Gaze not into the abyss lest you accidentally write a book

Skip to content

Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later. Support Elizabeth on Patreon.


  1. Jarl
    March 21, 2016 @ 11:58 am

    This parenthetical statement has no end:

    (It is, however, worth noting the irony that an episode entitled “The Rains of Castamere” has no Lannisters in it; indeed it’s the first episode since )


  2. Aylwin
    March 21, 2016 @ 1:05 pm

    But is it a bug or a feature? A sentence left unfinished pending checking that never happened, or a puzzle for the reader? The same question could be asked about the absence of the Lannisters from the episode itself, so perhaps this omission is a piece of metatextual commentary.

    Actually, I don’t there had ever been a Lannisterless episode until this, had there? Which might be an indication in favour of the idea that the irony of their absence is deliberate. After all, in terms of causation (setting aside the magic issue) the Wedding is an expression partly of Tywin’s ability to engineer the outcome he wants without direct action, partly of Robb’s failures in handling his allies. Given how hard they push the “never lost a battle but lost the war” line, it makes sense that Robb’s downfall should occur without his overt antagonists putting in an appearance at all.

    Emphasising that would also tie in with the pattern that all three targets of the spell are struck down “from behind” rather than by their declared enemies, though of course that linkage is lost in the TV version.


  3. David Faggiani
    March 21, 2016 @ 5:29 pm

    I always thought the Red Wedding/Purple Wedding (or Season 3/Season 4) one-two was a great illustration by Martin of the old “oppositions don’t win elections, governments lose them” saying. In the Red Wedding, the anti-Lannister ‘opposition’ are cut down in a night of shock surprise and decimation, only for the seemingly victorious Lannister ‘government’ to swiftly descend into infighting, betrayal and familial bloodshed, at what should be the peak of their unassailability. The parallels with current political events in the UK are irresistible 🙂


  4. Jim
    March 22, 2016 @ 9:20 pm

    Well, I think it worked well (and in a competition to come up with things in Game of Thrones that don’t work well, I think I’d do pretty well). This episode was a massive TV event, which really created a buzz. I wasn’t watching the show at this point, but I couldn’t escape the fact that something really big had happened. Viewing GoT as a piece of popular television, that’s the sort of thing it should be aiming to achieve – and I think we can only praise it for managing to achieve that aim.

    I guess things work differently if you’ve read the books, which I haven’t. For one thing, the big surprise would no longer have been such a surprise. And you can see shortcomings in the adaptation which aren’t apparent to people who’ve only watched the show. But at the end of the day this show is aimed primarily at people who haven’t read the books. It’s what works or doesn’t work for them that matters most.


    • Elizabeth Sandifer
      March 25, 2016 @ 6:22 pm

      I had not read the books when I first saw it, for what it’s worth. That said, yes, I agree, it was a shocking and talked about moment. As spectacle it worked. But I think it’s fair to ask whether spectacle is or should be the primary aim of Game of Thrones.


  5. Dustin
    March 25, 2016 @ 11:10 am

    I was already spoiled going into this episode months later, but that arguably made the viewing experience even more harrowing. I knew what was coming, and I spent the episode with a knot in my stomach and ever-growing dread. I was shaking by the time it all happened. Nothing’s ever done that to me before. I will never, ever watch it again.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.