Game of Thrones Season 3 Episode 9 Review and Recap
The Rains of Castamere
As this contains a recap, there are SPOILERS.
“Show them how it feels to lose what they love.” Catelyn Stark begins the pivotal ninth episode of a “Game of Thrones” season with some furious encouragement for Robb Stark’s planned assault on Casterly Rock. Those Starks really thought things were starting to look up, too. Except Sansa, obviously — who, by the way, doesn’t make an appearance this week. Not a single Lannister appears on screen, as well. The same can be said of Stannis Baratheon, Melisandre, Gendry, Theon Greyjoy and the Tyrells. Fifty-odd minutes after uttering those chilling words, the matriarch of House Stark ate her own words. George R. R. Martin once again, and perhaps definitively, reminds viewers (as he does his readers) that there is not a “main” family to his series. The honor, nobility and likeability of the Stark family doesn’t necessarily define them as protagonists — it just makes them relatable characters. Early speculation across the television community has begun to hail the ending to “The Rains of Castamere” as the most shocking moment in television history (for those who haven’t read A Storm of Swords). The King in the North appears at his uncle, Ser Edmure’s, wedding and gives a long-winded speech to really sugar-coat his sorrow for essentially falling love with the total package. Walder Frey accepts this (more or less, but not without a few crude remarks) and they move on to the ceremony.
Daenerys Stormborn and her cabinet then decide how best to take Yunkai. Daario’s allegiance to the Khaleesi faces a test for the first time as he asserts his plan to take the city as the best plan to take the city. Grey Worm, Ser Jorah and Daario then agree to begin their plan from the less-defended back entrance.
After this, Sam and Gilly trounce through in their journey toward civilization. He tells her stories about the beginning of Westeros which leads to her amazement of the power of reading. They fall upon the Wall which Gilly recites was to have never been seen alive by any Wildling. If you ask me, I think Kraster had some propaganda posters going around his farm. Keeping the serfs uneducated to prevent an uprising.
The Hound and Arya exchange knocking the wedding’s wine provider out as Arya pleads for the stranger’s life; He acquiesces. We then jump to her younger brothers and their posse as they take shelter for a coming storm. This leads to jumping to the Starks’ half brother, Jon Snow and his wilding posse. They are about to raid the farm of the man who raises and trains horses for the Night’s Watch. We then return to Arya and The Hound. Arya points out that she has discovered The Hound’s fear of fire. She then warns him that one day she will stick a sword through his eye and out the back of his skull. The cycle of siblings checks back in with Bran’s crew as the storm rages out of control, frightening Hodor. Bran uses his supernatural abilities to calm Hodor and to also recognize his brother, Jon, on the field below. Jon’s true colors finally fly as he escapes sans Ygritte in the hail of a skirmish.
Daenerys’s army then makes their great move on Yunkai which cuts to Edmure discovering that he has the prettiest daughter of Walder (aww, that’s nice… but not so fast!) which cuts to a truly tearful goodbye between the two youngest Stark brothers as Bran sets his sights on rescuing Jon, cutting to a victorious Khaleesi who now owns Yunkai. It’s about time she “un-enslave” an entire civilization again, right? We then settle on the wedding ceremony as Robb learns that his son’s name will be Eddard should his child be male (aww again, but seriously, remember what happened to the last Eddard Stark?).
Arya and the Hound fall upon the Frey’s castle for the wedding, but aren’t allowed entrance under suspicious circumstances. Inside the castle, the doors are closed in the banquet hall as the band begins to play “The Rains of Castamere” (as performed by The National). Catelyn Stark puts it together as the jig is up — but it’s far too late. Without going into the gory details and not daring to attempt to capture the exact shock of the scene in a mere online recap — Robb, his wife, their unborn child, his bannermen, army and mother are killed alongside Walder Frey’s young wife (Ser Edmure’s supposed bride) in the banquet hall.
Walder did not take to Robb’s wedding well as he didn’t protect his own guests from harm and cut a deal with Tywin Lannister and Roose Bolton (the Benedict Arnold of Westeros) to eliminate their single, remaining threat—House Stark. With the Red Wedding Massacre of ’13, Tywin Lannister successfully wiped out the remainder of the threat to his family’s monopoly of power in Westeros. The Hound knocks Arya’s noggin in order to free her from harm.
There you have it. The remaining storylines are: Theon Greyjoy in the dungeon, Daenerys Targaryen in Yunkai, Bran looking for Jon, Jon on the run from Wildlings, Rickon and Osha depart for safer pastures, Tyrion and Sansa are newlywed, Joffrey is set for marrying Margaery Tyrell as his mother prepares to marry Loras Tyrell, Stannis Baratheon and Melisandre prepare to have his wish granted (1/3 of the way there), Arya is still on the run with the Hound and Jaime Lannister is still chilling with Brienne. I don’t think I’d personally consider Tywin, Littlefinger and Varys to be the focus of subplots, but rather characters lurking between and throughout subplots.
I hope you aren’t dismayed too much by the events of “The Rains of Castamere.” Keep with it! There are so many more questions to be answered and events to unravel. Maybe read the A Song of Fire and Ice series this summer. This was a flawlessly, epically executed episode of “Game of Thrones” and catapults season three to an entirely unexplored level.