Game of Thrones 505 recap/ review
Kill the Boy
Recaps contain spoilers for “Game of Thrones” as well as “A Song of Ice and Fire.”
Dig that snake in Dorne from the opening titles, right?! This week’s episode of HBO’s cornerstone program opened on the participants from the violent melee at the end of “The Sons of the Harpy.” Missandei looks over Grey Worm, who survived the fight and continues resting, as Daenerys Targaryen mourns over Ser Barristan’s body in the throne room. Hizdahr zo Loraq enters to offer his condolences before the queen takes Daario’s advice to round up and question the leaders of every powerful Meereenese family—beginning with Hizdahr. “I had nothing to do with this!” he calls as the queen’s guards take him. Daenerys’ soldiers take the family leaders (Hizdahr included) down into the chamber where the queen keeps Rhaegal and Viserion. The guards surround the leaders and jab them with spears to make the leaders approach the angry, hungry dragons. Daario arbitrarily shoves one man out ahead of the others. One of the dragons burns the man as both of the dragons split him in half to share and eat. Daenerys considers aloud letting the dragons choose whom they’d like to enjoy next as she rests her hand on Hizdahr. “Valar Morghulis,” he bravely says. The queen decides to not overfeed her “children” and the soldiers remove the other leaders as the dragons finish dining.
Director Jeremy Podeswa (“Boardwalk Empire,” Fugitive Pieces) transitions from Daenerys to characters speaking about her thousands of miles away (unless you entertain the theory that Westeros and Essos are connected by unmapped territory beyond the Lands of Always Winter in Westeros and the Five Forts in Essos). Sam reads to Maester Aemon about Daenerys’ tribulations in Meereen. “A Targaryen alone in the world is a terrible thing,” Aemon laments. Jon interrupts and excuses Sam to speak with Aemon. The 998th Lord Commander wants Aemon’s advice on something and the maester tells him to go ahead with his idea before hearing it, pointing out that half the brothers already hate him and that Jon can still make the best decision even if he doesn’t make the popular decision. “Kill the boy and let the man be born.” The camera remains with Jon as he acts on Aemon’s advice. Tormund meets the Lord Commander in his quarters where they quibble about Mance and freedom. Jon frees his prisoner and charges him to gather the remaining Freefolk at Hardhome and bring them south of the wall to fight against the coming army of the dead. “Make peace to save your people,” Jon implores. Tormund agrees on the condition that Jon will accompany him in order to sell the Freefolk on this concept. We continue with Jon in the following scene as he informs the brothers of his plan/ decision to rescue the people at Hardhome. The idea comes off as divisive as he expected with several brothers irate at the idea of teaming up with the Wildlings/ Freefolk. “We can learn to live with the wildlings, or we can add them to the army of the dead. Whatever they are now, they’re better than that,” Jon points out to all dissenters. The camera rests on Stannis at the back of the room as the scene ends.
Podeswa sticks with Jon Snow for a fourth consecutive scene as Olly enters his quarters to drop off the Lord Commander’s meal. As the boy leaves, Jon gives him the chance to say what’s on his mind as Olly’s family was murdered by the very people that Jon wants to rescue. The boy wants to believe it’s a trick so that Jon can exact deadly revenge on the wildlings, but that story gets quickly shot down. They butchered his entire family. The Lord Commander tries to explain himself as simply as possible to the lad when he empathizes on losing loved ones but remembers, too, that winter is coming for them with all of its terrors. Olly still doesn’t seem to go with this idea and excuses himself to conclude the scene. The next scene stays in north Westeros as Podrick enters a room in an inn that houses Brienne. She stands, looking out a window at Winterfell. Pod supposes that Sansa is better off here because she’s finally home and away from the Lannisters. Brienne quickly pounces on the fact that the Boltons killed her mother and brother. “Sansa’s in danger even if she doesn’t realize it,” she says as a servant enters the room to change out the chamber pot. Brienne asks the servant how well he knew Lord Eddard to which he answers he knew Ned and his father, but that the Starks are all gone now. Brienne, however, slyly brings up Sansa. The man grows suspicious and Brienne declares she intends to fulfill her oath to Catelyn because death doesn’t release one from an oath. “Who do you serve?” she asks the man.
The camera stays in the north as the camera lingers on Ramsey’s bedfellow, Myranda’s, nude form staring outa window in Winterfell, as opposed to at it like Brienne in the previous scene. Ramsey calls her to bed, but she rejects the order. She expresses resentment and jealousy toward Sansa Stark now that Ramsey is betrothed to her. She raises a hand to him and he restrains her. “You’re mine. You’re not going anywhere,” he says to her. He threatens to do to her what he does to others who bore him. Ramsey takes her again right then and there, turning Myranda to stare out the window once more. The next scene stays in Winterfell as Sansa hears a rapping at her door. She opens it to find the servant who previously told her “The North remembers” in “High Sparrow.” The woman tells Sansa that she still has friends in the north and to light a candle in the window of the highest room of the broken tower if she’s ever in trouble. Brienne’s message to her certainly made it! “You’re not alone,” the woman promises Sansa as she departs. The next scene follows Sansa as she approaches the broken tower to look up at the window she would potentially need—the very window where Bran caught Cersei and Jaime in the pilot episode, “Winter is Coming.”
As Sansa stares at the window, Myranda emerges to complement Sansa’s dress and introduce herself as the kettlemaster’s daughter. Myranda inspects Sansa’s dress more closely and asks where she learned how to stitch and sew. Sansa replies that her mother did and retains her arm. Myranda says that Sansa can think of the way things used to be every time she makes clothes and remembers her mother, but that Winterfell also houses another thing that might remind her of the way things were. The girls walk to where Ramsey keeps his dogs and Myranda opens the gate to allow Sansa inside. Myranda tells Sansa that she won’t believe the surprise at the end of the hall when she sees it. She finds Reek, obviously, who won’t answer to “Theon,” but still warns her that she shouldn’t be there. She storms off as the camera cuts away to Reek fastening Ramsey’s clothes to Ramsey. Ramsey asks his pet if he has anything to confess and Reek states that Sansa saw him earlier that day in the kennels. He makes Reek kneel and shake like a trained dog as he forgives the former Greyjoy.
The next scene also stays at Winterfell as Sansa, Ramsey, Roose, and Walda dine with Reek serving them. Ramsey toasts to his upcoming wedding to Sansa before Walda fails to connect with her. Ramsey calls Reek for more wine and tells Sansa that he’s made Theon pay for what he did to her brothers. “The north remembers,” he mocks. “He isn’t ironborn anymore.” Ramsey makes Reek apologize for murdering her brothers (not that the Boltons didn’t kill any of her relatives). However, Ramsey feels a psychotic change of heart and suggests that Reek give Sansa away at the wedding to give her a sense of familiarity. It looks like the Boltons are keeping Bran and Rickon as their little secret so that news of their survival doesn’t spread and inspire hope in the north. Imagine if Reek had one more moment to let Sansa know. Roose cuts through the tension to allow Walda the opportunity to announce her pregnancy. Sansa’s demeanor slightly shifts when she catches the gleam of jealousy in Ramsey’s eye and she congratulates Lady Bolton. Roose indicates the child is male as Ramsey swallows the rest of his wine with a grinning Sansa beside him. The camera stays with the two Bolton men for the next scene when Ramsey acts out at his father for having another child, taking easy shots at Walda’s expense. Roose then lets his son know about Ramsey’s mother—a miller’s wife whom Roose raped under the tree where her hanged husband swung. The woman appeared at his gates with baby Ramsey a year later and Roose took the child when he saw and knew it was his. Roose uses this story to boost Ramsey’s morale for the coming battle with Stannis Baratheon.
The camera finally leaves Winterfell after this, but remains in the north as we look in on Sam and Gilly. Gilly asks a lot of questions regarding books and libraries, Sam indicates that the Citadel in Old Town has the largest literary selection to train maesters, but he’ll never to get see it because he’s stuck at the Wall. Stannis enters to scare Gilly away and recognizes Sam as Randyll Tarly’s son. Stannis begins asking Sam all the right questions: Did you kill a white walker? How? Why is dragon glass so good for it? Sam explains that he’s read feverishly ever since, but all he’s managed to find out is that the children of the forest used dragon glass for hunting thousands of years ago. Stannis mentions Melisandre’s prophesies of death marching on the Wall and Sam confirms to him that he’s already seen the army of the dead. “…We have to know how to fight them. Keep reading, Samwell Tarly.” Stannis says this as he exits. Did this brief scene explain that Sam won’t leave for the Citadel for maester training like he did with Aemon and Gilly in A Feast for Crows? The scene definitely established Sam’s preferred action at the Wall to the boring day-to-day training at the Citadel. Throw in the fact that King Stannis told him to just keep reading and it looks like Sam’s literary arc is headed for television streamlining.
We stay with Stannis as he walks in on Davos whittling before the king says, “It’s time.” Davos wants to wait for Jon and the wildlings in order to boost their army before marching on Winterfell. Stannis expresses that Jon may not return and that they can’t wait that long because winter is coming. He tells his Hand that Queen Selyse and Princess Shireen will join them on the road instead of staying at Castle Black as Melisandre watches from across the walk. As Davos helps Shireen mount her horse, the princess asks him about the Winterfell crypts where all the Kings in the North are buried. He lovingly has her promise to protect him when the battle begins. “I promise,” she says as Sam and Gilly look at her across the courtyard. King Stannis and Lord Commander Jon Snow meet briefly before the Baratheon party leaves. Jon promises that he knows what he’s doing and to return Stannis’ ships before finally thanking him. Stannis mounts his horse alongside Melisandre, who grins at Jon, and then leads his army out the gate of Castle Black, ending a stay that began last season after saving the Night’s Watch from certain Freefolk defeat.
We finally return to Missandei’s watch over Grey Worm from the opening shot. He wakes after three days and asks first about Ser Barristan, whom he feels that he failed. He reveals that what he really feared all along was never seeing her face again before she hovers over him to share a kiss. The camera follows Missandei again, this time speaking with the queen who is at odds between Ser Barristan’s platform of peace and Daario’s advised violence. Daenerys asks Missandei for her opinion, but she really ends up talking about the other times the queen ignored all counsel and opted her own way. The next scene involved Daenerys entering Hizdahr’s chamber. He begs her not to “do this,” presumably killing the other household leaders. “What about ‘Valar morghulis’?” she asks him, referring to the opening sequence in the dragon dungeon. Hizdahr reveals that he didn’t want to die a coward and, preferably, not at all. Daenerys tells him that she was wrong and he was right in regards to tradition and joining the people. She confirms that she will open the fighting pits, but that slavery will never return. Before she exits, the queen states that all this will happen after she proves herself to the people by marrying one of the leaders of Meereen’s oldest families—Hizdahr himself. This was a completely different trajectory from Martin’s novels where Hizdahr constantly suggests that he should marry the queen in a selfish gesture sure to net him more power than it will for Daenerys.
The final scene features Jorah and Tyrion on their sailboat headed for Meereen. Tyrion, hands still bound attempts to break the excruciating silence. The youngest Lannister sibling wants wine, but there’s none to be found on the seas. He gets over this as he recognizes that Jorah intends to sail through Valyria. Tyrion warns him of the Doom of Valyria, a cataclysmic event that perhaps still terrorizes Valyria. No chapter of Martin’s books have taken place in Valyria so to see these two characters steer a boat through a mysterious land was an added treat. As they finish talking about the devastation of the doom, an enormous, black dragon flies into frame and catches Tyrion’s attention before swooping right over the travellers. Drogon again. As Drogon flies out of frame, a figure disguised in the background makes a splash behind their boat. More figures appear to them. “Stone men!” Jorah shouts, warning Tyrion not to touch them. Jorah manages to fight most of the (bizarrely hissing) men away, but not before Tyrion falls into the watery Valyrian depths and is pulled deeper by another stone man falling below him.
Podeswa fades to black for ten suspenseful seconds before Tyrion comes to on a shore with Jorah looking over him. Jorah cuts his bounds. “You’re heavier than you look.” He asks Tyrion if any of the stone men touched him, to which he replies in the negative. Tyrion asks Jorah the same, and the andal shakes his head in the negative. Tyrion explains that he’s seen greyscale before, but never that bad, as “Game of Thrones” calls back to Stannis’ story for Shireen about the stone men of Valyria and Gilly’s story about a few of Craster’s daughters covered in the disease who met a tragic end. Jorah indicates that they have a long walk for Meereen as he excuses himself to gather firewood. He looks across the sea to Meereen, then to Tyrion, who looks away, and finally he pulls back his left sleeve, revealing the growth of greyscale on his wrist. So Jorah’s televised arc gets streamlined/ combined with Jon Connington’s literary one now, got it? A lot of important decisions were made by Jon, Daenerys, and Brienne this week with little excitement outside of the opening and ending sequences. The middle scenes with Sansa felt like a hefty plate of filler, as we’ve even seen her walk by Reek earlier in this season. The Jorah/ Tyrion scene was arbitrarily chosen to conclude the episode because it ramped up the tension, making the episode feel more exciting as a whole. If this scene was edited elsewhere into the episode, it would have created an entirely new dynamic, livened the pace, and set up Stannis leaving Jon and the safety of Castle Black for the Boltons and the violence waiting at Winterfell.