TV REVIEW: Game of Thrones - Book of the Stranger


Well, Dany doesn't call herself "The Unburnt" for fun, something the Khals of Dothraki found out this week in an episode dominated by women in power. To be fair to our white-haired dragonrider, she was given three options: stay in Vaes Dothrak as part of the Dosh Kahleen, be traded to slave masters for a bunch of horses (ten thousand, admittedly), or continually raped by the Khals, their bloodriders, and their horses. Dany went for door number four - flaming death - and burned her male captors alive in their hut, herself emerging from the fire to the rest of the Khalasar, who immediately and familiary bowed to her. I can't wait to see the face on the slavers in Mereen when she shows up with a Dothraki horde.

This episode could have been billed as a family reunion special, with many reconnections both joyous (Sansa and Jon), awkward (Yara and Theon), and pitiful (Margaery and Loras). But the truth is that all of the ladies had the upper hand in terms of strength here, with the boys putting in a pretty poor showing. It was wonderful to see Sansa turn up at Castle Black to see Jon, but there is still something very wrong with him, mainly due to him being haunted of his betrayal. It's not difficult to sympathise, there's something terribly existenstial about being obsessed with the moment that killed you. But after a threatening note from Ramsay saying he wants Sansa back or he'll pretty much do everything evil you can imagine, it was her taking charge and convincing Jon that they need to go and take Winterfell back.

Meanwhile, Margaery finally had a meeting with the High Sparrow who fed her the same junk he's fed others, and she was briefly allowed to see a broken Loras, who was ready to give in. But Margaery is a schemer, and she knows the Sparrow is up to something, as does her mother and Cersei, who along with the small council (i.e. Kevan and Jaime) are planning to make sure her walk of atonement doesn't happen, and the Sparrow and his, um, sparrowlings end up very dead. This sounds like a very stupid plan and confirms that after Tywin's passing they all together have the tactical nuance of Hot Pie.

Poor Theon returned home emasculated (literally) and was immediately and understandably torn down by Yara, who eventually went a bit easier on him when she figured out he wasn't there to get in her way of leadership. About the only men who went unscathed was Tyrion, who admittedly got a rollicking from Missandei and Grey Worm after agreeing to bring back slavery for seven years, and Littlefinger, who told brave Ser Robin that they should pledge the knights of the Vale to Sansa's fight. Considering Jon only has two thousand wildlings, this may be a much needed boost, although obviously Littlefinger is not to be trusted. There's also the question of if the Karstarks etc are actually on the side of the Direwolf or the Flayed Man.

The only thing that was really missed was Bran's vision quest, although I imagine that's been slowed down a bit considering how close they are to revealing R + L = J. But everything else is poised well; Sansa and Jon off to take on Ramsay, the Lannisters about to see if they can stop the High Sparrow, and Dany, who should really start to actually make it westward now she has the Dothraki behind her. Sorry Khal Bongo, but you just happened to be in an episode where the girls rule and the boys drool. Long may that continue.

- Charlie

You can read Charlie's review of the previous episode, Oathbreaker, here.

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