Monday, May 11, 2015

Game of Thrones Quick Episode Discussion/Review - Season 5, Episode 5, "Kill the Boy"

Sunday night, I watched one of the most soul-shattering, gut-wrenching, utterly brutal television programs I've ever seen. Then after the Washington Capitals game was over, I took in this week's episode of Game of Thrones, which was also entertaining. I think this might have been my favorite episode of this season so far, though probably not for the kind of reasons any of you would feel. However, you might have recognized them in the show when you saw them as my kinds of moments.

Let's get into it.

I literally (figuratively) threw up in my mouth when Grey Worm pitched romance at Missandei.

I don't know why they insist on continuing this line. Someone must have been a huge Short Circuit fan and they said, "Let's match up a robot with an odd foreigner, it'll be delightful." Grey Worm is perfectly useful as an emotionless killing machine, and a battlefield commander. We don't need an awkward romantic angle shoehorned into that storyline.

Tormund is wildly entertaining.

Get it? Wildly? I kill me.

But seriously, Tormund is a strong character, as memorable and powerful as Mance Rayder was. He strikes you as a good person, but you can't help but feeling like when Jon Snow was trying to convince him to help him with the wildlings, it was a bit like trying to negotiate with a bear. But the whole scene was solid, and they actually did a good job of not having Jon trip over his lines so much. The multiple references to the chains were a bit much, and they telegraphed Jon releasing Tormund, but other than that, the scene was pretty judiciously spoken. A lot of this season has felt like people were narrating rather than acting naturally and letting the audience put the pieces together. But it's definitely better when you've got more "show" than "tell."

Stannis correcting grammar at Castle Black was maybe my favorite thing ever.

Seriously, god, it was amazing. I enjoyed it the first time when it was him and Davos, but this time was like fan-service, it was so good.

Roose Bolton is becoming as entertaining a "supervillain" as Tywin Lannister was.

The way he deals with Ramsay is a lot like how Tywin dealt with Jamie and Cersei; he acknowledges their roles in his plans, but he belittles and manipulates them as he likes, often with funny quips. He's become one of my favorite "characters to hate," so much so that I have to keep reminding myself that I hate him.

Along the same vein...

Is it possible that Roose Bolton legitimately believes that he's a more suitable Warden of the North than the Starks had been? And maybe more troubling, might that actually be a legitimate belief, at least in the current political climate?

Let's look at it from a broad view. As we saw in the first season, Ned Stark was incapable of working around his honor, even when he could see that the kingdom was in grave danger. Littlefinger tells him, "I did warn you not to trust me." It's like he's saying, "Jesus Ned, I told you I was going to betray you and you still didn't see it coming." Ned Stark just couldn't fathom that deception and politicking could triumph over justice and strength in combat. So clearly, he was ill-suited for the dealings of Westeros in its current state.

Now, on to Robb Stark. The Boltons followed Robb at the beginning, which made sense. Robb was hugely popular, and as they mentioned, he was winning every battle. Unfortunately, Robb inherited his father's tunnel vision; also unfortunately, he did not inherit the entirety of his father's virtue. Had Robb not reneged on his deal with Walder Frey regarding a marriage, the whole Red Wedding fiasco might not have been in the making.

And it might have been in the making anyways; either way, Robb was completely unprepared for his eventual assassination, while a bit of reconnaissance might have gotten him the information to know what was brewing.

Roose Bolton now controls the North. He's got a solid peace with the Lannisters (/"Baratheons") who hold the crown, as well as a firm alliance with Walder Frey. He correctly acknowledges that Stannis Baratheon is the greatest threat to peace in the North (or rather, Stannis' army being in the North and the Boltons being in Winterfell). While he's obviously committed some pretty horrible treason, encourages torture, and abides some pretty reprehensible behavior by his bastard son, Roose Bolton is, if nothing else, a true Lord. And he entertains the shit out of me.

See you next week...unless the Caps lose game 7 against the Rangers on Wednesday. If that happens, I'll probably be at the bottom of a bottle for a couple of months.

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