Game Of Thrones, Season 6 Episode 4 Recap: Who Run The World?

Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO
Warning: Spoilers ahead!
After three episodes of setup, anticlimactic resurrections, and really slow pacing, Game of Thrones finally gave us the goods with "Book of the Stranger."
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First off, let's talk about the STARK REUNION.

Last time we saw Jon Snow, he was stomping off into the sunset after declaring that his watch was over. Where will he go? viewers asked themselves all week. What will he do?

Turns out he didn't go that far. He is still at Castle Black. Dolorous Edd, an audience stand-in here, wants to know pretty much the same things.
"Where are you gonna go?" he asks.
"South."
"What are you gonna do?"
"Get warm." (Jon Snow made a joke! Maybe death really has changed him.)

Jon is about halfway through his "they killed me, my own brothers, and you want me to stay here after that?" speech when a bugle sounds. Someone's at the gate.

It's Sansa! After six seasons of separation, we finally get to see two Starks hug. It's been a long time coming, and it's glorious. The two enjoy an embrace that belies the fact that they never much liked each other to begin with.

What follows is one of those scenes that makes you forget all the baby-killings, beheadings, and otherwise horrible things this show has served up over the years. It's a thoughtful, touching moment between two people who have lived through their equal share of horrors — because really, married life with Ramsay Bolton or death by Night's Watch, same diff. Jon apologizes for his emo teen years. Sansa apologizes for being a stuck-up snob. They reminisce about Old Nan's kidney pies.

It's a rare lighthearted moment for Game of Thrones, and it works.

But then Sansa gets back to business. "Where will you go?" she asks, echoing Dolorous Edd and you know, everyone on planet Earth.

"Where will we go?" he counters. "If I don't watch over you, father's ghost will come back and murder me."

Finally, it's two Starks (okay, a Stark and a Snow) against the world! But for Sansa, there's really only one option: "Home."

Jon pretends to joke ("Should we tell the Boltons to pack up and leave?"), but the gist of it is he's pretty much done with fighting (death will do that to a person) and would rather not lead wildlings into battle for a home that basically threw him out into the heart of winter.
But what Jon doesn't get is that Sansa's not asking. "I want you to help me, but I'll do it myself if I have to." Translation: You know nothing, Jon Snow.

"What Happened To The Princess?"
Meanwhile, still at Castle Black, Davos confronts Melisandre about her shifting allegiance from Stannis to Jon Snow and demands to know what happened to Shireen. This is heartbreaking as I, and at least some other fans, based on comments from last week's recap, had totally forgotten that Davos has not yet learned of the princess' death-by-fire. Brienne's appearance saves Melisandre from answering, but the seed has been planted for a future confrontation on this subject.

Brienne calls out Melisandre for birthing the smoke assassin that killed Renly. Davos tries the whole "that's all in the past" routine, but Brienne shuts it down. "It's in the past, but that doesn't mean I forget," she says. "Or forgive." Watch your back, Melisandre.

Oh, and by the way, Brienne executed Stannis. Sorry, Davos.


Come Fly With Me! (Through The Moon Door)
In the Eyrie, we get our first glimpse of a (physically) grown up Robert (a.k.a Robin) Arryn, Lord of the Vale. Unfortunately, height is the only indication of maturity we get from this perennial boy-child. Uncle Littlefinger arrives, bearing a falcon as a gift. While Robert coos at his name-day gift, Lord Royce (Steward of the Vale) questions Littlefinger about Sansa conveniently ending up in Winterfell when he was supposed to be taking her to the Fingers. Fancy that!

When will the good people of Westeros learn that it is unwise to badger Littlefinger? Lord Royce gets threatened with the Moon Door and recants. Lord Robert then plays right into Littlefinger's hands by declaring that he must help his cousin Sansa escape from the clutches of the Boltons.

"Gather the knights of the Vale," Littlefinger declares. "The time has come to join the fray." Heyyyy...who's really in charge here?


War & Peace
We arrive in Meereen with the envoys from Astapor, Volantis, and Yunkai. Tyrion is ready to negotiate with the slave masters, because as he puts it: "We make peace with our enemies, not our friends."

This scene brings us some classic Tyrion one-liners. ("You don't need slaves to make money. There haven't been slaves in Westeros for hundreds of years and I grew up richer than any of you.") Ever the pragmatist, he charms the slave masters with a compromise: Slavery will never return to Meereen, but they will have seven years to end the practice in their cities. What's more, slaveholders will be compensated for their loss, if they cut off support for Sons of the Harpy.

"Let us sail on the tide of freedom, instead of being drowned by it," he quips, leaving the masters to enjoy their "gifts" of prostitutes.

Needless to say, the former slaves are not pleased with this compromise. But as Tyrion reminds them, he is not their ruler and "certainly not the Mother of Dragons."

Grey Worm and Missandei stand with Tyrion, but offer some words of caution where the masters are concerned: "You will not use them. They will use you. That is what they do."

Daario & Jorah's Excellent Adventure

Our two contenders for Khaleesi's heart are bickering. "Our queen, she's wild you know," Daario teases. "Don't let her size fool you. It's hard enough for me, and I'm a young man. I don't think your heart could take it."

They have finally arrived at Vaes Dothrak, where Daenerys is being held at the Temple of the Dosh Khaleen. Jorah drops his weapons. They aren't allowed in the city and will make them conspicuous. Of course, Daario owns a naked-lady knife.

While handing said lady knife to Jorah, Daario catches a glimpse of his growing greyscale. "You know what happens?" he asks.

"I know what happens." (Poor Jorah, he never catches a break.)

They sneak into the city under cover of night and promptly get caught. Jorah gets his ass kicked, but Daario saves the day with his pin-up knife. He's attached to it, you see. These two...

They finally find Daenerys, who tells them to hold off on trying to escape. She has a plan.


All Men Must Die
Cersei informs Lady Olenna and Ser Kevan Lannister that Margaery is about to take her own walk of shame through King's Landing. Lady Olenna is having none of it. "That cannot happen," she says.

"That will not happen," answers Cersei. It's nice to see these two working together, even as their mutual hatred is palpable. They are evenly matched, and that's saying a lot.

A plan is formed: The Tyrell army will seize Margaery and return her to the king, bringing down the High Sparrow in the process. Ser Kevan is wary: What if this brings on another civil war? People might die!

Lady Olenna shuts him down with a zinger. "Many will die no matter what we do. Better them than us." Amen.
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Honey, I'm Home!

Theon's arrival on Pyke isn't the happy homecoming you'd expect from one who has been broken by a Bolton. Yara is pretty suspicious at his timing: "You happened to show up on Pyke right before the Kingsmoot? "

She's also more than a little frustrated with this new meek Theon persona. "Look at me," she repeats, over and over again. Eventually he does. Reek is fading. Theon is taking his place.

"Tell me what you want," Yara demands. "You should rule the Iron Islands," he says. "Let me help you." Echoing the episode's title, the stranger is home.

Close, But No Cigar

When will people learn never to hug a Bolton? Osha finds out the hard way when she is brought before Ramsay in a clean, new dress. He questions her motives. Why keep on taking care of Rickon Stark unless you're loyal to the family?

For a second, it looks as if Osha may be the hero of this episode. She teases Ramsay, sweet-talks and straddles him, eying the knife lying on the adjacent table.

She goes for it. He's quicker. Osha ends up lying on the floor, clutching a throat wound. WILL RAMSAY NEVER DIE?

"Come & See."
Back at Castle Black, Sansa and Co. eat with the Night's Watch. The food is gross. Jon and Dolorous Edd dig in, while Sansa eyes it suspiciously. (She's still Sansa, after all.) Across the table, Tormund is eye-flirting with Brienne, and I am so here for this relationship. #Trienne
A letter bearing the Bolton seal arrives. Ramsay wants his bride back. "You have betrayed the North," he writes. "Winterfell is mine, you bastard, come and see. Your brother Rickon is in my dungeon. His dire wolf skin is on my floor. Come and see."

It's signed "Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North." Sansa and Jon know what that means: Roose Bolton is dead. They do the math. Bolton has 5,000 men. They have 2,000 wildlings.

Jon hesitates, but, in a move consistent throughout the episode, Sansa urges him on. "You're the son of the last true Warden of the North," she says. "A monster has taken our home and our brother. We have to go back to Winterfell and save them both."

He nods, giving the final approval, but the scene belongs to Sansa. In this episode, the women are in charge and will have their way, even if it means giving men a push in the right direction.

All The Single Ladies

At Vaes Dothrak, the khals have gathered to decide whether or not they will permit Daenerys to take her place among the Dosh Khaleen. They bring her in, then proceed to ignore her as they bicker.

She interrupts: "Do you want to know what I think?"

Stunned, they let her continue with her speech. After a trip down memory lane to that time the Dosh Khaleen pronounced her unborn son "The Stallion Who Mounts the World," she reminds them that Khal Drogo pledged his Dothraki warriors to help her conquer Westeros. They laugh.

She serves up this withering comeback, basically summing up the entire episode: "You are small men. None of you are fit to lead the Dothraki."

And then it comes: "But I am. So I will."

They balk — serve her? A woman?

Oh, no little khals. "You're not going to serve. You're going to die."

Standing tall in the center of the temple, she burns them all.

In a callback to season 1, Daenerys emerges naked from the flaming structure. The Mother of Dragons has returned! As with all the women in this episode, she has faced down the weak men in her life and swept them aside. To quote another queen: "Who run the world?"
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Some Random Thoughts

We got some insight into the High Sparrow's origin story, which may be important later on in the season. Also worth noting is Margaery's quote from the "Book of the Stranger," from which the episode gets its name.

"You don't like Margaery, do you?" WOW TOMMEN. Gold star!

Oh, Jorah. We saw you sneaking a peak at Daenerys' boobs. Naughty, naughty.