HBO’s Game of Thrones

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

Sometimes a queen commands respect, other times she burns your whole damn house down and then commands respect.

Major episode spoilers ahead.

Spoilers for the currently published George R. R. Martin novels are discussed in the review and fair game in the comments. We highly suggest not discussing early preview chapters, but if you must, white it out. Have courtesy for the patient among us who are waiting and waiting (and waiting) for The Winds of Winter. Play nice. Thanks.

Dany going full-on Carrie White in the house of the Dosh Khaleen was pretty damn satisfying, even as it was kind of obvious what would happen to all those khals once collected in one handy location. I’ll pour a bit of Arbor wine out for Khal Moro and his idiot bloodriders, but only a few drops because he turned out to be kind of a huge asshole to Dany at the end.

Dany’s firestarting wasn’t quite as “Hell yeah!” for me emotionally as when she uttered that “Dracarys” to the slavemaster of Yunkai, but now she stands at the front of an even bigger khalasar than she did in the beginning. And she did it on her own. And yes, all those people bent the knee for the Unburnt. Will that be enough to rule them? I wonder if there will be some fallout for Dany not technically besting the khals in combat. She outfoxed them. Do Dothraki care?

Dothraki value strength. Perhaps any remaining naysayers will be silenced when they see that their new Khaleesi rides a badass dragon, not a horse?

sers of the friendzone

Ser Useless and Ser Nice Knight to the rescue!

West of the Narrow Sea, other queens showed their grit in the face of terrible odds.

Queen Margaery proved what we thought all along: she is the true future of House Tyrell. Pull yourself together, Loras. Listen to your sister, who seems to be a master of playing… whatever she needs to in order to come out a winner in the game.

But is her game as good as the High Sparrow’s? Doubtful, as it seems he was banking on King’s Landing sliding into shoddy leadership and civil war.

When you think about it from his perspective, Cersei and the rest are self-serving and prideful to the disservice of the smallfolk they rule. Yes, even my beloved Olenna cares more about protecting Margaery’s dignity than creating countless victims of war. “Better them than us.” Yeah, Dany can come burn you down, too, Queen of Snark.

briennesansapod

In the North, Sansa comports herself like a true queen and the tougher half of the Stark siblings. Yes, Jon gets to be tired of war and fighting. But so freaking what? I was kind of hoping Sansa would reply to Jon with a “You’re not the only one, dude. I’ve only witnessed our father’s execution, was beaten and humiliated daily by Joffrey — and falsely accused of his murder — married to two husbands against my will, and raped multiple times. And that’s the Cliff Notes version. I’m still fighting, you fucking crybaby. Now grow out your magical haircut and let’s go get our little brother!”

Not gonna lie though: I was the total crybaby when Sansa reunited with Jon. Starks reunited and no one died! (Yet.) It feels so great! (For now.)

What stayed Brienne’s sword when she saw Melisandre? Is it as simple as not wanting to anger her new hosts? Renly’s ghost must be pissed. And Davos looked like he was not going to take a page from Jon and Sansa’s book of forgive-and-forget either. While he may want to kill Brienne for executing Stannis, I think he ultimately blames Melisandre for what happened to Stannis and, by extension, little Shireen.

So, yeah, this’ll be a hilarious buddy comedy on the Kingsroad.

But before that, I need gifs of every single face at that Castle Black dinner table. Starting with Tormund and Brienne:

A round of applause to Littlefinger, who I missed greatly. In true Littlefinger style, he reclaimed his spot at the top of the Eyrie food chain bearing a gift in one hand and the promise of another Moon Door execution in the other. “The time has come to join the Frey fray.” Ha! I see what you did there, Game of Thrones.

Final thoughts:

  • Quote of the night: Sansa’s “We never should’ve left Winterfell.” Yup.
  • Quote of the night runner-up: “It’s all part of a story, a story I was telling myself about who I was. A collection of lies.” I loved Jonathan Pryce’s monologue about the High Sparrow’s spiritual hangover epiphany.
  • Meereen’s a bit dull without Dany. Let’s hope it doesn’t take seven years for her to return to the city. I feel really bad for the highly uncomfortable position Messandei and Grey Worm were put in by Tyrion’s deal with the Masters and their self-interest. I’m kind of siding with Grey Worm on this. Tyrion’s deal seemed too vague. I wanted to hear Varys’ opinion, too. He was quiet for a change.
  • Very Bad Man Ramsay is a Very Bad Man. Ho-hum. Of course he was going to kill Osha. What a bummer though, to bring back Tonks, only to watch her be forced to offer her body to another self-styled lord and then get stabbed for the trouble. What’s he going to do with Rickon? The teeny Stark doesn’t need to be alive for Ramsay to taunt Jon Snow. How does Sansa know Ramsay really does have Rickon?
  • Next week: Bran has a meet-cute with the Night’s King, nothing about a kingsmoot is cute, and Arya levels up. House Stark is on the rise!
But how did Sweetrobin grow so much without his milk?

But how did Sweetrobin grow so much without his milk?

Game of Thrones airs Sunday nights at 9PM E/PT on HBO.

Theresa DeLucci is a regular contributor to Tor.com covering TV, book reviews and sometimes games. She’s also gotten enthusiastic about television for Boing Boing. Send her a raven through Twitter.

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