<–S5E4 – Sons of the Harpy
This is very, very late and I’m hoping I get everything down today. It’s a little after noon on Sunday, and I usually knock these review/analyses out the Wednesday after the episode premiers. Unfortunately, this Wednesday I was in no shape to write anything. I had a…well, I have many, many issues and quite a few of them center around depression/anxiety (like far too many of us), and I was experiencing such that day. I don’t want this to be a bummer post. I mean I’m already writing about ASOIAF/GoT, which is not the happiest of narratives, so I shall let all the sadness dwell with that.
So we are at the halfway point!
Yes. Yes it is.
Surprisingly not that many people have died. The most significant of course is Ser Barristan whose death was confirmed this episode, and where we also deal with the fallout of that dolorous event. I was fortunate this week to be able to watch two full review analysis/review videos from both Bar de Porto and the Small Council, which consists of the best YouTube theorists around. I started watch Maester Payne and Clare Grey’s, but alas was unable to finish it. Clare is absolutely brilliant to use a (hopefully appropriate) British turn of phrase, and MP even while sleepy will just espouse upon some tiny tidbit with huge implications that the rest of us missed.
That will be my Monday project. I am very late to very many awesome parties, but I shall try to make up for it by bringing good dip.
I 100% agree with Bar on Dany. I do not like what they are turning her into. I’ll talk about this more later. I also found it interesting that Jorah and Tyrion were passing through Valyria when the Valyria in the books is a smoking ruin so full of supposed demons and foulness that not even the most desperate of men will venture there.
It was once the abode of those whom men thought to be gods, now a smoking ruin. If we wanted to look at a metaphor of a “fall,” there it stands right there. There is still high speculation about what caused the Doom. The Valyrians were Dragonlords who were able to work steel in ways no one has been able to match prior or mimic hence.
Someone I’m subscribed to did a fantastic video on Valyrian steel and how it might have been forged used weirwood roots, but I can’t for the life of me remember whom it was, but their forges were more that likely heated by volcanic emissions, which is why they were able to grow so hot, and it’s possible that that volcano erupted, which was the Doom. There is also the possibility of death from above.
In Clash of Kings we are introduced to the comet. Did Martin throw this in as a literal red herring or is there some sort of significance? Did a comet or meteor destroy Old Valyria? Martin is playing around with nearly every religious trope under the sun (or meteor/comet…) and Revelations is certainly one of them. A comet/meteor (I know they’re not the same thing, but they are both heavenly phenomena, which is why I’m lumping them together) would invoke the 6th Seal in Revelations 6:12.
“I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.”
Hm, sounds a lot like how the Doom of Valyria has been described.
Watching Bar’s analysis, I was also reminded of all of the drowned men in the story. I kept thinking “Plague in the Waters” and “Drowned Men Tell No Tells,” the second of which isn’t really true. Patchface seems to be the quintessential drowned man, and he does nothing but tell tales. I do like Plague in the Waters though. I might have to use that one later.
Even had I written this on Wednesday I would’ve been able to watch the Small Council’s analysis video prior as it was posted one day early than their usual Thursday.
I feel like I’m being a bit haphazard in my analysis…thrown off by the day. I did write down a lot of thoughts while watching this. It’s three and a half hours long, so I have to take notes. I comment some of them, but I don’t want to be an annoying TL;DR person, which is why this blog exists. Anyway, if you guys reading this are not watching these videos, you are sorely missing out.
Let’s talk title before I break this up into my customary sections. I just commented this on the above video. Kill the Boy may be a reference to the story of King Solomon. You can’t please everyone so you might as well “kill the boy” and see who cries the loudest about it.
THIS boy…who has no one left to cry for him.
In truth the title comes from counsel Maester Aemon gave to Jon after he was elected Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. The aged Maester told the newly elected Snow to “kill the boy and let the man be born,” paralleling Corinthians 13:11.
“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.“
Quick note: I’m actually not religious in the traditional sense. I am fascinated by religious symbolism and have been for all my life. I was raised Christian; however now consider myself agnostic, which I believe allows me to have a nice middle point of view. I love how religious symbols are used in narratives and works, and all of my favorite stories carry a heavy weight of the mythological and religious. I’m saying this so that no one thinks my viewpoint is skewed towards any one belief set. I consider myself an eternal student of their symbolism and delve into them all though I do have my favorites, Norse mythology, Qabalism, and angel lore being only a scant few. Anyway…back to the analysis!
Aemon needs Jon to realize that the days of childhood are over, and even though he’s only 14/15 at this time, he is in the position of a man. I think this theme of transition carries throughout the episode with both Daenerys in Mereen and Tyrion and Jorah in Valyria, the latter a transition from captive/captor to two people who will need each other to survive. There’s a balance to the incongruence of both killing the boy and yet maintaining a piece of your younger self. You can’t completely remove it otherwise you become too hard and unyielding like Tywin Lannister or (more Book) Stannis Baratheon, but not killing it means you become too mired in myth and superstition like Cersei in terms of her prophecy or past Tyrion who wore his heart on his sleeve.
Balance is also a major theme in this episode with regards to Daenerys and Jon whom I believe are being used as comparative edges. One is becoming more unyielding, while the other is realizing the need to bend.
There were less locations in the fifth episode. We only have three: Mereen. the Wall, and Old Valyria. In the book the latter was the Sorrows
And a sorrowful place it was…
and Tyrion was not with Jorah (yet), but upon a ship called the Shy Maid with a very different crowd I fear we will not see. I…highly doubt Faegon and Jon Connington will make their appearance especially since Jorah was shown infected with greyscale, and that was part of Connington’s back story. Let me clarify. Old Valyria wasn’t the Sorrows in the book; they both exist therein. However, the crew do not pass through Valyria as it is a smoke ruin, but rather the Sorrows and Chroyane instead.
And sorrow can be beautiful.
Four parts this time: A Plague of Drowned Men, Vengeful Mother, Sullenly Sansa, and The Wall is a Hardhome.
A Plague of Drowned Men
As fore mentioned there is a host of drowned men in the ASOIAF narrative. There have been some presented in GoT, but not nearly as many as the original story hosts. In this recent episode we have Tyrion being taken under by the Stone Men and then pulled back up by Jorah. This experience changes the relationship between the dwarf and the knight; however, in the books, there is more to his experience.
There is a character known as the Shrouded Lord who is said to have ruled the mists and fog in the Sorrows since the time of Prince Garin. Prince Garin himself was a Roynish royal who was defeated by the Valyrians in the time before the Doom. As punishment for his defiance, the Dragonlords hung him in a gilded cage and forced him to watch the destruction of his people, mocking him as he called upon Mother Royne (the river) to take vengeance. However…that night the waters did rise to destroy the proud conquerors, and some say his curse was what caused the Doom of Valyria itself. I disagree with that last part as the Doom seems more in line with fire and Garin’s magic was water based. I’m far more inclined to go with the theory that Garin is or was the first Shrouded Lord, raising the vengeful waters to spread the greyscale curse. When one dies another takes his place (like the Dread Pirate Roberts but death instead of retirement! Yes, I made a Princess Bride reference. I’m old enough to do that ;)).
There is a theory that Gerion Lannister, Tyrion’s favorite uncle is the current Shrouded Lord, and that is why the dwarf was allowed to escape from drowning in the Sorrows. Gerion went on a quest to search for the ancestral sword Brightroar in the lands near Old Valyria, but never returned, so it is possible that he found his way to the Sorrows and through some sorcery became their king. Also the names Gerion and Garin sound very similar. I also love the idea of Tyrion drowning in sorrow and yet being allowed to rise.
Davos is another drowned man allowed resurrection.
There’s a video from Bar called Davos and the Kraken about what Stannis’s right hand man (even without his finger bones) might have found there.
He lost those bones in the Blackwater, too, “losing his luck” in the process. This is another example of a character drowning, but a greater force allowing them to return. The kraken is the sigil of House Greyjoy, which makes me think that Davos may free/save Theon. His life was saved by that entity, and now he owes a favor. A life for a life. A debt for a debt. Blood will pay for blood.
Davos and Patchface, Shireen’s ever present fool (in the books), have a parallel. A lot of his lines have been commandeered by the little princess herself, so he’s not on the show. He was to be brought back by Lord Steffon Baratheon from Volantis where he was a slave. It is the custom there to tattoo them with the mark of their particular trade and so he was printed with red and green motley. Lord Steffon’s ship broke up within sight of Dragonstone and all aboard were lost in the sea. Patchface washed up three days later (Davos also surfaced three days later. This is a pretty barefaced Jesus reference. Being dead for three days and returning changed), but his wits were gone. The fisherfolk said that a “mermaid had taught him to breath underwater in return for his seed,” so he is another person who encountered an entity beneath the waves, but where Patchface arguably already paid his price, Davos has yet to surrender his own. Mermaids put me in the mind of sirens, which lure sailors to their deaths, but Patchface must have some use, and so must Davos. Both went beneath the waves, but returned different. There is a line in Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale: “I have been to another world and come back. Listen to me.” Both Davos and Patchface have been to some other world, and they both need to be heard. Something of importance needs to be imparted. What that is remains to be seen, but both characters have some greater purpose, an unresolved parallel.
I think I have spoken enough of drowned “men.” Let us now talked briefly of drowned women. There is one who did not come back from the abyss. One, Melara Heatherspoon, Cersei’s friend whom I mentioned in prior analysis. After their encounter with Maggy the Frog, Cersei pushes her friend down a well in order to keep the secret of the terrible prophecy in a both childish and fiendish attempt to not have it come to pass. It’s like a child not only shutting her eyes to the dark in hopes the monster won’t see, but offering her best friend to that monster and praying it will gorge on their flesh instead of hers.
The other drowned woman is Catelyn Stark whose body was stripped naked and thrown into the Trident after the Red Wedding in a mockery of the Tully funeral rites. Arya, warged into Nymeria, fishes her mother out, fulfilling the foreshadowing presented in AGOT Arya I where the youngest Stark daughter talks to Jon about the ridiculousness of “a wolf with a fish in its mouth” in regards to mixing the sigils of both the mother’s and the father’s houses.
So it is Tyrion who is a drowned man. What is dead may never die, but it is Jorah who bears the wounds. We physically see the greyscale on him. Now Tyrion says that he has no marks, but we don’t know if the dwarf is lying. The theorists have also postulated that Tyrion my be a sort of Typhoid Mary figure where he is an asymptomatic carrier of greyscale. This would put him in potential opposition to Shireen Baratheon who shows symptoms of the disease, but is currently immune. There’s a lot Martin could do with this. Shireen’s greyscale could be dormant right now, but the dormancy may not be permanent ,and Gilly’s fears in the show and Val’s fears in the book are well founded. Shireen (again per the theorists. I believe James and LaDonna get the merits for this one) could also be the source of a cure or vaccine for it.
I think it’s interesting that greyscale is being manifested in smaller people. Shireen is a child and Tyrion is a dwarf. “A small man can cast a large shadow,” per Maester Aemon, which reminds us not to dismiss people because of their stature or youth in regards to Shireen. Both of them have also ventured to the Wall. I don’t think this is a coincidence. Death is coming from the north in one way or another…
As I mentioned in last week’s analysis, the “Sons” of the Harpy turned Dany into the vengeful “mother.” She gathers up the heads of all of all the noble houses and proceeds to have her two dragons burn and then eat one of them. This how the Mother of Dragons “kills the boy,” if we equate boys to sons, which I think it’s safe to do. She seems to be following Daario’s advice about clearing the rats out street by street as they will “have no place to hide” not even the walls. I was quite surprised to see her among Rhaegal and Viserion so casually when the last time she went down there, she was terrified of them. Maybe because she was bringing her an offering other than herself, which…bothers me.
Daenerys’s actions goes to the idea that it’s better to spend time with your children than think giving them things is a good substitute. The latter is exactly what Dany is doing. She’s trying to be a good mother by giving them tokens when they really want and deserve her time! Despite the fact she says, “A good mother never gives up on her children,” (which invokes a lot of mothers in the series: Cersei, Catelyn, etc.) Dany only doesn’t “give up on them” by trying to lavish the dragons with gifts in a bid to win back their love. Another issue is she’s feeding the dragons human! HUMAN! Isn’t that why she locked them away in the first place? Because they (supposedly) killed and ate a human child? Now she’s rewarding them with the exact same thing? It’s like punishing your child for stealing candy, but then giving them the same candy as an “I’m sorry for punishing you” present. I’m trying to give the Dragon Queen some benefits of the doubt. She never knew her own mother or ever had a normal life, so she might not be up and up on how to accurately play that part, but she is a mother now. Mother to dragons and mother to these people she has freed. She needs to learn her role and how to properly portray what she has named herself.
I don’t like what the show is doing with her. They are giving her a sort of God complex. The scene with Hizdar showed this in spades. She tells the groveling man that it takes courage to admit to a mistake. Then she admits that she herself made a mistake. Um, humble brag much? Daenerys is developing a sense of entitlement reminiscent of Viserys and she’s loving the fire like Aerys, her father before her. She needs to be balanced like Rhaegar. She is burning people without a trial which is very similar to the Mad King. The last person Ser Barristan spoke to her of before his death was her late brother whose example he would’ve wanted her to follow.
I now have two distinct theories about Targaryens and their madness. One theory is some Targaryens have it and some don’t. It is caused by the incessant inbreeding; however, some (like Rhaegar) are fortunate enough to have it pass them by. I suppose we could argue Rhaegar as he did kidnap Lyanna, but there is so much evidence that that situation is not how it’s presented (especially by Robert) that I’m not even going to entertain it right now. These Targaryens are the great rulers of their era, having been missed by the infamous insanity. This was what I originally thought, but now…another possibility has presented itself. I am wondering if the propensity for madness dwells within them all, but some Targs find a way to balance it out. Rhaegar was by most accounts a very well rounded individual, a sort of Renaissance man per se. I think that’s how the Crown Prince kept himself in check by spreading his interests far afield. He was a warrior, but also a musician. He was diplomatic but could be fierce. There’s a balance (ice and fire).
Speaking of that dichotomy…does anyone else find it interesting/weird that Targaryens are very “wintry” looking: pale skin, silvery hair, icy, cold eyes yet they’re associated with fire? This could speak to James’s theory about them being part Other and it is meta that they look so “otherworldly.” As described in the appendix of AGOT “their heritage proclaimed in a striking (some say inhuman) beauty, with lilac or indigo or violet eyes and hair of silver-gold or platinum white. Is there some kind of paradigm/trope about looking like a winter angel but being immune/resistant/connected to fire and having a god complex/penchant for insanity? (I’m thinking of a number between 1 and 10…)
I do like show Hizdar better than book Hizdar. If they were trying to make him more sympathetic, they did a good job. I suppose this is a possible meta balance. I like show Hizdar better than book Hizdar, but I dislike show Dany. *sigh* Que sera sera.
Okay first off Sansa’s feathery epaulets are pretty fucking boss. Let me just put that out there right now. As perfectly predicted (not by me!) Myranda is jealous of the true Lady of Winterell. I truly thought something was going to happen with her and the kennel hounds (kennel hounds) as she was walking down that long passage, but she just finds the most beaten dog of all, Theon Greyjoy (who has every reason to be grey and nothing to be joyful about. Hm, Greyjoy, greyscale…). The one thing that kept running through my head was “Sansa is good with hounds. She’ll be alright…”
The scene where Theon kneels before Ramsay and receives forgiveness I believe is part of the theme of kneeling in this episode. Maester Payne mentioned in the Small Council analysis video something in regards to Hizdar and a “suitor on his knees.” I think this parallels Theon and Ramsay in an absolutely terrible way. It can be assumed that Ramsay is sexually abusing Theon and has more than likely forced him to do things such as fellatio and (accept) anal. It’s absolutely awful, and no matter what Theon did, he does not deserve that, no one does. In terms of the kneeling I believe Tormund mentions something about not kneeling to Jon at the Wall as well, so we have it in three different places. Two situations where it occurs and one where it doesn’t in defiance but in the latter it is not being forced or even asked for. Ironically, if Jon is the trueborn son of Rhaegar Targaryen, he has the most right to force people to kneel, but he never would.
Going to the most awkward dinner ever, it’s impossible not to note that Sansa is again consigned to marrying someone from a family she abhors for valid reasons. The Lannisters killed her father and the Roose Bolton himself killed her brother, and they both had a hand in killing her mother. I think Roose is remembering another wedding when Ramsay brings up his and Sansa’s future one. Also again you never see Roose eat or drink. The more we see of the Lord of the Dreadfort, the more the “bolt on theory” gathers weight.
Ramsay is such a…confusing character. At some points he seems utterly brutish and sadistic, not thinking about his actions and just barreling forth with his torturous schemes, but when he forces Theon to apologize for killing Sansa’s younger brothers, you really have to wonder whether or not he knows what his own father did. Surely Roose told him, and if he did, he is playing a cruel and sick game with his fiancée? That scene was amazing in the silence it keeps especially when you add on the irony that Theon did not kill Bran and Rickon, but just to add more to the pile, it is possible that he may be a kinslayer. This is per Bar’s video (the first one I linked), and the theory is that Theon was the father of those children as they were the miller’s sons and he had sex with the miller’s wife. This is in the book, and in an astounding and frankly weird parallel, Roose tells Ramsay the story of his mother (what’s up with the mother paradigms lately??) where he states he raped the miller’s wife because the man had wed without his permission and the Lord of the Dreadfort wanted his first night rights.
Roose’s story is a parallel to what Stannis told Shireen (and Stannis is mentioned right afterwards as if to solidify the connection). The Stannis story is sweet and a bit sappy, but Stannis is what a father should be. Roose’s story is fucked up. He raped Ramsay’s mother and nearly threw his son down a well. You could actually see the hurt in Ramsay’s face at that moment. He truly, truly wants to please his father and will do anything to achieve this goal. We have so many invocations of “killing the boy” here. We have it in Rooose literally almost killing the boy/baby Ramsay. We have it in Ramsay needing to kill the boy inside of himself, the boy that needs his father’s approval, and we have another literal and desired killing when Roose informs Ramsay that his wife Fat Walda is pregnant. By the laws of Westeros, a bastard cannot inherit before a trueborn son, even if that bastard has been legitimized. I wonder if this boy will be named Domeric to match the one that Roose had in the books. There the son had already been killed (more than likely by Ramsay), and I’m curious if the show will go that route in connection.
The prevailing theory is that since Sansa is taking the place of Fake Arya, Theon will have to perform the oral sex act on her D: If this occurs, it’s going to be a type of invoked incest since Ramsay stated that Theon is the only family that Sansa has left.
The Wall is a Hardhome
I immediately noticed that there was a distinctive shot of Jon in front of that quill pen with the feather very prominent. I should start calling it the “magic feather” honestly. They are really driving that point home in an obvious way if you know how to look. It is his connection with his mother Lyanna, and there’s a bonus tie in with Sansa and her fore mentioned feathery epaulets. There’s something about feathers that we need to pay attention to. Jon is considered a “crow” like all the brothers of the Night’s Watch per the wildlings, Crows are supposed to fly. They also have their own language so something of importance to impart. Hm…
The “kill the boy” motif has its apex here with Aemon literally telling Jon to do so in reference to himself, but I know there’s something with Olly, Jon’s steward. Kill the boy becomes a warning, a call to action, a preemptive strike. Jon needs to literally kill the boy in order to “let the man arise” and ensure his own survival…and the survival of his house (Targaryen). Maester Aemon mentions that, too, speaking of “a lone Targaryen” out in the world. He seems to be referring to Daenerys, but there’s a connection between Jon and the maester. He serves as a father figure for the new made Lord Commander and did even prior to his appointment. Blood calls to blood. There’s also the idea that “killing the boy” is just part of Jon’s fate. He will be killed, but then the man will truly arise in resurrection and rebirth…like a phoenix born of cold. If that’s the song of ice and fire, I don’t know what is.
I’d meant to mention this in last week’s analysis, but there is the idea of still serving/loving the dead and the vows you make to them. Jon still loves Ygritte, which is the reason he gives for refusing Melisandre’s advances. Robert never stopped loving Lyanna. Brienne still serves Catelyn. Book Jon Connington still loves Rhaegar. Book Loras still loves Renly. Ned Stark still loves Lyanna and still keeps his promises to her…even more so now that he’s dead.
The theorists appear to be right about Hardhome and Jon going there. I wonder if he’ll be able to leave before the backstabbing, which wow…so if Jon is the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna, his fate would be similar to his grandfather Aerys Targaryen, and arguably it could be due to the Lannisters. Forgive me for forgetting (again), but another theorist brought up the idea that it was Cersei Lannister who caused the mutiny at the Wall. Ah it was Bar in this video For the Watch.
In the books Jon never goes to Hardhome so it’s very possible that it’s planned in the show, but the mutiny occurs before it can occur. Stannis, probably with insight from Melisandre, has some premonition that things at the Wall about to go south (ha!) and decides to march on Winterfell, taking Shireen and Selyse with him instead of leaving them there as in the books. His reasons make sense though. The Wall is a den of murderers, rapists, and thieves with the good men interspersed thinly among them. I do so love Shireen’s relationship with Davos, too. She has two awesome “fathers” to make up for her shitty mother.
There is a burning question in my gut. Why does Gilly immediately walk out when Stannis comes into the library with her and Sam?? I noticed it immediately. Is it because of what happened with Selyse and Shireen? It seemed like something about Stannis bothered or frightened her. The look on her face was almost frantic as if she had to be away from the Baratheon king as quickly as possible. Any thoughts would be welcome.
Sam is also being set up to become the next Maester. I think this was the second time Oldtown was mentioned. I’m almost certain we are going to see the Citadel, but the question is how are they going to get Gilly to come with him? With Melisandre leaving, her baby won’t be in imminent danger of being burned, and because there’s no Dalla or Val, there’s also no Mance’s son. So there’s not going to be a switch. Maybe they won’t have that storyline at all, and Gilly will just go with Sam because she’s afraid to stay at the Wall alone, and I don’t blame her. If Stannis is taking his wife and daughter with him because he doesn’t trust the men, I wouldn’t want to be Gilly and the only woman there without Sam or Jon for protection.
Alright…so it’s late, but still I did it before the next episode airs. I hope I have given you food for thought. I will try to update S5E6 on time this week. Not doing so really throws me off *grumble* I have cosplay updates to post and the next chapter in Northern Lights to prep.
As always thank you for reading. I say to you valar morghulis. I bid you adieu. I proclaim ave atque vale to all of you.
<–S5E4 – Sons of the Harpy