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The ‘Princess Bride’ Effect: How ‘Game Of Thrones’ Is Turning More and More People Into Fred Savages
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The Movie God   |  @   |  
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Fred Savage in The Princess Bride

Hey there, champ. Mind if we have a seat? We heard this week’s episode of Game of Thrones was especially difficult to watch. And we just wanted to let you know that we understand, and that it’s going to be okay. Everything is going to be okay. But probably not.

This week’s episode, titled “The Rains of Castamere,” is the ninth episode of season three and one that fans of George R.R. Martin‘s “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series have been waiting for since the show began…with sick, sadistic smiles of pure evil hiding behind poker faces in front of unsuspecting friends and family members who entered the show unaware of what fates these characters had coming to them. As the show has progressed there have been some shocking moments, sure, and even fans of the show who hadn’t previously read the books had learned that it was not wise to grow too fond of a character. But they were not prepared for this.

Be warned that I’m going to do my best not to say anything specific that would spoil the show, but if you’re behind it might be safer to just avoid reading this so you don’t find yourself trying to figure out what happened.

Aside from stating the obvious—very bad things went down in this episode and one or two characters may not be appearing in season four—I’ll leave it at that for now, and I’ll especially not be using a certain terminology associated with the events of the episode that give away too much. One of the first things I thought of after watching that episode was how angry I’d have been if that was spoiled for me (which happens far too often these days; days in which people often think the world revolves around them, and that everyone watches the latest episode of a show the second it airs, and that they’re the funniest comedian alive because they share an unfunny meme that ruins it for everyone they know who isn’t caught up) and how badly I felt for everyone who knew it was coming because someone they knew couldn’t shut up about it. It was, quite simply, one of the most shocking TV moments of all time, and the response has been fitting.

If you look around the internet, there’s many reactions to “The Rains of Castamere” to be found. Some come from Twitter, others from YouTube and elsewhere, and the emotions vary. Some people were stunned into silence (that would include me), which the producers of the show knew would be a likely response, eerily playing the end credits with no music whatsoever. Others were devastated, and sobbed away understandably. Then there’s the anger. Some fans were enraged by what happened, screaming furiously and cursing the show, the show’s producers, and Martin, before many of them stated emphatically that they were done with Game of Thrones.

We haven’t seen a response like this since that so very depressing moment in episode nine (seeing a trend yet?) of season one, which led many to swear they would no longer watch the show anymore and led me to write this. Whether they stayed true to that promise or if they couldn’t stay away (which the ratings would indicate) matters not, as the show’s popularity has grown exponentially since then because people love a show that has the ruthlessness to off important characters, without using magic and other excuses to bring them back again…unless you’re Beric Dondarrion, of course.

Which brings us to the reason for this post. This latest bit of shock has far surpassed all others, and the amount of anger aimed towards Martin and HBO had me thinking of one thing and one thing only: Fred Savage.

Savage, as most of you are aware, played the young boy being read a story by his grandfather in The Princess Bride. There’s plenty that intrigues the boy about this fantastical tale filled with fencing and fighting and torture and revenge and giants and monsters and chases and escapes and yes…even true love. But as they start getting into the book, he quickly realizes it might not be for him. He continues to give it a chance, hoping it will be worth his time, but it’s later on, after he’s become fully invested in the story that ol’ grandpa drops the bomb, and the boy finds himself furious, thinking his time has been wasted on a poorly crafted book.

But grandpa explains to him that life isn’t always fair, and he listens to the rest of the story and ultimately finds himself loving it, just as grandpa knew he would. So why are so many people becoming their own personal Fred Savage after this episode of Game of Thrones? Don’t they know that this is fictional storytelling, and not all stories have happy endings? Why doesn’t everyone just calm down a bit, grab a nice pint, and trust in grandpa?

If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, here’s a few examples. But be warned, unlike this post these examples do contain major spoilers.

The first is a collection of videos of people reacting to the episode, which can be seen RIGHT HERE. If you’ve seen the episode and know what’s going down, it’s funny to see how differently people react (as almost seven million people have in just a few days). And as you can see, a few of these people are downright pissed off. Fred Savaged.

Then there’s this collection of some of the angriest responses from around the ‘net. And if angry people threatening physical harm on others because of a fictional TV show is too much, you can always check out the funniest responses instead.

Fred Savages everywhere!

All I have to say to everyone running around swearing at George Martin and swearing off Game of Thrones is the same thing as I’ve said before. You’d be out of your freakin’ mind to stop watching now. It’s because of moments like these that this is one of the greatest TV series of all time; if you want lots of unrealistic happy endings where the heroes always find a way to win and the bad guys always fail, by all means, go watch the unoriginal and generic crap that’s on the bigger non-pay networks. And it’s not like Martin is just killing people ruthlessly for no reason—he actually puts a lot of thought into it and is just as devastated to see one of his creations, one of his children, die. Read an interview with him on the subject RIGHT HERE (but again, spoilers exist at that link).

Though I wish I could take credit for first comparing Game of Thrones to The Princess Bride—my personal all-time favorite movie—it has been done before. A while back a video surfaced tying the events of season one of the show together with the scenes between the boy and his grandpa. While the video is hilarious and fitting, it also warns “just wait till we reach the 3rd season.” That didn’t mean much at the time, but of course now it makes perfect sense to all who’ve witnessed what they were talking about.

Sadly there will always be little Fred Savages running around out there (pre-lessons learned, of course), many of which will never watch the show again, and that’s a real shame. All I ask is that if you’re reading this and you’ve felt a Savage spell coming on, take a few days (or the unbearable ten months of waiting for next season that’s quickly approaching) and let everything set in before you run away from this very good thing permanently. We all, including you, know it’d be a decision you’d regret. And that’s no good for anyone. Right?

OK…good talk! Let’s go get some ice cream.

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