Game of Thrones Season 3 Episode 9: “The Rains of Castamere” and Episode 10: “Mhysa” Recaps

By Devin Kirby

DTA

Quick disclaimer about these recaps: they’re not going to be as in-depth as the other ones. Why? Because there’s going to be a follow-up article next week called “What’s Going on in Game of Thrones?” that’s going to break down what happened this season and what’s coming up for each and every character in the show.

But before we get to that, let’s make sure everyone’s on the same page as to what exactly went down in the last two episodes of one of the best single seasons of television I’ve ever seen.

TEAM HODOR & JON SNOW & SAM 

Quick disclaimer about these recaps: they’re not going to be as in-depth as the other ones. Why? Because there’s going to be a follow-up article next week called “What’s Going on in Game of Thrones?” that’s going to break down what happened this season and what’s coming up for each and every character in the show.

But before we get to that, let’s make sure everyone’s on the same page as to what exactly went down in the last two episodes of one of the best single seasons of television I’ve ever seen.

Team Hodor is getting into all kinds of crazy shit. After camping in a mill, Team Hodor witnesses the Wildling party catch up with the horse breeder whose house they raided earlier. As yet another loyalty test (like really?) for Jon Snow, Orell commands that he kill the horse breeder. Jon refuses (sigh) and all hell breaks loose. After a lot of prompting by Jojen Reed, Bran finally stops being a pussy and uses his warg powers to control his and Rickon’s direwolves and save Jon, who kills Orell and escapes back to Castle Black.

After the skirmish, Bran realizes how unsafe this adventure is going to be (just now?) and sends Osha to bring Rickon to Last Hearth, the seat of the Stark bannermen House Umber (remember, nobody in Team Hodor has any idea about the Red Wedding or, frankly, anything that’s going on with anybody).

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The remnants of Team Hodor make camp at the Nightfort, where they come across Samwell Tarly and Gilly. Sam gives them his dragonglass arsenal and they depart to find Bran’s mythical raven/spirit animal/Patronus charm thing. This is by far the weakest storyline in these two episodes. Whenever Team Hodor gets on screen, I really only look forward to Hodor’s Hodor of the Week. Everything else is so humorless and mundane that it just seems like an obligatory look at where Team Hodor is—which is pretty boring considering the other stuff going on in Westeros. Hopefully the epic music and cool walkaway scene that ended Team Hodor’s storyline for this season is a precursor for Bran, Jojen, Meera, and Hodor to do something awesome next year.

Or do, ya know, anything…

Later, Ygritte catches up with Jon Snow and they have a standoff that ends with Ygritte weeping and shooting Jon Snow in the back with a couple arrows. I thought this scene was done very well—probably the first piece of acting Kit Harington has done this entire show—and managed to be raw and emotional without being overly cheesy or sappy. Jon later makes his way back to Castle Black, where Sam has just dispatched ravens to every lord in Westeros asking for their assistance against the imminent White Walker threat.

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AT DRAGONSTONE

It’s good to see Davos back. Quickly turning into one of the noblest characters in Westeros, Davos has taken center stage in the supernatural drama unfolding at Dragonstone. And make no mistake about Dragonstone’s importance—despite not being a featured set in episode 9, Stannis and his Red Priestess had a big stake in the Red Wedding. After the blood magic ritual Melisandre performed using leeches filled with Gendry’s boner-blood, Robb Stark, one of the three usurpers named to die by Stannis, winds up dead. This, of course, is the green light to sacrifice Gendry to the Lord of Light—a move that Good Guy Davos strongly opposes. I love the dynamics between Davos, Stannis, and Melisandre when they’re all on screen together. They are three very engaging and diverse characters that make perfect sense together: a man of reason, a woman of faith, and a king torn between the two. There is one shot in episode 10 that I absolutely loved: after hearing both sides of the Gendry argument, Stannis turns his back on his two advisors, and there’s a straightaway shot of Stannis flanked by Davos and Melisandre in a kind of shoulder-angel-shoulder-devil composition, with Davos looking very meek and monk-y and red-dressed Melisandre looking like the perfect seductive devil. In general, episode 10 was remarkably beautiful, but that one shot just floored me.

Later, Davos decides to take manners into his own hands, and frees Gendry. This show loves having stubbornly noble characters that end up dead—the entire Stark family being a prime example. Davos, too, seems to be on the quick path to a fiery execution, before he reveals the message he received from the Night’s Watch calling for the lords of Westeros to mobilize against the coming White Walkers. Melisandre even vouches for Davos, and Stannis allows him to live.

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These three have had increasingly great scenes as the season has gone on, and at this point I would put them as the most entertaining group to watch, maybe second to the Lannisters at King’s Landing. If what Melisandre says is correct, and Stannis is the only man who can save the North, I’m totally fine with it. As long as Good Guy Davos gets to stick around.

And, well, Melisandre getting naked again wouldn’t kill anyone. Right?

AT THE TWINS

The Red Wedding. Aka Holy Shit-fest 2013.

Robb Stark arrives at the Twins to formally apologize to Walder Frey (aka Mr. Filch) and his daughters for marrying Talisa. Frey accepts, after a hilariously inappropriate speech about Talisa’s “firm tits and tight fit” to publically humiliate Robb (it’s too bad we have to hate Walder Frey, because the dude is funny as hell).

Outside of the Twins, Arya and Sandor “the Hound” Clegane encounter a farmer whose cart they steal. The Hound wants to kill him and Arya intervenes. Despite how dark Arya’s character has gotten, it’s sweet to see she still has some basic morals. However, as the Hound is quick to point out, morality is a luxury quickly becoming more costly to possess in Westeros, as Arya’s family has learned time and time again. I didn’t care for this scene, but I understand why it was there. Kind of.

And then there’s the Red Wedding. Holy shit. After a pleasant ceremony (including the welcome surprise that Edmure was to be wed to a relatively attractive Frey girl), the Freys and Boltons massacre the Stark army by surprise, starting with Talisa and her unborn child being repeatedly stabbed and ending in a complete orgy of blood and death as Robb, Catelyn, and their compatriots are systematically cut down.

First off, complete and utter hats off to Michelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark, whose final desperate plea to Walder Frey and her subsequent murder of his young wife and eventual death by horrifyingly graphic throat-cutting drove the entire scene home, as episode 9 ended in cruel silence. Fairley broke out this season as one of the show’s most emotionally intense actors, as she flawlessly chronicled Catelyn’s downward spiral from tortured mother to prisoner to beloved aide and back again. The entire emotional impact of the Red Wedding sequence was, in my opinion, almost singlehandedly due to her final few shots. One of the most vividly brutal and hard-hitting scenes of television ever made. A fantastically well-done twist that by itself made episode 9 the best of the season.

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Arya and the Hound escape the chaos, only to see Robb’s decapitated body paraded around with his direwolf’s head sewn onto its neck.

Which finally unleashes Arya the Killer.

Outside, Arya and the Hound encounter a group of Frey men mocking the deaths of Catelyn and Robb. Hearing this, Arya, at her most disturbingly psychotic, steals the Hound’s knife and brutally murders a man who took credit for attaching the direwolf’s head to Robb’s dead body. The Hound kills the others.

Arya then whispers the phrase valar morgulis to the coin Jaqen H’ghar gave her last season, suggesting that she plans to take up his offer to be trained as an assassin. I can barely contain my excitement. It’s time Arya starts cooking with fire.

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I can only hope she takes the Hound along for the ride. Just be friends, already.

Back at the Twins, with pools of blood still lying around his chambers, Walder Frey discusses the victory with Roose Bolton, who is now Warden of the North. Walder Frey also declares himself Lord of Riverrun, despite Bolton’s reminder that Bryndyn “Blackfish” Tully escaped when he stepped outside to piss. It is also revealed that Robb, when he was alive and heard about the sacking of Winterfell by Theon Greyjoy and his band of Ironborn, offered the Ironborn amnesty for this attack (which Theon did on his own accord, against his father Balon’s orders to only attack small coastal cities) if they brought him Theon. Bolton sent his bastard son Ramsay Snow (which apparently is the surname all bastards from the North have) to deliver the terms, and has had Theon in custody ever since.

Although he’s a complete SOB, Roose Bolton is one badass dude. I’ve really enjoyed watching him this season and hope he lives long enough to have some more darkly awesome (“the Lannisters send their regards”) moments.

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THEON

So, yeah, Theon did have his dick cut off. Tough luck. Still getting tortured by the man we now know is Ramsay Snow, Theon is beaten into answering to the name Reek. Jesus. Enough already.

Theon’s father Balon (one of the other usurpers named by Stannis) and his sister Yara (whose name is Asha in the book and I don’t know why they changed it?) receive Theon’s dick (in a box!) and a letter demanding the removal of the Ironborn from the North, or he threatens to continue torturing and dismembering Theon. Balon refuses, and Yara, fed up with her father’s mistreatment of Theon, takes a ship and the best men she can find to siege the Dreadfort (which, speaking of penises, is totally what I’m calling vaginas from now on).

I’m glad next season promises some more Yara Greyjoy. With what little time we spent with her in season 2, she seemed like a bad bitch. And I think Ramsay Snow dying at her hand would be awesome.

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AT KING’S LANDING

Tyrion and Sansa seem to have bonded from their now-mutual stigma as pariahs, and their marriage seems to finally be warming up—or, in political terms, Tyrion seems to be making headway into Sansa’s Dreadfort (yeah, that works). However, Tyrion is soon called into a Small Council meeting with an overly enthused Joffrey where he learns of the Red Wedding. Joffrey, ecstatic over “his” victory (lol jk Tywin did everything as always), steps first to an increasingly hostile Tyrion and eventually to his grandfather Tywin, who, finally fed up with his grandson’s arrogance, sends him to bed—and orders the Grand Maester to basically drug Joffrey into a coma on top of it. Tywin and Tyrion are then left alone, where they discuss the Red Wedding, its aftermath, and the need for Tyrion to make a child. As always, Tyrion and Tywin’s discussion is fantastically gripping, and after, when Tyrion returns to Sansa to give her the news, there’s a beautifully brief shot of Sansa just being emotionally devastated. One of the few times your heart really goes out to the perpetually-depressed young Stark.

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Good Guy Varys continues being a good guy by trying to bribe Shae into leaving King’s Landing. She refuses. I am afraid for what this will mean for Tyrion. But a good scene for both of these characters.

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Also, Jaime, Brienne, and Qyburn—the unorthodox ex-Maester who took care of Jaime’s hand in Bolton’s camp—finally arrive at King’s Landing. Jaime reunites with Cersei in a perfectly delicate and subtle scene that did a great job in not overstating itself, much like the Ygritte-Jon Snow scene.

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ACROSS THE NARROW SEA

Daario Naharis takes Grey Worm and Jorah Mormont into a back door to Yunkai, where they fight a bunch of slave soldiers in a video-game-style bloodbath in which we see exactly how ridiculously awesome Grey Worm and Daario Naharis are. Jorah Mormont was ok too, I guess, although this was a perfect opportunity for the overhyped Barristan Selmy to see some much-needed action. I would have rather Jorah sit this one out.

They end up taking Yunkai, and Daenerys is championed by a hoard of now-free Yunkai slaves as Mhysa, or mother.

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These two episodes are basically just one giant super-episode, and both of them are beautifully composed and well acted. A glorious ending and simultaneously a hopeful look ahead to what is quickly becoming television’s premiere experience.

Rating: 5 Dreadforts out of 5

Line of the Week: “You really think the crown gives you power” –Tywin Lannister

A special thanks to anyone who read any or all of these. It was a lot of fun and I appreciate the support. Stay tuned next week for a continued recap/preview of season 4 with “What’s Going On In Game of Thrones?” right here on Bucking Aikman.

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  1. Pingback: What’s Going on in Game of Thrones? | Bucking Aikman

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