Well then. The last episode’s awkward Lannister-Stark wedding was nothing compared to The Rains of Castamere, which turned into a real wedding from hell. And stunning television.
When I started watching Game Of Thrones I decided not to read any of the books, at least until it was all over, because I wanted things in the show to come along as a surprise. And that is exactly what just happened to me.
Other than hearing (after the American showing) that it was a harrowing episode, I knew basically nothing of what was to come, certainly not that it would end with Robb, Catelyn and Talisa Stark all dead.
Of course, with it being Episode 9, I should have known something big was coming (thinking back to those previous Episode 9s and HBO’s habit of delivering the suckerpunch a week before the finale episodes), especially when David Nutter‘s name showed up in the credits. He’s HBO’s go-to guy for when it really counts and is one of the finest directors around.
And he did a stunning job here. The closing ten minutes were a masterpiece of tension, dread, horror, heartbreak, betrayal (Roose Bolton!) and were almost unwatchable, but in a good way. I certainly can’t remember anything in a TV (or film) drama leaving me so drained and, exhilarated.
It says a lot that the scenes with the sacking of Yunkai and Jon Snow‘s battle with the Wildlings/abandonment of Ygritte were almost afterthoughts that would have been enough to sustain an episode on their own. But Cat Stark’s face when the Rains Of Castamere started playing, when she saw THE TRAITOR BOLTON wearing chainmail, when she slit the throat of scumbag Walder Frey’s wife…
And what of poor Arya, who was brilliantly played (as always) by Maisie Williams. She was full of tension on her way to finally meeting up with her family, and then the tragedy of what unfolded was played out on her face as she watched Robb’s direwolf getting pointlessly killed. Her lust for vengeance may just have gone up a few notches.
So what of next week? What could possibly follow all this? No doubt some gloating in King’s Landing (if there’s one scene of Joffrey taunting Sansa I might end up smashing things), and hopefully signs of Team Targaryen setting off to make the Lannisters pay their debts. And Walder Frey (to think I felt sorry for him when he killed himself in Broadchurch!). And Roose Bloody Bolton…