ByJesse B, writer at
Jesse B

Game of Thrones Season 6 episode 4: "Book of the Stranger"

Previously on GOTs: We are reminded how Petyr Baelish is playing both sides, with those being the Throne and its potential threats, ie: the Lords Declarant of the Vale.

Castle Black has some new visitors. Brienne, Pod, and Sansa arrive just in time to stay Jon Snow from “go’in south” to “get warm”. The look on the face of Tormund at the sight of Brienne…as if to say, "I never knew they came in my size."

Jon and Sansa have a very heartfelt reunion. Hey good for them, after all the hellacious suffering, it’s about time they got a hug. Lovely scene. Ahhhh family. Boy they have an awful lot of catching up to do. Jon looked like he’d seen a ghost, pretty sure he thought she had been dead. Which begs the question; did he receive word of her marriage to Ramsay?

Anyhow, I’m sure they square each other away on most of the details. I bet he skipped that part about being brought back to life by a witch and her sorcery.

Nice little touch having Sansa ask Jon for forgiveness and Jon shrugging it off. Both characters have really developed and I’m glad to see Sansa shed the attitude that made her so unpopular with fans in the beginning. Sansa tells Jon there’s a chance Bran, Rickon, and Arya are still alive, and thinking about going back home, back to Winterfell. And Jon reminds her that they can’t just take it back, besides, he’s “Tired uh fight’in.” Tired of kill’n men and hanging boys. So tired, so very very tired.

However Sansa does not relent, making a very astute statement that if we don’t take back the north we will never be safe from the Bolton’s. Once again Jon is caught between a rock and a hard place. Seems like the best idea would be to stay at castle black, at least for now. From this scene we learn that Sansa has no stomach for Ale and Jon has no stomach for commanding and conquest.

Finally, Davos presses Melisandre for answers about what happened back at camp Stannis, and instead of Mel saying “Well you see, the writers of the show gave Ramsay "20 Good men" and, you know what they say, a good man is hard to find and a hard man is…” No instead she tries to glaze over her miserable failure and misguidance, but Davos is having none of it and demands to know specifics about Shireen. Luckily, Brienne steps in, never being one to shy away from the truth, she tells about her execution of Stannis, while simultaneously giving Mel the stink face of shame. Wow, Mel is really taking some harsh criticism, but rightfully so. Just imagine how utterly hard broken Davos would have been if he learned how Shireen was flame broiled. Brienne instantly judges Mel for the witchcraft assassination of Renly yet Davos reminds them that it’s all in the past. Just goes to show the type of man that Davos is; forgiving, peace keeping and focused on survival through co-operation. Where as Brienne is judgmental, externally stern, just, and straight forward, ironically much like Stannis. And as for Mel, well she is sensitive, evasive, and full of guilt. I’m so glad we finally have confirmation of what really happened to Stannis, the ambiguous way the ended last season in hindsight was a rather poor choice. Now granted I can see why they chose to do it that way, if they were unsure of continuing with the character or actor, but the follow up came to late, leaving us really hanging on the suspicion of his death. They seem to have made the same mistake in the past when the season ended with Winterfell being burnt down and Theon nowhere to be seen, and the book readers wondering why Ramsay hasn’t been introduced yet.

Beware the Moon Door

Oh Sweet Robin, you dear poor pathetic fool. Will you ever learn to do anything right? That must be Lord Yohn Royce’s concern as he watches Robin Arryn fail at archery.

Petyr Baelish arrives; fresh from his stop off at King’s Landing where he received order from Cersei to lay waste to the Boltons. Yohn is swift to accuse Petyr of foul play, instead of taking Sansa to the Fingers, he handed her over to the dreaded Bolton’s of the Boltfort / Dreadfort. Petyr does what he always does when caught in a lie, he shifts blame. Yohn soon finds himself on the other end of accusation and at the mercy of our befuddled Lord Robin Arryn. Petry always seems to be 1 or more steps ahead of everyone else, by having an alibi in place.

Yohn isn’t so dumb as to not swallow his pride and swear loyalty to the young ruler who is much more amused with the gift Petyr gave him to no doubt leverage favor.

Yohn could have counter argued that if the Bolton’s had indeed captured them, why would they have been so willing to return Petry unharmed, knowing that he would surely return with an army, but I’m sure Petry had a defense argument for that as well, and Yohn knew that winning Robin’s favor at this point was futile. Petry once again puts any threat against him in checkmate. Although Petry does recognize the usefulness of Yohn and transforms his enemy into his pawn by tasking Yohn with the command of the Vale army in pursuit of Sansa. This way Yohn will take all the risk and none of the reward. Advantage Petyr Baelish.

7 years is a long time

Grey worm chastises Tyrion for allowing their enemies into the city, but Tyrion knows better and surmises that diplomacy is the way to peace & prosperity. Negotiations are accomplished with the foreign slavers and Tyrion feels proud, but once again Grey worm admonishes him that this is folly, and perhaps he really does understand the situation better, after all, some men just can’t be bargained with.

Burn baby burn

Approaching Vaes Dothrak are the unlikely duo of Jorah and Daario, (I’m fighting the urge to call them the Super Daario Bros.) “Mama Mia, Daario, we’ve got to uh rescue de princess, but we all out of de fire flowers.”

So Daario is busy bragging about how great sex with the queen is while Jorah thinks up a plan and restrains himself from smacking the shit out of the guy. They sneak in unarmed at sundown and pretend to be humble wine merchants, but that doesn’t quite fly. Jorah’s impression fails to convince one of the dothraki who is quick to attack. (I felt like he did a rather accurate portrayal of a modern day dothraki wine merchant, go figure.) Jorah gets a couple fistfuls of hate before Daario saves him with the ol’ knife up the sleeve. Welp, better cover up the body… or just smashes it to pieces. Lo and behold they find Daenerys on a piss break and she tells them they’re fucked. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Meanwhile the rodeo boys are having a midnight pow wow and are going to come to a decision on whether to let Dany stay with the Dosh Khaleen, or “worse”. Dany however has other plans: ones that do not involve them as she informs them of there demise. She’s heard their threats before and does not fear, for the fire is with her, and within her is the fire. She sets a blaze the entire temple and walks out unscathed, un-burnt, and undisputed. The wayward tribe bows before her in awe of such immunity.

Desperate times Desperate Measures

The High Sparrow tells Margaery, the story about how he became a "villain". He gave up trying to earn riches because he saw the futility of it all. He rejected all materialism for a life of sheer humility and that’s basically what he expects everyone else to do, including Loras.

Marg is taken to Loras and sees the horrible effect imprisonment has had on him, as he begs for her to make it stop. All Margaery can do is comfort him. Oh the horrors of forced religion.

Pycelle is caught up in offering his advice to Tommen on how to deal with the High Sparrow by not “setting him off”. That sounds like a rather passive aggressive tactic. I bet Cersei has an opposite approach, and indeed she does. However this is one approach that she will have to request the help of her rivals the Tyrells. Jaime proposes the plan of attack which involves calling all Tyrell banner men to march against the Faith Militant and their blind obedience, free Margaery, and Loras and capture the High Sparrow live or dead. One would assume this plan would be obvious from the onset but apparently Tommen has been too cautious of Margaery’s safety. However what the King doesn’t know won’t hurt him. Kevan and Olenna are in agreement. All that’s left is to go to war. “Many will die.” “But better them than us.” If only Doran had thought this way.

Oh Brother,Dear Brother

So here comes Theon the prodigal son come crawling home, with his tail between his legs, expecting to find his father, Balon, to scold him yet he meets with his sister in his place. After receiving a vicious tongue lashing from her father regarding Theon, Yara takes out her frustration on him, speaking of how she risked so much to save him yet he did nothing to save himself. She thinks he has come back for selfish reasons but she discovers quite the opposite. He is there to support her fully. Theon has truly learned humility, in complete contrast to the character he was back when he last visited his father and was then emasculated by his sister. But she opposed her father just to save his identity and now he has a new one: the supportive and trustworthy brother.

A Bastard above the rest

And now…Osha’s dead. Just like that. She tried to work her charms on Ramsay playing to his baser instincts but, unlike Theon, Ramsay isn’t so much a hound dog as he is a pit bull. Ramsay goes for the kill as opposed to the thrill. Let’s face it Osha was becoming a bit of a 1 trick pony by seducing her victims. Not this time.

Next we have the infamous Pink Letter scene. (Which is a whole lot less mysterious but quite a bit more violent and disturbing than in the novel.) I’m not even going to nitpick about how exactly Ramsay got the skin of Shaggydog. Basically this scene is Ramsay challenging Jon to a battle or forcing him to give up Sansa and Jon realizing he doesn’t have enough soldiers. The scene goes from awkwardly humorous to dark and foreboding. Well done. Great job of capturing the mood and tone of the story at this point. The climax ought to be intriguing.

Final Opinion

Oh how the plot thickens. We are inching ever closer to some big BIG battle scenes. The tension will no doubt continue to rise and peak around episode 9.

This was a truly pivotal episode.

So now we have Littlefinger adding his hand to the fray. Question is will he make it to Castle black to aid Jon before the Boltons arrive, or will Jon try to rouse support from other Northern houses? and good luck getting them to align with Wildlings. This plot does run the risk of being a little predictable. Although, what is small Jon Umber really up to?

Are we 100% sure Ramsay wrote that letter? after all, we didnt see him sign it. The only reason I ask is because in the novel its pretty heavy handed that he didnt write it even though he name was on it. I'm going to take it at face value for now and say that he did, as Plot twists aren't exactly something these writers are good at.

This episode dealt a lot with brothers and sisters: Theon / Yara, Jon/Sansa, and the usual Jaime / Cersei. It was really great seeing Jon and Sansa together as this is the 1st contact with family that any of the Starks have had since the Red Wedding or since Rickon left Bran. I think Jon and Sansa really work well together, she is just the morale boost he needed right now. I really look forward to seeing more from them as a team. However, I'm curious how Brienne and Pod are going to work into this equation, and we still have Davos & Mel floundering around. "Pod stay away from that woman." On side note, how many people are shipping Brienne and Tormund right now? ehh? How bout Davos & Mel? No? Pod and Sansa? anybody?

The show didn't really make me feel anything towards Osha's death. I feel like they kinda wasted her character. Again, more evidence HBO is trying to streamline this story to the end.

The scene with Yara and Theon was great. Real tears, real emotion.

Good to see the Lannister's are finally getting their shit together, except for Tommen who is in a state of perplexity. Nice to see the on running gag with Pycele and Cersei (she loathes that man so much). We certainly have a lot to look forward to this season. I just hope they can give each event proper time and not scramble it all together.

As for Dany going from flame resistant to full fledged fire immune...sure why not. At this point in the game we've seen her at her vulnerability, how people try to take advantage of her constantly, look down on her, it's time she turned up the heat and started cooking. Enough with the slow going slave revolt, you have a dwarf and a eunich for that, go conquer the MF'in world.

I mean if you want to make the biggest dramatic impact you need to go big or go home. It's always been a point of debate among fans what actually happened that night on pyre, but now at least on the show we don't have to debate her level of flame retardant. How is this possible? This is mostly a fantasy series so just go with it. That was not at all how I saw Dany escaping from the Dothraki but it was a rather pleasant surprise. Also surprised that actress Emilia Clarke agreed to more nudity. Anyway, you the saying, when you can't beat'em, Burn the mutha down!

Does this make her a god, the messiah, Azor Ahai reborn? Stay tuned ladies and Whents.


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