Season Five, Episode Five — “Kill the Boy”
By Jarrod Jones. Oh, Game of Thrones. You can’t name an episode “Kill the Boy” and not have Ramsay Bolton die a deeply satisfying death. Nope, no one dies this week–well, no one anyone’s gonna miss, anyway. (Hey, dragons! And… ewww.) Daenerys Targaryen tightens her grip on Meereen by showing all those pesky former slave masters that she is the Mother of Dragons, just in case anybody had forgotten. Ramsay Bolton makes an already awkward family dinner with Sansa Stark that much more awful, and Roose Bolton makes it patently clear as to why this particular family has got to go. The drums of war beat louder with this season’s halfway point than they ever have before, so it’s fitting that Jon Snow is finally learning to buck up. Because, y’know. It’s getting cold out.
WHAT WORKED: Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) has had it with her kingdom’s rebellious streak, and with her trusted knight Ser Barristan dead as fuck, it’s time to flex some muscle. Dragon muscle. What follows is still a tease of what these oddly adorable monsters are capable of, but as far as teases go, it’s a fiery, bloody spectacular. Go ahead, Game of Thrones. Stoke our bloodlust with dragon fire. (*Looks around* This room needs 100% more candles.)
Jon Snow (Kit Harington) strikes a bargain with the disconcertingly huge Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju), but it takes a pleasant chit-chat with Maester Aemon (Peter Vaughan) for the newly-christened Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch to finally — finally — develop the crucial vertebrae that will hold him upright. That’s going to come in handy, seeing as though he’s willfully walking right into enemy territory. (And this show needs to give Aemon far, far more screen time. I love that guy.)
With the revelation that Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) and his blushing bride will be having a boy, it’s time for father and son to have a little chat. The subsequent sequence after that painfully awkward family dinner comes the antithesis of last week’s one glimmer of sweetness, where Roose informs his demented progeny, Ramsay (Iwan Rheon), of his utterly disgusting origins. The story that follows is as horrible as you can imagine, and it paints a larger picture of how deeply disturbed the Bolton’s actually are. It seems the rotten apple didn’t ooze far from the withered tree.
WHAT DIDN’T: Maybe it’s just me, but the idea that all this scheming and killing is going to amount to a whole lot of nothing because a horde of zombie snowmen are going to run roughshod over Westeros feels woefully inadequate. And listening to Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) talk to Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) about obsidian and their use against the White Walkers only stirred the thought that I ought to trim my toenails after I finished this write-up. (Spoiler: I did.) Maybe one of you can explain why White Walkers matter to me, because all I can see when I picture the future of Game of Thrones is the that one scene in Return of the King where a bunch of green pirate ghosts ate a giant elephant. Feels pretty damned silly to me.
“Kill the boy, and let the man be born.” – Maester Aemon.
“When the battle comes, promise to protect me.” – Davos. “I promise.” – Shireen.
“Long sullen silences and the occasional punch in the face: the Mormont way.” – Tyrion.
BEST MOMENT: Jorah the Hero. For an episode with plenty of satisfying implications (and a few horrifying ones — Sansa! No!), most of this episode looked like it would only provide (an albeit severe) setup for the rest of the season. But then the show crept to Valyria, where Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) and his captor Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) are besieged by Stone Men. “Don’t let them touch you!” Jorah shouts as a way-too tense fight takes place on the duo’s way-too tiny craft. But that’s not the best moment. That’s all merely the prelude.
The Best Moment comes after, when Tyrion awakes from what should have been his watery doom. Jorah makes sure that the Little Lion is fine, and walks off to scavenge for firewood. It’s here where we see — yup — Jorah’s been touched, and the dreaded spread of greyscale has begun. That Jorah has begun his inevitable transformation into a Stone Man means he has only a short period of time to get Tyrion to Meereen. That Jorah chooses to continue on that quest in spite of this means that he is bringing Tyrion to Daenerys not to curry her favor, but to bring his Queen a mighty tool for her impending battle with King’s Landing. Jorah, you never lost me.
EPISODE’S MVP: Jorah Mormont. Iain Glen hasn’t seen much action since Daenerys sent his character away, but now is the hour that Ser Jorah Mormont, the Former Lord of Bear Island, finally shows his quality.
– If there’s a deliberate parallel to be drawn from Lady Sansa lighting a candle in a window through which her little brother was tossed by a Lannister, I don’t appreciate it.
– “Give me your hand.” – Ramsay, to Theon. Was I the only one who thought, “bye-bye, hand”? Ramsay’s been particularly reserved this season, which means the floor is going to drop out from under us any day now.
– While it worked and there was nothing particularly objectionable about it, I just don’t care about Grey Worm’s (Jacob Anderson) crush on Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel). Watching them snuggle only means that one of them is going to die, and knowing this show, also means that they will not die well.
– “I am a person who drinks. People who drink need to keep drinking.” Tyrion is going through withdrawls. Drying out is a bitch, buddy. Hang in there.
– There’s an aching romanticism to seeing Drogon fly through the ruins of Valyria. Did instinct bring him to his ancestral home? *whistful sigh*