Oh baby! Sunday's Game of Thrones answered one major question, but then raised several more with its chilling final scene.
[WARNING: The following contains spoilers from Game of Thrones' "Oathkeeper." If you haven't watched it yet, don't make us leave you out in the cold for the White Walkers!]
Game of Thrones' Kristian Nairn answers questions Hodor-style
Game of Thrones finally unmasked the people who had a hand in Joffrey's death, but fans had to pay close attention to figure out exactly who physically slipped him the poison — for indeed, it was poison and not a dry pigeon pie that sent the king to the afterlife. Who else made successful power plays? Who suffered a setback? TVGuide.com breaks down the power shifts in "Oathkeeper":
Lady Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) and Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish (Aidan Gillen) Littlefinger reveals that the necklace he had given Sansa (Sophie Turner) contained fake stones that were actually poison. Who played with her necklace during Joffrey's wedding? Why, none other than Lady Olenna, who does the same action with her granddaughter Margaery's (Natalie Dormer) necklace in "Oathkeeper" and says that she never would have let Margaery marry "that beast" Joffrey. It's a savvy move by Littlefinger, who still has ties to the throne through the very wealthy Tyrells.
Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) The Mother of Dragons — and the Breaker of Chains! — successfully conquers Meereen in a bloody coup. She sends her former Unsullied through the city's sewers to arm the slaves, who outnumber the masters three to one. In typical over-the-top fashion, she declares that she will answer "injustice with justice," and therefore nails the still-living slavemasters up on crosses, mimicking what they did to the slave children they killed as mile markers pointing Dany's way to Meereen.
White Walkers In the episode's final scene, we see what we think is how baby White Walkers are made! And it's kind of like Cabbage Patch kids, but far creepier and without the birth certificates. It turns out that the baby boys the wildlings leave out in the snow are taken and brought to a circle of stones and an altar. A head honcho White Walker (he has a fleshy crown protrusion) then "christens" the baby by laying a diseased-looking fingernail along the rugrat's chubby cheek until its eyes glow White Walker blue.
Margaery Tyrell The twice-widowed queen heeds her grandma's advice — to get in good with her intended by using feminine wiles — in a scene with plenty of icky overtones. Margaery sneaks into future king Tommen's (Dean-Charles Chapman) bedroom and wins him over with promises of friendship and getting to know one another before the wedding. She doesn't cross any lines, but the air of intimacy, the secret they share, and the way she leans in close all spell seduction, even though she barely touches him. Tommen doesn't stand a chance.
From Thrones' Jaime to Grey's Callie: Characters we used to hate
Karl Tanner (Burn Gorman) The Night's Watch mutineer leader, who helpfully reminds us of his name as he sips from the skull of the late Lord Mormont, has captured two direwolves (Ghost and Summer) but they're just icing when compared to his more valuable hostage: Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright), the current heir to Winterfell. Ransom demands can't be far behind.
Locke (Noah Taylor) The right-hand man of Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) who was tasked with finding Bran Stark has infiltrated the Night's Watch and wormed his way into Jon Snow's (Kit Harington) good graces.
Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Podrick Payne (Daniel Portman) We're always happiest when the lady knight has a quest worthy of her loyalty and skills. Her pal Jaime (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) has tasked her with finding Sansa Stark and saving the redhead maiden from all the people hunting her for suspected regicide. Jaime even gives Brienne three awesome gifts: the Valyrian steel sword (which she names "Oathkeeper"), a snazzy suit of armor and Pod as her squire. We expect delightful chemistry from the odd couple traveling companions.
Jon Snow We're thrilled that the bastard has an "O captain, my captain" moment when several Night's Watch brothers volunteer to accompany him to Craster's Keep. Unfortunately, the untrustworthy Locke is among them, and the only reason Jon is allowed to lead the mission is so that his popularity doesn't undermine Ser Alliser Thorne's (Owen Teale) authority or chances at becoming the new Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.
Sansa Stark On one hand, we're thrilled that she's escaped the viper's nest of King's Landing, but knowing just how dangerous Littlefinger is, we're not so sure her circumstances have improved — especially after seeing the way he strokes her arm and says he wants "everything" in life. Being married to the Imp doesn't look so bad now, does it?
George R.R. Martin addresses controversial Thrones scene
Jaime Lannister Jaime has such an uneven path to redemption in our eyes. Last week's treatment of his sister tarnished him yet again. Check out this video for Coster-Waldau's take on the controversial scene. However, Jaime's defiance of Cersei's wishes when he sends Brienne to save Sansa pulls us back toward his side. He also still loves his brother Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) but is that enough to save Tyrion's life? Jury is out on Jaime until we know Tyrion's fate.
Bran Stark & Co. Every part of this band's capture is heartbreaking: Meera (Ellie Kendrick) getting fondled for her curly hair, Jojen (Thomas Brodie Sangster) falling into what looks like an epileptic seizure, Bran blurting out his true identity — the only card he had — in order to save his friends, and finally, the mutineers' torture of poor Hodor (Kristian Nairn). We can only hope that somehow Jon Snow can swoop in for the rescue and a long-overdue Stark family reunion.
Tyrion Lannister His brother Jaime was his last hope for a powerful ally, but Jaime doesn't want to defy the laws (for once!) and seems to think that the trial will be handled fairly.
Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) The Queen Regent, or whatever she is now, is drinking a wee bit too much wine lately as she mourns her dead son Joffrey, and her judgment is sorely lacking. What's more, unbeknownst to her, Margaery is already making headway in swaying Tommen in her favor.
"That was me knocking your ass to the dirt with your own hand." — Bronn (Jerome Flynn) to Jaime
"Sansa's not a killer. Not yet, anyway." -- Tyrion
"I don't want friends like me." — Littlefinger
"I was good, I was very, very good. You are even better." — Lady Olenna to Margaery
"I'll find her for Lady Catelyn ... and for you." -- Brienne to Jaime
"Joffrey threated to skin him alive and mix his innards in my food so I wouldn't know I was eating him." — Tommen confides in Margaery about Joffrey and his cat Ser Pounce
"I thought this was going to be another boring day." — Karl
Were you surprised at Lady Olenna's hand in Joffrey's murder? Or had you correctly guessed who was responsible? What are your theories about the White Walker and baby scene? Is Bran doomed? Is Tyrion doomed? Weigh in with your highlights from the episode!
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.