So we have finally arrived at what seems to be a pivotal moment for the story of Game of Thrones. When more and more people started to read the books by George R.R. Martin I started to notice a trend that people who had read book 3 A Storm of Swords would hint at something that seemed to be a devastating character death.
Then I watched an interview with George R.R. Martin he was asked how he felt when killing off major characters and he too had to avoid spoilers but hinted at a major character death in book three and there was a notable sigh from the audience. Which kept me wondering… who would bite the dust in Season 3?
This week will be the moment when we find out and in this spoilerfree article I will speculate which characters might be in for a very rough ride.
A note on upcoming delays
A season of Game of Thrones typically has Episode 9 as the high point of the Season. When I watched Season 1 I was shocked at the death of Ned Stark. And any other TV Series would have used this beheading as a super cliffhanger. Instead we got a tenth episode that showed us the aftermatch instead of letting us wait an entire year. So the story ended on a less shocking note (still there were dragons) and I felt let down because I expected another twist like the beheading.
So when it came to Season 2 I was prepared that the ninth episode would be the big episode and it flowed much nicer watching it back to back. This year I will do the same thing and wait to watch Episode 9 and 10 in one sitting. But this means waiting an entire week for both episodes… and an entire week where probably many news sites will report thist story.
So because I don’t want episode 9 spoiled like for example the Season Finale of How I Met Your Mother there will be a completely internet free time and therefore no analysis of Episode 9. Instead Episode 9 and 10 will probably be a big review in two weeks.
But you know the song The Rains of Castamere?
So you know the story of House Rain of Castamere?
When Cersei told Margaery the story of how House Rain was not only defeated but brutally vanquished by Tywin Lannister she was doing much more than threatening Margaery. She established what seems to be a very important story. After all, the title of next episode will be The Rains of Castamere.
Viewers of the HBO series are not unfamiliar with this song. It was played at the end of the battle of Blackwater as Tywin Lannister saved the day and the end credits started rolling. But not only that,the song can be heard thorough Season 2 and Season 3. Tyrion whistles the song in the premiere of Season 2 and when he gives the speech during the Battle of Blackwater we hear a powerful instrumental version:
Also Bronn sings it with Lannister bannermen before the battle and they ask him how he comes to know a Lannister-song.
Season 3 built on that and used the music as a sort of Lannister-anthem. The most popular use would be at the end of episode 7 when Jaime saved Brienne from the bear pit. When Jaime and Brienne exited the episode closed with a thunderous version of The Rains.
So the song is already number one in Westerosi charts but what is it about?
“And who are you”, the proud lord said, “that I must bow so low?
As Cersei told us it is a song celebrating the victory of Tywin Lannister over a rebellious house. The parallels to house Tyrell are so obvious we wouldn’t have needed Cersei to point them out.
The Tyrells have been the growing power in Westeros this season and as Cersei pointed out why would ambitious climbers stop one place before the the top?
Only a cat of a different coat that’s all the truth I know
The monologue of the song is attributed to the head of house Castamere as he addresses Lord Tywin, I assume. Within the words we can see a lot of parallels to the Tyrells.
In a coat of gold a coat of red, a lion still has claws
And mine alone is sharp mylord as long and sharp as yours.”
Within these lines we can read the challenge for leadership. And it also marks the end of Lord Rain’s monologue before we get a very mocking ending:
And so he spoke and so he spoke that Lord of Castamere
And now the Rains weep ov’r his halls with no one there hear.
Yes, now the Rains weep ov’r his halls with not a soul to hear.
The final two lines are very much in the same spirit as Cersei’s words when she asked Margaery, “Do you know what house Rain is today?”
In the audio commentary for Blackwater (S02E09) George R.R. Martin said The Rains of Castamere was the “ultimate Tywin is a badass and you don’t mess with him song (loosely quoted from memory)”. So we know about the song and that it will be important for next episode. The question is how it will come into play.
The two possibilities
If this song is important to the plot and probably the scene of the kill I can see two ways in which this song can be played:
- Triumphantly – in the same way the song celebrates Tywin’s greatness it can be used to enforce the power of Tywin should the death account to make Tywin even more fearsome.
- Mockingly – maybe the time of Tywin or his house has come and maybe when there is demise in House Lannister the song could be used to mock Tywin that at the end he was no different than Lord Rain.
So let’s have some spoiler free speculation fun on who it might be. Whose death will be connected to the song in a way that many bookreaders will tell you how shattered they were when they read the song during that scene…
1. The people I rule out
Seeing as this is a Lannister song it won’t make much sense for it to be played during a Jon Snow death scene. I doubt Snow has the connection to the song so that it is of any importance – same argument can be made for most characters beyond the wall.
This also goes for Daenerys. Her storyline is too separated right now to kill her off. I still think it would be awesome if Daenerys would never make it to Westeros and the dragons would just go crazy and destroy everything without a master… but that wouldn’t make for much personal drama.
Still there is the wildcard potential of having Dany’s new recruit from the Second Sons to turn into another Lannister assassin (similarly to how Jorah was originally a traitor working for Robert)… but I don’t think so.
So unless they pick up on assassination attempts as they did in Season 1 I think Daenerys is safe as well.
2. The people I like…
Oh that guy is a cool character…. aaaaand he’s dead.
This has happened a lot of times over the course of the series:
- Syrio Forel – Arya’s dancing master
- Ned Stark – Nice Boromir
- Yoren – the guy who wanted to protect Arya
- Renly – the cool king who would have made peace with the Starks
- Ros – the sneaky redheaded whore
- Maester Luwin – the old guy who took care of Bran
- Lordcommander Mormont – who didn’t love the old bear?
So the series has already shown me that just because a character is likeable doesn’t mean he’ll make it. So of course I will go through the characters I really like and see if I can rest assured that they will make it.
Tywin is amazing. He is a terrible father but a fantastic tactician. Legacy is everything to him and the most important thing is his family. This causes him to see his children not as things to care about but as vessels to keep the Lannister line alive.
Killing Tywin Lannister would severely cripple the power of house Lannister and could lead to its eventual decay. Tywin also has a connection to the song so singing the song while he is killed would be super cruel.
Then again Tywin is not everyone’s favorite character. And in order for a death to be super shocking the character should be really beloved (i.e. Ned Stark) and not a favorite character of some deranged blogger.
Everybody loves Tyrion. I’d go as far and say that he is one of the few characters in a story who is loved by almost 100% of those watching/reading the story. Daenerys has a strong following but she splits people from time to time. Whereas Tyrion seems to be the best character of them all.
If we were to argue which character’s death would have the most impact on viewers it would definitely be Tyrion. But I just can’t think of it. Sure, everyone can be killed. We have learned that from Ned’s beheading. But I won’t believe that Tyrion won’t make it unless I see it with my own eyes. Even if I would read a spoiler that Tyrion got killed in Season 3 I would not believe it until I saw the very scene…
Then again I read that Ned Stark would get executed on IMDB a week before the episode and I refused to believe it until the moment the sword fell.
Jaime Lannister (and Brienne by default)
When Jaime got introduced I rolled my eyes a bit because it is a common trope in TV-dramas to introduce a despicable character with no redeeming qualities who will eventually become a good guy without ever going through a reasonable character arc. Just look at True Blood if you want examples of seemingly evil hotties who – just because they stuck around for a very long time – became super nice and tame.
But come Season 2 Jaime climbed up the ladder of my favorite characters very quickly – despite the fact that he was chained to a pole and didn’t move for an entire season. And come Season 3 Jaime has given non-deranged people the chance to love him as well.
So contrary to Tywin Jaime now has enough redeeming qualities so that people care about him. And the more I write the more I fear for him. It would fit with the song as well to mock Tywin for losing his son… Jaime really is the character I fear for especially because he has been through so much and has so many promising ideas yet to be explored. Losing his hand completely changed him and it would be a pity to lose such a complex character… damn, Jaime’s gonna bite the bullet…
Or to torture Jaime a bit more Martin could take away Brienne and therefore the first character to start understanding him aside from Cersei.
Another fan favorite character. Last episode she was heading towards her uncle’s wedding at the Twins along with the Hound. Arya still has a lot of potential and like Daenerys I think her storyline has just too much going on to end now. She still has the coin from Jaqen, we had a pseudo-prophecy by Melisandre and much like Daenerys she seems to be a character who might change things in the long run. I find it highly unlikely that she will die.
Sansa starts to grow on me. She is still a bit spoiled and sees the world through a filter that I thought was gone when her promised husband decapitated her father. But Sansa is slowly learning and might learn to get more power and influence over the series. So I think she could still become a really big character.
Then again if she somehow got killed off by Joffrey as revenge for Tyrion’s mocking (wooden cock, remember?) that death would be devastating from the situation alone. Sansa is innocent and her death would be incredibly cruel… but it wouldn’t be the first time that Joffrey was needlessly cruel.
Shae the funny Hoa!
I like Shae, she is headstrong but knows a lot. And sometimes she might get a bit frustrated. But at the core I think Shae is a nice character and I don’t want her harmed. But she is still way up on my kill list. Let’s all remember that Tywin threatened to kill the next whore he’d find in Tyrion’s bed. And right now Tyrion does not bed Sansa –which is Tywin’s main motivation. Tywin is all about Legacy and having a Lannister heir. And Tyrion is the only Lannister who can give him an heir. So Tywin being the cruel heartless bastard he is might kill Shae to leave Tyrion with no one else but Sansa…
Robb Stark and Lady Talisa
While I don’t think he is as sympathetic as Eddard Stark, Robb has grown a lot over the last seasons. And his claim is much better than 1) one true king, 2) I have dragons, 3) Lannister’s rule or 4) pay the iron price. He is fighting for the independence of his people and doesn’t want to rule Westeros because of power. His claim is good, he cares about his people, he is a good tactician… and everything is going down right now.
If I had to pick one person who won’t make it I’d call Robb. He has lost a large deal of his army, Bolton is planning on betraying him and he is headed towards the Twins for a wedding. I still can’t believe that Walder Frey (Argus Filch) is ok with Robb not honoring the treaty they made in Season 1. And all this smells like a trap set by the Freys.
Frey is an opportunist and he knows that the Lannisters know that he struck a deal with the Starks back in Season 1. Robb might think that this makes Frey loyal to him as he has no one else to turn to. But maybe Frey wants to get back to the Lannisters and as a present he hands them Robb Stark?
What I am super sure of is that Lady Talisa will get killed by Frey. In a sort of “well you didn’t want my girl so you can’t have that girl”- moment.
And it would be horrible for Arya to finally be reunited with her family and watch her brother die…
The death of Robb would also turn the entire north into an even bigger mess – and make it riper for the Walkers to come and sweep everyone away.
Bronn and Blackfish
Bronn is awesome and will remain awesome. Blackfish is probably my favorite new character as he is a mixture of Bronn and Ned. I hope he makes it out alive as well.
The big fish eats the little fish and I keep on paddling… enough said I think.
Hodor Hodor Hodor? Hodor Hodor!
In Season 2 I wanted Theon to suffer… I hated him so much.
I take all that back. Please Theon, make it through the torture, escape and leave the Iron Islands behind you!
Stannis and his group
I doubt that any of the three characters will die. Their story is just beginning and I think Stannis will return big style in future episodes. Right now he is at rock bottom and has little to no sympathy from the audience. Davos is super nice and I’d hate to see him get killed.
And Gendry… poor Gendry… he must make it!
Bran and the Reeds
Much like Jon Snow, Bran is too isolated from the story to get killed off. Plus (same argument as Arya) he has too much potential story and they just started to explore his storyline. On top of that his parts are spread thin over the season which to me indicates that he will become more important in later season and right now is here to remind us of his being here.
Cersei and Joffrey
I think Cersei is the most complex in Game of Thrones and I am 100% sure that she will survive this Season. I can’t say that I like Cersei – meaning that I don’t agree with her decisions. But I think Cersei is one of my favorite characters just in terms of complexity. She is an incredibly layered person and her death would be a big loss for future storymoments. On top of that Cersei is not beloved and her death would hardly be shocking.
Same goes for Joffrey. If Joffrey were to be killed it wouldn’t be a kill that made an entire auditorium of fans moan when Martin hinted at it. Even if there are multiple killings I think killing off Joffrey would overshadow every other death because we hate him so much and want him out of the story.
Similarly to Cersei Catelyn has a lot of complexity and is not a one note character. I highly doubt she will die.
4. So many more players
Game of Thrones has such a vast cast of characters and there are so much more people to consider. With this speculation I focused on what I perceive to be the two main events: Robb at Edmure Tully’s wedding and the wedding of Margaery.
This article is already 20 walls of text in one and going through even more characters would only increase the page count tenfold.
George R.R. Martin and the writers have proven more than once that they can make characters likeable in a very short time so even if not one of the main players exits the game it might still be the circumstances that make this event feel so devastating.
I still believe that it will be a moment that will not only have an effect on individual characters but on the overall dynamics of the story.
So my final predictions
- Robb and Talisa – because that would make the Lannisters the supreme unchallenged power in Westeros
- Sansa – because it would be super cruel and might send Robb into super rage mode
- Shae – because I really like her and Tyrion
- Hodor – because that would be just unfair
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