Video Podcast of Game of Thrones, Season 3, Episode 9, “Rains of Castamere”

Well, it had to happen: SEK of Lawyers, Guns and Money and I discuss the Red Wedding. Come soak up all the sadness, thoughts on the nature of tragedy, comparative Westerosi wedding, and so much more!

And a special bonus, here’s the discussion of Episode 7 that we didn’t do on schedule:

Enjoy!

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10 thoughts on “Video Podcast of Game of Thrones, Season 3, Episode 9, “Rains of Castamere”

  1. Do you know when the mp3 download will be available? Watching youtube videos while driving is frowned upon for some reason.

  2. kingrat says:

    I apologize if this is in the wrong place, but I’ve been thinking about the Red Wedding from the perpetrators’ perspective for a while, and I wanted to write out something that puzzles me.

    Specifically, I don’t understand what Roose Bolton is thinking. I’m not talking from any sort of principled standpoint here; I don’t get how, if he games it out, he thinks he can get away with it from an entirely cynical point of view.

    Here’s what I mean. Walder Frey is the patriarch of a gigantic family in the Riverlands, with significant military resources and access to the military support of the Lannisters. Yes, violating guest-right and killing his liege lord is going to make his name mud, but I can understand how the immediate payoff in lands, castles and royal favour, coupled with his extensive “reserves” of family members, might look like a gamble worth taking. You end the War of Five Kings at a stroke for the Lannisters, you die hated but rich, and your great-great-great-grandchildren are wealthy and powerful nobles with an excitingly dark family history rather than pariahs. It’s not going to work out that way in the books, but it’s an entirely plausible endgame. It’s a risky but understandable bit of treachery. And, in all fairness, Robb did wrong him by his lights.

    Bolton, meanwhile, is a Northerner with one son, a psychopathic bastard. He comes, as you’ve noted, from a family that is widely distrusted and disliked by the other noble houses of the North, and is himself the exact sort of person who perpetuates that reputation. His share of the spoils is to be named Lord Paramount of the North, fulfilling a long-held family dream, but he still needs to fight the ironmen and Stannis to take it. He, like Frey, gets the odium of the betrayal, but he needs to live among – and rule! – the people who are most outraged by it. And royal favour is of next to no benefit to him – as he himself says to Jaime Lannister, a thousand leagues separate the Dreadfort from Casterly Rock. That’s too far to be a threat to him – but too far as well to be any aid as well.

    This is compounded by the manifest unfitness of Ramsay Bolton to carry on after Roose’s death. Roose appears to have very few illusions about what exactly his son is. What I don’t get is how he expects such a person not to be more or less immediately deposed on Roose’s own death. An odd “what-if” I’m curious about is what would have happened if Roose had as little regard for the taboo of kinslaying as he does for the taboo of kingslaying – does he throw in with the Lannisters, if Domeric is his heir or if he doesn’t have an heir at all? I suppose in the latter case he probably still does – Ramsey is if anything even more of a liability than not having an heir would be.

    All of this could be understood if Roose were a person who, like Ramsey, just wanted to watch the world burn. But that does not appear to be the case. He expresses hopes for his House following his death, when he says that any child of his and Fat Walda’s will be murdered by Ramsay, sparing House Bolton from a child lord, and from what I can tell Roose absolutely never acts rashly or impetuously. He’s evil, but methodical and cautious. Except, it would seem, in signing up for the Red Wedding. Roose even knows – or ought to know – that Bran and Rickon weren’t killed by Theon. And yet he plunges ahead. Obviously, to win a great prize you have to take risks, but the odds are so steeply against him I’m surprised he did.

    One final note on this already too-long post: why not give Frey some of his own medicine and show up late to the wedding? It seems to me that the Freys go through with it and do your dirty work for you, if you’re Bolton. You can then pose as the outraged Notherner, and try ruling with the support of many of the families that now threaten to bring him down. Yes, there are risks this way as well, but not as many. I wonder if GRRM sacrificed some of Roose’s characterisation as a chessmaster for the sake of a memorably evil villain in this regard, but I suppose I could be wrong here.

    • Sean C. says:

      I confess that I’ve wondered exactly how Roose envisions the succession going, giving Ramsay’s obvious unfitness.

      But in terms of participating in the Red Wedding, Robb had already lost the war, so betraying him was an entirely pragmatic act of saving his own skin while also carving for himself.

    • stevenattewell says:

      Here’s the thing about Roose: firstly, he’s one of the few houses to emerge from the war unscathed, so even though he’s despised, most of the North can’t really do anything about it. Secondly, as far as he knows the Stark family is either dead or under Lannister control – so he doesn’t think there’s going to be a rallying point that the Northern houses can unite around. Thirdly, although they don’t show it in the books, a lot of the Northern houses have hostages taken at the Twins – so they can’t move against him without risking their kinsmen’s lives.

      As for what happens later? It’s possible that he’s going to have Ramsay killed when he’s no longer needed, or that he simply doesn’t care what happens after he’s dead.

      As for why he got his hands dirty? As people have speculated, Tywin would have made that part of the price for the Wardenship.

      • Brandon Butler says:

        Another thing to note is that although there’s a comparison to be made, Roose Bolton ultimately is NOT Hannibal Lecter in all details. Roose is a smart man with a certain amount of low cunning, but he’s not brilliant like Littlefinger or Varys. The more immediate future may have been enough for him, and the knowledge that this was as good an opportunity as House Bolton was ever going to get. The Stark name had been so respected for so long — and theirs, not — that this was going to be the only way to turn things around in anything less than two generations worth of the Starks acting completely the opposite of how people expect, which is not happening anytime soon in the next 50 years unless Rickon turns out to be just a huge mess or Arya goes completely off the deep end (and even then, it took the war to make that happen).

        The RW was a risky move, with Frey and the Boltons sharing different sorts of long-term risks. But the fact that they were evil and willing to do things most weren’t doesn’t mean they were particularly superior in playing the game. In their own way, are they any more savvy than Mace Tyrell? More ruthless, definitely: Mace Tyrell would NEVER have orchestrated something like the RW. But more savvy? Bolton’s opportunity fell into his lap. One would think Roose would have been more a danger to the Starks in peacetime had that been the case.

      • stevenattewell says:

        His Lecterishness is up for debate – certainly Barbary Ryswell/Dustin sees him as a mastermind.

  3. Brandon Butler says:

    I was wondering… you guys mention how Catelyn catches on to the RW and how that’s not according to Frey’s plan. Yet there’s a long pause at the end of Frey’s speech during which Catelyn draws back Roose’s sleeve, and Frey sounds kinda strange in giving it. Also, seeing the FIRST shot of him continuing to drink as the massacre goes down, I’m not sure if what I’m seeing on his face is enjoyment. Rather, he looks really anxious, at first.

    I’m wondering if the thought on set (and foremost in the mind of David Bradley, who plays Frey) was that the Freys are themselves approaching this with a fair amount of fear, and that while our attention is drawn to Catelyn’s realization, what’s going on around her is that all the murderers, INCLUDING Frey, is having this awkward, natural hesitation. And it’s only after the killing in the hall is mostly done and Robb’s crawling towards Talisa that Frey becomes more comfortable.

    I thought that might be a nice sentiment or reading of the scene, if true. Because it might mean that Roose, instinctively, knew the Freys were going to have a moment of wussing out (not that they WOULD wuss out, but that in the vital moment their weak hands would hesitate on the hilt of the blade), so perhaps he deliberately provoked Catelyn into a reaction to sort of break the ice, so to speak. And if Catelyn reacts, that would sufficiently snap the Freys into action, since they’d know if they didn’t act NOW, the Northmen in the hall would start defending themselves.

    • stevenattewell says:

      It’s a bit of a subjective thing, but I saw enjoyment there.

      It’s not a bad theory, but I just don’t see it.

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