) Ugh. Ros? An invented character, not from the books...who might as well have never even been intriduced, for all the good it did the show(so irrelevant, we readers/viewers know that Petyr Baelish is a moustache-twirling piece of crap already...her death was just overkill, sensationalistic gore for the sake of gore.
    I love the ACTUAL story, which leaves this trite series, all stupid invented nonsensical twists, T&A, gore and cheap thrills, no in-depth development like the books, alas!) in the dust. Not paying to watch anymore, the special effects/acting(though some of it is very good, Dinklage, Nicholai Coster-Waldau, Sophie Turner, Maisie, Fairley, Dance, yes Rory even though he isnt really being allowed to play the actual Sandor Clegane, etc)...those who can stomache the changes to a truly great series, be my guest. We all like whatever we like, fair enough...
    "If it aint broke, dont fix it. "

  • mabwisit | June 6, 2013 2:26 AMReply

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  • brian fantana | June 5, 2013 1:20 PMReply

    catelyn was such a great character - i hope they figure out a way to bring her back

  • inagony | June 9, 2013 1:09 PM

    i know they brought her back in the Song of Ice and Fire

  • César | June 8, 2013 3:31 AM

    They do.

  • a book reader | June 5, 2013 7:32 PM

    Please tell me this is a troll.

  • yehia | June 5, 2013 11:32 AMReply

    shooooooow suck what the fucking u killed every good character in the show ... nothing life except piece of shit .... i used to love it but like that hell no u fucking kidding me X((((((

  • - | June 6, 2013 10:45 AM

    Well, they kept the most interesting Stark (Arya). Catelyn is a big loss, but Robb hardly is. Jon Snow's still there, as are all of the Lannister's (pretty much all of whom are brilliant characters, with the best being Tyrion), and Danaerys.
    So yeah, if you're going to stop watching the show because fucking Robb Stark died, you're a moron.

  • anna | June 6, 2013 4:21 AM

    Not every good character! There is still Arya, Bran, Jon Snow, Tyrion. And I somehow like Margaery. Plus Danaerys! Still good reasons to watch the show.

  • KALLIO | June 5, 2013 8:03 AMReply

    This is my last episode of games of thrones I'm not never ever gonna watch it again.

  • KALLIO | June 5, 2013 8:02 AMReply

    This is my last episode of games of thrones I'm not never ever gonna watch it again.

  • KALLIO | June 5, 2013 8:02 AMReply

    This is my last episode of games of thrones I'm not never ever gonna watch it again.

  • staad7 | June 5, 2013 7:42 AMReply

    sh*t it seems like its a terrible ending for season 3. they basically killed honor.

    no more dignified characters to look up except daenarys. the rest are all just kids or have no power. we cant wait for them to grow up and face the dysfunctional families of the lannisters, the freys, etc.

    if they are planning to introduce the Dorne kingdom by Season4 , can they at least get an actor/actress with a dignified aura to make amends.. like Virgo Mortensen of lord of the rings ? now that is something :)

  • Bruce Falk | June 5, 2013 1:31 AMReply

    In reality, life in the Middle Ages wasn't a whole lot better, what with torture, the Black Death, the Crusades' slaughtering people, and constant war. Lives weren't worth sh**. But the big issue here is the surprise expressed by people ignorant of the books' plotlines. As we lose characters, the younger ones are getting older and more interesting and there is still plenty to develop and work with. Drop out if you like, but I'm sticking with it.

  • Bruce Falk | June 5, 2013 1:31 AMReply

    In reality, life in the Middle Ages wasn't a whole lot better, what with torture, the Black Death, the Crusades' slaughtering people, and constant war. Lives weren't worth sh**. But the big issue here is the surprise expressed by people ignorant of the books' plotlines. As we lose characters, the younger ones are getting older and more interesting and there is still plenty to develop and work with. Drop out if you like, but I'm sticking with it.

  • Amr | June 5, 2013 12:09 AMReply

    I don't give a shit THEY KILLED ROB HIS WIFE &HIS MOTHER .. THE ONLY CHARACHTERS THAT HAD DIGNITY .. I WAS LIKE WTF ! ARE YOU F***ing KIDDING ME?!

  • Jason | June 4, 2013 11:55 PMReply

    I'm dismayed. I no longer care about anything in the story. I swear if everyone in the kingdom died, I wouldn't care any more. I don't know how they're going to make me give a shit again.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | June 4, 2013 9:49 PMReply

    Keep calm and remember that things much worse are occurring right now in the real world -- and probably closer to you than you'd ever imagine.

  • Adam Douche Thompson | June 5, 2013 12:25 PM

    You're right, we can never complain about a TV show. Go fuck yourself, douche.

  • TheEagerTraveller.com | June 4, 2013 9:07 PMReply

    I'm still traumatized! I haven't read any of the books so you can just imagine my shock. Your recap therapy was fabulous but I'm not sure if it was therapy at all. I'm still on the edge of my seat. Gaaah

  • Zonzai | June 4, 2013 8:23 PMReply

    The books were a massive bummer to read too. It's not really a fantasy series, it's tragedy/horror/drama set in a fantasy world. If you think the red wedding was shitty, don't even bother watching the rest of series, it doesn't end there.

    That aside I'm losing interest quickly. More and more the TV series just takes all of the great character interactions and development and pisses on them in favor of one death scene after another. If they'd just had more money and taken the time to do it right, it could have held a candle to the books. As a fan of the Song of Ice and Fire novels, the Game of Thrones TV series feels to me like can of Campbell's Condensed Chicken Noodle Soup, it tastes like chicken and there are a couple of chicken-like parts in it but it's mostly noodles and whatever that stuff is they call broth. But it sure as hell isn't real chicken noodle soup.

  • Glass | June 4, 2013 7:24 PMReply

    I think I speak for most when I say FFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHHH

  • Dommy | June 4, 2013 7:05 AMReply

    I think the biggest problem with the show is that its only on once a year it should defiantly get more funding and have 2 seasons a year! But this was the greatest piece of tv iv ever seen my jaw is still hanging down near my ankles

  • Mike | June 4, 2013 3:13 AMReply

    This definitely takes the record for the most intense "holy f******* s***" moment I've ever had in any show or movie. I had a thing going for that entire rebellion and now they're all gone in a single 30 seconds. This is just.. wow. I feel like my dog just died or something I'm just in shock. Gonna be hard to watch the show now but I'm going to I guess.

  • Glen | June 3, 2013 11:36 PMReply

    I am traumatized they killed rob and catelyn. Great episode tho.

  • Krissy | June 3, 2013 10:58 PMReply

    I understand people's shock and sadness. I read the book years ago and was like "whoa" when I had read the part of the Red Wedding but what I don't understand is how people blame the director and just stop watching the show (which I don't believe they will). I mean what show do they think they've been watching? Rape, killing, torture and mayhem is pretty much the norm for this series. People I think often forget that this wasn't a series that was just created out of nowhere. It's a book series turned into a television series on HBO. Maybe if more people take the time to read they would have seen this one coming. Anyways, as for my reaction. I wasn't surprised however I was still saddened. If anything, I was upset at first with that they chose to have Robbs wife an attendance when in fact she wasn't in the books but I later came to understand why they chose to do it that way. Afterall, they do have to comprise an entire book series that's yet to be finished into a short span on television. I think so far they are doing a great job and no matter how they would have treated this episode there was no way around people's anguish. Which to me, means they got it right.

  • Michael | June 3, 2013 9:30 PMReply

    John, you do realize this story is based on a series of books.... the director just sold it amazingly brought it to life. You can stop watching, none of us really care what you do.

  • magicdancer | June 5, 2013 6:24 PM

    Best comment so far. *applauds*

  • john | June 3, 2013 7:40 PMReply

    they just killed the show, I am not watching it anymore im done, good job director you just cut your audience in a really brutal and insane way hope HBO buys your excuses, don't care what the book says happens this were characters that were developed through hardship and pain and you just cut their throats, that's it wow don't know your reasoning but later don't want to begin again with new character development so that you can cut their throats all at once in the same room thanks for lettim me vent and your show now officialy sucks.

  • César | June 8, 2013 3:35 AM

    Be patient.It's on the book.You'll find suprises in the next season.

  • Dummy | June 3, 2013 9:23 PM

    Dude, it's from the books. How can you blame HBO or the show?

  • MZ | June 3, 2013 6:21 PMReply

    I haven't read the books, but after the massacre I was thinking 'Wow. Now a load of Volantians are going to be pissed', which retrospectively explains that awkward post-coital 'I'm writing a letter to mama' bit in the last episode. Otherwise the news of her pregnancy would have died with the rest of them. I am also thinking that in the next episode we'll see Sansa's reaction to this, and Jamie/Brienne's, which will be interesting. (My therapy is to admire the genius plotting and imagine where it's all headed. I had Talisa pegged as a red shirt from way back, so it does help).

  • Barbara | June 3, 2013 3:35 PMReply

    Read the books, so no surprises for me... Still Sad though :(

  • hodor | June 3, 2013 11:04 AMReply

    That was shocking, I had no idea that massacre was going to happen.

    Having said that, I really don't understand why so many people say that they're done with the show. Really? I've never seen anyone who thinks that Rob, Catelyn and Talisa are the reason why they watch the show. I liked those characters, but I assume that this massacre will only make things more interesting.

  • patchthehavoc | June 3, 2013 10:41 AMReply

    I read the books a few years ago and reread them in anticipation for the series, so I thought I was as ready as I was ever going to be for the Red Wedding. Turns out that AHAHA NOPE THERE IS NO BEING PREPARED FOR THIS and it left me as wrecked as reading the chapter. I can't even imagine what it was like to go into this episode without any advance warning, because seeing it play out is a whole other kind of pain. But on the other hand... you think seeing it was bad? Try reading it from Catelyn's perspective, and being privy to her thoughts as the whole event played out.

    (One small thing! Mackenzie Crook's character is named Orell.)

  • Katie Walsh | June 3, 2013 10:57 AM

    I was completely, completely shocked. Also, my sister watched this with me, her very first episode of GOT... I think I traumatized her! Sounds like I should read it now, though!

    (thanks for the correction-- I noted Dan's below and it's fixed).

  • Dan | June 3, 2013 10:32 AMReply

    One of the best errors ever: you totally referred to Mackenzie Crook's character as "Gareth."

  • Katie Walsh | June 3, 2013 10:48 AM

    Oh my God!!! HA! I was so out of it last night. WHOOPS! THANKS!

  • Melissa | June 3, 2013 10:08 AMReply

    It was shocking, but in all honesty this show is kind of boring and they were boring.

  • AR | June 3, 2013 4:39 PM

    Mental, this.

  • jay | June 3, 2013 12:51 PM

    She's right, it was boring and that's why this was a shock to everyone, because all other 8 were lame. People have opinions idiot ...don't cry your show will play next week

  • efrain | June 3, 2013 10:30 AM

    Then don't watch it you stupid idiot. You really have to be mentally retarded to think this show is boring.

  • Rob | June 3, 2013 10:06 AMReply

    Poor Rob Stark. Did they really have to fetal stab his wife?

  • TheEagerTraveller.com | June 4, 2013 9:09 PM

    It's anything but boring.

  • Vivek | June 4, 2013 4:53 AM

    LOL!! i love this last show , starks were playing stupid anyway , they need Tony Stark now

  • Melissa | June 3, 2013 11:19 AM

    Calling someone an offensive name, because their opinion is different really demonstrates your mental capacity.

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