Ben Adams, Peter Fenzel, John Perich, Jordan Stokes, and Matthew Wrather recap Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 5, “Kill the boy.”[audio:http://podone.noxsolutions.com/launchpod/overthinkingitrecap/mp3/oti-recap-got-s05e05.mp3]
Subscribe for The Latest Recaps
Subscribe to the TV Recap Podcast:
Subscribe on iTunes
Subscribe via RSS
What did you think of this episode? Sound off in the comments below.
So what the hell does this have to do with outlawing 50 Shades of Grey?
Jordan, I think it was, pointed out that, in the moral mechanics of the show, people seemed at the very least concerned that merely being exposed to the attitudes and behaviors of other people unlike themselves would “contaminate” their purity in some way.
(This is tied to one of the ideas discussed in the comments last week – that extreme hardship inspires fanaticism, as people seek an identity or elevation that is disconnected from their present suffering.)
Grey Worm was the biggest example, as he lost some part of his Unsullied fearlessness because Missandei’s outlook on life had gotten to him.
Similarly, the Watch is a bit leery of Jon’s leadership because they feel like he’s been “contaminated” by hanging out with the Wildlings, and Miranda seems to not really have the option of getting away from Ramsay Bolton because his twisted morality has basically taken over her entire personality.
Now, we weren’t saying that this is the way the world works – it was the way characters in the show were feeling and talking about their moral situations. Most of the Watch does as much and more as Jon did with Ygritte – they just do it in Mole Town, where things happen underground and aren’t spoken about – rather than out in the open air North of the Wall.
What Matt was saying was, in the real world, this idea of “contamination” is used in support of puritanism and censorship. As in, we need to ban 50 Shades of Grey, because being around it will “contaminate” people and make them want things they don’t generally want and behave in ways they wouldn’t otherwise behave.
And then the further joke is, well, if 50 Shades of Grey, “contaminates” you, what does it make you do? The leather and whatnot stuff, or the writing fanfiction stuff?
Matt was bringing this up because those kinds of ideas in the real world are dangerous nonsense. People who are cloistered don’t become perfect, and people who are repressed don’t lose their vices, they just hide and sublimate them. What it really tends to lead to is a selectively-pulled lever by which the powerful punish and subjugate people they would punish and subjugate anyway.
I think this reinforces one of my main ideas about the episode – which is that it’s about people setting standards of behavior for themselves based on the person they think they _ought_ to be in their current situation, rather than the person they actually are. That it’s performative, aspirational, and somewhat self-delusional.
That you can just kill off the part of yourself that you don’t like, and then the other part of yourself can move forward.
But you can’t figuratively kill off part of yourself – anymore than you can literally kill off ideas or vices you find objectionable (and by trying, you often incur an horrific human cost).
“Dost thou think because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?”
What Pete said.
Thinking about this episode again, I want to offer an on-the-record prediction: the “light a candle in the Broken Tower” thing is not actually connected to Brienne/the Northern Resistance – it’s a Bolton plot to lull Sansa. They’re clearly up to something, and are smart enough to know that Sansa hasn’t really just forgotten what happened to her family.
Further (very slightly) spoiler-y evidence: some pre-season interviews w/ Sophie Turner have sparked rumors that Sansa is involved in a holy-moly-Red-Wedding-level event this season.
Ah, like Ramsay “helping Theon escape?”