Game of Thrones: Season 6 Episode 4 Review – Book of the Stranger
Last night opened with the reunion of two Starks: Jon Snow and Sansa Stark. Starks finding one another is something that doesn’t happen very often in either A Song of Ice and Fire or Game of Thrones, which made it a gratifying sight to behold.
Contrary to what might be expected, it was Sansa who took the more commanding approach in Jon and Sansa’s discussions about saving Rickon. Since returning from death, Jon seems somewhat defeated and forlorn. “How can you leave us now?” one of Jon’s men asks and Jon explains that he can no longer stay after his own men killed him. “I am not your Lord Commander anymore,” Jon later states, placing himself firmly outside of his abandoned duty, yet taking the scroll that is passed to him nonetheless.
Sansa’s arrival is apt in timing, then. Just before Jon can begin to execute his plan to leave, Sansa utilises the bravado and manipulation skills that she has picked up during her troubled travels, and manages to persuade Jon to at least consider marching upon Winterfell. “It belongs to our family, we have to fight for it,” she implores, “a monster has taken our home and our brother; we have to go back to Winterfell and save them both.” And you can see the confidence and conviction in Turner’s eyes, as she states this.
Despite her setback last season when the writers made the terrible mistake of having her take on Jeyne Poole’s rape storyline, it’s great to see Sansa bite back a little and take charge of her situation. In the company that she currently keeps, she appears as one of the strongest on the wall. Melisandre seems even more defeated and humbled than Jon, and Davos seems confused and desperate, and neither of the two are able to stand up to Brienne when she tells them to their faces that she killed Stannis.
This episode focused too heavily on Eastern content (Daenerys and Tyrion’s narratives), which is a flaw that the show has suffered from many times before. Daenerys’ plight seems to only go around in circles, and her mission to free slaves is a tiring one that proves as futile. The only captivating moment was watching Daario and Jorah attempt to rescue their Khaleesi.
Emilia Clarke famously openly stated that she will not undertake anymore nude scenes in the show. Yet Daenerys stands in the final shots fully naked, with her clothes burned off. While viewing this scene we honestly thought that this was another CGI placing of an actress’ head over a nude body double, just like they did with Cersei last season. However, Clarke recently explained that this isn’t a body double, but is in fact all her. “This is all me, all proud, all strong. I’m just feeling genuinely happy I said “yes.” That ‘aint no body double!”
The lesser focus of this episode was on Littlefinger and Theon. The Petyr content seemed only there to remind us that Littlefinger has his own petulant child leader (who still loves the moon door too much) to bend to his will. And the Theon content only showed us that he intends to throw his lot in with his sister for the upcoming Kingsmoot. But if the show follows the books here (the books did all of this Iron Islands content way back and the show is only just now catching up with this) then Yara (Asha for book fans) stands no chance when up against the likes of The Crow’s Eye, Euron Greyjoy.
We like that the Lannisters and the Tryrells are starting to realise that enough is enough when it comes to the High Sparrow, and that they are making plans to seize power back from him. The Sparrows hold far too much sway in Kings Landing and it is time that someone struck back. We look forward to seeing The Mountain cleave through Sparrow after Sparrow.
This episode also saw the return of Loras Tyrell – a character that we have missed – but Finn Jones taking on the mammoth role as Iron Fist in the upcoming Netflix show (which is filming right now) does make you wonder whether Loras will come out of this alive. Actors are capable of juggling many shows nowadays, but given this show’s penchant to kill off everyone, we feel that Ser Loras’ time might be nigh.
Overall, Game of Thrones offered up a tepid episode this week. Of the four episodes to air so far this season, this episode has been the least impactful. We feel like Daenerys’ Khal massacre at the end was supposed to have more impact on us than it in fact did, but really – it’s nothing that we haven’t seen before (Daenerys utlising fire and then emerging naked from the flames). Let’s hope next week brings more ancient Westeros observations via Bran and more interesting narrative focus.
Images credit: HBO