Game of Thrones “Kill the Boy”

Game of Thrones¬†S5E5 “Kill the Boy”

“Kill the boy and let the man be born” Maester Aemon says to Jon Snow when Jon asks him how to approach an unpopular decision. Aemon is telling Jon that his time as a boy is done and that as a man, he has to trust his own instincts and go through with his plan if he believes in it. It’s very sound advice and advice that resonates throughout the episode. It’s fitting that “Kill the Boy” gives King’s Landing a bye week as the political players there are mostly veterans, they know what they’re doing. Along with Jon’s controversial order up at Castle Black, we have Dany taking charge of the situation in Meereen, Ramsay doing Ramsay things and then getting a taste of his own medicine, and Jorah and Tyrion taking a shortcut to Meereen that may prove to also be a shortcut to death for Jorah. Let’s get it rolling.

Dany is holding wake for Ser Barristan after his heroic death and ponders what her next move should be. Daario suggests retreating to the pyramid and eliminating the sons of the harpy neighborhood by neighborhood until they are completely eradicated. Dany however, opts for a different option. She tells Daario to round up all the leaders of the great families and bring them to the catacombs. With Ser Barristan, the man who always pleaded for mercy to be shown now gone, there’s nothing holding Dany back from being ruthless and we get a glimpse of it here. Without knowing whether or not he was involved with the harpy movement, Dany randomly selects one leader and pushes him forward into the catacombs, where he meets a firery death at the hands of Dany’s two dragons. She has the others imprisoned and hints that this may become a regular thing if the terror attacks don’t stop. A day later she does seem to have a change of heart though, and comes to the cell of Hizdahr zo Loraq and tells him she hasn’t been showing the proper respect to the Meereenese culture. She informs Hizdahr that she will reopen the fighting pits and that she will wed him, to show she has respect for the culture. From near death to marrying a queen, that’s quite a jump for Hizdahr isn’t it?

Jorah and Tyrion are making progress on the road to Meereen and Jorah opts to take a short cut through the beautiful but haunting ruins of Valyria. The place is so haunted that even pirates refuse to go through it and this is what leads Jorah to use this route. Jorah and Tyrion actually start to bond for a bit here. Tyrion reflects on how Valyria was the greatest society the world has ever known, until one day the mysterious apocalyptic event known as the Doom of Valyria put an end to the society. Tyrion recites a poem about the place and Jorah recites the final lines as a pleasantly surprised Tyrion admits he’d clap if his hands were untied. The two then turn their attention to the skies for something awe inspiring. Drogon is flying through the skies and while they’re both stunned for different reasons, Jorah because Drogon wasn’t nearly that big the last time he has him, and Tyrion because he hasn’t actually seen a dragon before this, the shared sense of wonderment is there and it comes across beautifully. The moment is so awe inspiring, that neither of them are paying attention to what’s about to happen next.

While Jorah and Tyrion are staring at Drogon, a stone man jumps into the water. Stone men are people who have long been inflicted with greyscale, to the point that the disease makes you look like a monster and turns you completely feral. By the time Tyrion turns around to investigate, it’s too late as the stone men have started an ambush and have begun jumping on the boat. Greyscale in this condition is extremely contagious so Jorah starts beating them back with his oars while Tyrion has to resort to sticking to the end of the boat, hoping Jorah can hold them off. One of the stone men is able to get dangerously close to Tyrion and Tyrion has no choice but to jump in the water to get away. Unfortunately for Tyrion, one of the stone men Jorah knocked into the water, was waiting for Tyrion and begins to drag him further down as the screen cuts to black. An unclear amount of time later, Tyrion awakens on a beach and Jorah cuts his ropes off at last and asks if the stone men managed to touch his skin. Tyrion says that they didn’t and turns his attention to what they’re going to do next. Jorah plans to walk the coast and hopefully run into a fishing village so they can take another boat, but acknowledges they’ll likely have to walk the remaining journey to Meereen. For now, they’re going to rest for a little while and Jorah gets to work on building a fire. Away from Tyrion, Jorah pulls up his shirt sleeve and it’s bad news, Jorah has contracted greyscale. Even with all the mentions of greyscale this season, we don’t actually know how fast it spreads, how much time does Jorah have left before he becomes a stone man? The time isn’t certain but what is certain is that Jorah has to get Tyrion to Meereen as fast as possible now.

Up north at an inn close to Winterfell, Brienne and Pod discuss their next move. Pod wonders if Sansa might be safe at Winterfell considering it is her home but Brienne doesn’t buy it, stating that the Boltons have caused her family an immense amount of trauma. Their conversation is interrupted by an inn servant and Brienne correctly deduces that the servant is loyal to the Starks. Brienne asks the servant to get a message to Sansa and the plan works. Sansa’s maid tells Sansa that she has allies here and if she’s ever in trouble, all she has to do is light a candle from the top of the broken tower.

Later that day Sansa is roaming the grounds when Ramsay’s bedwarmer Myranda interrupts her. She steers the conversation towards helping Sansa remember her home and claims to have something to help her “remember”. Myranda brings Sansa to the kennels and tells her to walk down the hall to the last cell. Sansa does just that and is shocked to see Reek there. She calls Theon’s name out and Reek fearfully looks at her and tells her she shouldn’t be here. A confused Sansa departs the kennels.

You think a dinner scene couldn’t be particularly exciting but Sansa’s dinner with the Boltons is filled with intrigue. Ramsay lives to make other people feel uncomfortable and that’s exactly what he does at dinner. He calls Reek in to be the cup-bearer and then makes Reek apologize to Sansa for what he did to her brothers. Ramsay knows Reek didn’t actually kill Bran and Rickon but this false truth is a great cause of bad blood between Sansa and Reek so Ramsay is more than willing to push the envelope on it. Reek can barely get through it and has apologize multiple times to get it to Ramsay’s liking. With the apology out of the way, that still isn’t enough for Ramsay to let it go and points out that Reek is the reason Sansa won’t have anyone to give her away at the wedding so he insists that Reek will have the honors.

We all know the kind of guy Roose Bolton is. He doesn’t care much for Ramsay’s shenanigans and after this most recent stunt at dinner, Roose tries to put his son in his place. Roose and his wife announce that they’re having a baby and it’s looking like a boy. Ramsay immediately tenses up, realizing that as a legitimized son, he can easily be passed over on the line of inheritance by Roose’s lawful son if Roose desires it. After dinner, Roose tells Ramsay he disgraced himself at dinner and Ramsay flashes his insecurities over Roose’s new child and asks Roose how he can be certain that his wife is pregnant. Realizing Ramsay is nervous about his place in the line of inheritance, Roose recounts the story of how Ramsay came to be (and it’s a rather unpleasant story) and reassures Ramsay that he is his heir. Roose then tells Ramsay that Stannis is at Castle Black and intends to march on Winterfell. Roose asks for Ramsay’s help to beat Stannis and Ramsay, looking to further prove himself, agrees to do so.

Up at the wall, Sam is reading news of Dany and Meereen to Maester Aemon who laments that Dany’s last relative is old and useless and thousands of miles away. Sam tries to cheer him up when Jon arrives and asks for a private word with Aemon. Jon asks Aemon what he should do in regards to an order he has to give that will cause many of the brothers to hate him. Aemon tells Jon to go with his gut, saying that half of the brothers already hate him anyway. As long as you believe the order is the right thing to do, then you do it.

Jon takes his advice and decides to go through with it. He goes to the cells and asks Tormund about where the rest of the free folk are. Jon plans to allow the free folk passage south of the wall if they agree to fight for him when the walkers march on the wall. Tormund seems hesitant of the plan but is ultimately convinced when Jon releases him from his chains. Tormund reveals that the majority of the free folk are in a settlement called Hardhome and they’re going to need ships in order to get there. Tormund adds that he won’t go unless Jon comes with him, saying the free folk are going to have to have the word of the Lord Commander that they aren’t walking right into a trap. Jon agrees to come and goes to Stannis to ask for some ships for the expedition.

The time comes for Jon to tell his fellow brothers of the alliance and as expected, the brothers take it very poorly. Even longtime friend of Jon, Dolorous Edd is against the alliance. The wildlings and the night’s watch have been enemies for thousands of years. The wildlings have raided and destroyed families, such as Olly’s and these are crimes that are extremely difficult to forgive. That being said, Jon is completely in the right here. No matter how much bad blood there is between the free folk and the night’s watch, the free folk as they are right now are a whole lot better than being additional numbers in the army of the dead. If they’re going to survive, both sides have to be willing to make peace so they can fight the real fight together. If Jon continues to be the only in the night’s watch that realizes this, things are going to get really bad.

Other Thoughts

Some stuff on Stannis. Stannis tells Sam that Dragonstone is filled with dragon glass. That will probably be critical information when the white walkers come. Stannis and army start their march to Winterfell in this episode and Selyse and Shireen are coming, on account of half of the night’s watch brothers only being there because they’re rapers. Can’t argue there.

You get the feeling Sam might get to fulfill a dream of his. He mentions to Gilly that he always wanted to become a maester. Old and sick Aemon likely won’t be around much longer and someone’s going to have to become the next maester. Since Sam’s best friends with the Lord Commander, I’m sure he’d probably get his way if he wants to be the new maester.

Grey Worm is becoming more and more human, even admitting that he felt fear when he thought he was going to die. Fear is not something that’s associated with the Unsullied and even less so because Grey Worm reveals he was scared because he wasn’t going to see Missandei again. Missandei is touched by this and the two share a kiss. What exactly can Grey Worm do if the relationship gets more serious? A question for another time.

Sansa hasn’t had a whole lot to smile about these days (years really) so it was nice to see her flash a quick smile when Ramsay got all insecure at dinner.

If you didn’t catch it, the broken tower in which Sansa can light her emergency candle is the same tower that Jaime pushed Bran from the top of. Just an interesting little fact.

After Tyrion underwater fades to black, there’s a fair bit of tension caused by that particular lengthy black screen. The stone men ambush was the last scene of the episode so the cut to black could have ended the episode. That would have been a cliffhanger wouldn’t it?

Love the call back to Stannis being the grammar king. He corrected a night’s watch brother for using “less” when the situation called for fewer”. He did the same thing in season two and it went right over Davos’ head. This time it also goes over Davos’ head. Davos might want to ask Shireen to throw in some grammar lessons along with the reading ones.

“Kill the Boy” steps out of King’s Landing and places the spotlight up North and in Meereen, where Jon and Dany each find themselves at a crossroads.

Grade B+

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