MAJOR SPOILER ALERT:
Do not read past this point if you have not seen the latest eisode of HBO's Game of Thrones.
To the horror, sadness, dismay, and utter devastation of millions of Game of Thrones fans, series creator George R.R. Martin explains to Entertainment Weekly why the King in the North Robb Stark had to die, along with Winterfell matriarch Catelyn Stark, Robb's pregnant wife Talisa Maegyr, and the vast army that rallied behind the son of Ned Stark.
Martin says he knew he would kill off Catelyn and Robb "almost from the beginning." The author, who's divulged in the past how he enjoys making his story lines "unpredictable," certainly strained the hearts of the viewers who were not privy to the tragic events that unfolded in book three of Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series.
"I killed Ned because everybody thinks he's the hero and that, sure, he's going to get into trouble, but then he'll somehow get out of it," he says. "The next predictable thing is to think his eldest son is going to rise up and avenge his father. And everybody is going to expect that. So immediately [killing Robb] became the next thing I had to do."
Without sparing the life of Talisa who was carrying Robb's progeny (who in an ideal world could have returned later and avenged the death of the now deceased King in the North), Martin closes the chapter on the Starks - for now. Those remaining in the clan of the beloved-but-endangered northern family include Arya Stark, who has quite the running list of enemies to "stick with the pointy end," Bran, whose gift continues to develop, Sansa, and Rickon.
Richard Madden, who for the last three seasons has portrayed the valiant (and now very dead) eldest Stark child, had nothing encouraging to say in this interview for fans of the show: "[Sigh] I don't. No one is safe in Game of Thrones."
With that said, will you continue watching the show? Vote in our poll above. Also read what celebrities had to say about Sunday evening's episode.