Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Red Wedding -- Stark Imagery

Recently I plopped myself on the sofa and indulged in some Game of Thrones binge watching. (For me, “binge” consists of watching two consecutive episodes before getting too antsy.)  LONG before HBO adapted George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series for TV, I’ve been a HUGE fan since reading book 1: A Game of Thrones back in 2001.

As I watched, I started thinking about the infamous Red Wedding. (A Storm of Swords / HBO series: S3E9) and the impact the scene had on readers and viewers alike. If you’ve lived under a rock for the last few years and haven’t read or watched the series, STOP NOW if you don’t want spoilers!

Being familiar with the storyline, I knew the Red Wedding was coming. I remember nearly dropping A Storm of Swords as I read the scene, and I wondered how watching Lord Frey butcher Robb Stark and Lady Catelyn would affect me. It did . . . deeply, powerfully . . . even when I knew what to expect, even when I knew it was coming.

After finishing A Storm of Swords in 2004, I remember irate Amazon reviewers swearing they were done with the series because of Martin’s proclivity for not only knocking off scoundrels and despots, but also OUR FAVORITE good guy with the same gusto.  Twitter was awash with equal sentiment after the HBO episode aired . . .

I have given birth twice to 8 & 9 pound babies. Watching Robb Stark die hurt more than both times combined.

how the f*** am i suppose to go to school and work and function after that game of thrones episode, f*** im shaking and crying

I've never cried so hard. I hate Game of Thrones right now. I don't know if I'll ever recover from this.

What do I say to all the outrage?  Well done, Mr. Martin!

Martin achieved what every writer strives for. He created living, breathing believable characters. While deep in the pages or watching on the screen, we all walk with Robb and Catelyn, Tyrion Lannister, and Jon Snow. We fear right along with Airya and Sansa. They're our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers. They're our friends, our confidants. Then when the unthinkable happens . . .

To me, all the outrage thrown at George R. R. Martin for the Red Wedding is the highest form of compliment any writer could hope to receive. It means Martin did his job. He created characters that readers pour themselves into. That is the mark of a great storyteller. Well done, Mr. Martin. Well done, indeed.   


  1. That's true, he did make awesome characters that we all loved. But I think even if people get past that and look at how George Martin responds to questions about it, they're more disappointed that he doesn't seemed fazed by those gruesome deaths. At least J.K. Rowling admitted there was a purpose for each death (*cough* Hedwig *cough*), but Game of Thrones seems to have gone on a path where they're like, "Let's kill this awesome character that everyone loves and see how people react."
    But you are right; Martin is a fantastic writer. Beautiful imagery... he basically does everything every fantasy writer wants to do, and he does it well.
    But please, someone tell him to at least look like he regretted killing someone when he's asked about it. Don't smile like an evil sailor luring you to the kraken's lair.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Grace. I have not read or watched interviews with G. R. R. Martin, so I can not speak to how he historically responded to comments and concerns. I do feel that much of the blood and sex are gratuitous, but the characters and world are exquisitely drawn. I have to give that to Martin, thus the reason for my post.