Well, in case you haven't yet heard, episode 9 of Game of Thrones, "The Rains of Castamere," featured one of the most heart-wrenching, violent, shocking scenes in all of television, appropriately labeled the Red Wedding. Characters we've loved since the first episode of season 1 are no more -- and it's actually kind of tough to get through work today after such an emotional punch in the gut. Does that make me pathetic? Sure does.
But still, fans' minds are blown today -- some are so angry that they refuse to watch the series ever again (kind of like they threatened back in episode 9, season 1, when another beloved character died). Though the scene very closely followed what went down in A Storm of Swords, there was one twist in particular that made viewers rather indignant.
So, if you haven't seen "The Rains of Castamere," STOP NOW. Go do something else. Watch this episode first before you read about it, please. SPOILERS AHEAD.
During the Red Wedding, Catelyn Stark, her son Robb, his wife Talisa, Robb and Talisa's unborn baby, and Robb's direwolf Grey Wind are all murdered during a wedding feast. Robb was supposed to marry one of Walder Frey's daughters in a military alliance, but he married for "love" and broke his vow. To make amends, Catelyn's brother Edmure Tully was supposed to marry a Frey girl instead.
But Frey was conspiring with Tywin Lannister and Roose Bolton to have everyone slaughtered and was able to decimate the King of the North with very minimal casualties -- though he broke the guest right tradition. Let's hope he gets some bad karma ten-fold after pulling this off!
Robb getting stabbed by Bolton and Catelyn's throat being cut after she kills a Frey (it was a mentally challenged boy relative instead of one of his wives in the book) was pretty much word-for-word in A Storm of Swords, told from Catelyn's perspective. But there was one thing in particular that made the Red Wedding TV-version that much more brutal.
To kick off the violence, a soldier grabbed Talisa from behind and stabbed her pregnant stomach multiple times. It was one of the most jarring, disturbing moments of the entire scene. In the book, Robb marries a totally different girl, Jeyne Westerling, and she was never pregnant, nor does she accompany Robb and Catelyn to the Red Wedding. She is eventually pardoned by the Iron Throne.
Fans are angry that preggo Talisa dying was a part of the Red Wedding at all. I can definitely see where they are coming from -- it was extremely upsetting and shocking to watch. But her death was an added, must-watch-this-through-my-fingers element of surprise for A Storm of Swords readers. It was actually kind of nerve-racking to see her there in the first place, knowing that Robb's wife stayed behind in the book, and it built up even more anticipation of what was to come. How would she escape this alive? Could they somehow pardon her? Would they really kill off a pregnant woman? Well -- yes, yes they would. And in such a way that even the most ardent A Storm of Swords fans couldn't see coming.
Between watching a direwolf die (how could they kill a pet?!) and a pregnant woman die (how could they show that?!), a lot of fans were turned off by HBO going to this extreme. But to me, it's part of the universe of Game of Thrones, it was the perfect way to show how much Robb and his mother had lost -- and it's fiction. This actually doesn't happen in real life, though it may feel like it sometimes. As the author of the series, George R. R. Martin (who is most likely in hiding right now), said, "I think the best fiction captures life in all its light and darkness."
Okay, we're talking hella dark here, but after everything we've seen go down on the show, from all the twists and turns, deaths and triumphs, weirdness and sex -- there's no way I'll stop watching now. This show pumps the adrenaline and swear words like no other, and though it's been heart-wrenching and devastating, it's also been an incredible experience to watch it all go down. Kudos to an amazing scene and an amazing season. I can't believe there's only one episode left!
Did you think the Red Wedding went too far by including Talisa?
Image via HBO