If you're a normal, human "Game of Thrones" fan, you've probably found the show's (mis)treatment of women a hair unnerving. Sure, that stuff — rape, battery, abuse and, uh, straight-up murder — happens in the books (and gratuitously so); but, to me, it feels more taxing to watch it play out on-screen than it does to read it off the page. But in season six, the show has defied our expectations, with characters like Daenerys Targaryen, Sansa and Arya Stark, Missandei, Brienne of Tarth, Ellaria Sand and Yara Greyjoy paving the way for a more female-friendly experience.
Is this latest season turning out to be all about the women of Westeros? Seems like it! Let's recap all the highlights from season six, episode four, "Book of the Stranger."
Jon and Sansa reunited and it felt so good
I'm a proud Stark Stan. Sometimes when I'm feeling down, I'll hit up season one just to see the whole brood — direwolves and, UGH, Theon Greyjoy included — alive in Winterfell. (Robb Stark forever!) If the Internet at large is to be believed, I'm not alone in this, so imagine our cumulative happiness when Jon Snow (formally dead, now alive) and Sansa Stark (currently alive) reunited at Castle Black. Had they not been half-siblings, their embrace, long overdue after an unspecified number of years, would've been romantic. Just think: Sophie Turner had a professional excuse to smell Kit Harington's hair. I hope they shot this scene no less than 17 times for her sake.
One more time, in GIF form:
Sansa's arrival with Brienne and Podrick came at a good time: Jon had just been preparing to leave Castle Black forever, presumably to travel south and hit up somewhere pleasant like Highgarden. After catching up over soup and ale, Sansa, looking cleaner and more content than we've seen her in past episodes, tries to talk him out of it. She proposes that they journey home to Winterfell to take back the North from the damp sewer rat that is Ramsay Bolton. "I want you to help me," she tells Jon, being a general badass, "but I'll do it myself if I have to."
One nitpicky thing about this scene, though: Why didn't they show the part of their conversation where Jon tells her that he was literally resurrected from the dead by a secretly ancient, super-sexual witch who gave him a lap dance once?!?! What were you thinking, HBO?! That's some must-see TV right there!
Littlefinger returns, as does mention of the Moon Door
Did you miss Littlefinger, whom I can best describe as a total Slytherin-Ravenclaw hybrid? I didn't, not one bit! But, I am neither the showrunner nor George R.R. Martin, so Petyr Baelish stays. He arrives at the Vale and gifts Robin, decidedly Uncool Teen™ deeply in need of under-eye concealer, a hawk, which Robin won't be able to kill by throwing out of his Moon Door. After a contentious conversation between Littlefinger, Robin and Robin's bannerman Yohn Royce, Littlefinger convinces Robin that Sansa, his cousin, needs to be saved from the Boltons.
Yep, Margaery and Loras are still in prison
Back at King's Landing, we get our first glimpse of Margaery and Loras Tyrell in prison. Margaery looks dirty and miserable, and this whole bit makes me miss the glory days when Cersei would slut-shame Margaery for showing some cleavage. Margaery meets with the High Sparrow, who tells her his backstory. We learn why he doesn't wear shoes, which seems no more sanitary in King's Landing than it does on any given 6 train platform in New York City. The High Sparrow allows Margaery, determined to "win" jail, to see Loras for the first time since their imprisonment. Loras both looks and feels awful, and he begs his sister to "just make it stop." The two have been through the ringer, but the King's Landing humidity is doing wonders to their natural curls. Guards, can we get these inmates some beach spray?
Meanwhile, Cersei and Tommen plot to free the Tyrell siblings from the High Sparrow and dispose of him altogether. Tommen informs his mother that Margaery is due for her Walk of Shame, so Cersei and Jaime then tell Lady Olenna — a fancy old lady who likes to keep the Tyrell name separate from such public humiliation. I don't blame her, but it's mildly annoying that she didn't agree to involve the Tyrell army until she learned that Margaery might have to get a haircut.
Daenerys performs her favorite party trick
...That is to say, Dany broke some more chains over at Vaes Dothrak.
After running into Daario and Ser Jorah outside the Widow Tent, she goes into her hearing with the Khals to determine whether or not she's destined to live out the rest of her days with the dosh khaleen in the Widow Tent. After the Khals have their gross, demeaning verbal way with her, she proposes that she rule the Dothraki rather than a) being confined to the dosh khaleen, or b) getting raped until she, essentially, dies. The Khals aren't into this plan, but Dany doesn't care, and she says what is arguably the best line in her character's history: "You are small men. None of you are fit to lead the Dothraki. But I am. So I will."
Then, she goes and sets the place on fire!
Daenerys is immune to fire (but her clothes aren't, leading to flame-induced nakedness), so while the Khals are left to burn to death in their hut, she stands before her latest army, totally unburnt.