For fans of George R.R. Martin's books that inspired HBO's "Game of Thrones," the episode that aired Sunday night was one to be both anticipated and dreaded.
"The Rains of Castamere," the penultimate episode of the show's third season, features a scene known as the Red Wedding, a gory turning point in the story that will have a major ripple effect across Westeros.
The wedding -- between Edmure Tully and one of Walder Frey's daughters -- was supposed to serve to mend fences between the Freys and the Starks. Robb Stark had deeply offended the Freys by breaking a vow to marry one of Walder's daughters, and instead of forgiving him, Walder had Robb, his mother Catelyn Stark, and all of his bannermen massacred at the wedding feast.
"From the beginning we’d always prayed we’d get to season three at least because, you know, two of our favorite scenes from the entire saga are in season three," co-creator David Benioff told EW.
"I just remember reading the book before we’d even written the pilot and thinking, 'Oh, my God, we’ve got to get this. We’ve got to get this show to happen because if we can make this scene work, it’s gonna be one of the greatest things ever on television or film.'"
And, judging by the online reaction, Benioff and his showrunner partner D.B. Weiss indeed managed to pull it off.
Book readers surreptitiously taped unsuspecting non-readers' reactions, posted on YouTube and, in at least one video, compiled in a series of horrified expressions.
And on Twitter, fans' reactions ranged from shock to horror, to outright rage.
I need a hug. I have never been so traumatized by a television show. #gameofthrones— Bon Alimagno (@karma_thief) June 3, 2013
If anyone needs me i'll be humming "rains of castamere" rocking back & forth in the fetal position for the foreseeable future #gameofthrones— Katie Lucas (@KtLuWho) June 3, 2013
Game of Thrones just collected every mic on the planet and dropped them.Good god.— Mikey Neumann (@mikeyface) June 3, 2013
There are literally not enough cuss words in the English language. Jesus Christ, George RR Martin. #gameofthrones— Bon Alimagno (@karma_thief) June 3, 2013
If you're watching game of thrones tonight and you haven't yet read the series... You know nothing of pain, sweet summer child.— Kim (@KimD_Trinh) June 3, 2013
Somewhere, there's a couple all of a sudden reconsidering their Game of Thrones-themed wedding.— Caitlin Kelly (@atotalmonet) June 3, 2013
Hello everyone who is just arriving at the Game of Thrones despair meeting. We've all been waiting for you.— Dan Stefanidis (@elbasunu) June 3, 2013
And, if you can handle seeing it again, here's the horrific scene: