Monday, June 3, 2013

(TV) Game of Thrones Season 3 Episode 9 "Rains of Castamere" Review

While the game of thrones could be sum up as a series of unhappy stories with very brutal endings, as a watcher of the show and not a reader of the books, I was totally caught off guard by the events that took place at end of this episode.

While brilliantly shot. Written and acted, it was clearly sad to see Catelyn and Robb Stark fall foul of the less honourable members of  Westerosi high society with only Catelyn reading the tone of events to come from the only exit available bolted shut once Edmure and his bride where whisked off by well-wishers for ‘bedding’ to the cruel  played rendition of the chilling ‘rains of castamere’ confirming her suspicions of betrayal and the brutal death of her, her son, daughter in law and her yet to be born grandson.

Upon reflection and thinking in terms of strategy,  it was quite clear that any visit or marriage to the Freys with Lord Roose Bolton in attendance, was not going to end well for the Starks. In truth, Robb might as well have signed his death in blood the moment he married Talisa and denied one of Frey’s many female offspring his hand in marriage which Frey saw as a slight and may well have forced him to find new alliances.

And find new alliances he did as he and house Bolton sided with Lannisters. All the families and houses in game of thrones are clearly cursed and the curse of the Starks has always been their honour. They have paid handsomely in blood and misery for their honour from Ned losing his head largely for sticking rigidly to his moral code (forgive the rhyme), their kids either kept captive or stranded, the sacking of winterfell, to the grisly deaths of his wife and first born son.

While there are a number of likeable characters in the Game of Thrones, they are really far and few between. Most of them are Starks as from the outset, we see that house stark is the only family that while they are fully aware of the rules that govern the game of thrones, they do their best not to lose themselves by sticking to them unlike just about every house in the seven kingdoms.   

While there were other storylines in this episode such as Jon Snow escaping the wildings after failing a crude acid test of where his loyalties lie and Bran making use powers as a Worg when he helps Jon out by getting his wolves to attack and kill wildlings ordered to kill him, It was clear what would dominate reviews of the episode even though many who watched the show saw it coming and those who read the book couldn’t shut up about it.

While the murder of Catelyn and Robb was shocking and sad, the real emotional tug of the betrayal sequence was Arya finding out by the murder of a direwolf she recognized she the same had fell on her mother and big brother with the hound saved her the emotional trauma by hitting her over the head to knock her out.

In sum, Game of Thrones episode 9 was a barnstormer of an episode from start to finish after a number of slow and meandering (yet still good) episodes and will be hard to top but if  Game of Thrones episode 10 should match this week’s instalment, we are all in for a treat.

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