The Red Wedding vs Negan & Lucille
*** MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD ***
Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead are incredible television shows. They are legendary examples of fearless storytelling that results in compelling and addictive narratives fans adore. The shows have certainly come along way over the years and their popularity has never been stronger.
One of the reasons these shows have such staying power is the strength of their characters. It’s the drama at the center of these character’s lives that makes these stories so compelling. Let’s not forget the sheer number of shocking twists, character deaths and awe inspiring moments. They wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t care about the characters who experience the heart break or the heart warming victories.
You can write books about the biggest moments these two amazing shows have given us so far. However, I want to focus on a single event from each series and how they stack up against each other. Let the showdown begin!
Game of Thrones – The Red Wedding
The Walking Dead – Negan & Lucille
The Red Wedding: This gruesome event took place during ‘The Rains of Castamere’. The ninth episode of the show’s third season. During the ‘War of the Five Kings’ Lord Walder Frey arranged a brutal ambush that resulted in the deaths of several main characters including Robb Stark, his wife Talissa and his mother Catelyn. The shocking betrayal absolutely devastated viewers. Especially those who didn’t read the books and had no idea it was coming. If you want to truly appreciate the magnitude of this event, search ‘Red Wedding Reactions’ on YouTube and you’ll see the passion of dedicated fans on full display.
Negan & Lucille: Fans of The Walking Dead comic series have long anticipated the arrival of Negan and his barbed wire wrapped bat Lucille. His introduction may have concluded the sixth season of TWD with a divisive cliffhanger but his true impact was felt during the season 7 premiere: ‘The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be.’ The episode featured the deaths of two main characters, Abraham and Glenn in what could very well be the most violent on screen beating in television history.
The Red Wedding was staged by Walder Frey with the help of House Bolton and, of course, House Lannister. Part of the impact of The Red Wedding was the surprise element. Frey lured the Stark’s into his house with the promise of a long lasting alliance. Robb Stark’s army was achieving small but key victories in his campaign to avenge his father’s murder and defeat the Lannisters. Sadly that campaign came to an end when the doors locked in Frey’s dining hall and the massacre began. While the event itself is gruesome, Walder Frey isn’t exactly hands on. He simply watches his men carry out his orders while the Lannisters sat on the sidelines miles away.
Negan, on the other hand, is a force of nature and a charming one at that. Fans can argue his introduction was drawn out but you can’t argue his character isn’t compelling. The Walking Dead creators could be sitting on one of the greatest villains in television history. Especially if he continues his reign of relentless terror on Rick and his group. Negan doesn’t scream at the top of his lungs. He is calm and decisive. He’s honest about what he wants and acts with horrifying precision when people oppose him. It’s refreshing for a villain to come along, make terrifying threats and actually follow through.
THE EDGE: The Walking Dead. Negan took a baseball bat and completely gutted every character on the show in addition to fans around the world.
Let’s start with The Walking Dead. Season 6 was a lost season for me. It was a season of fake deaths and stalling for the sake of stalling to delay Negan’s big moment. And THEN the writer’s gave us a cliffhanger that made fans wait even longer for answers. Faking Glenn’s death early in the season almost assured he wouldn’t survive the season 7 premiere. Abraham was an easy pick as well if there HAD to be a second death. The episode itself, slight stalling issues aside, was amazing, It was tough to see these characters go. Unfortunately, fans had a long time to make peace with that and the end result wasn’t as surprising or suspenseful as it could have been.
On the other hand, The Red Wedding took out several fan favorite characters in one gruesome moment. Much like Ned Stark’s death in season 1, the entire show changed forever. Robb and Catelyn in particular were central to the main plot until they were viciously betrayed.
THE EDGE: The Red Wedding. If the fake Glenn death didn’t happen I believe the edge would have gone to The Walking Dead.
This really boils down to two moments.
First, Glenn trying to speak with a crushed skull and an eye ball popping out of his head was disgusting. Some would argue it crossed the line but it’s The Walking Dead! Still, seeing two people get their heads beaten to a pulp with a baseball bat is nasty. Especially with Negan smiling and gloating as he swings away.
Even with chunks of skull spewing in every direction, I don’t think it gets more shocking than stabbing a pregnant women in the abdomen. Queen Talisa suffers more than just excruciating pain. She dies knowing her child is already lost and Robb has to watch it all happen.
THE EDGE: The Red Wedding.
THE STORYTELLING & LASTING IMPACT
Shocking deaths aren’t compelling if they mean nothing moving forward. That’s why killing off characters in Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead works so well.
From a storytelling perspective, The Walking Dead suffers because of how long they made fans wait to see Negan’s grand entrance. From the overly elaborate cat and mouse game in the S6 finale to the flashback/forward narrative structure of the S7 premiere it was simply too much build up. The entirety of season 6 was used to setup a single moment. I don’t speak for every fan but I found it very frustrating and manipulative. I think we can all agree it would have been much more effective to kill Abraham in the S6 finale and then surprise everyone with Glenn’s death in S7.
Stalling aside, the actual moment was extremely well done. More than that, Glenn and Abraham’s death will certainly impact the remaining characters a great deal forever. You never recover from witnessing something like that. Even in a world overflowing with Zombies and unspeakable violence.
Negan and Lucille changed The Walking Dead forever. The Red Wedding is no different. But Game of Thrones gets the edge due to the sheer power of the scene. Every character is carefully led to this moment. It’s a showcase of brilliant storytelling precision that resulted in one of the most memorable scenes of all time. Period. On any show.
THE EDGE: I still remember how it felt when the credits rolled in both cases but I have to give the edge to The Red Wedding.
I believe the Photoshopped featured image above illustrates my feelings perfectly. Negan is going to be an amazing villain on The Walking Dead and the timing couldn’t be better. I was starting to fade a bit on the show but I’ve never felt more invested now that the group faces such an interesting threat.
His big moment is definitely in the same league as Game of Thrones’ Red Wedding. However, in this case, he is relegated to the background as The Red Wedding simply shines brighter as a key moment.
What do you think?