Game of Thrones Recap by AsimovLives
Season 6 – Episode 4
“Book of the Stranger”
Hello. AsimovLives here
I’m a regular contributor to The Supernaughts. This is my series of recap articles about the episodes of the season 6 of HBO’s television series Game of Thrones, a show i dearly love, for your pleasure.
Once again i have to apologize for the delay in creating this article. While the passion comes easily, the words doesn’t.
Game of Info:
Series: Game of Thrones
Created by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss
Based on the fantasy novel series A Song Of Fire And Ice by author George R.R. Martin
Episode title: Book of the Stranger
Written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss
Directed by Daniel Sackheim
Original Air Date: May 15 2016
Game of Synopsis:
Beware, spoilers ahead
The episode opens with the Dyson sphere globe of the world of Westeros showing the locations of King’s Landing, Winterfell, The Erye, Pyke, The Wall, Vaes Dothrak and Meereen, where the action takes place.
Jon Snow is packing, ready for leaving for warmer places, much to the chagrin of Edd who calls Jon out for walking out of the White Walker menace. The gates announce an arrival to the Black Castle. It’s Brienne, Podrick and Sansa. After years apart, Sansa and Jon reunite, the first Starks to do so since season 1. Sansa and Jon reminiscence their less than ideal past sibling relationship, now replaced with love. Jon is ready to follow Sansa anywhere, but she just wants to go home, and take Winterfell back from Boltons. Jon is reluctant, feeling weary of all the fighting he has done since, feeling his life has been nothing but a long defeat.
Davos meet with Melisandre, who is now a devote follower of Jon who she believes is the true Promised One. Davos finally asks her about what happened to Stannis and Sheeree, to which she gives vague answers. They are interrupted by Brienne who openly tells them she executed Stannis. she also says the latter acknowledged his use of black magic to kill Renly, Brienne’s former liege. Davos says all that belongs to the past, but Brienne points to both Davos and Melissandre that she hasn’t forgotten or forgiven.
Lord Robyn of the Vale is again making an ass of himself with his extreme ineptitude with martial training – this time he is making a mockery of archery. Non other than Littlefinger arrives with news of Sansa’s escape from Ramsey. When Lord Royce casts suspicion on Littlefinger, the latter is quick to turn the tables on him thanks to his expect manipulation of Robyn’s limited intelligence. He then expertly manipulated Robyn into deciding to go to Sansa’s rescue. Littlefinger orders Royce to ready the Vale’s troops to march toward The North.
Margaerys is taken to the High Sparrow’s presence. In an apparent heartfelt conversation with her like he did with King Tommen, he recounts his past as a former cobble of luxury shoes and how he once tried to court the high living of the High Lord until he grew disgusted with the vapidness of it all and left it all behind to live a life of servitude to the needs of the poor and powerless. He then makes a gesture of good will and takes her to see her brother Loras. She finds him in a deplorable state, his mind broken, begging her for relief. She still has steel and defiance in her, her wits are unbroken, but she is shaken by her brother’s condition.
Cercei mets Tommen, and is surprised he’s in reunion with Pycelle outside of the Small Council. Cercei pitches a more active attitude from Tommen. Tommen confesses to her his meting with the High Sparrow.
Cercei and Jaime met with Kevan and Oleanna at the Small Council and tell them that Margearys is to do a walk of atonement like Cercei. Oleanna is shocked by the news. Cercei and Jaime appeal to their aristocratic pride and expose their plan to use the Tyrell forces to rescue Margearys before her penitence. Kevan will make sure the royal forces will not intervene. They also promise to rescue Lancel and bring him back to his family. Kevan and Oleanna agree with the plan.
A cleaned up Osha is taken to Ramsey’s presence. Ramsey tries to intimidate her but it’s a no sell, as she has seen worse horrors north of the Wall. She tries to seduce Ramsey like she did before with Theon, so to take him unawares. But it’s Ramsey who has to drop on Osha as he learned of her trick when he tortured Theon. Ramsey stabs Osha in the neck, who dies bleeding out. He then proceeds to nonchalantly continue eating his apple as if nothing much happened.
Tyrion negotiates with the leaders of the Slavers Cities leaders by appealing to their greed and self-interest noting that he himself came from a much richer family than any of them and yet there is no slavery in his native Westeros, offering them the notion that there is more money to be made without slavery. To attenuate the shock of a sudden change of economic/social system, he offers a timeline of seven years for the complete abolition of slavery, with the immediate end of the activities of the Sons of the Harpy. Messandei and Grey Worm are less than satisfied with this solution, their memories as slaves all too vivid. Tyrion says it’s the best solution of a less than perfect situation, but Grey Worm emphasizes that Tyrion doesn’t know the slave masters like they do, as it’s they who will play Tyrion, not him them.
Jorah and Daarios arrive to Vaes Dothrak and infiltrate the camp pretending to be merchants. Daarios discovers Jorah’s greyscale problem. They are nearly discovered when two warriors see through their ruses and Daarios kills both. Later they catch up to Danys when she had taken a walk into the night when she got fed up dealing with the more conservative and older widows. Danys doesn’t want to escape right away, as she has a better plan.
Theon arrives at Pyke. Yara is less than thrilled to see him, as she is very resentful of all the men she lost and his betrayal in her aborted attempt to rescue him back in season 4. She’s also angry he might be back to try to reclaim the throne of the Iron Islands, but Theon replies he believes it’s she who should be their leader and he wants to help her be so.
At supper, Tormund silently flirts with Brienne, much to her discomfort. Edd apologizes to Sansa for the less than ideal meal but she gracefully replies that’s worst things to mind. A courier from the Boltons arrive and the letter is given to Jon to read. It’s Ramsey’s Pink Letter, a mixture of boasting and threats of great violence to him, the Wildlings, Rickon and Sansa if the latter is not brought back to him. Sansa reads the rest of the letter when Jon hesitates on the last part which described the fate to Sansa. Sansa immediately deduces that Ramsey killed his father and is now in charge of Winterfell. She urges Jon to fight to reclaim their ancestral house. While the Wildings alone make for too small an army to face the larger Bolton forces, Sansa is sure that Jon could rally the rest of the loyalist Houses of the North to their cause.
Danys is taken to the presence of the khals. Her defiant attitude insults the khals who decide she is not to be make into one of the wise widoes but to be given to be raped by the entire Dokhaki army. She replies by stating none of them is worthy of commanding the horde and throws the braziers down, burning the temple with all the Dothaki leadership with it. She emerges from the fire unburned and haughty. The whole of the Dothraki bow to her in awe, including both Jorah and a very surprised and confused Daarios.
Game of Opinion:
I’d like to start with the funniest thing in this episode, and that was Tormund’s romantic interest in Brienne. Starting with him first seeing her when she arrives at the Black Castle and continuing in the diner scene, it had me in stitches laughing. And yet, funny as it was, i’m loving the notion this two could be a romantic pair. I’m shipping this two!
It seemed to me there are two themes running in this episode. One is returning siblings; two is the conflict between Snobs Vs Slobs.
We see three pair of siblings reuniting after a separation. This is their commonality. What separates each pair is the circumstances and each of their responses.
Margaerys reunites with Loras, who finds him weak and broken, while she still retains her will and spirit. It’s obvious that she has to be the one who has to save them both.
Theon reunites with Yara, who is filled with anger for him, and Theon is there to help her gain the throne of the Iron Islands.
Sansa reunites with Jon. Both have been deeply hurt by their hardships but they still retain, i would even say gain their love for each other. Jon is terribly disappointed with what he perceives as his failures, while Sansa is energized with their meeting and eager to retake their home back. Her attitude and words rekindle in Jon the spirit to fight again. It’s not hard to see theirs is the most uplifting of the reunions.
The second theme of the conflict between the have and have nots is more complex and deep, and i would say, with this episode, this seems to be the overall theme of this season as well.
Class conflict and snobbery of the higher ups versus the revolutionary eagerness of the ones once powerless can be find in both the conflict between the Crown/High Nobility against the Sparrows in King’s Landing, the slaver maasters against the freed slaves at Meereen, and to a minor extent even with Ramsey against the remaining Starks and even with Daenarys newly acquired command of the Dokhraki.
It might be too easy to see the Sparrows as the villains at King’s Landing, but this episode was pretty god at presenting how snob, detached and narcissistic the Westerosi nobility is; this are not good people by any stretch of the imagination. They are not victims, just abusers who are now having a taste of their own medicine. It probably says a lot about the world of GOT when the only way for Lannisters and Tyrells to be made to surfer from their actions is by a group of religious fanatic zealots. Evil Vs Evil indeed.
I found the scene between the High Sparrow and Margaerys to be quite interesting. We got to know something of him, and i think he is truly honest about all he said to her. I also noticed that he was very respectful to her, more so than he has been to all the other nobleman he has dealt with, save for king Tommen. I think that he sees in Margaerys a spark of true goodness despite her privileged haughtiness. Remember in past seasons she was active with charity. Her acts might have been mostly based to create good PR, but her actions did produced some good, which he must have not been unaware. I think there is some long term game in play here.
It was also interesting that we found Tommen in reunion with Pycelle. it was curious the smug smile he gave Cercei, especially from such a coward and kowtow man like him. Makes me suspect there is also another game being played here. Is Tommen playing a game with his mother? Is he in league with the High Sparrow? I wonder…
The King’s Landing situation, of Nobility in conflict with low born revolutionaries, reminds me of a real life paralel found in the country of Iran. We know about that country mostly from their current theocratic regime, this is the common picture seen by us here in the Western Hemisphere. What is so often left unsaid is how the country was before. It was a tyrannical dictatorship lead with an iron fist by a man who treated the whole country as his own playground, with everything and everybody as his own playthings, and sold out to foreign interests at the expenses of the people. Even the religious leadership bowed to him. The forced modernization came by force and was cosmetic, no real social change happened. And the entire people was disfranchised. With the west not providing any alternative options since they were the very picture of their own toll, the alternative was the new fundamentalist religious movement who eventually brought down the Sha. strange as it might be to know, but the people at today’s Iran have more freedoms than before with the Sha. Which is saying a lot!
In the show, notice how in the interrogation of Loras, the Sparrows gave as much weight to evidence provided by a commoner as from a Prince or nobleman, if not even more so. Bad as they might be, at least they actually have due process, while we have seen that the noblemen in Westeros only have due process for their own kind, with commoners merely at the whims of the nobleman’s conscience… which most are devoid of (anybody who is not a Stark). It says a lot when it’s violent fanatics like the Sparrows can show more justice procedure!
The situation at Meereen and Tyrion’s strategy has parallels to Lincoln’s initial policy to eradicate slavery. His initial policy of gradual abolishment had precedence with what the Britain had done before. Britain first outlawed slave trade in the 1790s and latter abolished slavery in 1844. The slave owners were compensated for their loss, while the former slaves had their freedom enforced by the Law. In Britain the slave owners accepted the change of times and cooperated with the inevitable. Lincoln tried a similar policy, but the positions from both the slave owners and abolitionists were entrenched and beret of the possibility of dialogue, the impasse finally solved through armed conflict. I think the show is using both this historical precedents. The Slave Masters are behind an attempt to being back the old order, but they are greedy enough to see a change of order if that can be profitable. Melisandei and Grey Worm are eager to see an immediate end to slavery but are also wise enough to present a united front with Tyrion to those outside their inner circle. Grey Worm warned Tyrion that it’s him who is being used by the Masters, and it seems that he might be so, given his reaction. But i wonder! I mean, this is Tyrion, and he loves the game!
I noticed an interesting little detail during the meeting with the Masters: when one of them calls Varys an eunuch, i noticed he winced as if barely being able to hide his anger at the insult. This is the same guy who, at King’s Landing, whenever anyone mocked him for being an eunuch, his reaction was a bemused “i never heard that one before” hand wave. But from the Masters it stung!
Ramsey is a disturbing portrait of somebody who once was one of the low classes and raised to the same power of the Lords. His chosen enemy now is the Starks, who were the previous Lord from hundreds of generations before. This former slob made himself enemy of the former Stark snobs. Yet he’s the monster of the two, while the Starks, despite their (former) high social position are modesty. Of course that mostly Ramsey is motivated by his own sociopath, but like all sociopaths they are driven by past perceived (or real) resentments and a desire to avenge them with brutal satisfaction. In many ways he reminds me of Stalin, who used the excuse of (a deranged and false version of) socialism to make himself more Czar than the Czars.
And then we have Daenarys. In a way she is the ultimate nobility: the Magical Noble! She not only has the noble blood of kings in her, she is also magical and can’t be burn by fire! Double whammy! And now this high born commands two groups of lower classes, the former slaves and the nomadic barbarian Dokhraki. Yes, her intentions are noble, she wants to end slavery, a form of which she experienced as a beggar depending on the good will of foreign nobles and rich merchants and when she was sold by her brother to a barbarian warlord for an army. And now she wants to break the wheel, to change the system, possibly to break the circle of have the few like the noble houses command the fate of millions. But the thing remains, she is commanding from an above social standing; no matter what, she is the daughter of kings. Strange as this might be to accept, but the only revolutionary leader who is from the same crowd he wants to save is the High Sparrow himself. Food for thoughts, hum?
Game of Predictions:
I still believe Jorah will die this season.
If Brienne or Tormund aren’t killed this season, i want them together as a couple. I’m shipping this two.
It’s for Sansa and not Jon the rest of the Northmen loyalists who will rally behind.
Ser Loras’ dignity, Osha, two Dokhaki warriors, Khal Moro, a dozen minor Dokhaki khals.
Quotes of the episode:
Daenerys Targaryen: “And here, now, what what great matters do the Great Khals discuss? Which little villages you’ll raid, how many girls you’ll get to fuck, how many horses you’ll demand in tribute. You are small men. None of you are fit to lead the Dothraki. But I am. So I will.”
Ramsey Bolton: “They have cleaned you up nicely. You know who I am?”
Osha: “A Lord”
Ramsey: “Yes, a Lord. You seen my banners?”
Osha: “The flayed man.”
Ramsey: “Does that worry you at all?”
Osha: (scoffs) “You eat them after?”
Ramsey: (surprised) “No!”
Osha: “Then I have seen worse.”
The Pink Letter: “To the traitor bastard Jon Snow: You allowed thousands of Wildlings past the Wall. You have betrayed your own kind and you have betrayed the North. Winterfell is mine, bastard, come and see. Your brother Rickon is in my dungeon. His direwolf’s skin is on my floor, come and see. I want my bride back. Send her to me, bastard, and I will not trouble you or your Wildling lovers. Keep her from me and I will ride North to slaughter every Wildling – man, woman, and babe – living under your protection. You will watch as I skin them living. You will watch as my soldiers take turns raping your sister. You will watch as my dogs devours your wild little brother. Then I will spoon your eyes from their sockets and let my dogs do the rest. Come and see. Ramsey Bolton, Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North.”
Game of Final Thoughts:
Fantastic episode. Unexpected plot twists. Characters I love getting deserved development. Damn, this season is good!!
As always, thank you for reading. This is AsimovLives signing off. Have a better one.