The #GoT Effect: TV Weddings Will Never Feel Safe Again
*SPOILER ALERT* Do not watch unless you saw the Purple Wedding (SE4, EP2) episode Game Of Thrones.
Another day, another Game of Thrones wedding that makes me hesitant to ever get married. In the most recent episode of HBO’s critically acclaimed series, King Joffrey Baratheon celebrates his betrothal to Margaery Tyrell with a feast fit for…well, a king. The sun is shining. People are eating. Joffrey is heckling every performer that tries to impress him. Everything seems normal in the land of Westeros.
That is, until George R. R. Martin takes over the script.
But let’s backtrack for a second to review what happened last time someone decided to tie the knot in Martin’s fantasy land. In “The Rains of Castamere,” arguably the most traumatizing and shocking episode of any TV series in existence, Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey celebrate their marriage at the Twins to the delight of Robb Stark, who plans to use the union of the two houses to build a stronger defense against the Lannisters. Too bad he breaks his promise to Frey by secretly marrying Talisa before he arrives, or else the plan might have worked out swimmingly. Instead, Walder orders everyone in the room to be slaughtered, leaving the future of the Stark House up to the remaining children: Arya, Sansa, and Bran (and Jon Snow if you count bastards). Remember, kids: love hurts.
So here’s what I want to know: what does George R. R. Martin have against weddings? Up until this point, tying the knot on TV was considered a happy occasion or, at the very least, a tool for comedic plot twists. Weddings are a place for admitting mistakes, making heart-warming memories, and sometimes, saying the wrong name at the altar. They’re for bringing fans together in celebration and uniting them under one glamorous cause. Even The Bachelor has resulted in some nice wedding parties. Granted, they might all be scripted, but at least nobody dies.
So how, then, did Martin’s Game of Thrones episodes get so topsy-turvy? Unless the writer has been hiding under a rock for all these years and simply didn’t get the “marriage is good” memo, he must have some sort of explanation for abandoning the typical TV wedding formula (where, you know, people actually get married and no one gets brutally murdered or poisoned halfway through). Perhaps he’s simply an opportunist, someone who hears the word “wedding” and envisions a group of important people all gathering together under one roof, just waiting to be wiped out in one swift attack. Maybe Martin’s borrowing from personal experience and the media is covering up his brutal ways for the sake of entertainment. (That one is a stretch, but it’s worth keeping in mind.) Or maybe he just likes to challenge the norms and watch his fan base suffer in the process. Who knows?
Then again, Martin did not kill off a set of lovable characters in this week’s Purple Wedding episode. Rather, he killed off Joffrey Baratheon, one of the most heartless teenagers in the history of television. In other words, he eliminated the bad guy, which is technically a cause for celebration. Is this a sign that Martin is turning over a new leaf? That, in his own twisted way, he’s starting to recognize that weddings are supposed to be a joyous occasion? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Featured image via MetroUK2.