This is just a bad couple of weeks for Daenerys Targaryen's advisors. Last week on"Game of Thrones" Season 5, Ser Barristan Selmy was killed in an attack by the Sons of the Harpy. This week in Episode 5, "Kill the Boy," Dany's old buddy Ser Jorah Mormont revealed he got greyscale in still another remix on the book storyline. He got the deadly disease while saving Tyrion Lannister during an attack by The Stone Men. Blame Drogon, who distracted the guys at just the wrong moment. So how long does Jorah have? We'll see.
Meanwhile, Dany could really use some good counsel, like the kind Tyrion and Jorah might be able to offer. She had a seriously badass moment at the start of the episode, burning one of the wise masters in her anger at what happened to Ser B and company. She's determined to stop the Harpies. Is this the best way? Roose Bolton did say a marriage is the best way to form an alliance. Then again ... Roose Bolton. After a talk with Missandei, Dany turned a corner and apologized to Hizdahr, whom she had locked up. She told him she'd open the fighting pits (!) but only to freed men, and she'd try to unite Meereen by marrying into one of the oldest families -- his. (!!!) So Dany and Hizdahr zo Loraq are now engaged. This is a pretty close match to the book but with some important motivation twists. Can we trust Hizdahr? This could go either way, but he's more dangerous than he seems, even if just by influence. No matter what, she should not be marrying him.
So we had another questionable engagement this week, plus the prospect of poor Ser Jorah potentially dying (slowly, and painfully, as described in all of those foreshadowing talks) or perhaps he can be saved like Shrieen. Shireen, Stannis Baratheon and company are all on their way south to try and reclaim the North. Jon Snow wants to save the free folk and Tormund won't go to Hardhome without him.
Meanwhile, Roose and Ramsay Bolton know Stannis is coming, and Roose is also apparently going to curse the world with another offspring. His wife Walda is pregnant - which means the Frey/Bolton genes are mixing. If she does give birth, WE SHOULD KILL IT WITH FIRE. Then again, Ramsay may prevent her from ever having a child, since that child could potentially usurp him.
This week, Sansa and Theon finally reunited and even though she did not kick his arse, Theon was further punished with humiliation and Sansa was made deeply uncomfortable at one of the most awkward dinners ever. At least since the Red Wedding anyway. If the North really does "remember," can they help Sansa defeat the Boltons and take back Winterfell or is that just a pipe dream?
Next week we're meant to return to Arya's storyline and also check in with Littlefinger in King's Landing. If only Tyrion and Ser Jorah weren't now on foot they could potentially get to Meereen in enough time to stop Dany's wedding. But considering the trailer showed Jorah looking like he's in the fighting pits, we're guessing he doesn't quite get to return to court and save the day.
Read on for a recap of Episode 5:
Opening credits: We head to King's Landing, Winterfell, The Wall, Braavos, Meereen, and Dorne. And yet ... we never head to Braavos or Dorne this week. Sometimes the opening just throws us off but it's always cool.
As you might expect, Missandei was right by Grey Worm's bedside after the attack, but he didn't die. Grey Worm felt like he failed Ser Barristan and his men, and he was ashamed to be afraid. Grey Worm and Missandei bonded and she even kissed him. So there was a silver lining to that attack.
Daenerys was broken up (but not sobbing, she's mostly pissed) about the loss of Ser Barristan the Bold, courtesy of butchers who hid behind masks. Daario suggested going street by street to clear out the rats. Dany decided to go with his earlier plan - round up the leaders of the great families, including Hizdahr. She pushed them all toward her dragons. Just a little reminder of why she's the Mother of Dragons and the queen. A good mother does not give up on her children. One of those children lit one of the great masters on fire and then they ate him. LOVE Dany when she's angry.
Dany said Ser B counseled mercy right up to the day he died. Daario wants a more aggressive approach. Dany wanted Missandei's opinion. She desperately needs more advisers -- good thing Tyrion and Ser Jorah (and Varys?) are on the way. But Missandei gave good perspective, just sharing what she'd seen from Dany as ruler. However, did that prompt Dany to make her big decision or was she already thinking of going in that direction, ala Jon's talk with Maester Aemon? (See below.)
Dany went into the dungeons and Hizdahr got on his knees to beg for his life. "It takes courage to admit fear, and to admit a mistake," Dany said. She said she was wrong and he was right about tradition. "I will re-open the fighting pits, to free men only." (Noooooo.) In order to forge a lasting bond with the Meereenese, she'll marry a member of one of the oldest families. "Thankfully a suitor is already on his knees." So it's her idea in this version.
Sam read a scroll off to Aemon Targaryen, who is dying. "A Targaryen alone in the world is a terrible thing." Cue Jon Snow. (Hint, hint) He asked for Aemon's advice on something he knew would divide the Watch. "You will find little joy in your command, but with luck you will find the strength to do what needs to be done. Kill the boy, Jon Snow. Winter is almost upon us. Kill the boy and let the man be born." You could argue he already showed some man strength with that head chop, but ... good advice.
Jon talked to Tormund about the rest of the free folk. Jon said the free folk (wildlings) belong to the realms of men. He asked Tormund to go north of the wall to bring the people back. He'll give them lands, he just wants them to fight alongside him when the time comes. Jon wants Tormund to go to Hardhome, but Tormund won't go without him.
As expected, the Night's Watch has no interest in bringing the wildlings among them; even Jon's own friends didn't want to forgive or forget, but Jon brings up the good point that those people are basically undead waiting to happen, and better to bring them south of the wall then fight them as wights. Olly thought it must be a trick from Jon Snow, since he lost everyone he ever knew to the wildlings. Jon drops his winter is coming line, saying they know what's coming with it and they can't face it alone. Olly isn't a fan of the idea but he stays professional. Jon is alone on this point.
Gilly and Sam had a talk about books, and where Sam grew up, and the Citadel in Oldtown. Sam wanted to be a maester when he was younger, he said. Feels like this is a set-up to getting his wish. Stannis came down to talk to Sam about his father, Randall Tarly, and the white walker Sam killed with dragonglass. Sam said he's seen the army of the dead, and when they come they have to know how to fight them.
Stannis told Davos "it's time," but Davos wanted to wait for Jon Snow's return with the wildlings, in case they joined him. Stannis said they can't wait; they should march at sunrise. Shireen went with them - pleeeease don't let anything happen to her. Davos didn't want her (or Queen Selyse) to go and he's usually right about these things. But Melisandre left too, so will she bring Stannis good luck?
POD & BRIENNE
Pod said maybe Lady Sansa is better off at Winterfell but Brienne gave him the verbal Are You Effing Kidding Me he deserved, reminding him that she'll never be better off with the people who killed her mother and brother. Sansa is in danger whether she knows it or not, Brienne said, and thank the gods for her wisdom. Brienne talked to a local guy and said she needed to get a message to Sansa, not that that worked well for Brienne the first time. But maybe Brienne can drum up support in the north.
Ramsay had a talk with one of his paramours, Miranda, who was apparently jealous. She thought he would marry her. (Oh poor you.) Ramsay admitted to Miranda that he's looking forward to their wedding night; she said perhaps she'll marry too. But she bored him with her jealousy and he reminded her what happens to people who bore him. So they had some angry sex by a window.
Meanwhile, Sansa was visited by that woman who said the north remembers. She said Sansa still has friends there and if she needs help to light a candle in the tower window. "You're not alone."
Miranda tried to play nice with Sansa, complimenting her gloves and dress; Sansa was taught the stitching by her mother so they discussed Lady Catelyn. Miranda brought Sansa down to the dogs ... and showed her Theon all tied up in a pen. What a lovely reunion. Sansa just stormed out. Theon told Ramsay that Sansa saw him, and Ramsay said Theon mustn't keep secrets from him. Theon put out his hand and Ramsay placed his own on it. "I forgive you."
There was an awkward dinner with Sansa, Ramsay, Roose and Roose's wife. Ramsay toasted their wedding, and Sansa said it's not strange to be there, it's her home. It's the people who are strange. SHADE. Theon served them at dinner and Ramsay discussed how they were reunited. Ramsay was like a talk show host pushing all the buttons for maximum discomfort. Ramsay introduced Sansa to "Reek" and she wisely asked why he was doing this. Theon was pushed to apologize for what he did, including killing Bran and Rickon even though they are not dead. The lesson has to be how much control Ramsay can maintain over enemies. As in the book, Ramsay says Theon should give away the bride.
One sour note for Ramsay, which made Sansa happy, is that Walda appears to be pregnant, which means a trueborn heir may take his place. He knows he's only Roose's son "until a better alternative comes along." Can you blame Roose for wanting a better option? Then again, we can blame Roose for anything, especially after telling the story of how he raped Ramsay's mother. Roose and Ramsay discussed Stannis' strategy - they know Stannis wants the Iron Throne and first he wants to take the North.
TYRION & JORAH
Tyrion went from boredom in that wheelhouse to boredom with silent Ser Jorah in the boat. Tyrion basically admitted he's an alcoholic but he was interrupted by a sail through Valyria. "Aren't you afraid of the Doom?" "No, but pirates are." They sailed past beautiful ruins, in still another twist on the book's storyline.
As they were sailing, they saw Drogon fly overhead. Distracted, they missed one of the Stone Men falling from the bridge. Don't let them touch you! Ser Jorah battled the stone men but Tyrion was tied up so he couldn't do anything. He was pushed into the water and pulled down. But Jorah got him up and even freed his hands. They both said the stone men didn't touch them. Do you believe it? They lost their boat so they had to go on foot, with a long walk ahead. Jorah hid his arm from Tyrion, but he showed he does have greyscale. Oh, Jorah. All this, just to get back in Dany's friend zone.