Game of Thrones Revisited: 5.05 Kill The Boy
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Game of Thrones, the critically acclaimed TV series by David Benioff and DB Weiss and developed from the best-selling series of novels by George RR Martin, has become a cultural icon. The tentpole of HBO's programming with a stellar cast and mix of medieval-style political drama and war with a healthy dash of fantasy, Game of Thrones has enthralled audiences worldwide. And this year, the show will come to a dramatic end in its final run of feature length episodes. In the lead up to season eight, I explore every episode leading up to the final battle for Westeros, continuing with the somewhat uneventful season five episode Kill The Boy...
Warning: There may be spoilers for seasons one to seven...
Kill The Boy isn't a bad episode of Game of Thrones. But it's not a very eventful one either., After the violent power struggles of Sons of the Harpy, it opens with Daenerys mourning the death of Barristan Selmy while Missandei watches over a recovering Grey Worm and admits her love for him. But nothing really comes of the escalation. After imprisoning the noble leaders of Mereen and feeding one of them to her chained dragons, she sees sense and agrees to appease them by opening the fighting pits and marrying into Mereen nobility by telling Hizdahr zo Loraq he will be her husband. It's a real lack of momentum to a such a hot bed of activity.
A lot of the episode is set up for future events. Stannis finally rides for Winterfell and Jon forges an agreement with Wildling leader Tormund Giantsbane to sail for Hardholme and save the Wildling people from the army of the dead. It's an event that will lead to the highlight of the season (and perhaps the series so far) but have more dire consequences for him back at the Wall. When even loyal ally and friend Eddison Tollett refuses to go with him to Hardhome, you know he's fighting a loosing cause.
Things are a little more interesting in Winterfell as Ramsey's jealous lover Myranda reveals a broken Theon in the kennels to Sansa. This of course leads to one very awkward dinner between Sansa, Theon, Roose and his Frey wife Walda as Reek is forced to serve them and admit he was sorry for killing Sansa's brothers. It's a horrible situation for Sansa, who has already been abandoned by Littlefinger and no word of aid from Brienne, who is hanging around near Winterfell, can save her from her fate to come. I did love Roose twisting the knife with the reveal that Walda was pregnant with his son, suggesting that he would only be his legitimate heir for so long. Of course, even he will underestimate just how dangerous Ramsey can really be.
There's a complete lack of Arya in the House of Black and White or the Dorne storyline this episode, but they are hardly missed. However we do get a brief but memorable scene with Tyrion and his captor Jorah as they sail through the ruins of Valyria. The effects were breath-taking (and surely ripe for one of the many prequel series in development) and Drogon flying through the mists to the jaw-dropping amazement of Tyrion is one of the most memorable shots of the season.
The ensuing attack with the stone men was tense, the threat of them touching you making for a great zombie-like fight in the confines of the boat. My only complaint was that it was too short; Tyrion is dragged under the water and then wakes up perfectly well, with Jorah revealing to the audience (but not Tyrion) that he has been affected with greyscale. It feels as if the attack could have been a bigger sequence, but perhaps the pennies were being saved for Hardhome and The Dance of Dragons later this season.
As it stands, Kill The Son is a solid episode but not one you will remember much of in the wake of more dramatic episodes before and after it. Not every episode has to be filled with action and high drama, but there is a real sense that the series is losing momentum a little at this point.