Game of Thrones, Season 6 Episode 4 Review/Recap: “Book of the Stranger”

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Posted May 17, 2016 by Henry Wong in Nerdy Bits

*****Spoilers Everywhere!!!!*****

Of the four episodes of this season so far, this week’s episode is following very closely to the second episode in terms of shock, plot development and character tension. This week focused in on the next moves of Jon Snow in the North, and the culmination of the conflicts in Vaes Dothrak and King’s Landing. It was so jam packed, that no filler found its way in the episode and it was until the episode finished that I realized that we weren’t treated into more visions of the past through our medium, Bran Stark. But I didn’t miss it because of all the big plot developments¬†that I had to process; Game of Thrones continues to be no stranger to giving us wonderfully done, plot heavy episodes.

This week’s episode began with Jon Snow reuniting with Sansa Stark. Jon Snow, since his resurrection, has become extremely pessimistic about his place in life. Where he once strived to accomplish much and save as many people as he can, he now only cares about living. Finding out there was nothing on the other side seemed to have shaken him but at the same time, I feel like now is where the story in the north takes off as Jon Snow seeks to redefine himself. And Sansa Stark has given him the perfect opportunity to do so as her rediscovered sense of self has pushed her to play the game. It seems like the perfect role reversal, where Sansa was once the innocent weakling and Jon Snow the great Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. We will see how the story progresses but in true Game of Thrones fashion, I expect there to be a lot more deaths, of major and minor characters. Furthermore, the scene with the conniving Lord Baelish has shown us viewers how quickly he has managed to secure himself as the key player in The Eyrie. His announcement of support for Sansa Stark is definitely a surprise but knowing Petyr Baelish, we will be in for some kind of heart break.

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A long time ago, we were graced with a scene back in the trailer for this season showing soldiers surrounding the Faith Militant and the High Sparrow. I am with confidence that with the Lannisters’ plotting and prodding, the small council members have finally agreed to a final showdown with the Faith Militant. Perhaps the major battle(s) of this season will involve the Faith Militant and the soldiers of Houses Tyrell and Lannister? Though the scenes in King’s Landing were rather straightforward, such as King Tommen being manipulated and influenced once again, they advanced the plot rather quickly yet succinctly. And it was well done indeed. On the other side of the narrow sea, we received the shocker for this episode. The great Khaleesi ended up proving herself as the mother of dragons, by setting the Khal and his posse on fire. And once again, Daenerys ends up naked, standing in the ashes of a Khal’s death pyre. However, I really liked how the episode did this scene. Where the first time such an event happened, Daenerys was on the cusp of suicidal desperation and her burning was all accidental, this time, Daenerys purposely burned down all those around her. In both scenes, she comes out stronger however, in the first scene, it was for her own reassurance whereas this time around, her coming out of the flames was for her followers. The contrast was brilliant and from so many seasons ago, we can see how confident and powerful Daenerys has become. It was a very powerful way of showing us how Game of Thrones has developed its characters.

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Throughout this episode, I found that the direction pushed against what us viewers were used to. I especially liked the scene when the High Sparrow was telling Queen Margaery about his past. The camera pans in front of him as he talks about the false sense of decadence he had strived for and his realization of the falseness of his story. As he tells that story, it almost looks as though he is staring directly at us. It almost felt as if for the first time, a character was breaking the fourth wall. Everything that he was telling Margaery was relatable to our own world, where the super rich continue to drive the political issues and the lower and middle class are left in the dust. Where the one percenters are now labelled with great animosity. Even when the High Sparrow talked about the false goals he strived for as a shoe maker, I felt exactly as he may have. That we work in a system where we all seek for a taste of that extravagant lifestyle that may not be our story to live. This episode also continued to reinforce the strength of women, another critical issue in our world’s development. This episode saw probably the greatest ratio of strong positive female characters to strong positive male characters in the series so far (I use positive as a substitute for hero/heroine). Sansa Stark pushed to regain the family’s power in the north, Daenerys has finally united the Dothraki behind her (I assume?) after incinerating the chauvinistic male rulers in a sacred female temple, Yara Greyjoy is ready to assume the throne of the iron isles, and Osha dies valiantly in her attempt to kill Ramsay. I am especially glad to have seen all of these characters grow into their roles and I hope the show directors continue to empower the series’ female characters.

Shocker Moments of the Week:

1) A Brienne and Tormund romance? (I would think it hilarious and entertaining to watch!)

2) Daenerys burning the Khal


About the Author

Henry Wong