Okay, I can’t stand it anymore. Just come on in.
Dear people who thought that watching Ned Stark get his head lopped off while his beloved daughters looked on was the height of pain a TV show could inflict on you and that it would never get worse than this … Surprise!
Yes, some other things happened on Game of Thrones last night. Jon Snow and Bran got painfully close together without actually meeting (are handy dire wolves so common that Jon doesn’t recognize Summer?), Sam and Gilly … did something. Oh, and Dany took another city. This time without even burning someone with dragon fire. Pushovers. Thought to be fair there was a nice bit of kick ass fighting, especially on the part of former slave, Grey Worm.
But really, who cares about any of that? Let’s get straight to it. For those of you who were watching last night’s episode of Game of Thrones in the company of someone who had not read the books, all I can do it offer my sympathy. I know it will take several days for the bruises on my arm to fade. The “writers are really the worst people in the world” attitude may take a little longer. Maybe a lot.
After a couple of weeks of delays and poorly timed holidays, the wedding party of Starks and Tullys arrived at the Twins, home to clan Frey, but not before we get a touching scene between King Robb and his pregnant wife, Talisa. Talisa surprises Robb by telling him that she’s decided that if the baby is a boy, they should name him after Robb’s father, Eddard. “Don’t you want to teach little Ned Stark to ride?” she asks her husband in a moment so poignant my TV remote was weeping.
Once they arrive at The Twins, Rob gives a really damn good apology for not marrying decrepit old Walder Frey’s hand-selected daughter. So good in fact that I, even as a reader of the books, had a moment of hoping “maybe we’ll just call this whole thing off.” Errr, no. After seeing Catelyn’s brother Edmure married off to the one (extremely) attractive Frey in the whole messy, sprawling, multigenerational family, the show settles in for a night of drunkenness on the part of the guests and many rude, crude comments on the part of Walder.
Meanwhile, just down the road a bit, Arya Stark, long separated from the other members of her family and suspected to be dead, is creeping closer to the ceremony in the company of the Hound. Along the way she gets to promise the Hound that one day she’ll put a sword through his eye. Bold talk for anyone other than Arya, the most fearless character in Westeros. But hold on to that sword, Arya Stark, there are soon going to be many more candidates for sword-kabob.
As the night winds on, Catelyn is clearly becoming more and more nervous. Walder Frey is smiling just a bit too freely and his rude remarks have an edge of disdain that you wouldn’t really expect from a man who thinks he’ll be calling Robb “your highness” when this is all over. Catelyn’s two brothers leave the room at a fortunate moment—Edmure off to bed his new bride, the Blackfish off to see a man about a horse. Shortly after, the house band breaks into a tune we’ve heard before. It’s the "The Rains of Castamere,” otherwise known as the Lannisters’ official song; a song about how the Lannisters destroyed another noble house so completely that it’s barely a memory.
At that moment, Catelyn knows that the jig is up, but she doesn’t realize how completely they are screwed until she realizes that professional cold-hearted bastard, Roose Bolton, is wearing chainmail beneath his party clothes. She turns to warn Robb that he’s been betrayed, but already an assassin has rushed out to stab Talisa in her baby bump. Repeatedly. Then a squad of crossbow-wielding soldiers pop up on the surrounding balconies and rain death down on Robb and his men.
With both Robb and Catelyn wounded, Catelyn seizes Lord Frey’s young wife and threatens to kill her unless Robb is allowed to leave. But Robb can think of nothing but cradling the already dead Talisa and Walder Frey cares as little for his wife as he does for his army of children. Mother and son get one last utterly heartbreaking moment of loss and despair before Roose Bolton rushes out to stab Robb through the heart.
Catelyn throws her head back and howls in absolute anguish, killing Frey’s wife almost as an afterthought just before a swordsman slashes her own throat.
Fade to deep, utter, unbroken black.
I have to say, my list of People Who Really Must Die is getting longer than Arya’s. Walder Frey cannot be allowed to die a natural death. He’s got to be fed slowly, feet first, into a meat grinder while being sprinkled with salt. Oh, and Bolton … vat full of carrion beetles or boiled in pickling barrel? I really can’t decide.
King Joffery, Queen Cersei, The Hound, Ser Illyn, Lord Tywin, Littlefinger, Lord Bolton, Lord Frey, Theon Greyjoy … valar morghulis