Game of Thrones 6.4 – Book of the Stranger

GOT Sansa Brienne Pod[Previously!] GUYS. Remember how some folks were thinking the show would dip down in storytelling and energy? Ha. HA HA HA. Nope! It just gets better and better. This episode was all about families reuniting (kind of) and what was amazing for me, a woman who has watched the women of this show be abused in the most horrific of ways, was how once again, the women told the men, “Chin up” and “Just sit back. I got this.” Nope, I’ll never get enough of that. Let’s get to it, because there is a LOT.

Obligatory reminder that I am Unsullied. Don’t give me that horse pucky about “But we’re all past the books” because everything in the books is not on the show, and no one likes a show off, okay? Don’t flex your book knowledge here for you shall make me sad. It’s funny to watch me guess and flail, right? Right! Show talk only, please and thank you.

THE EYRIE IS ON THE MAP! That means Bad Boob Sucker or Littlefinger, and oh man, oh man, I have been waiting for someone to go flying… Fingers crossed, you guys. Just, strategically I love that spot on the map. Clever, clever, clever. The map is kind of one of my favorite things of all times. Maaaaybe you noticed.

Did… Jon leave his sword when he left The Wall?? Oh, no, he must have gone off for a stomp and cry, then came back to pack. He’s headed south, “somewhere warm” and Edd’s all, “How the hell are you leaving us to the ice zombies?”

I’m thinking, he saw what the ice zombies are capable of, so I’d hie to Essos, too, Edd. Use your noodle.


Sansa Stark Jon Snow

I AM CRYING. Not even going to act like I’m not. WE! ARE! FAMILY! I GOT ONE SISTER WITH ME! Oh, sweet Sansa, feeling safe with her brother. [GROSS SOBBING]

I would like to thank God and also Gjördkr the Bær Fuçkër for this moment.

Give me a second to revel in it.

A little longer…

Okay. Sansa Stark is smiling and clean, and I need another moment. It has been a HARD JOURNEY, m’lady. [sniffs] She apologizes to Jon for being a jerk, he accepts her apology, and now kiss. WAIT SORRY, WRONG HOUSE. (Lol) Side note: I do find it hilarious that what is essentially an armed monastery cannot ferment a proper pot of ale. Like, aren’t most of them known for that? What the hell are they doing all day if not practicing swordsmanship and protecting the southern world and… right. That’s what they’re doing.

Holy smokes, Jon insists they leave together, and I’m not crying, it’s just a localized rainstorm on my face. And Sansa is like, “We’re going to kick the Boltons out.”

Sansa: I will finally feel a moment’s happiness when I see Ramsay Bolton’s stink washed from the floors of Winterfell.
Jon: I’m so sleepy tie, though. So much fighting, sis…
Sansa: So here’s the thing. The answer is yes. Yes you are going to help me or Yes I’ll go alone. So. You coming?
Jon: ….n—

Davos throws some shade at Melisandre’s assurance at who will be the Prince Promised, and then… You guys? You called it. YOU. CALLED. IT. He demands to know what happened to Little Newt/Shireen (and Stannis). Before he can learn of the full horror of Little Newt (wailing and sobbing, oh precious little lady), Brienne comes in and is all, “Hey! Fire Crotch Mage! You are into some naughty, naughty no-no stuff. I know about your blood magic, and no, that’s not a euphemism about Aunt Flo. By the way? Stannis? [sucks teeth, stares down at them for they are wee and she is tall] Dead by my hand. Execution style. Well, tea time, cheers!”

I want Tormond/Gdjödkr to fall in love with her.  (Edit: I write these as I watch. *cough*)

Bad Boob Sucker spotted trying to shoot an arrow!

Patrick "Sniffles" VonIBD. Natural Selection should take care of this.

The bow is too tight and the air is too wet and a bird flew by and scaaaaaaared me and my hand hurts and my boot is tight and I miss Mummy’s Special Drink but she went flying through the Moon Door  and my corns are aching and my hay fever gives my nose a cramp and…

Littlefinger arrives and BBS breaks into a milky grin whilst mouth breathing, happy to see Unka Petyr.

Aryn Eyrie Petyr Baelish

I like gifts! My favorite gift is being given a puppy to throw through the Moon Door because I am the worst and someone should have stepped on me at childbirth, ha. [wipes spittle from his chin]

Unka Petyr, however, is trying his slippery lies with Lord Royce, the one guy who seems to be honorable on paper in the Eyrie, and Royce is not having any of that nonsense. Problem: Bad Boob Sucker gets final say on what’s what, and it’s been an awful long time since he made someone fly, and Uncle Petyr always lets him do what he wants. Can he make the man who maybe-probably-didn’t-at-all-sell-Sansa-to-the-Boltons fly until he splats with a great red squish at the bottom, Uncle Peter? Can he?

Littlefinger: Well, maybe not just yet. Let’s let him fight for us, and then you can squish him. Speaking of fighting…
Bad Boob Sucker: …I should help fight for my cousin?
Littlefinger: Who’s the smartest creep I know?
Bad Boob Sucker: I am! Me! It’s me, right? I am?
Littlefinger: Yes, you are the creep I know. I mean, yes, you’re right. Let’s go join the fray.


Tyrion, with the help of his wacky band of brothers, is trying to help out Daenerys by meeting with the masters of the various slave cities. They just want Dany to make like a leaf and get the fuck out of town. Tyrion, with his “You don’t need slaves to be rich. I’m richer than either of you and we don’t have slaves. We call them indentured servants and the system is capitalism, duh. Totally different.”


Tyrion: How about this. In seven years, no more slaves. And you’ll stop funding the Sons of the Harpy.
Masters: Ha, um, we don’t fund them???
Tyrion: Just like the Koch brothers aren’t behind the GOP, I get it. [wink] But yeah. Cut that shit out. So! Sounds like a plan? Here are some sex slaves.
Locals: This is terrible. Also, who the hell are you, short bro? What gives you the right?
Tyrion: I’m the very short and drunken spokes-piece? And kind of sort of Dany gave me the right?
Missandei: Guys? I don’t trust him or the slavers. But we need to do something, right?
Locals: Everything is terrible.

As Tyrion richsplained slavery to two former slaves, all I could think of was this:

harriet tubman tyrion lannister


While I get how Missandei and Grey Worm are mad at Tyrion, Tyrion does make a good point. “War is hell. Slavery is evil. I cannot end them today on my own. So. I’m doing my best. And their contempt is their weakness. We’ll use them and—”

“You will not use them,” Grey Worm says gravely. “They will use you. That is what they do.” Well, he’s not wrong. Evil will always exist, huh? If I may quote Angel, one of the great genre TV shows (I will fight you), “If nothing we do matters, then the only thing that matters is what we do.”

Daario and Jorah climb sexily (Jorah pants even more sexily) and their banter is… [kisses fingers]. This is everything I could want. Two dudes, one hot and in his prime, banging the queen, one old and in his prime, wanting to turn that queen into an empress. They have their dick measuring contest over a river—

Daario: [whips it out, pees] Ooh, water’s cold.
Jorah: [whips it out, pees] Deep, too.

—and Jorah says, “Look. We need each other right now to save Dany.” And Daario’s all, “She likes it when I call her…” ENOUGH, DUDE. Go back to Orphan Black and leave me with sexy even though he is dying from Stone-ism Jorah.

….if you don’t think I’m going to call the heart attack I give Iain Glenn when we slow dance at our wedding “Death by Stone-ism” then you’re not paying attention. Okay, that was gross. I’m gross. I apologize.

Jorah Mormont Daario Dothraki

“Look. My nickname ain’t ‘little finger’. It’s– Stop making me fight with you over Khaleesi, you uncouth upstart.”

Daario spies Jorah’s patch of Stoney (hahaha) and now the jig is up. He’ll be on high alert, won’t he?

The two slip into the town at night, their aim to get to the temple where Jorah assumes Dany is being kept. Unfortunately, they’re caught up by two Dothraki. Daario kills one, and Jorah gets in a pickle with his. Turns out that Daario did not drop his lady-bod-handled knife, and helps out. Daario covers up the stab wound by smashing the dude’s face in with a rock. Problem solved!

Next problem: Dany slipping out with a sweet Khaleesi widow in order to line up with the dudes. Nice! I have literally no idea what’s happening, and I assume Dany knew they were coming, although I don’t know how. Faith? I guess. Girl wasn’t surprised, is what I’m getting at. The young widow is, however, but Dany made nice, and this young lady is willing to do what Dany says. We have to wait to find out what that is, though.

Queen Margaery watches millipedes on the wall, because her cell doesn’t come with cable. Nun Ratchet shows up and takes her to Cult Pope, who wants to know her Summer Vacation plans, should he let her out. She’d go straight to her family. Well, that’s sin. (Uh. This is how you know it’s a cult.)

The Tale of How Cult Pope Came To Be

Once upon a time there was a cobbler’s son. He worked long and hard to master his father’s craft, and in fact exceeded his father’s talent. The rich from far and wide paid dearly for the finery of the shoes the young man crafted.

He earned his coin, and more. And then even more. Until one day, he threw a giant kegger for his fellow plebes. They drank and danced, most likely to Kanye, until they fell into a drunken stupor and probably also they fell under the influence of MDMA or something. When the young man awoke, he found everyone naked and in weird positions on the floor, not unlike a Sunday morning at a Phi Kappa house. The women had mascara and smeared lipstick on their faces, the dudes kind of sort of pooped themselves, and he was the only one sober enough to bear witness to it. Such a mess!

And it was like an angel spake unto him saying, “Thou hast some stank-ass, rank friends.” And he replied, “Yea verily.” And the angel spake again, saying, “And no one appreciated the fine wine you bought. Lo, for it could have been rot-gut and they would have dranken it,” and he replied, “Amen.” And the angel continued saying, “That wast quite stupid of you,” and the young man said, “Yeah, I heard you the first time,” but the angel pressed on saying, “No, but really.”

The angel spake yet again, saying, “And dost thou feel as if thou hast wasted thine money?” And the man replied, “It is so.” And the angel fixed him with a look, one that made him feel small and stupid, and the young man made a vow, saying that he would give up the pleasures of the flesh, for that is how cutting the angel’s look was.

And here we are today, all because a frat boy had a bad trip and felt like he got screwed out of his money. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Margaery: Uh. Great story?
Cult Pope: Want to see your brother?
Margaery: …Really??

Loras, meanwhile, is jacked the fuck up in a prison cell. My guess: Margaery is going to lie and do anything she can to get him out. Margaery is one bad muh-fuh, and I love her.

margaery tyrell Loras prison

BRO. Bro. I got this. Just like I have ALWAYS gotten this. Pretend my grammar is good. I’ve been watching Centipede Channel for weeks. I… might be slipping. Prison is hard. This is no Orange is the New Black.

Tommen continues to prove his stones have dropped by standing up to maester Cat Piss when Mummy wants a visit. Funny moment: the exaggerated slowness with with Pycelle shuffles out of Tommen’s room. I bet if FrankenGregor showed up he’d pick up the 2-Step a bit…

Cersei makes the point that whether she despises Margery or not is irrelevant. The important part is that they crush the High Sparrow and smash him into bits on the cobble, including Cersei dancing barefoot in his guts, just a little. Just to make a point, not to be, you know, gross about it.

Step one, let Lady Olenna know that Cult Pope plans on having Margaery have a Walk of Shame, too.

(Pride Stride, say it with me, people. Oh, not the same thing, sorry. Carry on.) Lady Olenna appears to be ready to side with Team Incest to prevent her beloved granddaughter from Cersei’s fate. Amazing things: Lady Olenna’s face as she listens to Jaime and Cersei explain the plan. Yes, yes, they actually know some things and are a force to be reckoned with. She even makes Kevan Lannister understand they need to move forward here. I love it. LOVE IT.

But oh, my heart. Theon is coming home. All hail Alfie for his heartbreakingly complex performance as Theon Greyjoy. I swear, he’s been a nonstop ride from the first moment. Sister Yara is furious at the sight of him, and with good reason.

Theon yara Greyjoy Iron Islands

Please note that while he’s taller, he is the smallest thing in the room in every way imaginable. God, he’s a great actor.

He’s really only there because she’s his family and he wants her to rule. He goes so far as to ask who does she want him to say this to? Because he’s been broken into 1,000 pieces (“I know. Ramsay Bolton sent me one. That’s why I came for you.” CUE MY TEARS) Aaaaand here’s another family reunion making me happy. It’s not the same as the Starks, but it’s pretty damn good. Christ, has Theon paid over and above for his sins…

Speaking of sinners, Ramsay has Tonks (Osha) brought before him. He’s enchanted by her whole, “I’ve seen worst than you can do” schtick. She pulls the “distract with sex” thing, but he already knows who she is and she gets a knife to the jugular for the effort. Ugh, Tonks, I am so, so sorry you are dying with Ramsay’s taste on your tongue. Good lord, worst thing ever. Man, Tonks can’t manage to finish out a series, can she?? D:

We’re back up at the wall, and the world knew I needed something good. And that comes in the form of Gjördkr the Bær Fuçkër eye-fucking Brienne, and I swear you guys, I write these as I watch, and everything I wanted is happening. THIS IS HAPPENING. Brienne, though, is a little put out by his table manners, ahahaha. They get a letter from Lord Bolton, however.

“You’re a stink butt traitor and we have Rickon. Oh, rape, dogs, torture, etc. LYLAB! Ramsay [smiley face]”

Sansa: Seems legit. Let’s fight.
Jon: Mother f…
Gjördkr: Uh. Shit. I don’t normally balk at fighting, but…
Sansa: Yeah, but righteousness on our side. Also, I’m super pissed.
Jon: You make a good point.

Dany, once again forced to stand while people talk in their own language, not remembering she speaks it too, has to endure dudebros threatening rape. She rolls her eyes because that again? Pfft. That’s all they have, these Dothraki. Guess what she’s got? OH, JUST YOU WAIT AND SEE. The Dothraki never seem to learn, huh?

Side note, shout out to the country of my heart, New Zealand, for casting amazing actors. Also, shout out to this show for being brilliant. Dismantle the religions of this world and expose the fools who believe in them? That’s the theme.

Dany knocks over all the burning whatever they’re called, the light source or something, I’m too excited, BRAZIERS!! Those things! Right! The building goes up in flames with the Dothraki screaming in fear, locked inside. She stands there, Unburnt, like a mother fucking boss. How You Like Me Now plays on 11 as she steps out; the entire Dothraki clan sees her unburnt, unblemished, whole.

Daenerys Targaryen Dothraki Dragons


Jorah flashes back to S1 and murmurs, “Khaleesi” and even Daario is turned on by it. Yeah, Daario. You just thought she was hot. Jorah knew. He’s always known.

And there’s Khaleesi’s army. Shiiiit. HELL. YEAH.

Have I mentioned how much I’m loving this season? All the pain, all the torture, all the horribleness HAS. BEEN. WORTH. IT.

Christ, I love this show. I do. It’s flawed, let’s not be silly, but when it’s good? It’s fucking breathtaking.


In the “next week” preview…


Talladega nights Will Ferrell

I am going to keyboard smash for a week, that’s what I’m going to do. Bran is going to get an idea of what’s coming. Jon and Sansa are going to take a GIANT to Winterfell (this is my hope; y’all know I have no idea) and WunWun is going to grab Ramsay by the foot and smash him onto the cobblestones–just a little, not to kill him, but to knock him out–then at Sansa’s behest, step on him until he pops like a grape.


You will feel a disturbance in the force if that happens, and that will be my soul soaring. Gah, also on the wish list: Lord Arryn falling through the moon door and grabbing Uncle Petyr in one last embrace.

I’m getting bloodthirsty. Ha. What are your thoughts, you guys? Best season yet?

[Click for the next ep, THE DOOR]

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  • MaxwellJames

    We’re back up at the wall, and the world knew I needed something good. And that comes in the form of Gjördkr the Bær Fuçkër eye-fucking Brienne, and I swear you guys, I write these as I watch, and everything I wanted is happening. THIS IS HAPPENING. Brienne, though, is a little put out by his table manners, ahahaha.

    Via the excellent Saladin Ahmed, this GIF needs to be here:

    (can’t stick around this morning, but great post as always!)

  • Rebekah Fletcher

    Loved the fascination Tormund had with Brienne, and is it just me or did Edd seem a bit smitten with Sansa too? I loved that little family dinner and would love to hear the stories they all must have told each other. I also want Davos and Brienne to be friends, even though she killed his BFF.

    The repeated theme of a brother reuniting with a sister after great trauma and the sister being the leader was great. Sisters need to take care of their brothers! Now they need to escape from church prison, take over the salt throne, and murder Ramsay Bolton/rescue Rickon.

    • Anthony Gitto

      Why WOULDN’T Edd be smitten with Sansa?!? He’s been on the wall and seen nothing but men, dirty wildlings wearing too many furs, and Hot but creepy Lady Mages and then this beautiful LADY comes to the wall?!?! (I know I know… she’s YOUNG and he’s OLDER and I shouldn’t be saying she’s pretty, but who doesn’t appreciate a 20 yr old beauty?)

    • Oh, I totally picked up on Edd being gobsmacked by Sansa. But then, she’s awful pretty, awful kind, and awful sure of what she wants. It’s pretty attractive as a whole. :D

      Oh boy, am I hoping Rickon is saved and Ramsay dies painfully. FINGERS CROSSED.

    • Olive

      Also, don’t forget, the Wildlings seem to have a thing about gingers. Remember Ygritte and all that “kissed by fire” talk?

  • Anthony Gitto

    This was another example of an episode that was slightly interrupted in my head imagining Laura freaking out on her couch ;)

    The hug between Sansa and Jon looked 100% genuine and brought the feels. I’ve watched that damn gif WAY too much already.

    Ohh my… the look Tormund gave Brienne on BOTH occasions they are near each other!!! This is gonna be interesting! I like this MUCH better than my previous thoughts on who he would be obsessed with…

    As someone who has had the “I’m sorry we were both such assholes” convo with my little sister (and older sister, and at least one older brother for that matter) this was written beautifully.

    Tyrion is such a smart cookie. He knows the mentality of EVERYONE he deals with and can use that to every advantage.

    Whoa Whoa Whoa… Cersei is setting up the Tyrells to be the sole family standing up to the Cult Church and no-one notices??

    Damnit Tonks! She was Sooooo underutilized.

    A naked Dany again? I thought she put a clause into her contract so that she didn’t have to do that again? Must be CGI… but wouldn’t it be mentally basically the same thing? I don’t understand, but then again I don’t have to. As long as she’s good with it!

    I swear that woman looks utterly confident in just about every situation.

    • One thing I really want to commend the show on, aside from Team Incest, they really get sibling dynamics. There are five of us, and we’re from a really big family (like, really big), and I love how they show the Starks. (Other non-Lannister siblings, too, although the way they treat Tyrion is unfortunately pretty real for some.)

      Dany IS confident in every situation! That’s what makes her excellent queen material. Now, I’m not saying that she SHOULD be confident in every situation… ;)

    • Lyanna Mormont

      Maybe she agreed to do a nude scene that wasn’t at all sexualized, just about her being in complete power?

      • Jaehaerys

        I think this is closer to the mark. I’ve read elsewhere that it was sex scenes, not nude scenes, per se, that were contractually outlawed. My guess is that with Dany, some nude scenes (as we just saw) are required by the plot (you aren’t getting outta a burning building with clothes on…) and the showrunners couldn’t have agreed to it.

        • I guess I’m not following why it matters, you guys?

  • EvilDragon

    I love this episode: nice things happened for a change (except poor Osha). We’re truly approaching the endgame now, with even more storylines colliding, an unusual high rate of dead supporting players and reappearances of people absent for a few seasons (hi Yunkish master from season 3 whose name I forgot).

    Sansa’s and Jon’s reunion was everything and liked how both apologized for their behavior back in Winterfell. It seems like everyone and their mother is shipping Brienne/Tormund and who can blame them. This pairing is perfect together and I fully support whoever came up with the name “the bearfucker and the maiden fair”.

    Daenerys storyline was beautiful even if it went almost like I expected. I predicted Drogon to do all the burning but this way it is better, with Dany doing it all herself with minor assistance from Jorah and Daario barring doors and killing guards,

    • Anthony Gitto

      “the bearfucker and the maiden fair” BAHAHAHA Genius!

      And how could you forget a name like Razdal mo Eraz?!? just joking… I HAD to look it up once you brought it up ;)

    • BEARFUCKER AND MAIDEN FAIR! Brilliant. I’m pissed I didn’t come up with it.

      I like the parallels with Dany and Jon — fire and ice, rebirth, and does this mean Jon has to “die” again? Hmm, I hope not.

      • EvilDragon

        I can’t take credit for this, I saw it on twitter. It is really brilliant though.

    • Lyanna Mormont

      Bearfucker and the maiden fair!!!!!!!!

      (Not enough exclamation points in the world for that…)

  • house threepwood

    It was nice to see the Stark reunion and all,but I feel I must address this.The fact that the show has moved beyond the books ,is probably good for the pace,but it begins to reflect badly on the dialogue.The one Jon has with Sansa especially,MAN was that bad.But anyway,other than that good,the pace has picked up and that’s a good thing I suppose,but sooner or later they will run out of great quotes I’m afraid.Sorry for my bad English,not my native language,I enjoy your recaps quite a bit!

    • Nah. I disagree. ;)

      As a never reader, the dialog feels the same. And I really don’t want to hash out the differences in the books v. show. Because again, I’M NOT A BOOK READER.

      I feel like this is an argument book readers have, and no one else is. (And your English is outstanding, so you know!)

      • house threepwood

        Fair enough hahahah!!;)

      • Cyrano Thebirdsareback

        The High Sparrow’s back-story and how he came to his faith was an outstanding monologue. Tyrion’s realpolitik was nicely scripted. Jon and Sansa talking and the Greyjoy sib reunion was great. I thought Jorah and Daario’s convo was a little weak, but I (never read any of these “books” I hear about) agree that the dialogue generally feels the same this season. Maybe bookreaders have the expectation of certain lines and feel their absence as the show has moved past the books? And do we know that GRRM hasn’t given the showrunners bits of key dialogue to spread throughout S6?

        • I feel like we’re being reminded of the pissing contest between these two men. It wasn’t the strongest convo, but that’s because there were so many important moments, I think. Just my $.02

    • Lyanna Mormont

      I had no big issues with the dialogue between Jon and Sansa.

      Then again, I was watching with my heart bursting and my eyes tearing up, so I may have missed some details, but… clearly it did the trick for me.

  • Andy Street

    Brothers and sisters was definitely a major theme this week. Another thing I loved was Jaimie and Cersei – when they are together they are competent and able to make sensible, properly thought out decisions. Almost like they are actually Tywin’s heirs. Separately Jaimie charges in without thinking and Cersei turns into a hot mess. Who would have thought this show would end up having me rooting for the creepy incest siblings?

    Briemond/Torienne would be AWESOME together. I hope he doesn’t try to romance her in the traditional wildling way – that wouldn’t end well for him.

    I would echo having thoroughly had enough of Ramsey now. It’s time for him to die. I did enjoy his ridiculous overreaching letter. Sansa needs to take it with her when rallying the other Northern lords to illustrate just what a complete loon they are following…

    • “Jaimie and Cersei – when they are together they are competent and able to make sensible, properly thought out decisions” SO TRUE! And I, too, am strangely rooting for Team Incest? Not to win the throne, but just to not die. Maybe find a little house somewhere,

      Ramsay’s letter was PREPOSTEROUS. What a bag of dicks he is. Oh, I like her sharing the letter! Can you imagine? THE NORTH REMEMBERS, and there Ramsay, usurper and patricide-partaker threatening to rape a Stark girl. OHO. THE UPPANCE COMETH.

    • Cyrano Thebirdsareback

      What other Northern Lords could Sansa / Jon rally? Bolton, Umber, Manderlay (who?), and Karstark are all (apparently) allied.
      The only House we know is against the Bolton forces is Lyanna Mormont of Bear Island.
      Wun Wun at the gates of Winterfell — MAKE IT HAPPEN!

      • Lyanna Mormont

        Hey! Did you just “only” my namesake?

        • Cyrano Thebirdsareback

          No offense intended!

      • Lisa

        Meera’s father, the Reeds, is probably still loyal.

      • Anthony Gitto

        Of the northern houses we have been introduced to or heard reference to, here is the outlook on the show:

        Anti Stark:

        Cerwyn – Ramsay flayed the Lord and Wife so that the son would fall in line. – Season 5, Episode 3.

        Pro Stark:

        Reed – Meera is with Bran, so a supporter.
        Mormont – Letter from Lady Lyanna to Stannis stated “Bear island knows no king but the King in the North, whose name is Stark.” – Season 5, Episode 2

        Unknown current allegiance:


        • Lyanna Mormont

          Karstarks with the Boltons, too.

          • Anthony Gitto

            i realized that and edited just about the same time you commented. Thanks!

      • Andy Street

        Well Roose said that the Boltons, Umbers, Karstarks and Manderlays have more men than the other Northern houses put together. They are the big players but there are presumably a number of smaller houses sworn to Winterfell – Robb had dozens of bannermen at his big meeting in S1 and could pull together 20,000 men at pretty short notice to march south.

        I wonder if the 5000 mentioned by Sansa is just the Bolton men? She left before the Karstarks and Umbers turned up. And we’ve not met Lord Manderlay yet so he’s not necessarily on team psychopath…

        • Cyrano Thebirdsareback

          But the effective fighting forces of House Umber and presumably House Manderlay were both annihilated (or nearly so) by the Bolton / Frey forces at the Red Wedding, correct?
          And yes, I think the 5,000 sounds about right for the Bolton forces alone.
          Is House Reed still a powerful house? I don’t even know if it is in the North, but there is a historic bond between them and the Starks (even w/o the Meera + Jojen connection to Bran). The only other Northern house I remember is Mormont. Lyanna Mormont is most definitely not on Team Psychopath.

          • I love that everyone is comfortable chatting each other up in comments! <3

            Let's just make sure we stick to the talk about the SHOW and not data from the books. From what I remember, the information about the Reeds is pretty dang limited.

            • Cyrano Thebirdsareback

              For sure! I just remember this from S3E02 Dark Wings, Dark Words:
              Bran: When my father died, I dreamt it.
              Jojen: You didn’t dream it. You saw it. So did I.
              Bran: You have the sight, too?
              Jojen: When I told my father about your father for the first time in my life, I saw him cry.
              Bran: Your father is Howland Reed?
              Jojen: Yeah.

              And then this from last week:
              Bran: That’s my father.
              3-Eyed Raven: The man beside him is Howland Reed, Meera’s father.

              So it makes sense that they would be a relationship between the two houses.

            • chortles81

              Ramsay’s claim from the second episode would make the combined forces of his side (Bolton’s five thousand, plus the presumably unattrited force of Karstark, plus what’s left of Umber and Manderly after the Red Wedding) supposedly over fifty percent of the fighting manpower in the north, but Manderly alone might be able to flip that equation, and if the valemen intervene we can throw them in too… plus tactics can help with the numbers disparity (Ser Twenty of House Goodmen, not my joke).

          • Andy Street

            Howland Reed is Ned’s faithful bannerman and saved his life one time, and his kids are very much Stark loyalists – that’s all we know as far as the show is concerned.

            I just want to play this all out on Stannis’ big Warhammer table…

            • Cyrano Thebirdsareback

              Dammit! The loss of that Dragonstone set (and especially the table) just compounds the loss of Stannis! I am still bent about the way that BS plot wrecked Stannis last season.

  • Lisa

    Sister/Brother hugs for the win!!!

    And I want Tormund to tell Brienne he thinks she’s hot. And she gives a tiny smile as she walks away.

    Awesome episode

  • Raja

    Ah – I didn’t know we were okay with mentioning what’s in the ‘Next time on GOT preview’ – A warning would have been nice!

    • RAJA, I AM SICK TO MY STOMACH. I am so sorry! Addressing that RIGHT THIS SECOND.

      • Raja

        You’re fine :) I know these recaps are put out in a hurry!

  • DrewHolton

    The only thing I thought was missing in the Jon/Sansa brother/sister talk scene was a caption saying “Three Days Later…” because they’d need that much time to tell each other their stories.

    • OMG. You’re 10000% right, ahahaha

    • Lyanna Mormont

      I seriously missed the opportunity to see her react to the fact that he was MURDERED and CAME BACK FROM THE DEAD.

      Or does she not know yet? Did he just say they “tried” to kill him, perhaps? But no, that wouldn’t set him free from his oath…

  • mrspidey80

    “Tyrion: Just like the Koch brothers aren’t behind the GOP, I get it. [wink] But yeah. Cut that shit out. So! Sounds like a plan? Here are some sex slaves.”
    I’m quite sure those were regular hookers, as in women who chose to do that kind of work and are getting paid for it.
    Otherwise Tyrion’s comment about “tasting freedom” (I’m paraphrasing) wouldn’t make much sense.

    The Stark reunion was everything. And as if the hugging wasn’t enough already to make my eyes wet, Sansa then proceeds to gently rub her cheek on Jon’s hair. That’s when I completely lost it.
    Great work, Sophie!

    • Lyanna Mormont

      Yeah, Tyrion was spectacularly clueless about how to explain himself to Melisandre, Frey Worm, or the Meereenese. (So damn many ees in that word, I’m losing the ability to type!) I can sort of see what he’s getting at with his plan, but… he’s never really had to deal with commoners before, has he, much less ex-slaves. Well, there were Shae and Bronn, but he wasn’t exactly talking to them about what it was like to be poor. And that “I was a slave too!” seriously made me cringe. Thank heavens for Missandei’s sarcasm, it allowed me to not bang my head against the table.

    • I hope they’re regular hookers, or better yet, SEX ASSASSINS. Dibs on band band!

      That cheek rub was everything. EVERYTHING

      • mrspidey80

        It’s the little things that REALLY get me on this show.

      • Johan Kristian Milde

        This is a city that until a few months ago was training various kinds of slaves, including sex slaves, that recently had its entire power structure torn up and in a pre-industrial society. The notion of self-chosen sex work is sadly not really a fitting idea for the situation, unless you include sex work for sustenance and survival as “self chosen”. So was not quite pleased with Tyrion’s gift of people, although it fitted well in with his reasoning.

        • Anthony Gitto

          We have seen quite a few instances where there are brothels being used by former slaves, including the Unsullied. I highly doubt that THEY would be supporting a Slavery supported institution. While I agree that the notion of “self Chosen” sex-work probably doesn’t exist yet(except in the case of former bed slaves who want to continue their “trade”) that would take a generation or so to happen to fully separate from it’s Slavery roots.

          Plus I didn’t get the impression that he was gifting the people… only offerring sex to sell the concept that things wouldn’t change so much for the rich if slavery went away. While this concept is still deplorable from our view in modern society, it’s closer to the reality that would have to exist for them for MANY years to come.

  • Lyanna Mormont


    So, yeah. Dany’s got herself an army. Guess that’ll come in handy. Let’s table that “Drogon flies in and fries them all” idea now, mkay? Cause that would be epically bad timing. Hey, the Dosh Khaleen said Dany’s son was the Stallion That Mounts the World, and Dany’s the Mother of Dragons, so… that makes Drogon the Stallion That Mounts the World, right?

    Okay, those sibling reunions. My HEART. Was there a dry eye anywhere when Sansa threw herself into Jon’s arms? I think not! Certainly not in my house. And she just… takes charge. (Well, after apologizing for being a brat when she was a kid.) She knows what needs to be done, and just wants Jon by her side, saving the North together.

    And yeah, Tormund had his eye on Brienne the second she rode through the gate. Tall, strong, a fighter – everything a wildling respects. And he doesn’t even know her heart and fierceness and loyalty yet – he’ll stand no chance at all once he gets to know her. (Not that he’ll want to stop falling for her, I bet.) Oh, this is so perfect. Whoever dreamed up this ‘ship gets a thousand gold stars. How did I not think of it myself before now?

    The High Sparrow’s recruitment drive has an incentive program that rivals HYDRA’s. (Hey, your fault, Laura – you started it last week.) Do what I want and your brother maybe gets out of jail! Or at least he won’t be too badly harmed. Just a little bit, until we convert him properly. And you. You’ll do it to keep your brother safe, won’t you, little queen?

    And Yara and Theon, again, sibling perfection. All these actors are so bloody brilliant at portraying sibling relationships. It feels real. And here’s a pair that were separated at a young age, raised apart, briefly reunited as adults while disagreeing on just about everything… but they’re still family, and they’ll still do just about anything for each other when push comes to shove. I wonder if Theon’s support will mean anything to the rest of the Iron Islanders, though? And there’s the specter of Crazy Brother of Balon hanging over the whole thing – he’s not just going to push his brother into the sea and then disappear, so he’ll show up again, probably at the worst possible time from Yara’s and Theon’s perspective.

    Ramsay’s letter. Yeah. Things happened differently in the books (which is all I’ll say about that) but most of that letter is pretty damn familiar. Such a classy dude, that Ramsay. Don’t think you could use your marriage to Sansa to hold the North if you did THAT to her – too many people would know, someone would talk, and everyone who ever liked the Starks even a smidgeon would rebel.

    Speaking of… hey, Jon? I know you’re looking at the numbers, but there are other families in the North, you know. *Points to name* Remember Lyanna Mormont’s letter to Stannis? “Bear Island knows no king but the King in the North, whose name is STARK”? Yeah, she’d send you an army to march against the Boltons in a heartbeat – you, Sansa, Rickon, any or all of you. And I’m pretty sure she can’t be the only one.

    And so there’s Dany, the Unburnt, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea. She doesn’t need to be rescued, thanks very much, she’ll do one better herself and get 100,000 Dothraki to follow her. And that was one impressive framing, with the fire in the background, her clothes burnt away but she’s untouched… Yeah. Who wouldn’t bow down before her at that moment?

    Fantastic episode. Just fantastic.

    (But what was the title about?)

    • Anthony Gitto

      Well, the Stranger represents Death, so maybe the killing of the Khals? I feel like that’s a bit of a stretch though…

    • The title was the book from their version of a Bible! The High Sept/Cult Pope was shocked that Margaery knew it.

  • crowTrobot

    Loved the Richard Pryor reference.

  • Zack


    omg I can’t even

    Mainly because Wow, Sansa. The hug, which was so lovely. Obviously Jon and Arya have a close relationship and their reunion will rock, but Sansa was always so MEAN to him so this particular moment was even more poignant. She’s so much wiser, and stronger, and amazing now. She saved Theon every bit as much as he saved her, and now she’s rallying forces to retake the North, omg.

    Queen Sansa, the First of Her Name. please, show. Please.

    • WAS THIS NOT AMAZING? (I think Hardhome is my fave, still, but I don’t know. I’d be splitting hairs between some pretty damn good episodes.)


      • Jaehaerys

        Agreed that Hardhome is still the tops… but we’re quibbling over the difference between a 9.5 star episode and a 9.3 star episode.

  • JCDavis

    Laura Stone? THE Laura Stone? We read you every week! Thanks for the Queen, Pointer Sisters, Richard Pryor, Harry Potter, Firefly references. Always a blast to read between the lines and I am sure that I missed some of them too….Now I have Bohemian Rhapsody in my head, thanks.

    The show: Jon and Sansa – Daenerys and fire. This packed and artfully packaged episode had it all. I have to give it up to the show runners in general, but they got this one right. From side glances, to eye fucking to skull duggery to ala familia! I was riveted from jump and Brienne/Pod/Sansa knocking on the door of Winterfell and my eyes welled up. No shame, I cried. It is true that I cry at a Hallmark commercial, but hey this shows that there IS crying in the game of Thrones.

    The HS/Cult Pope has something really degenerate planned, playing each against the other, but I prefer your version of frat night gone bad. I am still waiting for Cersie to blow our minds and we see the purple smoke coming up from her head as she raises her own brand of hell. It is hard for me to concentrate when Jaime and the Queen of Thorns are in the same room. Too much cute!

    I want Tormund Bearfucker to start leaving Brienne little gifts, she is having none of it, but isn’t it great to see her being appreciated for the huge gorgeous warrior that she is? Power to the people and give peace a chance, I am ready for a seven day love-in at the Amsterdam hotel.

    I do hope you smash some keys this week, there is still much that wasn’t talked about!

    • JCDavis

      If Sansa/Brienne/Pod were knocking at the door of Winterfell….it is a bit premature. How about Castle Black. *sigh* Sometimes my fingers type faster than my brain.

      • (I knew what you meant, no worries!!)

        • JCDavis

          Thanks. I hope you got the “THE Joan Wilder” reference above. I have Romancing the Stone on my brain. “At least I stole the Throne, I wasn’t trying to romance out from under her”….can’t wait to use that line at some point. ;)

    • Oh my gosh, I am a well-documented over-cryer. It’s ridiculous. Don’t get me started on elderly dog food commercials…

      Oh, can the gifts Tormund/Gjödkr leaves her be things like pelts, freshly cut out livers, bear fat to make her boots waterproof? I WOULD LOVE IT.

  • AUGH!!! D: D: D:

    Lancel, the evil you have wrought!!

  • Pingback: Game of Thrones Season 6 Episode 4 "Book of the Stranger" Recap Round-Up | Watchers on the Wall | A Game of Thrones Community for Breaking News, Casting, and Commentary()

  • Donna Mugavero

    Superb- SUPERB recap, oh Writer of Words. Reliving the episode through your eyes was so intense, I had to get up and walk around halfway through your post. I am not kidding!

    Fray = Frey. I thought the same thing. Jinx!

    So. Many. Things. To love. All the women had all the agency in this episode and I was loving it!

    I had this crazy thought that if Martin is involved enough in the story arcs, he’s probably getting the biggest kick out of talking plot lines and having it happen like magic without the lonely slog of novel-writing. Just a thought. Kind of like Albert Brooks in Broadcast News when he calls Holly Hunter, gives her some info that she then gives to William Hurt via earpiece during a live broadcast. “I say it here and it comes out there.”

    Thanks as always- my friends and I think your recaps are the only thing that blunts the pain of having to wait until next Sunday.

    And, of course, adding to the Mad Quickies. THANKS!


      God the women being strong in this episode gives me life, it really does. And I agree about GRRM probably enjoying seeing it come to vision faster than the books, but probably a bit of stress, too, and maybe some “which came first, chicken or egg?” thinking as he gets back to his typewriter…

      OMG, let me love you for gracing my comments with Holly Hunter and Broadcast News, one of the greatest of all time.

      Thank YOU so much for your continued support of my flailing! :D

      • Jaehaerys

        I was also thinking fray=Frey. I think Littlefinger has to go through the Twins to get his army into the North in any case, so there should logically be some opportunity for that interaction to occur. I wonder whether Walder already knows about what Ramsay did to Walda (and her Frey-Bolton heir to Winterfell…) or whether well-informed Littlefinger will be the one tell him. Either way, it’s not hard to guess where Walder’s sympathies will lie. Littlefinger may well be able to get his army across the troll bridge for little or no toll at all! Although, Littlefinger IS single, and Walder is always trying to get rid of his ample progeny, so there’s always that toll risk…

        • Ahahaha, omg, excellent point about Littlefinger taking on a Walda X.0!

        • Lyanna Mormont

          Allow me to fourth that sentiment – I was half expecting the next scene to be of Walder Frey getting the news of Walda’s death, or something.

  • magnusk_98

    Since I arrived late this week (just came back from visiting my brother in Dubai, which was a pretty mindblowing place to visit), I don’t have so much to say, because there’s just so much to catch up upon. But, man, finally another awesome Dany moment, after so much time. And so much other goodness. Gjoerd/Brienne, Jon and Sansa meeting. Damn.

    This season really is shaping up to kick the entire series in the ass. GRRM better take some notes.

    • Was that not an amazing Dany moment? (And she needed one.) I am so freaking happy with this season. SO. HAPPY.

      Glad you’re back safe and sound!

      • magnusk_98

        Thank you! :)

  • moata

    It’s a testament to how this show has messed with me that when we see Jon preparing to leave, followed by Sansa arriving that I immediately suspected she was actually arriving somewhere else, perhaps on the way to Castle Black and that then the rug was going to be pulled out from us because those are the sort of nasty tricks TV shows pull sometimes.
    But it was glorious and I actually yelled “cuddle her!” at the TV. So thanks for the mindfucking, GoT.
    Similarly, the scene with Jorah and Daario in which the latter is goading the former made me believe that perhaps Daario was about to be taken down a peg, but in a traumatic groin-injury kind of way. Whereas it turned out to be that he suddenly realised, despite his closeness to Dany, that he didn’t know what she was at all. I love how subtly that was played at the end. Just a look and we see he finally understands how powerful she is and more to the point that Jorah is the one who really knows her (just not in the biblical sense).
    Osha. I had hopes she might still have something left to do, that she might get to at least aid Rickon in some way before she got taken out, but that smug little prick – GRRRRR – and I suppose she got fed to the dogs too…
    I’m finding it really interesting how fond Tyrion is of using his father’s lessons in his new role. That whole “you make peace with your enemies, not your friends” thing was 100% Tywin. He seemingly never had time for his father’s wisdom when he was alive but is full to the brim of it now.
    And Margaery was awesome. I like how her character has developed to show a steely resolve as well as the clever manipulations. But I suppose anyone who was willing to be married to Joffrey Baratheon is made of pretty stern stuff.
    I just loved how great the women were in this episode, and particularly Sansa who reminded me a lot of her mother in being strong and forceful in her opinions. Here’s hoping her counsel to Jon works out better than Caitlyn’s did to Robb…
    Also, loved the mic drop moment when Brienne reveals she ended Stannis and SHE AIN’T SORRY.
    Oh, and Laura, when I told you the Dothraki dude was a New Zealander and you said you’d get behind him I was thinking “Don’t. He’ll likely be dead soon”, well…


      Guys? This is on me. My bad. ;)

      I kind of really love the idea of Tyrion taking things that worked for Tywin in ugly ways and turning them to be used for good in his own fashion. I REALLY love that a lot.

      (And I loved your point about Daario and Jorah. Yes times a million-fifty.)

      • chortles81

        Tyrion’s mortal sin in Tywin’s eyes, even moreso than dwarfism, dissipation, or his mother’s death: being the “Tywin Lannister’s son” that Jaime was supposed to be.

  • Jaehaerys

    Other than the ending, the moment that really caught me was when The Cool Kids Table was in progress and Sansa is *totally* okay with the Night’s Watch poor fare for food. Young(er) Sansa would have said the same things, of course, but only simply to be polite (and then shoved the bowl away when no one was looking). But, here, it is clear that she legitimately appreciates the meal, b/c it is likely the first she’s had with family, among the safety of friends and allies, in a very long time. The episode title references the Book of the Stranger, and the verse we get from Margaery is about realizing what’s really important in life–and what isn’t. And it’s clear that Sansa has learned this lesson well: All the fine meals in King’s Landing were delicious-but-also-horrid-under-the-circumstances, but this meager, not-so-great meal here at the edge of the world was SO much better to her by contrast. Hats off to Sophie Turner for being able to convey all that in just a few words and facial expressions.

    And while we are on the topic of the episode title as theme, I also thought it was referenced by Dany when she was talking about how small the Khals were, arguing over rather trivial matters, instead of doing things of real importance and consequence with their collective strength.

    Lastly, just FYI, I think the most clever term I’ve seen on the internet for referencing this meeting of the Dothraki leadership is “Khalmoot”. ;-)

  • Jaehaerys

    FYI, I think the word you’re looking for for the flaming lamp thingy that Dany turned over is “brazier”.

    • THANK YOU. I have such a fast turnaround time on these (and get so excited at times) that I get very localized aphasia. Also, I’m getting old. ;)