‘Game of Thrones’ Season 5, Episode 5 Recap: ‘Kill the Boy’
“Kill the boy, Jon Snow. Winter is almost upon us. Kill the boy, and let the man be born.” — Maester Aemon to Jon Snow
Growing up quickly is not a condition unique to Jon Snow. Worlds away in Meereen, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) faces the same struggle, especially now without her beloved Ser Barristan Selmy (Ian McElhinney) by her side, who had been a constant pillar for her to lean on as well as a father figure. As Dany and Daario Naharis (Michael Huisman) mourn over the deceased Ser Barristan at the episode’s onset, Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) watches over the injured Grey Worm, who is still unconscious from his wounds sustained by the Sons of the Harpy. Although Grey Worm’s (Jacob Anderson) lacerations and abrasions are enraging, the shocking tragedy of Ser Barristan’s death ignites a familiar and enrapturing fire in the Mother of Dragons, prompting her to take action.
Rather than continue to fight the masked Sons of the Harpy at Daario’s behest, Dany instead opts for rounding up the leaders of each great family in Meereen, including Hizdahr zo Loraq (Joel Fry), and playing her ultimate power card. The leaders are brought to the catacombs where Rhaegal and Viserion are chained up, a place where Dany offers up these possible traitors as a meal for her children. “Some say I should give up on them. But a good mother never gives up on her children. She disciplines them if she must. But she does not give up on them,” Dany says in an eerily calm, yet menacing tone as the Unsullied push the petrified leaders closer to the two dragons. Unfortunately for one of them, at Dany’s command, they experience the skin-charring demise of being devoured by a dragon as a stream of fire bursts from Rhaegal.
Part of what makes this show so epic is the science fiction and fantasy element to it, which renders bringing Dany’s dragons back to the forefront a welcomed return.
But even after their revitalizing entrance — followed by the leaders’ hasty departure to the dungeons — Dany must still deal with the violent unrest in Meereen. Wise words from Missandei — one of the few advisers she has left — prompt Dany to finally do things her way and embody the fierce, yet endearing character that we continue to fall in love with. Dany visits the imprisoned Hizdahr, admitting her wrongdoing and finally agreeing to reopen the fighting pits. And in good faith to restore a lasting bond with the Meereenese people, she will marry one of their own. Lucky for Hizdahr, he was already on his knees…
Though Queen Daenerys exudes confidence and bravery, miles away at the Wall, Maester Aemon, played by Peter Vaughan — her last living relative (though dying and useless) — worries for her safety. And while he cannot provide her with guidance, he does offer his words of wisdom to Jon Snow (Kit Harington), who is struggling with an order he wants to give, but knows will spur hatred toward him by many of the Night’s Watch.
Ultimately choosing to do what he thinks is right over what is easy, our beloved hunk recruits the help of Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju), an unlikely ally. As a renowned leader of the Free Folk, Tormund may be the only hope Jon has of joining forces with the Wildlings in the war to come against the White Walkers. And what better way to convince them of his sincerity than riding north of the Wall with Tormund and asking for their help himself?
And just as Jon is leaving, so is Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) and company, though they may run into some trouble in their quest to take the North…and Winter is coming.
At Winterfell, the Boltons are as vile and devious as ever, with Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) up to his usual tricks and Roose (Michael McElhatton) plotting their imminent attack on Stannis’ army. We see Ramsay (formerly Ramsay Snow) toying with his plaything Miranda in quite a raunchy manner, while dangling Reek (the former Theon Greyjoy) in front of Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner). Reek may now be a gutless turd who sleeps with the dogs, but that does not excuse his murdering her two brothers, Bran and Rickon (though little does she know that this is a lie). Seeing Ramsay giddy at other people’s pain and discomfort may be abhorrent, but it’s what makes his character so titillating. And it’s even more compelling when the tables are turned on Ramsay by none other than his father, who announces the soon-to-be birth of his son — one born with the true name of Bolton. That news definitely does get under Ramsay’s skin, whose one insecurity in life is being a bastard. And seeing his look of horror after Roose’s announcement sure brought a hint of a smile to Sansa’s face.
While Sansa is trying to bear the Boltons, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) is enjoying long, sullen silences — with the occasional punch in the face — on his journey to Meereen with Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen). After getting a quick history lesson and seeing Tyrion in awe of Drogon flying overhead, his first dragon sighting ever, the story quickly turns into a hurried, pithy fight with some Stone Men — animal-like humans affected with the disease known as greyscale. You think the episode is over as you watch Tyrion getting pulled further down into the depths, only to have Jorah’s face pop up once more, having somehow saved Tyrion at the last minute.
It was obvious way before the struggle started that all previous mentions of greyscale were leading up to this moment. So the fact that Jorah now has the fatal disease as a result (shh, don’t tell Tyrion) is really no surprise — I mean, someone had to get it, and everyone’s favorite Imp wasn’t about to be put on the chopping block. So instead it would seem that Ser Jorah has to take the fall (not Jon Connington as in the books).
As past seasons have shown us, Episode 4 usually marks the turning point when things really start to heat up, and conversations instead turn to actions, gore and betrayal. But this time around, despite baby shocks of intrigue here and there, we are still waiting for the ball to drop. Perhaps this episode is particularly underwhelming because Cersei Lannister and Arya Stark, two of the most attention-grabbing characters, were absent. Or maybe it’s because all avid A Song of Ice and Fire readers out there are realizing that a lot of character development and plotlines are being lost to the constraints of 10, one-hour episodes. But since when is television better than the book?
Game of Thrones is finally establishing itself from George R.R. Martin’s fantastic series, and it seems we have to learn to appreciate it for what it is, and what it isn’t. Either way, let’s hope that next week brings more than just boring conversations and botched lines.
Throne Room Notes:
- I’m just going to say it: Grey Worm and Missandei — how does that work exactly?
- Glad to see Dany’s storyline finally getting on track with her impending marriage to Hizdahr.
- Was I the only one expecting something a little more epic when Tyrion saw his first dragon?