Game of Thrones “Kill the Boy” Review

0
Posted May 11, 2015 by Chris White in Nerdy Bits

*Spoilers below*

This week’s episode of Game of Thrones felt like a majority of mediocre interactions, bookended by two fantastic set pieces that gave the episode its two biggest shocks. Don’t get me wrong, it was far from unenjoyable but it wasn’t the greatest of episodes. We’ve seen such a high calibre of acting and writing up until now and for me to say it was bad would be a lie; however, there were many times where I felt a little disappointed in the lack of story progression and the needless interactions between the lesser characters. ‘Kill the Boy’ managed to keep a lot of its setting rooted in the north. There was no King’s Landing or Dorne—this week belonged to the Bolton’s and Jon Snow.

Maester Aemon converses with Sam about his only living relative, Daenerys. He is told about her current happenings in Meereen and he can’t help but show sorrow that she if fighting her battles alone and that her great uncle is elsewhere, ‘useless and dying.’ Jon Snow interrupts the sombre moment to ask Maester Aemon for some advice. The Lord Commander wants to free the wildings in an attempt to have them fight by his side but he’s worried about the repercussions within the Knight’s Watch. Aemon tells him to do what is right and to ‘kill the boy and let the man be born.’ These words resonate with Jon and he decides to put his plan into motion. After the release of Tormund, they prepare to head beyond the wall, save the wildlings and bring them to the south to give them shelter and protection as, you know—winter is coming. A slow week for Jon but you can see that things are moving forward and a potential fight with the White Walkers could be on the cards soon. Speaking of those rugged-faced ice monsters, the King of the North has some forethought on them and approaches Sam with regards to the rumours of him taking down a White Walker back when he was acting bodyguard for Gilly beyond the wall. Stannis is no fool—as the weeks have progressed, we have seen the wheels turning in his head and the many wars are being won in every single thought that goes through it. ‘Keep reading those books!’ Stannis utters to Sam and we can see that he believes wholeheartedly in Sam’s tale and knows that he could be the key into a successful offence against the White Walkers. As he leaves Sam, he confides in Davos about another war and tells him they will head for Winterfell at dawn. As Stannis departs to a slowed down, minimalistic version of the Game of Thrones theme, Jon watches on, before leading his own army to find the wildlings north of the wall. I’m seeing Stannis differently after last week’s episode; he is coming across like a humble man that exudes great knowledge and kindness as king. I’ve never believed Stannis could be a force to be reckoned with but after tonight—if I was a Bolton—I’d be praying to every single one of the seven Gods.

Speaking of the Boltons, there was far too much of not enough. Roose is a dull character, yet he had quite a substantial amount of screen time tonight. The problem I have with Roose is that he is monotonous and two-dimensional. Even though he delivered a chilling explanation as to how he found out that Ramsey was his child (it involved the rape of his mother under the hanging body of her husband—grim!), I wasn’t particularly interested. I understand why it needed to be said but it was dry and non-emotive. Ramsey is a great character but his father is not and tonight it felt as though there were many interactions between them but not enough to excite me. Even when Ramsey got poor Reek to apologise to Sansa about murdering her brothers (which we all know didn’t actually happen) and clearly making her uncomfortable, it was Roose that weakened the scene by revealing that he will be having another child in that dreary, half-dead tone. I’m sorry if you’re a fan—maybe it was due to the slow pacing of the whole episode that made me feel this way or maybe I was just expecting more from Ramsey but tonight, Roose and the current story of Winterfell is a dud.

game-of-thrones-kill-the-boy-mcelhatton-rheon

Before we head to Meereen, Brienne got word to Sansa that if she was ever in trouble, she should light a candle in the highest window. As ambiguous as this message was to her, we all knew that Brienne and Podrick were on watch, watching from afar and being on hand in case anything would happen to her. With Baelish on course for King’s Landing, it seemed to provide a little comfort to Sansa, especially as she is surrounded by murderers and psychopaths but once again, I found this as needless filler. Yes, it is setting up a story but I’m not that bothered. The rivers around Winterfell have well and truly dried up tonight.

Onto the good stuff…

For a while now, Daenerys has been a little stale and her time on Meereen was on a bit of a wasted journey. When Game of Thrones started, there was so much promise for her. As the seasons came and went, the Queen of Dragons followed a repetitive path and one I wasn’t really keen on sharing with her. Season five has really given Daenerys wings once more (pardon the pun) and after a grisly death at the hands of her magnificent dragons, the Khaleesi is back and she’s taking no prisoners anymore. After the sad death of Ser Barristan Selmy, Dani is a woman scorned. She gathers all the leaders of the families in Meereen and takes them to the dungeon where her two remaining dragons are being kept all chained up. After some intimidation, one of the leaders gets pushed forward to the ground. He is burned and tore in two—blood flies everywhere and this sign of power is exactly what these families appear to need. She wants to show that she is in charge and that revenge is clearly the only thing on her mind. In the penultimate scenes, Daenerys realises that maybe her harsh actions aren’t the right ones and she needs to not exact revenge but move on, unite those that bow to her and not anger them like she has done before. She decides to reopen the fighting pits to free men and marry Hizdahr zo Loraq…WHAT?! Marriage to a relative stranger? The rhyme or reason to this decision was left out of the episode and I don’t really understand how this is a good thing or even a necessary one—only Daenerys knows. Personally, flame grilled masters at the hands (or flames) of her children would have been more fun but hey, I write reviews not plotlines.

Dany-Kill_the_Boy

It’s worth speaking about Grey Worm and Missandei. I’m not really one for ‘will they, won’t they?’ moments but after the horror that Grey Worm encountered in his battle with the Sons of the Harpy, it was an absolute joy to see the two of them finally show their affections for one and other. It was a touching moment that gave me a smile to wear—unlike the constant frowning, shocked, open-mouth expressions I’ve worn since the start. I high-fived the air and settled down for the closing scene where Jorah and Tyrion sailed into the abandoned city of Valyria.

I’m really starting to appreciate the moments when Jorah and Tyrion are on screen together. Tyrion is given the best lines and the best scenes but they wouldn’t be the best without the great support. Jorah isn’t a showman, nor is he loud, abrasive or funny but he compliments Tyrion well. As they enter the glorious ruins of Valyria, there is silence. You feel the eeriness as they do and before the chaos ensues, you are allowed to recollect what’s so special about this place. Once home to the Targaryens, Valyria was a place of power. Known for its steel and its dragons, the fabled city was a regarded highly until the ‘doom of Valyria (an almighty volcano erupting from the fourteen fires)’, condemned the city to death and destruction, remaining as a place for those afflicted with greyscale to be sent there to die. As the two travellers head through the entrance way, a familiar yet surprising sight befalls them: Drogon flies through the mist above them. Before they even have a chance to recuperate from what they’ve seen, their boat is invaded by stone men and they are drawn into a vicious fistfight (rather Jorah has to fight as Tyrion still has his hands tied). Jorah manages to fight them off but in the battle, Tyrion gets knocked underwater and is dragged to the bottom of the Valyrian Lake—cut to black and cue an animalistic rage building up inside of me as I’m firmly under the impression that the episode has ended leaving me to ponder on whether the little guy has been killed off. Luckily, we see a very wet Jorah waking up a very wet Tyrion on a beach. Hooray! Neither is dead and everything is OK. Wrong; in all the madness, it is revealed that Jorah has been infected with greyscale. Now we can cut to black.

game-thrones-season-5

Cersei, Jaime, Arya, Baelish, Margaery, Bronn and the Sand Snakes were all absent and with the season already halfway, it feels like there is still lots of ground to cover. ‘Kill the Boy’ was a lot of slow scenes and featured overkill on some of the weaker characters, laced with two or three memorable and electrifying scenes. A phenomenal season with a weaker episode doesn’t diminish the overall appeal, but it does throw a little doubt onto how the whole thing will be tied up in the end—the only thing we can do is keep watching.


About the Author

Chris White

Rock n' Roll Nerd, Gamer, Writer, Lover and procrastinator.