As King Tommen Baratheon ascends the Iron Throne, this Sunday's episode focuses on new beginnings. For the Night's Watch, that fresh start came from the scorched remains of Craster's Keep. In this week's Inside the Episode, series creator D.B. Weiss explains that burning the keep symbolizes Jon Snow's desire to "bring the Night's Watch back to some semblance of what it used to be, and have it actually stand for something." For the New York Times, Snow's victory had plenty of meaning; the outlet calls "Karl’s death the most satisfying in the series so far," adding, "How poetic was it for him to pour wine into his mouth from Lord Mormont’s skull one week, only to have the dead man’s blade come out the other way the next?"
Go inside the battle scene with commentary from Kit Harington and director Michelle MacLaren in the video below:
The Washington Post cheers the scene's resolution: "There is something wonderful about the fact that it is one of Craster’s wives who helps end Karl’s predations with a brave intervention into his fight with Jon Snow (Kit Harington). And in all that mud and blood and snow, it is beautiful that these women, Craster’s no longer, get to decide what happens to them next."
Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys Targaryen decided her fate. Entertainment Weekly maintains that the khaleesi's choice to rule the cities she's liberated shows "why she is potentially a fantastic ruler: Unlike everybody else vying for power, Dany knows what she does not know and has the patience to learn it." Time compares Dany to "Jaime staring at the blank space in his Kingsguard entry: History may be changed by those who ride into town, but it is written by those who stay."
The episode resolved a bit of 'Game of Thrones' history – the death of Jon Arryn. "It was Littlefinger, not the Lannisters, who pulled the trigger on Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon's mutual mentor, a feat he subsequently repeated with King Joffrey," Rolling Stone marvels, "Twice now, Lord Baelish has said he wants 'everything.' What makes him dangerous is figuring out what particular part of 'everything' he wants from you." While Hitfix agrees, "Littlefinger retains a gift for manipulating people of all stations," they're curious about what's next for Lord Baelish: "We'll see if he can continue to outthink the cupful of crazy he just married."
What were your thoughts on Lysa Arryn's big reveal? Were you surprised that Littlefinger was pulling the strings? Share your thoughts in the comments below. No book spoilers, please.
Icing on the Lemoncake
• Isaac Hempstead-Wright tells New York Magazine about filming the scene where he wargs into Hodor: "For a teenage boy, seeing all these incredibly cool prosthetics and bones sticking out of necks is probably the coolest part of it."