‘Game of Thrones’ Season 3 ‘Rains of Castamere’ Review – Red Wedding [Spoilers]

Published 2 years ago by , Updated June 4th, 2013 at 9:16 am,

Kit Harington in Game of Thrones The Rains of Castamere Game of Thrones Season 3 Rains of Castamere Review   Red Wedding [Spoilers]



One of the more intriguing aspects of Game of Thrones season 3 has been the emergence of unseen depth in characters who, in seasons past, have largely been understood to possess a singular, mostly villainous quality about them.

Take for example Jaime Lannister, a man who pushed a young boy out of a tower to protect the second worst kept secret in all of Westeros, has become an individual not only capable of garnering compassion from the audience, but is seemingly deserving of it as well. And while Tyrion has always been the Lannister with whom the audience typically sided, his sister hasn’t faired too well in the court of public opinion (or Mother’s Day list posts). But after witnessing the siblings’ interactions with their father (especially when asking for a favor or, say, the keys to Casterly Rock), we have been given new insight into what makes these Lannister’s tick. It may not have brought Jaime-like levels of empathy, but it certainly granted a clearer understanding.

This may seem a digressive point to make concerning an episode that doesn’t even feature a Lannister, but it serves to highlight the series’ extraordinary ability to rework preconceived notions about story and character (especially within the confines of a particular genre), and to remain unpredictable and daring through its willingness to break down walls of convention and break the hearts of its fans. It’s not rare for the “hero” to sometimes lose. In fiction, setbacks build character. But as seen here, this is no mere hindrance; it is the complete destruction of Robb Stark, and with him the dream of a new and possibly better kingdom. But it’s also the unmistakable end to a journey that, for all intents and purposes, appeared to be a major portion of the series’ overall narrative.

It is said that history is written by the victors, which, if true for Game of Thrones, means that the history of Westeros will largely be written by the Lannisters, as the events of this episode strike a massive (and likely decisive) blow against uprising in the North, and certainly quell any thoughts of beating the Lannisters at their own game. While ‘Blackwater’ was all about a Lannister victory in the face of an overwhelming force, through a combination of gutsy resolve (setting fire to Blackwater) and an 11th hour alliance that saw the Tyrells of Highgarden invited to take a seat in King’s Landing, tonight’s victory – known to many as the ‘Red Wedding’ – presents yet another Lannister triumph, but from a very different perspective, and with a very different outcome.

Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones The Rains of Castamere Game of Thrones Season 3 Rains of Castamere Review   Red Wedding [Spoilers]

Blackwater‘ defined the family as untiring in their defense of the Iron Throne, and Stannis Baratheon as presumptuous in his belief it could easily be won. This occasion, however, will mark the Lannisters as ruthless and cunning, while the Starks are once more seen as recklessly beholden to apparently outmoded constructs like principle and tradition – basically the kind of thinking that got Eddard Stark killed. And while the disparate creeds of the Starks and the Lannisters perfectly mirror the discussion had by Varys and Littlefinger – regarding the larger concept of the ‘realm’ – the events that conclude Edmure Tully’s wedding speak largely to Littlefinger’s theory that chaos is indeed the rule of the day.

Unlike ‘Blackwater,’ however, ‘The Rains of Castamere’ isn’t entirely focused on a single story, which helps to make its final moments all the more shocking for those viewers unfamiliar with the storyline and unaware that yet another Stark casualty would be used as a focal point to end a season. The other storylines, though, certainly do not share the finality of Robb, Talisa and Cat’s portion of the episode, which offsets things a little.

Seeing how the world of Game of Thrones works is one the most fascinating aspects of the series, and Dany’s interference with an economy that runs entirely on slave labor (thanks to Daario Naharis, Grey Worm and Ser Jorah) has so far yielded some interesting results, which help to make her storyline lively despite being so far from the rest of the narrative.

Michelle Fairley Oona Chaplin and Richard Madden in Game of Thrones The Rains of Castamere Game of Thrones Season 3 Rains of Castamere Review   Red Wedding [Spoilers]

Elsewhere, Jon Snow comes within yards of being reunited with Bran and Rickon, but after refusing to kill an innocent man, he’s set upon by the wildlings and is forced to kill Orell and flee from a very perturbed Ygritte. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Jon, his life was saved in part by Bran’s warging of the direwolves – which Bran can apparently do at will and to humans now, as seen by his calming of a panicked Hodor.

Season 3 has been a thin storyline for many of the Starks – Sansa and Arya being the two with the meatiest storylines, and even those were scant in comparison to the Lannisters’ arcs – but this feels in keeping with the best and worst aspects of what Game of Thrones has to offer. Stories like Bran and Rickon’s, and, also, Robb’s, can sometimes feel as though they’re slogging through the mud, going nowhere fast and taking time away from more interesting and compelling stories that are happening in the present. But the series excels at planning and illustrating the importance of things to come. Unless of course, as was the case of Robb Stark, his wife and his mother, the surprise is that the end was the only thing coming.


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Game of Thrones returns next Sunday with the season 3 finale, “Mhysa” @9pm on HBO. Check out a preview of the episode below:

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  1. This episode was amazing and depressing all at the same time! I loved it! As soon as they started playing the music I was like “looks like its time to get my emotions destroyed.” Honestly though I actually am one of the few people who doesn’t want jeoffrey to die. I mean I hate him but I get a little excited whenever he shows up to see what he’s going to say or do. Cersei I can do without though. She’s just an idiot.

    Rains of Castamete starts playing

    Ned Stark Jr

  2. Wow…just wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. And a big DAMMIT! The best way to handle this how is to not get attached to any one character.

    (Just an observance – For those of you who are grumbling because some have spoiled the events of the show for you, why do you read here? It’s a given someone, somehow, someway, is going to give something away, be it intentional or unintentional, so perhaps it would be best to stay away from the internet until you’re ready. Again, just an observance.)

    • And also, it’s not like there was a warning by the author that said “Major spoilers ahead”.

    • This is good advice.

    • no sh*t, especially with a novel series 20 yrs old!!!

  3. ^* “show” not “how”

  4. Ok so… I watch a lot of TV. To much some would say. So I have long thought there’s not really much that could surprise me anymore. I’ve pretty much seen every twist and turn a show can throw at you and have become a bit jaded.
    That changed last night.
    I’m still trying to process what happened because this takes the top of the most surprising, gut wrenching moments of my TV watching history.
    The clues were there, this is GoT, we’ve already learned that anyone can go at any moment but I never saw this coming. Even as it was happening I thought someone would walk out of that room. Nope.
    This is also an instance where I’m glad I haven’t read book 3 yet. I would have hated knowing this was coming.
    It seems cruel to think there’s only one episode left this season. How do they follow this???

    • I couldn’t agree more with this statement, even the background you gave about yourself, about how much TV you watch and what you expect etc, I’m in the same boat. I’m still processing it more so because of curiosity, as a viewer we were all rooting for Rob so what exactly do we have to root for now? Does any of the brothers take over as the leader of the Stark House? Seems weird to kill probably the biggest storyline on the cusp of what was going to be a big battle. I enjoyed the episode immensely but as i stated before I’m more curious than anything, how do they follow this? Ah well i digress. I’ll see soon enough.

  5. SPOLIER! SPOLIER! AT YOUR OWN RISK! A Game of Thrones is not a fairy tale story. Game of Thrones will have it’s happy moments as well as sad moments. Some will be predictable and some won’t be predictable. For those who are new to the TV series, expect to become overwhelmed and deranged, which will be a good thing and a bad thing. good because that means you care about the characters you love or support. as well as the story as a whole. bad because GOT really takes a lot of your energy away, trust me i’ve been there, you’re not alone when you get upset about something in the show (in my case, the books as well). but then the bad will fade away and you’re into it again and then it will go down. sounds like you’re on roller coster ride right? well that’s typical and that’s what GOT is, a roller coster rider that goes up and down. people who love and support the Stark family, i feel for you guys and you guys are pretty mad and sad, i know. again, that’s typical, and we readers felt the same way when we read that chapter. the Starks are not as powerful anymore and they’re fading away. In a harsh but truthful way, that happens to many families around the world, it happened in the past and even now. it’s a fear we won’t like to think about, but we do or will think about. think about all the history families in mediveal time and those families don’t exist anymore, rulers that dominated a country but now are gone, families generation to generation lived for years until the last one dies, and there the family and especially the last name is gone. it’s scary to think about. when Rob and Catelyn died, i was like “They’re fading away just like the Kennedy family were fading”. the Kennedys are still alive in the family, but the Kennedy family was once a huge family. life can be brutal as well life can be brutal in GOT. i’m saying all this because i think you stark lovers out there needed to know about it and that the Stark family is not the only family that faded away or is fading away. i support the Lannister and my favorite family and i feel for you Stark supporters. “a Lannister always pay his debt” and this my debt to you Stark supporters. hang in there guys. it’s pretty normal if you Stark supporters don’t want to keep on watching it’s okay to break from watching it, if you want to. every book reader took a break after that part and some took longer than others. it’s okay.

    • You know that last book first name was time of Wolves, or something liek that? Then he changed to Dream of spring. So Boo to Lannisters XD

      • yeah i know the last book was a time for wolves and then he changed it. interesting that the 6th book title is the winds of winter, because the word “winter” reminds me of Ice. the 7th book is a dream of spring and the word “spring” reminds me of Fire. is it just me that i notice this or is it nothing? “boo to Lannisters” is all fine and dandy to me. you don’t like them and you have the right of your own opinion. what’s your favorite house? also with the Starks fading away, for some reason, i have feeling that the Lannsiters will also fade away.

  6. Oh I totally forgot. The silence while the ending credits rolled was stunningly deafening, somberly adding credence to the gut-wrenching events which took place just moments before. Whoever came up with that idea: KUDOS!

  7. The wife and I were just shook once this episode ended. Catheryn’s anguished yell, the beat of silence before the final deed was done, and… just damn.

    It’s been a while since a television episode has been hella emotional, and this had me just.. wow.

  8. Is NOBODY going to mention the real revelation of the episode: Grey Worm’s epic spear skillz?

    • Lol got to agree with you there Kofi. I really enjoyed seeing those three battling together. Grey Worm’s movements with his spear reminded me of the scene in Troy were Brad Pitt was fighting Hector.

    • Oh that scene was awesome. His shield and spear skills were freakin brilliant.

    • Haha I noticed it as well & was well impressed.

    • I noticed that, the guy had major skills.

    • That choreography was brilliant

  9. It definitely did the book justice this time. I remember, when I was reading the series, going to the public library and renting them, I’ve just finished reading book 7 (in French, books 1 to 5 are split into 15) and book 8 (the red wedding) was already taken out. But not 9. “bah! Who cares!, I though, I could skip one book and catch up” But nonotheless I red the back-cover and was appauled: it started with “With the death of the young king of the north…” WHAT!?? You gotta be kinning! Book 9 will have to wait. I HAVE to wait to read book 8!
    Since then, I bought the books and red them in both English and French. I’ve red them more than once, but red the killing part in the Frey’s tower only once. As I did yesterday. Even though there will be reruns, I have watched this episode only once and that was enough. Gruesome.
    And this is why I loathe the Freys and the Boltons so profoundly.

    • *not kinning but kidding… my English isn’t THAT bad. ;)

  10. To people moaning about this show not having a fairytale ending with the protagonist emerging victorious in the end, how on earth did you make it this far? When Ned died in the first season that was supposed to give the viewer a message that no-one is safe in this show.

    Plus all the signs were there this season that this was going to happen. Robb betraying Walder Frey for starters, losing half his army and Winterfell, Stannis with the leeches, Lord Bolton quite happily letting Jaime go. Who did everyone think those letters that Tywin was writing were addressed to? Walder Frey saw no future for his house allying with a King that was eventually going to lose the war, so he conspired with Tywin to secure his house’s safety.

    • People want the hero riding a unicorn waving an american flag and a flaming sword having just defeated the big evil guy who wears heavy armor in a volcano and for some reason invested all of his magical power into a magic ring that he lost.

    • I agree, there have been several signs pointing towards the bleak nature of the series since the beginning. Infants being slaughtered due to their bloodlines, popular songs about massacre; I just don’t understand why people are surprised that things are so dark, when this has been going on from the very start.

      • i also agree and don’t understand why people get surprise. is it because some of them did get surprise or that some people are just sensitive than other people? i don’t know, i guess it depends on the person.

    • I don’t think they’re moaning are they? Most are just showing surprise.

      That says more about the nature of other shows rather than GoT, how by-the-book most stories are.

  11. I don’t see how anyone can complain about the writing of the show. The realism comments are the worst. It’s TV not reality TV. It has dragons for God sakes. Take the show for what it is. An amazing experience w/ twists and turns you won’t otherwise get from any other show on television. It’s a thrill ride much like a rollercoaster or life, with ups and downs and unexpected turns.

    That’s all you have to do,then people who haven’t read the books have the choice if they want the rest to be ruined. The Spoiler alert that the poster gives at the top of the article is a spoiler for the tv show and not the rest of the books. Its really not that hard to do.

  13. I don’t see how anyone can complain about the writing of the show. The realism comments are the worst. It’s TV not reality TV. It has dragons for God sakes. Take the show for what it is. An amazing experience w/ twists and turns you won’t otherwise get from any other show on television. It’s a thrill ride much like a rollercoaster or life, with ups and downs and unexpected turns. It’s an adventure appreciate it while its here because it will end

  14. its is somewhat the reality of our own world we live in the culprit the corrupt the bastards the a**holes lives and the good people dies

  15. its is somewhat the reality of our own world we live in, the culprit, the corrupt gets to live and the good ones die

  16. I’ve read the books. It’s true that the show did justice to the red wedding. I loved the scene, however, I think they did take it too far by including Talisa in it and stabbing her pregnant belly a little bit too graphically. I normally don’t complain about violence where its justified. I just thought it was a tad too much, especially when it’s not even in the book, where Jeyne (Talisa) doesnt even attend the wedding. I just didnt see the need to put that it in. That said, great show, great scene. Great season!

  17. As Ramsay Snow (Theon Greyjoy’s torturer) has said… “if you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.”

    ANYONE can be killed in this series. ANYONE. Is it fair? Nope, not in the least. But it reflects just how amazing and realistic Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire world *is*. The good guys don’t always prevail. There are going to be parts that make you cheer, and parts that make you scream/wail in anger and sadness.

    I’ve read all the books (that are currently published) in this series. When I read the chapter pertaining to the Red Wedding, I threw the book across the room and didn’t pick it up again for a couple of weeks, it had upset me so much. But I did pick it back up, and am very glad I did. SEEING what had made me so upset with mere words brought all the anger and sadness right back, as well as the added shock of what happened to Talisa (which didn’t happen in the books – different name, person not even at the Red Wedding).

    The silent credits made it even more chilling and sad. A moment of silence for the fans to mourn beloved characters and to try and absorb what had just happened.

  18. Look forward to seeing Lady Stoneheart… :) and someone else choking on his pie

    • Yeah I was gonna say as a reader of the books…you guys ain’t seen nothin yet.

    • Oh please let it be Joffrey. Oh please let it be Joffrey….

      • I’m thirsty. Pour me glass of wine servent!

    • oh snap that’s a MASSIVE spoiler people are gonna be pissed at you

  19. I like how parts of the television series differ from the book; I wasn’t expecting Talisa to die and I cringed the entire time she was being murdered. The acting in this particular episode was good, with Michelle Fairley’s performance being the highlight.

    Best and heart wrenching episode of the season. Michelle Fairley did a hell of a job. I have read the books, not boasting just saying, but seeing it on screen just brought back all what I felt when I read it. And I think what made it worse is that his wife died also and the way she died. Though she is still alive in the books because she didn’t attend the wedding. There are some stuff they didn’t add in this episode from the book it was great either way.
    This is the question for those who have read the book, didn’t Osha and Rickon leave way before the group reach rundown tower they were in this episode? Or am I wrong?


      “This is the question for those who have read the book, didn’t Osha and Rickon leave way before the group reach rundown tower they were in this episode? Or am I wrong?”

      You’re not wrong JHova. They did split way before reaching the old tower.

      • It was outside Winterfell where they spilt up right? Osha and Rickon went one way and Bran, Hodor, and the Reeds went another?

        • Bingo! ;)

  21. I have read the books and the best part of the third book hasnt even come yet, wait for the wedding of King Joffrey and you will know the true depths of this author’s vivid imagination.
    The return of Oberyn Martell would re-open the true chapters of violence in the history of game of thrones, the Lannisters and Starks were always each other’s nemesis, but the true war is of the Targaryen(and in extension the Martell’s through Elia Martell) and Lannister

    • massive spoiler…just saying…lol

  22. NEVER… NEEEEEVER have I’ve been so emotionally affected by something that happened on a television set as I was last night. SPOILER!!! SPOILER!!!!! YES… I am a STARK fan… I looooved Ned, I loved Rob and I love Jon… I think I may of loved the wolves even more than the people. I’ve been patiently waiting and waiting and waiting for Rob to take vengeance for his father on the Lannisters ever since they killed Ned… and now… that won’t happen. I’m almost embarrassed at how upset I am over a fictional story. I kept hoping that somehow Rob would make it out of there… but no… just like his father, he did not go on. Now it’s up to either the mother of dragons or Stannis to give the Lanisters and now, Walter Frey, there just end!!! D@@@@@@MN!!!!!!!! AND THEY KILLED THE WOLF… C’MOOOON MAN!!!!!!!

    • I know what you mean by being affected by fictional characters. Im still upset today!

  23. I’ve read the books, but you’re a f****** d*** for that.

  24. Unequivocally one of the most dramatic and riveting hours of television in the history of the medium.

    I was gobsmacked! As Time magazine said:

    “…an episode that was brutal, heartbreaking, impeccably well-constructed, horrifying, and appropriately cruel. It was, like the betrayal itself, ruthless and efficient and left no doubt about the finality or ugliness of the crime.”

    Having not read the books, I have no idea how the whole saga ends — I’m assuming there is some sort of final showdown between factions? But which ones?

    Do the dragons meet the white walkers? Personally, I wanna see the dragons dispatch every nasty muthaf***** we’ve met so far!

  25. Nice write up. Having been a reader of the series this episode was building in anticipation and I actually felt knots in my stomach! I enjoyed your exploration of the depth of character this season and how it all came to a head in recent episodes. I explore that some here too, if you’re interested:


    Especially about Catelyn and the way in which she dies in the episode.

  26. The Red Wedding is one of the shittiest storyline concepts I’ve ever read in a book. It takes almost all wind out of a thrilling plot of how the North would stand up against the Lannisters. Furthermore it is delivered without any sense of urgency or emotional depth – in the book. However, like in many instances before this brilliant piece of television turns this saga into something it has not been since the end of book 2: captivating storytelling. Bravo TV people and thanks Mr. Martin for allowing them to turn your ship around. The opinion still stands: the Red Wedding is a miserable concept but if anyone can get something worthwhile out of it, it’s this series.

    • IDK, if Robb had survived and Walder Frey wasn’t cold-blooded, would he have sided with Stannis? Would Sansa have been executed in order to incite Robb’s rage? Would Daenerys kill him just for being a part of the family that brought about her family’s down fall? It’s a lot of stuff to think about. Robb surviving would have been weird because why have him fight this whole war and not make him king of Westeros? Except he has no real bloodline claim, and he’d spend whatever time he’s not fighting Stannis and Tywin, fighting wights. No, let Robb die. Spend next season having some really important conversations that advance the plot and put the tv viewers on the same level as the people who read the books in terms of knowledge. If we get to season 4 (with book 4 and 5′s concurrent story lines) and some necessary truths are still not explained, this who will fall apart at the seams.

      I’m gonna end my rant here.

    • Note to self: this show is not in fact about how the North stands up against the Lannisters.

  27. I have read the books & Do not care,but 1000′s have not. What a piece of Garbage you are. You think you are hip & Clever ? There is something seriously wrong with people who ruin other people’s enjoyment of life and then go “he he”.

    • Who the hell is JosieHuffPuff I don’t see the comment, they must have deleted it, but seriously they cannot know what is happening next episode, no one can know, even if you have read the books, I have no clue what D and D are planning, am I missing something?

      • Yesterday someone posted major spoilers we’ll (supposedly) see in the finale. Thankfully the poster and his/her spoilers have been removed.

        Speaking of Edmure Tully, I wonder … was he killed or spared? (That’s a rhetorical question, BTW.)

        • I was wondering that too, book says one thing, show says another, who knows wait and see, he did look happy as a clam though didn’t he :)

      • If you’ve read the books you’ll have a fair idea, i knew the red wedding would happen in ep 9 since they released the titles of the episodes, and iv a fair idea how they’ll end the season next week, but to ruin it for people who havnt read the books is pathetic

        • Also, the series writers tend to have everything in that particular series climax in Ep9 each series, and then Ep10 is used to set things up for the next series. The Red Wedding was always going to be in this episode..

          • I think they should have ended the season with the way this episode ended, talk about a cliff-hanger.

        • I have read the books, and I have no idea what will happen tonight, normally episode 10 is tame. None of the big stuff is going to happen, it already did at the RW, know one has any idea what the show has planned. The RW shocked me and I probably read the chapter 5 times~ major differences from the book, and I read D and D did that on purpose so readers would be a little shocked too, I thank them for that!

  28. Whilst I do agree that one of Game of Throne’s alluring features is the fact that nobody is safe, and anything can happen, I also have to question the writer’s almost obstinate attraction towards killing off fan favorites. It’s as though he wants to a portray a world in which loyalty and justice never hold true.

    As you can probably tell, I never read the books (although I did buy them… I’m just waiting for a chance this summer once I finish University). So far the show has been phenomenal, but I find it exhausting constantly investing my emotions and hope into the “good guys” that inevitably die at the end of each season. I was half expecting Joffrey’s head on a pike this season, so that’s a double disappointment.

    GoT it still worth the subscription. And I’m happy that it isn’t a cliche fairytale ending. I just wish that the George R R Martin would appreciate that once in a while, the lesser of two evils does actually triumph without being brutally murdered!

    • I see where he’s coming from though because as a writer myself, I hate cliches and I like turning things on their head.

      I had a writing hobby once that was sort of like a bi-weekly competition and some characters were huge 7 foot tall monsters that left mayhem and destruction behind them in swathes.

      I got bored with that and had a 6 foot tall guy in a mask who weighed 225 pounds but wrote in what some called “a demented and warped style of writing that shocks and surprises at every turn and takes what you expect of the character and gives you the opposite”.

      Basically, I did everything I could to disorientate readers, to horrify them without going into graphic violence, to try and make people question their own sanity as they read it.

      I’m nowhere on the level of George is but like him, I hate seeing “good conquers evil” stories because they’re so boring and cliched. I like twists and turns, characters you start off hating become beloved and vice versa. One event that starts gentle but quickly descends into a sinister event and then the total opposite where a deadly situation becomes a test of bravery to ensure the person surviving the ordeal is the right person for the task (for example, the new recruits in the Suicide Squad comic books being captured and tortured to reveal information and the ones that don’t crack and revealed to have passed the test and initiated into the team as the perfect agents).

  29. This episode was an absolute shock and does require time to process, more than almost anything I’ve seen on TV. Even as the scene built up and I knew something was about to happen I assured myself it couldn’t possibly be a full on bloodbath of characters for whom I rooted so much. Wrongfully. Game of Thrones seems to be intent with crushing our expectations.
    Also, I can’t think of a scene of graphic violence on TV that has shocked me as much as this.