[Warning: Spoilers and angst ahead!]
Have you recovered from last night’s Game of Thrones yet?
It’s all right if the answer is “no.” The last scene of “The Rains of Castamere” may have been the most brutal, shocking, heart-breaking sequence ever made for television — and though they’ve been primed to expect the worst (Ned Stark’s beheading, anyone?), Thrones fans who haven’t read George R. R. Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire” books are still reeling from its effect.
Moments after the slaughter at Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey’s wedding began in earnest, Twitter feeds filled with expressions of anguish and despair — sometimes in all caps, sometimes just via strings of letters. Sitcom stars couldn’t take the heat; 2 Broke Girls lead Beth Behrs complained that she wouldn’t be able to fall asleep “with those horrible images in [her] head,” while Josh Gad, late of 1600 Penn, called it “the most upsetting hour of TV” he’d ever seen.
And plenty of normals agreed: “I’m still in shock!!!” wrote EW commenter GTeskey, speaking for legions of fans. Robb Stark’s pregnant wife Talisa getting stabbed repeatedly in the stomach — something that doesn’t actually happen in the books, where Robb is actually married to another character altogether — especially seems to have hit a nerve.
Plenty of outraged viewers are claiming that they’re done with Game of Thrones now, much as they did after the series beheaded its apparent hero way back in season 1. See, for example, this colorful (and NSFW) message left on HBO’s Facebook page, or this complaint from EW commenter Matt: “I love the show and the books, but after awhile having all of these ‘non redemptive moments’ and ‘kidney punches’ makes it akin to torture porn….The show and books have built up a lot of goodwill for me, but if beloved characters keep getting 1) denied satisfaction/success AND 2) brutally tortured, I will not follow GRRM in any of his other endeavors.”
Generally speaking, though, the consensus seems to be that anyone who stuck around after Ned lost his noggin is tough enough to stick with the show even now — though “it may be hard to ever surprise anyone again from a main character death,” as EW commenter Ser Jones notes. We’ve also learned to be wary for anybody named Eddard: “Even a baby with Sean Bean’s name dies!!” exclaimed EW commenter Anna Schuman.
The bottom line for Thrones watchers (and “Song of Ice and Fire” readers), in commenter Lala’s words: “First rule in Game of Thrones: Don’t get attached to characters. Second rule in Game of Thrones: No, seriously dude, don’t get attached.”
And for those who fear the lords of Winterfell will never rise again, remember this comment, apparently left by Rickon Stark himself: “Hey guys im still here don’t worry.”