Happy Mhysa Day! Game of Thrones very rarely leaves anyone with cause for celebration, but season five’s latest episode, “Kill the Boy,” reflected the real life Mother’s Day holiday by honoring some of the greatest moms on the show.
Let’s begin with how Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons, celebrated the big day in Meereen. Sure, it begins tragically enough — the sight of Barristan the Bold’s lifeless body on a cold slab is enough to move any man, woman, or child. But it moves Dany into ferocious action against the people she perceived to be pulling the strings behind the Sons of the Harpy. Dany rounds up the heads of Meereen’s great houses, the former slavers, and takes them to meet her children, Viserion and Rhaegal.
“They will eat you if I tell them to. They may eat you even if I don’t,” she says, as the two dragons do, in fact, roast and eat one of the men right in front of the others. “Children. Some say I should give up on them. But a good mother never gives up on her children. She disciplines them if she must. But she does not give up on them.”
Dany might not be winning Mhysa of the Year anytime soon, what with keeping two of her dragons locked away in a dungeon while the third flies free over Old Valyria (more on that in a bit), but she certainly wins style points in her solution to Meereen’s major in-fighting problem. She also earns points for creative outside-the-box thinking, once she attempts peace by green-lighting Hizdahr zo Loraq’s plea to reopen the city’s fighting pits, and also by effectively ordering Hizdahr’s hand in marriage. We all know how weddings work out in Westeros; here’s hoping it’s a happier day in Meereen.
Speaking of weddings, Ramsay Bolton and Sansa Stark’s nuptials take a turn toward the dark, when the only Stark in Winterfell becomes aware of Theon Greyjoy — or Reek, as he’s now known, thanks to his particularly ripe smell. As if seeing the man responsible for “killing” her brothers wasn’t bad enough, Sansa’s day only gets worse when Ramsay announces that Reek will walk her down the aisle at their upcoming wedding. Oh, happy day.
But there’s plenty of bad news to go around, and Ramsay gets a big, fat dose of it when he finds out that his father’s wife, Walda Frey, is pregnant with a son. Happy Mhysa Day, Walda! Not so happy bastard day for Ramsay, who feels his claim to Winterfell and the North is challenged by the impending arrival of a true born brother. Roose manages to calm him down, refocusing Ramsay on the Stannis Baratheon battle that lies ahead, but how long can House Bolton remain intact before it flays itself to death?
If internal strife doesn’t ruin Roose and Ramsay, then Stannis and his army could do the trick. Finally, the Baratheon brigade makes its move on Winterfell, marching south from the Wall while they still have a numbers advantage and something resembling the element of surprise. But Stannis doesn’t leave the Night’s Watch without first taking a meeting with Samwell Tarly and learning that dragon glass, made from obsidian, is a useful weapon against the White Walkers. Just so happens that Stannis has a ton of obsidian back home at Dragonstone. Noted for future reference.
Beyond Stannis, the Wall faces its own political turmoil as Jon Snow chooses to “kill the boy and let the man be born,” as advised by Maester Aemon Targaryen — in other words, suck it up and do the right thing, even if it’s difficult and unpopular. Indeed, Jon’s decision to invite all of the Wildlings to come south of the Wall proves hugely difficult and unpopular, so much so that even his top defenders Dolorous Edd and little orphan Olly can’t stand with him. In fairness, Jon doesn’t exactly do a marvelous job at selling the controversial call; he really ought to emphasize that whole “anyone who dies north of the Wall will come back from the dead to kill us all” angle.
While Jon struggles with how to deal with the dead, Jorah Mormont and Tyrion Lannister enjoy a front row seat of their own as they travel through the wasteland of Old Valyria. The historical journey through these ancient ruins provide Tyrion and Jorah with their first true bonding moment since coming into contact with one another, but the moment’s short-lived when Stone Men, afflicted with late stage Greyscale, raid their boat. All appears lost as one of the Stone Men drags Tyrion underwater, but he wakes up alive, if not well, on a nearby shore, thanks to heroic efforts from Jorah.
Tyrion shows no signs of contracting Greyscale from the Stone Men, but Jorah? Not so lucky. We see just a dab of skin alteration on his wrist, as both he and we viewers alike come to the same conclusion: Jorah Mormont has a fever, and not even more cowbell can cure it. I hope Jorah is not your Mhysa’s favorite character, because the old bear’s days sure look numbered.