Watching Game of Thrones is a hazardous experience. One minute youre laughing hysterically at the well-endowed Podrick, the next youre gawping at corpses. Episodes are gritty, blood flows often, and characters drop like flies. That said, there are certain moments that stand out, that deliver gut punches that can leave you horrified for days. There are videos of people screaming at their televisions, blog posts mostly made up of swear words, and everyone has a friend or family member to watch with whose reactions are part of the show. Sweet summer children, book readers know all the agonizing twists years in advance. And in some cases, it was worse for us to read than for you to watch. Lets look back at the seven most brutal twists, and whether they were more difficult to read than to watch.
7. The Red Wedding
This one was obviously going to be number one. The Red Wedding is arguably the centerpiece of A Song of Fire and Iceat least as the books stand now. Its the purest example of brutality anywhere in the Game of Thrones world, a piece of wanton destruction that made everyones twitter feeds go insane. The Show The scene plays out slowly, leisurely. Theres a creeping sense that something has gone horribly wrong as the music rises, as our characters begin to notice that things are somehow not quite right. Then a crazy dude comes up and starts stabbing Talisa wildly in her pregnant belly. People start yelling, arrows start flying, and for the next few minutes everything inside and outside the castle goes to hell. The Book The scene takes three and a half pages. Less, if youve got a hardcover. Instead of an unknown crowd being slaughtered, every Northerner whose name was ever mentioned seems to be included, each getting their own individual death. Everything happens so fast that theres no time for lingering moments as Robb and Catelyn die. And everythings told from Catelyns perspective. You know that moment when you or whoever you were watching with, right at the end, when Robb was killed, absolutely freaked as the hope of his survival ended? Well, in the novel that was the moment Catelyn went mad. She started clawing at her face and screaming. But, in the book Robbs wife (who never appears on the page) was not present, and was also not pregnant. The show felt the need to dash all our hopes at once, so they added that in. Nice of them, eh? The Verdict: The Show Im going to call this one for the show. Its more surprising in the book because its buried two thirds of the way through at the end of a chapter. The book also kills off many more characters, which the show tops by killing Robbs wife (whose name I dont want to try to spell again). Let me put it this way: the book killed the past, but the show found a way to kill the future too. But the real reason the show is more agonizing than the books is the actors. We got to know these characters in a way we didnt in the books. And they just nailed it so well, brought so much gravitas and added so many layers to each horrific moment.
Rebecca Kulik lives in Iowa, reads an obsence amount, watches way too much television, and occasionally studies for her BA in History. Come by her personal pop culture blog at tyrannyofthepetticoat.wordpress.com and her reading blog at journalofimaginarypeople.wordpress.com.