Well, it’s finally happened. The Red Wedding has aired and now those who haven’t read the books can weep along side all of us book readers. Welcome to the misery!
There have been many nods to book readers by the creators during these past two seasons and it’s been very hard not to frantically emote about it and spoil everyone. On the DVD commentary Executive Producer David Benioff comments when Tyrion is whistling the tune, the Rains of Castamere, in 02×01 that it was something we had to recognize immediately. “Book readers will know why.” Then they continued to use it several time through season two and three, even having Cersei describe the meaning of the song to Margaery in the last episode just to drive the point home that this song is kind of important. Watching all this foreshadowing and knowing what was coming has been excruciatingly painful. It was a lot of buildup and a lot of hype and I had very high expectations. And wow. It certainly lived up to those expectations.
In some ways the show version of the Red Wedding was worse. Talisa doesn’t actually exist in the books. Yes, there is a woman that Robb marries that makes a ton of people really upset, but the woman herself was very much downplayed. She wasn’t even at the wedding in the books. We catch a glimpse of her briefly mourning, but she’s pretty much forgotten about after Robb’s death. In this we have Talisa, someone we have come to know, who is pregnant with the heir to Winterfell. The first thing they do is stab her in the belly and Robb is forced to watch her and his unborn child bleed out in front of him on the floor. Harsh.
One of the most tragic moments for me was Arya being present. Her and Sansa were the only two Starks to witness Ned’s beheading and she had to witness her brothers army slaughtered when she was moments away from reuniting with her family. I remember hoping and praying that Arya would make it and then when the slaughter happened instead I had a hard time keeping myself from sobbing (I tend to read in public, so crying when, say, on the bus isn’t always convenient). The only silver lining is that she did not have to witness her brother and mother die. And really, that’s a pretty dim silver lining.
When I read the Red Wedding I threw my book across the room and didn’t pick it up for several weeks. I’d managed to go into it unspoiled (unlike Ned’s death, which I knew about before even watching the show) and was completely unprepared for it. I read most of these books on the bus ride to and from work and this particular scene was read right before starting a rather long shift. I flipped ahead and saw no more Catelyn chapters and became immediately depressed. I had to read a Doctor Who novelization to get my mind off it. When people had asked what happened to my last book, “the thick one with the sword on it,” I just snapped “I don’t want to talk about it,” and buried my head in some wibbly wobbly timey whimey stuff instead. If you are feeling like quitting I recommend against it. Just go do something else for a bit and come back in a week.
When I finally did pick it up, one of my favorite characters fake died just a few chapters later, but I flipped ahead and was pleasantly surprised that she did have another chapter and I didn’t have to set the book aside yet again. I was able to finish the book without further interruption, but I was pretty damn emotionally traumatized by the end. And that’s exactly what you probably are right now: emotionally traumatized. And that’s okay. That’s appropriate. But don’t give up. I promise you this show is worth it. Killing your favorite characters is just something George RR Martin likes to do. It sucks, but it happens. Just go preoccupy yourself with something else. Maybe something cheery, like Hannibal. I heard that’s a romp in the park. (Note: It’s not.)
So here we are, the only event that has angered book readers as much as Ned Stark’s death to date (but he’s still writing and has promised to kill a Stark every time we ask when the next book is going to be printed, so behave!). We’re traumatized. We’re upset. We’re sobbing and we’re gorging ourselves on chocolate. And this wasn’t even the finale. That’s next week.
Here’s a bonus for those who missed it in my previous article. They used the Rains of Castamere in the teaser for season 3 and I just began sobbing uncontrollably, much to the confusion of my show only friends. Now that it’s happened, try watching this trailer and not cry.
And who are you, the proud lord said,
that I must bow so low?
Only a cat of a different coat,
that’s all the truth I know.
In a coat of gold or a coat of red,
a lion still has claws,
And mine are long and sharp, my lord,
as long and sharp as yours.
And so he spoke, and so he spoke,
that lord of Castamere,
But now the rains weep o’er his hall,
with no one there to hear.
Yes now the rains weep o’er his hall,
and not a soul to hear
Speaking of trailers, watch this one and note where the quote “death is coming for everyone and everything,” is placed.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.
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