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'Game of Thrones' scorecard: 'Kill the Boy'

Every week we tally up the sex and violence in "Game of Thrones" to see who wins. SPOILER: it's the viewer. SPOILER: that wasn't a spoiler, just a well-worn joke-telling device.

"No wire hangers!"
"No wire hangers!"

This "Game of Thrones" discussion is written by someone who has read George R.R. Martin's books, but will generally only discuss events that have happened on HBO's televised version -- not that it matters much now that the show is going its own way. Still, please respect these boundaries should you choose to participate in the comments section.

Episode 5.05, "Kill the Boy"

FINAL SCORE: Violence 3, Sex 2

(Scoring is typically one point per killing or instance of nudity, though the reviewer reserves the right to award bonus points for style.)


Totals: One man roasted and torn to pieces by dragons; one Stone Man slashed and impaled with a sword; one lip bitten and bloodied (see Sex); a littoral scuffle that results in a near-drowning. Pretty tame episode, really.

Notes: I awarded a bonus point to Violence -- ultimately the deciding difference in score -- for the underground human roast in Meereen. What can I say, I like it when the dragons cook people. Let's go to the GIF:



Totals: An extended scene where neither Ramsay Bolton nor Medieval Katie Nolan wear a stitch of clothing that results in a bloody lip and copulation; one tender kiss between Missandei and Grey Worm (who's alive, yay!), maybe some mouth-to-mouth on Tyrion by Jorah Mormont? I can't say, they didn't show it.

Notes: I considered a bonus point for the scene between Ramsay and Myranda, but I withheld it for lack of phallus. Look, HBO: if I were the only viewer of this show, I'd be all about more gratuitous female nudity. Dany would make all of her decisions from her bath, 20 minutes of each episode would be Melisandre seductions, and every scene in King's Landing would take place in Littlefinger's brothel. But I'm not the only viewer. There are people of all sexual appetites who watch the show, and therefore I will advocate for equal nudity. Make room in the merkin budget for some prosthetic dongs if you have to.

Mother(of Dragons)'s Day

Coaches often praise star athletes for their short memories. A great hitter can't let his last strikeout affect his next at-bat; a shutdown cornerback can't lose his edge after giving up a touchdown; a three-point shooter can't let a bad night shake his assertiveness as the clock ticks down to a last-second shot. The ability to ignore past failures without so much as a stumble in confidence is a rare quality in humans.

Which brings us to Daenerys. Check out the balls on this lady:

That's rich. A monologue on motherhood. From Daenerys Targaryen. That would be the same Dany whose trust in a witch led to the death of the child she conceived with Khal Drogo. The same Dany who chained up two of her dragons in the basement because the third was flying around and catching some meals. The Dany whose lone unchained "child" would rather fly through a post-apocalyptic spook-scape peopled solely by eczema zombies than hang out with her.

Sure, Dany. Tell me allllll about what a good mother does.

Jon Snow Reaction Face of the Week

Great Moments in Foreshadowing

If you're a regular reader of this column, then you probably watch "Game of Thrones" for many of the reasons I do: dragons, beheadings, horse murder, and Grade-A nudity. And sure: I enjoy the intricate, ruthless plotting, too, but I'm not typically interested in thinking -- not when I write, and certainly not when I watch television.

But the scene where Jorah and Tyrion enter Valyria: holy hell, what a triumph of setting and direction to create mood. Tyrion's complaints about the lack of wine dry up when Jorah sees the distant ruins; not long after, Tyrion catches sight of Drogon, distracting the travelers from the impending attack from the Stone Men. In between those two moments are two minutes and 15 seconds of carefully crafted tension. It begins with Tyrion's view:

The Imp establishes that it's Valyria and the Smoking Sea they're looking at, and he and Mormont exchange some key pieces of exposition. Mormont's not worried about doom or demons in the abandoned land; he only cares that pirates fear it. It's pirate-free, and thus TOTALLY SAFE.

As they enter the Smoking Sea, creepy establishing shots abound. Ruins, thick vegetation, mist on the water -- the imagery is somewhere between The Heart of Darkness and the Fire Swamp from The Princess Bride. Not exactly happy places.


As the ship draws nearer to the ruined bridge, director Jeremy Podeswa uses several different low shots that produce a claustrophobic effect. The lack of any score heightens the tension; the only sound besides the characters' voices comes from local fauna.

The ruins move Tyrion to poetry:

They held each other close and turned their backs upon the end. 
The hills that split asunder and the black that ate the skies;
The flames that shot so high and hot that even dragons burned
Would never be the final sights that fell upon their eyes.
A fly upon a wall, the waves the sea wind whipped and churned
The city of a thousand years, and all that men had learned.
The Doom consumed it all alike, and neither of them turned.

"Oh, you know, just some rhyming verse about the Apocalypse while we go through these misty ruins. Hope that puts you at ease!"


Looks normal, right? NOPE.


The final key to the scene? Some misdirection in the form of Drogon's fly-by. Not only does it occupy Tyrion and Jorah's attention -- as it should -- it also gives the viewer the sense that the dragon is what the scene has been building to. Given the show's judicious use of CGI, dragons are typically the centerpiece of a scene. Not so in this case.

Tyrion's gaze follows Drogon to the aft of the boat, and the screen cuts to the same shot that revealed Drogon, only now we see Tyrion's face see -- and an out-of-focus movement in the background before hearing the first splash.

Just a masterful scene. A++

Grammar Tips from Stannis Baratheon

1. Use "fewer" when you can count the noun. Use "less" when it's something you can't.

Example: "Davos has fewer knuckles than most men. Stannis has less sex with his wife since Melisandre arrived."

2. Active voice! Leaders take action, and their voice should reflect that.

Example: "Stannis attacked Winterfell." NOT "Winterfell was attacked by Stannis."

3. You better f--kin' believe he uses an Oxford comma.

Example: "Stannis killed the King Beyond the Wall, his younger brother, and the disease afflicting his daughter." Do NOT read that sentence without the final comma.

Goth Sansa Status: ACTIVE

Goth Sansa

Her hemline kept me from seeing her footwear, but I KNOW it was some Doc Martens. A little more eye makeup and I'm calling her Siouxsie Stark.

Welcome to Crazytown, Population: Ramsay

Ramsay Bolton

Ramsay was a key figure in this episode. We learn about his origin (the product of rape, natch), his fears (getting un-Boltoned by Roose's future legitimate son), and his tastes in the bedroom (still not as depraved as Joffrey). He forced Reek/Theon to apologize to Sansa for killing her two brothers (who are actually still alive) while sitting at the same table as the man who orchestrated the murder of her mother and eldest brother. Not really the best subject to bring up, Ram.

Yep, I'm ready for Ramsay to die. Roose Bolton is probably more dangerous in the long term, but at least he's dignified in his raping and skinning people.


  • Knifelike hipbones: 2
  • Dragons shown: all three! Feels like a long time since that happened.
  • Direwolves: zero, unless Ghost stalked across the background at some point. Bring back direwolf mauling!
  • Awkward dinners: 1
  • Nicknames I'm trying out for Missandei and Grey Worm: Missy and G-Dubs.

DNP, Coach's Decision

Bronn and Jaime; Cersei and her wine glass; King Tom and Marge; Spearack Obara and the Sand Snakes; Arya-not-Arya and the Braavosi Nobodies; Littlefinger; Loras in Chains; Qyburn; Qyburn's Monster; the High Sparrow AKA Big Bird.