Book of the Stranger certainly was an interesting episode — I think the very first this season that had almost no book material in it at all. I’m still not entirely sure what to do with myself when I don’t know all the plot points ahead of time. Where will all the hardest-hitting dialogue come from? How am I supposed to know when to look away because something disgusting is coming? And how do I lord my vast knowledge of Westeros’ future over all my friends and coworkers?
I digress. Your obligatory ‘spoiler space’:
FOR THE SHOW
IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED IT
DON’T READ THIS
YOU GET THE IDEA
LAST ONE, I MEAN IT.
So. Castle Black. I am really loving how much of our time is being spent here this season. It’s one of my favorite locations in all of Westeros. Some of the best sidestory characters are here (Edd, Tormund, show Davos). Jon is on his way out after ending his shift — and for a split second, I thought he was gonna leave flipping LONGCLAW behind when Edd picked it up. Looks like Edd was just helping pack, though. Phew. (I mean, nice of you to leave your Valyrian steel sword behind, but, um, you’re probably gonna want that, Azor Ahai. Just for the flames or whatever.)
And, just as Jon’s about ready to toss his knapsack over his shoulder and go for a long hike, guess who shows up at Castle Black.
Yeah, that’s right. Flipping *SANSA*. Now, TBH, I thought there was no way she was going to make it to Castle Black before Jon left. That’s just kind of par for the course for the Stark/Starkgaryen family. I figured: Jon leaves, 5 minutes later, Sansa arrives and his tracks are already covered by fresh snow and they’ll never find each other.
Instead, we get a welcome reprieve from the emotional devastation that is Game of Thrones. Now, this most definitely won’t happen in the books, as Sansa’s not anywhere near this journey — but I’m going to accept this as basically the ASOIAF fanfic that everyone’s been dying for. Sansa makes it pretty clear Jon’s not going anywhere without her, and you can’t blame her. She’s just been through the musical chairs of the Biggest Jerks in Westeros nominees (*music plays* Joffrey Lannister, Cersei Lannister, Petyr Baelish, Roose Bolton and Ramsay Bolton (Ramsay is cutting an apple with a knife in his cutaway before he smiles and waves)). Jon gets a pretty great “father’s ghost” line. Whose father, Jon? Mhmmm…
Davos and Melisandre have a quick convo about her plans. As it turns out, she’s got herself a rebound man, and it’s the prince that was promised (dat’s you, JSnow). Just a quick heads up, Melly — Jon is prooooobably not gonna be your shadow baby daddy. Davos senses he could totally console her right now and instead takes this opportunity to give her some pretty solid snark.
Just before we leave Castle Black, Mel and Brienne also get to have a quick girls’ talk and reminisce about Stannis. Melly fondly remembers his clenched jaw and how he was sort of Azor Ahai but not really. Brienne smiles a bit when she thinks about that time she got him to admit he used dark magic to kill Renly and then drove her sword through his chest. Do I sense impending BFFs?
Now, off to visit Sansa’s cousin, Robyn Arryn. Still in the Vale, but taller, more tired-looking, and somehow even more physically inept.
Lord Royce is trying to teach lil Robbie how to shoot a bow and arrow, and he’s just awful. He’s worse than some of the Hell’s Kitchen contestants from last season. (That’s not saying a lot.) Hoping they find him some way cooler weapon to fight with. We know there’s like four to choose from, right? Katana, bo, sai, nunchucks? Whoops. Wrong canon.
There we go. Cannon! That’ll do it. Either that, or his fancy new pet falcon can just scratch everyone’s eyes out from a distance! New pet falcon, you say? Where would he get something ridiculous like that?
From this guy, of course:
Littlefinger is like that asshole relative that buys your kid that drum kit with 5 sounds that they beat over and over and over again until the batteries run out and you tell them it’s “broken” just so they forget about it until it gets pushed to the back of their closet and you can secretly sneak it in to a bag that’s going to the Goodwill. Alternatively, the one that gets your kid a BB gun after you’ve made it very clear that they’ll shoot their eye out with it. The falcon somehow falls in to both those categories.
Lord Royce is less than pleased that PB has dumped Sansa off to the Boltons. Littlefinger, not a fan of his dissension, manipulatively brings it to Sweet Robin’s attention. And what do you know, this kid wants to throw Lord Royce through the Moon Door. Surprise! That’s pretty much his best line of defense at this point. Stand on the other side of it and hope his enemies fall through.
As it turns out, Lord Royce is not a fan of base jumping and decides to stay in line with Baelish. For now.
Sidenote: Non-readers, Sansa was still currently located here in the Vale when we last left her. A pretty good ways from Castle Black. PB is still weird uncle creepin’ on her and somehow trying to find her a hubby at the same time. It’s like if Richard Dawson hosted The Dating Game. (Suddenly feeling very proficient in current events/references.)
To Essos! Diplomatic relations time. Who likes CSPAN?
I feel like the scenes here were more of a setup than anything else. Tyrion attempts to make a deal with the slavers that they can continue in their ways for 7 years if they will stop funding the Sons of the Harpy. As you can imagine, the ex-slaves Missandei and Grey Worm are none too pleased. I have a sneaking suspicion Dany will not be either. Her idea of compromise is “Dracarys“. (Mine too.) The one interesting point I think that’s being made here is how different Westeros and Essos are. We will soon find out who’s right and whether or not Tyrion is as good a Hand of the King as he was over there.
And now, more hijinks from Dany’s would-be rescuers, Jorah and Daario 2.0!
Did you ever know two people who had soooo much in common that they should be best friends, but somehow they’re just too alike and so they become awkwardly competitive? Well, if not, here they are!
Here’s a basic recap of these scenes from inside Jorah’s head.
“Fine, fine, I’m old, whatever. Okay Daario, you may have slept with Dany, but did you save her life? Oh, yeah, you did. But like, what about advising her on important decisions? All right fine, you did that too. What about getting a really jacked up rash on your oh shit I wasn’t supposed to show anyone that welp too late now hey nice knife or whatever maybe we should team up, right? Yeah let’s do that hot damn I’ma take on this Dothraki guy hiiiii-yaaaaa dammit he’s strong and I guess I am gettin’ too old for this shit WHOA thanks for saving my ass and stabbing that guy. WAIT we can’t stab people here oh sure smash his head in with a rock and let’s get outta here, bro. But not too far. We still gotta save our queenleesi. *whispers to himself* My queenleesi.”
To Kings Landing!
Margaery has been asking to see her brother since day 1 in lockup, and today, the High Sparrow is going to let her. Right after he tells her about this SICK party he went to one time. He was like, sooooo drunk off of all the booze and like there were women EVERYWHERE dawg, like you wouldn’t even believe. He woke up in the morning and had noooo idea where his shoes were, crazy, right? And that was like, especially weird because he made shoes. Like, for a living. Then, it was like, this light just like, shined down from the heavens and suddenly he realized he was gonna leave everything behind and live his life for the church. Cool story, bro.
Marge gets to go and see Loras, who’s clearly had it much worse than her. She’s whispering to him to keep fighting back, as it’s obvious he’s about to cave. This was kind of an odd scene for me, because I couldn’t tell which one of them had the “right” idea. Should they fight? Should they give in?
Well, as it turns out, Cersei thinks they should fight (certainly this only benefits her). She barges in to another small council meeting after a chat with Tommen (Pycelle getting another amazing physical comedy routine during that scene…slowest. exit. ever.) and convinces Olenna Tyrell and Kevan Lannister that the Tyrell army should march on the Sparrows in Kings Landing. This is NOT going to end well.
No photos of our next stop, Winterfell, because we were literally there just long enough for Ramsay to kill Osha. Fuck that guy. That is all.
And now, over to Pyke!
Another extremely quick pit stop in this episode. We’re here just long enough for this guy to get home:
He comes in, sees his sis, and firmly joins #TeamYara (#TeamAsha) for the Kingsmoot. Nice choice.
Quick jaunt back to Castle Black, just in time for dinner and some googly eyes.
Hey gurl, hey. Tormund liking him a big ol’ woman. Brienne like dafuq dawg? Jon receives a correspondence from one Ramsay Bolton, firing up the Stark/Snow/Tarth/Wildling alliance to go back and retake Winterfell.
In the book, this letter is what actually causes Jon to be killed. He receives it, gets fired up by its contents, and reads it to the entire Night’s Watch in the Shieldhall, wanting them to join him in attacking Winterfell. I am surprised they included it, because I think it could have had a lot more weight in its original timeline. However, this letter (known as the “Pink Letter” because of the wax seal color) has a lot more questions around it in the book storyline. One wonders if this truly does mean that Ramsay was the sender, or if we’ll find out more information on this topic when the book is eventually released.
And now, back over to Vaes Dothrak.
Dany chats with the gals of the Dosh Khaleen for a bit and makes some new friends. Then, while stepping out to pee, Dany runs in to her two Stooges and lets them know there’s no way they can escape from this place. However, she conveniently has a plan.
Remember earlier, when I said Dany’s idea of compromise was dracarys? Yeah, I was totally right.
These Khalbro guys start giving her shit, and she burns the motherfuckers up. The entire building goes up in flames, and guess who doesn’t get burned. If you guessed Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons, The Unburnt, then you would be correct. Bitches be bowin’, and she be takin’ it all in. Khaleesi. Straight up.
Next week marks the halfway point of the season. Can this go on forever and ever, please?