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“The Rains of Castamere”: an LG&M Game of Thrones podcast with Steven Attewell and SEK

[ 90 ] June 5, 2013 |

I’m not sure what to say that hasn’t been said — actually I am, and will, in an upcoming post (or posts) comparing Tyrion’s wedding to the one in this episode. So here’s Steven Attewell and I discussing “The Rains of Castamere.” Enjoy?

You can listen to the above podcast here.

Our very civilized discussion of the premiere (S03E01).

Fancy-talking about “Dark Wings, Dark Words” (S03E02).

Here we are blathering on about “Walk of Punishment” (S03E03).

Don’t watch — because you can’t — us discuss “And Now His Watch Has Ended” (S03E04).

The rudely interrupted first half of our discussion of “Kissed by Fire” (S03E05).

The second half of our discussion of religion in “Kissed by Fire” (S03E05).

In which we discuss “The Climb” sans spoilers (S03E06).

“The Climb” with spoilers (S03E06).

“Second Sons.” We has them (S03E08).

Belatedly, “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” (S03E07).

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  1. joe from Lowell says:

    I thought the producers did a great job in “The Blackwater” of making a small number of people look like a huge army.

    This season, though, they aren’t doing so well. Big, grand scenes in the book look small and shabby. The Red Wedding looked like it would fit into the basement of a Legion Hall, instead of the big room. The purchase of the Unsullied army looked like it took place in a courtyard.

  2. “I thought the producers did a great job in “The Blackwater” of making a small number of people look like a huge army.”

    I haven’t noticed much of a difference between that and this season. The naval parts of Blackwater looked much better than the land parts, especially near the end where it looked like about two dozen guys fighting on about a fifty-foot strip of sand all shot from one side. Overall the show looks great, of course, but the days of casts of thousands are long in the past.

    • joe from Lowell says:

      I thought that the way they shot those land scenes made the few dozen people fighting look like only a small part of a larger landscape, at least during initial viewing. I remember noticing the second or third time I watched the episode that, hey, there are actually not that many people shown at any one time. That was something I picked up on only on repeated viewings, whereas I noticed how small the cast was the very first time around when watching this season’s episodes.

      Maybe it’s the walls. The battle scenes were outdoors, so when you saw people filling up the shot from one end of the screen to the other, in a group with people behind people, your mind extends what you are seeing out of the shot. The Red Wedding scene was in a room, and the Unsullied scene in a courtyard with stone walls, so you know that the people you are seeing are all that is there.

      Overall the show looks great, of course, but the days of casts of thousands are long in the past.

      It does look great. It’s simply a gorgeous show. They do such an awesome job with the CGI dragons, for instance, that the lack of CGI battle scenes like in Braveheart, and the reliance on crowd boosting camera tricks, stands out to me.

  3. Sly says:

    Sam telling Gilly about the Wall was a clever recollection of this scene from S1. You’re a Wizard, Samwell!

    As for the sudden but inevitable betrayal of the Starks by the Freys and Roose Bolton, I think its fair to say that Talisa’s substitution for Jeyne Westerling in the series as a whole serves the purpose of placing the book-reading audience at the same level as non-readers during both the immediate lead-in to the Red Wedding and the event itself. In the books, Robb Stark’s wife is not present and her family was actively plotting with the Lannisters (i.e. she never gets pregnant because her mother is giving her “potions” to prevent it). And after the wedding, Jeyne sort of disappears off the radar after she’s sent back to her father.

    Putting a different character in her place (who serves the same narrative purpose in the context of the War of Five Kings) and then having that character murdered first and in arguably the most brutal way levels the playing field, in terms of the shock and outrage that the scene in meant to elicit. The book readers have known Robb and Catelyn were going to be killed this way all along, but there’s been loads of speculation about how Talisa will shape events both during and after the Wedding (I think its fair to say that the leading theory was that she was a spy for the Lannisters).

    Of course, now the book audience has pretty much been told that they should expect nothing more from Jeyne Westerling, and that speculation that she might have gotten pregnant despite the drugs is out the window.

    Other than that, I was actually half-expecting them to put Ramsay at the wedding as a formal introduction for the TV-only audience.

    • Auguste says:

      …Hasn’t Ramsay already been introduced? Kind of? Or am I missing something?

      • Darek says:

        I don’t think the non-reading audience has heard his name yet, so to show him at the wedding with his old man could have been a sly way of connecting Theon’s tormentor with Bolton’s bastard.

        • His name hasn’t been spoken, but once it is, people are going to kick themselves given the frequent repetition of the House Bolton sigil in his scenes.

          • joel hanes says:

            And what a sigil it is.

            The Flayed Man

            House words: “Our blades are sharp”

            Seat: The Dreadfort

            Brrr. Boltons are repellent,
            worse than iron men.

            And yet, they’re major bannermen of the North. I do not envy their smallfolk.

            How did the Boltons ascend to the ranks of the landed gentry, does anyone know?

            • The Boltons got to be one of the most powerful Houses in the North by being completely damn ruthless. They were independent of the Starks for 5,000 years – they warred against the Starks, sometimes losing, sometimes winning. At times, they’ve skinned Starks alive and kept their skins in the Dreadfort.

              300 years after the Kings of Winter finally beat them into submission, they rose up in rebellion, even got the Greystarks (a cadet branch of the Starks who occupied the territory that the Manderlys now hold) to join them. The Starks had to besiege the Dreadfort for four years, in winter no less, to get them to give in.

              • witless chum says:

                Roose is probably not too much worse than the average lord, given that he believes it’s a bad idea to make your smallfolk hate you too much, but that’s in the context of a world where it really, really sucks to be a peasant and it’s exponentially worse in wartime.

                He does utter this sentence to his bastard (whose been mentioned in the show, Season 2 Roose says to Robb that he’s sent his bastard to retake Winterfell from Theon):
                “Don’t make me rue the day I raped your mother.”

      • Sly says:

        Not formally. He’s listed in the show credits as Ramsay Snow, but his name hasn’t been spoken.

        I just pictured him sitting next to Roose, being all polite and deferential to Catelyn and Robb. “Sorry, your grace, we haven’t tracked down Theon Greyjoy yet, but rest assured my men are on his trail.”

        Just to begin to answer the question of “What kind of person does this to a prisoner?”

        “Oh… that guy’s son.”

      • He hasn’t been named yet, but I think he will be in episode 10, at which point the show-only audience will start to put things together going back to S2E10.

    • Darek says:

      I think its fair to say that Talisa’s substitution for Jeyne Westerling in the series as a whole serves the purpose of placing the book-reading audience at the same level as non-readers during both the immediate lead-in to the Red Wedding and the event itself.

      I had the same thought after watching the episode. What’s done to Talisa was both surprising and upsetting to me, much more so than what’s done to Catelyn (having of course known ahead of time what would happen to her).

      • Andrew says:

        Michelle Fairley did an amazing job making it look like she died the moment Robb did before her killer ever entered the frame.

        Re: faces
        They probably made her face seem wider by shooting her from 3/4 profile. Does it hold up in the direct shots, too? Arya’s face is narrowed by framing it with her hair.

    • Hogan says:

      sudden but inevitable betrayal

      Wash RIP

    • joe from Lowell says:

      I think its fair to say that Talisa’s substitution for Jeyne Westerling in the series as a whole serves the purpose of placing the book-reading audience at the same level as non-readers

      As someone who’s read the books, I find that the changes made for the show help avoid the problem of predictability. I’m glad they don’t adhere 100% to the story.

      • Barry Freed says:

        Agreed, and what changes have been made are almost always for the better. Narrative economy has a lot to do with it of course.

        One change I thought was not for the better was by dropping the chain across Blackwater Bay in the battle of Blackwater. I like the echo of ancient Constantinople and it also takes away a major feather in Tyrion’s cap. (They also make the wildfire thing Cersei’s idea as well which was another major change IIRC and this serves to make Tyrion’s cleverness merely one of verbal banter rather than having him being a clever student of strategy and tactics.)

  4. rw970 says:

    So does the fact that Robb’s Last Will and Testament hasn’t been discussed mean that the contents thereof are not really relevant, or is this going to be magically revealed later a la the Tower of Joy?

  5. Tom M says:

    Congrats on this episode’s podcast. I think you made the point that no other discussion I have heard did I.e. that as the audience we Should be horrified by what occurs at the wedding and the wailing and gnashing of teeth exhibited on the you tube mash ups of non bookies reacting by cancelling their HBO subscriptions is wholly misguided.
    I will also note that some other reactions on Tumblr also seemed to forget there is another episode and that the aftermath of the RW is still to come. Sew, Steven may yet be correct.

    • Thanks! Yeah, I have to say, I’m more curious about Ep. 10 than I was about Ep. 9 because I’ve got no idea what they’re going to have in that episode for the most part whereas I knew what was going on with the RW.

      • rw970 says:

        It would be awesome if they go straight to PW. Won’t happen obviously.

      • Darek says:

        Ep. 10 is titled Mhysa, Ghiscari for mother, so I figure beyond the general repercussions from the Red Wedding the episode will be Daenerys heavy. She got her city, now she’ll need to sort out the tension between the slaves and their former masters.

        • Sly says:

          I’m thinking that the title is along the lines of “Second Sons,” it references both a specific scene and the theme of the entire episode at the same time. The Second Sons of that episode were more than just the mercenary army; every scene focused on a second son of one kind or another.

          So who are the mothers of GoT and what happens to them immediately after the events of the previous episode? That’s the finale.

        • witless chum says:

          I’m not sure how they’re going to play that. In the books, she doesn’t take Yunkai, she just threatens them into freeing their slaves. I tend to the think the show won’t want to get into the various plots with her trying to rule Meereen until next season, to avoid Danerys sitting still for any longer than necessayr. I also wonder when we’re going to get Barristan outing Jorah.

          Re: Myhsa
          The only other mother really involved in things at this point is Cersei and it looks like in the preview Jaime might be back in King’s Landing. In the book, he’s not back until after the PW. Selyse Baratheon might be involved and Melisandre is a mother of sorts. We also haven’t seen the series’ mother of the year, Lysa Arryn since season 1, but there’s supposedly an Eyrie scene this season that Martin wrote for his episode, but was moved.

          The title makes me think even more than I already did that the season’s gonna end with us meeting the character who goes on to lead the Brotherhood in Books 4 and 5.

  6. Meredith says:

    Hey Steve, love your shout out to the Feminist Frequency series on YouTube! Show it in my class all the time. Also, enjoyed the cat ending.

  7. Kineslaw says:

    I thought it was an interesting choice to illustrate the breaking of the Westerosi taboo of killing guests with the breaking of a modern taboo – showing a close-up of a pregnant woman getting stabbed in the stomach.

  8. Thers says:

    What’s with all the spoilers! Some of us were DVRing this to watch at Christmas. You swine.

  9. Joseph Nobles says:

    I have had a different shot in mind for the opening of the last episode. It was at the Twins, but it was an underwater shot. However, I now think the best place to start is on Sansa right after Tyrion has told her.

    • Nah…I think you need to show the thing I mentioned, just to twist that knife.

      I think that shot is the last shot of the episode.

      • Joseph Nobles says:

        If the last shot of the episode is not Tyrion with a “Oh, SHIIIIIIIII” look on his face, there may not be a fourth season. I know it’s already greenlit. I think too many will check out if we aren’t that far. (And yet again, I don’t see how they can get there without moving very, very quickly. Which they did do back during the Tyrell intrigue to nab Sansa…)

        I do agree that your shot will be in there. It’s the Freys’ alibi, so to speak. But it may be too much salt in the wound to be the opening. My friend thinks they won’t show it, either. They had a big chance to foreshadow it at the end of last season and they passed. So who knows? We will Sunday night. :D

        • Mario Trost says:

          Have to go to work, no time right now to watch the podcast, so could someone please tell me what shot/alibi you are talking about?

        • They avoided the foreshadowing because it would be too obvious, given the visual nature of the medium.

          • Joseph Nobles says:

            Nah, not if they had animated it, which is what I wanted (sort of a Shining feel). But they completely changed Dany’s experience in the tower – at least, I don’t remember any vision-like things happening. Well, other than a nice chat with the dragon daddy. :D

            • The problem with prophecies on tv is either they’re too vague or too specific – in this case, if you show a dead king with a wolf’s head, people are going to know it’s Robb from the hop. Even if they change the armor and clothing so it doesn’t match Robb, there’s a total lack of viable alternatives it could be.

              • rw970 says:

                Not sure. It’s not like the dreams are so easy to interpret. Jojen dreamed that Bran and Rickon were killed by Theon. It didn’t turn out that way, exactly. Maybe the Wolf King is Ned? Or Rickard? Or some future Stark.

                I think if dreams were done right, it could be fun, with newbies trying to decipher the meaning of the dreams, much as the reader try to do now with the text.

                • Ned’s already dead by that point, and the show watchers don’t really know who Rickard is.

                  You show Wolf-King, they only know one person.

                  And I disagree. Readers with text have it in front of them to refer back to, not so doable with tv. I think you’d get either one of two things – either they get so into the prophecies that a Lost syndrome kicks in where it becomes the only thing people care about, or they just don’t get it and get annoyed by it.

        • Sly says:

          The last episode of every previous season primarily served to introduce the audience to some main narrative arcs of the next season.

          The first season ended with Robb being declared King in the North, Joffrey showing Sansa her father’s head, the Night’s Watch setting out to investigate the wights and what happened to Ben Stark, Arya dressed as a boy and setting out for the Wall, and the final death of Drogo and the birth of the dragons.

          The second season ended with Tyrion disfigured and replaced by Tywin, Joffrey agreeing to marry Margaery, Stannis licking his wounds at Dragonstone, Robb marrying Talisa, Bran and Rickon leaving Winterfell, Jon Snow killing Qhorin Halfhand in order to infiltrate the Wildling army and meet Mance Rayder, Danaerys locking Xaro in his own vault and leaving Qarth, and Sam being the first person in millennia to see a White Walker and live to tell the tale.

          When thinking about all the narrative arcs that season 4 will cover, the PW doesn’t really “fit” as an introduction. That’s more of an early part of the next season.

          Personally, I think the last shot of the season finale is someone’s eyes opening. It’s a scene that’s not in the books – it’s only retold later in a Feast of Crows – but it’s the same kind of “Oh shit, I can’t wait for the next season” moment that seeing dragons was for the first season and seeing White Walkers was for the second; it helps close one chapter and opens an entirely new one.

          • I agree about the last shot.

            I initially disagreed about the PW – it definitely sets up Tyrion, Tywin, Cersei, Sansa’s arcs for the next season, but I don’t see it happening this season now.

            • Joseph Nobles says:

              As nice as that thought for the last shot would be, and I do hope we see it at some point, I think it would set a bad expectation for season 4, as in, we are going to see a lot of this. I think the way the book does that reveal is the best way to do it, and that should come next season.

              There’s a shot of Yara in the finale preview, so I’m holding out hope that we somehow get the 2-3 punch all in the last episode. But the showrunners aren’t asking my opinion about jack, so I don’t know nothing.

              • Sly says:

                Look at it like Theon’s torture; something readers only find out about after the fact, but that was actually seen in the series.

                And there’s enough room in what remains of ACoK to fit it in; one story arc is basically over, and there are a number of arcs that are going to be fused together based on the geographic movement of certain characters.

                • Joseph Nobles says:

                  Well, there’s another problem. I can’t see any reason why we were watching Theon’s torture other than to give Alfie Allen something to do. It was the most gratuitous part of this season. If we’re going to do the same thing here in the fourth season (see what was only implied until the big reveal), then I think it’s going to be just as boring and pointless.

                  And there’s a limit to how circumspect I can be in print here! Suffice it to say that it’s going to be better to build suspense and then reveal who’s actually been behind it all with a quick cameo than to trod through all of it knowing.

                  And the real tell will be how badly the numbers drop on Sunday. If the backlash is bad enough, I don’t care that they’ve already started filming. If the TV watchers don’t have some kind of resolution on the order of PW, something that will get them to watch the episode and recommit to the series, then the fourth season will definitely be the last and I could see HBO pulling the plug on the whole shebang right now.

                  This crowd is hongry, and stone soup is not going to cut it. We need some pigeon pie.

                • Duvall says:

                  And the real tell will be how badly the numbers drop on Sunday.

                  My guess is that the numbers go up for Sunday and next season. I’ve seen more people announce that they were starting the series than swear it off over the last couple of days. (Unscientific, but still.)

                • I think it’s was the opposite of gratuitous – it was unpleasant, but it’s absolutely crucial for Theon’s character development.

                  And I don’t think the numbers are going to drop – if anything, they’ll do the reverse.

                • Joseph Nobles says:

                  Duvall: We will see! I don’t want the series to tank. I’m loving it. I hope you and Stephen are right.

                  Stephen: The overwhelming reaction I saw to the multiple scenes of Theon’s torture is why? Why are we watching this? The castration was the final blow. I saw a lot of people say they would stop watching if there were any more Theon torture scenes after that. This is unscientific anecdotal evidence as well, but that what my sampling showed. However, looking at it now, it may have been needed to desensitize the audience in preparation for the Red Wedding.

                  I can still see us getting where I want the show to be. If we do, I think we’ll be surprised how much has already been set up and how much doesn’t have to be (I’m thinking of a particular disappearance specifically – Y can just be gone TBE next season). I’m holding out hope.

              • I don’t think we’ll get the three, but definitely the two.

                I think you’re wrong about doing it the way it was done in the book – the year-long gap between seasons makes it a very different experience than reading in the book. There’s also the practical labor market reasons it won’t happen.

                • Joseph Nobles says:

                  I really disagree with the labor market reason. We only need one shot the way it’s done in the book. Hiring X as a recurring role is harder than hiring X as a day player cameo. And that leaves more money for another couple of characters.

                • Really disagree. With a recurring role, you can nail down people for specific shooting days, etc. Individual cameos are way harder to do, because you can’t block out people’s schedules.

            • Sly says:

              I thought it would be in this season too, but admittedly it was more wishful thinking than anything else.

        • Barry Freed says:

          How is that an alibi?

  10. This episode of Game of Thrones, recapped as though it was on Facebook. H/T Angry Black Lady.

  11. Kent Brockman says:

    Could you please not do the douchey “I hope X doesn’t do Y” thing? You made it very clear that it will happen.

    • SEK says:

      If you’re talking about when I said that, I can assure you, that’s not what’s going to happen. If I remember correctly, I said that “I hope Arya doesn’t turn into Batman.” If I don’t, well, we typically preface spoilers with warnings and a five second lapse, and I edit out anything that we missed in post. So I hope nothing snuck in there that shouldn’t have, and if it did, I apologize.

      • Kent Brockman says:

        It was about someone doing something with regard to Danaerys. I won’t go further than that, since it seems even you missed it, so other people will probably have missed it as well.

  12. Barry Freed says:

    Does anyone else think that “The Rains of Castamere” sounds like it should be a Doctor Who episode?

    • Uncle Ebeneezer says:

      Or something off of Led Zeppelin III.

      • Dirk Gently says:

        For this reason I sorta wish this series and Led Zep’s heyday happened around the same time. The aesthetic of their LOTR songs actually fits this series much better.

        • Barry Freed says:

          Yes, then you could have had ideal casting with Brian Blessed as King Robert Baratheon (I really think GRRM must have had him in mind in creating the character) and Patrick Stewart as his brother Stannis.

  13. Uncle Ebeneezer says:

    You don’t watch the Simpsons??!

    • rw970 says:

      And the S.S. Live Forever is a classic bit! For shame, Scott. For shame. Or should I say —

      MENDOOOOOOOZZZZZAAAAAAAA!

    • SEK says:

      I don’t. I mean, I did back in the early ’90s, when everyone wore “Don’t have a cow, man” t-shirts, but I just haven’t kept up with it. I had a long conversation/argument with Adam Roberts about this when I was trapped by a volcano in England, and he wondered how I could understand America without watching The Simpsons, to which I could only reply, “Well, I live there.” It’s not like I hate it or anything — it’s always amusing when I watch it, more or less — it’s just not something I’ve committed to memory the way most of the Internet seems to have.

    • I was a huge Simpsons fan, now I am not. The last few times I’ve watched – probably over the span of a few years – it’s been dull. No laughs.

  14. JazzBumpa says:

    I hate to be the ignoramus here, but I don’t know the abbrv “PW.” At least not in GoT context. From these comments it might be Jeoffry’s wedding, but what is P? Should I put a spoiler alert here before I guess?

    Purple?
    Poison?

    Am I totally off track?

  15. […] Rains of Castamere,” if only because I said most of what I wanted to, content-wise, in the podcast. Instead I’d like to focus on how the director, David Nutter, used the confusion created by […]

  16. せかざと says:

    i just votedand I told my husband to vote too! the owl cracks me up. LOVE the eyes.

  17. […] You’re all invited to an epic performance of “The Rains of Castamere” (S03E09). […]

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