Monday, May 16, 2016

Game of Thrones: Book of the Stranger

by Melissa Parkin

Just as Jon prepares to leave the Wall, visitors arrive at the gate. With Brienne and Podrick at her sides, Sansa rides into Castle Black. Snow and his half-sister stare at one another in silence before they run straight into an embrace. Despite their strained relationship in the past, the two share some much needed laughter later in the evening. Sansa even asks Jon to forgive her for being so “awful” when they were little. Of all the doom and gloom, the two sullenest characters of GoT give us the most lighthearted moment so far in season six. Not sure what that says, but it’s a point worth mentioning. Things take a darker turn when Sansa asserts that they must return to Winterfell and reclaim their home, killing the Boltons in the process. A weary Snow refuses, as he’s tired of fighting. Sansa, in her strongest moment to date, proclaims, “I want you to help me, but I’ll do it myself if I have to.”


Petyr Baelish arrives in the Vale of Arryn, and to no one’s shock, he manipulates his nephew into sending men out to aid Sansa. Back at the Wall, Brienne finds herself as the object of Torumund's affections over dinner when a letter arrives, addressed to Jon from Ramsay. Bolton makes it clear that he wants Sansa back, threating to kill Rickon and storm the Wall as consequence if he fails to agree. Sansa reminds Jon that he’s the last true Warden of the North. Taking this and Rickon’s life into account, Jon finally relents. Seems we’re heading to Winterfell.

Queen Margaery is brought to the High Sparrow. He divulges his moment of enlightenment to the woman before taking her to see her brother. Clearly broken by his imprisonment, Loras weeps in her presence. Margaery wastes no time setting him straight. “If either of us gives in to what they want, then they win.” Meanwhile, her husband warns Cersei not to further antagonize the High Sparrow. So of course, Cersei and Jaimie disrupt a small counsel meeting with Margaery’s grandmother and Kevan Lannister. Olenna is quick to put the twins in their place until Cersei informs her that the High Sparrow plans to make Margaery do the Walk of Atonement. Olenna and the Lannisters call a truce for the time being, agreeing to have the Tyrell armies thwart the attempt. Sure, there will be bloodshed, but it’s a cost everyone in the room is willing to make…so long as none of them come in the line of fire. Because, why would they?

The masters of Slaver’s Bay come to Meereen to speak with Daenerys, only to find Tyrion standing in her place. Despite their detestation for him, the masters are wooed by Tyrion’s offer. He proposes that slavery will continue in the bay for the next seven years, giving the masters time to adjust to the new laws. In return, they will suspend their support for the Sons of Harpy. Grey Worm and Missandei are far from pleased with the tender, knowing the masters view the trio as nothing more than pawns.

Speaking of the Khaleesi, Daario and Jorah arrive in Vaes Dothrak to rescue Daenerys. Knowing that they won’t be able escape the masses of armed men, Dany forms a plan of her own. She goes to meet with the Dothraki leaders, who then debate over what they will do with her. To their surprise, the petite foreigner talks a big game. She declares them all to be incompetent and that she will be the one to rule over the Dothraki. The men laugh at Daenerys . . . until she sets fire to the Dosh Khaleen. They all burn in the blaze, and the Mother of Dragons simply glides out of the building unscathed. The entire city bears witness to the incident, and bows before Daenerys.  

 Can't deny her showmanship.

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