Crumbs: Reviews » Dramas » Game of Thrones » Season 5 » Kill the Boy
Critical reviews of U.S. TV shows
and analysis of what makes them
good, bad, irritating and enlightening.

Game of Thrones



Episode 5 - Kill the Boy

17 May 2015

Credit HBO

Synopsis: Jon asks Tormund to lead his people south. Tormund insists that Jon go with him. Stannis sets off for Winterfell. Sansa runs into Miranda and Reek. Dany threatens the leaders of Meereen but ends up agreeing to reopen the fighting pits and marrying Hizdahr zo Loraq. Jorah takes Tyrion through the ruins of old Valyria and they are attacked by the Stone Men.

The Good: I guess we now know why there was all that talk about greyscale! I really enjoyed those final scenes. You knew Tyrion would charm Jorah at some point and their joint poem recital was tremendous. Like two men seeing the pyramids for the first time and reading Ozymandias this felt rich and real. Drogon's appearence was well timed and the Stone Men attack was pretty dramatic. Considering both characters felt untouchable the tease of Tyrion going underwater was well choreographed.

The long dinner sequence at Winterfell was so awkward it had me wondering if Roose was regretting legitimising Ramsay. But after the horrifying story of Ramsay's conception I would put nothing past him. I can imagine him waiting to see if the child has potential and then shoving the former bastard off a bridge. Of course the news that Walder Frey's grandchild is germinating within the walls of Winterfell presents a horrifying possibility for direct vengeance, though I'm certainly not rooting for that.

The scenes at the Wall were solid if predictable. Tormund is smart to demand Jon goes with him. But does Jon risk losing his position if he leaves? I can imagine Ser Alliser taking charge and locking the doors behind him. I appreciated the reluctance of the rest of the Nights Watch. It's hard to convince people of grand strategic necessities. Stannis continues to campaign for our affections by encouraging Sam and remaining the only Lord in Westeros to believe in the threat of the dead.

Dany was far calmer than I thought she'd be about last episodes attack. Her cool decision making came as something of a surprise but in a way its refreshing that she can take such setbacks in her stride. For once I appreciated not hearing the discussion about whether she should marry Hizdahr zo Loraq. It will presumably be much more entertaining to watch the shocked reactions of all involved next time.

The Bad: This wasn't bad. I suppose when we spent extended sequences at the Wall and in Winterfell I expected more drama than we got. But what we got was all solid character stuff.

The Unknown: Ramsay forcing Reek to apologise for murdering Bran and Rickon was a very interesting moment. I can't tell if Ramsay just loves making people uncomfortable or if he is testing Theon. You would think Theon would try to tell Sansa the truth so that she doesn't despise him too much but then he would risk further torment. Tricky.

Stannis' decision to ride without the Wildlings is pretty logical storytelling. He can't count on the Wildlings to fight for him or to be disciplined if they do. So he might as well push on without them. However it does leave you wondering if it's a big mistake. Taking his wife and child with him means he either wins or loses everything. We haven't really discussed the loyalty of his Golden Company. If things get sticky at Winterfell would they abandon him? Or indeed could their loyalty be bought with Bolton money?

Ser Aemon counselling Jon (and mentioning that Dany's only relative lives a world away) felt like red meat to those of us who assume we know who the Lord Commander's parents are.

At first I was very surprised by Jorah getting greyscale. I mean the odds of him ever hooking up with Dany were slim but now you'd think even he will have to give up. More seriously it seems to parallel Jaime losing his hand at this stage. I enjoy all the odd couple travelling companion stories but it's interesting to note the potential similarities here. Unless the cure Stannis found can be synthesised I don't know what Jorah has to live for.

Will Dany tell Hizdahr zo Loraq that this is strictly a political wedding?

Best Moment: Jorah and Tyrion recite a poem about the Doom of Valyria.

Conclusion: I was intrigued by the split of locations. I assume next week we get most of the rest of them. It made for a slowish but solid outing. There are times when it feels like we trudge our feet waiting for the next big confrontation but you never know what clues are being dropped in the meantime.



Add your comments on this episode below. They may be included in the weekly podcasts.

Post your comment


  • I had a thought, Stannis heading to Winterfell puts him in the vicinity of Brieanne and Pod. Could she kill Stannis at the moment of his greatest victory? She may think of herself as Sansa's protector but she has her own list that she whispers at night and I bet two of those names are Stannis and Bolton.

    Viewer score: 65 / 100

    Posted by Brian Morris, 16/05/2015 1:53am (4 years ago)

  • ***Post Podcast Comments***

    The lines of thought over the past three podcasts (between the two of you pivoting off of all of our thoughts) have been very interesting for me and I have been thoroughly enjoying the discussions and everyone’s observations.

    I am curious how anyone feels about the following:

    *Dany related*:
    • Does anyone think Dany needs to quickly elect a new former slave representative at Council to replace Mossador?

    I do think (as Robin and Roberto have been saying) Dany agreeing to open the pits does offer the former Slaves a means to become wealthier (if they chose).
    I have also observed that the ones that don’t want to use the pits still appear to lack a voice in Dany’s council now.
    • Won’t a marriage to a noble house create an imbalance of favor of Nobles over former slaves that Dany will need to correct asap?
    • Does anyone feel that Dany is starting to believe that the use of Slavery is an inevitable construct she has to use to retain power?
    • Is Dany becoming more ruthless and cruel like her father was?

    *Roose related*:

    Besides being pragmatic and emotionless when it came to Walda as a wife choice (the biggest dowry to boast of the Frey women)
    • What do you all feel are the other features of his character subtext?
    • Does he embrace cruelty as merely a means to get what he wants and to stay in control or is he also cruel for his own pleasure (like Ramsay)?
    • What is it that he sees in Ramsay that he sees in himself?

    He did point out to Ramsay after he paraded Theon around at dinner: ‘You disgraced yourself at dinner parading that creature before the Stark girl.’ This leads me personally to think he only uses cruelty to get confessions or obedience from someone not to humiliate them for his own pleasure (like Ramsay has been doing.) Ramsay’s insults about Walda seemed to bounce right off of Rouse. He had no problem putting Ramsay in his place about his birth origin and did show evilness in how he took his Mother under the same tree where her husband was still swaying from a branch.

    *Ramsay related*:

    • How complex do you think Ramsay Bolton is as a character? Is he merely being cruel to Sansa by parading around Theon to watch her squirm?
    • Or is he shaming Theon in front of her to try and make sure she understands the Boltons had nothing to do with the (alleged) deaths of Bran and Rickon and show he has punished the proper perpetrator (Theon)? All done to try to have Sansa have more trust in the Boltons?

    For me assigning Theon as the best man in his wedding to Sansa was out an out cruelty. It just makes a mockery of their wedding and it starts their marriage with a scar (having the person who killed her brothers marry her off.) She probably now thinks this is yet another psycho she has to endure…This time forever until the Bolton’s are overthrown; hopefully in the next episode.)

    Posted by Fluids, 15/05/2015 4:10pm (4 years ago)

  • Well… We will have to respectively agree to disagree. My opinions are my opinions as yours is yours. I elaborate on this only once below. After this there's no need to go back and forth about this because you have given your opinion and I respect yours; please respect mine.

    Beric: ‘Roose Bolton needs a Stark to legitimise his position as Lord of Winterfell in the eyes of the other Northeners.’

    Fluids: Yes I agree.

    Beric: ‘He knows better than to betray her because the other Northeners are not going to take the Bolton rule if that happens and Bolton has enough foresight to know that.’

    Fluids: I thought that way until I remembered that the Northerners are presently taking the Bolton rule and didn’t muster up a force against Roose Bolton after he stabbed Rob Stark, The King of the North in the heart. I also asked myself if I have been shown any resistance from Northerners to Roose Bolton since Robb’s death and there hasn’t been anything shown to us in the show. There isn’t another force we have been shown that Northerners have been rallying around. Therefore I don't see the Northerners doing anything to Roose if he had to kill Sansa Stark.

    I think also Sansa realizes she is a fugitive of justice which is why she's been disguising herself. The walls of Winterfell cannot change that reality of that for her and that I feel is something she should know and bear in mind.

    Beric: ‘ Ramsay is the wild card.’

    Fluids: Yes, agreed however,
    Cersei I think is a *huge wildcard*; sending the head of the King’s guard off to Dorne; potentially executing the crown’s only hope to mitigate financial disaster and having his son imprisoned for his sexual orientation through the High Sparrow. I don’t think Cersei is like Tywin at all. So, it would not surprise me if she sent a large force to go up against Winterfell if she heard Sansa was there. I think in her eyes Sansa is a fugitive of justice who killed her baby boy Joffrey along with her brother Tyrion.

    Beric: ‘ Roose lso mentioned to Littlefinger that he does not count on the Lannisters to save them if push comes to shove so he wouldn't get anything outof betraying her to the Lannisters.’

    Fluids: Actually he says ‘When the Lannisters hear I've wed Sansa Stark to Ramsay…The Queen will be enraged.’ which I read as him being quite concerned about the consequences of marrying Sansa to Ramsay. Little Finger then tries to calm him down and says ‘Cersei is Queen Mother, a title whose importance wanes with each passing day.’ Then Little Finger gets a message from Cersei, which Roose demands to see his response to before he Ravens it back to her.
    So I look at it this way: Disorganized Northerners opinions versus the wrath of a wildcard queen with a large group of forces and vengeance in her heart. If Sansa were to die at Roose’s hands (with Cersei at the gates of Winterfell), I think the Northerners would hate him; perhaps even try to kill him. However he can then send her head to Cersei and not have to risk death from the Crown (for harboring a fugitive of justice) and secure his position in the North.

    Posted by Fluids, 13/05/2015 4:18pm (4 years ago)

  • @Fluids: Sansa going into the kennels is her 'kill the boy' moment it seems: she makes a decision not knowing what the outcome will be or that it might be bad but she does it anyway because she has to make a choice here. Myranda is just some random person in her mind so she has no reason to suspect her of something....until she sees Theon, at which point she likely realises what an awful people both Ramsay and Myranda are. She will not trust either of them in the future, methinks and it's not like they were close to her before this.

    You might feel it's inconsistent for people to show human emotion but it really isn't. Ramsay would expect her to be emotional when he brings in Theon and knowing that his father murdered her brother. The worst thing would be not to show emotions because then you indicate to them that you are not showing who you are and they might think you have something to hide.

    Roose Bolton needs a Stark to legitimise his position as Lord of Winterfell in the eyes of the other Northeners. He knows better than to betray her because the other Northeners are not going to take the Bolton rule if that happens and Bolton has enough foresight to know that. Ramsay is the wild card. Roose lso mentioned to Littlefinger that he does not count on the Lannisters to save them if push comes to shove so he wouldn't get anything outof betraying her to the Lannisters. Without Tywin they are weak in his eyes and he says so to Baelish and Ramsay. There's nothing for him there and Littlefinger is the one who is growing in power and influence. What could the Lannisters actually do if he did not hand Sansa over? Winterfell is very difficult to take, the Boltons are on home turf and he believes their forces to be weakened. He has no incentive to either betray Sansa to the Lannisters or to fear them.

    The fact that Sansa was able to play Littlefinger rests on 2 reasons: a) he seems to be into her and she knows it becuse he kissed her twice now so she can exploit that to her dvantage should she need to (something which she does not have with Ramsay because he does not feel love as far as the audience knows) and b) she knows how Littlefinger plays the game but Ramsay is just messing with people for the sake of it and he is different from someone like Joffrey because he puts actual thought into setting up these emotional traps for people. The Boltons are more or less unknown entities to her at this moment in that regard. She knows that Roose is dangerous but he has an interest in keeping her safe as far as she knows.

    At least there is an indication that she realises who the person she is going to marry really is and when she asks him why he does all this stuff I get the impression that she just generally refers to his love of torture, etc. but she already knows the answer. It's interesting that he does not reply by ddressing the question honestly because at other moments he would not care who knows what he does. So if anything, he showed himslf to her more than she did to him because he expected her to be emotional but she did not know how depraved he was. There is no legitimate reason to justify anything he does. She already knows the answer but trying to find out if Ramsay is gong to try to continue with his pretense of sanity is important for her to confirm what she already suspects at this point. At the same time Ramsay was a generally unknown quantity Sansa.

    Posted by Beric, 13/05/2015 8:16am (4 years ago)

  • I thought the sequence with Jorah and Tyrion going through 'The Doom' was really fantastic, in the literary sense, and visually wonderful. It also gave their trip an 'Apocalypse Now' feel, of a risky, exotic trip down-river. Liked the poem very much too for atmosphere. I hope Tyrion and Jorah have a crack at 'Don't Go Breakin' My Heart' next week. Maybe that's how they'll win over Daenerys.

    Speaking of Daenerys... wow! I was going to describe this episode as filler (which I think, in many respects, it is) but not many 'filler' episodes of anything feature a man being immolated and devoured by not one but two dragons! That was dark stuff, especially Daenerys' intent, flame-lit fascination with the whole execution. Cold, but fascinating material. I also thought her decisions, although clearly being made up 'on the hoof', actually worked well as 'carrot-and-stick'! First execute a noble at random horrificlly, terrifying the others, then provide the carrot of regime integration for another, favoured noble. Divide, and rule. We shall see though.....

    Sansa's walk to the end of the kennels at Winterfell where she encountered Theon was very remininiscent of Clarice Starling's first visit to Hannibal Lecter in 'Silence of the Lambs'. I found it very scary indeed, because, for some reason I forgot in that moment about Theon, and thought that what might be at the end of that corridor could be the corpse of Catelyn Stark, salvaged from the Red Wedding as a grisly trophy. It was the way Myranda kept harping on Snsa's mother.....That would've been so awful that I was relieved to 'merely' see the human wreck that is Theon. Intense.

    What is Roose Bolton trying to do here? As regards Ramsay? Surely he realises Ramsay is terribly dangerous, to him as well as their enemies? I understand that he needs Ramsay now (sort of), but why reveal that there is a pure Bolton heir on the way? To focus Ramsay's mind? To merely deflate him? Seems dangerous. Why not merely send Walda back to the Dreadfort, hide her pregnancy, wait for 9 months, then bump off Ramsay when the new son is safely born. Does Roose really have no-one who he can rely on other than Ramsay, with all his wealth and patronage? Their whole relationship seems, well, insane for such a calculating mn to lean on so heavily.

    Viewer score: 64 / 100

    Posted by David F, 12/05/2015 11:59pm (4 years ago)

  • I agree with Derek on the inconsistency with trusting Myranda. When Myranda touched her outfit at the broken tower she withdrew her hand because she doesn't know or apparently trust her. As Derek says, they then have Sansa listening to Myranda and blindly walking down dark kennel alleys alone where she discovers Theon.

    I also agree about Sansa's inconsistent emotional control as well. She has been playing Little Finger well since the death of her Aunt covering her emotions and true feelings. When she's alone with the Boltons she seems to forget she's surrounded by people who murdered her Brother and Mother (or come from families that did those things) and let's things fly out of her mouth that she should be more careful about.

    I think her value to the Bolton's is 50/50. She's valuable in securing the North, however she's equally valuable to King's Landing for causing Joffrey's death. If Bolton had to, he would serve her head up on a silver platter to Cersei to save his own skin.

    Posted by Fluids, 12/05/2015 10:44pm (4 years ago)

  • @Derek: Sansa has no reason to distrust random person X and she knows that the Boltons want this match so she would likely assume that everyone in the Bolton household would too. She has no reason to believe that the Boltons would harm her because she knows she's a valuable asset to them. I thought t was a very brave decision that mirrored both Jon's and Dany's decisions. At some point you just need to make a choice, no matter how bad you think the utcome might be. In this case the love for her mother was what guided her decision and that is a very human impulse. I don't want Sansa to become an emotionless manipulator. She does not suspect that Myranda would be jealous of her and be dangerous to her from one conversation.

    Also how did Sansa let her emotions show? At best she showed Ramsay that his facade is bad, in that he allows his true nature to shine through and her sking him why he parades Reek around is a legit question that anyone not familiar with the Boltons would have. She was stonefaced throughout the entire dinner. Do you want her to be an emotionless machine? You can only play people against each other once you know them and Sansa is only getting to realize who Ramsay is. She got that inkling when she saw Theon in the kennels.

    It might also be worth pointing out that Sansa replaces another book character in this situation in order to condense the story so some things might not happen in ordr to get the subplot going to where it needs to go, although they could change that too I guess.

    Finally, the writers have also commented on the characters' arcs in the show: they are not linear. People don't just do something and then that's it for the entir season. These are not video game upgrades that constantly accompany them. The characters make choices in the moment and so people can mess up or they can make brilliant decisions in one moment and then do the complete opposite in another moment, depending on the situation, you know, like real people. They can also do very moral or immoral things at different moments. Which is why I think the conflicting accounts of Rhaegear might not necessarily exclude each other for instance.

    Posted by Beric, 12/05/2015 7:30pm (4 years ago)

  • A few more quick opinions to flesh out the BAD with Stannis:

    I know Stannis was waiting to see if he could get the Wildlings as an additional force to attack Winterfell, however as soon as he burned Mance at the stake it should have been apparent by the second episode of this season that he wasn't going to get them and he should have marched on Winterfell.

    *Jon already said he couldn't control or convince the Wildlings to help a king.

    *The force they captured wouldn't bend the knee and the rest of the Wildlings whereabouts were unknown (we just learned they are hidden up in HardHome.)

    * Even if they did agree, how would Stannis control their warring capabilities for suitable strategy?

    * Jon still would have to Hardhome to get enough troops to protect the Wall anyway.

    Just my two cents, if Stannis was a tactful commander of forces he would have realized there just wasn't enough time with winter coming to add the Wildlings.

    A good commander wouldn't want to be caught warring out in bad weather conditions.

    (Stannis should have realized all this a lot sooner in my opinion.)

    I keep thinking of Napolean marching on Moscow and getting stranded in the middle of Russia in the middle of winter (as did the Nazis.)

    Posted by Fluids, 12/05/2015 3:32pm (4 years ago)

  • I was really disappointed with how they handled Sansa in this episode. It was really sloppy.

    "Hey Sansa, why don't you walk to the end of these creepy corridor because I promise nothing bad will happen."

    "OK, odd stranger who seems way too interested in me. What could possibly go wrong."

    I know nothing bad actually happens to Sansa in that scene but under no circumstances should she trust Miranda so easily. She was also far too open with her emotions in the dinner scene which is a big step back from how she has acted all season. She's been demonstrating she understands the value of masking her emotions but here she was just obvious as she would have been years ago.

    Speaking of Miranda, she clearly hasn't accepted Ramsay's word and is still displeased. Naturally you'd think I'd be worried for Sansa, especially if she keeps acting with this same degree of stupid naivety but I think that's too expected. What if Miranda plans to work with Sansa against Ramsay rather than against Sansa? Showing Sansa Reek/Theon does nothing to help Ramsay.

    Viewer score: 59 / 100

    Posted by Derek, 11/05/2015 10:06pm (4 years ago)

  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    • No! Master Aemon is dying!
    • Funny I thought once I saw the title of the show that they were speaking of Tommen 
    • More interlacing between shots of earlier episodes and the current episode (Stannis pointing out Old Valyria and the Stonemen) and then Tyrion with Ser Jorah in Old Valyria being attacked by them. Dany with the comments on Drogon and him flying over Tyrion and Ser Jorah’s head in Old Valyria.
    • I thought Samwell already knew that Dragonstone Island had Dragonglass? Well, he knows now. The fact he relayed slaying the White Walkers with the Dragonglass to Stannis means to me:
    1. Stannis will survive the battle of Winterfell and possibly head up the Battle against the White Walkers.
    2. Jon Snow’s journey to Hardhome will be successful and he will return unharmed with the Wildlings and possibly head up the Battle against the White Walkers.
    3. Both Stannis and Jon combined forces will take down the White Walkers together.
    • I am guessing the Wildlings will be settling the Gift (area all along the Wall in the North) that they have been reaving in earlier seasons when Jon gets back with them. Those lands I don’t believe fall under Tommen’s rule; they are lands of the Men of the Night’s watch, so technically the Wildlings would not have to bend the knee to anyone to settle those lands.
    • There’s a rather short list of main characters with a lot of troops and knowledge of how to slay the White Walkers with Dragonglass and access to lots of Dragonglass. We know the Children cannot do that alone because there aren’t many of them. We also know that most men and armies in *all* the lands south of the Wall don’t even know the Children still exist (or the White Walkers for that matter.)
    • Poor Ser Barristan! This sets up good fuel for consequences for Dany on the Nobles though.
    • I thought Dany’s treatment of the Nobles at Meereen was effective and marrying Hizdahr Zo Loraq will show interesting politics with the Slaves.
    • I loved Sansa’s words with the Boltons.
    • Jon’s scene with Tormund shows he has chutzpah.
    • Masters of Meereen begging for mercy in front of the Dragons.
    • I loved seeing Old Valyria. I really want to learn a lot more about it. These are the most tangible elements to date (other than information here and there were about Valerian swords.)
    • I thought was funny when Maester Aemon said ‘A Targaryen alone in the World is a terrible thing’ and then Jon appears. Did anyone else catch Maester Aemon touching Jon’s face? Perhaps he has his suspicions about Jon being Rhaegar’s son? (Don’t know how he would connect the dots though.)
    • Great line: ‘We can learn to live with the Wildlings or we can add them to the army of the dead.’
    • Sansa seeing Theon and then Ramsay asserting him be the best man at their wedding exposes in a way how horrible Ramsay can be.
    • Ramsay needling Roose about Walda’s weight and his concerns about his heir status with Roose (with reference to her pregnancy.)
    • Roose knowing Stannis is at the Wall. (I expected that.)
    • Brienne and Podrick scene was just repetitive.
    • Overall I felt this episode was more informational and setup more than any sort of story progress; buildup to the war on Winterfell.
    • There has been so much effort into building up and positioning for Jon Snow that I don’t fear for him not coming back from Hardhome (which is sort of bad because it deepens the direction of the narrative; making the journey to the White Walker on Man battle at the end of this thing more predictable then previous.) Someone has to have troops and Samwell’s knowledge (as well as a source of Dragonglass) to defeat the White Walkers and we know who all those people are and there are not many of them, so the directions this can go are seemingly few in number.
    • I don’t fear Stannis not coming back. Roose I think is more of a threat to Stannis then Brienne. I think he will be victorious in the coming battle. What frustrates me is after sitting around and venting for four episodes Stannis has finally decided to go invade Winterfell. It was clear at the end of season four that he could have done so back then because he has enough troops. He comes off like a moping laggard with a huge ego (trying to get people to bend the knee to him instead of being a man of action like Robert.)


    • Where the heck is Hardhome by Starrold’s Point?
    • Who will take over the Men of the Night’s Watch while Jon goes off with the Wildlings?
    • Whose side is Myranda on? I think she’s starting to realize she can never marry Ramsay Bolton. Is she now on Sansa’s side (against the Boltons)?
    • Was the message about the Candle in the broken tower from Brienne or Myranda?
    • How fast is Ser Jorah’s Dragon Scale spreading? Is it slow or fast moving? Will he be able to cure his illness? Will he be able to do so before seeing Dany or after? Who can help him? Quaithe?
    • Was that Drogon flying overhead or another Dragon? The show opening clips did have that Dany clip where she says ‘No one has seen Drogon in weeks. For all I know, he’s flown half way around the world.’ I believe Old Valyria is not far from Meereen.
    • What impact will Dany’s future wedding to Hizdahr Zo Loraq have on her ruling decisions in Meereen? Won’t the slaves hate her more?
    • Can Samwell take over for Maester Aemon once he passes? He will probably need to go to school at the Citadel first right?
    • If the Wildlings settle the Gift (areas along the wall) will there be civil wars with the people who already live there? Especially since for thousands of years they fell victim (like Ollie’s parents) to the Thenns and other Wilding groups.

    Viewer score: 62 / 100

    Posted by Fluids, 11/05/2015 6:47pm (4 years ago)

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments