Five down five to go. Monday’s episode might be a tad slow for some but the episode strikes it just right by pairing down the storylines allowing them to pick up momentum.
The sheer volume of characters hamstrung some of this season – rendering episodes inert and forgettable.
Kill The Boy sees Kings Landing and Dorne entirely done away with, leaving room for Tyrion, Jon Snow, Dany and Ramsay Bolton to stretch their legs –in Tyrion’s case, literally.
The midpoint sets up many more spinning plates and brings a few forgotten favourites to the fore.
Ramsay Bolton, shocking to say, is a welcome return, by far one of the most awful creatures still alive in Westeros.
For far too long Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains… yada yada has been trapped in her pyramid pointing at things she doesn’t like and doing nothing about them.
The rather dramatic climax to Sons of the Harpy has left Dany angry and propelled her into action. Finally!
Rounding up the heads of the houses of Meereen, friend and foe alike, she marches them into her dragons’ den to receive their punishment.
The Targaryen bloodlust is rising in her.
One of the highlights of this episode is the return of Viserion and Rhaegal to the screen, on form and belching a yellow flame to terrifying effect.
Dany’s final act sees her forge a new path for her and Meereen down which surely nothing can go wrong.
Grey Worm is recovering from his alley fight with Missandei at his bedside and the two step up the cute to almost unbearable levels.
Jon Snow’s antics up North are entirely verbal; he receives some fairly foreboding advice from Maester Aemon and runs with it.
Lord Snow decides, in his wisdom, to allow the ‘free folk’ to move south of the Wall and settle in the abandoned farmland known as the Gift.
First he has to get them there.
Understandably, given they’ve spent 8,000 years preventing that from happening, the men of the Night’s Watch are largely unhappy about this.
Jon must get the support of sullen Stannis to gain his ships and of Magnar of the Thenns to persuade the free folk.
Stannis is typically stoic in this episode; a brief chat with his daughter is enough sentiment for one season, though he seems to have been persuaded that White Walkers do in fact exist and that they are a threat.
Having told Samwell to ‘keep reading’, Stannis moves his army out to Winterfell, to rescue the North from the Boltons.
As they move out Davos and Melisandre cannot resist staring daggers at each other.
In other news, Brienne and Pod are still lurking.
That’s about it.They do little else. Just lurk.
Back over the Narrow Sea in Essos, Jorah and Tyrion are bonding over poetry and fighting off stone men in Valyria.
Depending on what you like, this scene offers some insight into the Targaryen homeland and the ‘Doom’ that befell it a century before they conquered the Seven Kingdoms.
However, quite possibly the best thing about Kill The Boy is Ramsay Bolton.
Ewan Rheon is back at his best with some superb lines and cringe worthy moments.
After (possibly) orchestrating Sansa and Theon/Reek’s kennel-based reunion he proceeds to play the clown at dinner.
Sansa’s grade A snark is quickly forgotten as Ramsay brings Reek to the table and proceeds to mention every unmentionable act Theon ever did in his miserable little life.
Ramsay’s uncomfortably funny and repulsive actions are matched only by his father Roose Bolton’s.
Contrary of Stannis’ own fatherly speech a week earlier, Roose describes to Ramsay how he raped his mother under the swinging corpse of her husband.
All being well, in a couple of weeks is the big fight for TBE will be Bolton vs Baratheon: The Winterfelling.
Image courtesy of HBO via YouTube, with thanks.