Finally! The blood and carnage of Season 1 has been brought into Season 3. “The Rains of Castamere” begins and ends spewing red goodness in House Frey. Robb Stark, his wife, mother and entourage travel there to marry off his uncle, Edmere Tully, to one of Walder Frey’s daughters. As a recap, Robb had agreed to marry one of the Frey daughters, that was until he met Talisa Maegyr and the two were married. To resolve upset feelings held by the Frey’s, Robb convinced his uncle to marry one of Walder’s many daughters. But things go from crass to worse at the wedding. Lord Frey comments quite repugnantly to Talisa. While he’s smitten by her beauty, he does so in a rather offensive, yet humorous manner (at least for this viewer). Robb holds his sword and his tongue, accepts the Frey’s hospitality and the wedding is set to commence. The wedding itself is quite exceptional in its modesty and nobility. When Edmere placed the cloak over his new bride’s shoulders as a symbol that she was now under his protection, the noble act made me long for a time when men’s nobility meant more than it does today. A time when life appeared simpler, yet who am I fooling? I’m romanticizing nobility. An idea that was obliterated after the ceremony, as the Starks were slaughtered just after The Rains of Castamere played beautifully above. Yes, every last one of the Starks who entered the House of Frey. Slit throats, stabbings, bodies littered with arrows. Heck, even throw in a baby being stabbed in the womb. The scene was horrific. Exactly what was needed to get back to the shock value of Season 1.
Yet, while major characters were being sliced and diced, I couldn’t help but notice I wasn’t caring as much this time around. In Season 1, when a major character was killed, it was awful. I cared so deeply for that character, whether it be Ned Stark, Robert Baratheon, Khal Drogo. Heck, even Dany’s slithering brother was so deliciously bad, it pained me to see him go. But as Robb, Talisa and Catelyn Stark fell, I had no connection. Their story-line had stalled. Not that I particularly promote murder and mayhem, but for Game of Thrones, it’s a must, and if the boring story-lines go in a pool of blood, the show is better for it.
One character who I do care for is Arya Stark. Unfortunately, for her, the Hound brought her to House Frey only moments before her family was slaughtered. Sure, she survived, but so close, yet so far. Prior to this, Arya and the Hound have two terrific bits of dialogue. She’s so fun to watch, unafraid of the consequences of her tongue. And it gets her into trouble with the Hound. The great thing about Arya is that she doesn’t care which, in turn, makes me care about her character more. At one point, she walks right up to the Hound, who is badgering her, trying to incite fear, and says, “One day, I’m going to put a sword through your eye and out the back of your head.” Calmly, she walks away. How can you not love a kid like that? Sure, there’s an obvious twist because it’s a cute little girl, but still. The character is fantastic.
In the shadow of the Stark killings are two other story-lines in “The Rains of Castamere.” One follows Bran Stark and his crew as they make their way toward the Wall. After stopping off in an old mill, down below an old man is about to be killed. And it’s Jon Snow who is forced to do it. He’s now a Wildling, and he must show his true colors. But Jon can’t finish the job, and his girl, Ygritte, puts an arrow through the old man’s chest. At this time, Bran finds a new power – he can enter the minds of animals, but also humans, as he does with his carrier Hodor. On the ground, Jon is thought to be a traitor to the Wildlings and after a short battle, he flees. Only problem is, he left Ygritte behind. I can’t help but remember her Fatal Attraction moment an episode or so ago, when she threatened to cut off his manhood if he ever left her. I guess we’ll see if she’s a woman of her word.
Here, I believe Game of Thrones will head deeper into the realm of magic. Bran now has far more magical capabilities than first thought. The Lord of Light can bring back people from the dead. And Dany has dragons. Some power needs to offset the dragons, and those two might be the ones to do it.
The other story-line in “The Rains of Castamere” has to do with Dany and her desire to sack the city of Yunkai. She sends in her captain of the Unsullied, right-hand-man Jorah Mormont and her new beau, Darrio to fulfill her bidding. The three enter through the back door of the city and take on wave upon wave of speared soldiers. Sounds ridiculous, but the scene works. The three have already proven to be accomplished with their swords. They come back to Dany having decapitated the slave owners, allowing Dany to amass an even greater army. Certainly, the slaves of Yunkai will follow her, as all others have in the past. She isn’t called the Breaker of Chains for nothing. Here, we see some jealously begin from Jorah toward Darrio. The chemistry between Darrio and Dany is palpable. A future conflict? Let’s hope so. This isn’t Tiddlywinks after all. It’s Game of Thrones.