'Game of Thrones' Shakes Up the Game in a Big Way

Multiple players in the HBO series have big changes of fortune.
Helen Sloan/HBO

[Warning: Spoilers ahead for Sunday's episode of Game of Thrones, "The Gift."]

Worlds have collided.

After nearly five seasons, Game of Thrones united two characters who have spent most of the series a world apart, with Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) finally coming face to face. The characters are arguably the show's two most popular, and the novelty of them sharing the screen was electric in a way akin to first seeing the heroes of Marvel Studios' Avengers come together.

"I am the gift," Tyrion told Dani after she expressed skepticism as to what Jorah (Iain Glen) could have for her. "My name is Tyrion Lannister."

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It's a huge development for the show. Daenerys is the most charismatic leader in the series, and has the most unique weapons (dragons!). Tyrion has among the finest mind of any of the players. Together, the pair could be an unstoppable duo. It also adds an extra layer of unpredictability for the remainder of the season, as their meeting is unchartered territory for book readers.

Tyrion's meeting of Daenerys is just one of the major game changers the episode dropped:

Cersei is arrested. Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) and Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) have sidelined Cersei (Lena Headey), who will stand trial thanks to testimony from her cousin (and former lover) Lancel (Eugene Simon). This is very bad for Cersei, as Lancel knows a lot. In addition to testifying to her incestuous relationship with him, he also knows Cersei plotted the death of her late husband, King Robert (Mark Addy). Cersei being on trial is potentially bad news for her son Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman), as any scrutiny on his true parentage could threaten his claim on the Iron Throne.

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Sansa faces more cruelty. Last week's episode was arguably the show's most controversial yet, with Sansa (Sophie Turner) being raped on her wedding night by her new husband Ramsay (Iwan Rheon). This week, she faced more cruelty, with bruises visible on her body, and Sansa told Theon (Alfie Allen) that Ramsay keeps her locked in a room and assaults her every night. After begging Theon to help her escape by alerting Stark loyalists at Winterfell, Theon instead informed Ramsay of the plot. Ramsay in turn had a Sansa loyalist flayed, showing Sansa her ally's mutilated body in a scene reminiscent to when Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) forced Sansa to look at her father's decapitated head. The Sansa storyline will undoubtedly face continued scrutiny, so the reaction to these developments will be interesting to see. One glimmer of hope: Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) is monitoring the situation, and could end up being Sansa's salvation.

Maester Aemon's watch ends. The beloved Maester Aemon (Peter Vaughan) died peacefully with Sam (John Bradley) and Gilly (Hannah Murray) at his side. Both are in a precarious place with Jon Snow (Kit Harington) out on a mission and Aemon dead. Gilly was nearly assaulted by two brothers of the nights watch, with Sam brutally beaten when he intervened. Only Jon's direwolf Ghost was able to save them.

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Stannis has a big choice to make. Stannis (Stephen Dillane) is marching toward Winterfell to take it from the Boltons, but winter is coming too fast. His horses are dying and his men are stuck. Melisandre's (Carice van Houten) solution: sacrifice Stannis' daughter Shireen (Kerry Ingram), who has a king's blood flowing through her veins. Stannis refuses, but it's possible he could consider that route. Melisandre has filled Stannis' head with the notion that he, and only he, can lead the living in the battle against the dead. In his mind, sparing his daughter could doom the rest of mankind.

What did you think of the episode, and what do you think is coming next? Share your theories in the comments.  

Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO. Stay tuned to The Live Feed for more from the series.