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Recap / Game of Thrones S3E9: "The Rains of Castamere"

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We start the episode in Robb Stark's Camp, with a close-up of the Stark war map and the pieces at play. All of the Young Wolf's remaining banners have gathered at the Red Fork for Edmure Tully's wedding. Particular emphasis rests on the miniature flayed man of house Bolton... Robb discusses his upcoming attack on Casterly Rock with his mother, and Catelyn inquires why he is deferring to her. He reminds her that when she tried to dissuade him from sending Theon to parley with his father, Balon Greyjoy, he didn't listen and the fallout cost him dearly, with the Ironborn ravaging the Northern freeholds, sacking Winterfell and murdering his younger brothers. He freely asks for her advice. At first glance Catelyn can see that they are on the losing side and that so much depends on "if Walder Frey cooperates" in lending them his military forces. The risks have never been higher... But she tells Robb to "show them [the Lannisters] how it feels to lose what they love."


The Stark army, with Grey Wind ahead, arrives in force at The Twins, where Robb immediately meets with the Late Lord Walder Frey in order to make a formal apology to him. Walder initiates the sacred laws of hospitality by offering his guests bread and salt—symbolically and literally putting himself and those he houses under the inviolable law of guest right. Frey tells the King in the North that he's not the one that Robb needs to direct his apologies to, bringing out his array of daughters and granddaughters to face the King. They... avert Hollywood Homely; the prospective groom has a look of absolute mortification on his face. Robb promptly apologizes to them all for breaking his vow and leaving them to rot with their unsavory old man. After having Talisa presented to him and making a bunch of lewd comments about her note  (much to Robb's displeasure, who has to be restrained from hitting Frey by Cat), Lord Walder pulls his crotchety old ass up from his throne, invites Stark's men to pitch their tents outside the castle, and formally initiates the wedding. "The wine will flow red and the music will play loud!" Finally, a respite for our beleaguered freedom fighters.


Now we go to outside Yunkai where Daenerys is holding a war council. She asks her newest man-servant, Daario, about the location of one of Yunkai's smaller back gates on the map, and he points it out, then walks behind her, and steers her hand to the exact spot with a bit of intimate contact, to long-suffering Jorah's chagrin. He says that it is poorly defended and since the guards know him he will be able to get Jorah and Grey Worm in through there, after which they will make their way through the back-streets, open the main city gates and let the Unsullied pour in. Mormont is understandably suspicious of the double-dealing pretty-boy, but Daario refutes him, saying that, "In my experience, only dishonest people think this way." Before Jorah can ask Daario if he wandered on-set from another fictional universe entirely, Dany asks Grey Worm what he thinks of their newest addition to the team. The captain of her army remains quiet for a moment and then replies that he trusts Daario. Thus, Dany puts the plan into motion. Barristan says that he should go too, being the best swordsman of the four, but Jorah tells him that he is the Queen's Guard, and that he must stay by her side "no matter our pride." Selmy is grudgingly forced to agree.


Within The Haunted Forest, Sam is leading Gilly to one of the abandoned castles along the Wall known as the Night Fort, spouting exposition as he goes. When Gilly asks him how he can possibly know all this, he replies that he read it in a very old book. Gilly marvels at this, and says that Sam is just like a wizard. Sam grins into his chest; he has always wanted to be one.

In The Riverlands, Arya and The Hound come upon a farmer and his broken cart. The Hound dismounts Stranger, tells Arya to wait, helps the man fix his cart, and cleans his clock with a chain-mailed fist. He then moves to kill him, but Arya tries to convinces him otherwise, much to his annoyance. He lectures her on the folly of kindness in a Crapsack World until the unlucky pork trader stirs, so Arya grabs a slab of wood and knocks him cold again, leaving the Hound flabbergasted.

Somewhere in The North, Bran and his party arrive at the same run-down windmill that Ygritte had mistaken for a castle two episodes before. They have a small group discourse, and Jojen remarks that a storm is coming. Cue thunder; all of them agree to stay at the windmill until it passes.

Nearby, Jon and the wildlings arrive near a small farm owned by an old man who breeds horses for the Watch. The wildlings are in favor of killing the septuagenarian but Jon objects, saying that he's no threat. They disagree and run towards the farm, hoping to draw the Watch from Castle Black and take the eight good mounts for themselves. Jon strikes a rock with Longclaw as he is running, alerting the horses, who in turn forewarn the old man with their panicked nickers and neighs. He gets on a horse and rides off; Ygritte tries to shoot him with her bow but Jon distracts his lover with a shout, sending her shot into a tree-trunk instead. The wildlings set off in pursuit.

Back in The Riverlands, Arya and the Hound finally have the Frey's castle crossing in sight, and she is staring at it periodically, seemingly in disbelief. Within a mile of family members for the first time since all the horror began. He taunts her about this, saying that she is afraid of being so close, fearing that it can be taken away from her at any moment. Angered, she, in turn, tells him that she knows about his fear of fire and how he got it. Cruelly, he tells her to try and run off to her mother and brother then, as it's the closest she's been to her kin since "Ilyn Payne snipped your Daddy's neck." Upon his utterance, she promises the Hound that one day... She will drive a sword through his eye and out the back of his skull. Sandor doesn't know whether to be amused or intimidated.

In The North, Bran and company have settled in for the night at the windmill as a storm rages outside. They suddenly hear something from the parapet, which turns out to be the old man on his horse. He is cornered by the wildlings and captured. Hodor grows increasingly agitated by the thunder and starts drawing attention. The party desperately try to calm him down, but to no effect. When Bran's eyes suddenly go white, Hodor settles down, much to everybody's relief and amazement.

Outside, the wildlings bring the old man to Tormund and the rest who have just arrived. They tell Jon to execute him, to prove beyond a doubt that he is one of them. Jon draws his sword, but hesitates during the swing, causing Ygritte to shoot the horse breeder herself. Orell uses this to rile up the wildlings, who surround Jon and Ygritte. Before she can shoot them, Jon knocks her down with his shoulder to prevent her from being attacked by the wildlings and starts fighting them himself. Tormund restrains Ygritte to stop her from getting killed at Jon's side. In the mill, Jojen convinces Bran to possess his direwolf to help Jon. Bran assumes control of Summer, and proceeds to down two wildlings with Shaggydog's help. Jon slays two more of his enemies in quick succession then clashes blades with Orell. After a quick exchange of strikes he slips past the warg's guard and manages to drive Valyrian steel through his heart, but Orell in turn throws the last vestiges of his consciousness into his eagle, which attacks Jon in manic fury, clawing deep gashes into his face with its talons. He drives it off, then jumps on one of the horses and gallops down the highway, leaving Ygritte and Tormund behind. The rage boiling over the red-head's roots tells us that Jon will be in big trouble if his fiery spear-wife catches up with him!

Back at Yunkai, Daario gets Jorah and Grey Worm inside the city with a bit of espionage tactics and slays the imminent men on watch.

Daario: That one was quick. [cleans arakh of fresh blood]
Jorah: There may be others...
Daario: I doubt it, the Yunkish prefer to let their slaves do the fighting for them—

Cue the three being set upon and attacked by a dozen sentries. They engage and slay them all, but are almost immediately surrounded by an even larger contingent. Jorah looks rightly concerned, Grey Worm intense and focused. Daario, being the man that he is, smiles.

At the wedding, Edmure meets his wife, Roslin Frey, who much to his relief and everybody else's surprise, turns out to be quite beautiful. Robb glances over at Walder Frey, who gives a grin as if to say, "My genetic stock surprises even me sometimes!" The vows are exchanged and the two are declared husband and wife.

In the windmill, Bran explains Jojen was right—he can get into Summer's mind and see through his wolf's eyes. Bran tells Rickon that he saw their brother Jon. When Rickon asks him, "Where?" Bran explains that Jon was with the wildlings, with whom he was fighting, but assures him that Jon got away. Osha says that Jon will be back at Castle Black then, but Bran shoots her down as Castle Black may already be under attack and he needs to seek the three-eyed raven. He then tells Osha that he is not asking her to come with him beyond the Wall, as he needs her to take Rickon and Shaggydog to the Umbers, who are loyal to the Starks. Rickon objects, but is eventually convinced by Bran and Osha to agree. The brothers part ways.

Outside Yunkai, Dany is getting nervous waiting for news about the attack. Jorah and Grey Worm show up, breathless and blood-soaked but alive. Mormont (a foolish grin hitched on his face) informs her that the operation went off without a hitch: when the sack commenced all of the remaining slaves threw down their swords, putting her fears to rest. Almost. She asks after Daario, who is not present. Jorah's face falls. The man of the hour then strides in wearing even more blood than his fellow battle brothers. He kneels before his Queen and lays Yunkai's Harpy banner at her feet; claiming that the city is hers.

Finally, at the wedding at The Twins, there is cheer and merriment going around. The bride and groom seem quite besotted with each other—much to Cat's and her uncle Brynden's amusement. Robb and his wife flirt playfully. Lord Frey calls for the bedding ceremony, and the bride and the groom are carried out of the hall to consummate their marriage. The Blackfish excuses himself from the celebrations to relieve himself outside. Robb and Talisa talk about strange foreign customs and her growing pregnancy while Catelyn converses with Roose Bolton about her own marriage night where Ned specifically forbade the bedding to preserve his new wife's modesty. The Lord of the Dreadfort smiles reminiscently at the story.

The doors to the hall are suddenly closed, and the band begins to play "The Rains of Castamere"; Catelyn notices this (her reaction neatly mirroring the audience's) and realizes something is very wrong...

In the courtyard, Robb's direwolf, Grey Wind, has been locked up in a stable and is growing agitated, whining and howling. Sandor arrives with Arya, offering pork from the cart for the wedding feast, but is denied entrance. Arya spies guards running up to the castle. When the Hound turns around, Arya is gone.

In the hall, everybody takes their seats and Lord Frey gets up and begins to congratulate the newlywed Stark couple while saying that he still has a gift to give his new Queen. Catelyn looks to her side towards Roose Bolton, who is uncharacteristically cheerful. She lifts up his sleeve, revealing chain-mail underneath. Realizing what's about to unfold, Catelyn slaps Roose and then calls out to Robb—but it is too late. The musicians on the stage balcony are revealed to be crossbowmen who swap their instruments of joy for weapons of misery. Lothar Frey, who was joking with Talisa just a moment ago, produces a curved dagger from up his sleeve and viciously stabs her repeatedly in the stomach. Shocked and horrified, Robb cannot even react before he is feathered by multiple bolts through the back, chest and legs, knocking him to the floor. The Frey bannermen and disguised sellswords take out hidden shivs and begin butchering all of the drunken Northmen while the musicians cut down any who try to flee from their vantage point on the gallery; Catelyn takes one bolt too, wounding her in the shoulder.

The Red Wedding has begun. As the slaughter continues, the perpetrator of this unforgivable sin sits at the high table and drinks greedily from his silver goblet, reveling in the gory spectacle.

Outside, the same is happening to the Stark bannermen. Arya arrives in the courtyard to witness all of it, and then sees the still-caged Grey Wind get shot full of quarrels. She wanders around in shock, then sees the main door and goes for it in a daze, but is stopped by The Hound, who says it's too late. She breaks his grip and goes for the door again, but he raps her on the head and carries her away.

Within the banquet hall, Robb desperately propels himself on all fours to Talisa, but finds her already cold upon laying his hand on her macerated womb. Frey calls an interval to the massacre so that he may jeer at his bloody and broken King. Catelyn, who has hidden under the tables, eyes Frey's wife who has also taken shelter. She takes her hostage with a steak knife at her gullet and demands the Lord of the Crossing let her son live, swearing that the Starks will forget this atrocity if he does; all the while imploring Robb to "get up and walk out!" Frey sneers at her pleading, using the slight of Robb's broken vow to justify his heinous crime, and proceeds to gloatingly ask her why he would let the primary victim of his orchestrated betrayal escape his clutches. Catelyn tells him that he will let her son go00otherwise she swears on the honour of her Houses she will cut Lady Frey's throat from ear to ear. Walder seemingly considers this—then, with a devilish smirk, he simply jibes that he'll "find another." The broken Young Wolf finds his feet and locks eyes with Catelyn, having accepted his fate, to follow after the death of his father, his wife, and his unborn child.

Robb: Mother...

Bolton suddenly grabs his King roughly, gives him "the Lannisters' regards," and drives a blade through Robb's heart. He falls beside his wife's still form. Upon seeing her first-born son murdered before her eyes, the weeping and hysterical Catelyn gives voice to a long mournful cry of despair, slits Joyeuse's throat—then goes completely silent and empty as a corpse. She doesn't even notice or resist when Black Walder Rivers comes up behind her, cutting her carotid and jugular arteries in one swipe. Crimson gushes. She sighs in relief and drops to the floor.

The credits roll to the sound of silence...

Tropes in this episode include:

  • Absentee Actor: For the first time in the season, no scene takes place at all in King's Landing. This means several actors simply don't show up. It's particularly noticeable in Peter Dinklage's case: this is the first episode he's missed since Season One (this season sometimes strained to give him a scene, to keep up the pretense that he's the lead).
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In a loose sense. In the novel, the music played at Edmure's wedding is described as a loud cacophony, mainly because the musicians are not professionals, but assassins. "The Rains of Castamere" serves primarily as a signal for the men outside to commence the slaughter, and is therefore played as loudly as possible. In the show's version, the music is positively pleasant, even if the title track becomes extremely ominous when it starts playing.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The Freys who kill Catelyn. In the books this was partially a Mercy Kill, as Catelyn goes insane at Robb's death and starts clawing her face. The Freys were intending to keep her hostage but instead kill her. Here, they just kill her after Robb's death.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Several Northmen in Robb's bodyguard, especially the horrible deaths of the Smalljon and Dacey Mormont (decapitated and gutted, respectively). Not to mention Lord Umber himself, who in the book kills two men despite being completely pissed—and having out-drunk all of the Freys is overpowered at the bedding ceremony—while his son overturns a trestle table to protect Robb from the arbalists, all of them are nowhere to be found in the climactic scene. The same happens with some of Walder's family. The death of Wendel Manderly is a blink-and-you-miss moment in which a crossbow bolt impales his mouth.
    • From the Stark side: Greatjon Umber, Patrek Mallister, Ser Marq Piper, Dacey Mormont, Smalljon Umber, Lucas Blackwood, Donnel Locke, Owen Norrey, Robin Flint, Ser Raynald Westerling. Only Ser Wendel Manderly is identified.
    • From the Freys: Merrett Frey, Petyr Frey, Ser Danwell Frey, Ser Ryman Frey, Ser Hosteen Frey, Ser Leslyn Haigh, Ser Whalen Frey, Ser Raymund Frey, Ser Walder Rivers, Ser Garse Goodbrook, Ser Tytos Frey, Ser Benfrey Frey, Aegon Frey "Jinglebell". Only Lothar Frey and Black Walder are identified, and Black Walder is merged with Walder Rivers.
  • Affably Evil:
    • Roose Bolton. He is courteous, polite to ladies, disapproves of the bedding customs prevalent in Westeros and has betrayed Robb to the Lannisters.
    • While viewers know Tormund Giantsbane's not really evil, the old horse-breeder was on the side of the Night's Watch, so he likely considered him to be this.
  • Anyone Can Die: Just in case the fans who have not read the books were not convinced yet.
  • Ascended Extra: Rickon possibly gets more screen-time here than in all the earlier episodes combined.
  • Audible Sharpness: All over the place. Most prominent with Roose Bolton's dagger.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Blackfish exasperatedly comments that "the gods love to reward fools" when he sees how happy Edmure is with the hot and lovely Roslin, but he makes it clear that he really does love him, despite showering him with contempt in nearly every previous scene.
  • Badass Boast: Arya to the Hound, exhibiting Troubling Unchildlike Behavior.
    Arya: Someday, I'm going to put a sword through your eye, and out the back of your skull.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Daario, Jorah, and Grey Worm fend off waves of Yunkish soldiers in back-to-back-to-back formation.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: House Stark, the one group who could claim to be the non-morally ambiguous Heroes of the War of Five Kings, have been utterly destroyed as a fighting force and the North's war for independence has been crushed. As a result, House Lannister, the one group most identified as the villainous side outside of the White Walkers, is now the undisputed power of Westeros.
  • The Beastmaster: Bran can now willingly warg into Summer, surpassing the already uncanny ability of the Starks to command their direwolves. On the other hand there's also Orell and his eagle who both try to kill Jon. Emphasis on try.
  • Blatant Lies: Walder Frey's hospitality speech when Robb and his bannermen arrive. He is almost choking on the words.
  • Call-Back:
    • Gilly, who doesn't know any better, tells Sam that because he knows a lot of things due to his reading habit, he is like a wizard.
    • In his first appearance, Walder Frey dismissed his pledge of vassalage toward House Tully by saying, "I said some words." During the wedding, he sums up his renewed alliance with the Starks as "some words were said."
    • Jorah throws Ser Barristan's "If we are truly her loyal servants..." speech back at him when he wants to come on the raid with Jorah, Grey Worm and Daario.
    • The Hound warns Arya against escaping by telling her to remember what happened the last time a child ran from him.
  • The Cameo: One of the bandmembers at the Red Wedding is Coldplay drummer Will Champion. Which makes his band writing a Filk Song about the episode adequate.... ("You don't mess around with Walder Frey!")
  • Composite Character: Several:
    • Roose Bolton takes the place of Edwyn Frey, whom Catelyn discovers wearing armor beneath his clothing.
    • Joyeuse Erenford takes the place of Aegon Frey, aka Jinglebell, Lord Walder's lackwit grandson and fool, in being taken hostage and killed by Catelyn.
    • Talisa's death is somewhat reminiscent of Dacey Mormont's axe to the stomach.
    • Black Walder takes the place of Raymund Frey in slitting Catelyn's throat.
    • Black Walder is merged with Walder Rivers, becoming Black Walder Rivers.
  • Continuity Porn: Take a good look and you'll notice that several of the minor Freys present in the episode were also present in "Baelor".
  • Cool Old Guy: Subverted. Walder Frey initially comes across as this, what with his willingness to accept Robb's apology and his snarky verbal jabs. Yet even if you pick up on the nasty streak in some of what he is saying, little can prepare you for his demeanour at what follows the bedding ceremony.
  • Crazy Cultural Comparison: Talisa finds the bedding ceremony rather odd.
  • Creepy Child: Arya is going ever further down this line, even before the wedding.
  • Cross-Cultural Kerfluffle: The rather serious mood of this episode is broken a bit for Chilean audiences. In their country, a common ill-willed way to call someone a "faggot" is to state "he likes (to eat) pig's feet". Cue the scene of The Hound eating precisely that, even saying it's the "best part of the animal."
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Jeyne Westerling wasn't at the Red Wedding at the book. Her replacement Talisa is, mostly to give no illusions about a second degree You Killed My Father in later years. Her change in character actually makes a death more likely.note 
    • Joyeuse Frey. In the book, Catelyn kills a mentally-challenged Frey grandson.
  • Deconstructed Trope:
    • Token Evil Teammate with Lord Roose Bolton; turns out that having a person that openly lacks any morals on the side of the hero just gives him the chance to betray his liege and decapitate the Stark house when the leader begins to show signs of weakness and can't win a war on his own.
    • Marry for Love in Robb's case. Walder Frey initially seems receptive of this, or at least the idea of Robb marrying a pretty girl—but it turns out that breaking your proposal alienates a strong political ally and gives said ally ample opportunities to turn on you.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Talisa's death for Robb, and in turn, Robb's death for Catelyn.
  • Died Standing Up: Robb and Catelyn both stay standing for a while after the deathblow is struck. Catelyn evokes this even before her throat's cut; after screaming and killing Walder's wife she stands completely motionless and vacant as a corpse, giving the impression she is already dead when her throat is cut.
  • Dies Wide Open: Talisa. Oona Chaplin apparently found this quite difficult, as she ended up being moved to tears by the scenes around her—and the director had to call cut more than once to tell her to stop crying while she was playing a corpse.
  • Dirty Old Man: Frey makes a lot of rather explicit comments.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Frey's actions are in response to Robb breaking a marriage pact. Killing everyone and committing an unthinkable taboo by breaking Sacred Hospitality law may be just a tad overdoing it.
  • Downer Ending: Robb Stark, his mother, his wife, and all of his bannermen are slaughtered at the wedding feast and the rebellion for the North's independence is put at an end. The only confirmed survivors are Ser Brynden "Blackfish" Tully, who left before the doors were closed, and Edmure Tully, who was taken away for the marriage consummation before the slaughter and is later confirmed to be a captive of the Freys.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Averted: Walder Frey breaks Sacred Hospitality laws, which is considered a massive taboo by all cultures in-universe.
    • Also averted by The Hound, who is about to kill the cart driver for no good reason, until Arya stops him.
    • On the other hand, when Lord Frey begins to act like a stereotypical dirty old man with respect to the bedding ceremony (and remember this is his own daughter's wedding), Roose Bolton looks positively disgusted.
    • When Edmure's new wife Roslin is finally shown, Edmure is awestruck by how beautiful she is, defying the Frey stereotype. Robb glances back at Walder Frey, who gives Robb a look and a shrug, as if to say, "Hey, I may be a prick, but even I'm not that bad." Of course, he is that bad, considering what's going to happen soon after.
    • It's possible that the gatekeeper at the Twins plays it straight. Knowing that a slaughterfest is about to take place, he tells Sandor to leave, perhaps to avoid him and Arya becoming collateral damage (though, had he known who Arya was, things would have played rather differently).
  • Et Tu, Brute?: The King in the North is betrayed and killed by his bannerman Lord Bolton.
  • Evil All Along: Roose Bolton and Walder Frey weren't exactly saints to begin with, but still, the Red Wedding cements them as completely irredeemable bastards.
  • Evil Cripple: "Lame" Lothar Frey viciously stabs Talisa in her pregnant belly, intent on killing her unborn child. He also hired the musicians-assassins.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Grey Wind becomes restless in his kennel just before the slaughter begins.
  • Evil Old Folks: Walder Frey, who drinks wine while watching the massacre in rapture.
  • Face Death with Dignity:
  • Famous Last Words: Robb dies with a calm "Mother"—seemingly giving up on life as Talisa is dead. Despite her earlier speech, Catelyn's actual death comes without a word.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Lothar Frey. One second he's joking with Talisa, the next he's cruelly stabbing her in her pregnant belly.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The Hound discussing Arya's mounting terror that something will snatch her family away from her again sounds like a Breaking Speech, but he's being more truthful than he knows.
    • The episode's first scene shows Robb's plans on his map to assault House Lannister's seat of Casterly Rock supported by the Boltons and newly realigned Freys, their armies represented by map-markers reflecting their Houses' sigils. What's the problem here? The Direwolf map-markers are completely surrounded by the Lion, Flayed Man and Twin Towers map-markers. The Direwolves are facing the Lions and Roses with their backs turned on the Flayed Man and Twin Towers. Also doubles as Harsher in Hindsight.
    • "Show them how it feels to lose what they love."
    • The music of the Stark army's arrival at the Twins.
    • Walder Frey boasting that he can know what's underneath Talisa's robes despite the loose clothing: he's aware she's pregnant.
  • Good Is Not Nice:
    • Arya tries to stop Sandor Clegane from killing the peddler, so he accuses her of being too soft. Just then the peddler starts groaning to his feet, so Arya picks up a piece of wood and knocks him unconscious.
    • Cat tries to use Lord Frey's wife in a Prisoner Exchange; when Frey refuses and Bolton kills her son, Cat slits the girl's throat just as she threatened to do.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Jorah practically bristles whenever Daario gets in the vicinity of Dany.
  • Gut Punch: Quickly gained a well-deserved reputation as one of the biggest Gut Punches ever broadcast on television.
  • Hands-On Approach: Daario showing Dany the location of the gate on her map.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Robb and Catelyn get one when their loved ones die right in front of them.
    • Catelyn's is of particular note. After slitting Frey's wife's throat, she simply stares ahead, completely motionless and empty. Her expression doesn't change even when her own throat is slashed.
  • Hope Spot: The entire wedding is an especially gut-wrenching one, particularly to viewers who've read the books. Robb wins back the Frey army and has enough men to take on Casterly Rock, while thinking about his future child. And then "The Rains of Castamere" plays...
  • Idiot Ball: Several low-key but noticeable cases.
    • The first scene retroactively applies one to the previous episode. Robb waits until after he has rejected the opinions of Edmure Tully, Catelyn, and Talisa, and forced his war effort into a corner, before he realizes that Catelyn's advice has been strong.
    • Tormund makes a point to have the old man killed, so he won't blow their cover, but dismisses Orell when he reports shouting inside the mill; they were in no particular rush and could have sent several men to check out the building—where they'd have discovered Bran and company.
    • Orell, after being dismissed by Tormund, could have warged into the eagle, have it land on the window and confirm definitely that it was indeed shouting that he heard.
    • After putting a sword in him, Jon tells the dying skinchanger he was right to suspect him. Certainly not the smartest thing to do.
    • Robb thinks it's perfectly acceptable to bring Talisa to the wedding—even if he eats Walder Frey's bread and salt, it still gives Frey ample opportunity to insult Robb's queen to her face in front of everybody. (Amusingly, Book!Catelyn saw that coming, and convinced Robb accordingly to leave his wife behind.) It also brings her stomach into close proximity with several knives. Frey even all but points this out, saying if Robb had truly wanted to "keep her safe" he shouldn't have brought her there at all.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: The wildlings demand that Jon Snow kill the horse trader they capture. He can't do it, thus proving where his allegiance lies.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • Talisa is stabbed multiple times in the stomach to make sure her baby is dead. Robb ends up getting several crossbows in the chest before Roose Bolton stabs him through the heart.
    • Jon Snow runs Orell right through with Longclaw.
  • Ironic Echo: "The Lannisters send their regards," meant by Jaime as a cheeky "take this" to Robb Stark, takes on a different meaning when he's stabbed by Bolton as part of a Lannister/Frey/Bolton plot.
  • Kick the Dog: In the midst of the general Moral Event Horizon, certain events stand out: Roose Bolton's first gesture of open pleasure shown in the series being due to Catelyn's dawning realization of their betrayal. Talisa dying not by a cut throat, but by being repeatedly stabbed in her pregnant belly, likely on the direct orders of Walder, since his claim that he can see past the shape-hiding gown suggests he guessed that she was expecting a child. Walder's total indifference to his wife's death: there were various things he could have done that had at least a chance of saving her, but instead he lets her know how meaningless she is to him and that she's about to die.
  • Lured into a Trap: The King in the North, his entourage and a major chunk of his army are wiped out in the Twins when Walder Frey turns the renewal of a marriage alliance into "The Red Wedding".
  • Mama Bear: Catelyn drags Walder's wife to her feet by her hair with one hand and puts a knife to her throat in a desperate and foreseeably futile attempt to give Robb a chance to survive.
  • Meaningful Look: More is said without words than with over the course of Edmure and Roslin's wedding. With just their eyes, Catelyn says to Edmure, “Thanks for going through with this.” Edmure says “Score!” when he gets a glimpse of his unexpectedly lovely young bride and Walder says, “Hah, look at what you missed out on!” to Robb once Roslin is unveiled. And when Walder delivers the speech that will signal the massacre, Catelyn shares a look of fear with a smiling Roose Bolton, who even signals her to look beneath his sleeve.
  • Missed Him by That Much: This could be the name of the episode regarding the Starks. Jon is within shouting distance of Bran and Rickon while Arya reaches Robb and Catelyn just as they're killed.
  • Musical Spoiler: Audience members that have been paying attention and Catelyn (in-universe) knows something is up when "The Rains of Castamere" start playing.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Talisa comments on how good the players are. In the books the players at the Red Wedding were awful because they were actually crossbowmen waiting in a prime position to launch their ambush.
    • Well it's not a gag but Catelyn pleads with Walder Frey to take her as a hostage in exchange for sparing Robb's life. In the book the Freys were actually planning to take her as a hostage.
  • Nasty Party: The wedding feast turns out to be a trap and it ends up a brutal, utterly tragic massacre.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: That epic shot of the Wildlings charging across a field? It's actually just to kill a random innocent bystander.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In addition to Robb's attempts to patch things up with the Freys dooming the entire North, Jon Snow's attempt to talk Tormund out of killing the horse breeder actually gives him an extra reason to do precisely that.
  • Nobody Here but Us Birds: Daario boasts of his prowess at imitating a songbird.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • Daario, Grey Worm and Jorah enter Yunkai, fight the first wave of defenders and... the next time we see them, Yunkai has already fallen.
    • We don't see how the Hound found Arya in all the chaos, but since all the guards he was surrounded by seemed unwilling to let him pass when he asked nicely, along with the Hound no longer wearing the cloak he was using as a disguise, the solution to the problem is easy to guess...
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Lord Tully when he eyes the Frey daughters.
    • Ser Brynden, during the wedding, when he looks at some Frey women and they direct flirty looks back at him.
    • Catelyn's reaction when the band starts playing "The Rains of Castamere," which is the signature song of the Lannisters. Also, her expression when she pushes up Bolton's sleeve to discover chain mail underneath the dress tunic.
    • The Hound when Arya promises that one day she'll stick a knife in his eye. He can tell she's lying about not being afraid; she's clearly not lying about this.
  • One-Man Army: Daario, Jorah and Grey Worm take down over a dozen Yunkai guards (and likely more in an Offscreen Moment of Awesome). Justified given that they're trained soldiers (and Jorah and Daario are highly experienced) who are likely fighting hastily trained city watchmen.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The usually stoic Roose Bolton is in a merry mood and smiling during the entire wedding because he knows that the unwitting Starks and Tullys will be slaughtered and appreciates the Dramatic Irony. Along these lines, he also displays a particularly pleased expression (well, a Psychotic Smirk), when he clues Catelyn in that he is wearing armor under his clothing (and therefore has betrayed Robb).
  • Over-the-Shoulder Carry: After knocking Arya out, Sandor scoops her up and carries her away from the Twins.
  • Pass the Popcorn: A not remotely comic example; Walder's reaction to the massacre of the Starks definitely evokes this, with his slurping wine, eagerly watching every moment with an ecstatic smile on his face and his gesturing his men to hold off just so that he can see if Robb will make it back to his feet, and what he will do next.
  • Percussive Prevention: The Hound raps Arya on the head to keep her from running into the Red Wedding.
  • Person as Verb: Bran tells Hodor to "stop Hodoring," which makes sense given Hodor's use of Pokémon Speak and possession of a Verbal Tic Name.
  • Pet the Dog:
  • Pragmatic Adaptation:
    • In the book, at the sight of her son's death, Catelyn starts to tear her own face to shreds with her bare hands, and cackles maniacally. Her reaction in the TV series works equally well and probably prevented potential Narm.
    • Talisa is killed in the Red Wedding, specifically by repeated stabs in the womb, while her literary equivalent was not present at the event, in order to make sure there is no illusion about a later son of Robb avenging his father and grandfather years down the line. What's more is that Jeyne was a minor character who didn't actually appear until Robb showed up married to her—while Talisa has been a recurring on-screen presence and simply writing her out would be a bit anti-climactic.
    • Before stabbing Robb, Roose Bolton says, "The Lannisters send their regards," instead of the book's "Jaime Lannister sends his regards"—to avoid giving the impression that Jaime was behind the attack while in the process of a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    • When Roose Bolton fatally stabs Robb, he drives the point home with a snide, "The Lannisters send their regards."
    • A during-mortem one-liner comes from Jon Snow to Orell; "You were right the whole time."
  • "Psycho" Strings: Suitably used for the Red Wedding.
  • The Purge: Not only of the Stark family, but of all Stark-Tully bannermen present in the hall and all the Stark-Tully men encamped outside the castle.
  • Ray of Hope Ending: Robb and Catelyn are dead, the Northern forces have been crushed and the Lannisters reign victorious believing all the younger children are gone, Sansa is under their control and House Stark has fallen. ... Yet unbeknownst to them, Arya was actually present the carnage and escaped with a serious thirst for vengeance, Rickon—a whole and healthy Stark male heir—still lives, Bran is in hiding developing gifts the Lannisters can't even imagine, and Jon is gaining influence in the North. The Starks are broken but they're not destroyed.
  • Sacred Hospitality: Defied by Walder Frey with extreme prejudice. Nonetheless, he says that he's giving the Starks the hospitality they deserve.
  • Sarcastic Clapping: Walder Frey to Robb Stark.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The Red Wedding turns the entirety of Robb and Catelyn's story arc into this. Nearly three seasons' worth of intrigue and strife is suddenly rendered utterly pointless by a great deal of death.
  • Silent Credits: A moment of silence to the hundreds that are slaughtered during the Red Wedding.
  • Skyward Scream: Catelyn gives one as Robb is killed.
  • Slashed Throat: Walder Frey's wife Joyeuse. And then Catelyn.
  • So Much for Stealth: Jon deliberately lets his sword clang against a rock as the wildlings are sneaking up on the farm, knowing the unnatural sound will disturb the horses.
  • The Starscream: Two vassal Houses betray the Great Houses they're sworn to simultaneously for the Lannisters. House Frey to House Tully and House Bolton to House Stark.
  • Stunned Silence: Osha's reaction to Rickon's recounting of Old Nan's story about wildlings—that they will make a cup from your skull and make you drink your own blood from it. The Flat "What" is implied.
  • Taking You with Me:
    • A tragic example between Catelyn and Walder Frey's wife Joyeuse. Tragic not only because Joyeuse is an entirely innocent bystander, but because the act is pointless—Frey doesn't care whether she lives or dies anyway.
    • After Orell gets run through with Jon's sword, he uses his dying moment to warg into an eagle in order to attack his killer.
  • Tap on the Head: The old peddler gets smashed unconscious twice (and presumably survived both with no fatal injuries), and Arya likewise gets knocked out by the Hound so he can get her out of the slaughter.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Daario says there's only a few soldiers guarding the gate; then a bunch more charge out of an alley. When our heroes have polished them off and Jorah is commenting sarcastically on this, even more soldiers come running up. Fellas, just keep your mouths shut.
    • Robb says, "We'll lose the war and die the way Father died. Or worse." Catelyn replies, "Show them how it feels to lose what they love."
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Talisa gets stabbed through her womb several times to make sure that she and her unborn child are very, very dead.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: After spending the season being the Northerners' Butt-Monkey and being forced into an arranged political marriage, Edmure finds that his wife-to-be is gorgeous and the two of them hit it off right away. Then see Yank the Dog's Chain.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Desperate to calm down Hodor, whose shouting might get them discovered, Bran wargs into him. This despite having never warged at will before... and doing so into a human, something Jojen Reed confirms no one else can do. Superwarging, perhaps?
  • Visual Pun: Lord Bolton shows Catelyn exactly what he has up his sleeve.
  • The Watson: A minor case, but still counts. In the mill, Bran asks Osha how her party crossed the Wall. Turns out they went around it, crossing the Bay of Seals in a boat—the Night Watch needs to create its own version of the Coast Guard.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Ser Wendel Manderly, the guy with the merman brooch seen during the wedding ceremony behind Robb, Catelyn, and Talisa.
  • We Have Reserves: Walder Frey has no problem with Catelyn using his wife as a hostage because he can always find another one.
  • Wham Episode: Bran learns how to warg into Summer, saving Jon from the Wildlings, who turn on him. He leaves Ygritte behind. Daenerys concocts a successful plan to take Yunkai, which involves one of the biggest fight sequences of this season. And if that wasn't enough, Edmure Tully marries Roslin Frey at the Twins. But the truly shocking moment occurs during the last ten minutes, which many fans call "The Red Wedding": Talisa dies. Grey Wind dies. Robb Stark dies. Catelyn dies. The entire Northern army dies... yeah, it's a big episode. 
  • Wham Line: Wham Music, when the titular song begins to play, you know shit is about to go down. And Walder Frey's line that he'll just find a new wife.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain:
    • Arya is within walking distance of Robb and Catelyn, and her only reward is being witness to the Red Wedding and seeing Robb's direwolf Grey Wind killed. Discussed earlier when the Hound talks about her habit of checking every five minutes that the castle and army are still there, and her growing fear that something will happen to stop her from reuniting with them.
    • Also, soon after Edmure Tully's Throw the Dog a Bone, he spends his wedding night in the dungeons while his family, bannermen, and allies are all slaughtered.
    • Bran and Rickon miss a chance to hook up with their brother Jon Snow. And now they're also splitting up.

"The Lannisters send their regards."


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