Monday, June 3, 2013

The Idiot Box: Game Of Thrones 3x09 “The Rains Of Castamere” Review

Welcome back to another episode of Game of Thrones, worth the wait after a holiday week, giving us one of the best episodes of the season, or at the very least one of the bloodiest. The title apparently refers to the Lannister victory song, which as I've come to learn is the song played at a very pivotal moment in the episode, though I was not enough of a Thrones nerd to pick up the reference at the time. It definitely fits given the events of the final few minutes, and at the risk of spoiling the thing everyone who cares about this show already knows about anyway, I'll tread lightly and leave it at that for now.

The episode is mostly pre-occupied with Robb Stark consolidating his forces in anticipation of his planned raid on the Lannister's hometown by attending the arranged marriage of that smarmy Tully archer guy and what turns out to be the only attractive daughter of Walder Frey. Frey, who you might remember as the janitor from the Harry Potter movies, is the guy with all the daughters who Robb betrayed by marrying for love at the end of last season (not to be confused with Craster, the slightly creepier old guy with many daughters killed earlier this season). As Robb begs his forgiveness, the old coot wastes little time rubbing it in his face as only a creepy lecherous bastard can or would.

Do I even have to say how awesome the ending was, or at this point, post Internet explosion, is even articulating this point sort of redundant? If you'd read the books or had it spoiled for you by someone who had like I did, perhaps it wasn't as impactful as it almost certainly was for those flying in completely blind. If you still haven't seen it, stop reading this and go watch it in whatever way you watch next day shows right now and then come back. You done? Good. I don't even need to go into spoilery specifics and I won't just in case, but its the most powerful final scene since “And Now His Watch Is Ended” and very reminiscent of the famous penultimate episode of season one. My only issue is that I happen to know of one element of this scene from the books that was not depicted and that I very much wanted to see, and I'm left to wonder if this will be cut altogether, or brought back in next week's finale to extend the moment a bit more.

The rest of the episode, otherwise known as all that stuff nobody even remembers because the last five minutes was so insane, mostly follows Daenerys' continued success in abolishing slavery all over the world to conscript them into her totes awesome girl power army, and an intriguing continuation of the Bran storyline focusing on his new burgeoning powers as a Warg which could have been the entire episode as far as I'm concerned even with the great ending in mind. We also get a few more fun scenes with my new favorite comedy team Arya and The Hound, a plot thread that I have thankfully not been spoiled on, and which is becoming more and more interesting as the weeks go on.

Only one more episode to go before the end of this season, and I think we can tentatively say that this is shaping up to be the best year yet for this show, which has gotten better and better with each passing one. I'm only just noticing now this series' penchant for particularly good second to last episodes that are in many ways even more memorable than the finales. That being said, if I'm right and they're keeping the last bit of the Red Wedding for the next episode, we might beat that trend and actually get something even better. Well that, and I'm pretty sure we might get at least one more good death out of this one, and maybe some zombie action as well if my spoiler memory is correct. Either way, no reason to stop watching now. See you next week. 
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