Various characters fought against the status quo in “Kill the Boy,” a thematically meaty episode of “Game of Thrones.”

Episode MVPs

Too often on “Game of Thrones,” those in power are the ones who least deserve it. Lately, some upstanding characters have come into power, but they’re learning that good intentions aren’t enough.

Take Daenerys Targaryen — she’s still trying to quell the sectarian violence that’s tearing apart Meereen. This week, she was pushed too far and fed a prominent citizen to her dragons, only to turn around and reopen the city’s fighting pits, an institution she abhors, in an attempt to placate her unruly subjects. Will the strategy work, or will her vacillating make things worse?

Up at the Wall, newly elected Lord Commander Jon Snow is trying to reach out to the wildlings, even though it means offending many Night’s Watchmen who have been fighting wildlings all their lives. In the long run, making peace will benefit both groups, but Jon’s trying to change things from within a system built to resist change. On “Game of Thrones,” doing the right thing isn’t as important as doing the savvy thing, a lesson these characters are failing to grasp.

Our watch for next week begins

Sansa Stark is doing a better job of keeping her cool and waiting for opportunities to present themselves. Her return to Winterfell has been one of the smartest changes the producers have made to the books this year, as it throws several underused characters together and makes their stories exciting again. When Stannis arrives at Winterfell, things should get even more explosive.

Tyrion and Jorah were among the only characters not caught in a political quagmire this week. Instead, they drifted through the beautifully rendered ruins of an ancient civilization, one they could only briefly appreciate before being attacked by a band of diseased men in an eerie action sequence. As frustrating as the status quo can be, it beats the wild, untamed alternative

Changing the books too much?

Jane Johnson, who edits the books on which “Game of Thrones” is based, said recently that she was “not loving” how the show is diverging from its source, complaining specifically about the death of Barristan Selmy (who’s still alive on the page) and the portrayal of Loras Tyrell. These sorts of complaints have been around for years, but have rarely come from someone so near the top.

As the editor in chief for Winter Is Coming, Dan Selcke spends his time writing about the latest Game of Thrones news and preparing for the long night that will have no end. Read more of him at