This year I signed up for Netflix, became intimately familiar with the movies section in iTunes, and generally became a bit reckless with my spending. As a result, I have watched a lot of films and television series over the course of twelve months; some bad (most bad) and some good. Then there are those that made me go… Wait for it… “wow”.
So for the remainder of the year (albeit now, in fact, 2014), I thought I’d share with you my five most favourite viewing experiences. Bear in mind that a few of these weren’t released this year, but instead I watched them this year and therefore warrant placement on the list. Anyway, without further ado, coming in at number 1 is the epic television adaptation of one of the most emotionally crippling moments of George R. R. Martin’s fantasy book series, Game of Thrones: The Rains of Castamere (S03E09).
Spoilers after the jump.
Now I don’t often make a habit of spoilers but the moment in question is a specific one. If you’re familiar with the story (up until this point), then you’ll probably know what I’m talking about: The Red Wedding. That’s right, Robb Stark (Richard Madden), his wife (Oona Chaplin) and unborn child, mother (Michelle Fairley) and most of his army – so pretty much everyone you’re rooting for – is massacred. At a wedding. It was insane! I didn’t know what to think during the whole ordeal; I didn’t even understand my emotions at the time; that’s how much it affected me!
Having joined the Game of Thrones bandwagon after season two had been and gone, I ended up watching it all back to back across two days. I hadn’t even heard of the books, let alone the show, before this point, so imagine how excited I was when I took my first steps into Westeros. I’m a fantasy enthusiast through and through, so the whole concept of Game of Thrones / A song of Ice and Fire (the name of the book series) resonated deeply with me. Since then, I have read the first book, and have familiarised myself with some prolific discrepancies between original text and adaptation, but that’s as far as I’m planning on going until the show has run its course.
You see it struck me that this particular episode had helped shape the way I write, and it’s changed me (it was a big influence on my final university project). I don’t want to interfere with that. Books are great and all, but personally I find the visual arts to be the more stimulating and exciting medium. It just feels like a more definitive representation of the creator’s idea as a whole, not subject to deviation from or misinterpretation of the subtle nuances. In the case of Rains of Castamere, I watched in horror as the Starks met their cruel demise, all the while Walder Frey looked on in wicked glee, and there was nothing I could do that would stop it.
I can put a book down, think about something else, but this visual translation of the Red Wedding has been bored unto my soul; forever will their faces haunt me.
– Joe Aldous
King Robb Stark
Lady Catelyn Stark
Queen Talisa Stark
Robb and Talisa Stark’s unborn child
Ser Wendel Manderly
The North Remembers.