TV Review: "Game of Thrones" 05x05: "Kill The Boy"

What a momentous occasion. "Kill the Boy" marked the first time in five years that Game of Thrones actually made me worry a little about its future. I've been valorously defending the show from the intense book readers who claim the TV viewers are watching a fundamentally inferior version of the story because it always felt to me like a more streamlined one.

But A Dance With Dragons is not only the most epic book in scope, but also the most poorly told. This means that adapting it to the TV format would be a much greater challenge than anything before. Now don't get me wrong, the show is still great but suddenly the (mostly) necessary streamlining of the story begins to worry me; not because the show will stop being great, but because it will have to skip some really, really awesome twists and scenes from A Dance with Dragons.

This was mostly apparent in the scenes involving Jon Snow and Ramsay in Winterfell. Some of the greatest scenes in that book (my third favorite) involve these two stories, and the way they're being re-directed show worrisome signs. I understand simplifying some stories, considering the show is already ridiculously complex as it is, but some of this seems unnecessary. Oh well. It sucks that my favorite storyline from book five (the Ghost of Winterfell) is gone 99.5% certainty, but I have faith it will be replaced for something cool, and I have a feeling I know how they will streamline it.

Enough whining. I think this is also the first time the show strikes me as "slow". Not much went on in this episode except for a few developments, most of which appeared at the end. The politics of the Wall and the Wildlings have never been interesting and they still weren't; I only care because I love Tormund and Jonny boy has won me over big time.

Stannis' story is moving ahead, and with one minor change from the books which actually implies some heavy consequences. I want to know what's going on with that plot because it's pretty much covered all of the books. What I can say is that they've done a great job at making people like Stannis, between last episode and this. I cracked up when I corrected that one guy's grammar half a second before Mannis did. If he had sent him to the Shireen Baratheon School for Children Who Can't Read Good (And Want to Learn to Do Other Stuff Good Too) I would've died.

Brienne still has nothing to do, but I like where her story is going. I love that this season has been focusing on the North, with most plots circling around Winterfell's occupation. As expected, everything that's going on in Winterfell has been awesome. Ramsay is still terrifying, but I like how the show is never afraid to put him in his place (I loved Roose reminding him who's Boss Creep). Tensions are rising in there, and I'm super excited about it. Sansa's discovery in the kennels was ice-cold. The Ghost of Winterfell notwithstanding (and the pies?), I love what the show is doing with this story.

Let's talk Dany. This is the first good Dany episode in a while. One: she's going Full Targaryen (and not the Rhaegar kind), which makes her more interesting than whatever the fuck she pretends to be now; two: she took the first rational decision she's taken in three seasons. Too bad it took the death of one of her closest friends and advisors to do so. Oddly, the way the decision to re-marry came in a more organic manner than it did in the book, which to be fair I don't remember very well; it's so dense, guys. And ridiculous as though it initially looked to be, I'm actually down with Grey WormXMissandei. It's far cuter than it had any right to be.

But hey: the highlight of the episode. Tyrion and Jorah. Oh my god everything in this scene was perfect. The dynamic between the two is pretty great, as expected, but what really had me howling with excitement was the goddamn locale. I cannot believe they went through Valyria, a mythical space the books never really explored. It looked beautiful, and it looked particularly beautiful with Drogon casually flying by. I swear I've seen Drogon a million times but that one shot gave me chills; I understood Tyrion's feelings perfectly.

The climactic scene was incredible too, even if I didn't love the Stonemen makeup. The last shot of Tyrion underwater was some incredible cinematography (nothing like the last scene, though) and the twist at the very end genuinely made me gasp. It's cruel, but great streamlining of a very important plot point from A Dance with Dragons, with another character the show decided to skip, at least for now. I wonder what happens next. Holy shit.

This was a slow episode, where the happenings didn't move the plot forward as much as I hoped, but it still had some very important character moments. We're halfway through the season, and it feels like the show took a breather before gearing up to the climax next month. Right now, all bets are off. I don't think I can predict what will happen anymore.
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About The Damn Beast

Pre-op trans-minotaur, sci-fi/fantasy/horror author, metal singer, videogame journalist, pop culture blogger. I also lift heavy things and put them down again repeatedly to occupy more space.
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