We're now at the halfway mark of the latest season of Game of Thrones, and season 5 episode 5 - Kill the Boy - continued to build up the tempo from the last episode, Sons of the Harpy.
The telecast timings are a little inconvenient if you're watching from India, but if you can't wait to find out what happened, we're here to help. If you've already watched the episode, we also discuss the events of the episode in the context of the books, and where we think things are headed.
The episode kicks off in Mereen, with Grey Worm lying in a sickbed, so all is not lost for him. Barristan the Bold is toast though the old knight is seen laid out at rest right at the start of the episode. This is a pretty big change, considering that he's alive and well and leading the city to battle in a released chapter of the next book in the series, The Winds of Winter. This makes us believe that Barristan is going to die in the battle of Mereen - if the book is ever released anyway!
On the show, Danaerys decides that she's had enough of the Mereenese nobles, and has the leaders of the great families rounded up. Then, she has them marched - at spearpoint - towards her dragons. The dragons arrive on cue, and cook and eat one of the nobles right away. The scene is really stupid, to be honest, and the behaviour more worthy of Cersei than Danaerys, but the dragons look really cool, as they emerge from the darkness and start feeding.
Danaerys meanwhile is trying to decide whether her decision should be dragonfire, or mercy. And since she's not sure what to do, she asked Missandei for advice, who reminds her of her ability to always take the third option. What is that option? Getting married to the man she planned to roast at the start of the episode.
After listening to Missandei, Danaerys is going to marry Hizdar and re-open his fighting pits, so that the people come to accept her as their queen. This is pretty much how things go in the books, but there, the circumstances are a little different and the dragon-roast doesn't take place, so it isn't as stupid a decision as it is on the show.
Meanwhile, at the Wall, there's a conversation between the scholar, Maester Aemon, and Sam, who helped Jon Snow rise to power. The scene quickly establishes that Aemon is also a Targaryen (the dynasty that used to rule Westeros) and then Jon arrives to talk to him. There's a line from the books which gets repeated now - the title of the episode - "kill the boy, and let the man be born".
Jon Snow realises that it's time to make peace with the wildlings, and he offers a deal to their leader Tormund. He tells him to bring the wildlings across the Wall to safety, so long as they fight against the White Walkers. Tormund tells him that the wildlings are mostly at a place called Hardhome. Jon offers to send ships, but Tormund says that unless Jon is on the ships as well, his people will not get on them.
The Watch has a meeting after this, and the entire group is strongly against Jon's decision, including almost all of his supporters. Jon doesn't budge, but it's clearly an unpopular decision. It's looking pretty clear the ending of the fifth book is going to take place on TV, and that's exciting.
At Winterfell, Ramsay Bolton starts showing his true colours early on. He calls Theon/ Reek in to serve wine, and taunts Sansa by talking about the taking of Winterfell, and to talk about the way he broke Theon down. He then makes Reek apologise to Sansa. Ramsay's gloating is hard to take and eventually even his father, Roose decides he's had enough.
With just a single line, he manages to put Ramsay down, by telling him that his new wife is pregnant, and that the Maester says it could be a boy. Roose later tells his son about the story of how he met Ramsay's mother. It's almost touching, except utterly horrible, as is typical for the Boltons.
Back at the Wall, Stannis announces that he's not going to wait for Jon Snow to return from Hardhome. Instead, Stannis will march for Winterfell, and will take his wife, daughter, and the priestess Melisandre all with him. In the books, Stannis left them behind and first marched to Deepwood Motte and then moved on Winterfell, gathering the Northern clans along the way, but it was a confusing detail that had not been set up in the show so this makes sense.
On the other hand, in the books, the presence of Melisandre at the Wall was why Jon Snow had Aemon Targaryen and Sam sent away to the Citadel in the first place. Hopefully this change won't close out the Oldtown plot - we love the way the show brings the different locations from the books to life - and would have really enjoyed seeing Oldtown and the Citadel too.
The show makers know what we like though, and the last scene is just Tyrion and Jorah on a boat. The two are sailing through the ruins of Valyria, the doomed city from where the dragons first came. There's a quick history lesson from Tyrion, and then, a beautiful shot of Drogon, the biggest of the three dragons, the one who wasn't chained up. He's grown huge in the wilderness but the scene doesn't linger on him.
Instead, as the two sail through Valyria, they're jumped by a group of stony men, who have scaly grey skin and act like zombies. The scene is actually reminiscient of the books, except of course, in the books, Tyrion isn't with Jorah at this point. In the books, he's still travelling with Griff, the exiled Lord Jon Connington. Like Jorah, Griff also jumped into the river to rescue Tyrion. The exposure to the stone men leads to catching a disease called Greyscale, as in the book, while Tyrion doesn't get infected, Griff does. On the show, that happens to Jorah, and he's already got a patch of it on his hand.
It's an exciting episode even though not much actually happens, particularly because of the strong ending. We know from production shots released earlier that Tyrion does make it to Mereen, and is actually in the fighting pit with Danaerys, but Jorah wasn't visible in that scene.
We do know that the next episode will take us back to King's Landing, and also Dorne, where we'll see what happened to Loras Tyrell, and to Jaime and Bronn.
All these storylines are taking place outside the book, but they have been building towards the same end-points so far at least. While we've diverged further from the books than ever before, the story as a whole is still moving in the same direction. But the divergence has highlighted one of the bigger issues with this season - many of the decisions from the characters, like Danaerys' waffling seem completely out of character.
Half the season is over now, and there's one big event that we're expecting for the ninth episode, considering the series' tradition for big deaths in the ninth episode of each year. We also know that Cersei has a big event coming up, and there's also one big thing yet to happen in Mereen, so the back half of the season should be pretty action packed.
Did you watch the episode already, and if so, what was your favourite moment? Tell us via the comments.