"Game of Thrones'" viewers, fans and casual passersby are — I hear — shocked, shocked about the death of Robb Stark (Richard Madden) on Sunday's sanguinary slaughterfest, otherwise known as the "Red Wedding." But why?
If ever there was a death foretold in the "Game of Thrones" over the past three seasons, this was the one.
You didn't have to read the book to see this one coming. Clues abounded. Here are at least 9.
1.) Robb entered the entire saga after attending an execution his father had ordered. That's called foreshadowing.
2.) While not paying attention, because he was talking about his favorite subject (himself) the wildlings captured Bran. At some point viewers had to ask themselves whether Robb wasn't exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer.
3.) Of course he promised to marry one of Lord Walder Frey's daughters, and of course he knew the penalty for breaking the promise; after all, it was the exact same penalty he would have exacted under similar circumstances. He knew Walder's allegiance was vital — never would have gotten across the river to win that major battle (Whispering Woods); never would have captured Jaime; never would have consolidated his hold on the north, never would have forced Cersei to at least to consider truce terms; and on and on. It was a vital promise broken. But, dim to the end, and full of himself, Robb never saw that — certainly never thought that the rules applied to him.
4.) His very mother, Catelyn, warns him against marrying Talisa. He brushes her off. His hubris again clouds his poor judgment.
5.) He displayed poor judgment over and over again — and at a certain point, it became clear that he was incapable of reading people, including close friends — even his mother, who sort of betrays him, too. This indicates that she didn't trust his judgment either.
6.) Robb, despite his allegiance to a vaulting ambition and to avenge his father's death, never had a clear grasp of the small allegiances he needed to nail down as a means to that greater end. Example: He executes Karstark, who had murdered those two boys for revenge. Karstark was bad to the bone, of course, but Robb instantly lost the allegiance of the Karstark forces — which had the obvious and unfortunate effect of forcing him back into the waiting arms of Walder.
7.) His mother even warned him again over plans to marry Talisa — and again, he ignored her.
8.) Finally, Grey Wind. And here, the sorry tale of Robb comes full circle. It was Robb who revealed an essentially kind heart by adopting the direwolf back in the very first scene of the series. Grey Wind warns Robb about the intentions of House Frey — at least warns him that something is very wrong here. But Walder wants the wolf caged. Stupidly, Robb agrees to put his single greatest friend, his most loyal ally, in a cage. And we now know how that ended.
If "GOT" has any moral, it's this: You can't make this many mistakes and still survive in Westeros...even if you are king.