‘Game of Thrones’ Season 6, Episode 4 Recap: The Book of the Stranger
Oddly, this episode opens with Jon Snow (Kit Harington) packing to leave Castle Black, even though last episode we saw him leaving the Night’s Watch in a dramatic exit. It seems producers thought twice about letting him go before Sansa Stark’s (Sophie Turner) arrival. And we’re so glad, because for the first time in six seasons two Starks — even though they weren’t particularly close to begin with — are reunited, and it feels so good. A few awkward laughs and some sips of bad tasting ale later, and these two are ready to plot an attack against Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) and his little monsters. At least, Sansa is. Channeling her inner Cersei, she is set on destroying her enemies and taking back Winterfell (by herself if she has to). At first Jon is hesitant, and understandably so.
“I’m tired of fighting. It’s all I’ve done since I left home,” he says. I’d be tired, too, if after all that fighting, I got murdered. But after receiving one equally poetic and malicious letter, revealing that Ramsay has their little brother Rickon, it seems that we are going to get the bastard brawl we secretly hoped for.
And Osha (Natalia Tena) can’t help Rickon escape Winterfell again — she returned for one episode just to be killed by Ramsay, despite her own self-believed cleverness and seductiveness. She’s yet another victim added to Ramsay’s ongoing kill list, and surely not his last (hopefully until Jon arrives).
With any luck, Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) won’t mess up Jon’s plan too much. In his debut this season, he cleverly (as always) manipulates those around him, including Robin Arryn (Lino Facioli), and convinces them that they need to get Sansa back. Our guess is as good as yours on why he is so set on rescuing her. Either Littlefinger still has a creepy thing for Sansa (for resembling her mother) or he thinks she’s his ticket to becoming Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North.
In King’s Landing, Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) is still scheming to undermine the High Sparrow, a plotline that thus far seems to be going nowhere. But there may be some action in the near future to reawaken our interest. Cersei and her brother Jaime have a plan, and it involves saving Queen Margaery (Natalie Dormer). It’s no secret that Cersei hates Margaery (even Tommen is catching on), so is there some super-secret plot against her here? We’ll have to wait and see.
Margaery has plans of her own to fool the High Sparrow by playing along nicely and looking innocent with those big doe eyes. But my guess is that with the dungeon’s echoing walls and Loras’ (Finn Jones) big blubbering mouth, he might already be on to her game.
Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) is also doing his best to talk his way out of a bad situation in Meereen, to the chagrin of Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson). We’ve seen Tyrion work his lingual charms before in Season 2 as Hand of the King, and his negotiations with the slavers of Astapor show that he’s still got talent. Missandei and Grey Worm are not as convinced, however. “You will not use them. They use you. That is what they do,” Grey Worm warns Tyrion.
I wonder how Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) will react to her advisor’s dealings when she returns. That is, if she returns. The episode ends with a bit of déjà vu, where Daenerys emerges from a massive CGI-created fire, naked and unharmed. The parallel with the Season 1 finale is obvious, but the fact that it’s on a much larger scale — in front of the entire Dothraki people rather than a few stragglers, and after killing all the head khals by herself instead of one backstabbing witch — makes it more impressive.
Dany said before killing the khals that she was more fit to rule the Dothraki — does that mean she’s abandoning Meereen for good and leaving Tyrion and company to fend for themselves? The city is already turning on Tyrion, which isn’t a good sign. Or will she add them to her army and cross the Narrow Sea toward the Iron Throne?
Meanwhile, across the sea in the Iron Islands, Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) has come home. But as his sister, Yara (Gemma Whelan), points out, it’s interesting timing with their father dead and the claim to the salt throne up for grabs. He said he was sorry (many times), and decides to make it up to her by helping her become ruler of the Ironborn. I’m not sure what talents apologetic Theon possesses that could help her, but she seems interested at the prospect nonetheless.
In an episode filled with reunions, crushes (did anyone else get that vibe between Tormund and Brienne?!) and new teasing storylines, audiences were left feeling more hopeful and intrigued about what’s in store next week.