Game of Thrones: Season 3, Episode 9 – ‘The Rains of Castamere’ Review and Synopsis

King Robb Starks plots to attack Tywin Lannister at his home but needs Walder Frey’s army in order to pull it off successfully. Of course, as the audience will remember, Robb ditched the agreement with Walder in order to pursue his own hot piece. In order to secure Walder’s cooperation, Edmure Tully, Robb’s uncle, will have to marry one of Walder’s daughters in Robb’s place.

Please Note: Spoilers ahead.

Robb explains to Walder’s daughters that he did not reject them out of disrespect for them or their house, but rather out of love for another.

“Very good. There she is. Come closer. Let me have a look at you. Still can’t see you… old eyes. My, that’s what the Starks of Winterfell coronate. Very honorable. I call it a very pretty face. Prettier than this lot, that’s for sure.”

Walder Frey

Walder then proceeds to humiliate Robb and his lady in front of his audience.

“Your King says he betrayed me for love. I say he betrayed me for firm tits and a tight fit. … I can’t say I blame him. I can respect that. When I was that age, I would have broken fifty oaths to get into that without a second thought.”

So things will probably proceed downhill from here, right? Although Walder seems hospitable, one can’t help but find him wretched. Trusting him is a mistake only desperate people would make.

Daenerys’ new man Daario and Barristan Selmy debate strategy for invading Yunkai which is complicated by the persistent reminder that no one trusts Daario.

Arya and the Hound are traveling to the Twins for Edmure’s wedding. The Hound hopes to ransom Arya back to Catelyn Stark and Robb.

Osha and Bran are traveling north to the Wall to find Jon, while Jon is running with the wildlings who are plotting to sack Castle Black. Hodor almost reveals their location to the invading wildlings because he is scared by the thunderstorm raging outside their tower shelter. The wildling warg hears Hodor’s shouts but the others ignore him when he points out that he heard someone inside the tower. The others are too focused on executing the horse breeder they stumbled upon after crossing over the wall. The wildling warg insists on Jon Snow doing the deed, which only leads to a moral dilemma and we know how well Jon Snow deals with those.

It all descends into chaos when Jon can’t go through with killing the old guy and Bran takes over one of the direwolves in order to help Jon fend off the wildlings and save Jon Snow’s life.

Edmure’s wedding is expectedly solemn. What is unexpected is how beautiful the bride is that Walder Frey selected for him. Perhaps fearing he would receive one of Walder’s less attractive daughters, Edmure is of course thrilled and it is nonetheless interesting to see what Robb Stark would have been tied to had he gone through with promise to Lord Frey.

Bran decides to split the group up and he, Jojen Reed, and Hodor will head north beyond the Wall to find out more about his unique ability to take over anyone’s mind. Osha and Rickon leave with Rickon’s wolf Shaggy Dog in the middle of the night.

Back to the wedding, everything seems to be going well – especially for Lord Edmure who couldn’t be happier with his beautiful wife. Catelyn Stark discovers during the course of wedding dinner conversation that Roose Bolton’s wife is a Frey daughter, introducing the notion that Lord Bolton’s loyalties are divided and thus he may not be quite the Stark man once believed.

“I don’t know. But if it’s a boy I know what we should name him. … Eddard. Don’t you want to teach little Ned Stark how to ride horses?”

There are scenes in a show or a movie that one tends to remember. The scene following Edmure and his wife’s bedding ceremony is one of those scenes. While the scene of Daenerys’ sacking of Astapor earlier in the season was one of triumph and excitement, this scene is gut-wrenchingly horrible and terribly consequential for the direction of the show’s plot.

Lord Frey betrays Robb Stark by having Robb’s young wife murdered before his very eyes, his bannermens’ throats cut open, and then Robb himself is lastly finished off by Roose Bolton, who tells him that the Lannisters send their regards. In a final but failed plea for her son’s life, Catelyn tries to hostage Lord Frey’s young wife but instead cuts her throat when Walder tells her he can get another wife.

In one swift scene the show loses the Starks as a fighting force, the North’s cause collapses, and it seems as though Joffrey’s claim to the crown is secure from all but Stannis Baratheon. In a world where Stannis and Melisandre all the sudden become the only ‘good guys’ so to speak, can we really hope for Stannis’ cold justice? Or will Daenerys’ cause fill the void that will be left by the Starks’ defeat.