Hey Dragons! We’re almost halfway through this season of Game of Thrones, and that makes me sad. Let’s jump right into the episode, titled, “Book of the Stranger.”
We begin where we ended last week. Jon Snow is determined to leave Castle Black, now that his watch has ended (I mean, it’s a technicality…). Edd isn’t happy about this decision, but before he and Jon can get into a serious argument about it, Castle Black has a trio of unexpected visitors: Brienne, Podrick, and Sansa. (Look, I appreciate that they’re speeding this along, but didn’t it take Bran a WHOLE SEASON to get to the Wall? Is Hodor THAT slow?) Jon and Sansa reunite for the first time since Jon left for the Wall in Season 1. Did anyone else tear up a little? Just me? Okay, forget it. The two reminisce about leaving Winterfell back in the day, and Jon wonders where he will go now. Sansa corrects him: “Where will we go?” They’re in this together now. Sansa implores Jon to come with her back to the only place they can go – home. If need be, she says, they will take Winterfell by force.
Elsewhere at Castle Black, Melisandre tells Davos that she will do as Jon Snow commands. She believes that he is the Prince Who Was Promised. Brienne crashes their conversation and casually mentions that she definitely remembers when Melisandre sent a demon ghost to kill Renly, and oh, yeah, did she mention that she killed Stannis? This is a Westeros version of a mic drop.
In the Eyrie, we’re reminded that Robin exists. Luckily, Littlefinger, everyone’s favorite schemer, appears. It’s been too long, Mayor Carcetti. We’ve missed you. Littlefinger quickly manipulates the gullible Robin into agreeing to send forces to the Wall, to help poor Sansa. It was nice to see Littlefinger again, but this was clearly a set-up scene.
In Essos, things are going down. Tyrion meets with the leaders of Astapor and Yunkai to discuss their demands. The masters say that they want Dany and her people to leave Slaver’s Bay. No problem, Tyrion says – Dany’s going westward anyway. Not so fast, the masters point out. She’s refused ships that have been offered before. Tyrion proposes a compromise: Mereen won’t have slaves, but the remaining cities will have seven years to come into compliance with the queen’s decree. Oh, and they have to stop supporting the Sons of the Harpy. In exchange, here – take some prostitutes! Say what you will, Tyrion drives a hard bargain. Greyworm and Missandei aren’t thrilled about this compromise. They don’t trust the masters, but Tyrion dismisses their concerns. “They will underestimate us every time, and we will use that to our advantage.”
While Tyrion is basically ruling Mereen, Daario and Jorah are still searching for Dany. Daario’s throwing some serious shade toward Jorah, telling him that he wouldn’t be able to handle Dany, ahem, intimately. Look, I love Daario, but this whole conversation was him reducing Dany to a a sexual object, which is an asshole thing to do. (Although, it’s nicely juxtaposed with the end scene.) Jorah isn’t concerned with Daario’s chit-chat, and when they get to Vaes Dothrak, Jorah knows that Dany will be at the Temple of the Dosh Khaleen. As they’re tossing down their weapons (to comply with Dothraki law – Jorah has a weird set of ethics), Daario catches sight of Jorah’s greyscale. Awk-ward. They sneak into the city at night, kill a guy, and find Dany so, so quickly. She’s made a new friend, too, and while she’s happy to see them, she says that they can’t just run, or they’ll never get out alive. But wait! She has an idea.
In King’s Landing, Margaery seriously needs a shower. The High Sparrow comes in to talk to her and asks her where she would go if she was released. She says she would go to her brother, her husband, her family. The High Sparrow eventually tells her that he’s going to let her see her brother. When Margaery first enters Loras’s cell, we’re not sure if maybe he’s dead. But finally, he stirs, and it becomes clear that they are breaking him. Margaery tries to give him a, “We are Tyrells!” pep talk, but it’s not working.
Meanwhile, Cersei crashes a conversation between Tommen and Maester Pycelle about the High Sparrow. Cersei points out, basically, that the High Sparrow is crazy and will do anything. Margaery’s walk of shame is imminent, and Tommen is worried. Cersei goes to the Small Council with Jaime (LOOKING FINE, I might add – this was actually in my notes, so I felt it necessary to include here) and urges Kevan Lannister and Olenna Tyrell to join forces with them against the Sparrows. And… it works? Cersei just has to bring up Margaery’s impending trial, and Olenna comes around. Are we about to have the Tyrell army up in King’s Landing?
We visit the Iron Islands, and Theon cries while Yara yells at him. That’s all I’m saying about this.
In Winterfell, Ramsey continues to be The Worst. They send in Osha, freshly cleaned, to Ramsey, and for a second, I thought that we were going to have to suffer through a Ramsey/Osha sex scene. But, no, Osha is being sweet to get close to Ramsey in order to kill him, as we see as she reaches for a weapon while trying to seduce him. Unfortunately, Ramsey is still a step ahead, and he jams a knife into her throat. He had learned that she helped the Stark boys escaped, and apparently, Ramsey holds grudges. Who knew?
Back at Castle Black, our favorite Stark siblings are sharing a meal. Is anyone else feeling the sexual tension between Brienne and Tormund? Those smoldering looks across the table… somebody write this fanfiction. Anyway, dinner is ruined when Jon receives a taunting letter from Ramsey, informing Jon that Rickon is in his dungeon. He writes that he wants Jon to return Sansa, or he’ll have his men rape Sansa and send the dogs to dismember both of them. Eloquent. Sansa’s fired up, insisting that they move against him. Tormund says the Wildlings have 2000 – but Ramsey has 5000. Sansa tells Jon to call the Northern families – they’ll be loyal to him. He finally agrees. Can we PLEASE see Jon and Sansa lead an army to Winterfell, concluding in Sansa brutally murdering Ramsey? PLEASE?
Final scene. The Khals have gathered in a SUPER FLAMMABLE tent/structure, and they’re brought Dany to them to generally mock her and make her decide if she wants to spend the rest of her time at the Temple with the rest of the widows. Nah, Dany says. Actually, I’m going to kill you all and rule the Dothraki. The Khals laugh, because, this sounds ridiculous, right? NOPE. Dany takes the strategically placed fire pits and throws them to the ground, causes the ENTIRE STRUCTURE to catch on fire. The Khals burn and die. The entire thing is going up in flames, and the Dothraki people, plus Daario and Jorah, approach the building to see what’s going on. As the flames rise, a figure exits – it’s Dany. She’s naked, but otherwise unburnt. The people, including Jorah and Daario, bow to her.
OKAY, so can we talk about this last scene? Why did that building go up in flames so quickly? Here is an actual conversation I had during the episode:
Me: Why is the Khals’ meeting tents made of like kerosene and hairspray? Cause that shit is flammable.
Lenny: It’s all wood and horse hides and shit.
Is this the answer? We’re just supposed to accept that the Khals met in a place that happened to be very, very easy to set on fire? Does fire even spread that quickly? It just seemed a little too easy to me. And this leads me into my OUTRAGEOUS THEORY OF THE WEEK. Or, rather, a question:
Are Targaryens immune to fire?
Well, no. And that’s the problem. George R.R. Martin has explicitly said that Targaryens are NOT immune to fire. While Targaryens do have a higher tolerance for heat, there is no precedent in the show or books to suggest that they can come out of a fire unscathed:
“TARGARYENS ARE NOT IMMUNE TO FIRE! The birth of Dany’s dragons was unique, magical, wonderous, a miracle. She is called The Unburnt because she walked into the flames and lived. But her brother sure as hell wasn’t immune to that molten gold.” -GRRM
So, we are left with two options. One, the TV show doesn’t care what the book does (and vice versa), otherwise known as the Cargill Theory (named after my friend from work who believes that Theon could be the Prince Who Was Promised in the books and it would have no bearing on the TV show). I acknowledge that the books and TV show are different entities, and it’s entirely possible that they will take different roads to get to their final destination, but I find it hard to believe that they would deviate so intensely from the books.
The second theory – The Bohlen Theory, if you will – is that Dany’s resistance is less attributable to her being a Targaryen and more reliant on her being one of the three Heads of the Dragon, a/k/a a portion of the Prince Who Was Promised. I’m a big believer in the three Heads theory, and I believe there is more than one person who will end up fulfilling the Azor Ahai prophecy. Dany has always been an obvious choice. Perhaps this isn’t a Targaryen trait so much as it’s a part of her abilities as a savior in this universe.
It’s also important to note that we have already seen two main characters – Jon and Dany – escape death, in some way, already this season. While Martin is generally a little more vague/subtle in his writing, it might just be that the writers are hitting us over the head with the obvious – these two characters are Really Important.
I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING: I still don’t understand how Sansa got to Winterfell so quickly. Did she take the Acela Express? Also, RIP Osha.
BUT WHAT ABOUT…: BRAAAAAAN. Your storyline is finally interesting – please come back.
Dragons, what did you think of the episode? Did you think that Dany’s victory was too simple? Are the TV writers changing Targaryen traits, or is this just more proof that Dany is the chosen one? How excited were you to see Littlefinger? Leave your thoughts in the comments!