Richard Madden, Oona Chaplin

Hello, friends and bannermen. On Sunday, we finally attended the dreaded Red Wedding that we RSVP'd for when Game of Thrones first debuted. Was it all that we dreamed it would be?  How did the episode match up with the books? How did it differ?

This weekly chat series is for fans of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire books, upon which HBO's fantasy drama is based. It's meant to be a safe haven to discuss spoilers and changes from the novels and how they have played out or will play out in the TV series. Hanh Nguyen and Sadie Gennis are longtime fantasy fans of varying levels of geekiness who will sound off on all things Westerosi (and beyond!).

[Warning: If you're a Game of Thrones fan who has stumbled upon this chat and haven't read the books yet, begone! Instead, check out our postmortem of Sunday's episode "The Rains of Castamere" for a spoiler-free discussion.]

Postmortem: Game of Thrones cast spills about the shocking Red Wedding

Hanh: I've got the Red Wedding blues!
Sadie:
I watched the episode with a friend who hasn't read the books and it was so painful, knowing what was to come, to listen to her happily chat about Robb and Cat. I will say, it wasn't nearly as "red" as I expected.
Hanh: I wanted to watch with someone who hadn't read the books, just so I could hear their reactions. Instead, I was yelling and sobbing at the screen every few minutes. No, it wasn't overly bloody, but OMG did they have to stab Talisa so many times in the stomach?!? It was like he was trying to vent his frozen meal before microwaving!
Sadie: That was the only time I screamed out loud. I'm happy in a weird way they did that since it was completely unexpected and so painful to watch.
Hanh: Right, a little extra surprise carnage for the book readers, who assumed she would live.
Sadie: Hopefully, whenever George R.R. Martin releases the sixth book we don't discover Jeyne/Talisa has some larger, important role in the series.
Hanh: That's an interesting point. I always wondered if his future writing would be affected by the series, but I think since he's a consultant, he's probably clued the producers in on who actually has a significant future in the books. My guess is that Jeyne Westerling, since we barely see her later, won't ever do much of significance. But anyway, back to the wedding. Wow, how crass was Walder Frey? He was fantastic.

A message to Game of Thrones haters

Sadie: Ugh, he made my skin crawl every second he was on screen. It was perfect. Especially, that look he gave Robb when Roslin was revealed!
Hanh: Right? He and Edmure will probably get along. That dimwit.
Sadie: My friend and I started cackling and she was like, "Best moment! Nothing is going to top that this episode!" And I thought to myself "well, yes and no..." I did find Robb and Cat's death a little anticlimactic, though. I wanted more chaos! More slaughter!
Hanh: Right? I think it's still my most shocking moment reading the books, but I think TV fans will love Joffrey's wedding even more in a different way. Well, Robb's death was anticlimactic for sure. Roose's drive-by stabbing of him totally was too casual but also obstructed my view. Not that I want Robb Stark's stomach-stabbing and entrails in my dreams tonight. But I actually was kind of horrified with Cat's death since the emotional implications, the screaming, etc. were all there.
Sadie: Robb didn't even put up a fight! It was like without Talisa in the world, he didn't even care to live, which is romantic and all, but not what The King in the North would do.
Hanh: It's funny, Richard Madden did mention that it is kind of a "giving up" point.
Sadie: My favorite part of Cat's death in the books was the way you really saw how far gone she was after Robb's death. The way she described the blood ... it still makes me shudder to think about.
Hanh: Right. I think that HBO or the producers felt that the horror of the deaths was enough without the visual, but maybe in print you need to describe more. But, as we know, Cat's insanity will show up later. When I did Michelle Fairley's interview, I wrote, "Fairley marked the end of her time playing Catelyn" to avoid spoilers that she's coming back. I mean, Lady Stoneheart is totally different from Cat!

Game of Thrones Smackdown: House Stark vs. House Lannister

Sadie: Very true. And when it comes to visuals, I'm glad they saved the main one for another episode. (I'm talking about Robb and Grey Wind's little head swap, of course). I don't think I could have handled all that in such a short amount of time, even knowing it was coming.
Hanh: If they do it ... not sure if they will. I think it was wise for the show to have Arya see for herself that the Stark camp was betrayed and that Grey Wind was murdered, which, BTW, was completely infuriating to me to hear him whimper in death.
Sadie: Even though Talisa's stabbing made my stomach turn, Grey Wind's death was the only thing that made me turn away.
Hanh: I had guessed they'd probably show the Arya plot, but I didn't realize they would show so many others. For the most part, it was fine, but I thought the Dany and Sam plots kind of took away from Red Wedding.
Sadie: I can't believe THIS was the episode they decided to dedicate dialogue to Rickon! He is not worthy!
Hanh: Exactly. Umm, it was such a sore thumb in the episode. Rule: Rickon should not speak more words than Hodor in an episode!
Sadie: I'll start a White House petition. That reminds me though -- Jon and Ygritte! I was getting visibly agitated during their scenes because of the differences.
Hanh: Right. So his betrayal on the show is even more horrifying because she was willing to back him. And he left without her. So now she's devastated. That look on her face killed me! This episode has killed me 20 times over.
Sadie: It broke my heart! Even though she knew he wasn't really a turncloak, she never thought he'd leave her. But the Ygritte and I know and love from the books would have taken that sadness and fought back. I was waiting for that grey-flectched arrow to go flying!
Hanh: Well, I think being stunned stopped her hand for a bit. But who knows what will happen next episode or season? That's one thing I actually wonder: Would the producers ever keep someone significant alive that has died in the books? For what purpose, I wouldn't know, but just an idle thought.
Sadie: Are you hoping Ygritte sticks around and maybe makes it past Castle Black?
Hanh: I just want more scenes with Ygritte. Not sure for what, but yes. Even if she dies later (than expected).
Sadie: Maybe we'll see her and the Wildlings preparing their attack on Castle Black instead of just showing up unexpected.

Game of Thrones: The trouble with Joffrey

Hanh: I think the attack will end in a cliff-hanger for the finale.
Sadie:
Ooh, yeah. That makes the most sense. I just want more Tormund and Ygritte hanging out! At least we'll (hopefully) get more Tormund, if they stick to that plot.
Hanh: Tormund's beard gives me joy. I love the hairy gingers. Speaking of hairy, between Orell (RIP!) and Bran, there was so much warging in this episode! Orell's bird attacking Jon looked so fake though. Very Syfy Saturday movie-worthy.
Sadie: Agreed. And they didn't even make up for it with some realistic wounds! It looks like they just tossed a little food coloring across his face. I am happy to say good riddance to Orell. Westeros is no place for a Pirate of the Caribbean.
Hanh: I felt that the Yunkai overthrow could have waited until the finale. It felt shoehorned in. I mean, I like Daario and all, and seeing Ser Jorah's reaction to Dany's concern for Daario was hilarious. But again, I think it diluted my Red Wedding experience. I think this episode should have just been Stark-centric.
Sadie: I am so with you! Jorah's reaction was priceless, but could have waited until next week. I will say, I'm happy there was no sewer trekking because this episode was sh-- enough without literal waste.
Hanh: LOL! Right. I did appreciate Arya's whole plot, especially the trading of threats between her and The Hound. Of course, he said a line that made me yell at the screen to shut his mouth. "You're very kind. Someday, it'll get you killed." Because, of course, that's the Starks' biggest flaw, being too good. But I think by conking out the old dude again, she showed that she can do what's expedient, but can still be moral.
Sadie: Except in the books, Arya isn't too good!
Hanh: They have kept her hands relatively clean on the show, except for that stable boy. But she did request two deaths specifically from Jaqen.
Sadie: What made me shout during that scene was when The Hound was saying how Arya was afraid because she worried she wasn't going to make it to her family, when in the books she was worried to face her mother after everything she's done.
Hanh: Yeah on the show she's less conflicted about what she has to do. I kind of like that she's unrepentant because it will serve her well in this world.  She's also a little older on the show, so maybe she's not quite as concerned about what mommy will think.
Sadie: I feel like she's much more talk in the show. Yes, she's unrepentant, but mainly about just making threats to kill people. In the books, she doesn't really care too much about who dies even if it's by her hand.
Hanh: Hmm, I actually think she does in the books, especially since we get more internal dialogue from the p.o.v chapters.

Game of Thrones could last seven seasons

Sadie: I feel as though Arya cares more at first, but once she's in the House of Black and White, she's shut off a lot of that guilt. Which is a lot of what the Kindly Man struggles to teach her - to respect death.
Hanh: Well, she's not there yet on the show.
Sadie: I just want to see more progress! Then again, I'm not known for my patience, especially towards Arya since she's one of my favorites.
Hanh: I always did see her journey in Book 3 as kind of transitional. She's a hostage twice, so doesn't have that much personal growth she can do. But I want to bring this back around to the Red Wedding.
Although they've aged up a lot of the child characters, they're still children, and I think it's interesting that you see (like Gilly and Sansa) that Walder Frey's newest wife and even Roslin look really young.
I mean, Roslin is pretty and all, but she reminded me so much of Annasophia Robb on Carrie Diaries that I got the willies when Edmure wed her.
Sadie: I actually always imagined Roslin that young. But I was thrown to see her so happy! And as for Frey's wife, I feel as though making her so young was to give her that innocence of Jinglebell
Hanh: Well, no my point is that HBO made an effort to age up the young characters for our 21st century sensibilities, but they didn't age them up completely apparently. So although there was less bloodshed than I expected, there was that skeezy feeling of pedophilia. Yay, HBO!  As for Jinglebell -- well, I knew they wouldn't have him on the show. Same as cutting out the other fool from Dragonstone who's Shireen's pal.
Sadie: I think the pedophilia aspects were done on purpose to really hammer in the Frey's creep factor to start building tension.
Hanh: Yeah, I know it was on purpose, but I'm just reacting to it. Frey is a total perv. I'm surprised that he didn't go the way of Craster and take Roslin for himself. But he seems like a man bent on strong bloodlines, so I guess incest is a no-no for him, even if it isn't for the Targaryens (and Lannisters).
Sadie: I actually thought the same thing! You know someone's bad when he makes twincest look good, though.
Hanh: LOL yes. And, you know, I guess he's not into rape? I was afraid that after he saw Talisa (Jennifer Love Hewitt , totes) that he would want her too. It was probably more satisfying to watch her get killed.
Sadie: I think the only thing Walder loves more than young girls is killing them, which is disturbing to even type.

Add new summer shows to your watchlist now!

Hanh: Yes. He got murder wood (eww) from the Red Wedding. Oy, so I need to ask. Did you actually cry? I didn't think I would, but I did a little ... possibly fueled by the three glasses of wine I had to fortify myself.
Sadie: I didn't! And I cry in everything (once just because I was THINKING about how hard it was for women in Westeros). But it's not because it didn't hit me hard. Even though I was as mentally prepared as I could be, I was still just in shock. Slack-jawed, gaping eyes, the whole deal. I don't think I blinked for a full minute, which probably dried out any potential tears.
Hanh: Right. Although I don't have too many gripes about the episode, which I really enjoyed, I did want "The Rains of Castamere" to be a bit more prominent when it played. Cat reacting to it and putting it all together in her head was good though. And the silent credits! Genius!
Sadie: Cat was definitely the MVP of the episode. Her realization of the Frey's betrayal was without a doubt my favorite moment.
Hanh: And this is horrible to say, but although I know who Roose Bolton is, I felt he could have used more of a distinctive look (villainous mustache to twirl?) so we marked him each time we saw him. He kind of looks average. But I love that Cat slapped him immediately when she saw his chainmail. She KNEW!
Sadie: I didn't realize it was him until he mentioned Fat Walda! We needed at least one good slap this season and that was definitely it. I wish Robb had just reacted faster!
Hanh: Another question before we wrap this up. Will you watch this scene again soon? I haven't rewatched a lot of Game of Thrones, but I think this was so well done, I want to relive it. Masochist me!  (Aside: OMG West Coast airing is on now. I just saw Talisa get stabbed again!!)
Sadie: Oh, I'm definitely going to rewatch it soon. Not that soon, though! Sheesh. You really are a masochist!
Hanh: Let's see if our readers are!

Check out this "Inside the Episode" and then share your comments below! Game of Thrones' Season 3 finale airs Sunday at 9/8c on HBO.