16 May 2016

Game of Thrones "Book of the Stranger" Review

This post includes spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 6 Episode 4, "Book of the Stranger".

We're back with another exciting episode! In this week's adventure, Tyrion makes negotiations while Jorah and Daario continue searching for Daenerys. In Westeros, Cersei begins to set her plan in motion while Littlefinger makes plans of his own. As always, I shall split up my review by focusing on each location/storyline.



The North


Fuckin' Ramsay. The way he starts peeling an apple with the knife he just used to gut Osha's neck is something unfortunately not unexpected of him. I enjoyed the casual reference she made to people she's known who eat flesh, and then Ramsay goes to peel a new apple and eats the skin. It was a nice detail.

Oh well, another character gone I guess, this time one that I'm confused about. Osha is strategic and smart. A capable warrior, she knows when to fight and when not to. You see this during the earlier seasons; during her introduction at Winterfell and also when she slept with Theon to help the boys escape during Season 2. Basically, she's smarter than your average wildling. So I have to question why oh why she thought going for the knife would be a great idea. Ramsay may have plot armour, but it's stupid to let your guard down like that. Maybe it's because we, the viewers, know Ramsay better than she does. When she entered that room, we knew how it was going to end. I'm disappointed in you, Osha. Also looks like another book theory is now disputed (Highlight for spoiler - The Grand Northern Conspiracy). I don't know, it feels like this death was really cheesed, like the writers were like "now what?" I suspect Rickon is in trouble now, though I still stand by my previous theory that the Umbers are secretly plotting against the Boltons.

Pyke

Theon's arrival is an eerie echo to his previous return to Pyke in Season 2. Before, he returned with great pride, wearing expensive clothes and keeping his nose high. This time, however, he returns in rags. He cries; a broken man. Ramsay took everything from him, and when he comes back to family he is condemned for his weakness. Theon's journey and development over the last six seasons has been the most interesting to experience, and I just hope the guy can find peace (or at least find a purpose) on the Iron Islands.

King's Landing

While the plot has been a bit slow in this location for the last few episodes, it looks like things are starting to pick up. The three main factions, Lannister, Tyrells and Sparrows are each engaging in a power struggle for leadership, and poor Tommen is at the centre of this, manipulated by all the players. But, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, as they say, so the Lannisters and Tyrells team together to put an end to the High Sparrow's game. It looks like this conflict, as well as Cersei's possible trial, will become a focal point of the next couple of episodes.

The Wall

I guess Sansa is the first Stark Jon has seen since Benjen disappeared, right? Their uplifting reunion was nostalgic of earlier seasons, back when each character was alive and well. Up until now, Sansa was a very submissive character; it seemed like she was along for the ride but didn't want to take charge or play the game of thrones. This episode, however, marks a change for that. Ramsay's Pink Letter basically being a "fite me irl" threat means she and Jon are going to be forced to fight. There are 5,000 Bolton men at Winterfell. Tormund has 2,000 wildlings, but they will also have the Arryn bannermen and possibly the Umbers too (assuming Baelish can reach Castle Black in time), so I definitely think the Starks have a good chance of retaking Winterfell. SNOWBOWL GET HYPE!


One thing I will never not anticipate is Davos learning about Shireen. I mean, I guess he assumes she's died, but Mel keeps either putting off or getting interrupted when she tries to tell him what happened to her. It's going to break my heart when he finds out about her; the Davos-Shireen friendship was so lovely to see and the guy was a better father figure to her than Stannis ever was.

Essos

Finally, Essos was actually interesting for once! I loved the politics in this episode. Watching Tyrion make negotiations with the slavers was remarkable; I could listen to Peter Dinklage do that sort of stuff all night. There's a clash between him and Missandei/Grey Worm too which I think could cause problems down the line. The problem with Tyrion is that he is trying to govern as a Westerosi lord, but ruling Slaver's Bay is different in the wake of Dany's leadership. People just aren't used to a life without slavery, so it'll take them sometime to adjust to it. That's why he gave them 7 years to change it; much to Missandei's disapproval. We'll see where this heads.

There's tension between Dany's two closest companions. I think Jorah sees Daario as better than him in everything; combat, diplomacy and love for his queen. A shadow of his former self. He's getting existential, with the development of his Greyscale and his old age, he knows he's not long left for this world. I have no doubt he will keep on going in his quest to get Daenerys to Westeros until the last breath, but that disease is spreading fast...


I'm excited now that Dany's storyline actually progressed. So far this season she's just been chilling with the Dosh Khaleen, but after taking a risky move to kill the different khals, it looks to be that she will now have an entire khalasar or three under her thumb. Her breathtaking exit from the fire marks a cyclical nature to her journey. She began with the Dothraki and she has them once again. In the books she is told, "to go forward, you must go back" - well this is about as far back as she can possibly get, until she reaches Westeros.

Summary

One big theme of this episode seems to be the power of sisters and the rise of badass women. Jon reunites with Sansa, Theon reunites with AshaYara, and Loras with Margaery. In each scene, the respective sister is basically telling their brother to quit being a little bitch. I think it's important to note how many strong female characters this show now has. In the early seasons, women were shown to be weak, objectified creatures - but which characters now hold the power? Cersei, Daenerys, Sansa, Yara, Ellaria... it goes on. The War of the Five Kings is over, the War of the Five Queens is about to begin. Y'all should get hyped.

Overall I'd give this episode a 9/10.

In Memoriam

Osha
Aggo
The Khals (whose names I forgot)

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