The Rains of Castamere
|"The Rains of Castamere"|
|Game of Thrones episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3|
|Directed by||David Nutter|
|Featured music||Ramin Djawadi|
|Cinematography by||Robert McLachlan|
|Editing by||Oral Norrie Ottey|
|Original air date||June 2, 2013|
|Running time||52 minutes|
"The Rains of Castamere" is the ninth and penultimate episode of the third season of HBO's fantasy television series Game of Thrones, and the 29th episode of the series. The episode was written by executive producers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, and directed by David Nutter. It aired on June 2, 2013 .
The episode is centered on the wedding of Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey, one of the most memorable events of the book series, commonly called "The Red Wedding", during which Robb Stark and his banner-men are massacred. Other storylines include Bran Stark's group's having to separate, Jon Snow's loyalties being tested, and Daenerys Targaryen's plotting her invasion of the city of Yunkai. The title is a song belonging to the Lannister family, whose lyrics foreshadow the Red Wedding and which is played by the band at the wedding right before the slaughter begins.
This episode earned Benioff and Weiss a nomination for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.
Beyond the Wall
North of the Wall, Sam and Gilly continue their march south. Sam tells Gilly he plans for them to cross the Wall using the entrance at the Nightfort, an abandoned castle along the Wall.
In the North
South of the Wall, Bran and his group take shelter in an abandoned mill. Nearby, Jon and the wildling party raid an elderly horse breeder's home, taking his horses and gold while the old man flees. In the mill, Bran and Jojen Reed discuss their plan to cross the Wall, and Meera spots the old horse breeder riding nearby. After the old man is captured by the wildlings, Hodor—scared by the thunder—begins yelling, which threatens to give away their location to the wildlings. Bran uses his warg abilities to enter Hodor's mind and knocks him out.
Outside, Tormund moves to kill the old man, but Orell tells him to instead have Jon do it to prove his loyalty. Jon is ultimately unable to kill the innocent man, and instead Ygritte kills the man with an arrow. Realizing where Jon's loyalties lie, Tormund orders his men to kill him, but Jon manages to defeat them. As Ygritte moves to defend him, Jon deliberately knocks her to the ground, allowing Tormund to hold her down and prevent her from getting killed, while he battles with Orell. Bran enters the mind of Summer, his direwolf, and aids Jon. While the wolves hold off the other wildlings, Jon kills Orell, who wargs into an eagle, which briefly attacks Jon, scarring the latter's face. After Jon fights off the eagle, he is able to steal a horse and escape, leaving Ygritte and heading back to the Wall. At night, Bran asks Osha to take Rickon to Last Hearth, the home of the Umber family, and they depart shortly after.
Planning their invasion of Yunkai, Daario tells Daenerys and her knights about a rear gate to the city through which they can sneak in and open the main gate for her army. Ser Jorah is suspicious of Daario and his plan, but comes around when Daenerys seeks Grey Worm's opinion. When night falls, Daario, Jorah, and Grey Worm arrive at the gate. Daario enters ahead of them, posing as a still loyal Second Son commander. Shortly after being let inside the city, he signals Jorah and Grey Worm to follow him. Soon, they are ambushed by a group of Yunkai's slave soldiers and, though largely outnumbered, manage to kill them and accomplish the mission. The group returns to Daenerys and tells her that she is now in control of the city.
At the Twins
At camp, Catelyn counsels her son Robb, the King in the North, about his planned alliance with Lord Walder Frey and his planned assault on Casterly Rock, the homeland of the Lannisters. The Stark host soon arrives at the Twins, castle homeland of the Freys, where they are given bread and salt, a symbol of the "guest right": a guarantee of safety when under another lord's roof. Robb makes an apology to both the sarcastic Walder Frey and his daughters. Walder accepts the apology but insists on inspecting Talisa, the woman for whom Robb broke his vow. Nearby, Arya, though still a captive of Sandor "the Hound" Clegane, journeys to the Twins to reunite with her mother and brother. When they come upon a trader and his cart, Clegane knocks him out and moves to kill him, but Arya manages to dissuade him, and he instead steals the cart of food.
At night, Walder walks his daughter Roslin down the aisle to her future husband Edmure Tully, who is pleasantly surprised by her beauty. They are married shortly after, and the celebration begins. At the feast, Walder calls for the bedding ceremony, and the couple are taken to their chamber. After they leave, Lothar Frey closes the banquet hall doors, and the Frey bards begin playing "The Rains of Castamere", a Lannister cautionary song, both of which arouse Catelyn's suspicions. Using the food cart as their reason for being at the Twins, The Hound and Arya arrive at the wedding. They are turned away at the gates, but Arya sneaks in.
Catelyn notices Roose Bolton wearing chainmail under his robes, which confirms Catelyn's suspicions that they have been betrayed. Just as Walder signals his men to attack the Starks' men, Catelyn tries to warn Robb, but before he can react, Lothar repeatedly stabs the pregnant Talisa in the abdomen, killing her and her unborn child. Robb is then shot by crossbows, and the massacre of his bannermen begins. Arya, having snuck past the gate, witnesses Frey men kill Stark soldiers and Robb's direwolf, Grey Wind. She is saved by The Hound, who knocks her unconscious and carries her out of the castle. Catelyn, although wounded by a crossbow bolt, holds Walder's young wife, Joyeuse, hostage with a knife and demands that Robb be allowed to leave. Walder refuses, and Roose Bolton stabs Robb in the heart, delivering Jaime's message from Harrenhal: "The Lannisters send their regards." Catelyn screams and kills Joyeuse in retaliation, before Frey's son Black Walder cuts Catelyn's throat.
"The Rains of Castamere" was written by executive producers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, based on George R. R. Martin's original work from his novel A Storm of Swords. The episode adapts content from chapters 41 to 43 and 50 to 53 (Bran III, Jon V, Daenerys IV, Catelyn VI, Arya X, Catelyn VII, and Arya XI).
The episode includes one of the most important plot turns of the series: the betrayal and assassination of the Stark forces during a marriage ceremony in what came to be known as the "Red Wedding". The event culminates in Roose Bolton delivering Jaime Lannister's message from "The Bear and the Maiden Fair", before killing Robb. This tragic turn of events had a profound impact on Benioff and Weiss in their first read of the novels and it was the scene that convinced them to attempt to obtain the rights for a television series.
George R. R. Martin conceived The Red Wedding during the earliest stages of the planning of his saga, when he was envisioning a trilogy with The Red Wedding as one of the climactic events at the end of the first of the three books. Martin was inspired by a couple of events in Scottish history. One of them was the 15th century historical event known as the "Black Dinner", where the Scottish king invited the chieftains of the powerful Clan Douglas to a feast at Edinburgh Castle. A black bull's head, the symbol of death, was served as the last course of the dinner while a single drum was playing in the background, and the Douglases were murdered. Another event from which the author drew inspiration was the 1692 Massacre of Glencoe, where Clan MacDonald hosted the Campbell Clan who killed thirty-eight of their hosts overnight.
Martin has said The Red Wedding was the hardest thing he has ever written. He explained that he always tries to put himself in the skin of his characters when writing from their perspective, and develops bonds with them. He even felt attached to the minor characters killed during the massacre. It was so painful for him that he skipped the chapter and continued writing, and only when the rest of the book was finished, he "forced himself" to come back to the dreaded scene. In 2012, at ComicCon he even joked that "he will visit a country with no television when the episode goes on air".
Martin also said he killed off Robb because he believed the audience would assume that the story was about Ned Stark's heir avenging his death and wished to keep them guessing. Richard Madden suggested Talisa — whose counterpart Jeyne Westerling was not killed in the books — died so Robb's heir could not avenge his death.
"The Rains of Castamere" premiered to 5.22 million viewers and received a 2.8 ratings in adults 18–49. The second airing was viewed by 1.08 million people, bringing total viewership for the night to 6.30 million. In the United Kingdom, the episode was viewed by 1.013 million viewers, making it the highest-rated broadcast that week. It also received 0.112 million timeshift viewers.
The episode was widely praised by critics and cited as one of the best of the series. Rotten Tomatoes, a prominent review aggregator, surveyed 21 reviews of the installment and judged 100% of them to be positive with an average score of 9.9 out of 10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The most unforgettable episode of Game of Thrones thus far, 'The Rains of Castamere' (or as it shall forever be known, 'The Red Wedding') packs a dramatic wallop that feels as exquisitely shocking as it does ultimately inevitable." The majority of the comments were directed at the massacre at the end of the episode, where praise was especially given to Michelle Fairley's performance, leading to the disappointment of many critics when she was not nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards. IGN's Matt Fowler gave the episode a perfect 10/10, calling it "an exquisitely awful event that managed to out-do the unpredictable and horrifying death of Ned Stark back in Season 1". Fowler also said he believed that the episode's depiction of the Red Wedding was more powerful than its depiction in A Song of Ice and Fire.
Writing for The A.V. Club, both David Sims and Todd VanDerWerff gave the episode an "A" grade. Sims (writing for people who have not read the novels) expressed shock at the deaths of several main characters, writing, "I don’t think I’ve really processed what I just watched". VanDerWerff, who reviews the episodes for people who have read the novels, wrote "If [the reader] doesn’t terribly want to deal with the thought of the deaths of Catelyn and Robb, well, he or she can read that much more quickly. Or he or she can read that much more slowly if there’s a need to process the emotions more fully. On TV, you can't really do that." Reviewing for Forbes, Erik Kain called the episode "one of the best episodes of HBO's dark drama yet", and noted "there was a deeper sense of tragedy knowing [Robb] also lost his unborn child". Sean Collins of the Rolling Stone also praised the episode, and commented on the unusual step the show took in ending one of its central conflicts. Sarah Hughes of The Guardian highlighted the decision to kill Talisa, writing that her "heartbreaking end was unbearable".
The episode was also notable for the intense and emotional response it pulled from viewers, many of whom were unaware of what was about to transpire and had their reactions filmed by people who had read the book on which it was based. This led to George R. R. Martin giving his personal analysis of the reactions, which he stated were on par with the responses he received from readers of A Storm of Swords. Madden said that he sobbed "very loudly" on an airplane flight right after filming the scene, and that he and Fairley were "both in tears" when they watched the episode.
Awards and nominations
|2013||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series||David Benioff and D.B. Weiss||Nominated|
|Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards||Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series||Oral Ottey||Nominated|
|Gold Derby TV Awards 2013||Best Drama Episode||Won|
|IGN Awards||Best TV Episode||Nominated|
|IGN People's Choice Awards||Best TV Episode||Nominated|
|2014||American Cinema Editors||Best Edited One-Hour Series For Non-Commercial Television||Oral Norrie Ottey||Nominated|
|Cinema Audio Society Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing - Television Series – One Hour||Ronan Hill, Onnalee Blank, Mathew Waters, and Brett Voss||Won|
|Directors Guild of America Award||Dramatic Series||David Nutter||Nominated|
|Golden Reel Awards||Best Sound Editing — Short Form Dialogue and ADR in Television||Jed Dodge||Won|
|Best Sound Editing — Short Form Music||David Klotz||Won|
|Best Sound Editing — Short Form Sound Effects and Foley||Tim Kimmel||Nominated|
|Hugo Awards||Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form||David Benioff, David Nutter, and D. B. Weiss||Won|
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- Official nominees for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
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Oh, my God, we’ve got to get this. We’ve got to get this show to happen because if we can make this scene work, it’s gonna be one of the greatest things ever on television or film.
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- Collins, Sean (June 3, 2013). "'Game of Thrones' Recap: Red, Red, Red". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 3, 2013.
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- Richard Madden relives the Game of Thrones Red Wedding scene (YouTube). British GQ. 2018-11-29. Event occurs at 0:30.
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