The “Red Wedding’s” Lasting Impact

Last Sunday on Game of Thrones, we saw the most starling wedding ever put on television, but the impact of the final scene in “The Rains of Castamere” will echo throughout the remainder of the show.The Red Wedding

The sudden ousting of 3 prominent members (Robb Stark, Lady Talisa, and Catelyn Stark) turned the show permanently upside down, as Robb was seen as the show’s one true hero, attempting to avenge the wrongful death of his father and take back The North. But there in lies the problem: The North. Game of Thrones is about power and power for power’s sake, and the noble task of justice for killing Eddard Stark and reclaiming the North is not enough to subdue the urge to have everything, which is what the Lannisters want and they will do anything to retain it. It is clear, honor only goes so far, as both Eddard and his son Robb are now dead.

This all could have been seen coming, as Robb makes a myriad of mistakes leading to his untimely death, but it is still shocking since he seemed to be fighting for the right cause. What is better than trying to kill the family that wrongly killed your father? But Robb was not power hungry. He was The King of the North, and would have been totally content with that title. The other players are vying for a whole lot more. The Lannisters have the throne. Stannis and Daenerys (and the late Renly) both want the throne for the power of all of Westeros. Robb would have sat on the throne, if his battle was successful against the Lannister forces, but it was not the reason he was fighting, like the rest of the lot. That was his tragic flaw. He was not out for power to simply to have it. A sad, but brilliant realization as to why Robb was killed.

Also, and not too be brash, but someone had to die. It couldn’t have been the Lannisters, as they control the Seven Kingdoms, so that leaves us with Daenerys and Robb. Westeros would have been too big to contain them both. Couple that with the fact that the Targaryens have already been extinguished from the top, as they were massacred, leaving only the children alive, then it is not hard to fathom a similar fate for the Starks, who also have their entire adult household killed, leaving only the 4 Stark children left to fend for themselves. This symmetry in storytelling is what allows the death of Robb Stark to be withstood. The story of Westeros and Game of Thrones is bigger than any character. No matter what happens, the story will survive.

The ripples of Robb’s death will still be felt at the Game of Thrones conclusion, which is why it is such an important turning point in the series. Power and emotions will surge and sway ever more mightily, as a pivotal player was vanquished from the board. One less head is playing the game, which puts the pressure on the others competing to show what they are worth. The entire show as we know it has now changed. For as long as the show’s existence, the Stark’s have seemed like the preeminent favorite to win the game, but with their departure, we now have to reevaluate the situation. We now have to see how everyone reacts to the news. The power struggle gets ramped up, since the Starks are, for the most part, eliminated. Who steps up to sit in the iron throne? We will have to wait and see what other kind of chaos eventually ensues.

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