Monday, June 3, 2013

Game of Thrones 3x09 The Rains of Castamere

By Sati. Monday, June 3, 2013 ,
It is here. The dreaded and anticipated Red Wedding has happened and we are left with all our anger and grief. I'd be at loss to think of a sequence that I consider more cruel or more shocking. George R.R. Martin books were filled with prophecies and signs written in a way that as I reached that chapter I still didn't know what will happen. And then everything fell into place.

Before I discuss a sequence that made me so deeply shocked when I read it in the book and so horrified I had nightmares about it, I need to discuss two other storylines that we saw in this episode.
In Queenscrown, Bran and Rickon are hiding, while storm is approaching. Meanwhile, at the same place Jon is gathering with the wildings. There is an old man there and wildings want to kill him so he wouldn't warn the Night's Watch about them approaching. They tell Jon to kill him but he can't and Ygritte shoots the man with the arrow. The wildings want to kill Jon and at the same time Bran is warging into Hodor to make him stop shouting. Then he successfully warges into Summer and Shaggy who help Jon and attack the wildings. Jon kills Orell who before dying warges into an eagle and attacks Jon. He manages to escape, though and Ygritte looks angry and shocked that he abandoned her. The Stark kids were almost reunited here.

But soon after that Bran and Rickon separate - Rickon is going with Osha and Bran will travel with Reeds. It was a touching little scene and it was great to see Rickon finally doing something.
Meanwhile in Yunkai, Jorah, Grey Worm and Daario sneak into city and the battle begins. Daenerys awaits them and then they arrive - Jorah informs her that they won and Daenerys asks about Daario. The look on Jorah's face was horrible - you could actually see his heart breaking. At this point the only thing that can make me root for Dany again is if she flies on Drogon to The Twins and fries Walder Frey.

Arya and The Hound are approaching The Twins for the wedding. Arya is soon to be reunited with her family. On their way Hound wants to kill a traveler but Arya stops him. Then they talk a little and Arya tells him she knows he is afraid of fire. She also tells him one day she will kill him. Then she looks at the Twins again, where her brother and mother are.
At the Twins Robb, Catelyn, Talisa, Edmure and Blackfish are welcomed by Walder Frey, his wife and his many children. They eat bread and salt - sealing the guest right. The guest right is a sacred thing - once you ate the bread and tasted the salt the host can't do any harm to the guests or he will be cursed.

Walder looks at Talisa and makes several gross and perverted remarks but Robb and Catelyn try to act polite and gracious. At the wedding ceremony we finally see Edmure's bride - Roslin. They chose just perfect actress as she looked exactly how Martin described her. She is actually very pretty unlike the other Freys and Edmure is very pleased as Walder Frey and Robb exchange glances.
I really liked how the wedding and part of the reception was so light in tone. Blackfish exchanging looks with Frey women, the happy music, Catelyn looking relaxed. Then...then the horror came.

Catelyn sits next to Roose Bolton and they talk a little. Meanwhile Robb and Talisa talk about their unborn child and Talisa says she wants to name him Eddard, after Robb's father. Well, fuck my life this just made everything so much worse. The two kiss and Catelyn, who is standing next to them, looks very happy seeing her son's happiness...
As Arya is outside the Twins, inside Walder calls for bedding ceremony. Roslin and Edmure are carried away. We shift focus to Catelyn who notices that one of the Freys is locking the door. Then the musicians in the gallery start playing The Rains of Castamere...The look on Catelyn's face was hands down my favorite moment of the episode. It was literally how I imagined that moment to play out.

We see the cage Grey Wind is locked in outside. He is howling and scratching the door, sensing the danger Robb is in. Inside the Twins Walder Frey says that he never gave Robb a wedding gift. One of the Freys approaches smiling and unsuspecting Talisa and stabs her repeatedly in the stomach. The musicians start shooting and the quarrels pierce Robb and one reaches Cat who falls on the floor.
Outside Arya is next to Grey Wind's cage. Suddenly she sees men coming out of Twins and brutally slit the throats of northmen. Then they shoot Grey Wind and horrified Arya sees him die. That was just..heart wrenching.

Inside the slaughter continues as Robb is crawling towards stabbed Talisa and as Freys are slitting the throats of everyone in the room. Robb looks at dead Talisa, at her bloodied body, at his dead unborn child. You could actually see the will to live leave him at this moment. Richard Madden was fantastic here.
The Hound grabs Arya and tells her they are too late. The slaughter continues. Catelyn sees Walder's young wife hiding under the table and grabs her. She holds a knife to her throat and says she will kill her unless they let Robb go. Robb looks at her and says "mother" clearly not wanting to go on. Catelyn is devastated. She yells to Walder that Robb is her son, her first son....

Suddenly Roose Bolton appears and says "The Lannisters send their regards". He stabs Robb and he falls on the floor, dead, next to Talisa. Catelyn lets out devastating scream and slits the girl's throat. Then she is standing there, emotionless, grief-stricken, catatonic. One of the Freys comes from behind her and slits her throat.
There are several changes from the book made in the show, most of which I am fine with. I'd prefer if the whole sequence was done faithfully to the book, but it's not the perfect world, isn't it? One of the alterations was the lack of significant northmen in the sequence. There was no introductions to them in the show, so for TV audience they were all random while when you read the book you were affected by all those men, faithful to Robb, dying in their futile attempts to rescue their king.

Another alteration is obviously Talisa. Since it was said she is pregnant in the show I just knew she will die here and die in such a way. The showrunners had to compensate the emotional impact somehow, since the connection between Grey Wind and Robb was so poorly portrayed. So while Grey Wind still dies, which is horrible, the audience can also be shaken by Robb witnessing his pregnant wife stabbed in the stomach.
In the books one of the most iconic lines is Roose' Jaime Lannister sends his regards', altered here to "The Lannisters send their regards". While the line was fantastic I can certainly understand why it was changed as some of the audience might have incorrectly thought Jaime had a hand in planning the massacre.

Two things which I certainly missed - first one being Jinglebell. He was Walder's grandson who was mentally challenged and because of that he was a fool in The Twins. He had jester costume, with those bells attached to the hat and sleeves. In a number of prophecies it was noted that bells were the saddest sound for it was actually him that Cat dragged out from under the table and swore to kill. I was horrified by all of that. This poor boy, hiding under the table, scared while Cat grabs his hair and holds a knife to his throat after which she starts sawing on it, till she reaches the bone.
In the show it was altered and the point remained just the same - Cat going so desperate, so furious, so horrified she is willing to kill innocent person, though to be perfectly honest it didn't seem like the girl was completely clueless to what was being planned there. She threatens Walder's young wife instead and kills her. I suppose showing mentally challenged person killed in such manner would be were HBO draws the line so I understand the change. But I still missed the bells.

And the final thing I'm sad about - the most gruesome and horrifying image of the very massacre was Cat clawing her own face. When she saw Robb die and killed Jinglebell she started scratching her own face, deep beneath the skin, tearing off flesh. Then she saw the blood run down her arms and she started to laugh. In the final moments when someone grabbed her hair her final thought was "don't cut my hair, Ned loves my hair". She has gone so completely insane that she believed someone was going to cut her hair and she forgot her husband was dead thinking he will be sad about that.

In the show we got catatonic, paralyzed reaction which also worked effectively. But the image of Cat with red and white tears flowing together was so iconic to me, I have to note that I don't understand why at least a part of that wasn't kept here. That said the look on Michelle Fairley's face was haunting. The look of someone who has witnessed something so awful, their soul looks like it just died. Fairley was outstanding here and managed to beat Lena Headey's work in Blackwater as my favorite female performance of the series.

We got nods to the book despite changes - the part where Catelyn sees the chain mail under the shirt and slaps the one wearing it was kept and I was so happy that Cat got to slap Roose Bolton in the series. There are several hugely shocking events in The Storm of Swords and Red Wedding is just the start of them. Unfortunately we will have to wait for the rest until next season when King's Landing will be the stage of many twists and turns.
Red Wedding is still the most devastating of book events. It's not just Stark tragedy - it's the tragedy of the whole North. Most of the important houses had someone there at the Twins, attending the wedding. Each family lost someone. Not only did Robb die, his soldiers, his forces were slaughtered and scattered ending the Northern rebellion. The Young Wolf, Stark hope for justice - dead.

But perhaps the most shocking thing here and the reason for which I thought "they can't possibly kill them" when I was reading the book is the guest right aspect of it all. The Freys slaughtered their guests, under their roof. This is why the whole realm is shocked by Red Wedding. Guest right is something that is absolutely sacred and those who break it bring the wrath of gods upon them.
It's not over. The main architect of Red Wedding is yet to be revealed but I'm fairly certain you can guess who it was (“Some wars are won with swords others with quills and ravens."). Unfortunately for us the most gruesome part of Red Wedding hasn't been shown yet and as that part was filmed I suspect we will see it in the finale.

This Sunday - season finale entitled Mhysa (Mother). I hope I'm correct in my assumptions for what I think will be the final scene of the season. Because we truly need hope.
PREVIOUS RECAPS:

52 comments:

  1. Wonderful recap, as always. "At this point the only thing that can make me root for Dany again is if she flies on Drogon to The Twins and fries Walder Frey." - That made me laugh. Jorah's face killed me! No one gets friend-zoned as hard as he does. I just want them together, damn it! I doubt it will happen, but I can dream, right?

    This is still the most shocking thing in the entire series for me. I also don't think I'll be re-watching this episode soon. Usually, I watch it again the next day, but this will be too hard.

    It's going to be a long week.

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    1. Thank you! Dany is being such a bitch. And for Daario! Seriously, what the hell is that.

      I managed to rewatch it, still fucking devastating. I just hope the final scene will give us hope for lots of dead Freys in season 4.

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  2. Please forgive me for sounding like a broken record, but I love your enthusiasm. There are only a handful of shows I've watched religiously (24, Lost, the Star Treks, just to name some). But you really have raised my interest in this one.

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    1. You really should give it a shot, I like 24 and first 5 seasons of LOST but this show is really addictive.

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  3. Wow! wow! wow! I just finished watching last night's episode and had to come straight here. Not having read the books, I had NO idea about the Red Wedding and sat it total shock. (the credits rolling in silence at the end added to that shock)

    I needed to come here to see your thoughts. Oh my goodness what an episode. So sad and yet amazing to watch at the same time.

    so many moments of disbelief
    1) Ygritte being abandoned
    2) Cat and Robb
    3) Jorah when Daenerys asks about Daario
    4) Arya at The Twins

    I felt for each of them a lil. but esp for Cat and Robb. Thanks for including the info about the differences in the book. Very interesting to read/see.

    oh man, I just can't wait for next week and the promo looks good. We get back to Tyrion!

    Thanks Lady Sati

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    1. Awesome that you weren't spoiled! Can't imagine how shocking it must have been without knowing what will happen.

      The finale will be really awesome, I'm not a big fan of last year's last episode but the upcoming ep will have a lot of great scenes and yes, lots of Tyrion :)

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  4. One of the most graphic scenes in television history. That's what U.S. News and World report said. I agree. You just don't show pregnant women stabbed repeatedly in the womb, caged pets slaughtered and pleading mother's throat slit. Will be up there with the last episode of the "Soprano's" for most talked about. I fear it wont all be positive for HBO. Most viewers, like myself, haven't read the books and are today in shocked disbelief. I know what you're thinking, Get over it! I will. But right now it's hard to swallow. Got a bad taste in my mouth!

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    1. I was completely shocked. It will actually get even more graphic in next episode.

      Book readers felt exact same thing - I sure did when I read that chapter. The added Talisa bit was a shocker to see for everyone, though.

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  5. In a way, I knew what was coming. I accidentally glimpsed at the family tree somewhere and it showed death dates for Robb and Catelyn.. so, the feeling I had yesterday was right and man, I wished I was wrong. I liked Robb, I wasn't very fond of Catelyn though.. I understand why she was the favorite of many and I get that she was a very strong motherly figure, I still think some of her decisions in the books were stupid in a way.

    I feel the most sorry for the wolf though...

    Bran's story is getting better and better with time in the series now, in the books it got interesting in A Clash of Kings. And so many almost Stark reunions.. so sad for Arya! I can just imagine adding Frey into her list and saying valar morghulis in the end, would serve him right!

    PS: Is it me or does Roose Bolton just appear out of nowhere at times? I keep forgetting him, in the books as well, I have to really try hard to remember who he is and who's side he is on.. He is forgettable almost but then he does this!, well I'll be more aware of him from now on!



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    1. Yeah that's the popular opinion about Cat. I adored her from the start though and truth be told if people listened to her in the first place the Starks wouldn't be in such deep shit now.

      Oh, the Grey Wind thing was devastating.

      Poor Arya....I'm just glad she didn't actually see her family die.

      He really does:D He is a master of hiding in plain sight. He is a schemer and a traitor and he knows how to survive.

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    2. I think because I wasn't as emotionally attached to Catelyn and Robb, I wasn't as devastated. Plus, I don't get the people being all like "I'm done with this show!" ... uhm.. if you start to think about it, only three of the oldest Stark family members are dead.. 5 are still alive and in a way, these things will make Jon and Arya and Bran even stronger. I think in a way, if they grow up, loosing their family will have shaped them to who they are.

      Hopefully they grow up.

      Now there are 4 wolves left.. if one is also dead and three survive.. I might start being paranoid about the "three" as it is an important number for Khaleesi.

      Okay, cool because I was really getting paranoid about not being aware who Bolton is. Every time I read his name in the book it takes me about 5 minutes to put a face to him from the series.. so far, he's the only bigger character who I have that problem about.

      *Man I love writing long comments to your GOT posts*

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    3. I think people are devastated because with Robb's death Starks lost army and power and now they are all on the run. But I hope in the end they will win.

      Nah, Ghost and Nymeria are alive :)

      Yeah Boltons are kinda like that, they come from nowhere. It's absolutely the worst family in Westeros though Freys are not far behind them.

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    4. That too.. but I guess I never thought he would win with his army. I don't know.. Rooting for Khaleesi still but then again, she is being silly with Jorah. In the third book he kisses her!!! My god, why would they leave that out of the series. :D

      Good! All the rest of the wolves better live!

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    5. I think they are pushing the kiss to season 4 :) I think it will definitely happen, but yeah Dany is being such a dumbass especially when Daario is even worse in the books.

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  6. Some of these tweets from last night def describe how I felt (thought you'd enjoy the laughs) http://io9.com/the-100-best-tweets-about-last-nights-game-of-thrones-511003444

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    1. Haha, these are awesome! I hope Martin has bodyguards :D

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    2. Arya's response to Ep.09! :) haha

      https://vine.co/v/b3XZMHmxzxh

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  7. You know, I always look forward to your recaps because you explain a lot of stuff that us non-book readers wouldn't know of.

    Oooo the Catelyn thing is very interesting. It would have been certainly very visually striking, but Fairley was amazing nonetheless.

    As I said, I wasn't *that* broken by this because of-
    a) I don't really care about Robb and Talissa. Catelyn was sad but I think I know what is going to happen with her.
    b) After the Doctor Who news, I am more or less invincible to all other television-induced pain.

    I want to know what Arya's fate is going to be now. Poor chick.

    What the fuck is wrong with Jon? Gah I hate him again.

    Dany's an idiot. That ugly pretty boy pisses me off like no other. Poor Jorah.

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    1. Glad I can help! :)

      I think they wanted to avoid distracting her performance with all the make up that they would have to apply to pull this off.

      Arya is actually in good hands, Hound has a soft spot for Stark sisters :)

      Jon decided to warn the crows about the wildings heading in their direction :)

      Yep, she sure is.

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  8. I have to be honest, while I liked this episode I didn't think it was the best that the show has done. I would pick the fourth episode from this season as one that is better, for instance.

    Part of this reaction might be from knowing what was going to happen (I have read all the books), but I had a far stronger reaction to Ned's death in season 1, so that might not be it.

    One thing the episode did a good job of was NOT having scenes where Cat is insisting Robb ensure that they get fed food so that they are under Frey's protection. That was just a red flag for me while reading it. Martin had been harping since the first book that you do not trust Walder Frey and you do not insult Walder Frey. If you do, he will hurt you. Add to this the constant mention of needing this ceremony and I knew then that some bad shit was going to go down, so when it actually did happen I wasn't surprised at all - except that Bolton was in on it, too.

    I was disappointed in how they finally did the warging this episode. In fact, I've been disappointed in this aspect this entire season. I was looking forward to seeing Bran get stronger at doing this - to the point that when he takes over Hodor it's a "holy shit" moment that you can appreciate, at seeing Jon Snow do it with Ghost, at seeing Arya having dreams about being a wolf. (How are they going to do the river scene with recovering you know who without this?) Other than a VERY brief hint that Robb was in sync with his direwolf in season 2 (the attack on the sentries) they have pretty much ignored every Stark except for Bran.

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    1. I just ran across this video and thought you might be interested. Apparently many people who knew what was coming decided to film other people watching it and reacting to it. They've been posting their videos on Youtube, so someone took a bunch of them and edited them together.

      It's mostly women freaking out, but there are a couple of guys in there, too. A few are funny (like the girl who freaks out her dog), but some are sad, too.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=78juOpTM3tE

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    2. I liked 3x04 but for me it places after this one and 3x05.

      I actually wasn't that affected by Ned's death. I watched first season in one day, without knowing the story and the moment they locked him up I had a feeling he won't live long.

      For me it was actually Bolton that was suspicious - I couldn't understand why he didn't just send Jaime back to Robb and kept bending over backwards to make sure he is not blamed for Jaime's maiming.

      I kinda got used to the fact that the whole direwolves element of the story kinda gets lost in the TV series. As for the river thing I think Brotherhood will just find it, which I assume will be the final moment of this season.

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    3. Those reactions are so fun, especially the guy in red shirt:) So great that the episode got such response.

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  9. So I was watching this with the misses and she fell asleep about 15 minutes in. When she awoke she asked me to fill her in on what she missed. "ummm you are going to have to watch that episode. ;-)

    Poor Jorah, that dude is never getting out of the friend zone.

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    1. Oh yes, she definitely has to watch it :)

      At that point the biggest twist in the series would be Jorah getting laid.

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    2. Have you seen the red wedding reaction shot video montage that is on youtube ? So funny

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    3. I did, it was hilarious! That girl with the blanket was hysterical.

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  10. WOW, this one beats the Blackwater episode!! I was reading the tweets in the link that Terrence sent. Wow, the reactions from people are pretty intense. How are YOU handling Robb's brutal demise? Man, I haven't even seen a single episode but from reading your posts, even I feel sad he's gone!!

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    1. People are just shattered. I'm gonna post reaction video on Friday, fucking hilarious. I had to read that chapter twice because I couldn't believe what I read, cannot even imagine what those who saw it on TV without knowing felt.

      It was just terrible but Catelyn was one of my favorite characters so that death was even worse.

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    2. Y'know, from the reaction on Twitter, I got to this interview w/ Martin on why he wrote Red Wedding and apparently he enjoys killing off his fave characters. Man, he's quite a cruel person, ahah. I know my brother reads the books so I might ask him his reaction about this particular chapter.

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    3. I think he intended to kill them from the very start, his favorite character is Tyrion (played by Peter Dinklage) and he is still alive in 5th book :)

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    4. Oh really? Well lucky Mr. Dinklage then, job security, ahah.

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    5. Yeah he even has it in his contract he has to be in a specific number of episodes each season so they are inventing a bunch of scenes for him.

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  11. My mouth stayed opened for about 5 minutes. I think my favorite comment was even the end credits were speechless...

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    1. I loved that the credits were silent. If they ever needed that, it was after that scene...

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  12. I was depressed seeing the ending. It was heartbreaking, I feel like I could slit Lord Fray's throat myself.

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    1. I really hope we will see lots of Freys die soon :/ Such shits!

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  13. Fantastic write up Sati!!! I havent read the books and amazingly managed to avoid the events so remained unspoiled. WOW, was not expecting that. That guy who went for a piss timed it well, I hope that wasn't intentional. I can't believe there are still more shocking parts to come, roll on next week. Then the long 12 months wait :(

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    1. Thank you! Awesome that you weren't spoiled that episode was the biggest shocker so far.

      Haha, no, no he knows nothing. He just went to pee :)

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  14. I watched this last night and, well, I, erm.... I don't know what to say!

    It was truly shocking and I can't wait to see the fallout from this. At the time it felt a little too much at once but that could be me just struggling to process it all!

    Superb write up as always, these posts always help me to think the whole thing through a little more :)

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    1. Oh there is more...:) I think the opening of finale will also take place at the Twins.

      Thank you so much!

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  15. As usual, great work, Margaret. BTW, I've nominated you for the Super Sweet Blogging Award :-)

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  16. "The drums were pounding, pounding, pounding, and her head with them."

    The show and the book were both gruesome, but they got there via different avenues. I somehow managed to use an Ace Ventura scene as a metaphor for my feelings on the episode in my own write-up. I mostly agree with the changes as well though. Does a change in medium ever live up to expectation though (ignore American Psycho as a fluke that surpassed the novel)?

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    1. Well as American Psycho is one of my favorite novels I can't agree about movie surpassing it, though I do enjoy the adaptation :) I can't wait to see what they will put in season's finale.

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    2. Yeah, I actually read your bio after I posted that, which showed American Psycho as one of your favorites. Felt a little silly for the comment for a moment.

      Season endings are so bittersweet. Reflection on a good ride is nice, but the long wait. At least next season will be sooner than waiting for GRRM to write a book.

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    3. Oh, that's cool! I know novel is...acquired taste :) The movie certainly stands on its own very well.

      Oh yes, though Martin said recently he is writing WoW very fast...but I'm not expecting it to come out soon :)

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  17. Just a 99?!? :P Now I wonder what it would take to get a perfect 100 from you.

    This whole episode felt like a sick, sadistic torturing of the Stark family. Arya so close to being with her brother and mother. Bran just missing Jon Snow. And then of course, the wedding. I knew Robb was doomed, but damn, that was a brutal scene. My girlfriend wouldn't stop crying. :D

    I've actually gotten a huge kick out of reading/seeing people's reactions to this episode. Also, this mashup is pretty much the best thing I have ever seen:

    http://badassdigest.com/2013/06/06/the-princess-bride-comments-on-game-of-thrones-red-wedding

    Great recap!

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    1. I think for that they would have to make the whole thing shot by shot as it was in novel - just so haunting and to see it match up with my vision of the scene would push it to 100 :)

      My friend is still crying about Robb....:)

      People's reactions were amazing and quite often - hilarious :)

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  18. The final shot of this episode made me cringe. I'm awfully excited for the finale, Sati!

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    1. Oh the finale will be incredible!!

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