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Inevittable

[book spoilers] PhD research thread: Mental images of THAT upcoming scene

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Hello all,

I am currently studying towards a PhD in Media, Culture and Communication at Keele University. My project title is ‘An online ethnography of the fan community of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels and the Game of Thrones television adaptation’ and my aim is to investigate the history and current practices of the fan community of A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones.

With the permission of the owners of this website I am initiating this thread to try and encourage discussion about the topic described below.

An information sheet is available here, which will hopefully address any questions you may have about the research. The information sheet contains information about the research process, and also information about how your posts to this thread will be used. You are under no obligation to take part, however your help in the project would be much appreciated.

By posting in this thread you are agreeing to the statements on the consent sheet which is part of the information sheet linked to above. By posting in the thread you are agreeing that you are over 18.

If you have any queries please let me know.

PS: There is a thread here which you are very welcome to join to discuss the research project or ask questions.

***significant book and TV spoilers below**

The Red Wedding

There is already a thread about the Red Wedding, but it is quite general. I’d like to prompt a similar thread, but make this one a discussion about your thoughts about the scene, rather than how you imagine unsullied viewers will respond – although like many of you I can’t wait to find out their reactions.

I’d like us to use this thread to discuss our mental images of the Red Wedding before it is screened. I’d be especially interested if you could tell me about:

What were your initial reactions when you first read the scene? What are the most vivid mental images you have of it?

How do you think it would have been described from a different point of view than Cat’s or Arya’s?

How do you imagine the scene will play out on screen?

How much (if at all) are you looking forward to the scene? Can you say why?

These questions are just a guide, and I encourage an open discussion so you don’t have to stick to them rigidly. I’ll post my own answers to the questions later, but would rather if you all took the lead to start.

See page 11 of this thread for discussion since the Red Wedding scene aired, thanks

Many thanks,

Inevittable

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The most vivid mental image without a doubt is Robb with Grey Winds head, sitting on a throne with a crown. It pretty much symbolises Robb's demise and the Red Wedding to me and I'm dreading but...morbidly anticipating how they portray how the bodies were treated. I think that was the biggest shock and horror for me- how the bodies were treated.

I'm looking forward to finding out if Talisa is a spy and the non-book readers reactions to the RW.

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It's been a while since the first time I read the scene, but I've just read through it again. It's strange, when read out of context, how short the massacre scene actually is.

I think the thing that really sticks in my head is Cat holding the knife to Jinglebells' throat. I don't think about Jinglebells, but I can almost see the play of emotions across Cat's face as she wrestles with fear, anger, rage, hope, pain.

I too am wondering about how they show the treatment of the bodies. They weren't shy about showing Ned's head on a pike were they? But mostly it comes down to the characters. I'm terrible at predicting how things are going to go on screen, I'm just excited to see what happens.

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I think the thing that really sticks in my head is Cat holding the knife to Jinglebells' throat. I don't think about Jinglebells, but I can almost see the play of emotions across Cat's face as she wrestles with fear, anger, rage, hope, pain.

Yeah, that was hard to read, especially when she started sawing at his throat. :ack:

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Yeah, 'saw', 'neck', 'blade', 'grate' and 'bone' don't have many happy combinations do they! Although, then it goes onto "ten fierce ravens were raking her face". Nice.

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Its interesting that you noted on a re-read how short the actual massacre scene really was. Its been years since I read the RW (and I won't ever read it again) and my mental image is that the scene goes on, and on, and on, past the point where I was gasping and horrified and nearly to the point of me screaming. To me, it was the single most viscerally shocking scene I've ever read. And, that's saying something, because I'm middle-aged, college-educated and have been a voracious reader all my life. Another interesting bit of input is that later, when I came to this board and learned of other readers' reactions to the RW, many, many of them said they literally threw the book across the room. That's exactly what I did! And it wasn't because of anger or a 'fuck this!' reaction, that came a few minutes later--instead, it was instinctive--rid me of this horror! Exactly as a person would react if he/she were to look and see a scorpion or poisonous spider crawling up her arm. Fling it as far away as possible, as fast as possible, without a second's rational thought.

Best wishes to you with your project--a most interesting topic, indeed.

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Definitely the image of Cat clawing at herself. Plus Rob calling for Grey Wind.

Sorry to go slightly of topic, but does anyone (just follow me for a sec) think that a non book reader will see rob with a wolf's head and then jump to some crazy conclusion that he'll spring back to like as a wolf/man hybrid? I mean really if your a non book reader and your jumping to conclusions trying to be "that guy" who is always predicting the end of movies you could really jump to that conclusion especially in a show like this that is unpredictable.

A little off topic but I didn't no where else to ask that question.

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Mental images... I'll describe a few thoughts of mine.

1. What were your initial reactions when you first read the scene? What are the most vivid mental images you have of it?

I was somewhat suspicious of the wedding, so much of the Stark host's time at the Frey's prior to the actual killing, I was feeling uneasy. My most vivid mental image was when Catelyn Stark saw the chainmail under someone's tunic-- at that point, my gut completely sank and obviously, the slaughter then begun, perfectly timed to directly after that chainmail image. That "sinking feeling" is what really made it stamp into my brain.

Edited to add, after reading some comments, that Cat's treatment of Jinglebells and her psychotic break/face clawing was definetly strong and effective imagery. I did put the book down after that chapter for a while.

2. How do you think it would have been described from a different point of view than Cat’s or Arya’s?

I'll skip this one.

3. How do you imagine the scene will play out on screen?

I imagine it will stay fairly close to the books, with much blood and so on. I'm sure it will be gruesome and shocking.

4. How much (if at all) are you looking forward to the scene? Can you say why?

I'm not looking forward to watching the scene a whole lot, since I have a faily low tolerance for blood'n'guts. I am looking forward to the "unsullied's" surprise! :D

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Most vivid images:

- Robb, lying on the ground, being stabbed by Roose Bolton.

- Catelyn screaming and clawing at her face.

- And of course Robb's corpse with the Grey Wind's head attached.

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Upon my first read of that chapter I was stunned and my heart was actually beating. The image that stuck out in my mind the most and still does is Catelyn watching the blood run down her arms while she laughs and says "it tickles." That's when I knew this chapter would end even worse than I imagine. When I finished the chapter I flipped through the rest of the book just to see if there was another Catelyn heading. I didn't want to accept what happened to her.

By the end of the book the shock had mostly settled but I was still unhappy. It wasn't until I finished the epilogue that I felt some sort of justice was happening, for the rest of the book is dreary for every Stark family member (including Jon.)

I am excited to see the scene because the sheer shock of it in the books will be all the more real when we see it. I won't be happy about seeing it but I feel like it will make the point even more clear that this world is a cruel place.

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I did the same thing - flipping ahead to see if there were any more Cat chapters - because I just could not believe what I had just read.

What stood out for me is the sound of the drums. Cat repeatedly mentions how awful the musicians are - that was the red flag for me. And then when she feels the chainmail under the sleeve - what an awful feeling of dread.

The other thing I did after looking for the Cat chapters was to reread the chapter where they arrive @ the Twins and finding Lord Walder's "mayhaps" - that when I was sure I hadn't misread it. I did this before I read the Arya chapter, so hers was an extra gut punch.

I'd like to see the moment where Dacey Mormont realizes something is wrong - the light in her eyes going out. And I'm interested to see Lord Walder's callous indifference towards Jinglebell combined with his ghoulish glee - should be enough to properly sicken me.

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If I remember correctly...Robbs body with the wolfs head wasn't part of the written scene....it was later described by Tyrion when they got news of it at kings landing and the gory details came out....I had the feeling that something was going to go terribly wrong when the Freys admitted to not having their children at the wedding....and also Roose Bolton sweating profusely throughout the wedding .....he's a type that never sweats or never seems to show any apprehension....As soon as the scene ended and Robb was dead...it was really a big punch in the gut....I felt like I couldn't read the story any longer...that some how Robb was supposed to continue on and fight the good fight. Another strange line that stood in my mind was Cat's reference to her hair when they were coming to slash her throat. "Not my hair, ned loves my hair" I guess the shock and horror of it all would make her delusional. The most troubling part for me was how they treated the bodies afterwards...the mocking of the Tulley funeral traditions with Catlyn just being dumped inthe river....and of course Robb being mutilated in such a manner after his death....we know what happens to Cat....but I was kind of hoping GRRM would tell us what finally happend after Robbs body was mutilated. What ever became of his remains?

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Yeah, I think my most vivid image what the blade coming out of Robb's chest as Roose Bolton stabs him, because I think when I got that that point I got a jolt and my whole body shock for a microsecond as though I touched a live socket or something. Up until that point I still held out hope that Robb will get captured and I didn't expect him to die, when the blade came out of his chest it was all over. I think after finishing that chapter my heart was beating super fast. I had to close the book and take a moment to calm down. Took me a few hours before I was ready to go back, I kept going in my mind WTF, did that just happen?

I really don't expect the show to be able to duplicate that moment, Robb was a much more awesome character in the books than the show, and I like book Catelyn a lot more too, and all the Northern bannermen that I like such as Dacey and Smalljon aren't even in the show. I think the show will do a decent job with what they have, but they will not come close to the emotional impact of reading the RW.

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When I first read it, I had an urge to throw the book. Then I decided a nice break would be good. I put it down for a day. Honestly, when Cat dies all I'll be thinking of is: "No, don't, don't cut my hair, Ned loves my hair."

Vivid images? Mostly the musicians holding the crossbows and uh the part where a bunch of men stroll in holding large battle axes.

I imagine the scene playing out just like the book, or at least I hope that's how it goes.

Honestly I'm not really looking forward to anything, it is incredibly depressing to me.

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1. What were your initial reactions when you first read the scene? What are the most vivid mental images you have of it?

I refused to believe it at first. I couldn't imagine I had just read about both Robb, one of my favorite book characters, and Catelyn being murdered. I felt especially sorry for Cat at that time, because she died believing that pretty much all her children were dead or lost, and also knowing Arya was so close. I flung the book across the room and then just paced the apartment for about fifteen minutes, furious.

"Not my hair" was probably a standout moment for me.

I went on to read the Arya chapter, and then I had to flip the rest of the book to see if there were any more Arya chapters. There was and that gave me some relief. But I was still furious with Bolton and Frey, even until the end of Dance. Manderley talks about how the North remembers, well, turns out I do as well...

2.How do you think it would have been described from a different point of view than Cat’s or Arya’s?

This one is hard to answer. For any other lord of the North (apart from Bolton of course) in pretty much the same way. From the perspective of Frey, how justice had finally been made following Robb's incredible offense to his house. From Bolton's perspective in a very matter of factly, logical way, "There, it's done, and I now have control over the North!"

3. How do you imagine the scene will play out on screen?

The problem for the screenwriters is that there are so many fewer characters we actually know, meaning the death of Robb's bannermen won't be as striking. Also, the way Frey's throne room was portrayed in S1, it looks like it will be set in a smaller space. Probably a lot of focus on Robb and Cat. It will probably be preceded by quite a build-up with lots of ominous signs. Non-readers will have to get the sense that something is awfully wrong before it actually happens, to be at least somewhat mentally prepared.

4. How much (if at all) are you looking forward to the scene? Can you say why?

I can't really say I'm looking forward to it, but at the same time, most of the people I discuss the show with haven't read the books, and in that way I look forward to actually being able to discuss, and process, it with them.

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The musicians setting aside their instruments and pulling bows and crossbows is my strongest RW mental image !

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Thanks for all your answers everyone, please keep them coming.

I was somewhat suspicious of the wedding, so much of the Stark host's time at the Frey's prior to the actual killing, I was feeling uneasy. My most vivid mental image was when Catelyn Stark saw the chainmail under someone's tunic-- at that point, my gut completely sank and obviously, the slaughter then begun, perfectly timed to directly after that chainmail image. That "sinking feeling" is what really made it stamp into my brain.

I'm so rubbish at cottoning on when books drop hints about what's going to happen. It was only on the re-read that I picked up on the constant mention of the loudness of the music and how important it was that the children weren't there.

- Catelyn screaming and clawing at her face.

This is something I really can't wrap my head around seeing on screen. Really curious about how/if they show it.

I am excited to see the scene because the sheer shock of it in the books will be all the more real when we see it. I won't be happy about seeing it but I feel like it will make the point even more clear that this world is a cruel place.

I know what you mean. I sometimes have to remind myself, when I'm watching these scenes, of what's coming up.

If I remember correctly...Robbs body with the wolfs head wasn't part of the written scene....

Oh yes! Perhaps it won't be shown at all, and will be more like hearsay.

I really don't expect the show to be able to duplicate that moment, Robb was a much more awesome character in the books than the show, and I like book Catelyn a lot more too, and all the Northern bannermen that I like such as Dacey and Smalljon aren't even in the show. I think the show will do a decent job with what they have, but they will not come close to the emotional impact of reading the RW.

I wonder if, similar to other TV episodes where a main character is going to die, they'll really amp up the audience's love for Robb and Catelyn in the beginning of the episode... Arya getting so close... Edmure looking happy... etc

A few people have mentioned Dacey. I wonder if Talisa will replace her at the wedding? Since we don't have any family back-story for her (yet), it seems like her character might be pretty pointless without Robb. It would certainly make the whole thing much more dramatic on screen, without the need to show all of Robb's well-know (to book readers) bannermen. Perhaps pushing all the loss that was felt in the book, because of the number of bannermen slain, through the loss of that one well-known character with such strong ties to Robb.

ETA: Just read the Talisa thread and realised that the above isn't all that original!

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What were your initial reactions when you first read the scene? What are the most vivid mental images you have of it?

The first time I read it I called my friend who made me read the books at 1AM to ream him out for making me read such a depressing series. I thought for sure Robb would eventually avenge his dad's death. His response? "Silly. Remember what happened to Ned. There's no happy ending here. That's what makes it so awesome."

The most vivid mental images I have have changed the more I read it. The first time, it was Dacey Mormont taking the axe to the belly, the Greatjon going down, the drums, and Cat holding a knife to Jinglebells's throat. I also thought that maybe Robb would make it out alive, after having taken numerous arrows but still managing to stay alive....until Roose Bolton gutted him. Sigh.

Consequent rereads had me pick up on the fact that Catelyn went mad and clawed her face to shreds. I don't know why I didn't pick up on that at first (no, I do - it was the shock of the scene the first time through) but any other time I read it I think of that.

How do you think it would have been described from a different point of view than Cat’s or Arya’s?

Depends on who's POV you get. I think it's most impactful the way George wrote it, through a mother's eyes going mad with grief over the loss of her children, and the daughter who won't ever get reunited with her mother again.

How do you imagine the scene will play out on screen?

Honestly, if they capture even a fraction of the horror on screen I'll be impressed. The picture in my mind is just so vivid, I'm not sure it will live up to it. Not to mention the foreshadowing on the show has been much more defined than in the book, to me. (Sure, you don't see Dany's vision of a king with a wolf's head, but I truly think the show has hammered it home to us that Robb's a dead man.) I do think Cat's "death" will be a shock to the Unsullied, though.

How much (if at all) are you looking forward to the scene? Can you say why?

This was the single most memorable chapter I have ever read. I am looking forward to it with a morbid curiosity. I want to see how it plays out on the screen, as opposed to my mind. If it's more impactful physically seeing it unfold rather than in my mind's eye.

I am also looking forward to the reactions of others (mainly my Unsullied sister and her boyfriend) moreso than the actual event.

I also am in the camp that Talisa will be killed during the wedding. I think that the streamlining of the story dictates it. We need it to be total and utter decimation of Robb and all he stands for - since we don't have his bannermen, this means that his wife and unborn child will be sacrificed. I think for TV, it makes the most sense. Who has Robb been seen with in I believe all of his scenes this season? Talisa. Whereas Cat has been delegated to background - his relationship with her is ruined, and his death (and hers, as well) will be all the more tragic - their relationship will die fragmented, and that will also help fuel Lady Stoneheart's rage.

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These responses are really interesting to me too, seeing what other folk noticed - cos seriously, I've read ASoS at least 5 times and the last time was just a couple of weeks ago, and I never paid the slightest attention to who killed Robb, it's not until now that I'm really twigging that it was Roose. :blushing:

What were your initial reactions when you first read the scene? What are the most vivid mental images you have of it?

Shock, obviously - it was clear that SOMETHING bad was going to happen at some point, but I had no idea how bad it would be. All that planning about the march up the causeway made it look like the Northmen would still be heading back towards Winterfell in some form or other, and so having that so comprehensively torn away was totally unexpected. Mental images? Well, the terrible discordant musicians for one thing, the way Roslin kept crying and everyone seemed either tense or upset (very much like the atmosphere in Cowslip's Warren in Watership Down, where the residents all know a terrible secret but are keeping it from the newcomers), Dacy getting an axe to the stomach, and of course then Cat clawing her face off.

How do you think it would have been described from a different point of view than Cat’s or Arya’s?

From an insider's POV, it would be hard to keep the secret without either giving it away or getting really cheesy, and any other POV would not have the same emotional response. But the external view worked really well in the series for Ned's death, so I'm hoping it will be the same here.

How do you imagine the scene will play out on screen?

For big important scenes like this, they've tended to stick closely to the book, so I imagine this will be much the same. Sinister buildup for the most part, then short but brutal conclusion. Not sure if they'll do the Bedding scene though, would have to wait till after Sansa & Tyrion's to make a guess (it would take a bit of extra explanation to not look weird). Unless that's been shifted for the series, I haven't been paying attention to any trailers or synopses.

How much (if at all) are you looking forward to the scene? Can you say why?

I am looking forward to this scene immensely. If I had the DVD I would skip forward to this scene and watch it before the rest of the episodes. It has so much potential for a really powerful setpiece, and doesn't have the budget constraints of the Blackwater (which was awesome enough in its own right) so they should be able to do a stellar job of adapting it.

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