Longtime fans of Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire know what it’s like to feel loss. We felt our hearts sink when Ned Stark lost his head. That should have been the only clue we needed to know that absolutely no one in George R.R. Martin’s epic saga or HBO’s adaption was safe. Still, we hold on to hope that we will see our favorite characters and houses prosper in the cruel and unforgiving world of Westeros. It has become a running joke among fans of the books in fact. I once saw a meme of George R.R. Martin sitting against a picturesque outdoor setting and enjoying a laugh. The meme read: “Have a favorite character?… Not anymore.” Now, fans of the series, upon seeing that the title of this episode was “The Rains of Castamere”, should have known that this episode was not going to end well. As it turns out, it ended a lot worse.

Jon Snow is back on the right side of the wall now, only he’s in the wrong company. Surrounded by Wildings, Jon is walking a fine line between his love for Ingrid and trying to not break too many vows. For instance, he and the Wildings come to the home of a man that breeds horses for the Night’s Watch and he ends up blowing his cover because he refuses to kill an innocent man to keep his act up. Of course, Jon probably wouldn’t have survived if Bran and company hadn’t taken shelter in an abandoned tower where the fight takes place. Developing his Warg powers even further, Bran sends his soul into the direwolves waiting outside. Meanwhile, Arya is in the company of The Hound on her way to her mother after over a year apart. On their way, The Hound seems to have developed a certain respect for the young Stark girl as they throw threats back and forth at each other. The fight between them will have to wait though, as they disguise themselves and father and daughter in order to sneak into the wedding of Edmure Tully to one of Walder Frey’s daughters. Before we get into that though, across the narrow sea Daenerys Stormborn sends her three strongest warriors on a clandestine mission to infiltrate and sack a city that has not been sacked for thousands of years. Back at The Twins, where the Tully – Frey wedding is taking place, the couple has finally been wed and celebrations are fully under way. It’s time for the bedding ceremony and one final surprise. Am I going to tell you what that surprise is? I think it’s way too huge an event for me to give that spoiler away. But I will say: don’t let it get to you too bad. There are lots of strange things happening these days in Westeros and not all things are final.

Every season and book in their respective series brings us a WTF event. This episode is the one that brings that event to us. It does so without shame, remorse, or even a simple care about how that event makes the viewer feel. Just the way it was in the book. It’s a bold move in either medium and I’ve already seen comments from people saying they were going to stop watching the show. To me, this is the mark of a great program. It means that the viewer truly cares about the characters. My advise to these people is to not stop watching, but to cling harder to the loyalties you feel for the characters and houses in this amazing program.

Originality: 5/5 – no other show is so unabashed about sticking to the story regardless of what viewers want. You have to respect this.
Story: 5/5 – sticks damn near whole-heartedly to the book this episode, building tight suspense and assaulting our sense of want to tell a good story.
Performances: 5/5 – this is a given for nearly any show HBO does, and especially for Game of Thrones. We can identify with the characters through the cast’s perfect performances.
Special Effects: 5/5 – wonderful fights, seamless sets, everything is put into making the world really exist for an hour.
Repeat Viewing: 5/5 – this would be a hard episode to watch repeatedly, but not because it’s bad.

Score: 