This was the episode we have been waiting for this season! While the Jon Snow resurrection was the cliffhanger that needed the most answer, “Book of the Stranger” managed to deliver every area it showed with powerful and through enjoyable moments. Let’s break them down:
Edd is trying to talk Jon out of his idea of leaving the Night’s Watch, mostly claiming that Jon is picking a really bad time to leave considering there is a Zombie Apocalypse Army on the way. Jon on the other hand not only believes that he has already died once for the Wall, he was also betrayed by his brother; I feel Jon is right, as no matter what happens, he will always be the guy who let the wildlings through. The horn sounds the incoming of someone, leaving Edd and Jon to table the conversation. Then something happy actually happens: JON AND SANSA REUNITE! This was something I did not expect to happen, since I was under the believe they would miss each other by days, but I am so glad it was not so. Sansa rides in following Brienne (who makes eye contact with an awestruck Tormund, and I am so shipping this pairing right now), and is visibly looking around for her half-brother. They find each other, and then literally jump into each other’s arms.
The scene changes as they move inside, and we see them talk about their lives in Winterfell, and how much they wish they could go back and stop themselves from leaving in the first place. Sansa admits that she was awful to Jon in the past, even though he cannot blame her (I agree, she was being raised by her mother, and no proper lady should acknowledge a bastard brother according to propriety of the court). It is probably the nicest we have seen Jon since Ygritte, and the less somber we have seen Sansa since… well, before anything happened. I thoroughly laughed at the line “If I don’t watch over you, Father’s ghost will come back and murder me” (good assumption). Sansa then brings up the idea of taking back Winterfell with an army of Wildlings, to return it to their family (More good news: Between Theon and Brienne, Sansa and Jon know that both Rickon and Bran, as well as Arya are alive). Jon immediately tells her that he is done with fighting, since it is all he has done since he left Winterfell, but Sansa very strongly lets him know that she will fight for the North with or without him.
Another scene changes at the wall, and we see Davos and Melisandre having a pleasant conversation, where Melisandre proclaims she is to follow Jon Snow. Davos is confused by that, and questions Melisandre, who informs Davos of Stannis’ defeat, but he questions about Shireen. Brienne confirms the battle where Stannis died, and also lets them know she was there when blood magic killed Renly Baratheon. Brienne also lets them know that Stannis confessed to killing Renly via Melisandre, and that she killed him. Impressively enough no one has told Davos about what happened to Shireen.
Lord Royce is supervising the training of Robyn Arryn (whose had little progress), when Littlefinger arrives by carriage. Robyn runs over to his ‘uncle,’ who gifts him a falcon; while Lord Royce questions Littlefinger about Sansa’s marriage to the Boltons. Littlefinger lies and tells them that they were set upon by Bolton men, further twisting everything to make it seem like Lord Royce betrayed them. Lord Royce is then faced with a horrible truth: Robyn Arryn will listen to anything Petyr Baelish says. Lord Royce then proclaims his service to Robyn Arryn, and saves his neck by working for Littlefinger. Baelish then talks to Robyn, and convinces him to gather the Knights of the Vale and make preparations to help take the North.
Tyrion is holding peace talks with the masters of Astapor, Yunkaai, and Volantis. The Masters want the foreigners to leave, and to allow Slavers Bay to return to what it has always been. Greyworm and Missandei refuse to accept the master’s point of view, and the masters seem to not even want them there. Tyrion plays peacemaker by telling the masters that they don’t need slaves to make money; he goes as far as speaking for Daenerys, and giving the masters seven years to end slavery as opposed to abolishing the practice overnight; all this is said to the surprise of Missandei and Greyworm. Tyrion demands that the support for the sons of the Harpy be removed, and lets them be convinced by women, as he and the rest of the Council leave. Tyrion is followed by an angry pair of former slaves, and enters a chamber with angry former slaves. Tyrion, Missandei and Greyworm manage to pacify every one; but after leaving the room Tyrion is confronted by the other two, who warn him that he is being used.
Jorah and Daario are climbing and making their way to the Dothraki city, and in the way Daario finds out about the greyscale. They make it to a point overlooking the city, and make a plan to get her out. They have to enter the city without any weapons, and get her out in the middle of the night. They get spotted in their way through the city, and have to fight it out with two random Dothraki, but they win.
In the Temple, the priestess tells Daenerys about some of the other girls, and just how they were treated. When Daenerys realizes that the girl is not happy to be there either, she gets up to go to pee, and the girl they discussed is sent to accompany her. They are talking when Daario grabs the girl, but Daenerys stops them from hurting her, and the girl trusts Dany enough not to scream. Dany has a plan to get out safely, and enlists the guys, and the girl. This seems a lot more like the Daenerys from earlier seasons, who is less of a Queen and more of a Khalessi.
Margaery is led to the High Sparrow, and they engage in a conversation where is trying to bend her to his will. The High Sparrow reveals he was a sinner long ago, and until he had too much fun at a party when he realized he was the bad guy. Margaery asks about his life, but is still distrustful of the man. The High Sparrow tries a card, and lets her see Loras, who has seemingly been broken by the incarceration, and unlike Margaery won’t hold out until his release; making Margaery realize that she cannot save him.
Pycelle is lecturing the king, but is interrupted by Cersei, and before anything goes too far, Tommen sends him away. Tommen is worried about how to deal with the High Sparrow, since he is afraid what happened to Cersei will happen to Margaery. Tommen then reveals what Margaery’s fate is, and with it, Cersei and Jaime have a chip to play in the Small Council. Cersei and Jaime reveal that Margaery is set to do a walk of atonement, and Oleana is not down with that; with this move, the High Sparrow has finally united the two largest armies in Westeros against him. Jaime lays out a plan where the Tyrell army will recover Margaery, and Kevan will have to stand down to prevent the shedding of blood; this ensures the council followed the direction of the King not to engage the Faith Militant; the idea is to get Margaery and hopefully kill the High Sparrow, before the king is informed/makes a decision. Kevan warns them of the High Sparrows reach, and the starting of a civil war, to which Oleana responds, that as long as they don’t die, it is fine.
With the Rains of Castamere playing in the back, you can see that this will likely go the way of the Lannisters/Tyrells. It is a great move: they get the Queen back, Tommen is not involved as he is not informed in time, and the king’s army is no match for the large forces of the Tyrell’s. Is this what leads to the Cleganebowl?
The Iron Islands
In an uneventful scene, Theon arrives at Pyke; and after a cold conversation with his sister, lets her know, he will help her get the throne of the Iron Islands.
A short, but highly memorable scene, as we see more of Ramsay’s sociopathic side come out to play. He invites Osha, and as she tries to seduce him, like she did Theon: he stabs her! Well, she was trying to stab him. He reveals that Theon told him about what she did, and that he was not about to get played the same way.
Back in the Wall
Jon, Edd, Tormund, Sansa, Brienne and Podrick are having a silent meal in Castle Black. The first thing I loved, is how Tormund is staring at Brienne (this ship! Edd’s raised eyebrow when he notices is funny as well), and how in this moment Ramsay’s message arrives. The letter arrives for Jon, who reads out loud: Jon is a traitor for letting the wildlings in, he has to send Sansa back; if he doesn’t Rickon is dead, Sansa will get raped and he will be killed along with all the wildlings. Jon is still unsure about going into war with Winterfell, but Sansa and Ramsay’s letter seem enough to convince him. Tormund asks how many men Ramsay has, and when Jon asks reveals he has less than half of that battle ready. Sansa then tells Jon, he is the son of Eddard Stark and the North will fight for him. Jon seems a little unsure, but we all know he will fight for his home.
If we tally down the house of the North: Mormont, Reed, Hornwood, Tallhart, Manderly, Dustin, Ryswell and Cerwyn are the houses that can support Jon and Sansa; as we already know the Umbers and Karstarks will back Ramsay. Of the ones undecided, it seems Mormont and Reed are the top two contenders to back Jon, and likely the Vale and the Wildlings as well.
Back to Vaes Dothrak
The Khals are discussing the dead bodies found, courtesy of Jorah and Daario; and seem unconcerned about it all. Dany is then brought in, and her fate is put to question. They discuss the options: they leave her to the Dosh Khaleen (widows of all the previous Khals), they sell her to Yunkaai for ten thousand horses, or they just take turns raping her. Dany then decides to show them just what she wants, and what she is going to do. Dany first mocks them in what they discuss, and compares them to Drogo, who had vowed to conquer Westeros for her; she then claims they are not fit to lead the Dothraki, but that she is. Dany then does the most bad ass thing she has done since she had Drogon attack Astapor: she burns the Khals and the bloodriders alive, and survives the flames.
If you count the amount of people that will follow her: she now has the largest army in the world, with ALL the Dothraki, and a substantial amount of Unsullied. While Dany has never been shown to care much about which House in Westeros she should go after, with Tyrion advising her I won’t be too surprised to see her find a northern alliance one day. (Let’s face it, the Sand Snakes are not going to care who she is, they just want revenge).
OVERALL: 9.5 Incredible! This has been the episode of the season so far. It showed us incredibly moving moments with the Starks reuniting in the North, and seemingly on their way to take back the North. A powerful rebirth with Daenerys taking Vaes Dothrak. Meereen still seems to be the dragging plot of the season, but King’s Landing is finally picking up, and getting ready to join the action. But the North still reigns supreme with everything that is going on up there. Also, Tormund and Brienne have become a new ship, which the internet has dubbed Tarthbane!