Game of Thrones: Book of the Stranger Review

Game of Thrones: Book of the Stranger Review

The episode Book of the Stranger turned out to be the embodiment of a song of ice and fire. In the Essos, surrounded by the Dothraki, Daenerys Targaryen finally realized she needs the flames of righteousness to get out and in the North, Jon Snow has to deal with the cold reality of what he must do to claim back his home. While the fourth episode was more of the same dialed-back pace we have seen in the sixth season so far, it ended with two of the most important characters in the show making monumental decisions about their future, which are likely to have a huge impact on Westeros and beyond.

We begin at the Wall where Jon is packing so he can go South and finally get warm, but Edd wants Jon to honor the vow he took when he joined the Night’s Watch. Obviously, Jon is not in agreement as that vow only got him killed, but before Edd can continue the argument, the horn can be heard, which means visitors. Who are they? Sansa Stark, Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne. After season 3, this is the first time that two Starks are on screen together, even if one is a bastard. They both embrace in a poignant and heartfelt moment.

The two reminisce about old times including Old Nan’s kidney pie and how they should never have left Winterfell. But, so much as changed. Sansa apologizes to Jon for being awful to him and the latter is sorry for his sulking. Both have come a long way and their home is now held by the likes of Ramsay Bolton. Jon still plans to leave the Wall and now he going to take Sansa along. The question is where to go? Sansa has the answer; home. She is making the argument to convince Jon that taking back Winterfell is the only way to guarantee their safety. Finally, she tells him that if he cannot do it, then she will and we actually believe her.

Meanwhile, our Red Priestess is going to stick with Jon Snow because she believes he is the Prince That Was Promised. But, Davos is finally focusing on what happened to his king and Shireen and things get tense. Brienne complicates things even further when she tells them it was she who executed Stannis and also gives hints of her intentions to take revenge on Melisandre for killing her beloved Renly Baratheon with magic informing her that Stannis accepted it.

Littlefinger is back in the Vale and he is full of schemes and cunning as ever. He makes a power play to get Lord Royce and other houses in the Vale to swear their loyalty to Lord Robin, which extends to Littlefinger. While Robin has grown, he still doesn’t know anything as he is content on practicing archery and playing with birds. This means that Littlefinger can pull the strings and that he does by getting the forces of the Vale together to take down the Boltons thereby ensuring Sansa’s safety.

In Meereen, Tyrion finally has the opportunity work his own brand of magic; the strategic and diplomatic kind. He is negotiating with the leaders in Slavers Bay who obviously want them to leave. Missandei and Grey Worm don’t like this part because they have been slaves and they know these people are twisted. Yet, Tyrion is allowing them to continue slavery, even if it is for seven years and on the condition that they stop funding the Sons of the Harpy. Meereen’s former slaves are not pleased with this meeting and they are looking for answers. While they don’t trust Tyrion, they do trust Missandei and Grey Worm who back him up with great reluctance.

They are simply acting out of loyalty to Dany who chose Tyrion as her advisor. In private, they inform Tyrion that he is making a mistake because the Masters are used to using people and that’s what they will do to him. Is this going to be the moment when Tyrion ends up outsmarting himself? Meanwhile, Jorah and Daario are on Dany’s trail who has left jewelry behind as breadcrumbs for them. They bicker the whole way because Jorah is old and suffering from Greyscale. They reach Vaes Dothrak and are going in unarmed, but not before Daario realizes that Jorah is sick.

They immediately run afoul of a few Dothrakis in the city who rough up Jorah before Daario dispatches them with his lucky knife, which he brought in. Jorah points out that everyone will be alerted if they see someone with a stab wound so Daario uses a rock to crush his victim’s head. Dany is surrounded by the Dosh Khaleen and their continuous harping is boring her. She and a fellow young and widowed Khaleesi take off to pee. Dany is making friends with her and offers to show her the dragons she has heard about. Just then, Daario and Jorah show up and Dany tells them that she has something up her sleeve.

We go back to King’s Landing where the High Sparrow wishes to speak to Queen Margaery. He wants to tell his story of how he was a cobbler and how time was the most crucial part of his quality work. He explains that he paid dearly for it by leading a life of sin and excess until he had his great epiphany and left the life of richness to live a righteous and pure life with the poor. For her attentiveness, she is allowed to see her brother who wants nothing more than to make it stop. It seems that Loras Tyrell is broken and has chosen to give up everything including his birthright.

Cersei comes across Pycelle giving sly council to King Tommen, but she gets her son to banish him. Pycelle takes his time leaving, annoying Cersei even further. Once they are alone, Tommen tells his mother that they have to deal with the High Sparrow carefully because he will harm Margaery otherwise. Cersei sends him on a guilt trip by reminding him of what happened to her. She then encourages him by telling him that the High Sparrow wants to live out his fantasies, which gets Tommen to confess something he was told in secret.

His mother goes straight to Hand of the King, Kevan Lannister and Queen of Thorns, Olenna Tyrell. Jaime and Cersei inform this Small Council that the High Sparrow intends to make Margaery do the walk of shame as well and Margaery’s grandmother says that cannot happen. Cersei agrees and says that the only way to stop it is with the Tyrell army taking down the High Sparrow. The Lannisters have just set a showdown in motion in King’s Landing, one where their forces will be doing nothing. That’s not surprising at all.

Theon has reached the Iron Islands and he has a grim reunion with his sister, Yara in Pyke. She doesn’t believed that he escaped Ramsay’s clutches and thinks that he is there to challenge her claim to the throne. She reminds him of the sacrifices that were made to try and rescue him and how he had betrayed them. But, Theon is there to help Yara in ruling and not to claim anything. Ramsay, in the meanwhile, is peeling an apple and meeting with Osha the Wildling and Rickon’s companion. His brutal history doesn’t impress her as she has seen worse. Ramsay then begins his toying, but Osha is the aggressor and she wants to capitalize on his ‘weakness’ for women. She makes her seductive move to get to the knife on the table, but Ramsay tortured Theon so he knows exactly who she is loyal to and he stabs her in the throat before she can do anything.

Sansa is not eating the food at Castle Black and Tormund is making eyes at Brienne. During dinner, Jon gets a message from a Bolton envoy. Ramsay taunts and insults Jon from afar and informs him that he has Rickon and has killed his direwolf. He wants Sansa back or he will commit unspeakable atrocities, including killing the wildlings, spooning Jon’s eyes and feeding Rickon to the dogs. Now, Jon is thinking about it, but there are only 2,000 wildlings and Ramsay has 5,000 in his army. Sansa essentially tells him that the North Remembers and there will be Stark loyalists who can help them. Jon agrees.

At Vaes Dothrak, Dany is at the mercy of the Khals who will decide her fate. She spars verbally with Khal Moro works his ego. He responds by threatening and insulting her, but she is only smiling smugly. She refuses to serve them and they her so she tells them that they will die. The exits are blocked, thanks to Jorah and Daario so she sets the room on fire. The building burns and the Dothrakis are watching outside. Once again, the Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen emerges from the flames, sans clothes and thousands kneel before her. This is how you become a queen and a goddess.

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