‘Mhysa’ Round-Up: All’s Fair in Love and War

By Katie M. Lucas

Shock waves from the Red Wedding radiate through the kingdoms in Sunday’s Season Finale. Poor Arya Stark had a front row seat to the horror as she witnessed a parade featuring the head of Grey Wolf sewn on to her brother's body. See how the shocking scene was conceptualized in the storyboard below from HBO GO’s Interactive Features.

 

 

The heartbreak is enough to push Arya’s fantasies of revenge into reality. In an interview with HBO.com, actor Maisie Williams explains Arya’s decision to kill her first man: “She’s longing for a family and he’s talking about how he murdered her family. It really gets to her so she decides to give a little back.”

Tywin Lannister views the murders he orchestrated as not only necessary, but just. By ending the war, Tywin reasons that he saved countless lives. “Tywin’s a strict utilitarian, which is the greatest good for the greatest number,” Executive Producer David Benioff explains in this week’s Inside the Episode. “His version of utilitarianism is the greatest good for the Lannister numbers.”

Like Tywin, King Stannis argues that “there is a certain amount of bloodshed that is acceptable to prevent even more bloodshed,” Salon’s Willa Paskin notes. Stannis and Melisandre reason that sacrificing Gendry is for the greater good, but to Davos Seaworth, the boy’s life is “everything.” In HBO GO’s Interactive Features, actor Liam Cunningham says Davos “doesn’t want to see the death of another innocent like his son.” The A.V. Club’s David Sims argues that the Onion Knight is “filling a void left by Ned” as the “beating, honorable heart of the show.”

Jon Snow also “couldn’t bring himself to kill an innocent man” because “that goes against everything Jon stands for,” actor Kit Harington tells HBO.com. Ned’s code of morality pulses through his children’s veins: “Jon and Robb have held that man in such high esteem, that almost instinctually, honor is built in to them,” Harington explains.

The Red Wedding has another consequence: broken laws. As Bran’s Rat Cook story illustrates, the gods do not forgive someone who harms a guest beneath his roof. And as the world of the show continues to expand “that roof seems very big, indeed,” New York Magazine’s Nina Shen Rastogi says. “With the proper perspective, the war in Westeros looks very much like those model castles in the ‘Game of Thrones’ credits: just so many toys, waiting to be swept away by a cold wave of White Walkers. These fractious houses may find that, in the end, they are really just one ill-protected house, and the folks coming over for dinner are not particularly polite.” 

Grantland’s Andy Greenwald muses: “As the bad news of the Red Wedding – and the worse news of the White Walkers – spread over the continent like a flock of inky ravens, the massive world of ‘Game of Thrones’ felt changed forever.”

How do you think the Red Wedding changed ‘Game of Thrones’? What are your final thoughts on Season 3? And what are you hoping for next season?