Game of Thrones – Kill The Boy

So the big decision of the week – Jon inviting the wildlings south of the wall. Even saying the Night’s Watch has been remiss in not bringing them south sooner was a difficult one, but in fact the only one. He correctly states they will soon fall victim to the encroaching While Walkers and zombie armies do not kill, the convert. End of story. Get them South.

What’s in a name?
Last week Ramsey was elevated from Snow to Bolton and look what it’s done to the kid. His bedroom scene with Myranda where he accepts that marriage should mean more than just filthy sex with a crackpot soul-mate was eye opening. He sort of reverted to old Ramsey at the dinner table but still managed – in amongst the weirdness – to think about the bigger picture and House Bolton’s place in it.

Even his bizarro use of the phrase ‘The North Remembers’ still spoke of regional pride and reverence for Winterfell.

A couple of weeks ago Brienne demonstrated she can bust herself out of a situation using brute force with aplomb and this week she showed she is pretty good at more guileful tactics using her charm. Episode nine is usually when things come to a head in Thrones and with Stannis on his way and Brienne just waiting for a signal from the broken tower my guess is the battle at Winterfell is going to be huge.

Incidentally Brienne has sort of found her role as an anti-Ronin. Rather than going mercenary on the death of her master she is instead intent on carrying out the wishes beyond the grave. Weird Samurai logic but I’ll go along with it.

Keep Reading Samwell Tarly
My favourite sentence of the week (though I did enjoy Stannis’ grammar correction ‘Fewer’). He might be a dour bastard but the one true king really can motivate when he wants too. We know all about what a dick Sam’s dad is, but Stannis manages to fill him with pride in his surname with a simple tale of heroism. Also nice to hear that Dragonstone has a large supply of Obsidian. That’s sure to come in handy soon, as long as Stannis can get his boats back.

Stray Observations

My worst fears realised: Ser Barriston is no more. The silver linings are in triplicate, however. He went down swinging (I watched last week’s denouement again – 15 kills to Barriston the Bold!), he was laid to rest next to the throne of the Queen he crossed the sea to serve and Grey Worm’s first conscious act was to call his name. Tribute indeed.

We only really get to see or hear from Roose Bolton every once in a while but when we do, wow. That speech about Ramsey’s mother was a great counterpoint to Stannis’ talk with Shireen last week but also spoke to family obligations in a wider context.

He is the Lord of House Bolton whose sigil is the flayed man and clearly, what is expected – required – of the Boltons is extreme nastiness. Hence the rape of a wife under her husband’s swinging corpse. As much, you feel out of a sense of family duty as inner agency.

I really enjoyed both of the scenes in the library this week (the second – Sam and Stannis – detailed above) and the first where Maestor Aemon spoke the episode title took me back to scenes from the 1970s TV show Porridge whence the great Peter Vaughan did a good line in offering advice within the dank walls of HMP Slade. A nice in-joke I though to myself, then a couple of other ’70s film riffs followed and I thought the producers were playing games with me.

First Dany’s rounding up of the heads of the families in Mereen was a straight lift of the abbatoir scene from The Long Good Friday (and yes, the man walking in with Bob Hoskins is a young James Cosmo, aka Lord Mormont, former Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch)

And then if the Stone Men of Valyria (“Don’t let them touch you”) don’t remind you of the lepers from Papillion I don’t know what does.

Boy, that blackout scene with Tyrion fading, fading into the depths had a deep echo of the last moments from The Sopranos, no?

I’ve not asked this in a while but it bears repeating:

Where the hell is Gendry?