Game of Thrones recap: Episode 4 - Book Of The Stranger
WARNING: Major spoilers for Game of Thrones: season 6, episode 4, Book Of The Stranger.
It feels like we're moving into season six proper now. The first three episodes dealt a lot with the carnage we were left with after season five's finale, whereas now we're moving into new plotlines, betrayals and battles.
And it looks like there will be a lot of battles, the frequency we haven't seen for a few seasons before this season is out.
The best place to start here is at the end, which means waving an unfortunate goodbye to Kiwi Joe Naufahu's portrayal of Khal Moro. He chose the wrong Khaleesi to pick on and is burnt alive along with many of his fellow khals.
Let's rewind a bit. Jorah Mormont and Daario Naharis infiltrate the Dothraki's capital city, where weapons are banned in order to keep some peace between arguably the most violent people in Essos and Westeros combined.
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Seems sensible, especially considering the Hyde St-style parties, which appear to happen every night.
Anyway, Daario saves Jorah with a contraband knife after Jorah makes a terrible impression of a wine merchant. After conveniently running into Daenarys, Jorah and Daario want to escape right away, but she has a plan.
Coming before the Khal's, the Mother of Dragons tells them they're all pathetic compared to her deceased husband, and offers to be their new leader. Unsurprisingly, they refuse and tell her in no uncertain terms she no longer has the protection granted to a Khaleesi.
No matter. She's fireproof, don't you know. This comes in handy when she knocks over the fires lighting the room, destroying the temple of the Dosh Khaleen and giving free funerals to the khal's inside.
She then calmly walks outside, unharmed, to the adoration and shock of the city's subjects, presumably gaining more followers to her cause for the crown. The scene is made less impressive by the fact she's in the nuddy. Invest in some fireproof robes next time, Khaleesi. So all in all, a net gain from last season, just when things appeared to be unravelling on the wings of a rebellious dragon. Drogon, by the way, remains unaccounted for.
A quick word for Joe Naufahu's performance though. He pulled off the classic, violent, misogynistic khal very well, and did it while speaking a completely new language.
In this episode, he still had the best line ("F*** the wise masters in their perfumed a***es!") and arguably one of the show's most painful deaths. For those wanting to see more of Joe, check out the New Zealand movie, The Last Saint, directed by his brother Rene. It's absolutely brilliant.
The Breakers of Chains may not be pleased when she returns to Meereen though.
Tyrion, ever the realist, has been negotiating with some of the slavers of Astapor, who are funnily enough the same ones who bought Tyrion last season. He offers to allow slavery to slowly disband over seven years, which will surely spawn the spin-off film, Seven Years a Slave. Anyway, this is on the condition that the slavers stop funding the Sons of the Harpy.
It doesn't look a particularly stable arrangement, considering there all sorts of other ways for the Slavers Bay cities to rebel against their supposed rulers, and Missandei and Grey Worm don't seem thrilled about it either. In fact, they openly question Tyrion's authority, though he's used to that, in fairness. Still, the sooner Daenarys returns the better.
"I'll do it myself if I have to"
In Westeros, everyone is preparing for battle.
Sansa and Brienne have made it to Castle Black, and we get a very touching reunion with Jon, who stopped walking after the credits rolled last episode and he's still at the Wall. He's still adamant his watch has ended, though. He tells Sansa as much, and that he's done fighting.
Old Sansa wouldn't have said much, but this is new, bad-ass Sansa, and she demands that Jon put together an army to take back Winterfell. She'll do it without him if she has to. Sansa's transformation since her abhorrent treatment by Ramsay has been one of the most pleasing aspects of the last few episodes. Long may it continue.
Their hand may be forced though. While discussing the intricacies of Castle Black cooking, a letter arrives from Ramsay Snow, which informs them he will storm Castle Black to retrieve his bride.
Sansa estimates he has about 5,000 troops, while Tormund says he has about 2,000 capable wildlings. The knights of the Vale better get riding quickly, but more on that in a bit. Castle Black seems even less safe than normal, and the inconvenient truth of Westeros, the White Walkers, can't be too far away. Although once again, it looks like we're going to have to wait until the second half of the season for them to return to the screen.
The uber-manipulator Peter 'Littlefinger' Baelish returns to the show, and is in full control of the Vale, ruled by the spoilt and weak teenager Robin Arryn, who is more interested in his new falcon than ruling.
On Littlefinger's 'suggestion', the Knight's of the Vale will march on Castle Black to retrieve Sansa before Ramsay does. It's unclear what Baelish's motivation is at this point. Power, presumably, but in what form? He still seems most comfortable running a bordello in Kings Landing, rather than directing armies in the north.
On a side note, we get apparent confirmation Stannis is dead in an awkward encounter between Brienne, Davos and Melisandre. Remember, Brienne was Renly Baratheon's Kingsguard when the Red Lady's creepy shadow baby murdered him. No love lost there.
Nor is there between the Tyrell's and Lannisters in Kings Landing, but they have joined forces for now in order to defeat the High Sparrow. They plan to let a Tyrell army enter the city and destroy the faith militant, but this being King's Landing, it won't go smoothly.
And having lots Tyrell troops hanging around, will also considerably lessen Lannister influence in the city, something Cersei and Jaime wouldn't be able to stomach much. Don't expect that alliance to last too much longer. Dorne, meanwhile, is still being ignored. Hopefully, they'll be back soon, and looking at the way things are going this season, they'll have an army ready to march.