Game of Thrones 5.05: “Kill the Boy”

Maester Aemon (Peter Vaughn) was full of advice this week. / Photographer: Helen Sloan, courtesy HBO

Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss love to give the episodes of Game of Thrones titles that work on multiple levels, and last night’s “Kill the Boy” does just that. It was Maester Aemon’s (Peter Vaughn) eponymous speech that delivered the line, but the phrase was present just about everywhere else.

Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) is no longer a boy; he’s a leader of men, and that’s a responsibility that often comes with difficult decisions. In a speech straight out of George R.R. Martin’s A Dance with Dragons, it’s time for Jon to kill the boy, and let the man be born. A man makes decisions, but a smart man makes decisions that breed longevity. I can only hope that Jon arrives at the latter – for his boyhood might not be the only one at the wall that needs killing.

Back in Winterfell, we learned how very close Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) came to actually killing his boy when he nonchalantly tells Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) how he not only raped the miller’s wife, he did so underneath the swaying corpse of her husband after Roose killed him for not seeking permission to marry. This story came about after Ramsay questioned his father’s intentions after the news of Walda’s (Elizabeth Webster) pregnancy. If the child were to be a boy, Ramsay’s place as Roose’s heir could be challenged due to his past illegitimacy. Knowing Ramsay’s penchant for torturous violence and self-preservation, I don’t like Walda’s chances at surviving.

And finally, to wrap up the final titular theme, we’re reminded of the man formerly known as Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen), and his alleged murders of Bran and Rickon Stark. Though we know he didn’t actually kill the boys, Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) does not, and seeing the man who played a big part in orchestrating her family’s downfall serving her wine cannot be a pleasant experience. Sansa’s been maturing quickly this season, and at this point, it’s not a question of if she’ll get revenge on Theon, but when.

Elsewhere, this week’s episode of Jorah the Explorer ended with a waterlogged Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and a grim future for Jorah (Iain Glen). Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) took off for Winterfell in an attempt to beat the ever-coming winter, but not before urging Sam (John Bradley) to stay in school. Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) seems to have found a way to get word to Sansa inside Winterfell, where we’ve been hit over the head with the fact that “the North remembers.”

We watched Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) go from wielding fire to wielding logic as she turned from Führer to fiancé. Hizdahr zo Loraq’s (Joel Fry) I’m-about-to-be-dragon-food turned I’m-marrying-the-dragon-queen reaction was spot on.

I guess you know this week’s Riser.

Riser of the Week: Hizdahr zo Loraq

Things took quite the turn for Hizdahr. / Courtesy of HBO.

You probably only knew Hizdahr zo Loraq as the guy who wants the fighting pits reopened. You likely didn’t know his elaborate name. And you certainly didn’t realize he’s been around since last season. But after “Kill the Boy,” he’s a name you’re going to remember. The future Mr. Targaryen rose quicker and more out-of-the-blue than anyone has thus far. To go from death row to Dany’s beau in the span of a few minutes certainly warrants his climb to Riser of the Week. Hizdahr is the head of one of Meereen’s noble houses, and an allegiance with him should help bring peace to the city. And opening the fighting pits will further bolster her relationship with the Meereenese. This is a smart move by Dany, as long as Hizdahr can be trusted…

A word of caution for Hizdahr: weddings seem to get a bit out of hand on Game of Thrones, so you might want to think about eloping.

Honorable Mention: Tormund (Kristofer Hivju), who fared much better in captivity than Mance Rayder.

Faller of the Week: Jorah Mormont

Jorah (Iain Glen) just can’t catch a break. / Photographer: Helen Sloan, courtesy of HBO.

Things just don’t seem to work out for the twice-banished Jorah. After being forced from Meereen, there was nowhere left to turn. He wasn’t welcome in Westeros – a result of selling slaves, and he wasn’t welcome anywhere near Daenerys, due to his informing. But his luck seemingly changes when Tyrion waltzes into the same brothel he’s been frequenting. One quick kidnapping later, he’s sailing back to his Queen with what will hopefully grant him readmission to her inner circle. There’s only one problem: Tyrion was already en route to Daenerys – a ploy put in motion by Varys (Conleth Hill).

Jorah brazenly decides to sail through the ruins of old Valyria, a city that was once the grandest in the world, but now desolate, save for the ominously-lurking stone men. Last week, I discussed greyscale and provided context into the disease, confident that it would continue to factor into the plot. This week, we saw the full effect of greyscale when the stone men attacked Jorah and Tyrion. Heroically, Jorah saved Tyrion from drowning, but it came at a cost. Jorah contracted greyscale, and it’s only a matter of time now until he succumbs to the disease. It will get worse for him, and the disease’s heightened contagiousness should worry every Tyrion supporter out there. Good luck, Jorah. You didn’t deserve this. Just please don't bring Tyrion down with you.

Honorable Mention: Jon Snow, who is coming dangerously close to losing the support of his brethren.

Backstory of the Week: A Split at the Wall

Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) continues to learn the difficulty of leading. / Photographer: Helen Sloan, courtesy of HBO.

Just a few weeks ago, it seemed like Jon Snow had the unwavering support of the Night’s Watch. But since then, he’s beheaded one of their own (though I do agree with him there) and openly supported a rescue mission for the remaining wildlings north of The Wall. Jon’s reasoning is simple: the White Walkers are continuing to move south, and any people left in their path will be turned into wights. The more wights that the White Walkers can assemble, the worse the Night’s Watch will fare when it comes time to fight. This reasoning is sound, but Jon does a terrible job at conveying his motives. Instead, the conversation gets away from him, and he’s bombarded with reminders that the wildlings are brutal killers, as evidenced by the boy Olly (Brenock O’Connor). The tricky thing here is that both sides have legitimate points. The big difference is that those who oppose Jon are being nearsighted whereas Jon is looking forward. Partnering up with an enemy is never ideal, but when there is a mutual, and much worse, enemy closing in on you, what other choice is there? Hopefully the rest of the Night’s Watch come to see Jon’s logic, but with seemingly everyone but Sam voicing dissenting opinions, I fear that the upcoming trip to Hard Home might turn ugly.

Item of the Week: Sansa’s Handmade Dress

Sansa (Sophie Turner) needs to be a bit more careful around Myranda (Charlotte Hope). / Photographer: Helen Sloan, courtesy of HBO.

Jealousy is often said to be just a lack of self-confidence – a fitting description of Myranda (Charlotte Hope) and her feelings towards Sansa. Before Ramsay was a Bolton, Myranda was a fitting match for marriage, but one royal decree later, and she’s left in flea-ridden dust, likely to forever serve not just in the kennels, but also at Ramsay’s sexual beck and call. That’s certainly a lose-lose. So when Myranda threateningly sparks up conversation with Sansa by complimenting her dress, the entire scene is filled with dread. Fortunately for Sansa, it seems that Myranda is smart enough to realize that murdering Ramsay’s betrothed would assuredly mean her own death, but that doesn’t stop her from emotionally hurting Sansa by unveiling Reek.

Side note: Sansa, what the hell were you thinking? You’re surrounded by people who neither trust you nor care about you, and yet you’re still okay with blindly walking down a dark alley filled with savage dogs? Come on! Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) would not approve.

Maester’s Musings: 

Ugh. Enough is enough with this storyline. / Courtesy of HBO.

  • Hearing Ramsay say “The North Remembers” was akin to a slap in the face. You don’t get to say that!
  • In a fun little nod back to Season 2, Stannis once again cringed at the improper use of grammar. During Season 2, Davos (Liam Cunningham) told Stannis that missing four fingers meant “four less fingernails to clean.” Stannis immediately corrected him, saying that he should have used the word “fewer.” Three seasons later, Stannis is still pointing out the mistake, and Davos is still not getting it.
  • I can’t be the only one who groans every time Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) are alone together. These scenes are boring, pointless, and rob us of time that could be used to focus on much more interesting and vital plot points. We get it – they like each other. Can we move on now?
  • On the other hand, we certainly don’t get enough scenes with Maester Aemon. The man is a walking history lesson, and it seems inevitable that history is about to repeat itself.
  • That makes two episodes in a row without Arya (Maisie Williams). Luckily, she’s in the preview for next week’s episode. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen again.

Joe Brosnan is an editor and writer for Criminal Element. He’s a New York Giants fan, a Petyr Baelish supporter, and is only now realizing how weird it is to write in the third person. You can follow him on Twitter @joebro33.

Read all of Joe Brosnan’s posts for Criminal Element.

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