This week’s blog covers:
S3 Ep 7: “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”
S3 Ep 8: “Second Sons”
S3 Ep 9: “The Rains of Castamere”
S3 Ep 10: “Mhysa”
This Week’s Highlight(s):
Once again this weeks highlight goes to the production team of HBO and the series Game of Thrones. “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” featured an epic fight sequence between Jaime, Brienne, and Bart the Bear.
Makinggameofthrones.com reveals that the actual bear, pit, and subsequent battle for survival was mostly filmed in Castaic, CA due to issues with flying a live bear internationally. The other option was to use an animatronic bear or man in bear suit. Episode director Michelle MacLaren, ultimately decided that these options would not be realistic enough. This scene would not have been as effective with the alternatives, so I give my props to the showrunners for doing whatever it took to create a realistic bear fight. Although this scene, along with the scenes with Ramsay and Theon were not written by Martin, the rest of the episode was. This marks the third episode that Martin has written for the series.
This Week’s Lowlife(s):
The Freys and the Bolton’s obviously deserve to win the Lowlifes of the week. The Red Wedding happened this week in “The Rains of Castamere.” George R.R. Martin disclosed to EW.com that this scene was the hardest one he has ever had to write. Martin explains that he finished the entire third installment of the series, A Storm of Swords, before finding himself capable of writing the Red Wedding scene, stating
“It was like murdering two of your children. I try to make the readers feel they’ve lived the events of the book. Just as you grieve if a friend is killed, you should grieve if a fictional character is killed. You should care. If somebody dies and you just go get more popcorn, it’s a superficial experience isn’t it?”
Martin later admits that this scene had many inspirations, including real events in Scottish history. In a 2013 Week.com article, The Real-life Events that Inspired Game of Thrones’ Red Wedding, Stacy Conradt breaks down how The Black Dinner and the Glencoe Massacre inspired the Red Wedding.
Each of these scenarios broke guest right, which has been a part of social and moral laws throughout all of recorded history and every civilization. In The Moral Basis of Hospitium Privatum, the ancient Greek and Roman concept of hospitality, is explained as the sacred duty of the host to protect their guest while under the host’s roof. According to Nybakken, this concept has been utilized as a formal agreement between families, eventually increasing its scope to agreements made between an individual, other members of the community, and even between states and nations.
This guest right is very important tradition in Westeros. Once a guest has been served bread and salt, the guest right is invoked. The breaking of this sacred virtue has been seen in the Mutiny at Craster’s Keep and even with Jaime’s pushing of Bran from the tower, in which Jaime was the Stark’s formal guest. Breaking this sacred oath means certain damnation, which is all I really want for Walder Frey.
Thought Provoking Theme(s):
The Literacy Divide
Although the series has hinted to Jaime’s dyslexia and the lack of literacy throughout the commonfolk of Westeros, this series of episodes really show the divide between those that are literate and those who are not. Ser Davos is illiterate and Shereen hopes to teach him how to read using old tales. Learning to read proves to be very important, because Davos is able to read the scroll from Aemon Targaryen warning of the White Walkers, which ultimately saves Davos’ life.
North of the wall, Gilly has many difficulties understanding Samwell as they seek safety after the Mutiny at Craster’s Keep. When Samwell explains that he has so much knowledge from reading old books, Gilly responds with, “You know all that from staring at marks on paper? You’re like a wizard.” It is very interesting to see these divides and how it affects relationships and the narrative.
This divide is apparent with Jon Snow and Ygritte, as well. As the Wildlings move forward with their attack plan, Ygritte pokes fun at the way the that those below the wall fight. Jon Snow warns Ygritte that the Wildlings will not win against the Night’s Watch. He tells her how the Wildlings have attacked six times, and lost each time. Jon knows this due to all of his teachings and readings in Winterfell. The lack of literacy and preserving history ultimately weakens the Wildlings. They can only focus on survival north of the Wall, so it is understandable that they have not found time nor energy to record their history.
Nybakken, Oscar E.. “The Moral Basis of Hospitium Privatum”. The Classical Journal 41.6 (1946): 248–253.