Game of Thrones: Season 6/ Episode 4 “Book of the Stranger” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

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Overview

While one could complain about the massive amount of characters killed off more so on whim than with fervor, what else can you do with a show which holds a lot of fat. So with an episode presenting a more tighter, a more focused storyline, perhaps all the past complaints came without vision. Well, if you want to be an optimistic that is.

Main Plot (with Commentary)

Topic 1: “We Make Peace With Our Enemies, Not Our Friends.” (Tyrion & Jon Snow)

Diplomacy is something rather hard to obtain in the world of Game of Thrones. For while, yes, marriage brokers peace, it is might, fear, and the number of soldiers which keeps people at bay. So naturally, being that Ramsay is a bit tired of waiting for his beloved wife to return, a letter is sent. One in which Rickon’s life is threatened, as well as the state of Sansa’s lady parts, but what matters most is the numbers game. According to Sansa, Ramsay has, say, 5000 soldiers at his beck and call. As for Jon, maybe, at most, 2000. However, there remains this reliance on the North remembering, as well as the name Ned Stark being still on the tip of the tongue and not something echoed in graveyards. For if the North does rise to the side of Jon, perhaps he can overthrow Ramsay and perhaps deliver yet another epic battle as he has done many times before. But there is, of course, no guarantee anyone will recognize a bastard, or even the daughter of Ned, and let them take command. Especially as Wildlings, practically sworn enemies of the North, march alongside this would be commander.

But while Jon starts to ponder who of the north hasn’t moved on, much less will dare to raise arms against the Boltons, Tyrion tries to prep for peace. However, his form of peace is one which brings anger. After all, he dares to meet with slavers and tries to convince them to, within 7 years, abandon slavery and eventually they will be repaid for losses. A noble idea, yes, for Tyrion claims slavery in Westeros has been gone for centuries, pretending as if poverty doesn’t live there just the same. But with meeting with the masters comes the anger of the slaves. After all, as the conversation between Tyrion and Missandei goes, while Tyrion may have been a slave long enough to know what it feels like, he was not long enough to understand. So yes, he maybe positioning himself, and Daenerys, to one day placate the masters permanently, but he does it off the back of those tortured who desire justice. Something which, so it seems, Tyrion may want them to move on from.

Topic 2: Preparations for War (Cersei, Margaery, and Olena)

The Crown vs. The Sparrows (aka Faith Militant) has been a long time coming. The Sparrows hold the current queen and the future ruler of Highgarden, and humiliated Cersei, which you know was something they are going to regret. But to act against the Sparrows is difficult. After all, there isn’t much love for the crown, even with Margaery, in the past, trying to make it so. So for them to have a full-scale assault would lead to chaos. Especially since it would appear, unquestionably, that their main goal is to keep the former queen, the current queen, and her brother from public embarrassment. Yet, that embarrassment, that is what Cersei uses to get Lady Olenna and Kevan Lannister on board. But, there is a question of what the fallout maybe?

Now, as for Margaery, and what state she is in, she is well all things considered. In fact, she seems much better off than Loris. At this point, Loris is almost like how Theon was when he was Reek. He is weak, meager, and surely broken. Almost to the point where he hangs off Margaery for he needs her strength. Something she may only give just for the sake of her family, and not necessarily to help this whiny man she once knew as her brother.

Topic 3: All Men Must Die So Women Can Lead (Daenerys)

In the season thus far, there have been few, if any, deaths which were met with excitement for there hasn’t been much build towards them. However, in the city of Vaes Dothrak this changes. Since the beginning of the season we have listened to the misogyny of the current Dothraki leaders as they speak of having sex with Daenerys either for pleasure or as punishment. Yet, that all comes to an end. For with the help of Daario and Ser Jorah, she comes to power as she once did before. You see, during what should have been the meeting to decide her fate, she lights the building on fire and, as she did when she took on the title of “Mother of Dragons” she steps out of a burning enclosure, naked of course, and the Dothraki bow their heads. Leading the audience to believe that after losing her ships, and most of her cities, Daenerys shall rise again with the complete army of the Dothraki at her command. This is despite her not being the most welcomed to the city and, with the death of most of the leaders, surely many men desiring to take their place. But with the death of the khalasar still fresh, maybe the civil war I’m expecting may not happen as soon as I expect.

Things To Note

Petyr Baelish returns and it seems he is ready to not only test how much influence he maintains in the Vale, but also prep them for war. After all, the Arryn should very well still be loyal to House Stark, and with the daughter of their former lady’s sister still alive, the current lord’s cousin, it seemingly is time to flex some muscle.

Theon returns to the Iron Isles and swears to Yara he shall help her become lord of the Iron Isles.

Collected Quote(s)

Long enough to know […], not long enough to understand.

— “Book of the Stranger.” Game of Thrones

We make peace with our enemies, not our friends.

— “Book of the Stranger.” Game of Thrones

Review Summary

Highlights

The seeds for many battles, be it in King’s Landing, Winterfell, and in Slaver’s Bay have all been planted. For with a battle for Rickon surely on the horizon; one for Loris and Margaery; and surely Daenerys returning to make men heel and not make peace, you know blood will be spilled and it will mean something.

It was nice to see Tyrion get to have an intellectual battle with someone after so long.

The reunion of Jon Snow and Sansa was cute, alongside Tormund seeming having a thing for Brienne.

Low Points

A part of me remains unsure why Daenerys living through fire leads people to bow. While I get it makes her seem otherworldly, a blade can still pierce her skin which makes the gift not useful for much but short-term fear. Especially since her dragons are nowhere in sight.

On The Fence

When it comes to Petyr and Yara, I must admit that while their familiar faces are welcomed, there is a need to step it up when it comes to their storylines.

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