Game Of Thrones: Season 3 Episode 9 “Rains Of Castamere” Review


Winter is here and it’s a nice day for a red wedding! Only read this article after watching HBO’s Game Of Thrones Season 3 Episode 9 titled ‘The Rains of Castamere’.

Continue reading ‘The Rains of Castamere’ review and recap … final warning, major spoilers ahead.

OMG! My heart is racing after watching the best episode of the season. The sh*t went down this episode. What a horrific massacre! If you have not read the books, let me know if you are in shock, in disbelief or maybe shed a tear?

Where do I even begin? Firstly, I’d had some issues with Robb’s relationship with Talisa in Season 2 but I’ve come around, in particular the last couple of episodes which showed off their undeniable chemistry. For some fans, their love may be overly sappy, but it only served to heightened the tragedy of the Red Wedding. Talisa didn’t get her throat cut. She was stabbed repeatedly in the womb shortly after naming her unborn baby ‘Little Ned Stark’ if it’s a boy. That’s just pouring salt on the wounds, well played Game Of Thrones producers.

Michelle Fairley did a fantastic job in this episode. It’s incredibly gut wrenching as Catelyn begged for her son’s life, watched Robb get stabbed to death and slit Walder Frey’s wife throat. Frozen in shock, Catelyn stares without blinking at what went down which adds to the horror when her own throat gushes with blood.

Another thing that I did not expect was to get some resolution between Robb and Catelyn at the beginning of the episode. It’s nice that Robb finally acknowledged his mistakes in not taking Cat’s sound advice and asks her opinion if he should sack Casterly Rock. I’ve always thought Cat was a strong underrated female character. She could have stayed hidden underneath the tables and die without a fight but she took the situation into her own hands. Cat also figured out what was about to happen when the musicians started playing ‘The Rains of Castamere’ and discovered Roose was wearing chain mail at a wedding banquet but it was a little too late.

Game Of Thrones Red Wedding Catelyn Stark Dies

One apprehension I had going into ‘The Rains of Castamere’ was that the confrontation with Walder Frey was not set up enough in the previous episode; there was only a brief line about the delay in reaching the Twins would be seen as a slight. However, this episode did not feel rushed to me and greatly benefited from concise story telling. Because we haven’t seen Walder Frey since Season 1, it was great to get a juicy scene where the old man rubs it in when asking Robb to apologize to his daughters and treating Talisa like a piece of eye candy. As he introduces his daughters, Edmure winces at whom might be his future bride which is terrifically amusing.

Focusing on fewer story threads that intersected with each other made this episode stronger, something the producers should consider in Season 4. For the first time all season Bran’ story line had some meaningful development which is a shame it’s taken so long since he’s surrounded by several fascinating characters. After saving Jon as the direwolf and silencing Hodor, Bran proved he can step inside the skin of animals and humans at will, which should make for some exciting adventures beyond the Wall. I wonder if this is the last we’ll see of Rickon, Osha and Shaggydog in a long time?

I don’t have much to say about Jon’s story line other than I would have liked to have seen more of him and Ygritte together. They are one of the best duos on the show. After stabbing Orwell, the look on Jon’s face expresses how dark he’s become; he’s not that innocent young man that took the black in Season 1.

My other favorite duo on the show right now in Arya and the Hound. The exchanges between the two are priceless with Arya picking apart the Hound with her words. Poor Arya, just when she’s about to be reunited with her family all hell breaks loose. She watches Grey Wind get shot with arrows in confined quarters which mirrors what’s happening to Robb inside the dining hall. With no family and home to go back to things aren’t looking good for Arya, as if they ever did. The Hound showed his morality for saving Arya from entering the castle, even while knowing he wouldn’t get a reward from the Starks. Whatever their adventures leads next, it’s going to be great watching these two interact.

As for Dany’s story line, I was surprised to see an extended fight sequence with Grey Worm, Daario and Jorah versus the guards which easily could have been done off screen like a lot of other battles on this show. I was initially a bit skeptical of the casting of Daario but the actor does have a good chemistry with Emilia Clarke. Looks like things are heating up between the two and Jorah’s jealousy might get in the way.


With so much going on in each episode, sometimes I overlook the music. In this episode the music is especially great from the opening scene to the ending. It’s worth rewatching this episode just to appreciate the musical score of Ramin Djawadi. Cutting to the the end credits in complete silence is a smart choice that leaves the viewers with their own thoughts and heightened emotions.

“The Rains Of Castamere” Side Notes

• When the Starks arrive at the Twins they immediately eat bread and salt supplied by the Freys which is a sacred rule. Bread and Salt are a staple of Westerosi culture and courtesy. They are the physical manifestation of the guest-right tradition, whereby anyone who receives such in a castle, inn, or home cannot be harmed while under that roof. [source]

• At the end of the wedding night the ritual of “bedding” occurs. In this ritual, the men carry the bride up to her wedding bed, undressing her along the way and making rude jokes; any maids and mothers in attendance carry the groom up under similar circumstances. [source]

• “The song ‘The Rains of Castamere’ immortalized the destruction of House Reyne by Tywin Lannister. House Reyne was obliterated after they rebelled against their liege lord. By the end of the rebellion, Castamere had been put to the torch and all members of House Reyne executed. The title is thus a play on words, as the “rains” fall over the empty halls of the “Reynes” who have been killed to the last man.”[source]

• “Some wars are won with swords others with quills and ravens“. In scenes with Tyrion, Cersei and Queen of Thorns throughout the season, Tywin is seen writing letters at his desk. Tywin has been plotting the Stark’s demise with House Frey and the Boltons. “The Red Wedding was the direct result of their correspondence, which saw Robb Stark betrayed and murdered along with the vast majority of his host, effectively ending the war with House Lannister the victor”.[source]

• According to author George R.R. Martin, “The Red Wedding is based on a couple real events from Scottish history. One was a case called The Black Dinner. The king of Scotland was fighting the Black Douglas clan. He reached out to make peace. He offered the young Earl of Douglas safe passage. He came to Edinburgh Castle and had a great feast. Then at the end of the feast, [the king’s men] started pounding on a single drum. They brought out a covered plate and put it in front of the Earl and revealed it was the head of a black boar — the symbol of death. And as soon as he saw it, he knew what it meant. They dragged them out and put them to death in the courtyard.

The larger instance was the Glencoe Massacre. Clan MacDonald stayed with the Campbell clan  overnight and the laws of hospitality supposedly applied. But the Campbells arose and started butchering every MacDonald they could get their hands on. No matter how much I make up, there’s stuff in history that’s just as bad, or worse.” [source]

Dialogue To Die For

• Catelyn Stark: “On my honor as a Tully. On my honor as a Stark. Let him go or I’ll CUT your wife’s throat!”

• Walder Frey: “I’ll find another.”

• Roose Bolton: “The Lannisters send their regards.”

• Gilly (confused look): “You know all that from staring at marks on paper? … You’re like a wizard.”

• Arya to the Hound: “Someday I’m gonna put a sword through your eye and out the back of your skull.”

Did this episode meet your expectations? Are you upset that House Stark is destroyed and several major characters died, including Grey Wind, the fiercest direwolf? What do you want to happen in the season finale?

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Posted on June 2, 2013, in Game of Thrones and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. Lil' Ass Kicker

    How weird it is to say that somehow, the direwolfs death scenes may be the saddest ?
    Like Arya, I put Joffrey and Cersei on my “death list” when “Lady” get killed.
    “Grey wind” and Arya looking at each other was tough.

    Brutal ending as well, nothing but the “sound of silence”. As you noted it.

    Loved the character devlopement about Bran and Jon. Poor Ygritte.
    Hodor is priceless. But seriously, what’s the point of that scene ? Is Hodor more like an animal so that Bran can enter his mind ? lol, really ? May the Force be with you “wall-crawler” !

    Personal thought : Roose Bolton and Jorah Mormont both have sick charisma on screen.
    Don’t know Jorah’s actor name but I do hope he’ll get back more screen time, and so Dany.

    Samwell is a great switch I think. Anything he can do or say just blow any tension.
    I though he would pick back his magical cake slice once the walker was gone but.. no.
    He really better should have licked that “Walking Ice Cream” up to the cone and keep the knife for him.

    Have to say I’m not about Robb and Cat’ being written off TV.
    They looked too “disconnected” to me. Like kids not paying attention to anything or anyone around them until they succed to steal back a train toy to another kid. Or Casterly Rock here.

    Loved the newly-wed guy faces. Really funny.

    One last thing. Why does Jorah, Grey Worm (bet this one got his nickname from a dance-off contest) and Daario didn’t called the “Unsullied” to back up ??

    • I felt the queasiest when I read what happened to Grey Wind. Grey Wind looked different from Season 2 and smaller too. Maybe it was because he was locked up in that pen? Speaking of direwolves, I was excited to see Shaggydog, the black one, attacking the Wildings. Summer is cool too.

      Yeah I was thinking the same thing about Hordor. I think his brain is underdeveloped so it’s easier for Bran to take control of him. Jedi mind tricks only work on the weak minded right? haha.

      The show does a great job with casting. Jorah actor is fantastic, plus his voice is so dramatic. Roose Bolton looks evil, with controlled expressions but somehow he has a strong presence on screen.

      The actor that plays Samwell makes everything comedic with his face which is refreshing since most storylines are bleak. I also thought he should have picked up that arrow/knife. I noticed in the “previously on” intro, they showed off the white walker crumbling into ice even though it had nothing to do with this week’s episode. I wonder what flavors of white walker ice cream are available? Haha 😉

      If Robb and Cat worked together and listened to each other they might still be alive. But in Game of Thrones, if you’re not making smart decisions you will die sooner than later.

      The actor that plays Edmure Tully, the new groom, has great funny expressions. I’m glad you noticed that too because I was thinking about that.

      I think Daario, Grey Worm and Jorah weren’t expecting that many guards at the back gate. From what I understand the Unsullied were waiting for the front gate to be open. Maybe Daario could have whistled for back up but it did make for an exiting battle that I didn’t expect. It’s great to hear your thoughts on Game of thrones! 🙂

      • Lil' Ass Kicker

        Yeah, definitely a Jedi thing ! haha.
        I reminded where I saw Iain Glen (Jorah) for the last time :
        He was an Illuminati in first Tomb Raider movie. His was already sick on screen back then.

        I share your tought on the recap of last episode ! Why that shot at that walker ?
        I did not reead any books so I wondered : Is the walker the leader of the whole army ?
        Because he definitely looked like when first introduced on season 2 finale.
        Btw, are we going to be told what the army has become ? (my english may be bad, sorry).

        Edmure Tully ! Thank you hum.. “Sidekick” ? haha. Yeah I loved his expressions.
        I really hope he won’t have a harsh “hangover” after such a “killer” party.
        Oh wait, is Roose Bolton a “Kingslayer” by now ? Jaime must really feel impaired !

        Yeah, I watched the episode again to get a closer look to the Yunkai invasion.
        You are absolutely right. That was the plan. I miss great battle scenes in GOT.
        Fights are greats but more Blackwater-like arcs would be a great addition, and a
        good way to give time to Martin for further development. What do you think ?

        PS : Glad you keep it up with solid reviews until Walking Dead come back this fall.
        I will catch up on Spartacus last season after GOT season 3 ends.

        • All they need are light sabers on GOT. Just joking, that would too silly haha. In an interview, writer George R.R. Martin talked about a trope in sci-fi fantasy is the son avenging the father. Martin subverted people’s expectation by killing off Robb because conventional stories teaches us that Robb should get revenge on his father’s murders. In Star Wars, the son redeemed the father, but can you imagine if Luke died?

          Whenever I watch another show or movie that has a GOT actor I get excited. I was watching Dr. Who, and when Iian Glen came on screen … “ooh I know him, this episode just got even better”.

          I noticed some shows like to put big special effects shots or explosions in the previous episode recaps even if it has no importance to the new episode. It’s probably just to get the attention of viewers. Hey, they spent big money on those shots, so I guess they want to show them off again? haha.

          That’s a very good question about the walkers. From what I know, the white walkers are an ancient mythological race that can raise and command an army of dead. I don’t think it’s explained what exactly they want (besides baby boys). The Wall was built a long time ago to keep them from going South.

          Haha, that’s is one “killer” party. Or maybe we can consider it a divorce? ;). I think Jamie would be happy if Roose was called the Kingslayer instead of him haha.

          One reason the Blackwater arc was effective is because it unified and gave direction to various characters and story lines that was built up over the season. I would love more battles but they are expensive to shoot and GOT only shows them if they are important to the story. **Spoilery tease ** There’s a battle next season that should be promising. Plus an epic fight! When the show catches up to the books, they’ll have to create there own arc, hopefully involving dragons in battle! haha.

          If you like action and bigger fights, I look forward to your thoughts on Spartacus’ last season when you watch it. Yeah, I hope Season 4 of Walking Dead can keep up with the best episodes of Season 3! Thanks so much for discussing my favorite shows with me, always a pleasure :).

  2. Yeah, for some reason the one part I actually covered my eyes for was poor Grey Wind getting killed while locked into that pen (pussies! like to see them try it with him in the open). The whole thing was a heart-breaker…. great review!

    • I was hoping Grey Wind was going to break out of that pen and rip some arms off before dying. Haha. So sad, so cruel. Thanks so much for checking out the review and commenting!

  3. Great recap – Utterly shocked! I’ve only read the first two books so no idea this was coming. I figured Robb would die sometime but didn’t expect it so soon. Grey Wind being shot like that was tragic as well! Agree that the Hound and Arya make a great duo. Neither are afraid to say what’s on thier mind so makes the dynamic work so well. Overall an excellent episode, even though it was brutal, shocking, and sad. Can’t even think of what I want to happen in the season finale since my brain can’t get past this one. Think I’ll have to read the other books now for sure.

    • Great to hear from a fan who hasn’t read book 3 yet. When people think of the series, the Red Wedding is one of the first things that comes to mind. Robb was a tragic figure and the show did a solid job at chronicling his down fall, mistakes and all. Grey Wind sensed what was about to happen, too bad he was locked in the cage.

      I love Arya’s dynamic with so many characters, especially the Hound. That’s so true that they say what’s on their mind and get under each other’s skin where it really hurts.

      Book 3 is a great read. It’s really long and Season 4 will be based on it as well. I’m still pretty shocked and a little numb, even knowing what was going to happen.

  4. Well well well finaly the red wedding has arrived and damn it certainly was red 😀

    Arya and the Hound was my favourite of the film 😀

  5. It sucks to be a Stark. Michelle Farley has been terrific, especially this season. She better get an Emmy nod!

    I’m sure this isn’t the end of Ygritte, but I’ve never liked the character or her raspy voice, so am glad to see Jon leave her. Speaking of Jon, that fight scene with the swords seemed utterly awkward, but it was probably realistic, given the heaviness of the swords, and the incredibly bulky clothing.

    Compare it to Grey Worm, who was extraordinarily elegant. I wonder if the actor, Jacob Anderson, is a dancer. And speaking of actors, the guy who plays Daario, Ed Skrein looks so much better with long hair.

    • I agree Michelle Fairley should get an Emmy nomination. The video for this episode should be sent to the Emmy voters. She showed off an incredible range of emotions. It hard to image she wasn’t the original actress that was chosen in the unaired pilot.

      Yes, I’m pretty sure we’ll see more of Ygritte and the Wildlings. I was so caught up on whether Ygritte was going to join Jon or shoot him with the arrow that I didn’t pay as much attention to the sword fight. Yeah, Longclaw is awkwardly long for Jon to wield.

      I liked when Dany asked for Grey Worm’s advice and he gave a confident opinion, he’s probably not use to that as a former slave. I’m not sure if the actor is a dancer but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s had some training. Daario is not how I pictured him but Dany sure has a big crush on him =P.

  6. Thought it was really well-done. Even knowing what was coming, it was really tough to watch. I think Talisa, the way she died and the whole baby Ned Stark conversation added to how tough it was to watch. Grey Wind getting killed was super rough too.

    Bran’s storyline has been sort of just there this season and I was happy to see him get a really great episode. Things should pick up from here. Also thought the fight scene with Jorah, Daario and Grey Worm was very good. Fight scenes are sort of hit and miss in this series, but I thought this one was great. Seeing Grey Worm fight was the best part of this little battle. He looked really smooth.

    • I read that the director knew he was going to do this episode a year in advance. It was very well thought out and executed. I figured Talisa was going to die too because I can’t imagine the show carrying on with her character without Robb. It would have been weird if she didn’t go to the wedding and we never saw her again.

      Bran was great in this episode. I still want to see his friendship with the Jojen’s developed further which should happen since Osha is out of the picture.

      At first I was thinking fights with “real people” like Hound vs Beric are better than fights with CGI (bears or White Walkers), but then I remembered Jamie vs Brienne could have been better. The bear is actually shot from a real bear but of course it didn’t attack any real people (at least I hope not) :).Because I’m a fan of Spartacus show which has great battles, it takes a great fight to really impress me.

      I like Grey Worm’s uniform and mask. My friend tells me Grey Worm looks really small but I have to remind him eunuchs don’t grow big.

  7. I read the books so expected this. And even then… holy cr*p, being able to see this happen was a bit shocking. The way Robb’s wife died plus the way Grey Wind was killed had me a bit taken aback.

    • It’s become an epic moment in TV history that will be talked about for years to come. I never expected this would reach as many people as it did. Story wise, I knew Talisa would have to die with Robb but it was still shocking to see her repeatedly stabbed in the womb. Thanks so much for commenting and I hope you check out my upcoming GOT write ups coming later this week. 🙂

  1. Pingback: Game of Thrones: Episode 9, Season 3 “The Rains of Castamere” Review (Spoilers. Again) « HORROR BOOM

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