Game of Thrones "Book of the Stranger" Review: Happy Days Are Here Again –

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Game of Thrones S06E04: “Book of the Stranger”

We’re almost halfway through the season already, which means we’re finally out of the set-up and catch-up phase of Season 6 and these new stories can stand on their own now. Hooray! It only took four episodes. Not to beat a dead horse, but that’s the biggest difficulty with a show as epic in scope as Game of Thrones. We have 5,837 characters to check in with in 392 different locations, so to be here after four hours is somewhat of an accomplishment.

“Book of the Stranger” was the most hopeful episode of Season 6 on a few fronts. First, there were actually some positive moments for some good characters! I know, I was surprised, too. But more importantly, the ends of some rather, how do you say… not as strong storylines began to take shape as we barreled toward the finish line of this fantastic series. Your days are numbered, High Sparrow and slave problems of Essos. And that is reason to celebrate.

Pull that toddler out from your pet falcon’s beak and let’s talk about what happened in “Book of the Stranger.”

“We never should have left Winterfell.” – Jon Snow, Lord Commander Obvious

It would appear that Jon Snow’s death acted as a reset button so we could do the whole reluctant hero thing all over again, because Jon really couldn’t wait to leave the responsibility of Castle Black fast enough and get to work on his tan somewhere down south. He didn’t even really have a plan, he just told Dolorous Edd that he was Audi and was off to go somewhere warm, maybe write some poetry or go backpacking through Dorne to find himself and hit up a few full-moon foam parties. Apparently, this was the Jon Snow we got post-resurrection, which I think was the exact opposite kind of Jon we all expected. Didn’t we think he’d be filled with rage and set on revenge and butt kicking? Wasn’t that the point of killing Jon Snow and bringing him back? We all saw Pet Semetary. Don’t you go dark when you come back from the dead like that kid or that cat? Hanging Olly by his pencil neck was a good start, but ever since then he’s been kind of a wuss. I’m wondering what the whole point of his death was now, besides dramatic nonsense and a thoroughly painful off-season of Kit Harington’s lies and deception.

Thank the seven for Sansa Stark then. Just as Jon was packing his toothbrush, Sansa rode into Castle Black with Pod (yay) and Brienne (ugh) and whipped Jon’s butt into shape. SANSA AND JON HUGGED AND THE UNIVERSE EXPLODED BECAUSE IT WAS SO GREAT. 

It was an honest to goodness Stark reunion, the unicorn of the television world. Yes, something good happened to two Starks at once and someone should check the temperature in hell right now because it might be time for Satan to put on a sweater. I will admit that the whole time I was wondering if Dolorous Edd was going to be jealous, though. His hug buddy is already hugging someone else? That’s gotta hurt. 

Jon may be soft and confused now, but Sansa—Sansa!—was out for blood. We’ve all given Sansa so much shit in the past, shit even she would say she deserved (“I was awful, just admit it,” she said; “YES YOU WERE,” we replied), but no character in the series has had a greater arc, and 2012 me is looking at me right now thinking I’m insane. But it’s true! She’s grown from petulant princess to cunning strategist through experience and maybe a little help from her mentor/tormentor Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish. She’s strong, and honestly, maybe the strongest Stark left. Get me a straitjacket because I’m about to say something kooky: Sansa is the best. 

And she continued to be the best when a letter from Ramsay Bolton made its way to Jon, telling him to return Sansa because he had Rickon. It was filled with threats of rape and dog food. While Jon looked for excuses, Sansa wanted to curbstomp the Boltons and take back the North by gathering support from the Northern houses, many of which you’d figure would rally their troops for them. We’ve seen Sansa’s transformation unfold before our eyes, and it’s one of television’s best. That still sounds weird. 

Oh, but for realsie, the best thing that happened at Castle Black was obviously this:

I’ve never wanted something to happen more than this.  

Next: A long overdue treaty and Ramsay likes apples

Game of Thrones "Book of the Stranger" Review: Happy Days Are Here Again –