HomeTelevisionTV Recap: Game of Thrones, 'Kill the Boy'

TV Recap: Game of Thrones, ‘Kill the Boy’

Game of Thrones Season 5 Poster.

Kill the Boy Plot Summary:

Only recently elected to Lord Commander, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) makes a decision that puts him at odds with everyone else. Sansa (Sophie Turner) reunites with a familiar face and continues to contend with Ramsay (Iwan Rheon). Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) tries new tactics to make peace in Meereen. Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Jorah (Iain Glen) run into trouble that puts their lives on the line.

Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/ courtesy HBO
Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/ courtesy HBO

Growing up is simply a part of life. There comes a time when anyone, no matter where they’re from or how they were raised, must push aside their childhood to become adults. Sure this happens a bit sooner for some, but inevitably we all reach that point. “Kill the Boy,” as the title suggests, was mostly about this. Several characters throughout the world made major decisions that will radically change their lives. This was bound to happen too because nearly everyone in power now is at a very young age. These are all inexperienced individuals who hold the fate of many in their hands. Of course, now that they’re making these choices, they also have to prepare for the consequences.

Jon’s was much more direct, which is fitting when you consider he’s the one Maester Aemon (Peter Vaughan) told to kill the boy inside him. Finding out what to do with the Wildlings is the young Lord Commanders first major decision. He questions doing it because he knows everyone will hate it, but Aemon quickly fires back that he must do it for that reason. For any real change to happen, you have to break down pre-existing boundaries. Yes, the Wildlings have murdered a lot of people, including Olly’s (Brenock O’Connor) parents. It’s understandable that people hate them. However, and this might be the idealist in me (and Jon), giving them their own land beyond the Wall might actually stop them from being a threat. Plus, you can’t deny the truth that when the White Walkers come to destroy humankind, they won’t give a shit who you are. Jon is absolutely right to bring the Wildlings down as a means to both cut down the White Walker numbers and to get strong allies. How this decision will ultimately pan out for Jon is pretty clear though. The Night’s Watch is very dead set in their ways. The older members, who already hate Jon, will simply use this against him.

Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/ courtesy HBO
Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/ courtesy HBO

Unlike Jon who was able to “kill the boy” fairly quickly, it took Dany a bit of time to “kill the girl” within her. While facing the dead body of Ser Barristan (Ian McElhinney), Dany quickly agrees with Darrio’s (Michiel Huisman) belief that all enemies must die. She sets this into motion too in the coolest way possible. The dragons looked great, as per usual, and watching them devour one of the powerful leaders was a nice bit of gory fun. Her enemies are all clearly afraid of her too. Yet when you look at this further, it’s basically Dany having a massive fit with dragons. Barristan is dead (though not yet in the books), she is pissed, and everyone must pay. People get angry when someone dies because we just need someone to blame. In this case, it was all the leaders in Mereen, who very possibly were innocent.

Obviously, this isn’t how a Queen is supposed to react. Violence begets violence and clearly the Sons of the Harpy aren’t too terrified of her as a person. It was the girl in her that caused her to fly into this rage. Near the end however, you see a massive turn in psyche. Her questioning her actions with Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) allowed her to “kill the girl” within. Having dragons burn everything down is easy. Finding a way to fix the problem so everyone gets what they want is much harder, but it’s what an adult would do. So with this in mind, Dany makes two major decisions: She will open the fighting pits to free people only, and she will marry Hizdahr zo Loraq (Joel Fry). These are things you know she doesn’t want to do, but she has to do them because that’s how she can retain her rule. Powerful stuff, really.

Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/ courtesy HBO
Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/ courtesy HBO

Then we have what’s going down at Winterfell where the kids of leaders are growing up all over the place. Sansa is trying to find a way to get some power back, and on multiple occasions people come up to her and flat out say they still support the Stark family. Clearly this is the show exclaiming who the good people are here and who are the bad. The North remembers, and now it’s emboldened by the presence of Sansa. To her credit, Sansa is handling this amazingly well. She’s being forced to deal with shitty people, like many of us do in our daily lives (though not to this extreme of course). It’s not easy but you have to get used to it.

That shittiness came to a head last night too at the most awkward dinner in the history of television. Ramsay, in a moment of pure assholery, parades out Theon/Reek (Alfie Allen) and forces him to apologize to Sansa for killing Bran and Rickon. Now, we all know that this didn’t really happen. Bran and Rickon are very much alive. However, Ramsay knows about this too because he tried to have Bran killed last season. This means that he basically just wanted to watch Sansa continue to believe her entire family is dead. I certainly hope that Theon reveals the truth later because, c’mon, give Sansa some good news for once.

Interestingly enough, “Kill the Boy” showed a new side to Ramsay too. The man is still a super sadistic monster, obviously. Yet from the moment he appeared on screen, it’s clear that he changed. He’s taking his role as a Bolton and his impending marriage to Sansa very seriously now. He’s to become one of the North’s most powerful leaders and it’s time he started to act that way. It looks like his first course of action is war. For the very first time, he’s involved with Roose’s (Michael McElhatton) planning for Stannis’ (Stephen Dillane) impending assault. This is a sign of his readiness to take the North by storm. If people don’t kill him first of course.

Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/ courtesy HBO
Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/ courtesy HBO

My favorite part of the night easily revolved around Tyrion and Jorah as it contained my favorite part from A Dance With Dragons. Seeing where they currently are on their journey and the lack of certain characters, part of me began to question if we would witness the Stone Men attack. However, their mention in previous episodes kept that hope alive, and it finally came to fruition in a manner I definitely expected. Tyrion and Jorah fighting the Stone Men was as exciting as it was in print despite the characters changes (Tyrion is the only connecting person). It had the major beats too. Stone Men jumping onto the boat from great heights, Tyrion getting pulled under the water, and someone saving him from death. Revealing that Jorah has greyscale was a nice twist too as it gives his story a reason to move faster. Clearly David Benioff and D.B. Weiss aren’t interested in making their journey last. You think Jorah wants to die before he can make amends with Dany? No way.

“Kill the Boy” was mostly about the young characters in power making major life decisions, and getting ready to suffer the consequences. Jon is forming a pact with the Wildlings for peace. Dany is marrying a possible enemy to prevent Meereen’s crumble. Ramsay is preparing himself to be the ruler of the North. Sansa continued to suffer the worst fates too with admirable strength. Outside of this, we had an amazing scene with Jorah and Tyrion, where they also saw Drogon, Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) possibly stoking the fire of rebellion, and many declarations about how the North remembers things. It’s clear that big events are coming. People are moving and major decisions are happening, right in time for the back half of the season.

Rating: 9/10

Luke Kalamar is Pop-Break.com’s television editor. Every Saturday afternoon you can read his retro video game column, Remembering the Classics. He covers Game of Thrones, Saturday Night Live and The Walking Dead (amongst others) every week. As for as his career and literary standing goes — take the best parts of Spider-man, Captain America and Luke Skywalker and you will fully understand his origin story.


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