So…seems like we have a lot to talk about. Yes, Game of Thrones has given us big moments leading to bigger moments all season long, but if you haven’t read the books before, there’s no way you could be prepared for this. This is, arguably, the most brutal, most shocking episode in the history of the series, and it’s one of those episodes that explodes the internet. People will be talking about this for weeks, and it likely even broke a few hearts, so if you’re still not ready to talk about what just happened, I wouldn’t blame you for clicking away right about…now.
WARNING: There is absolutely no damn way I can talk about this without spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the episode yet, just go ahead and click away right now. Seriously. You’ll thank me later. Just go read something else, like a list of things ’90s kids like on BuzzFeed or something. Still here? OK…here we go.
So…that all just happened. Yes, Dany (Emilia Clarke) got her first shot at sacking a city and Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) learned that his Warg powers have limits beyond what he previously thought and Jon (Kit Harington) found his tensions with the Wildlings coming to a head and Sam (John Bradley) found himself finally seeing something good in his life, the real emphasis in this episode is on Robb (Richard Madden) and Catelyn (Michelle Fairley).
If you know the books, or if you’ve been really following along with Game of Thrones lore thus far, you know that “The Rains of Castamere” is more than just a song. It’s the story of how Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) overcame a rebellious lord. It’s a symbol of Lannister dominance, a statement of power, a symbol of the merciless might of the family.
Now we come to the wedding that is supposed to unite the Tully/Stark clan with the Frey clan, and we see that this song is still in use whenever the Lannisters hope to make their presence known.
If you haven’t read the books, this is likely the biggest shock you’ve had since “Baelor,” the ninth episode of season one. That episode saw Ned Stark (Sean Bean) lose his head to the whims of King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson). This episode sees Catelyn, Robb and Talisa (Oona Chaplin), among others, lose their lives to Lannister might.
Honestly, there’s not much I can say to analyze this. You’re in shock, and you likely will be for a while. It’s the price you pay for watching a show that has a very “No One Is Safe” policy. The King in the North is dead. His wife is bleeding out before his eyes. His mother’s throat is cut. His sister, Arya (Maisie Williams), is being whisked away before she really knows what’s happening, a reluctant witness to tragedy for the second time in her young life.
This is the brilliance of Game of Thrones. This is a show that can bring us to our knees week after week, while still giving us some chance to have hope for the future. We have never, ever, seen an episode like this before, though. We’ve just witnessed a series of character deaths so staggering that some viewers will never come back. But even with that, there’s hope for what the future will bring. There are plenty of viewers who are now wondering “Holy hell, what happens next?”. This is a lynchpin episode, beautifully told and brilliantly acted, and even if you don’t agree with how things turned out, you can at least understand how the severity of this show’s storytelling serves the overall arc. Trust me, what comes next is even more fascinating.