In a hotel room in Boston, my wife and I were between activities on an anniversary trip we took to the Northeastern United States. Two days of camping and touring the 24 mile stretch where the Battle of Gettysburg was fought came first. We also saw the New York skyline and New York traffic for the first time (and paid a $13 toll for that awful privilege). But now we were in Boston and with about three hours until we were to leave to attend a Red Sox game that night, we pulled out the computer and logged into HBOGO to watch the Game of Thrones episode we missed because we were on the road.
I was not a reader of the book series at this point, so I had no specific expectations as to what we were about to witness. I suspected a plot altering event would happen because it was episode 9, the same episode number in previous seasons where Ned Stark lost his head and Stannis was defeated at Blackwater Bay. I had even seen a Game of Thrones post on an Auburn sports message board (of all places) asking “Why did they do that?” But none of this prepared us for what we witnessed in that Comfort Inn near Boston.
The hotel internet signal was fantastic. Not only were buffer pauses non-existent, but the picture quality was excellent. We watched Robb Stark arrive at the Twins and uneasily apologize to the despicable Walder Frey (and that was before ordered a pregnant woman stabbed). There was a feeling of uneasiness throughout the entire wedding/ceremony that something would occur here, but seeing three more members of the already scattered Starks brutally murdered left my wife and me in complete shock. The sight of a pregnant Talisa being stabbed in the stomach repeatedly made my wife turn her head and cover her eyes. My jaw stayed dropped through the entire massacre, right up to the slashing of Catelyn Stark’s throat. Ironically, we witnessed this event the day after touring the sight of the bloodiest battle of the American Civil War.
Monday was the anniversary of the Red Wedding and I don’t know if the event was an “I remember exactly what I was doing/where I was watching” moment for you. But it may be the only one of those moments television has produced for my wife and me. And as I think back, I am further reminded that another infamous episode 9 approaches. Though it will be plot altering and exciting as usual, is it possible for it to turn our expectations of the show upside down like the Red Wedding did? Will it leave us aghast, unsure that we actually just saw what we saw? As someone who has now read the books, the answer is that it’s entirely possible.
Also, happy anniversary to my wonderful wife, Megan, as we get ready to celebrate four years together this year and how thankful I am that our wedding was significantly less bloody than the one we watched the day before our anniversary last year.