‘Game of Thrones’ Season 6 Episode 4 Recap: Book of the Stranger

Game of Thrones Season 6 Episode 4
Michiel Huisman and Iain Glen in ‘Game of Thrones’ (Photo: Macall B. Polay/courtesy of HBO)

HBO’s Game of Thrones season six episode four included one stunning, mind-blowing scene after another. Episode four now springs to the top of the (short) list of this season’s episodes, with Daenerys once again walking through fire, Cersei and Jamie teaming up with an enemy to plot the defeat of a huge threat, and Sansa Stark completing her lengthy journey to Castle Black to finally reunite with Jon Snow. Sansa also proved she’s completely transformed from the spoiled child first introduced in season one to a powerful and determined woman. Littlefinger returned, Tyrion struck a deal with slave masters, Ramsay Bolton provided viewers with yet another reason to hate him, and Queen Margaery was finally allowed to meet with her brother in episode four airing on May 15, 2016 and titled ‘Book of the Stranger.’

The Recap:

Edd (Ben Crompton) questions Jon Snow (Kit Harington) about his intentions and Jon says he’s heading south. Edd’s understandably angry Jon is going to leave the Night’s Watch, but Jon says he pledged his life but because his brothers killed him, he’s now free of that vow. A horns sound interrupting their discussion. The gate opens and in rides Sansa (Sophie Turner), Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), and Podrick (Daniel Portman). Sansa sees Jon for the first time in years and Jon approaches her slowly, then they quickly close the gap of a last few steps and embrace in a long and lengthy hug. Inside, they reminisce about food, Winterfell, and how they both wish they never would have left. Sansa admits she spent a lot of time thinking about what an ass she was to him as a child, and he tells her she was young. Still, he laughs and admits she was “occasionally awful.” Sansa asks for Jon’s forgiveness and he gives it to her, even though he believes there’s nothing to forgive. She asks where he’s going and he says they’ll leave together because if he doesn’t watch over her Ned’s ghost will murder him. Sansa says the only place they can go is home, but Jon doesn’t think the Boltons will let that happen. This new, empowered Sansa says they’ll take it back from them and Jon reminds her he doesn’t have an army. Sansa asks about the Wildlings, knowing the Wildlings won’t be safe on this side of the Wall if the Boltons rule the North. And besides, they owe Jon their lives. He’s tired of fighting but Sansa says they have to fight for their home. If he won’t help her take back the North, she’ll do it herself. (I’m now #TeamSansa.)

Sir Davos (Liam Cunningham) asks Melisandre (Carice van Houten) where she’ll go and she says wherever Jon Snow wants her to go; she serves him now because he’s the Prince that was promised. He asks about Stannis and Melisandre says he was defeated. Just then Brienne comes up to fill Davos in on the battle. She reminds him they met previously when she was King’s Guard to Renly Baratheon. Staring daggers at Melisandre, Brienne says she loyally served him until he was killed with blood magic. She doesn’t forget or forgive and Stannis admitted to the dirty deed right before she executed him. With that, she walks away.

And now we finally get to catch up with Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) who arrives as Lord of the Vale Robin Arryn is practicing archery. He’s horrible. Lord Royce wants to know why Sansa is now married off to Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) and Littlefinger explains it was because they were set upon by people who obviously knew who he was transporting, hinting it was Royce who tipped Roose Bolton’s men off. Robin wants to throw Royce through the moon door, but leaves it up to Littlefinger. Littlefinger thinks he deserves one more chance and Robin agrees. Littlefinger tells Robin Sansa has escaped Winterfell and is probably heading to Castle Black with the Boltons probably hot on her tail. Robin believes they should help her and Littlefinger tells Lord Royce to gather the knights of the Vale to join the battle. (It’s about damn time!)

Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) explains to Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) why he’s invited their enemies to Meereen to discuss Daenerys. The wealthy leaders backing the rebellion land and meet with Tyrion and Varys (Conleth Hill) and demand Daenerys leave Slavers Bay, and Tyrion says Daenerys won’t stay there forever because she’ll soon be heading west. An argument ensues about slavery and Tyrion says they don’t need slaves to make money. There aren’t slaves in Westeros and his family is rich. Tyrion proposes there will never be slavery in Meereen again, but the other cities will have seven years to abolish the practice. Slaveholders will be compensated at a fair price if they cut off their support of the Sons of the Harpy altogether. He brings in whores as a parting gift, telling them to give freedom a chance. Shortly thereafter, a group of men representing Meereen meet with Tyrion, Grey Worm and Missandei and are upset the enemies have been brought into the city. They don’t trust Tyrion, but do trust Grey Worm. Still, they’re upset they’ve made a deal with the slavers at all. Grey Worm says he’s not a politician but they should take any chance at peace. Missandei confirms she doesn’t trust their enemies but says, “We make peace with our enemies, not our friends,” quoting Tyrion. After the meeting Grey Worm expresses his anger at being used, and both Grey Worm and Missandei are upset Tyrion’s allowing the other cities to have seven years to end slavery. Grey Worm explains the wealthy slavers look at him not as a man but as a weapon and they look at Missandei and see a whore. Tyrion says they’ll underestimate him and he’ll use that to his advantage but Grey Worm isn’t so sure that will be the ultimate outcome.

Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) and Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman) are still tracking Dany, but Jorah is struggling to keep up. It doesn’t help that Daario is getting on Jorah’s nerves by talking about sleeping with Dany. Finally in position to see what’s going on, Jorah and Daario look out over the Dothraki settlement and Jorah knows Dany’s been taken to the place they take all of the widows of Khals. He tells Daario they need to leave their weapons behind (you can’t take them into the sacred city) and if they’re caught they can just say they’re traders. There’s 100,000 Dothraki and they won’t be able to fight their way out anyway, and Daario reluctantly agrees, kissing his favorite knife before handing it over. As he does, he notices the greyscale on Jorah’s arm and says he’ll put the knife down himself.

It’s nighttime when they arrive in the city and their first encounter with the Dothraki doesn’t go well. The lie doesn’t work and a fistfight breaks out. Fortunately, Daario didn’t leave the knife he loves so much behind and stabs a Dothraki who’s strangling Jorah. They can’t leave a body behind with a stab wound so Daario smashes his head in to cover the method of killing.

Game of Thrones Season 6 Episode 4
Emilia Clarke and Souad Faress in ‘Game of Thrones’ (Photo by Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO)

Meanwhile, the other widows are gossiping about Daenerys (Emilia Clarke). Some don’t believe a Khal should breed with a foreigner. She’s warned she can’t run from the Dothraki, but she says she never would. She’s allowed outside to relieve herself along with another young widow she’s made friends with. Daario and Jorah find her, but Dany says they’ll never make it out alive. She has a plan and needs their help. She asks the young widow not to betray her and she agrees.

Septa Unella escorts Margaery (Natalie Dormer) to the High Sparrow and she kneels before him. He asks what she would do if he allowed her out and she says she’d go to her brother, husband, and family. He says she’d be seeking out sin and talks about growing up as the son of a cobbler and how he spent dozens of hours working on a single pair. He used the money to try to attain the same lifestyle as someone highborn, but eventually set out on the path to righteousness after one particularly wild night of wine and women. He left the lifestyle behind and never went back. High Sparrow asks for her hand and says he’ll lead her to her brother. He does, and Loris is in horrible condition. She tells him he has to stay strong, but he says he can’t. She tells him he’s the future of their house, but he just wants the pain and this punishment to stop. Margaery says she’s only been allowed to see him to help tear him down but if she does that, they win. He says let them – just make it stop.

The Grand Maester is meeting with King Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) about the High Sparrow and won’t leave when Cersei (Lena Headey) tries to send him away. He only leaves when Tommen tells him he’s excused. Cersei wants to talk to her son about a few things, but Tommen warns her they have to be careful in dealing with the High Sparrow and they can’t antagonize him further. Cersei demands he look at her and think about what they did to her – the King’s own mother. Tommen understands she doesn’t like Margaery, but Cersei says that’s not important. Margaery must command respect because she’s a Queen, and the High Sparrow has no respect for Kings, Queens or anyone in power. Tommen reveals he spoke to the High Sparrow but did so in full secrecy and isn’t supposed to talk about what was said but as he starts to talk, the scene cuts to Cersei and Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) breaking up the small council meeting. Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) reminds Cersei and Jamie they should have figured out by now they’re not welcome or recognized as being in authority. However, the siblings reveal Tommen’s been meeting with the High Sparrow about Margaery and Sir Loras and believe the High Sparrow’s done this on purpose to make them all bicker among themselves instead of seizing power back. The future of the Seven Kingdoms rests in the High Sparrow’s hands, and next up is a walk of atonement for Margaery where she’ll repent her sins just like Cersei was forced to do. Olenna won’t let that happen and Cersei agrees. Jamie wants Olenna to bring her army, the second largest in Westeros, into the city and rescue Margaery before the walk of atonement and take her back into crown custody. When the Tyrell armies come, the King’s Guard will stand down and take no action at all. Everything will be over before anything horrible can happen. Jamie and Cersei want the High Sparrow in custody (or preferably dead) and his followers destroyed. Civil war will break out if it doesn’t go as planned, but Olenna says many will die no matter what they do. “Better them than us.”

Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) sails home and his sister, Yara (Gemma Whelan), can’t believe he’s back. He says he escaped and she’s angry her men died trying to rescue him. She risked everything for him and he betrayed her. He apologizes and says Ramsay broke him into a thousand pieces and she tells him Ramsay sent one of those pieces (his penis) home to them. Theon only returned home because he has nowhere else to go, and his sister thinks he’s back because he heard their father died and so he believes he should rule the Ironborn. He doesn’t want to be king and she asks what he wants. He says, “You should rule the Iron Islands. Let me help you,” which is exactly what she wanted to hear.

Osha (Natalia Tena) is shown into Ramsay’s chamber where he’s calmly peeling an apple. He asks if his banners with a flayed man worry her, and she only asks if he eats them after. Ramsay chuckles and says, “No,” and she replies, “Then I’ve seen worse.” She says the Starks put her in chains and that’s why she served them, and she believes she’s owed money for taking care of Rickon. But Ramsay believes Rickon is now his and doesn’t need Osha anymore. She comes on to him and he seems to be into it, telling her she’s a much better talker than Theon Greyjoy. As she’s on his lap secretly reaching for a knife, he says Theon told him all about the Stark boys and who the woman was that helped them escape. She knows the gig’s up. He stabs her in the neck and she falls to the floor and bleeds out. He wipes the knife clean and calmly goes on peeling his apple with it.

Back at Castle Black, Sansa, Brienne, Tormund, and Jon Snow are enjoying a hearty meal, with Tormund making eyes at Brienne. Edd apologizes for the food and a letter arrives for the Lord Commander. It’s addressed to Jon Snow, telling him he’s a traitor for allowing the Wildlings past the Wall. The letter is signed by Ramsay Bolton and says Jon should come to Winterfell and that he has his brother locked up in the dungeon. He also says Rickon’s direwolf’s skin is covering the Winterfell floor and that he wants Sansa back. If he brings her back, the Bolton army won’t come to the Wall and slaughter the Wildlings living under Jon’s protection. He will skin them alive if Jon doesn’t…and then Jon stops reading, saying it’s more of the same. When he won’t continue, Sansa grabs the letter and reads, “You will watch as my soldiers take turns raping your sister. You will watch as my dogs devour your wild little brother. Then I will spoon your eyes from their sockets and let my dogs do the rest. Come and see.” It’s signed Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North, and Sansa tells Jon that’s because Ramsay’s father is dead and that Ramsay killed him. Tormund wants to know who many men Ramsay has and Sansa believes it’s 5,000. Tormund says the Wildlings have 2,000. The rest are too old or just children and can’t fight. Sansa says Northern families will fight for Jon if he asks. They have to go back to Winterfell and save their home and their brother. Jon shakes his head in agreement.

Dany is brought in to learn her fate. She doesn’t have a voice in the vote but she speaks anyway. She calls them small men unfit to lead the Dothraki and declares herself fit to lead them instead. They laugh at her and threaten her with rape until the point where there is nothing left of her. She smiles and turns over the flaming lanterns, setting the khalasars on fire. She stands and silently watches them burn as they try the doors and find they’re locked in with her (thanks to Daario and Jorah). After they’ve burned, she emerges from the flames naked and unscathed. Exiting the building, she looks out over the Dothraki who have surrounded the temple. They bow at her feet. Jorah and Daario, who is completely in awe, approach slowly and kneel right in front of her.

More Season 6 Recaps: