Spoiler warning. Do not read until you have watched Game of Thrones S6E4.
The promo for this episode saw Sansa arriving at the Wall, and obviously it had us all believing that Jon had already left, because Starks don’t meet on Game of Thrones.
But the episode opens with Jon still at the Wall, packing up his things, when the gates open, and Sansa, Brienne and Pod enter Castle Black.
Such is this show that I thought Sansa might fall off her horse and die on impact, because surely something has to happen to stop them from meeting.
But then it actually happens. The pair share the greatest television hug of all time, and then we skip over the part where Jon tells her about his own murder and resurrection, and they’re talking over dinner.
Sansa wants to take back the north, while Jon is done with fighting (who’d have thought, six seasons ago, that Sansa would ever be talking Jon into killing dudes?) Jon is all about heading south while his brothers are all killed by ice zombies, but when he receives a letter from Ramsay Bolton, he agrees to rally the northern houses.
Speaking of, I have a feeling that the letter, in which Ramsay summons Jon and the Wildlings to Winterfell to save Rickon, was not sent by Ramsay.
The northern houses, or at least the ones still loyal to the Starks, want to see Jon and Sansa retake Winterfell as much as we do, and insulting them and the Wildlings ensures that they return with an army.
I’m just saying – that severed wolf’s head was way too small to have been Shaggydog’s.
The idea that Rickon was kidnapped on purpose, and that he and the Umbers want to use him to tempt Jon into seizing Winterfell, becomes a little less clear cut once Ramsay stabs Osha in the throat.
The new warden of the north is skinning an apple in his chambers when
Tonks Osha enters, and the former Wildling seduces Ramsay while reaching for his knife, but he sees right through her.
One horrific death later, and Ramsay takes a bite of his apple with an expression of someone wondering what to do with his day.
If Ramsay did send the letter, he didn’t count on Littlefinger’s scheming. Oblivious to what’s happened in Winterfell, Petyr Baelish returns to the Vale, with a falcon for Robin (a gift he can’t throw through the moon door) and an entirely new accent.
He manipulates Robin into helping Sansa with very little effort, and so the Starks have the backing of the east in their upcoming battle (assuming Littlefinger is genuine in his loyalty to Sansa). How grateful Sansa will be remains to be seen.
Tyrion is doing some bargaining of his own. The Masters of Slaver’s Bay aren’t as easily manipulated as Robin Arryn, but Tyrion’s offer of a woman apiece and seven full years to abolish slavery in return for peace sits well enough for now.
In King’s Landing, Jaime and Cersei strike peace with their son’s killer, Olenna Tyrell, who will call upon the Tyrell army to take down the High Sparrow.
The High Sparrow’s latest attempt to have Margaery confess her sins is to allow her to see her brother. The bastard.
Margaery knows she is being played, but Loras doesn’t care. The Knight of Flowers wants to end the torture by any means, and his confession will mean walks of shame for he and his sister.
In the third brother/sister reunion of the episode, Theon arrives at Pyke, and he will back Yara’s claim to rule the Iron Islands. Unfortunately, Theon – Euron your own.
Over in Vaes Dothrak, we get the sequel to season 1 episode 10’s Daenerys: Unburnt (Daenerys II: Unburnt Harder?)
Jorah and Daario Mission Impossible their way into the city, and knowing that she has help allows Dany to go through with her plan. Which is mostly setting people on fire.
She gives Khal Moro and his bloodriders one chance to swear fealty to her, before she burns them and their hut to the ground, while Jorah and Daario seal the exit, and emerges once more from the flames.
We know Drogon is on his way to Vaes Dothrak, but he’s more a vehicle back to Meereen than a weapon now, because Dany is more than capable of taking an army without the help of her dragons. It doesn’t hurt to have them though.
‘Book of the Stranger’ is a misleading title for this episode. I was expecting a whole lot of King’s Landing (which, frankly, doesn’t interest me until Cersei demands her trial by combat) and not much else, but there is time enough for two of the show’s great moments.
Dany now has a Dothraki army to add to the Unsullied and her dragons, and Sansa, who is starting to become my favourite character on the show, is reunited with her brother (probably cousin) in the single happiest Game of Thrones moment to date. Can’t wait to see how it all goes wrong.
Game of Thrones returns to HBO and Sky Atlantic on Sunday night.