Game of Thrones Recap Season 6 Episode 4: Book of the Stranger
Before we get to the action at The Wall and Vaes Dothrak, let’s cover the less climactic (but perhaps no less important) happenings elsewhere.
Littlefinger makes his first appearance of the season, gifting Robyn Arryn a rare falcon (the symbol of House Arryn). Lord Royce confronts Littlefinger, inquiring as to Sansa’s fate of ending up with the Boltons. He has badly misjudged his position, and Littlefinger turns the accusation around, suggesting that Lord Royce arranged her capture. Exercising his hold over Robyn, Littlefinger maneuvers Lord Royce into leading the Knights of the Vale north against the Boltons.
Tyrion meets with representatives of the Free Cities and negotiates a peace: in exchange for no longer supporting the Sons of the Harpy, Meereen will allow seven years for the cessation of slavery. The recently freed slaves are unhappy with peace talks of any sort, but the support of Grey Worm and Missandei gives Tyrion some time to allow his plan to unfold.
Margaery is brought before the High Sparrow, who tells her a very long story about the origins of his religious devotion that involves making shoes and what sounds like a fraternity party. It’s interesting from a character development perspective, but scenes in the Sept of Baelor are beginning to get old. Margaery is led to Loras’s cell, where she finds him weak and nearly broken. She attempts to encourage him, and sounds as determined as ever to escape her situation and take vengeance on the Faith.
Cersei interrupts Tommen and Pycelle discussing strategies for dealing with the Faith. Tommen appears scared and echoes Pycelle’s advice to not antagonize the High Sparrow. The source of his anxiety is soon revealed: Margaery will be facing the same Walk of Atonement Cersei endured. Cersei and Jaime bring this information to the Queen of Thorns and Kevan Lannister, and together they form a plan to forcibly take Margaery from the Faith using the Tyrell army before her Walk or Cersei’s Trial can begin.
Theon arrives and finds Yara less than pleased to see him, which is understandable given the proceedings when they last shared a room. Theon pledges his support for Yara at the Kingsmoot.
Osha is presented to Ramsay, and she attempts to distract him (seductively) while reaching for his knife. Before she can attack, Ramsay stabs her in the throat with a backup knife before going back to eating an apple.
Jon prepares to leave The Wall, but is interrupted by the arrival of Sansa, Brienne, and Pod. Sansa and Jon share an emotional embrace and head inside to catch up. Sansa urges him to ride on Winterfell, but Jon is tired of fighting what seem like never-ending battles. Melisandre and Davos discuss their new leader, and Brienne tells them both she executed Stannis.
Lore: The Prince that was Promised
A Bolton messenger arrives at The Wall with a message for Jon. Ramsay tells Jon about Rickon and threatens to ride north and slaughter the Wildlings (among other things) if Jon does not ride south to confront him at Winterfell. This is enough to move Jon to action, but the Wildling army is less than half the size of the Bolton’s.
Jorah Friend Zone and Daario Bone Zone make it to Vaes Dothrak. Daario notices the Greyscale spreading on Jorah’s forearm. They both enter the city and start the rescue mission by killing the first two Dothraki they encounter.
Dany makes an ally of another young Khaleesi, and is found by Jorah and Daario outside the Dosh Khaleen. Realizing the difficulty of escaping on foot or horse, Dany tells her would-be rescuers she has a different plan.
Dany is presented to the gathered Khals, who disrespectfully discuss her fate. A defiant Dany snaps back and insults them, provoking them to their feet. Before they can move against her, she overturns a nearby brazier, filling the room with fire. The men try to escape, but the door is locked and Dany spills more flame into the room, consuming the entire building. As the Dothraki outside gather, Dany emerges unscathed, and the horde bows to their new leader.
I’m going to tell the dorky book-reader in me to pipe down this week, because I love the pace at which the show seems to be moving things along. It might require a little finagling with travel times and relative locations, but I prefer it over the sloggy pace of books four and five.
Littlefinger’s reversal on Lord Royce was extremely slick, and he now has the Knights of the Vale he needs to make a move on the North. It will be interesting to see what he knows of recent events and where things stand when he arrives.
Tyrion is taking a very long view on the events in Essos, which is exactly why Dany accepted him as an advisor. It sucks if you’re a slave in one of the other Free Cities, but what Tyrion and the Targaryen alliance need is time and room to breathe. He may have just bought both without giving up anything; after all, the slavers were already back in control in Volantis, Yunkai, and Astapor.
It was good to see Margaery and Loras again, but the fascinating storyline is the three-way standoff between the Lannisters, the Tyrells, and the Faith. The noble houses together could easily defeat the Faith Militant by force, but would risk full-scale rioting and the safety of Margaery and Loras. And what comes of their alliance if the High Sparrow is defeated? The enemy of my enemy is my friend, but when the first enemy is eliminated...what next?
Ramsay killing Osha before she could attack him is a bummer, but being caught unawares is only for chumps like Doran and Trystane Martell, Jon Snow, Meryn Trant, all the Khals, Tywin Lannister, Roose Bolton, Robb Stark…
On the bright side, it reinforces my belief that the Umbers were not in fact joining forces with the Boltons; I noted Osha’s presence as incongruent, and she gave assassination her best shot.
The new Action Sansa we’re seeing at The Wall is awesome. Jon was undergoing a major crisis, and she is one of the only people capable of re-focusing him. Where will he find troops, though? Even with the advantage of knowing the terrain and layout of Winterfell, 2,000 against 5,000 is a long shot. The Umbers (if they haven’t turned on the Starks) are the closest house to The Wall, and Littlefinger would presumably contribute his forces to Sansa’s cause. It would also benefit him to draw Ramsay and his forces out of Winterfell, if possible.
I still don’t know what Drogon has been up to since Dany’s capture, but watching her utilize her asbestos superpower to kill every Khal in one fell swoop was highly satisfactory. She should have the entire Dothraki horde backing her as she heads back to Meereen and ultimately Westeros.