"The Rains of Castamere" Round-Up: Paying the Price for Honor and Love

“Just as you grieve if a friend is killed, you should grieve if a fictional character is killed,” author George R.R. Martin tells Entertainment Weekly about the grisly ‘Game of Thrones’ event known by book readers as the Red Wedding. In interviews with HBO.com, actors Michelle Fairley and Richard Madden share the grief they felt while filming the scene. “It’s incredibly emotional,” Fairley says, “We had a week to shoot the whole sequence, and we shot it chronologically so throughout the week, you knew we were coming to the end." Madden adds, “We went into that scene with heavy hearts.”  

The tides change for the Starks in attendance the moment the band begins to play “The Rains of Castamere,” the song commemorating the Lannister slaughter of a rebellious house. Richard Madden tells HBO.com that the sudden tragedy “is one of the best things that ‘Game of Thrones' does so beautifully, which is just rip these characters' hearts out in front of you.”

While the carnage devastated fans, it was that scene in George R.R. Martin's book that helped bring the series to life. Show creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss share how the book chapter inspired them to make the series in the video above.

The Red Wedding is so crucial to the series because it embodies the guiding principles of its world. “It’s all about the cost of honor and the cost of love,” show creator and Executive Producer D.B. Weiss explains in this week’s Inside the Episode. “The heroes that you want to see come out on top and triumph don’t always come out on top and triumph.” This isn’t the first time that the Starks have paid the price for their integrity. “That, in the end, is what makes the Starks such good protagonists,” the A.V. Club’s Todd VanDerWerff says, “By constantly striving to do something approaching honorable and right, they earn our respect, even if we know it will cost them dearly.”

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Just as the Red Wedding reinforces the show’s realities, it also challenges conventional storytelling. Rolling Stone’s Sean T. Collins asserts that the episode “killed our idea of what this seriesis. The central conflict, Stark vs. Lannister, is now over… A lifetime of reading and watching fiction has trained us to treat the establishment of a central conflict as a promise that it willremainthe central conflict until the end of that work of fiction.” These expectations are no more. The Daily Beast’s Jace Lacob says that Robb and Catelyn’s final moments “will reverberate sharply through ‘Game of Thrones,’ for they remind us that, though this game may have rules, those rules can and will be broken.”

“Weddings manage a neat trick of being both communal experiences and highly personal ones,” New York Magazine’s Nina Shen Rastogi muses, “I’m gutted to see Catelyn go, but she went in a blaze of righteous fury, like a Greek goddess self-immolating, and that seems fitting, at the very least.”

Share your thoughts about “The Rains of Castamere” on HBO.com’s discussion board.