And she’s just about to learn Arya is still alive, too.
Benioff: Arya is 100 yards away from her when it happens. It’s just so frustrating.
Weiss: One of the things that make people respond so strongly in George’s writing, and hopefully the show, is it’s not that nobody ever triumphs over adversity. Like Daenerys [unleashing her dragon] in the Plaza of Punishment is such a rousing “f–k yeah!” moment. It’s mixing up those moments with somebody making a horrible mistake and paying the worst possible price. If everything was gruesome and terrible all the time you’d always know what was going to happen since it would always be the most gruesome and terrible thing. The range of different possibilities that play out makes it more real because that’s what the world is like. Sometimes wonderful things happen and sometimes horrible things happen.
Benioff: Like the final shots of the last two episodes of season one. Episode 9 ends with Ned’s beheading and 10 ends with Daenerys rising from the ashes and her baby dragons being born. It went from the darkest possible moment to the most optimistic one.
The darker moments can weigh on fans, though. The Red Wedding in particular is infamous for making many fans very upset with the books. One reader once claimed on the EW boards that there are no heroes in Martin’s novels, only victims.
Benioff: Well, that’s not true. It’s hard to think of Daenerys Targaryen as a victim.
Weiss: She started as a victim. But many heroes start as somebody who is powerless.
Benioff: Also, just because somebody has a tragic end doesn’t turn the character from a hero into a victim. I don’t think Hector of Troy was a victim because he lost to Achilles. He’s still one of the great heroes of that epic. I just don’t even know how you make that argument.
Weiss: Heroism is the way you confront the horrible things that are thrown at you.
I think it’s a reaction to some of the high tragedy in the books. And probably also because we don’t know the ending of the saga yet, so the ultimate story context of what we’re seeing isn’t entirely clear.
Weiss: I can see it from somebody who’s used to a very traditional story — if you’re used to the one dimensional modern pop definition of heroism, yeah. We don’t have people whose dark night of the soul lasts five minutes then they come out the other side into sunshine. That’s not this world.
Benioff: This is not about the epic battle of good and evil. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
What was shooting the scene like for the actors?
Weiss: We tried to call Michelle [Fairley] afterwards. She wasn’t answering. A week later she wrote an email saying, “Sorry I haven’t been able to talk to anybody about the show for the past week because I’ve been so shattered.”
Benioff: Michelle is such a powerhouse. Obviously nobody does anything for the awards and it’s a big ensemble show. But I hope she does get recognition for the entire season and culminating in one of the greatest death scenes that’s ever been shot.
RED WEDDING FULL COVERAGE
– ‘Game of Thrones’ Michelle Fairley joins USA’s ‘Suits’
– Game of Thrones‘ recap for ‘Rains of Castamere’
– ‘Game of Thrones’ showrunners talk The Red Wedding
– Robb Stark shocker: ‘Game of Thrones’ actor talks heart-breaking twist
– George R.R. Martin must-read interview! Game of Thrones author on why he wrote The Red Wedding
– Michelle Fairley interview: Why Catelyn made her shocking decision
– See EW’s Red Wedding invitation