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barrychenault

Thoughts about The Red Wedding...SPOILERS!

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@vjott I really found everything you had to say pretty damn interesting, so I decided to address your issues

For me, the overwhelming amount of sympathy and support for House Stark is simply baffling. Catelyn was an impulsive, treacherous and selfish woman. Robb, an impulsive, selfish oathbreaker. Arya, an impulsive, selfish murderer (but still a child so I guess she can be excused). Sansa, well...we all know what she is. I got the feeling that the Red Wedding was the Stark House finally receiving their dues after betraying and trampling on the pride of their own bannermen (Karstark and Frey). I can totally sympathize with Lord Frey after suffering humiliation repeatedly from Tully and Stark. Bolton is just a cunning, scheming bastard.

The Jaime incident with Catelyn in Riverrun and the Karstark incident with Robb, robbed (no pun intended) me of what little sympathy I had for the Starks to begin with. I sympathized with Theon more than with Robb. At least I'd always marked Theon as a bit of an idiot in over his head but Robb had all these false pretensions of honour that the Starks traditionally enjoyed rubbing in everyone's faces. I read the Red Wedding chapter with grim satisfaction that all the arrogance and errors of House Stark was finally beginning to wash away.

I don't blame Robb for the Karstark incident. Karstark and his men walked into a jail cell and murdered the prisoners. This was more than anything an undermining of Robb's authority and a betrayal of his orders. Personally I would have preferred he send him to the wall, but I don't think this was a case of trampling on the pride of the Karstarks. The Karstarks blatantly betrayed Robb.

As for the Freys, yes Robb messed up, and yes he trampled on the pride of the Freys. Does that justify Walder Frey butchering Robb and Cat and thousands of other Stark men in the most cowardly manner conceivable? I'd say no.

As far as the Jaime incident in Riverrun goes, I completely agree. I think Cat acted idiotically. Keep in mind Tywin wouldn't dare go through with the red wedding with Jaime in dungeon in Riverrun.

Upon reflection, though, I do seem a bit harsh. Robb and Catelyn were humans just like anyone else and prone to error and shortcoming. Perhaps their "human-ness" is what made us so frustrated with them as we could see some of their weaknesses in ourselves: jumping to conclusions, giving in to passions and making rash decisions. It retrospect, the Red Wedding was a savage end to a short-lived dream. Personally, I'd wished that Robb had made different choices: refused to be King in the North and joined with Stannis: as rightful a king as Westeros was ever to receive. Then they would have joined their forces, Rob from the north with horses and infantry and Stannis from the east with ships and more soldiers, and pinned King's Landing. I think that is what Ned would have done if he had managed to escape King's Landing and take command. His last act as Hand was to send a letter to Dragonstone (which never reached) to inform Stannis that he was now the king. Robb spat on his father's last act, an act he paid for with his life, by declaring himself king and bringing further instability to Westeros. It seemed to me that he cared nothing for the realm. To paraphrase Varys, when the high lords play their game of thrones, it is the realm (meaning the smallfolk) that suffers.

Do keep in mind that in the book, contrary to the show, it was a while before Robb knew Joffrey was Jaime's son. At one point Robb had thought that Joffrey was the rightful king, and that the rightful king had murdered Ned for treason. At the beginning of the war Robb fought Joff thinking he was the rightful king, but had no intention of swearing fealty because he wanted to avenge Ned. It seems perfectly reasonable that under these circumstances the northerners should declare their independence.

Now I do agree with you that upon finding out that Stannis was the rightful heir, it would have been good for Robb to declare for Stannis. However by this time Robb had already declared himself king in the north and Stannis seemed to have no hope in hell of winning the throne. What's more we're given hints that if a Baratheon was able to win the throne, Robb would have been willing to bend the knee. To be blunt I think Stannis is a hot headed prick. Robb was just a kid and HIS BANNERMEN has declared him king, it's not like Robb had been scheming to create his own kingdom. Instead of wishing for the kid's death, fight the damn Lannisters, take KL, and most likely Robb would have bended the knee.

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The main reason I don't like Catelyn is because she released Jaime. Also because of the business with Tyrion and how absolutely stubborn she was that he was the person that hired Bran's assasin. She never even considered the most minute possibility that Petyr was lying to her. Even after Tyrion pleaded his case reasonably (why would he arm an assasin with his own blade) and finding out that Tyrion never bet against his brother in the tournament.

I'm always surprised at how fans are so unforgiving of Catelyn. She was far from perfect, I recognize that. First and foremost, I didn't like the way she treated Jon, of course. (As an aside, though, I know a woman who IRL was put in a similar situation to Cat. It's a blow to the dignity when your husband says, "Here, I fathered a son with someone else, now be a good little wife and be nice to him and don't make a big fuss about it." Everyone knows it's obviously not the kid's fault, but it's incredibly hard to show warmth in that kind of situation.) And the things she did were rash.

Maybe being a woman, or something, (though not yet a mother) I can't judge her too harshly for anything she did in the name of protecting her children or as a result of grief for her "dead" children. Like most humans, IRL I bet these fans pretty much always give the benefit of the doubt to grieving parents, and for good reason. Concerning Tyrion, Catelyn believed someone who was basically family (Petyr) over a stranger who is a member of a family that she was given reason to believe was intent on murdering people to protect a secret. Pretty understandable, I think. Kidnapping Tyrion was rash, but then, she had just come within inches of watching her young son die a violent death. I'd be rash too. And concerning Jaime, well, I can understand that action too (and it really didn't t urn out to be such a bad one). She always believed this war was bullshit and in a moment of extreme weakness (the loss of two sons) she acted on that. Jaime might have failed to keep his vows but her children were in danger anyway. The risk was worth it. And anyway, although I can also understand why Lord Karstark, also grieving, would be upset, I think at the end of the day he should have realized that Cat was right, and that vengeance should take a backseat to the possibility of actually saving lives.

*EDIT* As an example of a totally unforgiving fan, I just noticed that someone on this thread said they weren't upset about losing Catelyn because she had become too "whiny." Really? First of all, most of her "whining," if you want to call it that, was in her internal monologue. She didn't "whine" to anyone out loud very much. She actually maintained an admirably strong outward appearance. And secondly, SHE THOUGHT HER CHILDREN WERE DEAD. Are you people totally incapable of even the most basic sympathy?

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Yes, I agree with everyone here. I felt a sense of dread as I read the preceding Catelyn chapters but the wedding was a complete suprise, the most well written and beautifully executed piece of writing I have come across in recent memory.

Could not have said it better myself. But here's an interesting question: how did you all feel about it? I don't mean whether you were suprised or not, but whether you felt sympathetic, apthetic or glad. For me, it was the latter. Now, don't paint me as a Lannister-lover just yet. I don't like all of them either. I can say that my sympathies lie with some members and supporters of each house. Stark: Jon Snow & Bran Lannister: Jaime & Tyrion, Baratheon: Stannis & Davos.

For me, the overwhelming amount of sympathy and support for House Stark is simply baffling. Catelyn was an impulsive, treacherous and selfish woman. Robb, an impulsive, selfish oathbreaker. Arya, an impulsive, selfish murderer (but still a child so I guess she can be excused). Sansa, well...we all know what she is. I got the feeling that the Red Wedding was the Stark House finally receiving their dues after betraying and trampling on the pride of their own bannermen (Karstark and Frey). I can totally sympathize with Lord Frey after suffering humiliation repeatedly from Tully and Stark. Bolton is just a cunning, scheming bastard.

The Jaime incident with Catelyn in Riverrun and the Karstark incident with Robb, robbed (no pun intended) me of what little sympathy I had for the Starks to begin with. I sympathized with Theon more than with Robb. At least I'd always marked Theon as a bit of an idiot in over his head but Robb had all these false pretensions of honour that the Starks traditionally enjoyed rubbing in everyone's faces. I read the Red Wedding chapter with grim satisfaction that all the arrogance and errors of House Stark was finally beginning to wash away.

lolwhut? Even if you do not like the Starks, Robb and Catelyn did not deserve to be treated that way after their death. The mockery the old geezer Frey pulled have crossed the line. You said you can sympathized with Walder Frey even after he threw Cat into the river naked (mocking the tradition funeral of Riverrun), and sewn the wolf's head onto Robb's body? Amazing. I think your dislike for the Starks have clouded your judgement there. Maybe I have missed it, but I don't seem to recall the Starks acted arrogance and enjoyed rubbing pretensions of honor in everyone's faces. You may have to elaborate that one for me.

And Arya is a selfish murderer? You are alright with Lord Karstark murdering prisoner of wars and not Arya killing those people whom have/will brought her harms? Don't tell me you actually feel sorry for those cruel people.

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@vjott I really found everything you had to say pretty damn interesting, so I decided to address your issues

I don't blame Robb for the Karstark incident. Karstark and his men walked into a jail cell and murdered the prisoners. This was more than anything an undermining of Robb's authority and a betrayal of his orders. Personally I would have preferred he send him to the wall, but I don't think this was a case of trampling on the pride of the Karstarks. The Karstarks blatantly betrayed Robb.

As for the Freys, yes Robb messed up, and yes he trampled on the pride of the Freys. Does that justify Walder Frey butchering Robb and Cat and thousands of other Stark men in the most cowardly manner conceivable? I'd say no.

As far as the Jaime incident in Riverrun goes, I completely agree. I think Cat acted idiotically. Keep in mind Tywin wouldn't dare go through with the red wedding with Jaime in dungeon in Riverrun.

Do keep in mind that in the book, contrary to the show, it was a while before Robb knew Joffrey was Jaime's son. At one point Robb had thought that Joffrey was the rightful king, and that the rightful king had murdered Ned for treason. At the beginning of the war Robb fought Joff thinking he was the rightful king, but had no intention of swearing fealty because he wanted to avenge Ned. It seems perfectly reasonable that under these circumstances the northerners should declare their independence.

Now I do agree with you that upon finding out that Stannis was the rightful heir, it would have been good for Robb to declare for Stannis. However by this time Robb had already declared himself king in the north and Stannis seemed to have no hope in hell of winning the throne. What's more we're given hints that if a Baratheon was able to win the throne, Robb would have been willing to bend the knee. To be blunt I think Stannis is a hot headed prick. Robb was just a kid and HIS BANNERMEN has declared him king, it's not like Robb had been scheming to create his own kingdom. Instead of wishing for the kid's death, fight the damn Lannisters, take KL, and most likely Robb would have bended the knee.

My main concern with the Karstark incident was this:

Catelyn: I let Jaime the Kingslayer, an important asset to your war effort, escape for my own selfish gain.

Robb: OK, I forgive you.

Lord Karstark: I killed an imprisoned Lannister for my own selfish reasons.

Robb: Off with his head!

Justice and honour indeed.

Now, while Lord Frey's actions were not completely justified, it was not totally without reason.

Robb was completely at liberty to reject his bannermen's call for him to be king in the north. They may not have liked it but it would have been the better choice. Robb certainly did not think everything through and his bannermen were as hot-blooded and vicious.

Stannis may not have been a likeable king but he is the rightful heir to Robert's throne. Of course the issue of succession and the "rights" to a throne is another complex issue for another discussion. I do believe that Stannis would make a just king. If he had Robb's support, Stannis may never have come to rely on Melisandre.

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I'm always surprised at how fans are so unforgiving of Catelyn. She was far from perfect, I recognize that. First and foremost, I didn't like the way she treated Jon, of course. (As an aside, though, I know a woman who IRL was put in a similar situation to Cat. It's a blow to the dignity when your husband says, "Here, I fathered a son with someone else, now be a good little wife and be nice to him and don't make a big fuss about it." Everyone knows it's obviously not the kid's fault, but it's incredibly hard to show warmth in that kind of situation.) And the things she did were rash.

Maybe being a woman, or something, (though not yet a mother) I can't judge her too harshly for anything she did in the name of protecting her children or as a result of grief for her "dead" children. Like most humans, IRL I bet these fans pretty much always give the benefit of the doubt to grieving parents, and for good reason. Concerning Tyrion, Catelyn believed someone who was basically family (Petyr) over a stranger who is a member of a family that she was given reason to believe was intent on murdering people to protect a secret. Pretty understandable, I think. Kidnapping Tyrion was rash, but then, she had just come within inches of watching her young son die a violent death. I'd be rash too. And concerning Jaime, well, I can understand that action too (and it really didn't t urn out to be such a bad one). She always believed this war was bullshit and in a moment of extreme weakness (the loss of two sons) she acted on that. Jaime might have failed to keep his vows but her children were in danger anyway. The risk was worth it. And anyway, although I can also understand why Lord Karstark, also grieving, would be upset, I think at the end of the day he should have realized that Cat was right, and that vengeance should take a backseat to the possibility of actually saving lives.

*EDIT* As an example of a totally unforgiving fan, I just noticed that someone on this thread said they weren't upset about losing Catelyn because she had become too "whiny." Really? First of all, most of her "whining," if you want to call it that, was in her internal monologue. She didn't "whine" to anyone out loud very much. She actually maintained an admirably strong outward appearance. And secondly, SHE THOUGHT HER CHILDREN WERE DEAD. Are you people totally incapable of even the most basic sympathy?

Catelyn was what she was: a caring mother and nothing more. She was forced into positions and roles she should never have had. Robb should have sent her back to Winterfell when he found out about Eddard's beheading. Missing that opportunity, he should have sent her back when she first asked him to trade the Kingslayer for two girls. Her actions with regard to Jaime were nothing short of "a mother's madness" as one of Robb's bannermen said.

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lolwhut? Even if you do not like the Starks, Robb and Catelyn did not deserve to be treated that way after their death. The mockery the old geezer Frey pulled have crossed the line. You said you can sympathized with Walder Frey even after he threw Cat into the river naked (mocking the tradition funeral of Riverrun), and sewn the wolf's head onto Robb's body? Amazing. I think your dislike for the Starks have clouded your judgement there. Maybe I have missed it, but I don't seem to recall the Starks acted arrogance and enjoyed rubbing pretensions of honor in everyone's faces. You may have to elaborate that one for me.

And Arya is a selfish murderer? You are alright with Lord Karstark murdering prisoner of wars and not Arya killing those people whom have/will brought her harms? Don't tell me you actually feel sorry for those cruel people.

Why, yes, I felt sorry for the Tickler: he was a charming character. Just kidding.

You may or may not have noted my observation in the parentheses:

(but still a child so I guess she can be excused)

Lord Karstark had a reasonable cause: Jaime killed his sons, Catelyn set Jaime free, Karstark denied of vengeance, takes it from the Lannister that they still hold. Perhaps not honourable but still understandable.

Arya's cause for killing the soldier to escape Harrenhal was this: He's in my way, I'm going to kill him. Still as I mentioned before, she is only a (9-year-old?) child so she may not be able to fully and properly weigh the gravity of her actions.

At the time that I made my first comments, I was not aware of the Freys desecrating the bodies of the two Starks because I had not encountered that part in the book as yet. Yes I do dislike most, not all, of the Starks but I don't think my judgement has been clouded.

Now the difficult part: The Starks and their arrogance and so-called honour. Not many would like what I will say but I will let them judge for themselves whether the Starks, starting with Eddard and ending with Catelyn and Robb, had been conspicuous in waving about their "honour" in the following cases:

  • Robert asks for Eddard's support as Hand to send an assassin to kill the Targaryens.
  • Renly asks Eddard's support in capturing and secluding the Lannister children and their mother.
  • Cersei asks Eddard to support Joffery's claim.
  • Eddard inability to ask Littlefinger, in a straightforward manner, for his assistance with the gold cloaks.
  • Eddard's general disdain for Varys and all Lannisters.
  • Robb forgives his mother's treason. Robb beheads Lord Karstark for treason.
  • Robb marries Jeyne Westerling despite prior betrothal.

There are many more incidents but I will probably have to go through the other books to find them. I'll post them when I have time and expound upon what I meant by

Robb had all these false pretensions of honour that the Starks traditionally enjoyed rubbing in everyone's faces

and

grim satisfaction that all the arrogance and errors of House Stark was finally beginning to wash away.

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@Vjott

I'm in complete agreement that Robb should have sent Catelyn back to Winterfell, and I think releasing Jaime was complete madness on Catelyn's part. I think I've mentioned this earlier but holding Jaime was invaluable to the Starks as he could have functioned as a kind of "insurance". What I mean by this is that should the war be lost, Robb could have always negotiated a peace if he held Jaime, as it's clear that Tywin regarded Jaime as his only son and heir. What's more, for obvious reasons Tywin would never go through with the red wedding if the Starks still held Jaime.

In regards to Stark honor, yes there are deficiencies and shortcomings but you have to look at it in a relative manner. So Robb's lack of honor is him forgiving his mom, falling in love and getting married thereby breaking his betrothal, and not supporting the rightful king's claim (a man who seemed to have no chance of actually winning the throne). Let's take a look at the honor of other houses now.

Lannister: Jaime murders the king he swore to protect, Tywin sacks King's Landing by tricking the king, and during the sack orders the murder of Rhaegar's innocent wife and infant children. Jaime and Cersei then take part in an incestuous relationship having three children that they pass off as King Robert's. When Bran sees them, they push the boy out of a window crippling him. They then kill the king and install Joffrey on the throne. They then behead Ned after telling him that he would live if he confessed...and the list goes on and on.

Targaryen: Aerys refuses Lord Rickon's request for trial by combat, instead he burns him alive and kills Brandon as well. But let's not dwell on Aerys since hes mad anyways. Rhaegar kidnaps Lyanna, a girl betrothed the lord of the stormlands, starting a rebellion and plunging the kingdom into madness out of pure selfishness. Don't get me started on Viserys. Dany does some stuff that's "out there" but I won't mention it because I'm not sure everyone is at that point in aSoS (although I do like Dany and consider her "honorable")

I'm not going to continue my list, you get my point. I actually begrudge the Starks for being too honourable and I think Ned would have gotten a lot out of reading Machiavelli's works. Tywin Lannister's brand of real politik is what made the Lannisters so powerful, but Ned's idiotic sense of honor ultimately cost him his life and put such a huge burden on his 16 year old son's shoulders. I'll end with this:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-lUoI9YWUJdo/TeznSJ7yr1I/AAAAAAAAAmQ/PaB3x4Z3GDA/s400/GoT%2BNed%2BLOL%2BNO.png

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For the purposes of the story, if not for the Starks' war effort, I'm very happy that Catelyn freed Jaime. I like him a lot. And given Jaime's change of heart, although nobody could have known this at the time Catelyn released him, I don't think it would have turned out to be such a bad decision (had the RW not happened.) (I know some people think Jaime had a hand in the Red Wedding, but I'm not one who subscribes to this idea.) It lost them the Karstarks, it lost them the "i nsurance" of an important captive, but with Jaime's falling out with his father and his asking Brienne to make sure Sansa is safe after Joffrey's murder seems to point to the idea that he was growing more sympathetic to their cause than to his father's.

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I always assumed that Jaime knew the red wedding would take place, though he had no part in planning it. Jaime would have to be a moron not to know that Roose Bolton was in league with Tywin, and most likely Roose informed him of their plans.

Also before leaving Harrenhal Roose tells him to give Tywin his regards, and Jaime asks Roose to give Robb Stark his regards. At the end of the RW when the man steps up and stabs Robb through the heart, he says "Jaime Lannister sends his regards",,,,,,,,,,,,,,,so :dunno:

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  • Robert asks for Eddard's support as Hand to send an assassin to kill the Targaryens.
  • Renly asks Eddard's support in capturing and secluding the Lannister children and their mother.
  • Cersei asks Eddard to support Joffery's claim.
  • Eddard inability to ask Littlefinger, in a straightforward manner, for his assistance with the gold cloaks.
  • Eddard's general disdain for Varys and all Lannisters.
  • Robb forgives his mother's treason. Robb beheads Lord Karstark for treason.
  • Robb marries Jeyne Westerling despite prior betrothal.

There are many more incidents but I will probably have to go through the other books to find them. I'll post them when I have time and expound upon what I meant by

Robb had all these false pretensions of honour that the Starks traditionally enjoyed rubbing in everyone's faces

and

grim satisfaction that all the arrogance and errors of House Stark was finally beginning to wash away.

You are right about Robb forgiving Catelyn too easily. I think he should have chop her head off when he arrived. I know he won't but he should. That's my only criticism of the whole Karstark incident. Lord Karstark openly challenged his authority in the presence of others by saying something like "He doesn't have the gut. The Young Wolf will pardon me *smirks*). If I were Robb, I would have his head off too, but with dealing with Catelyn also. Make no mistake that I do think Robb and Catelyn deserved to die. Lord Frey does have a good reason to betray Robb and the Stark family in general. But from all the crap that he pulled, you can bet I will be rooting for his death. I hope it won't turn out to be old age. That would be so dissatisfying.

I don't think you can blame Eddard for his refusal with Robert, Renly, and Cersei. From the bottom of his heart, he just simply didn't want to do it because like you said, his honor didn't allow him to do most of those things. I don't think the word "arrogance" is the word to describe him. More like "naive". His honor did get in the way of his better judgement. He paid for it with his life though.

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I always assumed that Jaime knew the red wedding would take place, though he had no part in planning it. Jaime would have to be a moron not to know that Roose Bolton was in league with Tywin, and most likely Roose informed him of their plans.

Also before leaving Harrenhal Roose tells him to give Tywin his regards, and Jaime asks Roose to give Robb Stark his regards. At the end of the RW when the man steps up and stabs Robb through the heart, he says "Jaime Lannister sends his regards",,,,,,,,,,,,,,,so :dunno:

Don't think so. Jaime got the hint that Roose was switching allegiances, but no more. At no point did he have any time to help plan anything or be told any of the details. The "Jaime Lannister sends his regards" is either meant to mislead fans or just to rub it in that they set him free.

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You are right about Robb forgiving Catelyn too easily. I think he should have chop her head off when he arrived. I know he won't but he should. That's my only criticism of the whole Karstark incident. Lord Karstark openly challenged his authority in the presence of others by saying something like "He doesn't have the gut. The Young Wolf will pardon me *smirks*). If I were Robb, I would have his head off too, but with dealing with Catelyn also. Make no mistake that I do think Robb and Catelyn deserved to die. Lord Frey does have a good reason to betray Robb and the Stark family in general. But from all the crap that he pulled, you can bet I will be rooting for his death. I hope it won't turn out to be old age. That would be so dissatisfying.

I don't think you can blame Eddard for his refusal with Robert, Renly, and Cersei. From the bottom of his heart, he just simply didn't want to do it because like you said, his honor didn't allow him to do most of those things. I don't think the word "arrogance" is the word to describe him. More like "naive". His honor did get in the way of his better judgement. He paid for it with his life though.

Fair enough.

On another note, one of the most eerie parts of the Red Wedding, for me, was when they started singing the Rains of Castamere during the slaughter. Another part that gave me shivers when someone (presumably Bolton) passed on Jaime's message to Robb before killing him. The Red Wedding has some of the best-written scenes for the book in my opinion.

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The attack made me sit up in shock at the brutality but then I immediately went back and realized all the clues that had been given. Not just Grey Wind but Lord Frey was dropping hints all over the place 'The red shall flow and wrongs shall be set right'. I was slapping my head I didn't see it.

Then there was the food that was served. Has there been any discussion about the menu Lord Frey served his unfortunate guests during the Red Wedding? I recall Martin saying in the book that everything was carefully planned including the food.

The only metaphor/meaning I could see in the Red Wedding feast was the red, bloody lamb chops served as the last dish. All the guests truly were lambs lead to the slaughter :o But I don't know about the meaning of the earlier dishes like leek soup and such. Does anyone else have any ideas?

My thoughts about the menu have probably been spurred since I picked up that Official Song of Ice and Fire cookbook :)

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I did a post about the foreshadowing to the Red Wedding in another thread, but I really appreciated all of the foreshadowing and hints. A few I had forgotten until this thread:

- Dany's vision in the House of the Undying

- Greywind's reaction

- Roose Bolton had married a Frey

- The bad band

- The terrible food

- Lord Frey's comments

- The absence of Olyvar and other young Freys

- Rains of Castamere starting

- The fear and sadness of the bride

- All of the alcohol for the soldiers

- The Hound kept referring to it beforehand as the "bloody wedding" (I know he was just swearing, he didn't actually know, but it was interesting to me)

Are there any others?

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I felt that something bad was going to happen, but I never thought Catelyn and Robb would be killed. Grey WInd was all the warning I needed, and it pissed me off that Robb didn't pay closer attention to him.

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I was gobsmacked after reading the RW chapter. I think anyone reading would've figured something was coming but not that, never.

After finishing the book, I went and re-read that part and so many hints and allusions became apparent but even then, I can't see myself predicting that.

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