Game Of Thrones Season 5, Episode 5 Watch: Stannis Is Coming

”Kill the boy and let the man be born.”

That was a terrific episode of Game of Thrones. The fantasy series’ streamlined storytelling has proved incredibly effective so far this season and “Kill the Boy” contained even fewer threads than last week’s fast paced and exciting installment. The more aggressive cross-cutting of previous years had its advantages--tying the various characters in a tighter knot, both emotionally and thematically-- but it’s often more satisfying to see the events play out in their entirely (or at least in large chunks) and actually spend some time in each location before moving on to the next. The more linear structure also does wonders for the episode’s momentum as the fifth of the fifth season flew by...

”A good mother never gives up on her children.”

I don’t think it was a coincidence that “Kill the Boy” aired on mother’s day. And not just because of Dany’s comment while introducing the heads of Meereen’s noble families to Viserion and Rhaegal, almost all the threads this week are about children in one way or another. Did anyone else think of the Mad King when Daenerys let her dragons light that dude up? I don’t think Ser Barristan would have been pleased with that course of action, something the young queen seems to realize after the fact.

Now there’s an advice vacuum, Dany turns to Missandei for council, which is probably a wise choice since the ‘servant girl’ seems to be one of the smartest and, most importantly, even-keeled characters on Gsme Of Thrones. And it was nice to see that Grey Worm made it out of “The Sons of the Harpy” alive and that his relationship with the queen’s right-hand woman is blossoming. (That couldn’t possibly be setting us up for heartbreak.) What do you think of Dany’s decision to wed Hizdar? Smart for her as ruler of Meereen. Not so smart for her bid to one day take the Iron Throne. Is that still happening?

”We can learn to live with the wildlings or we can add them to the army of the dead.”

Somehow David Benioff and Dan Weiss have managed to make Stannis a character worth rooting for in “The Wars to Come.” Or, in this case, Bryan Cogman and director Jeremy Podeswa. It's the little touches that matter, like cutting to the ‘King’ so he can correct a Night Watchman’s grammar or his quick exchange with Sam. And, again, that has me worried, especially since he’s marching on Winterfell while winter is coming.

After a little advice from Aemon, Jon, ever his father’s son, makes a tough and very unpopular (but ultimately right) choice to bring the free folk into the fold as his first act as Lord Commander, a decision that does not sit well with the rest of the Night’s Watch. Half of the brothers were already against him and now his closest allies - Edd and Olly - are coming out against him. He’ll always have Sam. Right? What’s this talk of the Citadel and Oldtown?


”Don’t worry, the north remembers.”

Say what you will about Ramsay Snow, sorry, Bolton but the guy is a lot of fun to watch. Maybe fun isn’t the right word. Entertaining. He sure is entertaining, especially when he’s on cloud nine. With Sansa’s storyline bringing her back to her home, fans are also in store for another Game of Thrones wedding. The last one was rather peaceful. But the last one didn’t have Ramsay as the groom. What was better? Ramsay being cheeky during the family dinner or his father ruining it with his own good news? Sometimes you just have to put your children in their place.

The episode also did a tremendous job of setting up Roose and Ramsay as the anti-Ned and Jon. Poor, Reek. When does he tell Sansa about Bran and Rickon? At first I thought his “you’re not supposed to be here” was a warning for the Stark daughter but it was just his brainwashing. Still such a good boy. As for Myranda, she smells like all kinds of trouble for Sansa. Although, Sansa - who got to throw a little bit of shade during the aforementioned dinner - did receive word through the North’s grapevine that Brienne and Pod have got her back. Looking forward to that storyline coming to a head.

”...a city of a thousand years and all that men had learned,

the doom consumed it all alike and neither of them turned.”

The final sequence of “Kill the Boy” is where I must really tip my cap to Bryan Cogman and Jeremy Podeswa. The writer and director, respectively, managed to create an absolutely thrilling sequence that somehow contains a history lesson, a poetry reading, gorgeous vistas (both practical and CG) and a zombie-ish fight all at once. Podeswa also managed a clever bit of misdirection, using Drogon (and Tyrion and Jorah’s Spielberg faces) to distract us from the stonemen lurking in the ruins.

Go back and watch it again. They are ‘Where’s Waldo?-ing’ it the whole time the traveling companions and newfound best buds are bonding over poetry. Valyria is GOT’s Atlantis and the ‘song’ that Tyrion and Jorah recite might as well be Shelly’s Ozymandias. The former empire (and ancestral home of the Targaryens) is now simply where they send the stonemen. Will Jorah return now that he’s doomed?

”Winter is almost upon us.”

Game of Thrones continues with Episode 6, “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken,” next Sunday at 9:00 p.m. ET on HBO. Based on the "Song of Ice and Fire" novels by George R.R. Martin, the series was adapted for TV by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and stars Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.