Game Of Thrones S6Ep4 Book of the Stranger Review
Most fans have a very simple classification system for Game Of Thrones. Either an episode sets up the storyline for future episodes or the episode features one those unexpected climaxes only D&D can provide. This week’s episode, “Book of the Stranger”, was both. It had reunions, revelations and changing alliances. The pacing of the sixth season feels a lot faster than what might be expected now that the series has overtaken the books. As a fan of the series I feared that Jon Snow’s resurrection would take most of the season to come to pass, but so far D & D have not side-stepped any more than strictly necessary. As such it was heartwarming to see Sansa and Brienne arrive at Castle Black, but the plot moved forward with the consequence of Stannis’s defeat and Sansa’s escape becoming critical. Despite the unexpected reunion between Jon and Sansa a lot of the events remain predictable. I told you in the previous episode certain characters were made redundant, and poof, they are gone, dead. Yet, it doesn’t matter, the way the story is playing out makes this a most enjoyable experience.
When Sansa, Brienne and Podrick ride through the gate of Winterfell I felt the need to hold my breath. Sansa and Jon have not seen each other in such a long time. Yet, their reunion proves viewers are still very much invested in both. There was palpable sense of relief now that both are safe, for the moment. Their reunion quickly turns to making plans to take back Winterfell, and the North. Sansa’s newly found determination is wonderful character development. Jon is still dealing with his resurrection and points out the dangers of taking on house Bolton. Yet, Ramsay forces his hands. In a letter that Jon is reluctant to read out loud Ramsay claims he has Rickon. He goes into great length to say what he will do to Jon, his wildlings and Sansa if he does not hand Sansa back over to him. Sansa is now more determined than ever before to take on Ramsay, noting how Ramsay is calling himself Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North. Jon asks Sansa about Ramsay’s strength and she remembers he has about 5000 men. Tormund however can muster only 2000 and Jon remains quiet, not doubt remembering that Wildlings are no match for a Northern in a pitch battle. Meanwhile Tormund and Brienne have been stealing glances at each other. This relationship may well turn to provide some humor over the coming episodes.
Winterfell and The Vale
There was not a lengthy scene in Winterfell this episode. Osha was brought before Ramsay. Osha planned to kill him with a blade he left on the table, but he was just playing with her. After pretending to be seduced he places another blade in her neck just as she picks the one from the table. Meanwhile after an absence of more than a season Littlefinger is back in the Vale. He tells Robin how Sansa was kidnapped and blames Lord Royce. After initially sentencing him death Littlefinger convinces Robin that Lord Royce should attempt to save Sansa from the North. Thus Littlefinger proves he still has the ability to manipulate those around him. Though form the next week’s promo his luck may run out.
I am uncertain to make my mind up on events in King’s Landing. It is not that the story is bad, but progress is moving at a snails pace. It has been a whole season now that the High Sparrow has taken Ser Loras and Margaery. Tommen confesses to Cersei that the High Sparrow wants Margaery to take the walk of penance. Cersei betrays his trust, in good faith, and tells this to the small council who after last week’s debacle finally appear willing to take her and Jaime back into their confidence. The Queen of Thorns is absolutely against a walk of shame and she gets unexpected support from Cersei. However Kevan, now Hand of the King, reminds them he has received orders from Tommen not to move against the High Sparrow. Jaime suggests the Tyrell’s move against him instead. Thus strictly speaking they are not breaking Tommen’s orders. They are reminded that any incident could spark rebellion. Olenna, Queen of Thorns, states many will die one way or another. Thus the events in King’s Landing finally move towards their conclusion. Though I would have hoped it had been sooner.
Besides the reunion between Jon and Sansa, and Margaery and Loras there was a third sibling reunion. Theon has made his way back to Iron Islands and is confronted by Yara. She spurns him for failing to come with her when he had the chance and questions why he is back just after their father’s death. Slowly does he manage to persuade her he doesn’t want the Salt throne, but instead wants her to become the next ruler after the King’s Moot. Viewers already know that will never happen. Euron will easily sway the other lords and captains of the Iron Islands. Yet the reunion of Theon and Yara should provide both with much needed character development.
Meanwhile in Meereen Tyrion has managed to put himself in a spot of bother. His diplomacy may have partially made an impact on the representatives of the masters of Yunkai and Astapor but instead he faces opposition from Grey Worm and Missandei. After an interesting philosophical discussion about poverty and slavery Tyrion proposes that both Yunkai and Astapor get 7 years to end their practices. To Grey Worm, Missandei and representatives of Meereen this is unacceptable. Tyrion thus finds himself between a rock and a hard place. To the viewer Tyrion loses some of his honesty, even if they understand his predicament. Meanwhile Grey Worm and Missandei may have overstepped with their warnings that the masters of Yunkai and Astapor cannot be trusted. It will be interesting to see how events uncover. Especially as we know form the promo of next week’s episode that a red witch will meddle in Meereen’s affairs.
Next to events at Castle Black this episode focuses on Daenerys. Daario and Jorah have managed to track her to the Dothraki city. Jorah reveals by accident that he has greyscale. In Vaes Dothrak Daenerys is led before the Khal’s, but not before she refuses an attempt by Jorah and Daario to save her. The Khal’s debate what to do with her. Daenerys make an impression on them with her talk of Khal Drogo and taking on the whole world, but in the end they dismiss her. Just as they are forming a judgment as to what to do with her, endlessly raping her, does she turn the tables on them. Daenerys overturns several oil lamps which quickly turn into blazes that set the wooden temple on fire. The Khal’s discover to their horror that the door is shut form the outside and they all burn to a crisp.
As the population of Vaes Dothrak watch the blaze a naked Daenerys steps from the temple, untouched by fire. The populace if the Dothraki bow in awe, as do Jorah and Daario. With this development the series finally closes a somewhat disappointing storyline. It was good when Dany captured the slaver cities but events in Meereen have always felt like a back-burner. The series was holding off for events in Westeros to unfold. Now with a Dothraki army to obey her she has the numbers to take the Iron Throne. Though I suspect she interfere in the events that occur in Meereen, perhaps cleaning the mess Tyrion may have gotten himself into.
This episode of Game Of Thrones dealt with change. Everywhere the situation is quickly changing, from the ultimatum Ramsay sends Jon and Sansa, to the coming King’s Moot and events in Vaes Dothrak. Watching Dany stand so victorious before all the Dotraki gave me a powerful jolt. One that I haven’t felt since she conquered Astapor in season 3. This episode of Game Of Throne was nearly perfect. It’s focus on powerful women was also note worthy. Yet, it simply did not hold back on displaying the consequences of events from past episodes. I mentioned this episode was nearly perfect. Events in King’s Landing and in the Iron Islands felt underwhelming. Sadly there was no Dorne, no Bronn and little to do in Winterfell apart from watching osha bleed to death. Yet, with Littlefinger returning to the Vale events in the north will quickly unfold towards the hotly anticipated Boltonbowl in the second half of the season. Overall, I am glad to see Jon, Sansa and Dany becoming so enabled by events. This was my Game Of Thrones S6Ep4 Book of the Stranger Review. I hope you enjoyed it.