Well, Game of Thrones is really heading into darker territory this week. While Jon Snow weighs his options at the Wall, Daenerys responds to Ser Barristan’s murder with murder of her own, and Ramsay Bolton uses Theon to torment Sansa, because you know, the Sansa-Theon-Ramsay storyline is still something that everyone really wants to see and isn’t creepy and unnecessary at all.
Trigger warning for abuse, assault, and gore after the jump.
Over in Meereen, Grey Worm has thankfully survived the attack in the alley, but Barristan wasn’t so lucky, and for me, his death comes as one of the bigger shocks this season, since he’s still alive in the books. Though Barristan always counseled Daenerys to show mercy to those who had wronged her—advice she often should have taken but ignored—she wants revenge against the Sons of the Harpy. She gathers up all the leaders of Meereen’s great houses and takes them down to the dragon pit. To terrify them, she picks one at random and gives him to her dragons, which promptly burn him alive, rip him apart, and eat him. Daenerys mentions that she didn’t know if he was guilty or not and that she didn’t care. After threatening to let the dragons eat the other leaders she locks them up in the dungeons.
However, she still has to deal with the Sons of the Harpy and find a way to rectify her situation. After conversing with her handmaiden, Daenerys decides that she was wrong—not for burning a man alive, or nailing a bunch of people to crosses, or anything like that. She was wrong to not let Hizdahr, one of the house heads she has locked up, reopen the fighting pits—places slaves, now willing combatants, would fight to the death. She goes to his cell and tells him that the fighting pits will reopen, and she also tells him that to secure her position in Meereen and to not be as much an outsider the two of them will marry.
In the past, when Daenerys married Drogo, she was invited into the Dothraki willingly. The Dothraki wanted her there in the first place. I can’t say the same thing will happen with Meereen. Daenerys is still an invader, and in the show at least, Hizdahr doesn’t seem to want to marry her. He also wouldn’t be a co-ruler so much as a figurehead she uses. This will stand in direct contrast to her relationship with Drogo. If we ignore all the unnecessary rapes in the first three episodes—and they’re not easy to ignore—she and Drogo complimented each other and acted for the other’s best interests. Though it was originally a relationship of politics, it became one of respect. If Daenerys cannot manage that same thing here with Hizdahr, this probably won’t work out too well for her. It also doesn’t help that she is acting like the Mad King.
Meanwhile, over in Winterfell, Sansa is settling in with the Boltons. Brienne sends a message to her to light a candle in a tower should she ever need help. As this is going on, Ramsay’s friend Myranda is upset about Sansa’s presence. Ramsay gets annoyed by her jealousy, and arguably rapes her as punishment—he threatens that if she bores him he’ll torture her, so she has sex with him. Following that, Myranda shows Sansa where Theon is, who warns her that she should not be in Winterfell. After Ramsay finds out about their reunion, he decides to torment both of them during dinner with Roose and Walda, who both look embarrassed to have any sort of relationship with him. Ramsay calls Theon into the dining room, forces him to give Sansa a terrified and useless apology, then proclaims that all bad feelings between the two must be settled and that since Theon is her closest living kin, he’ll give her away at the wedding.
There are so many other storylines I would prefer to watch than this one. I’m still sad that Lady Stoneheart hasn’t made it into the show—because let’s face it, an undead zombie hellbent on murdering all the Freys for the Red Wedding would be a much better and less insulting storyline. Lady Stoneheart’s non-appearance on the show, and the divergence of Brienne’s and Jaime’s storylines, also makes me question just how important those characters are to the books as well. If Game of Thrones can cut and change that much from the original narrative and still reach the same ending as A Song of Ice and Fire, it makes me worried that both Jaime and Brienne are not long for this world and will meet an untimely demise.
The only other thing of real note this episode is that Jon Snow decides, much to the protest of his fellow Night Brothers, to let the Wildlings south of the Wall. His reasoning for this is that they are people too, and that the Others will kill and add them to the army of the dead. All of you book readers might remember that this won’t turn out well for Jon, but that Lady Melisandre’s presence at the Wall will be his saving grace. However, as “Kill the Boy” ends, Melisandre leaves to march on Winterfell with Stannis, so I guess we’ll see how this turns out in future episodes.
And hopefully next week we won’t see Ramsay at all.