Last night's Game of Thrones was a really good hour of television to watch if you wanted a couple of big mysteries addressed (who killed Joffrey, and what do the White Walkers do with those babies?) and also if you wanted to feel tense and antsy until next week's episode. After an hour that mostly served to set future plotlines in motion and even provided a bit of cheerful fan service after last week's gloomy mourning of Joffrey, we ended on a really dire note beyond the Wall. I don't know that any casual fan was really wondering what happened to Karl (Burn Gorman) and the other Night's Watch mutineers up at Craster's Keep after they murdered the old Lord Commander, but here we are.
There has already been consternation on the internet about the extent to which this episode is diverting from the books, with whole plotlines (chiefly Jon's quest to kill the mutineers and Bran being captured by them) being invented, and a long glimpse of what it is the White Walkers are up to in the winter mountain chamber, when such things have never been addressed by George R. R. Martin's writing. The changes largely make sense, though: Bran's plotline is a dull trudge through the snow in the book, and wanting to clear up the fate of Jeor Mormont's murderers is an understandable desire.
But lord, is the scene up at Craster's Keep miserable. Trapped beyond the Wall because a return to the Night's Watch would surely mean their execution, the evil treasonous Karl has resorted to sitting in Craster's chair and stomping around, boasting about what a nasty dude he is. Around him, Craster's poor daughter-wives are raped and abused, and their last baby is abandoned to the White Walkers, one of whom walks it north to some sort of ice castle to turn its eyes blue.