Saturday, 08 June 2013

It's always been raining in Castamere We probably don’t need to talk too much about the content of “The Rains of Castamere,” if only because I said most of what I wanted to, content-wise, in the podcast. Instead I’d like to focus on how the director, David Nutter, used the confusion created by Michelle MacClaren in “Second Sons” to great effect during the Red Wedding. If you haven’t read the books or watched the ninth episode of the third season, I highly recommend you stop reading this right now. As you remember, MacClaren’s means of shooting Tyrion’s wedding in “Second Sons” was one part (hers) misdirection and one part (the character’s) indiscretion. Everyone was a spectacle-in-waiting or a secret-about-to-be-told, but no one was talking to one another. Even the actual attempts at communication — Tywin’s conversation with Tyrion and Joffrey’s failed attempt to hold the floor — weren’t communicative, to the extent that when Tyrion finally revealed what his (modified) intentions were, there was, as I noted in the first post, “a real potential for chaos.” The lesson of the episode is, in short, that when no one’s communicating honestly, honest communication becomes impossible. Everything becomes a performance and the most convincing performer — in this case Tyrion — wins the wedding. All of which is only to say that Tyrion’s wedding consisted of jealously guarded secrets and innuendos, as opposed to the Tully-Frey wedding, in which everyone is open about everything. Beginning with the attractiveness of the woman who isn’t the bride: In a sense, this is a classic medium long shot of the “plain américain“ variety, in that it mimics the Western’s imperative to have everyone visible from the tops of their hats to the tips of their guns — except in this case the gun is Robb Stark’s sword. Point being that this is traditionally an “honest” shot used by directors to indicate that the characters have nothing to hide. They’ve shown their opponents what they’re packing and now a firm assessment of relative armament can be made by characters and viewers alike. In this case, it demonstrates how anemic the Stark complement within the banquet hall seems. In the light that’s filtering down from off-screen right, only Robb’s sword seems visible. It’s significant that in an episode that will — as I’ll argue — be characterized by requited gazes and general openness, the lighting in this scene indicates that the Starks have something to hide. The white light coming in from frame-right leaves the right sides of their faces in shadow and almost makes it seem as if they’re planning something nefarious, which is ironic both for the obvious reason and because, at this particular moment, Robb’s being chastised by Walder Frey for bringing Talisa to what should have been his wedding: Frey’s half-lit face is also suspect, only more so, because Nutter frames it in a medium close-up. When a group of six people are all “victims” of the same strong off-screen light source, the general effect is that there’s a...

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