'Game of Thrones' Podcast: The Red Wedding, Revisited

This week's 'Winter Was Here' podcast focuses on season three, episode nine, 'The Rains of Castamere.'
Helen Sloan/HBO

[This story contains spoilers through season seven of HBO's Game of Thrones.]

From the very first frame of the Game of Thrones series premiere, readers of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels were waiting for its arrival: the Red Wedding, the brutal massacre that would destroy an entire storyline in one ferocious fell swoop.

For those who weren't familiar with the source material on which Thrones is based, it must have been hard to imagine how the HBO fantasy series could top the death of Ned Stark (Sean Bean) in season one in terms of shock value. Martin's answer to that same question his readers doubtlessly asked was to kill Ned's wife and oldest son in stunningly violent fashion, along with the vast majority of the Stark loyalists who followed them into war.

It's said that Martin wrote the Red Wedding sequence last when working on "A Storm of Swords," the third book in his series; the deaths of Robb (Richard Madden) and Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) occur halfway into the novel, indicating the truly devastating nature of these losses, even for someone with Martin's narrative bloodlust. For the TV show's version of events, the Red Wedding occurs almost halfway into the two-season adaptation of "A Storm of Swords," told over the course of seasons three and four. Even knowing what's to come as a reader, and even watching the sequence again and again after multiple viewings, witnessing the HBO adaptation of the Red Wedding never gets any easier.

In the latest episode of "Winter Was Here," the Post Show Recaps and Hollywood Reporter rewatch podcast, hosts Rob Cesternino and Josh Wigler crawl through the events of the Red Wedding, piecing together exactly why it's such a disturbing sequence to behold. Listen to their conversation about the monstrous moment in the player below:

Among the Red Wedding's "highlights," if that's how one wishes to describe them:

• The final tender moments between Robb and Talisa (Oona Chaplin), who agree to name their unborn baby after Robb's father;

• Catelyn watching her son's happiness from afar, a slow and reluctant smile creeping upon her own face after so much energy spent resisting their marriage;

• Catelyn's continued interactions with Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) throughout the evening, among the worst final dinner guests one can imagine;

• The first notes of "The Rains of Castamere," the famous Lannister song on which the episode bases its title;

• The first victim: the very pregnant Talisa, stabbed directly in the belly, among the most gruesome moments ever witnessed in Thrones;

• Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) helpless to watch as she reaches the Twins just in time for all the bloodshed, witnessing the death of Greywind, and mercifully knocked out by The Hound (Rory McCann) before getting the chance to see her family members die firsthand;

• Robb Stark's final stand, and his final words: "Mother …"

• Catelyn's final stand, and her final words — or screams, as it were.

Through seven seasons, the Red Wedding remains the most vicious sequence in Game of Thrones lore — but "The Rains of Castamere," on the other hand? It's often remembered as the best episode in the show's history, even landing at number one in our ranking of the Game of Thrones episodes.

 

Upon further review, while the Red Wedding scene itself more than lives up to the hype, the episode itself falls short of the sense of propulsion and cohesiveness found in "Blackwater," season two's penultimate episode. In the future, a re-evaluation of our own Game of Thrones episodes ranking will be in order — but first, let's get through the rest of "Winter Was Here," shall we? 

Make sure you don't miss an episode of "Winter Was Here" by subscribing to the show on iTunes or your podcast catcher of choice. Send in your comments and questions using the podcast's email address got@postshowrecaps.com or our feedback form. Keep checking THR.com/GameofThrones for news, interviews, theories and more.

"Winter Was Here," and so is this handy guide collecting every episode of the podcast:

• Season 1, Episode 1: "Winter Is Coming"
• Season 1, Episode 2: "The Kingsroad"
• Season 1, Episode 3: "Lord Snow"
• Season 1, Episode 4: "Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things"
• Season 1, Episode 5: "The Wolf and the Lion"
• Season 1, Episode 6: "A Golden Crown"
• Season 1, Episode 7: "You Win or You Die"
• Season 1, Episode 8: "The Pointy End"
• Season 1, Episode 9: "Baelor"
• Season 1, Episode 10: "Fire and Blood"
• Season 1 in Review: Feedback and Theories
• Season 2, Episode 1: "The North Remembers"
• Season 2, Episode 2: "The Night Lands"
• Season 2, Episode 3: "What Is Dead May Never Die"
• Season 2, Episode 4: "Garden of Bones"
• Season 2, Episode 5: "The Ghost of Harrenhal"
• Season 2, Episode 6: "The Old Gods and the New"
• Season 2, Episode 7: "A Man Without Honor"
• Season 2, Episode 8: "The Prince of Winterfell"
• Season 2, Episode 9: "Blackwater"
• Season 2, Episode 10: "Valar Morghulis"
• Season 3, Episode 1: "Valar Dohaeris"
• Season 3, Episode 2: "Dark Wings, Dark Words"
• Season 3, Episode 3: "Walk of Punishment"
• Season 3, Episode 4: "And Now His Watch Is Ended"
• Season 3, Episode 5: "Kissed by Fire"
• Season 3, Episode 6: "The Climb"
• Season 3, Episode 7: "The Bear and the Maiden Fair"
Season 3, Episode 8: "Second Sons"
Season 3, Episode 9: "The Rains of Castamere"