Game Of Thrones: Season 5, Episode 5 “Kill The Boy”
Halfway through season 5, certain story lines are more difficult to ascertain their trajectory than others. Jamie Lannister and the Sand Snakes’ story in Dorne could play out in a number of different ways and the Faith Militant is a wild card in King’s Landing. However, for the story lines in “Kill The Boy” there is a clearer picture on where they might land. Stannis is on a collision course with the Boltons, Tyrion and Jorah will eventually make their way to Meereen, and the consequences of Jon and Dany’s respective decisions will likely come to a head by season’s end.
Speaking of Jon and Dany, there are obvious parallels in their progression as leaders in “Kill The Boy”. It gives the episode a sense of cohesion when similar themes are addressed in story lines at opposite ends of the world. The usual set up is advisors telling Jon and Dany what is the right thing to do. So I liked how their respective scenes flipped it around when both Maester Aemon and Missandei basically said to do what you believe is right. Another minor point, is that I liked how Ser Davos’ previous advice has influenced Jon to see that the Night’s Watch are not only defenders of the Wall but are also Protectors of the Realm.
My visceral reaction to Dany feeding the man to the dragons is that it’s a wickedly awesome spectacle. However, I also felt that it was a dark turn for Dany by killing a man who may or may not be innocent which went against her hard stand on justice just a few episodes ago. The way I’ve come to terms with Dany’s decision is that not only was she overwhelmed with grief and rage but that Selmy wasn’t there to be the voice of reason to suggest a less cruel option. Selmy’s absence is felt in more than one way at that moment.
I think Dany’s second solution could put her on the right track towards heading for Westeros at some point. A major condition before Dany leaves is ensuring that Meereen won’t go back to slavery. As the new king by marriage, Hizdahr zo loraq, who understands Meereen’s customs and won’t be seen as a foreigner, can rule in her stead. Meereen is like a training ground for Dany to gain the experience she’ll need in order to rule the seven kingdoms. But to conquer Westeros she’ll need to tame her dragons first.
The concentrated number of scenes one after another within Winterfell heightened the claustrophobic feeling I have for Sansa’s predicament. She’s confined with strangers who had a hand in killing her family and it was eerie how she stood on the spot where Bran broke his back. On one hand I like the idea that “The North Remembers” and that there are supporters who could help her if needed. But at this point in the season, I would like to see signs of a self-reliant Sansa who’s playing the game methodically and taking some control over her fate.
I usually prefer my Ramsey scenes in smaller doses so this episode was a lot to take in at once. On some level I get the need to flesh out Ramsey and Miranda’s twisted relationship but there wasn’t that much between them that was entirely revelatory. One of the takeaways is that Miranda’s jealousy will rare its ugly head and will be a threat for Sansa to overcome or outsmart.
It took a while to get to the good part of the awkward family dinner scene. I liked how Roose’s reveal on the expecting baby son was to poke at Ramsey’s inflated ego but also in preparation for the battle against Stannis because Roose knows that Ramsey is at his best when he has something to prove.
Roose and Ramsey’s weird father/son bonding moment worked the best for me of all the Winterfell scenes. I liked their wry talk about the birds and the bees (“I imagine you’re familiar with the procedure.” “Of course, but how did you find it?”) and how the sadistic conception story involving rape and murder ended up solidifying Ramsey’s allegiance. “You are my son” / “This is our war” are simple yet purposeful statements by Roose that ties into the idea of how familial ties and identity can greatly inform a person. It’s an interesting side note that unlike Roose, Ned Stark never got around to telling Jon who his mother was.
Moving on to Valyria, it’s incredibly exciting to see this location. One of the hallmarks of George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy is building a world filled with rich history and wonder that captures the imagination. I liked the neat writer’s device that disguised the exposition about Valyria as a poem which also served as a bonding moment when Jorah continued reciting from where Tyrion left off. Peter Dinklage had a great surprise expression when Jorah spoke the poem and when Drogon flew by. It’s rare when Tyrion is at a lost for words. In the above video, the show runners talk about what Drogon symbolizes in that scene.
After the stoneman dragged Tyrion into the water, I liked how the long fade to black left us thinking if the episode was over or not. Most viewers would rightly assume that it’s highly unlikely that Tyrion would get killed off in that manner, so it’s great that this episode addressed it immediately and instead gave us another cliffhanger. With all the talk of greyscale in previous episodes, it’s was evident that one major character would contract the disease. The writers did a good job of setting it up so that when we see the scale patch on Jorah we know what could become of him but also that there is a possible cure as seen with Shireen. The rather large size patch in a short amount of time didn’t bother me as the show needs to move the story forward and convey this information clearly to the audience.
“Kill The Boy” began with a confirmation of Selmy’s death. For speculation on who might also die this season, take a look at my season 5 death predictions. The strongest scenes centered on Jon and Tyrion. With the way the story goes, we might not get the chance to revisit Valyria. I enjoyed the spectacle of the dragons roasting the man alive and tearing him apart, but I’m also a little fearful that Dany could slip back to Mad King tactics. The scenes that didn’t hit the same high notes are the Ramsey and Theon moments. Overall, a solid episode but I’m ready to go deep into other storylines. Arya has only been in two episodes so far, here’s hoping we’ll catch up with her next week. Thanks for reading!
Would you rather die quickly from a dragon attack or slowly go insane while turning into a stone person? What did you like or dislike in this episode?