Everyone was buzzing about the debut of the "shadow monster' at the end of last week's cliffhanger episode of HBO's runaway hit series, Game of Thrones, starring Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey. On Sunday night's episode of Game of Thrones, entitled "The Ghost of Harrenhal," the purpose of the wispy villain was revealed: to kill anyone standing in the way of Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane).

The shadow monster slipped in through Renly Baratheon's (Gethin Anthony) open window during his conversation with Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) about forming an official alliance with her son Robb (Richard Madden). "My son," Fairley-as-Catelyn said with gravity, "has no interest in the Iron Throne." In response, a pleased and encouraged Renly said, "Together we could end this war in a fortnight." The shadow monster, who Melisandre (Carice van Houten) gave birth to in the previous episode, arrived in a matter of seconds and knived Renly through the heart.

Tyrion Lannister (Dinklage) reacted to Renly's death with concern, realizing that the sudden loss of two warring factions could mean a faster and more effective assault on King's Landing, but his overconfident sister Cersei (Headey) refused to entertain his warnings, and in fact went so far as to conceal her war plan and that of her son, King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson), from Tyrion.

In the meantime, Catelyn teamed up with Renly's attendant Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), who vowed to protect her. Theon (Alfie Allen) took command of his first ship and managed to make friends with his first mate, despite the fact that no one else — including his family — takes him seriously. Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) encountered someone from the past who was determined to become a new friend, and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) contemplated a proposal of marriage from Xaro before she suddenly realized that her head attendant Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) is in love with her.

Now the stage is set for everyone and to march on King's Landing, overthrow Joffrey, try to eliminate each other, and ultimately take the Iron Throne.

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