After Game of Thrones' recent Red Wedding massacre, competition for the Iron Throne just got fiercer.
Who's left to fight the good fight? And will one of our heroes actually declare victory? Only George R.R. Martin, who wrote the books on which the HBO series is based, truly knows which of his characters, if any, will indeed sit upon that bloody, uncomfortable throne when his seven-book series is completed. But until then, we can catch the season finale Sunday (9/8c, HBO) and debate the leadership potential of who's left alive (RIP, Robb Stark!).
Here's TVGuide.com's list of the most throne-worthy candidates, with some input by the cast:
Game of Thrones is usually all about the lions (Lannisters) annoying the wolves (Starks), but this time, a different furry animal joined the fray.
On Sunday's episode, Brienne got up close and personal with a bear as part of her Harrenhal welcoming gift (a muffin basket would have sufficed!). But she escaped relatively unscathed, which is more than we can say for Theon's fate at the hands of his gleeful torturer. Who else struggled? Who triumphed? TVGuide.com breaks down the power shifts in "The Bear and the Maiden Fair":
One whore has sadly discovered that she's not as skilled at playing the Game of Thrones as she fancied herself to be.
On Sunday's episode, Ros learns to not cross Littlefinger (or at least not get caught at it) too late. It's a grim reminder of just how brutal the world of the Seven Kingdoms is. Who else paid the price of failure? Who benefited? TVGuide.com breaks down the power shifts in "The Climb":
Zach Galifianakis returned to host Saturday Night Live for the third time, providing one of the most consistently hilarious shows of the season. Also stopping by the set were Galfianakis' Hangover III co-stars Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms, Game of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and SNL favorite Jon Hamm. Here are some of the highlights:
Rose Leslie, Kit Harington
Hello, friends and bannermen. Sunday's Game of Thrones exposed several of its characters -- and not just while they were bathing! Plus: More machinations and creepy fetuses were revealed. How did the episode match up with the books? How did it differ?
Tyrion Lannister could be poised to become a king.
On Sunday's Game of Thrones, the Halfman discovered that his father found another use for him besides the Master of Coin. And this new role could get him crowned one day. How does King Tyrion sound to you? Who else did fortune smile upon? Who suffered a setback? TVGuide.com breaks down the power shifts in "Kissed by Fire":
Losing one's hair isn't the fate of every man, but it could have been Jaime Lannister's on Game of Thrones.
In the novels upon which the HBO fantasy drama is based, the notorious knight shaves his head so he won't be recognized as he travels across the country. On the series, however, he remains unshorn.
The Mother of Dragons has let one of her children out to play.
Watch out, kings of Westeros! On Sunday's Game of Thrones, Daenerys "Stormborn" Targaryen's dealings in Slaver's Bay finally paid off with thousands of new followers. Let's just say that they're fired up to carry out her cause to win back the Iron Throne. Who else performed a coup? Who misfired? TVGuide.com breaks down the power plays in "And Now His Watch Is Ended."
Give Jaime Lannister a hand because he royally messed up.
On Sunday's Game of Thrones, the Kingslayer got a firsthand lesson that his father's money and influence will only take him so far. In fact, Jaime's fortunes changed hands because of his nasty habit of paternal name-dropping. Oh, are our puns getting out of hand? Who else lost the upper hand? Who advanced? TVGuide.com breaks down the power shifts in "Walk of Punishment":
What if the genders in Beauty and the Beast were reversed?
That's the spin author George R.R. Martin put on handsome Jaime "The Kingslayer" Lannister (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) and lumbering female knight Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) in the books that inspired HBO's hit fantasy series Game of Thrones (airing Sundays at 9/8c). And like the classic tale, the journey taken by this unlikely duo is "about the inner beauty of someone and how that can translate across physical odds," Christie tells TVGuide.com.