Episode 5 - Kill the Boy
17 May 2015
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.
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