I can already tell that I’m going to have an unpopular opinion. If you’ve been reading my reviews, you know that I’ve not been a fan of Robb’s story arc all season. I’m not terribly fond of the eldest Stark, his wife, or his army. Catelyn has always been in my heart and I love the dire wolves, so I’m grieving a little bit… just not like the rest of you.
That being said, it’s time to break down the fight for the iron throne in We Love TV More’s weekly power rankings! These rankings are based solely on my enjoyment and understanding of the events that took place in “The Rains of Castamere”, not any given character’s viability for the throne. These reviews are unadulterated by the books as I am a television reviewer, not a book reviewer.
1. The Red Wedding
I enjoyed this scene for all of the wrong reasons. Let me be clear: Robb Stark has ranked dead-last in most of my reviews for a reason: whether it’s the casting, the way these scenes are written, or simply my apathy for the actual throne grabbing related to the Starks I won’t ever fully know, but I’ve never really cared about Robb’s plot line and I still don’t. Sure, he’s dead. I still can’t reflect on seasons past and find myself giving any sort of shits. What I liked about this plot? Robb finally died and I don’t have to waste any more screen time on him or his vapid wife.
Actually, there’s a point to be made there. I really don’t like it when women are cast because they are attractive rather than for their acting ability. I feel like I might have cared that Robb, his unborn child, and wife died if Oona Chaplin (Talisa Stark) had any acting ability whatsoever. No, this woman was cast because she had specific physical qualities and nothing more. She was never sympathetic because she could never carry a scene; furthermore, she and Richard Madden (Robb Stark) had absolutely no chemistry as a couple. For this reason I lost my investment in them a long, long time ago.
It’s known that in recent years female characters have had fewer and fewer speaking lines than male characters in film, and that female characters are far more likely to be represented as empty vessels for sex than male characters (also shown nude—fully—with significantly higher frequency compared to their male counterparts). The epitome of this can be seen in the casting of Oona Chaplin as Robb’s wife Talisa. Her character was rushed and represented solely as a symbol of sexual desire. She rarely spoke, and when she did she needed to be taught about the culture she chose to reside in by her male counterpart, thereby losing much of her agency. Talisa Stark is a prime example of what is wrong in the film and television industries. This is precisely why I am not upset that she is gone. I am hoping for a strong, inspiring female character to be left in her stead.
Catelyn Stark, however, was a strong female character; I will mourn the death of the Stark matriarch and her eldest son’s dire wolf. I really liked Catelyn as a character; she always did things the way I’d want her to, she never took “no” for an answer. Michelle Fairly (Catelyn) was a phenomenal actress in this series and her presence will be sorely missed.
2. Arya Stark
I mean, who couldn’t be heart broken with little Arya? It’s mostly a shame that the Hound got her to the wedding in time because I’m sure that learning of her mother’s death would have been much easier than semi-witnessing it (she only saw her mother’s men die, but I’m sure that’s enough to continue with the theme of traumatizing Arya with parental death).
3. Daenerys Targaryen
Sure, she didn’t do much this episode, but her men Daario, Jorah, and Grey Worm all fought a pretty killer battle. I don’t much care for action, but when it comes to fantasy worlds there’s nothing I love more than different fighting styles being put up against one another. It’s always a pleasure to see warriors trying to best their own teammates with knowledge of another form of battle.
4. Bran & Rickon Stark
Still not really caring about Bran or his Warg abilities, but I liked Hodor Hodoring because the thunder was scaring him. I also liked that Bran is doing something useful for a change (inhabiting his wolf on purpose to protect his brother Jon). Finally, Bran gets to progress a little bit as a character by forcefully calming Hodor down, but I still feel like this character’s plot is moving at the pace of a wounded turtle.
As a total shocker to me, though, the youngest Stark actually spoke some lines. You know what’s wrong with television? When a series wants you to care about a character that’s had practically zero lines. No, I give absolutely no fraks about Rickon because I’ve no reason to care for the kid! He runs around and laughs, he eats, and sometimes we see him sleeping. That does not a sympathetic character make! Boo-hoo, you’ve got to leave your old brother and make a run for safety. This is the first time you’ve really spoken, so you’ve got no sympathy from me.
5. Jon Snow
Well, he’s left the Wildlings. I don’t think we saw that going any other way did we? Jon’s a good kid at heart, even if he knows nothing.
Look, I’ve tirelessly poured my soul out regarding my hatred for Ygritte. Her character faces the same dilemma as Talisa: her sole purpose in the series is to desire and serve Jon. She is not a strong female character, although she is a strong female. I’ll say it again: if I knew anything about her aside from her desire for Jon and her heritage as a Wildling—even if it was that she really loved Swiss cheese—I would like her better.
6. Samwell Tarly
He’s a wizard to Gilly because he can read! Haha! That’s what Sam’s always wanted to be, so that’s really cute.
On a serious note, though… This scene was fine, it just didn’t really go anywhere beyond Gilly being happy that she made it to the wall. There’s nothing to talk about here, so I won’t.
While I’m glad that Talisa and Robb are dead I can safely say that I didn’t find this episode to be all that entertaining. Sure, there was an exciting death sequence with lots of terrible fake blood… but that was only 10 minutes of a 54-minute episode. I feel like the other 44 minutes were occasionally entertaining, but mostly that “The Rains of Castamere” was almost entirely a letdown, which is unfortunate for a penultimate episode. The construction of the episode was phenomenal, I will give it that; it was beautiful and all around well crafted. As a cinema geek I can never be dissatisfied with Game of Thrones, but I can sure as hell wish there were more.
Thanks for reading, and as always please feel free to leave a comment for me! I love hearing the opinions of other fans. Note: Please keep your comments related to the TV series only, as this is a television show review. Thank you!