Game of Thrones 6.4: “The Book of the Stranger”

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I don’t know about you, but I love it when a show (or book) surprises me. Particularly when the surprise doesn’t come out of left field, purely for shock value, but instead makes such perfect sense that in retrospect, you wonder why you didn’t see it coming. Game of Thrones 6.4 was that sort of episode.

Jon Snow at Castle Black  So much for my prediction he’d go straight to Winterfell. Jon not only wants out of the Night’s Watch, he wants out of Westeros. But his dreams of sunny Dorne or the Summer Isles are torpedoed by the arrival of Sansa. Their reunion is heartfelt and satisfying. I never thought I’d see the day Jon’s moral compass wavered, leaving Sansa to insist they fight the good fight. Longtime viewers and/or anyone with wi-fi knows that Sansa hasn’t been a fan favorite, due in large part to the way she behaved when she was approximately twelve. I hope her mea culpa last night will allow more fans to root for her.

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The Red Woman, Ser Davos, and Brienne  Now that Jon is alive and Melisandre has declared him the “Prince Who Was Promised,” Ser Davos finally asks about the mammoth in the courtyard: what, precisely, happened to Shireen? But Brienne interrupts, volunteering that she executed Stannis. Will she realize the Red Woman was instrumental in Renly’s assassination and execute her, too? Or will Ser Davos turn murderous when he learns poor little Shireen was burned alive? Lately my predictions have been duds, but if the Red Woman dies, it should be by fire. After all, she thinks it’s the purest death, right?

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Meanwhile, in Meereen  Tyrion makes a deal with the slavers of Astapor and Yunkai in hopes of neutralizing those terrorists called the Sons of the Harpy. Grey Worm and Missandei had grave reservations about the negotiations, which I initially took to heart. But as a fellow superfan pointed out, Grey Worm and Missandei still suffer from a “prey” mindset, while Tyrion’s predatory instincts are finely honed. If the slavers don’t play ball, he may handle them as forcefully as he dealt with troublemakers during his tenure as Hand of the King.

Here’s another prediction I’ll fearlessly submit: I think the liaison between the slave masters and the Sons of the Harpy is Daario Naharis. My reasons are thus. (1) He is well known in Meereen after his success in the fighting pits, giving him access and credibility. (2) He survived the attack last season without a scratch. (3) He’s said outright that he’ll disappoint Danaerys someday. (4) He’s a sellsword who’d probably betray anyone if the price is right. Finally, and I present this as my strongest piece of evidence: he boasted disrespectfully and rather graphically about sleeping with Dany. As a writer, I tend to notice moments when a positive or neutral character puts on the black hat. Male love interests who behave that way are typically not long for this world. Just saying.

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Margaery, the High Sparrow, Tommen, and Cersei Okay, so the High Sparrow is utterly sincere in his fanaticism. So what? Sincere fanatics are a dime a dozen in our world. I spent his monologue fantasizing about  Jaime killing him various ways. But I perked up as the question arose: What did Tommen actually tell Cersei?

When Cersei told the Small Council that Margaery would be forced into a walk of shame, she mobilized them to essentially overthrow the High Sparrow’s Faith Militant. But was it true? Am I the only one who thinks this will result in Margaery’s death? Ser Loras is too broken to fight, and besides, the actor has a new gig elsewhere, so I expect no heroics from him. Then there’s that prophecy about Cersei and her children:

“Gold shall be their crowns and gold their shrouds. And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.”

Valonqar is High Valyrian for “little brother,” and naturally Cersei has always assumed this means Tyrion. But Jaime is also Cersei’s younger brother by a minute or so. Will he be driven to kill her if her machinations lead to Tommen’s death, which the prophecy makes inevitable? Or is another little brother waiting in the wings?

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Vaes Dothrak  Silly, silly me. Only last week I imagined the Dosh Khaleen was pulling the strings in Dothraki culture. Those poor women have no real power at all. As one puts it, “I can never leave Vaes Dothrak until I rise as smoke from my funeral pyre.” Hey, I hear you–I used to say the same about my old day job. (Thanks again, readers, for freeing me!) And only two weeks ago, I stated confidently that Dany’s dragons would show up to save her, and awe the Dothraki hoard with their strength. Nope. Dany killed the Khals and took control of the entire Dothraki people all by herself, with a show of her own strength.

Mic drop.

Of course, this episode was so packed, I omitted a lot, including poor Osha’s end; the reappearance of Littlefinger; the mobilization of the Vale’s army; some extended doddering from everyone favorite charlatan, Pycelle; Yara; Theon; and an epic fail re: the old “sand in the eyes” trick. As for Ramsay’s threatening letter, I hope he does try to feed Rickon to the dogs, only to discover Shaggydog lurking in the kennel, very much alive and hungering for Bolton flesh. Remember, of all the direwolves, only Shaggy got in trouble for biting humans.

Anyway, I can’t say adieu without referencing how Tormund Giantsbane kept ogling Brienne. Pretty sure the self-proclaimed “Husband to Bears” wants to climb her like a tree. Maybe next time he’ll admit she reminds him of his Sheila.

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That’s it. Back to novel-writing for me. See you next week!

2 thoughts on “Game of Thrones 6.4: “The Book of the Stranger”

  1. I really enjoyed this episode, if for no other reason than seeing Daenerys reclaim her power. That was terrific! What a great scene, and the kind of shift GoT is known for. So now she has an army. What will she do with it? 🙂

    I’m one of the viewers who never liked Sansa, but yes, last night, I felt a glimmering of respect for her. Let’s see if she can keep it.

    Already looking forward to next week’s episode. 🙂

  2. It does seem the writers were telling the truth that this would be the season of the women. Last night they all shone, even poor Osha for a moment before Ramsay ended her. And really, can’t dying a clean quick death be considered a kind of victory when compared to the Boltons’ favorite method of dispatching enemies?! Love Tyrion when he’s in charge. He’s so smart and by now so experienced at “the game of thrones” that he’s an expert on level with the best! I find your theory about Daario intriguing and feasible. If it is true, I predict Joran will kill him. He’s been itching too! I do hope Ramsay meets his end at the teeth of one of the direwolves, with maybe their Stark warg riding them. So they can “feel” the tearing of Bolton flesh. Bloodthirsty, moi? You betcher ass.
    Thanks for these discussions. I am loving them.

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