Game of Thrones, Season 5, Ep 5 “Kill the Boy”

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

Mereen: Grey Worm survived the attack at the end of last episode. Ser Barristan didn’t. Daenerys mourns Ser Barristan, while her translator Missandei tends to Grey Worm. He recovers consciousness after three days, and his first concern is for Barristan. He says he failed, and he is ashamed because when he was wounded he felt fear. Missandei says there is no shame in fearing death. He says he did not fear death, he feared that he would never see Missandei again. She bends over him and they kiss. This is a bit strange as Grey Worm, like all the Unsullied, is a eunuch, and previously Daenerys had expressed disbelief that any of them could have feelings for a woman. But Grey Worm is perhaps exceptional in more ways than one. I guess we’ll see.

Daenerys is angry about the attack, and orders that all the heads of the noble houses in Mereen be rounded up and brought to her. This includes the man who has been advising her and asking for her to restore the fighting pits, in order to placate the restless people, and he is shocked and terrified (I still don’t know this guy’s name). Daenerys takes the nobles down to the dungeon where she has two of her dragons chained up, and feeds one of them to the dragons. Then she says she will show mercy, and merely has the rest of them locked up.

Later, Daenerys asks Missandei for advice. Missandei humbly suggests that she is not worthy to offer advice to a queen. But that she has seen Daenerys take advice from many people, and that Daenerys’s best actions have always been ones where she chooses to do something herself, rather than following advice. And sudden;y Daenerys settles on a plan. She heads down to the dungeons, to the cell of the fighting pits guy, who grovels at her feet for mercy. She tells him that she has decided there is a better way to get the people of Mereen to accept her. She will reopen the fighting pits – although for free men only, no slaves – and she will marry one of the heads of the noble houses of Mereen. Oh, and fortunately a suitor is on his knees in front of her already. The guy is suitably stunned.

Okay, well, it’s good that Daenerys has finally decided to show some gumption of her own, rather than dither between various ineffectual bits of advice. Using her dragons is a good step. Hopefully her plan will start to get the people behind her, so she can raise a huge army and go on the rampage back to Westeros. It really feels like Daenerys’s story has stalled for the past few seasons, and I want to see her back in action.

The Wall: Maester Aemon has news from Mereen about Daenerys’s problems there. He laments that he is her only living relative, and too far away to help her. Jon arrives and asks for advice – Jon has a plan, but wants to tell Aemon and see what he thinks. He says that half the men at Castle Black will hate him for it. Aemon says that half the men hate him anyway, and that Jon is Lord Commander, and he should “kill the boy” and let the man live – in other words take charge and do what he thinks best, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Jon asks if Aemon wants to know the plan, but Aemon says it doesn’t matter – all that matters is Jon being decisive.

Jon talks to the captured wildling leader of the raiding party that Ygritte was in – his name is Tormund. He asks him who leads the wildlings now that Mance Rayder is dead. Tormund replies Mance – they followed him, and will follow nobody else. Jon suggests that Tormund try to rally the wildlings, because Jon is offering them safe passage through the Wall, and lands to settle on the south side. He says Winter is coming, and he wants the wildlings on the side of the humans, not turned into White Walkers. Tormund is highly sceptical, and says that he needs ships to bring the wildlings south, and that Jon will have to accompany him, to assure them that it’s not a trap and the ships won’t be burnt at sea. Jon agrees and releases Tormund, then goes to ask Stannis to borrow some of his ships.

At dinner, Jon announces his plan to the Watch men. As Aemon predicted, they’re not happy. One young kid, a teenager, says the wildlings killed his parents and torched his village, and how Jon wants to help them and give them land? Jon says he’s sorry, but they need the wildlings as allies, not enemies. There’s a lot of resentment bubbling through the Watch here, and no doubt this will lead to some sort of resistance or open rebellion against Jon later on. Ser Alliser is biding his time in the background, looking at Jon in a dark fashion. I’m sure he’d take a chance to strike if he gets one. And then there’s Tormund. He seems to have swallowed his pride and accepted Jon’s plan, but it could just as easily be a trap for Jon. Jon is walking a very precarious path here. But if anyone can pull this off, it’s him.

Sam and Gilly are in the Castle Black library, and Gilly is awed by all the books, wondering if this is all the books in the world. Sam says there are a lot more books out there. One place, the Citadel, holds thousands of them. Gilly asks about the Citadel, and Sam tells her it’s where Maesters learn their skills, and that he wanted to be a Maester once, but ended up at Castle Black instead. This could be a foreshadowing of Sam displaying some sort of erudite skills in the future. And he doesn’t mentions where this Citadel is – I thought maybe he’d say it’s in King’s Landing, but he didn’t. So maybe it’s somewhere else – a place of learning secreted away in the wilderness somewhere, maybe?

Stannis arrives and talks to Sam about how Sam killed a White Walker. Sam says he used a dagger made of dragonglass, which is a name for obsidian. They wonder why dragonglass should have such an effect on White Walkers. Then Stannis says Dragonstone has lots of dragonglass, and Sam should try to find out more about dragonglass. Stannis then leaves to organise his army to march on Winterfell. He takes his wife, daughter, and Melisandre with him. It looks like they have a large army.

Winterfell: Everyone is converging on Winterfell. Brienne and Podrick have taken a room at an inn with a view of Winterfell on the horizon out the window. An old man comes in to do some cleaning tasks and Brienne talks to him, asking if he remembers Eddard Stark. The man says yes, and his father before him. She ponders if a message could be slipped through to Sansa in Winterfell, and the man seems to indicate that he could arrange that.

Ramsay Bolton talks to Myranda, the kennel-keeper’s daughter, in his bedroom. She complains that she wanted to marry him, but now he’s going to marry Sansa. Ramsay plays this dangerously, saying Sansa is beautiful, but he’d prefer to have two women than just one, so Myranda has nothing to fear. Myranda seems slightly placated, but not fully.

Later, Sansa receives a message, telling her that she has friends, and if she ever needs help, to light a candle in the highest window of the broken tower. She goes out to look at the tower, as snow begins falling. I think this is the tower where Jaime pushed Bran out the window in the very first episode. Then Myranda appears, and tells Sansa she has something to show her. Sansa has to enter the kennels, where huge dogs bark at her threateningly. She goes deep into the darkness to the rearmost kennel. At first I thought it might be her wolf – I can’t remember if her wolf was killed way back when or not. But sitting in the last kennel is Theon, who Sansa recognises with a shock. She says his name, “Theon!” Theon tells her she shouldn’t be there. Is there some glimmer of recognition of his previous life, before Ramsay brainwashed him? Now, remember that Theon attacked Winterfell with the Greyjoy army, and he pretended to have killed Bran and Rickon, Sansa’s brothers, by substituting the burnt bodies of two peasant children, although as far as Sansa knows it was true and they’re dead.

Later again, Roose Bolton, his wife, Ramsay, and Sansa are having dinner, with Theon serving them. Sansa doesn’t like Theon being there, and Ramsay forces Theon to apologise for killing Sansa’s brothers. He does so, but again, we see a camera shot of Theon’s eyes, hidden from the others, that seems to indicate that he is starting to recover his senses. I think it’s just a matter of time before he fully reasserts himself as Theon Greyjoy and plots some method taking down Ramsay. Whether it happens before Stannis arrives or not we shall have to see. This is a very complicated situation, and it could go in many different ways depending on what’s going on at the time.

In other news, Roose’s wife announces that she’s pregnant. Ramsay is taken aback, and makes some rude remarks about his stepmother’s weight. When Roose questions him later, Ramsay says he knows his position as a bastard son is that he’s only there until someone better comes along, so the implication is that he sees a new child of Roose’s as a threat. Roose reassures Ramsay that he is his son, and his position is secure. I wonder about Roose’s motives here. He has to see that Ramsay is unstable and unsuitable as a lord, so I really don’t understand his game in depending on him so much.

Valyris: Jorah and Tyrion are still on their way to Mereen, and the small boat approaches Valyris, the old home of the Targaryens. The city is in ruins, and they sail down a channel bordered with impressive looking but decayed buildings. They see a dragon fly overhead – I think this is probably Drogon, Daenerys’s wayward black dragon. It’s clear that Tyrion has never seen a dragon before, as he gazes up in awe.

Suddenly there is a splash, and the boat is assaulted by a group of Stone Men, which is apparently what you turn into if you catch greyscale and don’t have it cured. They looks like they’re made of stone, and I half expect to see them sink like stones when turned out of the boat, but they seem able to swim. Jorah calls to Tyrion not to let them touch him. They fight off the Stone Men, trying not to catch the infection, but Tyrion is knocked overboard and sinks, pulled down by a Stone Man with a hand around his boot. He blacks out, but wakes later on the beach, where Jorah has rescued him. Their boat is gone, and now they have to walk towards Mereen and hope to find a fishing village to pick up another boat, or else, as Jorah says, it’s a very long walk. He asks if Tyrion was touched by the Stone Men, and Tyrion says no. But as they pack to leave, Jorah sneaks a look at his wrist, and sees a small spot of the greyscale infection starting there.

Well, I said last episode that greyscale was probably going to become an important plot point, and here it is just an episode later. I hope it doesn’t turn into that stupidly overused trope where someone in a group is infected and hides it rather than seek help, until he eventually succumbs and has to be killed or whatever. We know from Stannis and Shireen that greyscale can be halted at least, if the correct Maesters are consulted. But maybe Jorah doesn’t know that and is doomed. Will he hide it and spread the infection to anyone else, or will he take steps to try to cure himself or at least isolate himself so it doesn’t spread? Oh dear. A disease is interesting and all, but the stupidity it evokes in most characters in fiction is ridiculous, and I hope this doesn’t fall into the same bad character writing. Especially because Jorah should be smarter than that.

3 Responses to “Game of Thrones, Season 5, Ep 5 “Kill the Boy””

  1. Lauri T. says:

    Sam does in fact tell Gilly that the Citadel is in Oldtown, but of course, from Gilly’s point of view that may be just another place she’s never heard of and thus not particularly helpful. When I rewatched the episode just now I got the impression that Gilly is too ashamed of her ignorance to ask where Oldtown is, while Sam (bless him) is oblivious to this and therefore doesn’t volunteer any further information.

  2. Oh, okay. I probably heard that, but I don’t know where Oldtown is either, so it didn’t ring any bells for me! (Don’t tell me… I’ll learn eventually if it’s important.)

  3. Glen Barnett says:

    SInce you asked not to know, I won’t say where it is (though it wouldn’t spoil anything to tell you), but I will say that I misunderstood its actual location for quite a few episodes (which in turn affected my understanding of a few events until I untangled them in retrospect).

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