Jun 2 2013 9:55pm

Game of Thrones: Season 3, Episode 9 “The Rains of Castamere”

Game of Thrones Rains of Castamere spoiler thread

So that happened.

Major bloody, bloody spoilers after the cut.

Today’s secret word is... schadenfreude.

“Rains of Castamere” contained a moment fans of the ASoIaF books have been so very patiently waiting for. That moment when you can observe your book-virgin friends watching tonight’s episode of Game of Thrones with a secret smile, knowing, waiting for That Moment. When “The Rains of Castamere” starts playing at Edmure’s wedding and everything turns upside down, you will be there to witness the crying, the gnashing of teeth, the frustration, the sting of indignation that once again, life in Westeros is just not fair.

The bad ones always live.

You will remember the first time you read Catelyn’s infamous final chapter.

Perhaps you threw the book across the room. Perhaps you broke down and bought your first pack of smokes in three months because you could not believe that that just happened and you needed something to calm you down. (Any justification for a filthy smoker. Don’t be like that.) Perhaps you then sent the jerk who told you to read this damned series in the first place a furious text message. Maybe you raised your fist to the indifferent heavens and cursed George R. R. Martin for making you care about these people so that it would hurt when they were slaughtered in the cruelest possible way. 

Maybe you did all of the above. I did.

I did all of these things, but I laughed, too. Maybe a bit madly, like Cat, because damned if that wasn’t one of the most wicked, well-written scenes in the whole series. The foreshadowing, the tension, the slow build, and then the realization that Martin—and those fucking Freys—were really going to go there.

While Cat wasn’t my favorite character, I could certainly empathize with the powerful love she felt for her children, often to the fault of all else. And I did love her sad voice. It was a smart and sadistic move to have this chapter written in Cat’s voice because what could be more painful than to be in the mind of a helpless mother—who has lost so much already—when her firstborn son is murdered before her eyes. We are with Cat when she loses her mind, literally. There is no succor for Cat and there is none for us.

And poor Robb. In the books, we never got much in his own voice. Like most of the main kings—Robert, Joffrey, Renly, Stannis, and Balon—they are viewed from a distance. It’s more important to the story to see how others react to their actions. So while I was certainly sad for the foolish, earnest young King in the North, it was his mother’s grief I felt sharpest. I felt more grief for Robb’s siblings than I did for Robb himself. I knew them better.

But the show changed that. We got to see a lot more of Robb, including conversations we were never privy to in the books. He was given more equal weight in the show, so losing him now, like this, when we’ve seen his love scenes and private conversations with his ill-advised wife? It’s even more heartbreaking. I didn’t think it would be possible. Credit must also, of course, be given to Richard Madden and his soulful eyes.

I knew from the first season of Game of Thrones that this was going to hurt.

But I also knew I’d enjoy the evil glee of watching my friends and family finally attend the Red Wedding. And Twitter. Oh boy, have I been waiting for the furious tweets.

And once the tears have dried and the dust has settled, we book readers can all laugh heartily and say a bit smugly: “See?! I told you that George R. R. Martin is a brilliant fucking bastard.”

So, while it’s hard to believe, some other stuff happened last night:

  • SO FRUSTRATING! Arya was only 100 yards from her mother and brother when they died. If anything could’ve been changed from the book, it was my hope that Cat would at least glimpse her daughter before she died, like Ned. Just a silent bit of something nice. NOPE. NO NICE FOR YOU. The Hound saved her life, but I doubt she’ll thank him for it. Her vow to put a sword through his eye and out the back of his head was so boss.
  • Another two ships passing in the night! I was glad that at least one Stark got to see another estranged Stark, but still. Can’t any Starks hug each other? Even a wave? Wave-by-wargin’ counts, I suppose. Finally Bran’s story got interesting.
  • Well make that three ships passing in the night if you count Rickon, who had more lines last night than he did in all the previous seasons combined. And he delivered them well. For the first time, I felt like they were really brothers.
  • Hodors gonna Hodor. Stop Hodorin’, Hodor!
  • The look on Ygritte’s face was pretty priceless in its outrage. Looks like Jon Snow knows something else, i.e. how to ditch you. That cute couple didn’t last long.
  • Outside Yunkai, Dany paced while Daario, Jorah, and Grey Worm defeated a weak bunch of slave soldiers. I loved watching the different combat styles of the three men. Daario was showy and fluid, Grey Worm was the epitome of economy of movement, and Jorah was, well, pretty much a lumbering knight—kinda like his Dothraki bloodrider buddies said way back in season one.
  • Aside from all of the great lines in Walder Frey’s hall, my favorite line was probably Daario saying “He’s the best whistler in the world.” One gets the feeling he thinks he’s the best everything in the world. And Dany is totally buying that.
  • Jorah needs to go join Severus Snape in the Friend Zone in the Sky. I want to have sympathy for him, I really do, because he was such a good friend and advisor to Dany. Why can’t he just accept that that’s all he’ll ever be in her eyes. I’ll be sad to watch this formerly great duo blow up because of unrequited romance.
  • So why have the Blackfish attend Edmure’s wedding? Who’s holding down the fort at Riverrun? The weird cut of having Bryden use the loo before the shit hit the fan was kind of strange-looking. Like he was in on the betrayal. Which of course he wasn’t. I’m going to assume he left the room because the producers wanted him to or else we’d ask why he didn’t try saving his sister and nephew. TV reasons?
  • Cat was so mournful and glum in the book-Red Wedding, it was worse to see her smiling and letting her guard down for a bit. A bit disappointed she didn’t claw her eyes out here, but, stunned silence certainly fit my mood, well after the end credits finished, too.
  • So, Talisa isn’t a Lannister spy, in case you were thinking that. Man, that sucked horribly. Understatement, I know. She endured the disgusting, public judgment of Walder Frey, then she broke my heart talking about “Little Ned Stark” learning to ride a horse and I pretty much lost it there. No survivors, no heir.
  • It’s the next morning and I’m still feeling really damned crushed.


Some post-Red Wedding news from around the blogosphere:

  • Seriously, @RedWeddingTears has got you covered for anguished Game of Thrones fan tweets.
  • has a great interview with the producers.
  • Richard Madden cried probably more than you did when you watched his time on the show come to a brutal end.
  • Michelle Fairley talks about her experience filming the Red Wedding, Sean Bean, and Peter Dinklage’s strange accent.
  • Some guy from Coldplay was in the Frey house band in last night’s episode, further proving that Coldplay sucks.

Next week: Season finale, people. Then we can all cry because there will be no more new episodes for quite some time.

Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 PM E/PT on HBO.

Theresa DeLucci is a regular contributor to, covering True Blood, Game of Thrones, and gaming news. Follow her on Twitter @tdelucci

Zorila Desufnoc Eht
4. AlirozTheConfused
Oh, wow.

Holy Cow.
Theresa DeLucci
5. theresa_delucci
Text from my mom, no paraphrasing: "Holy fuckballs!!!!"
David Goodhart
6. Davyd
It was glorious. And awful. And everything I hoped and dreamed it woudl be.
7. CrystalV
And how perfect was it that there was no music at all over the credits? Reflected my stunned silence exactly! And I have to say it was even more brutal than it was in the book since in the show Rob was foolish enough to bring his wife. Whoa. Just...whoa. The definite motto for GOT in general: Don't get too attached.
8. Firemyst
Holy cow! They did such a great job with it! Just as horrific as it should have been. Wow....well done.
Shelly wb
9. shellywb
The woman playing Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) was amazing. I like her blank face more than the shredding of her face in the book. It was perfect.

I received several text messages from ASOIAF virgins of "OMFG!" "I never saw that coming!" "WTF GRRM?????!" My husband was disgusted and said he'd quit watching, until I reminded him of an upcoming incident he was very much looking forward to (I spoiled him for that one at his request, but never said a word about this one).
10. Daniel Walker Elias
This was so terrible end for Rob and family.. Wao!
Ross Newberry
11. rossnewberry
The thing that really got me was Talisa talking about little Ned. Knowing what was coming made it so much worse.
13. surprised
Whaty the f**c?
Theresa DeLucci
14. theresa_delucci
Oh, god, Little Ned. =( Yeah, that killed me. That and Grey Wind closing his eyes forever. Ugh.

Follow @RedWeddingTears for some epic freakouts. Just the perfect tone of tweets/retweets I was looking for.
15. chica
Yes , knew this was coming read the book , had to keep this a secret from my mom and friends ...When I walked into my mom's room she just had her mouth open and then the quiet credits , this really kills you ..
18. Sandrina
I can't believe it... They even killed the Wolf!!

I'm sitting here in shock...

I had a bad feeling all through the wedding scenes, but when they closed the door and cued the music, I got a sinking feeling in my tummy.

You're a brilliant mad bastard, GeorgeR.R. , but I love this show.
Pritpaul Bains
20. Kickpuncher
I watch every episode about 5 times throughout the course of the week. But I don't think I can stomach sitting through this one again.
Theresa DeLucci
21. theresa_delucci
I hate spambots almost as much as Freys...

Loved that wicked slap to the face Cat gave Roose when she caught him wearing armor. Fuckin'... ARGH! You evil, mad bastard GURM.
Genevieve Williams
23. welltemperedwriter
Man that Bolton is a cold bastard. And I don't mean Ramsay...
Sean Pratz
25. Galoot
Well, shit.

This didn't take you too long to write up, Theresa. You weren't saving this one up, were you?
27. DJM
George George George... that was worse than the blow of Old Yeller. You are doomed, there is no redemption possible for this story, unless you packed two years of story into just the slow constant winning of the few remaining good guys. And I mean like.. they take everything away from them piece by piece. Im guessing that is not so, and that you just love to play the worst sort of tune to people with your writing. So, officially, sworn off HBO til the entire series is done.
28. Littlefinger87
I didn't particularly like that they had Talisa present at the Red Wedding, but I understood it. It makes it even more painful and excruciating that she was pregnantt with little Ned. It closes the door to the theories of Robb's wife and heir playing an important role in claiming the North.

I don't understand why Brynden is there. I know, and all the book readers know, that he didn't have any idea about what was going to happen, but to the show watchers it may seem convenient the he has to use the woods right before the doors shut.

Also, wtf about sacking Yunkai? She never enters the city. It's one of her major blunders for all the people who hat Dany's character (I personally like Dany but she does have her detractors). Perhaps she will leave the city with the slaves without killing the Great Masters or setting up a new government like she did in Astapor. Otherwise, that is a major change.

It was good to see Sam again. Sam the wizard:) Gilly is so impressed with him for reading.

Too many wildlings died in the fight against Jon and the direwolves. It's not really credible for them to try to attack Castle Black with Orell dead. They had close to 20 wildlings that crossed the wall. Now they have closer to 10. Even with surprise (which they've lost) 10 wildlings wouldn't be enough to take Castle Black. I assume that the writers and producers show 20 or so wildlings in the shots, but this is only a small contingent of the true force that Mance has ordered to circumvent the Wall and take Castle Black from behind. Perhaps, Tormund Giantband and Ygritte will show up later at the head of a much larger force and we will scratch our heads and wonder where the additional widlings came from.
29. Paul111111
I didnt like the changes, Jayne was never at the wedding, she is still alive near the end of book four while the Freys try to sack Riverrun. Also, they seriously downplayed the sacking of Yunkai, Ser Barriston and Jorah had to enter the city through the sewers and raise the gate to sack the city.... I dont get the major changes to the story. And where the hell is the Viper of Dorne!! That plays a huge part of book four and they have not even touched on it at all. Also, they have yet to touch on the Vale, way too much to still happen to wrap up in one episode. In fact I am pretty sure it will be impossible to do justice to the book in one more episode, very dissapointed...
30. Aaron47
Wow...... Umm. That was a very disturbing episode for me. I'm not good with horrors at all. So this episode hit a home run to the most traumitizing thing I've ever seen over any other movie or show. (Yet I loved the Spartacus series) This episode hit the heart, and was a huge unexpected shock for me. That's why it got to me, specially the death of the women. Her yell before slicing that man's wife's throat and her blank stare after killing her really freaked me out. Now I have to distract myself for a couple of hours before I can comfortably sleep tonight.

Aside from that, this is the best show/series I have ever seen. I don't think I'll ever watch this episode again though.
32. littlefinger 87
Paul1111: You are thinking of the sacking of Meereen. Also we are still on book 3, not book 4. They have an entire season to cover book 4. Viper of Dorne will be introduced in the fourth season most likely.
33. Mike5037
Michelle Farley...
Antoni Ivanov
34. tonka
@29. Paul111111 and @32. littlefinger 87

This season covers only half of book 3, the next season will cover rest of the book. We will start getting really into book 4 and 5 in the 5th season
35. Littlefinger87
Tonka: For most characters I would agree with you, but depending on how slow or fast they want to play it, there will be material from book 4 in season 4. Littlefinger is a great example of this. He's such a prominant character in the show. It would be virtually impossible to exclude what happens in the Vale in the fourth book from the fourth season.
36. Black Dread
Even after reading the book, I was shocked. It does spoil the Jayne Westerling character in future books.

I assume season 4 will introduce the Martells, blow through the 2nd half of the A Storm of Swords pretty quick then get into A Feast for Crows. I bet the show will run through FFC and DWD at the same time and be done with both at the end of Season 5.
Chris Nelly
37. Aeryl
@35, Purple wedding will be early in the season, so the fallout will be the rest of S4. Viper will show up, and the Sansa will get to the Vale.

This was an excellent hour of television. My heart was pounding the whole time at the RW, and I KNEW what was coming. When the credits came, it was a relief, because I expected the music to start, and help me calm down. But then the credits were silent, and that just sent my heart to racing all over again.

I'm gonna take a moment to crow I WAS RIGHT ABOUT THE BLACKFISH!!!!! I said he was gay as soon as he was introduced in GOT, and it was confirmed by the show!

Poor Arya, can't catch a break. That cart scene though justifies my continued defense of her, though, IMO. She may become a hard nosed killer, but she doesn't kill indiscriminately. I completely agree that NO ONE should serve as a judge/jury/executioner but, if you have a world where those people exist, you want them to be as compassionate and kind as Arya.
38. Littlefinger 87
How did the show confirm that the Blackfish is gay? You don't have to be gay to not be attracted to Frey women.

Arya still has training to do to learn how and who to kill. Braavos really is the best place for her. She's still too angry and unfocused to be the Stark's assassin and agent of revenge, but she'll learn.
Sara H
39. LadyBelaine
Even knowing what was coming, the Red Wedding still knocks me sideways.

Having said that, there were a few adjustments that I didn't care for, but all in all, well done done. well done indeed.

Now excuse me while I go cry my eyes out.

edit: also, I liked how they made it pretty apparent that Catelyn was also wounded by a crossbow on the show. People tend to miss that in the books.

also - a query - did they show Dacey Mormont getting axed (literally?) I was watching the episode from behind a clenched pillow and I may have missed it. Then again, have they ever shown us the Dacey character?
Chris Nelly
44. Aeryl
@38, It was just a little TOO pointed to throw that in there, with all the suspicions about Blackfish, especially as we won't be seeing him again.
Sydo Zandstra
45. Fiddler
Lady Belaine @42:

.... and just went down.

My torrentsite is also having slowness problems...
46. Littlefinger87
Aeryl: Why won't we be seeing the Blackfish again? We know we see him for certain at least once. He may play a huge role in reestablishing the Starks sometime down the road.

He may be gay. He refused a bunch of suitors not just Freys, but that could be because he didn't like, Hoster, his brother forcing marriage on him. At this point it's inconclusive whereas Renly and Loras is much more obvious.
Theresa DeLucci
47. theresa_delucci
@45 Eh, I didn't read that Blackfish scene like that at all, even though in the books it seems pretty damn clear that he's gay. You know, Cat's "perpetual bachelor uncle."

But those Frey girls were pretty homely. (I feel bad kinda for actresses cast as "ugly." Like Theon's wannabe salt wife last season. Ouch. That's brave.)
Chris Nelly
48. Aeryl
@46, Tell me how he survives that. In the books, YES, he's important. The show, likely not. In the books, he's been around since Cat took Tyrion to the Vale.

People will of course read what they want to into that moment, but to me it was pretty explicitly confirming what many already suspected, and is probably all the confirmation we'll get. Someone else will take up Blackfish's role(nowhere near as important now that Robb's wife is dead and he's not keeping her in Riverrun).
Sara H
49. LadyBelaine

I'm not really clear - was he not at the Red Wedding in the book? I can't recall.

Also, my pet theory is not that he's gay but that he was in love with his brother's wife, Minissa Whent and that's why he wouldn't marry.
50. Abel Julio
WTF happened. I really love this show and always waiting to see what the Starks are going to do next. Can you (the book readers) spoil me a bit ? Will the north conquer anything in the future or get revenge on Freys?!
I am completely honest , I don't enjoy the dragons story with their female leader... I was interested in the Starks (Robb, Jon and Arya :D ) and "the true king " and his witch.
51. Littlefinger87
Lady Belaine: In the books both Jeyne Westerling (Talisa) and the Blackfish stay at Riverrun.

Aeryl: By that logic Edmure doesn't survive the Red Wedding. Unless I see the Blackfish dead on screen I won't believe he's dead in the series. He's still an excellent battle commander who could team up with BWB or go back to the Vale.
Adam S.
52. MDNY
In the books, the blackfish was left behind at Riverrun, in command of Robb's forces that didn't come north with him. And with Robb's wife.
I always suspected he might be gay, but it was ambiguous to me. Of course, from early on I suspected that Renly and Loras were gay, and then the TV series added THAT scene not in the books to just bash us over the heads with it. They haven't shown the blackfish making out with another man, so maybe he's not gay.
Chris Nelly
53. Aeryl
No, Blackfish held Robb's forces at Riverrun while he attended the wedding.

@50, I don't want to spoil too much, but if you don't like Dany, or at least aren't INTO her story, you are missing out on what a chunk of these stories are about.

This is as far as the Starks can fall(and please, don't leave out Sansa, her story is ABOUT TO GET GOOD), and from here on out, it's about them climbing back up, and everyone you DON'T LIKE, is about to follow the same trajectory as the Starks, if that will help you hold on.
54. Littlefinger87
Abel Julio: After the Red Wedding there are three sources of potential Stark resurgence.

1) Littlefinger- Of all the characters, he's done the most to help the Starks whether you believe it's for his own benefit or the Starks is a hotly contested issue. He's the best chance of reestablishing the Starks politically.
2) Stannis- Militarily he opposes the Stark enemies in the future.
3) Brotherhood Without Banners- Also oppose Stark enemies specifically the Freys under the command of their new leader...
Chris Nelly
55. Aeryl
@51, I apparently missed the whole thing where Blackfish went to pee, but that doesn't mean anything as far as his survival goes, who travels as far as he would need to, to survive, to pee, because they killed much of the Stark forces outside as well.

They have to leave Edmure alive until they are confident Roslin is with child, so no he is not dead by that logic. They have every reason to leave him alive, to ensure Frey control of the River lands.
Sara H
56. LadyBelaine
@52, MDNY

"They haven't shown the blackfish making out with another man, so maybe he's not gay."

That's a good point - the showrunners aren't exactly paragons of subtlety. If they wanted to suggest that Brynden was gay that'd have him full on fellating a footman or something. (God, that Renly/Loras bathing scene was awfully blatant and trite).

Thanks to those who answered my question by the way! Now can anyone answer my question about Dacey Mormont? (@39).

@50, Abel Julio - I too don't want to spoil too much but suffice to say that the Stark members who survive (how's that for cryptic!) end up in places where they acquire vengeance skills and abilities and the Danaerys and her dragons plotline inches ever more close to the goings-on in Westeros, to the point where they are actually start to affect things.
George Jong
57. IndependentGeorge

I'm whiting it out for anyone who doesn't want to know.

//I can't tell you what happens because it hasn't been revealed in the books yet, but the way to think of it is this: Apollo Creed just died, Rocky has been knocked out by Drago, and now the remaining Stark children are training in the wilderness for the re-match.//
Sydo Zandstra
58. Fiddler
I always considered the Blackfish to be the stereotype of 'the eternal bachelor'. Not wanting to marry/settle down doesn't automatically mean one is gay. There are enough examples where people got into an arranged marriage, and kept sleeping with others. Renly is a fine example here, on the gay part, but the same goes for Tyrion/Sansa/Shae.

The Blackfish never really needed to marry. Hoster Tully already had heirs (Edmure, and the Stark Kids; even SweetRobin!). Besides that, he was unlanded, and he always seemed like an Einzelgänger to me. There was less duty to marry in his case.

That being said, I found it really funny when the Blackfish pointed out to Edmure it was his duty to marry a Frey girl... ;)

Maybe it's projection from my part. I'm a single male, in my 40'ies and quite enjoying my life as it is. I have asked if I were gay too, a couple of times, but I really prefer women over men when it comes to romancing; I just never had a childwish for my own (I have a cat to fulfill that taking-care-of-gap ;) ). If I leave anything of worth behind, that will go to my goddaughters.
59. Littlefinger87
Lady Belaine: They never introduced Dacey Mormont. She could be portrayed as the laughing woman during Lord Umber's speech where he elevates Robb to King in the North (That's who I like to think she is because she deserves some screen time). Unfortunately many of Robb's bannermen were cut due to time constraints. She does die in the Red Wedding though. The Smalljohn Umber also dies, while the Greatjohn is injured, captured, and held at the Twins.
60. Ser Tom
A most satisfying episode. Finally, Rickon and Osha separate from Bran and the Reeds. Won't see them for a while now I suppose. I loved the scenes with Arya and Sandor. His surprise at her clubbing of the wagon guy, and later his poleaxed look when she called him on his fear of fire, were priceless. It will be a shame to see the Hound put down (next ep., I'd guess).

Sam got a good shot of pride from the wilding girl. Loved his goofy grin.

Daario, Jorah and Grey Worm are badass, period. As I recall, from the book, Yunkai is where Fat Belwas took out the city champion. It's too bad we didn't get that scene, but the back door infiltration was a good substitute.

And then there was the Red Wedding. Every bit as shocking and brutal as it should have been. I was a bit disappointed at Jayne being there, but it did kick things up a notch to have the first blow be to her swollen belly. I think Roose Bolton flubbed his line though. He said "The Lannisters send their regards." Wasn't it supposed to be, "Jamie Lannister sends his regards." ?
61. Julio abel
Thank you I really enjoyed your comment, but nope I don't like Dany. Why coz her army seems invincible ,no flaws ,no losses, 3 guys liberating a city as if it's Tera or world of warcraft, it does not seem real and with those dragons pff. I will continue to watch until the 1st episode of the 4th season maybe the north will rise ...if not ,no worries Vikings is great also.
Chris Nelly
62. Aeryl
If those are your problems with Dany's story, I promise you, you will like where her's is going.
Chris Nelly
63. Aeryl
@Ser Tom, No, next season is going to be the Arya and Hound show, much like this one is the Jaime and Brienne show. They have a ways to go before they will split ways.
64. Littlefinger 87
Aeryl: Considering the Freys will get Riverrun anyway as the Tully's are attainted by the Iron Throne, it doesn't matter if Edmure gets Roslin pregnant. Actual possession differs from legal possession as the Blackfish refuses to give up Riverrun until Jaime gets there.

The Red Wedding only worked because of the element of surprise. The Blackfish isn't stupid. He's one of the best swordsmen in the kingdoms. It's not impossible to escape the Twins especially since he knows the layout and he's a Tully: fishes be swimming.

Ser Tom: You are right. The line is Jaime Lannister. But this way the show writers are showing that Tywin Lannister, Roose Bolton, and Walder Frey conspired together.
65. sofrina
@64 - roslin carrying a tully heir does make a difference. direct succession of a true tully keeps the vassals and underlords in check. if the freys just invade riverrun, the tully vassals are honorbound to keep fighting them. the exact same reason tyrion is under orders to get sansa pregnant forthwith. the northmen will have a hard case against him if tyrion's child is a true stark.

@59 - the laughing woman would have to have been dacey's mother, maege mormont, who rules bear island since jorah went into exile. in the book, she went toward moat cailin, i think, while robb went to the wedding with dacey and the rest of his honor guard.

i can't believe they staged that so caitlin was within arm's reach of walder frey and she took his useless teenage wife instead. she should have taken lord walder hostage to force his men to put down their weapons. and if they didn't, then at least his murder would have been a satisfying final act.

we all know blackfish was in the privy, heard what was up, jumped out a window and swam for it (like robb's squire in the book) and will be back in riverrun in short order. (i can't believe i thought arya might actually save grey wind for a second. she couldn't save ned. and of course the wolf has to die. the freys can't control it, everyone fears it, and grey wind was a huge part of robb's battle legend.)
66. Black Dread
50. Abel Julio - "The North Remembers! "

The Blackfish was also know as a particularly strong swimmer - swimming his way out of Riverrun in the book. No reason the series can't have him swimming out of trouble at the Twins.
68. Littlefinger87
The North is not the Riverlands. No one has successfully invaded the North without first taking Moat Cailin. That makes a load of difference. The Freys do not take control over the Riverlands in a legal sense (remember Petyr Baelish is the Lord Paramount of the Riverlands from his seat in the Vale/Harrenhal), but in a military sense the Freys and Lannisters control the former Tully bannermen and those bannermen are welcomed back into the King's peace. So the Tully Frey baby isn't as important to the Riverland nobles as a Stark marriage is to the North since the North still has around 30,000 fighting men who didn't go south who are looking to a Stark for leadership in actuality or as a facade.

As she is never formally introduced she just the laughing woman at the King in the North Speech. I just like to think of her as Dacey Mormont because I like Dacey Mormont's character. She's like Brienne but loyal to Robb.
69. Bean
Holy poop.

Okay, so I was never a fan of Robb's storyline (dull & predictable) and never bought the romance between him and Talisa (actors had no chemistry with each other, despite many very forced-feeling romantic scenes). Robb always seemed a bit of a shell character, a poor substitute for Ned Stark (I think the true heir to Ned's awesomeness is Arya, followed maybe by Jon Snow). And I think it's been pretty clear for awhile now that Robb was not going to get out of this war alive - as soon as he broke his vow to Frey so that he could marry Talisa, we knew he was a goner (I haven't read the books yet, but the foreshadowing regarding the fate of Robb & Talisa was practically walloping us all over the head, and Westeros doesn't suffer vow breakers gladly - or anyone, for that matter).

Catlyn, on the other hand, now that was one helluva horrible, heartbreaking loss. I loved Cat. She wasn't perfect, but she had balls and was always so intriguing to watch - I never knew quite what was coming next with her. Watching her face just after Robb was killed was one of the most horrific and riveting and gruesome and just, ugh moments. Froze me to the spot. And then when they killed the wolf (which was when I shouted "NOOOOOOOOO!" at the screen) and Arya sees him die, full knowing that there's no way that would happen unless her brother and mother were already dead, oh man that was awful.

Okay, so maybe it's grief, but the upshot is I'm super pissed at Robb. If he'd just kept his frickin' vow to Frey, he could have had Talisa as a mistress on the side and no one would have been the wiser. He's king of the north, dammit, and in Westeros plenty of people have mistresses, as long as they marry the people they say they will. Robb was a fool to think he would get off the hook with "Oh man I'm really sorry I broke my vow, Frey, I just wanted to marry someone else was all." Basically, he brought all this down on his own head, and on his family's. Cat had warned him of all this beforehand, warned him over and over about what happens to those who cross Frey. She tried to save him, and he ignored her. ARRRRGGH.
70. alexdun1
After this episode i am just gonna stop watching game of thrones ffs .... Why should Rob and Catelyn be murdered ?? I think Rob should survive ... now this series is meaningless...
71. Littlefinger87
Bean: Welcome to the Robb Stark is a fool club. In the books, he gets injured at the Crag and finds out about the burning of Winterfell/uncertain fate of his brothers and Jeyne consoles him. They do it once, and since Robb's honorable, he feels so guilty about ruining the honor of Jeyne Westerling (the sworn bannerman of House Lannister) he breaks the vow. He loses close to 3000 of his troops as the Freys leave him to go back to the Twins. He could have a mistress but then he wouldn't be Robb Stark. He must have seen what having Jon Snow in the family for so many years did to his parents' marriage.

Cat's decision to release the Kingslayer is the real deathknell. As long as he has the Kingslayer, Robb has an in to take Casterly Rock through deception. He could tie the Kingslayer to a horse, knock him unconscious, dress his bannermen in Lannister armor won at the battle of Oxcross, ride up to Casterly Rock and say "open the gates we rescued Jaime Lannister. There were only around 500 men garrisoned in the Rock at the time. It's the only realistic way that Robb wins the war after he loses Winterfell. Take his castle, take his gold, take his power. Not to mention, the crown would bend to Robb given how much in debt the crown is to the Lannisters at this point. Plus, when Robb takes the Rock Littlefinger comes with it as he's loyal to it and them to a fault. Littlefinger has control over the Vale and could alter the course of the Lannister-Tyrell relationship. Oh Robb why oh why. In the books he doesn't even want to take the Rock. His plan is to take back Moat Cailin from the Ironborn.
Chris Nelly
72. Aeryl
I think the rumors that his father had an affair with Ashara Dayne, and she committed suicide afterward, may have played a role in how Robb reacted to what happened with Jeyne.

Now, it's more likely Ashara killed herself because Ned killed her brother assualting the Tower of Joy, but Ned never talked about any of that with his kids that we know of, so I can understand Robb believing the rumors instead. We know Cat believed them, she questioned Ned about them.
73. sofrina
don't forget this rumor in book 5 that ashara had a stillborn daughter and then killed herself. barristan selmy remembers that in DwD.
74. Kirshy
@Littlefinger87 Where are you getting your number of 30,000 troops still left in the North? In the books and in the show it is made pretty clear that Rob EMPTIED the north of basically all of the available troops when he went south. That is why when the Ironborn invade there is no army available to push them back effectively. In the books Ser Rodrik Cassel, the man who was orignally accompanying Catelyn south, led a small force of about 300-500 men to throw back the "raiders". That group was composed mostly of the remainder of Winterfell house guards and support from another Stark bannerman. In later books another northern army is assembles but it is less than 30k and if I remember correctly is actually under 10k.

To eveyone asking about Dancy Mormont and the other Stark bannermen, aside form Roose Bolton none of them have had any real prominance in the show, save for Lord Karstark, who Robb was "forced" to execute earlier in the season. Being a TV show there just isn't the screen time available to include everyone. As well done as the Red Wedding was last night, it is really only a shadow of the books redition. For true effect you really need to read the books.

I was also bothered by The Blackfish being at the wedding. He wasn't there in the books, having been left behind to hold Riverrun. The thing is, since the show waited sooooo long to introduce his character, if they left him behind at Riverrun the viewing audience wouldn't remember who he was later on. As it is, the average viewer has enough trouble keeping track of all of the characters. He was there, and he conviently left before the main event, and will likely live to fight another day.

The other thing everyone should keep in mind is that Robb, in the books and in the show, is actually quite young. In the books he is 16 when he leads his men south. He wins a number of battles, but none of them are very decisive. He has many seasoned advisors helping him lead his men along the way, but ultimately he is/was a fool when it came to politics and rational thinking. His marrying of the Westerling girl/Telisa stands out as his largest mistake. But also not keeping Lord Bolton close to him. He should have sent a mored trusted bannerman out in his place, perhaps Karstark or an Umber.

I could go on and on critisizing his mistakes but really I think it comes down to this. Robb was never in a position to win anything. He was doomed as soon as he marched south. He didn't have the numbers or the support to beat the Lannisters. It is for his surviving siblings to exact vengence on the those who have wronged their family.

That is all...
For an indepth review of the episode you should check out A Chat of Ice and Fire on itunes. Should be available for download by Wednesday night.
75. Spiegel
During the ceremony when Edmure's bride was revealed to be quite pretty, my mother turned to me and said "Oh, something finally turned out all right!"

And I, very calmly and not cackling at all, said "Yes."
76. Pyxee
Oh poor Catelyn.....Going on and on about how she failed all of her children because she wasn't there. When the irony is that the only Stark kid to die is Robb.
@julio Abel. This is one of the big problems adapting to screen. Dany is not in such a good place durring the sacking of these cities. They have left out almost all of the flaws. At this point Dany's army is starving, she is suspicious of pretty much all of her advisors aside from Grey Worm. Her Dragon's aren't half so big, sure they could fry a man, but hardly lay waste much else. And she finds out that sacking cities doesn't work so well if don't stick around to ensure they keep to your way of thinking.
TL:DR Dany's army is a big stinking mess of starving people, the cities she sacks just go right back to business as usual, and she can't trust anyone. That's a bit more compeling.
As far as Starks go, remember only three have died, and one of those three.....Well just wait and see. Arya has pretty good ways to go, but he story is pretty awesome. And Jon snow should be looking to come into his own rather soon.
The lannisters get thiers soon enough, not directly by Stark hands, but it happens. In pretty epic fasion.
Not sure what to tell you about the Frey's they get picked off here and there, but meh the Red Wedding was probably the only epic thing they ever did. They aren't especially weathly and other than the crossing don't have much power.
78. Ical
Didn't read the books but I saw that coming all along the episode, lots of clever foreshadowing. And fuck that was a deliciously cruel ending, a big middle finger to all these shitty happy endings everywhere. This story is juste brilliant :)
Elizabeth Doolin
79. mochabean
I had nightmares all night -- and I knew what was coming. Very well done. I've always loved Cat, despite her flaws, and her scream at the end, and the absolutely shattered look in her face, was haunting. More so than it would have been to depict her face-rending. @ Sofrina (#65) I'd like to think Cat could take Walder Frey while riddled with cross bow bolts, but she probably could not have managed it -- wife #8 (9?12?) was a more realistic target. Then again, if my son's life were at stake -- maybe I would have gone for the old bastard! @bean (#69) she had ovaries, my friend. ;-) )

Hard to remember there were other parts of the show. Poor Rickon gets sent off with lines and everything. Loved Gilly telling Sam he's like a wizard. Ygritte standing in the rain watching Jon ride off was heartbreaking too.
80. Littlefinger87
Kirshy: Lord Manderly held back much of his troops from the contingent that went south. The Umbers, Karstarks, Boltons all have remaining men who didn't go south. The 20,000 men that Robb brought south were probably the best of the fighters (ages 16-35), but that doesn't mean that it was all the men. Originally the plan was to free Ned from a King's Landing jail so it wasn't necessary to take every single man from his house to serve in the army.

You seem to forget that men are needed to run the economy of the North. They are in no fit state to send more men south, but they still need to be controlled. and given the distance between the North and King's Landing it is in the Lannister's best interest to create the Bolton Stark marriage facade.
Chris Lough
81. TorChris
Some guy from Coldplay was in the Frey house band in last night’s episode, further proving that Coldplay sucks.

This is what happens when you give crossbows to Coldplay!
82. littlefinger87
Kirshy: Robb won no decisive battles? Are you smoking something. The battle of the camps he faces a huge numerical disadvantage and captures the Kingslayer.

Battle of Oxcross another numerical disadvantage and still wins.

Granted both of thos battles were won because of the element of surprise and the attacker being on horseback as opposed the to the unprepared footmen sleeping in their unprotected camps. Still, these were monumental victories. There is a reason why the lords of the Riverlands recognize Robb as their new king. He saved their asses from certain defeat. If Robb took Casterly Rock as i outlined above, Tywin would have to sue for peace. He'd lose his army if he couldn't pay for it. Robb could hire more sellswords, talk with Manderly and have his fleet attack King's landing (Why did he ever trusted the Greyjoys ugh)

Given the men and material that Robb had and his position before he goes West to attack Oxcross, Robb was winning the war. If he takes the Rock, the Lannisters are done at that point. Tywin would be forced to march West to retake it meaning he'd have to get past the reunited riverlands forces, plus the Vale through Littlefinger might have joined Starks side by this point. And the Tyrell's are always good at smelling roses.
83. Edgewalker
All you people whining about Jeyne:

Martin clearly has no future plans for her if he approved these changes. She is a dead end in the books. And she is a dead here now, too.
Church Tucker
84. Church
So why have the Blackfish attend Edmure’s wedding?

So we remember he's still around.
85. May
I’ll be sad to watch this formerly great duo blow up because of unrequited romance.
Well, that's not why they ultimately blow up, is it? All these people pitying Ser Jorah are pisisng me off. Has everyone forgotten he sold her out to Robert Baratheon for a royal pardon?!

I'm really bummed they cut the scene where Robb makes Jon his heir.
Chris Nelly
86. Aeryl
@76, None of that stuff starts to happen to Dany until after she takes Yunkai, and the distrust doesn't really become a factor until Mireen.

So the show isn't doing her a disservice yet, it's just keeping pace with where she's at in the books. It's not until her army swells with civilians after Yunkai, that the food problems begin.
Chris Nelly
87. Aeryl
@85, In the books, it's still up in the air whether Jeyne is pregnant, and with Bran and Rickon "dead" ensuring Tyrion's child didn't end up was paramount. With Talisa pregnant, there was no need.
88. Thomas Cardew

I do not think that word means what you think it means.

Robb did not win any decisive victories. He did win victories, very impressive ones but not any decisive ones. The best comparison would probably be the 2nd punic war. Hannibal won a significant number of very impressive victories against superior armies and number. But none of them were decisive. They did not put him in a position to actually take Rome and end the war. Similarly, Robb won victories; but none of them allowed him to take or even threaten King's Landing or Casterly Rock in a meaningful way.
89. Littleefinger87
Oxcross was very close to Casterly Rock. the Rock was in danger of being taken. I just told you, if he had taken Jaime with him West, he would have the option of getting into Casterly Rock without besieging it. He took about 8000 horsed men with him West (These troops include some of the Riverland nobles that just claimed fealty to Robb.)

At Oxcross, Robb deated Stafford Lannister's 15,000 men with that 8000 horsed force. After Oxcross, he decided to raid and pillage smaller castles and round up food to send back to Riverrun. All of this activity threatened Casterly Rock. A dumber castellan of Casterly Rock would have diminished his own force trying to combat in the field against Robb. But GRRM was spared creating the character of the castellan of Casterly Rock because Robb is foolish and leaves the Kingslayer in Riverrun.

Also, capturing Jaime was huge. If Ned wasn't killed by Joffrey, Tywin might have made peace with Robb to get Jaime back.
Theresa DeLucci
90. theresa_delucci
@85 Well there's that moment of learning what Jorah was really about when they met, but I think they've come so far since the beginning, it's more a culmination of the growing tension on his end. If Jorah wasn't creeping on her all the time and distracting her with his squabbles with Daario, etc., and it came out he was, at one time, selling info to Robert, I don't think she'd be so mad. I really don't. They're both not the same people they were in Book 1.
92. Thomas Cardew
If Ned was alive, capturing Jaime would have been enough to end the war. Once Ned was dead and Robb was king, Jaime was not enough to end the war. A war of indpendence drastically raised the stakes.

Oxcross was also huge but not enough to let Robb take Casterly Rock. The defeated army fell back to Lannisport. Robb would have had to choose between seiging the Rock, Lannisport, or trying to take both.
Siege Casterly Rock and the Lannisport army can harass you while Tywin advances, combines forces and smashes you against the castle. Attacking Lannisport has the same problems. Attempting to take both only weakens you against Tywin. Robb didn't have the men for it. The point of taking Horse was to stay mobile not to commit to an attack. Sieges require foot. Commiting to the siege would likely have freed Tywin to smash Stannis at King's Landing before moving towards Casterly Rock since Tywin could be reasonably sure that the Rock would hold till he arrived. This was something Robb was trying to avoid, since he wanted Stannis to be free to assualt King's Landing.

Taking Casterly Rock through trickery would have been a risky proposition for a lot reasons. Jaime would have been expected to lead the party that rescued him. A merely unconscious rider wouldn't have cut it. News of the Oxcross would have preceded them, the Castellan of the Rock should have an idea of which Lords were captured at Oxcross and known not to open the gates. Also, are there speech differences between the regions? I can't remember but if there are that would be another impediment. Additionally, you risk losing your prized prisoner.
93. sofrina
@79 - cat is a foot away from walder. she could have grabbed his robe and hauled him under the table without him having time to react. she could have put her knife to his crotch and jumped up from under the table. she was only shot through the left shoulder.

the jorah/daenerys conflict is mostly about power, not romance. she has no interest in that old man. his chief value to her is as an adviser and he tries to beaugard that position against all comers. he stifles her and it backfires. it's just a different version of how viserys treated her growing up.
94. Littlefinger87
1) You only risk losing the prisoner if Jaime is returened to Casterly Rock meaning the gates opened to let him in. If the gates did open there is a great chance you can take the castle since Robb's forces greatly outnumber the garrison.

2) Jaime has been held captive for a long time. It's not too far of a stretch to imagine he might be injured/tortured during his captivity which would render him unable to ride a horse unassisted.

3) No other Lannister bannermen need be used besides Jaime since there really is no other prisoner with enough clout to open the gates. It's Northmen and rivermen in Lannister armor taken from the captured and slain at Oxcross.

4) No speech differential between the regions. The rivermen trade with the West regularly. Some probably have been inside Casterly Rock before for a wedding.
Houston Armstrong
96. Kalak
I feel so cold and empty inside after that episode. How can I ever love a GRRM character again when I know they are simply bound to die?! AAAHHHhhh...

None the less I still love the show and that was so powerful I can't wait to get there in the books (almost caught up). Part of me wishes I had read it before seeing it and I considered that but I think now it will be all the more real and powerful in the book once I get there.

Still with 3 and a half books to go (I sure hope the show goes all the way) there has got to be something good in the works, right? RIGHT?!

Cold, dead, silent...
97. Thomas Cardew
1) You only risk losing the prisoner if Jaime is returened to Casterly Rock meaning the gates opened to let him in. If the gates did open there is a great chance you can take the castle since Robb's forces greatly outnumber the garrison.

Or if he escapes while in Lannister lands. In friendly lands, he can rely on the support of the local populace. Pretty much the opposite of the journey to King's Landing. And you risk actual rescue along the way if you're discovered. Or the Castellan sees through the ruse and mounts a sortie to rescue Jamie. Or you're attacked and Jaime dies in the fighting. You can lose Jaime without him going free, he can die.

Also the gates opening doesn't mean you can take the castle. You need to be able to keep the gates open. A smart Castellan isn't going to open the gates for more than 20 men outside them, and thrice that waiting inside.

2) Jaime has been held captive for a long time. It's not too far of a stretch to imagine he might be injured/tortured during his captivity which would render him unable to ride a horse unassisted.

A reasonable point but then why risk Jaime at all? Why not find someone with similiar build/ hair?

3) No other Lannister bannermen need be used besides Jaime since there really is no other prisoner with enough clout to open the gates. It's Northmen and rivermen in Lannister armor taken from the captured and slain at Oxcross.

I understand this. My point is the Lannisters at Casterly Rock should know that those lords whose armor they are wearing were taken. Their banners and sigils should be a major red flag that something is wrong. Also wasn't the Lannister army mostly foot? If so, what are 2000-6000 mounted men doing outside the castle in good order? (I am assuming at least a 4:1 ratio would be brought for overwhelming force)
And no Castellan worth his salt is going to open that gates with an army outside within striking distance, without making very sure that is friendly. He would look for at least a few other lords that he knew. Also what do you do if scouts ride up and question you as you approach the castle? Kill them? That's not suspicious at all. What if Jaime somehow warns them? Do you kill him?

4) No speech differential between the regions. The rivermen trade with the West regularly. Some probably have been inside Casterly Rock before for a wedding.
Fair enough, I couldn't remember if any of the regions had distinctive accents (they totally should). In which case you would need men who could convinvingly pass for westlanders.

All of this isn't to say it couldn't be done. But it is significantly more risky than you make it sound.

Also. You want ROBB STARK, the son of EDDARD STARK, the man who was so noble he couldn't bribe the city watch, to mount a sneak attack under false colours? I'm sorry but that wolf just won't hunt.
98. Sof.Poff
I have just watched the episode. Its time to go to bed in my country and im afraid i shall have nightmares the whole night. Utter shock.
99. Littlefinger87
Thomas Cardew: Since he's in the hands of the army there isn't much risk of a rescue. Given that he was successfully held even through Tyrion's escape attempt shows that a good captor could keep Jaime penned in. Also, given the fact that he just won at Oxcross the local populace is terrified of the Young Wolf. Not exactly the best time to mount a rescue against a seemingly unstoppoable foe.

As you have the Smalljohn and the Greatjohn in your army, it is not unreasonable to say that if the gates are opened they can be kept open. Even Jaime admits that the Greatjohn is stronger than him and an equal fighter. Not to mention, they have the Blackfish with them too. Look at what Dany did with Daario, Grey Worm, and Jorah. You get 20 men into the gates with the element of surprise all you need to do is hold out untile the rest of your mounted army comes rushing through the gate.

You aren't picturing the scene as I do. There isn't any space to mount a sortie to. You ride up to the gate, and demand to be let in. You say that Tyrion's escape attempt worked, but the Kingslayer is badly injured and needs medical attention. Since you are up close it's better to have the real Kingslayer with you. If Jaime dies in the fighting, he dies in a fair fight. This is war.

2) Don't fly banners and sigils of lords that were captured. Also given that Oxcross is only two days ride from Casterly Rock it's unlikely that the full tale reached the Rock as the army retreated to Lannisport not the Rock. There were many lords on horseback in Jaime's original army + Tywin has many mounted lords.

How is this plan any different from attacking a foe at night? Which Robb has no problem doing in the Whispering wood and the Battle of the Camps and Oxcross. It's just another form of deception.
Shelly wb
100. shellywb
@96, this is the problem my husband had. He said this incident taught him not to get invested in the characters anymore, which means he cares less about the series. And really, it did the same to me with the books. The characters I still care about are the ones I cared about before the Red Wedding. There hasn't been a character introduced since then that I've become invested in. It's made the books far less enjoyable than they might have been, and less effective too.
101. pax
rOB IS DEAD. ROB WAS AN IDIOT. ROB KILED HIS MOTHER. HE DESERVED TO DIE! You do not have the choice to fall in love you moron. You are part of a powerplay for the freaking throne you spoiled blubering idiot. You have commitments to the men her serve your, the people under your protection, and you CHOOOOOSEEEEEE to toss them to the wolves? I knew as soon as he did that bone headed choice he was dead and he would bring terrible death on those around him. If you failed to see it, you just wanted to play fantasy with a series that is brutally real. Recall his fathers words about honor and duty. He failed. He failed by his own stupid lustful desire.
102. Abel Julio
@101 Pax chill man ... The term is not "idiot" is "naive". If you don't remember all these qualities were taught to him by his father Ned Stark an honest man.
103. puradrea
I don't understand why book people think that Jeyne W. might have been pregnant...her mom, who obviously plotted to use her daughter as a means to bring Robb down (or if he pulled a rabbit out of his hat and won his war against the Lannisters, have Jeyne be Queen of the North), told Jaimie in no uncertain terms that she'd been sneaking Jeyne moon tea (Jeyne thought it was fertility tea, and was in tears when he mom told Jaimie this). Killing Talisa makes sense because Jeyne has no further use in the story. Her family was paid and a suitable marraige was arranged...

I felt much more sorry for book Robb than show Robb. Book Robb was a kid, a horny, naive teenager who was a talented strategists, but in waaay over his head. The Westerlings completely okey-doked him (I doubt Jeyne knew--she was a silly little horny/love sick teenager herself). Even Jaimie Lannister thought it was a shame that Robb lost the war in the bedroom as opposed to the battlefield.

Show Robb was a moron though. Old enough to know better--at least book Robb succumbed to temptation after finding out his stupid mistake (trusting Theon) killed both his little brothers. Walder Frey called it--show Robb let 'firm tits and a tight fit,' be his downfall. He deserved it. I felt bad for Cat though...
105. Littlefinger 87
Robb was an excellent tactician but a poor strategist. He knew how to win battles but not how to conduct a long war campaign especially when the goals changed halfway through (from rescuing his father to carving out a kingdom).

Robb could have broken a thousand oaths if he took Casterly Rock when he first went West.
Chris Nelly
106. Aeryl
Wasn't Robb drugged the first time he and Jeyne got together? I completely agree that the Westerlings used this as an opportunity to bring Robb down, but I really wonder how culpable he is. The Westerling's maester was treating him, he was wounded, grieving and drugged.
Maiane Bakroeva
107. Isilel

Oxcross was very close to Casterly Rock. the Rock was in danger of being taken

Are you talking about the books or the show? Because in the books, Casterly Rock was one of the most formidable fortresses in the Seven Kingdoms and has never fallen to an enemy in recorded history.

The ploy you propose doesn't make sense because yes, there are accent differences between regions, as well as appearance differences and yes, of course, the garrison would be suspicious if they saw nobody they knew in charge of the "rescue" army and an unconscious Jaime.
Aditionally, given how the Rock is actually an impregnable fortress, getting into the first courtyard would only get you killed like fish in a barrel.
In fact, I suspect that one of the reasons that Balon didn't even consider attacking the Westerlands when Theon came with Robb's offer, was that he knew how formidable Casterly Rock and Lannisport were. And that Tywin had upgraded his coastal defenses after the Greyjoy rebellion.

In the show - who knows. They act as if storming CR could be actually feasible. OTOH, they also say that it would be fatal, if Tywin was close enough to do a hammer and anvil on them, so Robb couldn't risk it while Tywin was in Harrenhal, I guess?
108. JakeChambers
I love this show so much. Every episode is better than the last, and “The Rains of Castamere” was no exception. Even though I had read the books and have essentially been holding my breath all year waiting for this moment, it was still amazing. I’ve never seen a single scene adapted from a book move so perfectly to the screen, Could not have been done better. Just…WOW. I watched it on the light rail on my way in to work some overtime at DISH on Sunday. I watched it on my iPad using my DISH Anywhere app, which lets me watch live or recorded TV off my home receiver. I’m really looking forward to see what happens next week, too!
109. Kirshy
@Thomas Cardew and @Littlefinger87

I feel like I need to stop you right here. Idle speculation on future events is one thing. But making up "could have beens" or "would have beens" is silly. The fact is, thanks to Catelyn, Robb no longer had Jamie to use as a hostage. So any plans to use him as a tool to take The Rock is a moot point now. The other thing is that you can't just take a a castle. Storming a castle is a very costly and risky affair. That's why most of the time they lay seige to them and starve out the occupants. Robb went south with 20-25k men. Can't remember the mix of mounted versus foot. The river lords did not really have a full-on army put together. They were scattered, trying to protect their own holdings. That was a political issue Robb was working on throughout his brief reign. But lets say he was able to gather another 20k soldiers from the river lords. Given attrition from his previous fighting and the loss of the Karstarks and the Freys, and needing to leave something to guard his back or keep in reserve he likely couldn't commit more than 30k to an attack on Casterly Rock. Tywin's army was somewhere around 40-50k. With the added support of the south that number swelled to over 100k. There was no way Robb could have realistically taken Casterly rock. On top of the numbers, Casterly Rock is a FORTRESS. I don't think it has ever been captured. It's a silly plan. The original book plan was for Robb to march home with the troops he had left and retake the north, which is a much more sensible plan and likely would have left him in a better position come the spring. But that won't be happening so it doesn't matter now.

@Littlefinger87, re: number of men left in the north. I'm not smoking anything, but perhaps you are? I understand your point that there would still be men left in the north to farm and support the local economy. But 30,000 more? You're crazy if you think they could raise another army of that size. The north just doesn't have that kind of population. You would have to basically empty it of all adult and youth males to get close to that number.

Also note, that despite all of Robbs victories he was never winning the war. As you mentioned his original plan was to "rescue Ned" by marching for Kingslanding. Although that might have been his 'plan' there was no way it would have succeeded. Not with a Lannister host in his way. He was doomed almost from the start. But especially once he lost Jamie. His mother ruined him. And his marriage to Jeyne finished him. The end.
110. Littlefinger87
Isilel: No fortress is impregnable. The walls are only as good as the men who guard them. The Rock has stood for such a long time because of the political machinations of those who have made their home there, not because the fortress was impregnable. The lords of the West have knwn when it's the right time to bend the knee and when to exert their influence.

Actually Casterly Rock did fall because of the deception of Lann the Clever during the Age of Heroes which is why it's called Casterly Rock and not Lannister Rock.

As I said before, the rivermen that Robb had traded with the West on a regular basis so even if there were a difference between the northmen and the Westermen, the Rivermen could pull off the Westermen accent to fool a couple guardsmen.

Once you are inside the gate, it's all over. The northmen have a superior numerical advantage (500 vs. 8000) and are all horsed which gives you the option as a commander to fight either horsed or unhorsed: a tactically superior positionn.

In the books, Tywin is forced into a tough choice: save his children in King's Landing or protect his home. He actually chooses to try to cross the fords to get at Riverrun and is repulsed by Edmure. As he's thrown back he gets word of Stannis' attack and moves southeast quickly to join forces with the Tyrells and attack Stannis in the rear.

If Robb uses this time to take Casterly Rock, it wouldn't have mattered what happened in King's Landing as Robb would be the new lord of Casterly Rock with all the gold, power, and prestige that comes with that. There's no way Tywin could get Roose Bolton or Walder Frey to betray Robb after he did that. That would be a decisive victory to use the above parlance.

9/10 times the ploy will work. If you create the illusion of an emergency situation the doors will open. You are the castellan of Casterly Rock and your lord's son is requesting immediate medical attention. All of the party are wearing Lannister uniforms. How would getting into the first courtyard get you killed like fish in a barrel? Who would do the killing? There are only 500 men in Casterly Rock at this point in the story. Ask yourself, why did Winterfell fall? Because Theon used deception to empty the castle then climbed over the walls with 30 men and took it by force.
111. Thomas Cardew

1. I agree with you about storming a castle not being easy/plausible. That, along with the point that Robb didn't win any decisive victories, was the whole point of my posts...

2. Wait so idle speculation about how to fight a fake fanatasy war differently is silly, but idle speculation on how the fake fanatasy future plays out is not? Huh.

3. At least half the fun of reading books in my opinion is making up alternate endings, changing singular key events and tracing out events from there. I enjoy the cannon story for the world and the great writing. I enjoy the world for the ability to play around in it. I know none of it is real, but it is definently fun.

112. Littlefinger87
Kirshy: A coouple things. Tywin starts out the war with 60,000 men half of which he gives to Jaime. So Tywin has around 30,000 men when he faces off against Roose Bolton. Given the losses of that battle + the attack on the fords + what he loses to save King's Landing he's left with about 20,000 by this point in the story.

Sure taking the Rock is a moot point now. I am just arguing for it because you believe there was no way Robb could win and that's not true.

Yes, stormin a castle is a risky affair if you are just storming it without using any form of deception. But throughout history many sieges end because the weakest point of the wall, the gate, is opened either by force or through deception. There seems to be an aura of invincibility that surrounds the Lannisters when in actuality, they could have lost this war multiple times (Arya through Jaquen Hagaer could have killed Tywin, Robb's potential taking of the Rock).

As I said before, Casterly Rock has been captured once before. AND WINTERFELL IS A FORTRESS. I can use caps too:)

I said 30,000 men left in the north, I never said that they would march 30,000 more men south. That number is purely to represent the amount of actual men not all of whom are of fighting age that are left in the north. This number is only important for the Boltons, Stannis, and the Freys in terms of controlling the remaining population.

Tell that (Robb was never winning the war) to Tyrion Lannister after Whispering Wood or Oxcross. Robb was a genius tactician that even Tywin recognizes is a dangerous enemy. Robb destroyed half of the Lannister army 25 out of the 30,000 men given to Jaime at the Whispering Wood and Battle of the Camps. He then took out a 15,000 man army led by Stafford Lannister at Oxcross. And he did this all while sustaining minimal losses without another major house coming to his aid. Imagine what would happen if the Vale called it's banners and helped Robb out or if Littlefinger arranged a marriage with Robb to the Tyrells.
Theresa DeLucci
113. theresa_delucci
@109 No need to stop anyone. Fantasy futures and war strategy is the stuff of awesome dreams and fun debates. So long as everyone's keeping it friendly, that is.

But I'm not much of a war strategist.

I prefer watching videos of Red Wedding reactions and silly Vine videos made my Maise Williams reacting to the Red Wedding in a chav accent. That face.:

I suppose we'll see Sansa's reaction to all of this next week. God, I feel so crushed for her. She is an extreme pillar of strength to not collapse into madness and hurl herself off the roof of the Red Keep. I mean, really, what's stopping her? From her point of view, she pretty much has nothing driving her to live anymore. Even if she escaped to Highgarden or wherever, it's still not anything she really wants.

That quiet fortitude and her red hair, I guess that's what she inherited from Cat. If Robb is like Ned 2.0, is Sansa the new Cat? I'm going to say no because she never influences situations directly. Situations happen around Sansa, but she's not so bold (or impulsive or spiteful or misguided) as Cat.
114. Littlefinger87
The real point of this whole debate can be summed up with two sentences: Whoever controls Casterly Rock controls Littlefinger. Whoever controls Littlefinger wins the war of the Five Kings. Yup he's that important. If you don't believe me, just wait and you'll see.

Don't worry Sansa will get hers. She definitely has some influence coming up.
115. Thomas Cardew
One of my friends sent this to me last night, it's his reaction to the GoT fallout.

Just thought I'd share
Chris Nelly
116. Aeryl
Littlefinger is important, but the whole point of these stories, is that the War of Five Kings is a distraction from the true troubles the realm is facing, so in the actual scheme of things, he's really not that important.
Theresa DeLucci
117. theresa_delucci
@115 Perfect.

@116 Exactly. Littlefinger's game of thrones means very little when a hard winter, ice zombies, and dragons are coming to Westeros.

Now I want to see Littlefinger smirk in the face of an Other. Something tells me that won't happen. He could stand to be humbled by a bit of fear and this series will be so satisfying if he gets taken down before the end.

Also, Varys saying he Littlefinger wants to be "king of the ashes" seems pretty dead-on when/if dragons come and burn the whole of King's Landing down. Littlefinger really wouldn't care and that makes him a shitty person to root for. ( I still love him and his wit, I'm just not behind him. I love Victarion Greyjoy, too. But he isn't a hero either.)
118. Littlefinger87
Aeryl: So in the actual scheme of things, Robb Stark, Tywin Lannister, Stannis Baratheon, Littlefinger aren't important? Ludicrous statement. Politcal reality is always important.

You do know that the Others aren't invulnerable. They have weaknesses to several things: Dragon fire, Valyrian steel, and obsidian (dragon glass).

That's a gross mischaracterization of Littlefinger. That line "king of the ashes" is said by Aerys Targaryen shortly before Jaime Lannister sticks a sword in his back. Littlefinger wouldn't want to be king of the ashes. I imagine he would think that a waste of good profit making land and peasants.

Since Littlefinger isn't in King's Landing, but in one of the only untouched regions in in all of Westeros (the Vale) he stands a pretty good chance of survivng the Others Invasion and a hard winter. I can't say he'll survive the dragons but Dany has little reason to love or hate Littlefinger at this point.
Janet Hopkins
119. JanDSedai
Book-Robb was not able to take Casterly Rock because he didn't hold Lannisport. Theon was *supposed* to contol sea traffic into and out of L-port so Robb could concentrate on the Rock. Theon's double-cross put paid to Robb's plan.
120. Littlefinger87
JanDSedai: That's not the given reason why Robb doesn't take Casterly Rock. The reason is storming the castle would be too costly in terms of manpower and lack of siege equipment. Robb's host was horsed so the only real siege equipment that they were capable of building were crude battering rams that only worked to bring down ruined castles like the Crag.

Lannisport's army was nearly destroyed by Robb at the battle of Oxcross. 15,000 men under the command of Ser Stafford lannister left Lannisport and about 5000 men came back. Devan Lannister, Stafford's son, was then left with a mostly untrained and depleted force against Robb's mounted force. This is why Robb's force gains free control of the Westerlands and is able to raid multiple castles and pillage the countryside.

Sea traffic had nothing to do with it. Holding Lannisport had nothing to do with it. If you look at a Westeros map you can attack Casterly Rock overland.
Chris Nelly
121. Aeryl
Aeryl: So in the actual scheme of things, Robb Stark, Tywin Lannister, Stannis Baratheon, Littlefinger aren't important? Ludicrous statement. Politcal reality is always important.

No, they aren't important. Well, Stannis is, BECAUSE HE IS AWARE OF THE PROBLEM!!!!!

The Others are the great equalizer. The political reality is only important, insofar as it is proving that THIS PARTICULAR political reality will be the death of everyone in the realm, as everyone is too bosu squabbling, when Winter Is Coming.

LF's unaware of the threat, he doesn't care about preparing for the upcoming winter for everyone else in the country(if he did, he wouldn't have fomented a civil war as the Summer was ending). He's unimportant to how this story will conclude. The story will conclude that whoever is victorious over the WW will win the "throne"(whatever form that throne takes). LF, with his complete unpreparedness for the actual threat, and inability to stand against this threat, will not be one of those still standing.
122. Littlefinger87
If Robb Stark, Tywin Lannister, and Littlefinger aren't really important why spend so much time on them?

Considering the army of the Others is mostly made up of zombie corpes that can be set on flame it's not really too much of a threat to anyone that's in a castle like Wintefell that has been warded off against the others centuries ago like the Wall has.

Littlefinger didn't bring the Vale into the War which saved that countryside from a lot of the devastation of the war. 50,000 men in the Vale say that they are prepared to at least fight the threat. Whether they win will depend on the supply of obsidian and valyrian swords. Fomented a civil war? You and I have argued about this in the past. I think most of the fault truly lies with Cercei Lannister as she actually is responsible for Robert Baratheon's death, not Littlefinger.

Since Samwell Tarly survived to tell all about the Others and zombies beyond the Wall, the realm isn't totally ignorant of the danger.

Stannis is right in the path of the Others at the moment in the books. If he doesn't get into Winterfell himself he might be toast.
123. Spursyid99
I'm a book virgin. I'm 57 years old...50 years ago I hid behind the sofa when the Daleks invaded my home. ..tonight I had nowhere to hide and sit here in stunned silence. do they top that for a season finale?
Chris Nelly
124. Aeryl
To demonstrate how easy it is for Nero to fiddle while Rome burns.

I am not absolving Cersei of any responsibility in her part in starting this war, LF fomented it, he deliberately and intentionally, with malice aforethought, antagonized both sides of this conflict, in an attempt to bring their confrontation to a head.

Yes, LF protected the Vale, so there would be one part(closest to his home) of the country unravaged by war. He had no fucks to give for the rest of the country. His intention by holding the Vale back was NOT to prepare for the Others, but to ensure that he would have the only contingent fresh and ready for combat.

Yes, Sam told the NW, about the dragonglass. When was the last time anyone in the realm, at least those in power, believed in the NW?
Chris Nelly
125. Aeryl
@123, The 9th episode has always been the barnburner, while the 10th os more low key, dealing with the repurcussions.
126. Littlefinger87
Lols. You are bring out the full murder definition aren't you. Personally, I don't believe that's true.There is another interpretation where Littlefinger is just covering up his past crime which indirectly causes the Stark-Lannister open hostility.

It was no big secret that at the beginning Eddard Stark and Tywin Lannister didn't like each other. The relationship was "close to blows."
Littlefinger used this starting point of hatred and definitely used it to his advantage. If you are predisposed to think badly about someone it is easy to pour on falsehoods and half-truths which paint a personin a darker light. Considering who really tried to stab Bran, Littlefinger isn't that far off. Both Jaime, Cercei, Catelyn, Eddard and Joffrey are all culpable for escalating the tension between those two Houses. It's not all on Littlefinger although I do not wholly absolve him of all blame.

Considering that Tywin Lannister and Robb Stark are the two actual people responsible for the destruction of the Riverlands they are still culpable for leaving Westeros ripe for invasion by the Others.

Sam also told members of the maesters. If the maesters hate dragons, they may hate the Others even more.
Joshua Ausley
127. jausley
Why do you people read this stuff? Are you masochists? I'm glad I never have!

Why is GRRM a "genius" for doing something so despicable? What, just because he made you care about his characters? Any author who can't do that doesn't deserve to get published!

This series is the worst thing that has happened to fantasy in decades. The show has blown an overrated book series out of proportion, misguiding fans to what fantasy really is, much like the SW Prequels did to new SW fans. This whole "dark" trend in fantasy has been influenced by this drivel... Sheesh... ANYONE can kill off their characters once they develop them and make the readers care about them.

I'll stick to my Wheel of Time - TRUE epic fantasy - thank you very much.
Chris Nelly
128. Aeryl
Yes ANYONE can. Do they? No.

That's why people like GRRM and Joss Whedon get the credit that they do. And BTW, old school SW fan here who loves the prequels.

But please, do educate me on, "what fantasy really is"? Cuz that I gotta hear!
Rajan Khanna
129. rajanyk
God forbid Fantasy actually have consequences for character actions...
Rajan Khanna
130. rajanyk
I just wanted to say that I've watched the scene twice now and the second time was almost as bad as the first time except that I could steel myself for what was going to happen. But Cat's dead expression at the end is just so horrible.

And in a more reasoned response to @127, Fantasy is a broad enough genre to allow for all kinds of fiction. Some people want something they can escape into without a lot of death and darkness, and there's plenty out there for them. Martin even admits that in the EW interview. But that's not what he's writing or is interested in writing. Me, I love the way he does things. If you don't, fine. But he's not ruining the genre. Hell, he's in the minority when it comes to this kind of thing. I'd be happy if more people follow his example (I appreciate the realism and the consequences more than the actual death) but it's not going to mean there won't be the types of fantasy that other fans appreciate.
Rob Munnelly
131. RobMRobM
Couple of miscellaneous thoughts.

1) If you want to enjoy something, google "Storm of Swords It Gets Better" and watch the video. Spoilers through the RW and a little bit beyond and some light spoilers re ADWD. But brilliant.

2) I'd bet fairly serious coin that Blackfish is still alive. He's outside and badass and they need him to interact with Lannisters and allies as acting Lord of Riverrun next season. Someone's got to be around in the Riverlands to fight the Lannisters and Freys.

3) I love that they kept in the Bolton marriage to Fat Walda. First big sign to Cat that something funny was going on. Boltons and Freys together - mass hysteria.

4) Gendry's powerful king's blood FTW - one usurper down.

5) Without rehashing many of the above posts, I'd comment that that I don't find GRRM cynical at all. There are very evil people in these books that do a lot of damage to good and innocent people. It is going to take a lot of hard work and effort and courage for the remaining good people to be in position to triumph in the long run. The road is long and tough but I'm confident it will satisfy.
Alan Brown
132. AlanBrown
@110, Littlefinger87, I am baffled by your statement, "Once you are inside the gate, it's all over. The northmen have a superior numerical advantage (500 vs. 8000) and are all horsed which gives you the option as a commander to fight either horsed or unhorsed: a tactically superior positionn."
I understand that gaining access to the castle erases most of the advantages of defense, but what earthly good do horses provide when fighting inside a fortress? Cavalry has very little advantage in close quarters. If you can give me a historical example to support that assertion, I would appreciate it.
And what castellan in his right mind would open the gates for a force, regardless of the uniforms they wear, which is not expected, and does not include a single person that he recognizes? Such a person would be in a position to know many of the officers who served his master. And armies use passwords and orders and documentation to prevent precisely the subterfuge that you describe. So I just don't see your plan as being feasible.
133. Littlefinger87
Alan Brown: Cavalry are excellent at breaking through the first line of men once a gate is breached. If you've ever seen images of Casterly Rock it's a very steep fortress. Having horses will definitely help any attacking force traverse the fortress faster. Also, the courtyard and roads within the castle are pretty wide (again this is just fan art because it's never fully described in the books.)

That is why Jaime Lannister is there. He's the son of the lord of Casterly Rock. Every guard of the Rock would recognize him. Of course this is unexpected, it's a "successful escape attempt." The soldiers/spies that freed Jaime wouldn't know what thenew passwords would be because they came from King's Landing as part of Tyrion's plot to free his brother.

Were you watching this week's episode in Yunkai?
Chris Nelly
134. Aeryl
One other excellent part of the episode I haven't seen mentioned anywhere, is the incredible fight choreography for the Yunkai scene.

I liked that, despite how disparate Jorah and Daario are, once Daario saved his life, they got it down real quick, with Jorah setting them up, for Daario to knock down. And I liked that they added the little touch, that while the Unsullied helmets work for unit fighting, it was a hindrance for the close one on one combat they were doing, and had Grey Worm leave his helmet behind.
Scott Silver
135. hihosilver28
@127 jausley:
We read it because Martin is absolutely a master at his POV scenes. He writes from many different perspectives, sexes, ideologies, prejudices, and all of them are fully realized and distinct. He also is willing to do things to his characters that not many authors are willing to do. The theme of his books (to me) are "You can do whatever you want, but there will be consequences for any action you take". I find that attitude refreshing, especially when you begin to pay attention and see how actions that characters take will have inevitable fallout down the road.

I don't think that Martin's strength is in plotting (see the mess that is A Dance with Dragons), or his sometimes ridiculously stupid cliffhanger endings to chapters (he'll leave you with a cliffhanger that turns out to be a red herring...and he does it more often than he should. It's now like the boy who cried wolf to me), but even with all of these issues, his books are well worth reading, and I think that A Storm of Swords is one of the pinnacles of fantasy...period. For what it's worth, I still prefer The Wheel of Time, but I would never discount A Song of Ice and Fire as worthless, or tripe. It is a very well written series that has very real consequences for any actions it's characters take, and I believe that is of value.
Matthew Watkins
136. oraymw
1. When I first read this section of the book, I knew that I was hooked on GRRM for life. Part of it was the surprise; I certainly wasn't expecting him to kill off the person that everyone was rooting for to win the war. Part of it was the sheer brilliance of the narrative. There are so many little details that GRRM puts into this chapter that build up incremental tension. You know that something is about to go terribly wrong, but you aren't entirely sure what. It makes you really feel as if you are experiencing this moment. Part of it was the brilliant foreshadowing. There are so many choices that GRRM makes through the entire series to make this scene pay off so well.

There are a lot of other parts, and all together, they stand as some of the many reasons why Storm of Swords is one of the best fantasy novels of all time.

2. I realized one very important difference for readers vs. viewers. When I read this section, I didn't really have anyone to turn to. I just had the book and the characters there. However, viewers have had this immense and vocal community with which to share their grief. Readers suffer in solitude.

3. One of the most important aspects of reading is the ability to experience things in a way that is safe. I can witness a tragedy of this magnitude, and see complete betrayal, and horrific things happen to other people, all without having to actually experience it in the flesh. This is key. Because of this, we are able to extrapolate our feelings into other situations, and improve our lot in life.

If you think this is gruesome, you should just look through historical narratives at the things that really did happen in the world. The accounts of the Mongol Invasions are more "grimdark" than anything GRRM can come up with. Less than 100 years ago, there were people stuffing their fellow human beings into ovens and then cooking them. There are genocides going on all over the world right now. There are places in the United States of America (my country of residence) where people treat each other like subhumans.

The truth of the matter is that human beings have a huge tendency to treat other humans like they are animals. It is important for us to have literature that shows this to us, and helps us understand the real consequences of such behavior. There are two ways to learn about this; you can either experience it in real life, or read about it in a book. In the second one, you are experiencing these emotions without being put in the dangerous position yourself. This allows you to develop greater empathy and begin to accept your fellow human beings as people rather than bags of meat.

(Note: I'm not saying that people who dislike ASOIAF are devoid of empathy. I'm simply stating one of the purposes of these kinds of stories.)
Adam S.
137. MDNY
@ oraymw (#136): There are communities online for fans of the books, including an excellent reread on this very site. Come over there if you want to discuss the books, rather than the HBO show.
Ross Newberry
138. rossnewberry
I'm with hihosilver28 @135. The reason I'm going to stick with this series is GRRM's talent with PoV.

He's one of the few authors I've read that make me totally inhabit the point of view. Even when the PoV character is doing terrible things, I understand the reasons and motivations behind them.

That and the fact that, 75 pages into the first book, he had an incestuous knight throw a little kid off a tower, and then had me totally rooting for him by the middle of ASoS when he spoke, "I dreamed of you."
Chris Nelly
139. Aeryl
YESSS!!! My conflicted Jaime feels will always bring me back.
144. @Paper_Wizard … ~ I find #AdventureTime is a serious cure for the #BadJuJu inflicted by the Red Wedding and other such Thrones-themed nastiness...
145. Hellvette...+
Alan Brown
146. AlanBrown
@133 I was basing my assessment of the utility of cavalry on pictures and plans of actual castles I have seen over the years, not on fan art that sounds a bit imaginative. Unless I am mistaken, Casterly Rock is described as a castle, and is not a walled city. Castles, especially those built on rocky, steep hills, do not have lots of room inside--there are courtyards, but not room for many wide roadways.
Also, castles have layered defenses, walls within walls, and keeps to retreat to. Getting past the outer walls is just one step in the assault, and horses are of little value breaching those additional barriers.
And yes, I saw the latest episode, and how Yunkai fell, but again, a fictional portrayal that is so compressed that a casual watcher could get the impression that the city fell to three attackers does not prove your point. As I remember it from the book, because of slave unrest, Yunkai was fragile from the start. Unlike Casterly Rock, where the defenders are probably much more loyal and reliable.
So, you still haven't convinced me that your plan is feasible.
@134 I agree with you--that fight scene was very well correographed, and a high point in an otherwise pretty downbeat episode. My only quibble is that, without an intervening scene between that and the scene with Dany, the editing made it almost look like the three of them carried the day all by themselves!
Theresa DeLucci
147. theresa_delucci
@Aeryl Hey! I totally mentioned the fight choreography in my updated episode review. The three warriors' three different styles was so cool. Grey Worm FTMFW!

Yeah, Jaime. My friend (the one I cursed when I read the Red Wedding for the first time -- Hi, Justin!) told me not to hate Jaime, that he was his favorite character. I was understandably skeptical after he tossed a little kid out a window, but, damn - Jaime is so perfectly well-written. It's amazing that a character can make such a turnaround. GRRM does conflicted characters really, really well.

And villains. I never for a second wanted to stop reading after the Red Wedding. I was sure *someone* had to get his/her comeuppance. And I'm glad I stuck around because there's some really cool people and places ahead. But totally agree that the plotting is getting really terrible these last two books.

I've never read many long series before and it seems that things usually tend to go sloppy around book 4/5. The Malazan series is on my to-read list. I hear it's pretty consistent. I read the first two books back-to-back then stopped. They weren't as crack-like for me as ASoIaF, but I do plan another try. I can't get into WoT or Sword of Truth, making me a failure as a Tor employee, I suppose. I loved the first three Kushiel's books and wish they could be an HBO series. Does Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun count as a series? Probably not. I just tend to enjoy standalone novels more.
148. Littlefinger87
Alan Brown: Winterfell is described as castle as well and it fell. The Rock's actual defenses aren't listed in the canon. It's stood as long as it has because few armies ever got near enough to try. Given that there are only 500 men defending it at the time versus 8000 men assailing it Casterly Rock would fall. We can argue over how many casualties the North would suffer. My guess is about 2000 which is probably an overestimation given how few defenders there really are. Casterly Rock is well worth this amount of casualties. Also given that Oxcross just happened it is highly unlikely that Devan Lannister would try to assail Robb's force and risk losing both the Rock and Lannisport.

Once the horsemen get into the castle, they can fight on foot if necessary, but I disagree with your assessment of cavalry being a disadvantage in close quarters. Against pikemen and heavy spearment cavalry are vulnerable, but against swordsmen, even in close quarters, the height advantage of the horse gives them the upper hand. These are household guards trained and equipped with swords not spears and pikes.

My point about Yunkai was about the ability of a few men to hold the gate open so that more men would be able to come through it. I know that 3 men can't take an entire city or castle.
Theresa DeLucci
149. theresa_delucci
This Princess Bride/GoT mashup takes the sting out the Red Wedding a bit. Worth a good chuckle.
Scott Silver
150. hihosilver28
Where do you stand on Sanderson and Rothfuss?

I thought the start of the Malazan series was too confusing and I haven't felt much of a desire to go back. It felt like someone had dropped me into book 5 of a series. I love WoT, though. :-) How far did you try to get in it?

That Princess Bride video was classic. :-)
Theresa DeLucci
151. theresa_delucci
I only read the first book in WoT. *ducks* To be fair, again, epic fantasy is normally not my thing at all. I love ASoIaF because it's so different from other epic fantasies I've tried to read, like Sanderson. *cowers further* Haven't tried Rothfuss yet.

I love the Kushiel's Dart trilogy, Storm Constantine's Wraethru series. But my fantasy tastes usually run towards New (and Old) Weird writers like China Mieville, Caitlin Kiernan, Kathe Koja, etc. --basically the kind of fiction I'm most intersted in writing -- and science fiction writers like William Gibson, Peter Watts, and Ian McDonald.
Scott Silver
152. hihosilver28
:-D No need to duck. People certainly like different things. If you're not a big fantasy reader, I can't see you getting huge into Sanderson. I do think you should give Rothfuss a try, it has a different feel from much other fantasy as well. And,'s just damn excellent!

I really need to try Mieville out. I've been meaning to for years.
Chris Nelly
153. Aeryl
@151, I LOVE JACQUELINE CAREY!!!!! The other two trilogies set in Terre D'Ange are great, the next one, Kushiel's Legacy series focuses on Imriel, Melisande's son. And the third is focused on a half Alban half-D'Angeline girl, set about two hundred years later. Her Alban tribe plays a huge role in Imriel's story, you should definitely check it out!

I also started her Agents of Hel series, I am really excited to see how she'll play with urban fantasy. And she went through the whole first book with nobody (consensually) naked!
Theresa DeLucci
154. theresa_delucci
I'd say start with Perdido Stret Station. I don't think it's the technically best he's written (that would probably be The City & the City or Embassytown) but it is a great introduction to his best-imagined world and his unique voice. The other Bas-Lag books rocked, too.
Theresa DeLucci
155. theresa_delucci
@153 Ha! I read the Imriel books, too, and while I adored being back in Terre D'Ange, the original trilogy is still my favorite. Haven't read the newer trilogy yet. Maybe this summer. Been reading too much dark and heavy stuff lately. I could use something a tad lighter.
156. Thomas Cardew
@148 I think you DRASTICALLY underestimate how effective castles are as defensive strucutures. Let me reference the Siege of Stirling in 1304. 30 scottish soldiers were able to hold the castle for 4 months against the English army. The size of the English army is disputed but they had 12 siege enginges, including one they built there which filled 30 wagons when disasembled and took 5 master caprteners and 49 laborers at least 3 months to finish. Based on the number of siege engines and the militarily superiorty of England during the war, I say we could safely say the English army was at least 3000 men. So with 100:1 advantage and equipment designed to take the castle, it took the English 4 months to capture a castle.

Second, calavary are definitely not an advantage when actually assualting a castle. They WOULD have to fight on foot inside the castle. The Red Keep with it's large enough doors and rooms for Ned and Tywin to ride in, is a huge aberation. Castles are cramped places, Casterly Rock which was carved out of a hill would be especially cramped. Have you seen tunnels made before modern technology? When you make a tunnel with a pick axe, you make it as small as you possibly can to fit what you need.

And calvary suck in close quarters. Calavary need room to maneuver, build momentum and strike. Most of their attacks are downward slashes, which require room, especially room to not hit the guy next to you. This means foot can swarm you. On top of a that you are sitting on an extremely vulnerable usually unarmored horse. WHEN that horse gets killed, you're probably trapped under it as easy pickings.

IF you do bring your horses in with you, they're generally stuck in the courtyard beyond the gate taking up room and preventing you from bringing in more men through the already tight botttleneck of the gate. And you still have to take in the inner keep.

There is a lot more I could object to but without schematics for the castle, I'll just let what I've said suffice.
157. camb
Brilliant analysis. So balanced, and so accurate :)

Andrew Gray
158. madogvelkor
I never much liked the Robb/Caitlyn story line -- the Arya, Bran, and Jon Snow stories are much more interesting to me. With Sansa you just want to smack some sense into her, but given how much she's been smacked around with very little sense forthcoming, I have little hope for her.
Elizabeth Doolin
159. mochabean
@153-154 Another Kushiel fan here -- a lot of interesting contrasts between ASOIAF and Kushiel books in terms of how they both subvert and embrace tropes. Obviously Carey is a bigger fan of the happy ending. That totally came out wrong, and yet so right.
160. swlrsenn
So did they think doing what they did to Grey Wind's and Robb Stark's bodies in the book as going too far on the TV? Imagine the outrage about that! heh.
Chris Nelly
161. Aeryl
@160, I imagine that's how the next ep will open. With Robb's body displayed, Cat's being thrown in the river, and then the scene will cut inside as Bolton and Frey smirk together over what they've done, talk about plans for Edmure, and WHERETF is the Blackfish!
Theresa DeLucci
162. theresa_delucci
+1 mochabean

You know, next episode is called "Mother." Wonder what the very last scene could be for a killer season cliffhanger... (Not really wondering. I'd bet money on it being what I think it could be. It'd fit the timeline and the showrunners rarely title episodes to be relevant to just one set of characters.)
Chris Nelly
163. Aeryl
@159, There are a lot of similiarities between Carey's and Martin's explorations of fantasy tropes, but Carey will almost always give you that (earned) happy ending. Except for the Sundering/Bonewreaker series, which ended on a down note. Now that I've read Martin, I think she was trying to emulate that, and I'm looking forward to revisiting those stories again with that perspective.

The Naamah trilogy is a good one, Moirin is up there with Phedre and Sidonie for awesomeness, and her story works more like Imriel's where he'd be solo for awhile, with no allies. Phedre never really got to do that, she always had Joscelin(except when he's being a butt, and then she had her pirate), but Moirin is definitely independently capable, rescues the dude in distress, and learns you can't sleep your way out of all your problems(the only real issue I had with Phedre's story, not that she wasn't smart and capable)! Moirin's story also prizes her relationships with women(sexual or otherwise) over her relationships with men, which is a rare thing in fantasy from my perspective, as women's friendships tend to recieve little value in those stories.

I reread it MORE than Imriel's. But yes, like you, Phedre will always be my first love!
164. bastard starks :(
ned is dead, robb is dead, rickon is so young, bran is a witch :). think a bastard will carry the banner for Starks :). by the way, i assume that the season finale will be very disappointing cos the 9th episode was a shocker. how can another episode be more shocking? They will make us wait for a long long time to see a better episode...
Alan Brown
165. AlanBrown
@156, Thanks, Mr. Cardew, for helping to reinforce the points I was trying to make.
166. Littlefinger87
Thomas Cardew: In the Siege of Stirling was the main gate breached? Were there 3000 English soldiers inside the castle breaking down the lesser gates and fortifications? If not, not really relevant to the conversation.

Where did you get the idea that Casterly Rock had tunnels. There are some sea ports at the base of the mountain and tunnels that go to those ports but Robb's men certainly wouldn't need to go through tunnels to attack the Lannister men inside the castle. Think Minas Tirith where the rider could comfortably ride 3 abreadst.

I agree that castles are eneormously difficult to take, but they can and have been taken both in real life and in this fantasy story. Throughout the course of the 5 books we know that Winterfell, Dragonstone, and Storm's End are taken by either deception or by force.

The horse was the medieval tank. You do see the heavy mail plate that Robb wears all the time. He is riding with his heavy horse when he goes West. Guardsmen with swords are no match for heavy horse.

Whether it takes 3 hours, 3 days, or 3 weeks (depending on the ingenuity of the castellan) for Casterly Rock to fall it doesn't really matter. There are no Lannister reinforcements led by a competent general that could reach the Rock in time to perform a hammer and anvil maneuver. Without reinforcements, the 500 men inside would die. Robb would be the King in the North, Riverlands, and the West.
Theresa DeLucci
167. theresa_delucci
@164 We haven't had a boring season finale with this show yet. Sure maybe nothing as shocking as the Red Wedding will happen again for at least a few more episodes, there's still plenty going on and at least one scene that could leave people (well book-virgins) speculating all summer.
Alan Brown
168. AlanBrown
@166 Of course, you could be talking about 3 months, or even three years, of siege. Often in history, it was a lack of supplies that brought the castle to surrender. And in the fantasy world of Westros, where winters last for years, those supplies would be far more extensive that what was held in our fortresses of times gone by.
But I always respect a strong position that is argued with vigor, and can see that your convictions on this issue are as strong as Casterly Rock, so I think you and I must agree to disagree, because I lack the patience to engage in a long siege! :-)
169. Thomas Cardew

I don't have easy access to the book right now but per the wikis: "Casterly Rock is one of the most formidable and well-defended castles in all of Westeros. ... The castle consists of fortifications built into and on top of the Rock, with additional catacombs, dungeons and redoubts built deep into the bowels of the formation. The castle's primary entrance is the heavily-defended Lion's Mouth."

So into the rock means tunnels to me. IDK, point about cramped passages still stands. Every castle I've been to had interior doors I had to stoop to enter @ 6 ft. No way you can ride a horse through those.

Second, every picture/painting I've seen shows Casterly rock built on an island with a bridge to the mainland. That bridge would have two gates. One at each end. You would have to be able to hold both of those. This just got drastically move difficult. Admittedly non-canon but we don't have a canon description.

RE: Calavary. In the book, Ned Stark's horse slips and breaks his leg. Tyrion survives his first battle because he kills the knight's horse. Bronn kills that lord by killing his horse. The knight turned septon nearly died because his horse was killed. I could go on. The horses are not invulnerable. In close quarters they become a liability because they can be hamstrung and stabbed. Knight's can be pulled off them if they aren't charging, which in the confined space of castle courtyard they can't. See the riot of king's landing.
I see no armor on Robb's horse.

The horse was the tank of the medieval world. Tanks don't advance against infantry without infantry support because they can be swarmed and killed. Tanks don't enter towns because the close quarters is not their optimal fighting environment. It was the same thing with cavalry. They have to have room to move. They have to have room to charge. They can't turn quickly. They can't ride someone down, if they're about to crash into a wall. Guardsmen with swords are no match for horse in an open field. Guardsmen with swords are superior to horse in an enclosed environment.

Whether it takes 3 hours, 3 days, or 3 weeks (depending on the ingenuity of the castellan) for Casterly Rock to fall it doesn't really matter. There are no Lannister reinforcements led by a competent general that could reach the Rock in time to perform a hammer and anvil maneuver. Without reinforcements, the 500 men inside would die. Robb would be the King in the North, Riverlands, and the West.

1. Time does matter. Time always matters. Take too long and Tywin force marches his way there, smashes your army and takes your head.
2. The shattered army of Oxcross regrouped at Lannisport. Given enough time, they can march to the relief of Casterly Rock. Or at least threaten Robb's rear, cut off his supply lines and starve him into abandoning the siege.
3. Even if he does take the Rock he does not become King of the West. At best he becomes the occupying lord of a restless country. Their oaths are to Tywin. Just like the Riverlands didn't stop fighting after Robb was dead and Edmure was a hostage. Just like the North resents Bolton and Manderly is biding his time while looking for his true lord Brandon Stark. Admittedly, seizing the Rock would probably end the war by convincing Tywin to make peace, but Robb would never become king of the West until the West acknowledged him as king. This would require the heads of every Lannister on spikes. Which I am ok with.
170. Littlefinger87
Thomas Cardew:

Minas Tirith was built into the Rock as well, but it didn't have tunnels. Tywin marches his own army out of the Rock through the Lion's Mouth so if horse can get out, they can get in.

The Rock is usually well defended, but Tywin leaves only a small garrison behind when he send 60,000 men into the Riverlands. Greywind, Robb's direwolf finds a secret passageway into the West (the horse had to go through single file) that allows Robb to surprise Ser Stafford Lannister at Oxcross. Stafford and Tywin were relying on a castle called the Golden Tooth to prevent the northerners and riverlanders from invading the West. This plan backfired terribly which is why Robb had free reign to circumnavigate the entire West. He goes as far north as the Crag which is in the northwest part of the West close to the Iron Islands.

Did I not state before that Robb's forces would take casualties. I said he would lose up to 2000 of his troops. I know that horses aren't invulnerable. Neither are castles. I am not arguing that he will come out of this with his entire army intact. I am arguing that he could take the castle. Yes it will be bloody, but it will win him the war in one stroke and that is well worth 2000 northern lives.

1. Tywin is on the other side of Westeros dealing with Stannis. If he force marches he will have to first face the army at the fords of Riverrun that just threw his force back and the remaining northern army headed by Roose Bolton (around 14,000 men).

2. The shattered army at Lannisport is shattered. There's only 5000 of them under Devan Lannister. They are poorly trained fishermen of Lannisport. Think leather clad levies with 20 days of training with a sword. Robb doesn't have supply lines, he's on horseback feeding off the wealth and bread of the West. It's not a siege. It's a sneak attack at night.
3. Balon Greyjoy didn't become King in the North by taking a couple castles, but that's what he called himself anyway.
171. Thomas Cardew
@170 World of difference between a City (Minas Tirith) and a Fortress (Casterly). It's the difference between London and London Tower.

Also, to be pedantic there were tunnels in Minas Tirith. (I know my LOTR :D) Quoting from memory here but when Pippin meets with Beregond in RotK, Beregond tells him.

"Though all things must come to an end in time, Gondor shall not perish yet. Not though the walls be taken by a reckless foe that will build a hill of carrion before them. There are still other fastnesses, and secret ways of escape into the mountains. Hope and memory shall live still in some hidden valley where the grass is green."

1. Not sure about the timeline, but that is why time matters. If the Rock holds, Tywin has time to beat back Stannis, march along the Goldroad, which does not approach Riverrun, straight to Casterly Rock. It runs thru Tyrell and Lannister lands, relatively safe from Roose Bolton.
2. It's only not a siege if it works. If it is a siege, Robb can't hold because he has no supply lines. He would have to establish some or starve since the surrounding land can't support him forever. If he does take the castle, he needs to be able to hold it. If the siege lasts for any length of time, and the castellan suspects the castle will fall, he only needs to burn the stores to prevent Robb from holding it after it does fall. Plans that require everything to go right rarely work. See Operation Market Garden
3. And the North fought him tooth, claw, and nail over it. That's my point. Conquering, holding, and ruling are very different things.
4. I think we got lost discussing cavalry. You said they were useful in close quarters. I adamantly disputed this because they are not. They can fight on foot so it wasn't worth as much discussion as it got because it is really only a side point.
5. Taking the Rock only wins the war if Robb can hold it. If he takes the Rock, he has a few options. I'll address the primary ones.
A. Hold it himself. Send word to Riverrun and Bolton. Tywin marches against the Rock. If Tywin attacks the Rock and takes it before Bolton and Edmure and reinforce Robb, Tywin wins the war because he just took Robb hostage. If he fails, Bolton traps him and Robb wins.
B. Leave someone to hold it, make for Rivverun and bring back reinforcements. Splits your forces and makes the Rock easier for Tywin to retake. Safer because if the Rock falls before Robb gets back, the war just drags on.
C. Leave someone to hold it, Tywin attacks the Rock. Robb regroups and attacks King's Landing with all his forces. If Robb takes King's Landing, he wins the war.
D. Tywin abandons the Rock for the time being, choosing to hold King's Landing and focus on taking Dragonstone and Riverrun. The westlands rises under their equivalent of Beric Dondarrion. Robb is forced to fight a war of occupation as he tries to fight Tywin at King's Landing.
The point is taking the Rock doesn't guarantee an end to the war by itself. It ends the war by forcing the conditions for the final battle to take place. (Most likely)
6. We both agree that the war was winnable by the North. At Robb's war councils, you would have argued that to attack the Rock. I would have argued against it. Without a commander to decide, we probably aren't going to agree. And that's fine. :D Although we should probably stop leaving gaint walls of texts here.
172. Littlefinger87
If Robb takes the Rock he gets the loyalty of Littlefinger. This is huge. Littlefinger holds the fate of 100,000 troops (50,000 Tyrells and 50,000 Arryns from the Vale). Littlefinger's only loyal to Tywin because it's in his best interest to serve the wealthiest most powerful man in the realms. When Robb takes the Rock suddenly he's the most powerful man in the realm. The Lannister Tyrell alliance might not even happen if Robb takes it while Littlefinger is en route to Bitterbridge.

Pictures of Casterly Rock look eerily similar to Minas Tirith which is why I made the comparison. There were tunnels to escape, but the main entranceway to attack could fit three or four horse abreadst.

since the West had hitherto untouched by the war, there's plenty of foodstuff for an army of 8000 and horses.
Vincent Lane
173. Aegnor
The fact that the Blackfish was not there during the slaughter indicates one thing. He's important somehow. It could be they are saving him for that awesome scene with Jamie from book 4, but I'd be surprised if it were just that.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
175. AlirozTheConfused
"Yes ANYONE can. Do they? No.

That's why people like GRRM and Joss Whedon get the credit that they do. And BTW, old school SW fan here who loves the prequels.

But please, do educate me on, "what fantasy really is"? Cuz that I gotta hear!"Really, Aeryl, some day you'll grow up and realize that GRIMDARK is just as pointless and meaningless as JOYLIGHT. Personally, I'm stuck with this series the same way that I get hypnotized into watching Barbie Fairytopia whenever it comes on.
Chris Nelly
176. Aeryl
I don't buy that GRRM is GRIMDARK. I've laughed my ass off during chunks of ADWD(it could qualify as EVUL laughter, but I'm having fun, and that's all that matters).

Compare GRRM to Sara Douglass. NOW she's GRIMDARK. I have a hard time rereading her, because such terrible things happen to her characters. But she never kills any of the major characters. Anne Bishop is the same way.
179. shayanan
it was the most impressing scenes that Ive ever seen.i dont know why in evrey episode 9 the death is coming?

????? ? ???????? ???? ? ????
180. Maria Garner
Gaaaahhhhhhh! I started the show last week and caught up to this episode... Thanks for the post! I wanted to know how others felt... Obviously just as sad and frustrated as I am right now! Well written.... Will played.

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