Last night's episode of Game Of Thrones did not feature any big battle scenes, trademark character deaths or anything from King's Landing (Cersei), Dorne (Jaime) or Braavos (Arya). Nevertheless, it managed to be one of the better episodes of the season thus far. Read on for our full recap.
Warning: Spoilers within!
Kotaku's Game Of Thrones coverage is presented by the new HP Spectre x360. Any way you bend it, the Spectre x360 delivers. With four modes, lightning-fast performance, and impressive battery life, this convertible PC has the best of all worlds and the shortcomings of none.
So that's another episode of Game Of Thrones done and dusted. Can you believe we've passed the halfway point already? It seems like only yesterday we were speculating about potential Season 5 spoilers and predicting characters we thought were going to die. (So far, we're sitting on an impressive hit rate of zero. I'm sticking to my guns about Shireen though -- that girl is toast.)
Episode 5 was called Kill The Boy; a metaphorical reference to Jon Snow's new responsibilities as Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. As the geriatric Maester Aemon ponderously explains, Lord Snow needs to "kill the boy" and learn to become a man so he can make those difficult ruling decisions. Hopefully, this means Kit Harigton will stop acting like a lip-quivering sprog whose milk money just got stolen.
For his first act as Lord Commander, Jon seeks to pardon the wildlings and grant them safe passage across the Wall so they can join in the fight against the white walkers. His reasoning is that it's better to make peace with former foes than face them on the battlefield as undead wrights. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and all that bollocks.
This decision goes down like a particularly noxious wet fart with the rest of the Night's Watch, which is completely understandable -- half of them were slaughtered by the very same wildlings last season, after all. In a single stroke, Jon goes from hero to asshole in the eyes of his sworn brothers. His steward Ollie the orphan is especially peeved (I'd be checking my morning coffee for loogies if I were you, Jon).
In an unusual departure from the books, the captive wildling Tormund Giantsbane agrees to deliver these peace terms to his comrades north of the Wall -- but only if Jon will accompany him. We're a bit leery of this invented plot line. The last time Jon embarked on a fan fiction-style adventure, we were treated to the risible and entirely pointless Karl Tanner storyline. We suspect the writers are once again attempting to tread water while the show's other plot threads catch up. Tch.
Elsewhere in the North, the psychopathic Ramsay Bolton is preparing to marry Sansa Stark in a bid to solidify his grip on Winterfell. This causes a jealousy spat from his equally bloodthirsty mistress Myranda (she was the woman with the bow who helped Ramsay hunt and kill a peasant girl in Season 4 while "Reek" looked on).
It's clear that Myranda plans to drive a wedge between Ramsay and his newly betrothed which seems exceptionally unwise. This is a guy who flays and castrates people for fun -- you really don't want to piss him off. Expect her to come to a grisly, sticky end next episode.
Meanwhile, Sansa discovers the presence of Theon Greyjoy in the castle as Ramsay's daddy prepares for the coming siege of Stannis Baratheon. If there's going to be a big battle this season, it will likely be beneath the walls of Winterfell with Theon and Sansa's fates hanging in the balance. Excitingly, none of this has played out in the books yet, so readers will be going in completely cold.
In far-off Essos, Queen Daenerys Targaryen is still trying to bring the rebel slavers to heel in the city of Meereen. Since the assassination of her chief advisor Barristan Selmy (see our Episode 4 recap), the mother of dragon's methods have become considerably harsher. A random master is cruelly immolated and dismembered as a warning to the others: fall in line or become dragon food.
Somehow, we doubt this act of savagery will stay the Sons of the Harpy's knives for long. Danny seems to sense this; she abruptly agrees to reopen the fighting pits and marry Hizdahr zo Loraq, a master that she'd planned to execute mere moments before proposing to him. Seriously, those Targaryen women are even crazier than the blokes.
Oh, and Grey Worm finally got to kiss Missandei. Hurrah! We look forward to reading the inevitable fan fiction of this romantic union online. Doubtlessly it will be entitled The Pillar And The Stones and contain reams of terrible poetry.
So far, Kill The Boy had been bobbing along at a respectable pace but they definitely saved the best for last. To close out the episode, we rejoin Tyrion Lannister and his captor Jorah Mormont as they sail towards Mereen and the hope of a royal pardon. This takes them through the smoking wasteland of Valyria; the ancestral homeland of the Targaryen dragonlords of old.
The depiction of this haunted city is truly masterful: the crumbling ruins and surrounding scenery easily rival anything seen in the Lord Of The Rings movies. Just when you think the vistas can't get any better, one of Daenerys' dragons flaps into frame. It's one of the best shots of the entire season.
Unfortunately for Mormont and the Imp, things don't stay serene for very long. Seemingly out of nowhere, a gang of loonies infected with the highly-contagious grey scale jump onto the boat and proceed to do their best monster impressions. Although they are quickly dispatched, the violent encounter is set to have serious repercussions for Jorah -- and possibly all of Westeros.
When you consider how many times "grey scale" has been mentioned this season, the disease clearly has a major role to play in future events. Knowing George R. R. Martin, every single character will succumb to the disease and the white walkers will take up residence in Westeros completely unopposed.
We're not entirely sure what to make of this episode. It was certainly entertaining, but Cersie, Jaime and Arya were sorely missed. Hopefully they'll be given a meatier role in Episode 5.6. What did you guys think? Share your views in the comments section below!
Note: Please, no spoilers from the books in the comments below!
Bend the Rules with the HP Spectre x360