‘Book of the Stranger’ did something that a Game of Thrones episode hasn’t done in a long time – made me feel happy. Not to say that it’s always a sob-fest, but usually even the good parts have a tinge of sadness to it. But for this week, my heart soared, I was on Cloud Nine, and as we got two things that we have been looking forward to – a Stark reunion, and a badass Daenerys moment.
Let’s get into ‘Book of the Stranger’:
Jon, Sansa and that hug
As viewers, we have become so paranoid that Stark family would consistently miss each other that I halfway expected Jon to be gone when Sansa arrived at Castle Black but for once my wish was granted and the Stark kids were reunited for the first time since the very first episode.
Through their very emotional hug and subsequent chat, it is obvious that both Jon and Sansa have been through hell and have changed a lot from the children that they were when they last saw each other. It was interesting to see this new dynamic between them, this was one pair of Stark siblings that we never really saw interact before and given from their confessions about their previous behavior, they did not really get along as children. But now they are adults, their ‘parents’ and Robb are dead; Bran, Rickon and Arya are missing; they need each other.
I have to admit that for the rest of the episode all I could think about was this epic reunion, it felt almost surreal. Even though Jon was opposed to going to war with the Boltons, it is Sansa that encourages him to fight for their family, to get Winterfell back, for his birthright. This is the Sansa that I have been waiting six seasons for, a Sansa with agency, a Sansa that is ready to fight, a Sansa that is tired of being a victim, and Sophie Turner portrays her perfectly in this role.
This puts a new swing on how the I expected the Battle of the Bastards (as fans refer to the upcoming war between Jon and Ramsey) to go, I fully expected a Jon fighting for Sansa’s honor and her being a bystander to it all. But Game of Thrones has introduced the idea of Sansa being the regal queen fighting for what is rightfully hers, and Jon as her loyal knight and protector. Give me all the character growth, Game of Thrones, give it to me!
At the end of the episode, Ramsay sends Jon a letter saying that he has Rickon and unless he returns Sansa to him, he will kill Rickon, which seems to be the last assurance that Jon needs that he needs to kill this asshole once and for all.
Kings Landing and the Book of the Stranger
There are some interesting developments happening in Kings Landing with the sparrows and the fact that they are still holding Margaery in their cells. The High Sparrow comes to talk to her about the dangers of living too opulently and the Book of the Stranger, which is one section of their holy book, the Seven Pointed Star. But he does allow her to see Loras, who has been tortured so badly that he has lost the will to live, and even tells Margaery to sell him out so that it can all be over.
In the Red Keep, Olenna and Cersei decide to work together against the High Sparrow so that Margaery can be freed, Cersei is starting to see the big picture that Tommen needs Margaery, the Lannisters need Margaery if they expect their line to survive as she tells Tommen, it has nothing to do with whether she likes Margaery anymore.
Daenerys and the burning of the patriarchy
If there was ever a character whose arc has been frustrating it has been Daenerys’, we have seen rise up and fall down so many times and she’s still no closer to reaching Westeros, and giving some people (looking at you, Ramsay) a bath of fire. It got even worse when she was recaptured by the Dothraki (like in the first season) and taken back to where she came from.
Drogon was lingering close by, and Jorah and Daario were hot on her heels, so we all had bets on which one would save her, but of course, this is Game of Thrones and they always have a surprise up their sleeves, but in this case it was a good one. Daenerys did not need the help of any men (or male animals) except getting Jorah and Daario to bar the doors on the Dothraki council, as she simply used her own intellect, and her status as the Unburnt, to take down the Dothraki khals who would prefer to let their horses rape her then to let her speak much less let her lead them.
When she walks out of the flames, naked but regal, we all the Dothraki bloodriders, widows, and even Jorah and Daario don’t know what to do other than to kneel at her feet. Gosh even I felt like kneeling down in front of my television and swearing fealty to Daenerys. I look forward to see if this new Dothraki army along with her Unsullied, her new advisers Tyrion and Varys (and perhaps some ships from Pyke?) would be what will take her over the sea into Westeros.
Catching up with the other characters:
- Melisandre, like the loyal fangirl that she is, is ready to give it all up for Jon Snow, who she believes is the ‘prince that is promised’ but when Davos drops in to ask her ‘uh what about Stannis though?’ Brienne makes herself known to tell them that she killed Stannis in revenge for what he did to Renly. Davos and Melisandre just seem relieved that she seems finished with her vengeance path now.
- Talking about Brienne, she seems to have caught the eye of a certain wildling, as Tormund could not stop giving her heart eyes, as soon as he saw her.
- Littlefinger is back and is busy getting the Robin Arryn and the Knights of the Vale to go and save Sansa, I hope this means they will join Jon’s cause.
- Tyrion is playing the role of the ultimate diplomat as he meets with the leaders of the other cities on Slaver Bay to get them to slowly diminish slavery in exchange for them stopping their support for the Sons of the Harpy.
- Theon made it to Pyke and has assured Yara that he will support her to become the Queen of the Iron Islands.
- Another one bites the dust as the absolute worst Ramsay Bolton kills my favorite wildling, Osha, mainly so that she does not help Rickon any further. But geez Rickon has now lost both Osha and Shaggydog, he seems to be the Stark on the roughest end of the spectrum.
Game of Thrones airs on HBO on Sundays at 9pm E.T