Game of Thrones Recap: Rains of Castamere

If you tuned in to HBO last Sunday at 8 pm for your weekly dose of doggy-style, well, you got it — but maybe not quite the way you were expecting. Game of Thrones took a holiday hiatus and was replaced by Behind the Candelabra. This week HBO is back to business as usual with a new episode of Game of Thrones. I hope you weren’t expecting japes and boobs for this penultimate episode of season three, because you won’t get them. But Edmure’s wedding will be a jolly affair, right? Right????

The Riverlands: Robb wants to take Casterly Rock from the Lannisters, but he needs the Frey army to do it. Since Robb broke his vow to marry one of Walder Frey’s daughters, Frey has demanded that his uncle Edmure, Lord of Riverrun, marry one of them sight unseen. The Stark host arrives at the Twins, where Robb offers his apologies to Walder and the girls he has paraded out for display. Edmure is bummed as he scopes things out — pickings are slim with the homely Frey girls.

Yunkai: Dany has acquired the Second Sons, a band of sellswords led by Daario Naharis. Daario offers to sneak Jorah Mormont and Grey Worm into a back gate of Yunkai, in order to open the front gate and let Dany’s army in the city. Hot to trot at the mention of handsome Daario entering through the back gate, Dany agrees to the plan. The three soldiers make it into the city and slay the handful of guards at the door — no biggie, right? Just kidding, here come about 100 more soldiers! (Raise your hand if you flashed back to Robin Hood: Men in Tights when all those armored dudes came running in.) What could go wrong here? Nothing! The trio reappears in Dany’s tent with the news that the city has surrendered! I guess that’s what you get when your city trains bedslaves instead of warrior slaves.

North of the Wall: Sam the Slayer has killed a white walker, but just in case Gilly isn’t already impressed enough, he gives her a history lesson, too. He read in a book that if they can just make it to the wall, they can pass through a convenient Black Gate at the Nightfort, one of the Watch’s abandoned castles on the wall. Wait, says Gilly, you can tell all that by looking at marks on a paper?? “You’re, like, a wizard!” You’re getting there, Sam. You’re getting there.

The Gift: Both Bran’s group and Jon Snow’s group have reached the Gift, an area of land south of the wall that’s mostly been abandoned due to constant raiding from the Wildlings. The Wildlings come upon an outpost housing a lone old man who raises horses for the Night’s Watch. Jon suggests stealing the horses and sparing the old man, but the wildlings want no witnesses. The man escapes on a horse, and the wildlings follow.

A storm is coming, and Bran’s group takes refuge in an abandoned tower. But with the rain comes the old man, followed by Wildlings, caught at last. Frightened by the storm, Hodor is Hodoring right and left — but never fear, Bran the Warg is here! He slips into Hodor’s mind and calms him down. How about them apples? Even Wargs north of the wall can’t do that to people, only animals. After that, slipping into Summer’s mind is old hat, and now Bran has eyes outside the tower. Ever suspicious, Orell insists that Jon kill the old man. Jon hesitates, and then decides the jig is up — he turns his sword on the wildlings, and now Ygritte knows he’s a true crow. With a little assist from the direwolves (thanks, Bran!), Jon manages to escape on horseback, leaving one really pissed off redhead behind. Hell hath no fury, as they say. You know nothing, Jon Snow!

Later, free of wildlings, Bran decides it’s time to break up the gang. He sends Osha and Rickon off to the Umbers, and plans to continue north beyond the wall with the Reeds.

The Riverlands: Sandor Clegane and Arya steal a cart full of salt pork from a pig farmer, perfect cover for getting into the Twins for Edmure’s wedding. Arya can be reunited with her family, and the Hound can collect his reward. Arya may be accepting Clegane’s help, but that doesn’t mean he’s off her shit list. She’s no match for him physically, but she can hold her own in threats and insults. It’s hard to have a good comeback line for an eleven-year-old girl who promises to someday put a sword through your skull. Off to the wedding!

In the sept at the Twins, Edmure awaits his fate as his veiled bride is escorted down the aisle. Has Walder Frey give him a fat one, or one with buck teeth? Nope! Surprise! It’s a young, hot one! All is well. Walder Frey is appeased, and all slights forgotten. Let’s feast!

All is merry in the grand hall where the Starks and other nobles feast, and outside the soldiers are getting free booze in honor of the wedding. Robb and his queen are picking baby names (awe, a little Ned), and Roose Bolton is telling Catelyn of his bride Fat Walda (Lord Frey offered him his bride’s weight in silver as dowry to marry one his daughters, and Bolton’s no fool when it comes to money). Edmure and his new bride seem blissful, but it ain’t a real Westeros wedding until the bedding, so Edmure and Roslyn are carried off — in the immortal words of FOTC, “it’s business time.” Back in the main hall, only Catelyn notices something is amiss when the doors close and the band starts to play a mournful tune that may or may not be the Rains of Castamere. Slowly she lifts Bolton’s shirtsleeve — and finds chain mail underneath. Her warning shout is too late — one of Frey’s men stabs Queen Talisa in the womb, Robb and Catelyn both fall to arrows, and it’s all downhill from there.

Outside, Arya and the Hound arrive at the gates, only to be told the wedding’s over. Pandemonium breaks out in the yard as Frey’s soldiers turn on the Stark men they had been feasting with and even kill Grey Wind, who was shut in a kennel. Arya tries to make a run for it and get into the castle, but with an “it’s too late,” the Hound clunks her on the head, grabs her, and gets the hell out of there.

Back in the hall, Catelyn staggers up, grabs Walder Frey’s wife, and holds a knife to her throat. She swears that they will forget this whole thing ever happened, if only they will let Robb walk away alive. But if Robb dies, Cat will kill Lady Frey. Alas, we all know women in Westeros are a dime a dozen — Bolton gives Robb the Lannisters’ regards, and kills him. Cat slits Lady Frey’s throat, and a guard slits Cat’s throat. The end. And that, my friends, is how you throw a Red Wedding.

Sorry, those of you who haven’t read the books. In case you had forgotten the lesson you learned in Season One, being a main character doesn’t mean you’re safe in the Song of Ice and Fire. There are other lessons you have yet to learn, but in the meantime don’t forget to take that one to heart. I was sure they would end the season with the Red Wedding, but Game of Thrones is known by now for doing the unexpected. What can top the Red Wedding as a season-ender? Book readers know there are a few options in a Storm of Swords, but it doesn’t seem like we’re far enough along for those. The finale’s title is “Mhysa,” a Ghiscari word for “mother,” so it looks like Dany might be ending the season for us. Until then, dream of Daario and don’t piss off the Lannisters if you know what’s good for you.

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