//Spoilers// Game of Thrones pushes the envelope yet again, and delivers the most stunning and horrific bit of television. Ever.
Sooo… That happened. Does anyone else still feel a bit traumatised when thinking of this episode? I do. I can still hear Talisa and Catelyn Stark screaming…
I haven’t really been sure how to review this, because really, how do you review something like this? But also because I don’t think that Rains of Castamere was that flawless penultimate episode that both Baelor and Blackwater were.
It is small things, and does not take away from the power of the episode, fuck no, but I feel I have to mention it – there will be loads of reverence in a few paragraphs.
I found Danaerys’ presence frustrating. There were nothing wrong with her scenes, and in theory I liked the contrasting narratives and what they represented; the fall of one house, Stark, and the rise of another, Targaryen, but it ended up a bit too jarring.
As for the poor Starks, well. I don’t think the shifts in focus were blended as flawlessly as I would have liked. Though as was the case with Danaerys’ scenes, they were all really well done, but I kept getting annoyed when the focus moved away from Robb and Catelyn, though to be fair that might have been because I had been spoiled for what was going to happen in the episode, and kept waiting and fearing for that. The Internet is dark and full of spoilers – screw all of you spoiler people.
On with the awe
I am nit-picking, I do realise that, but I’m only saying this, because I couldn’t put a single finger on the other penultimate episodes. However… Oh God, however, the last blood gushing moments of this episode were the most stunning and horrible thing I have ever seen on the small screen, and easily surpassing anything GoT have given us before.
Huge compliments must be given for how well they managed to build the tension. The air of foreboding was there from the get go, the scenes getting increasingly claustrophobic – the most awkwardly tense coming with Walder Frey’s appraisal of Talisa Stark’s attributes.
So when the Lannister song started playing, and the tension finally getting released, I was like this:
And then things just turned south from there. Despite vaguely knowing what was going to happen, I was not prepared. Holy fucking shit, I was not prepared.
Let’s kill everything, yeah?
Game of Thrones is not a show that is shy about brutal deaths, but oh my God, gut-stabbing the pregnant chick, shooting the dog, kill the son and cut mom’s throat. I can’t remember the last time I’ve experienced such an effective escalation of violence in any medium, and my entire GoT posse looked as sick as I felt.
Yet as nauseating the actual violence was it was of course the emotional horror that made this so excruciating to watch. Robb’s resigned, stumbling “mother…” absolutely finished me, and the last moments of Catelyn Stark’s desperate attempt to rescue her (she thinks) one remaining son were awful. Just awful.
And what a fucking powerhouse performance it is. It is easily one of the most stunning performances I’ve ever seen. She even manages to outshine David Bradley, who gives such a convincing revolting performance. I can’t think of a bad enough word for this callous, twisted, self-satisfied bastard, and he no doubt proudly takes his place amongst the most hated people in Westeros.
Rewatching this again, because I’m obviously a masochist, I’m most struck with Sandor and Arya’s conversation in the beginning of the episode, so cruelly foreshadowing the whole thing.
“You’re almost there, and you’re afraid you won’t make it. The closer you get, the worse the fear gets. No point trying to hide behind that face, I know fear when I see it. I’ve seen it a lot…”
I will never forgive you for this George R. R. Martin.
Finishing thought: How the hell did Emilia Clarke nick the Emmy nomination from Michelle Fairley? No offense to Clarke, she’s a decent actress, but Fairley were extraordinary in this season, and should be showered with every single TV-award in the world.