Reviews: Game of Thrones - Season 6 Episode 4 - Book of the Stranger

Liam rallies behind the fourth episode of this sixth season of GOT. 

As many of those of you who browse social media on Sunday nights know, season six of Game of Thrones (GOT) continues this week with the fourth episode of the season entitled “Book of the Stranger”.  Plot lines that have been separated for two seasons are finally brought together and characters are reunited in this episode. This week’s episode does a solid job of balancing the storylines and allowing characters to get out of the stasis they were in the previous scenes.

The scenes at Castle Black allowed for a small reunion of the Stark family and of Brianne and The Red Lady.  The scenes here and throughout the episode show what I think is the big strength of this season so far. They have done a great job of serving small character beats as well as the grand epic moments that Thrones is known for. Seeing Sansa and Jon hug was a welcome moment of happiness in a dreary world.  It was nice to have a scene in which characters do actions that feel human. It’s is an important reminder in a world filled with dragons and white walkers that people can respond to each other in a way that fits with their history. 

Did you just call me dwarf? I told you what would happen if you did that again. 

The overarching theme of this week’s episode seemed to be about overcoming tensions and working together to achieve a common goal. For the Starks, it’s about getting back their home. For Tyrion and the friends of Daenerys, it’s about protecting her and maintaining the loyalty of Daenerys subjects while not angering the slaves or the Dothraki. For Littlefinger, it’s about reuniting the Starks and maintaining political influence in Westeros.   Characters in this episode reveal that they need to make compromises and fight for a better world. This episode is setting up alliances that will lead to an endgame for the series.

This week’s episode was an actors showcase this week. Peter Dinklage and Lena Heady are great as always, stealing the small amount of scenes they have this week. Kit Harrington and Sophie Turner also play well off of each other and remind me of why I loved the Stark family. And I am always glad to see Aiden Gillen return as Littlefinger. He plays that character with a loveable mischievousness and is always interesting as a character. Watching him play off of the others is always fun. Iwan Rheon plays Ramsay like the evil little shitstain he is.  I never thought there was a character that could be more horrifically cruel than Joffrey, but Ramsey is definitely that guy. I am looking forward to seeing him get his shit wrecked by the Stark family. And finally, Emilia Clarke was finally allowed to do something other than sit around and be passive this episode.  Her last scene in this episode is a moment that many have been waiting for since the beginning of this season. The mother of dragons doesn’t fuck around and neither does this show.

As an episode, “Book of the Stranger” is an improvement over last week’s episode. It isn’t burdened by having to have their characters separated by needs of the plot and pacing.  The episode maintains a brisk pace and juggles various plotlines very well and allows for us to focus on the characterizations and interplay between them.  The dialogue between the characters this week not only builds character, it moves the story along.  Visually, this episode is one of the better-looking episodes of the series.  Game of Thrones has always looked good, but the visually variety of this season is incredible. The last shot of the episode is breathtakingly gorgeous. Overall, this episode was a great hour of television. Like the rest of you, I am very excited to see where next week’s episode takes us. 

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-Liam S. O'Connor