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Recap / Game of Thrones S6E4: "Book of the Stranger"

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Jon Snow is still at Castle Black. He's packing his things while Dolorous Edd asks where he could possibly go. The former Lord Commander says he'll head south, to someplace warm. Edd tries to put some sense into his friend, reminding him of his vow, but, as Jon points out, he already gave his life so his watch is over. Edd stated that he swore for "this night and all the nights to come". Jon points out that he has failed as Lord Commander: he obeyed his vows and in return got a mutiny and several stab wounds. Edd reminds him of Hardhome and the real threat beyond the Wall but Jon says he did everything he could. Even mention of the White Walkers isn't enough to convince him. But before they can argue further, they're both alerted by a single blast of the horn, and calls to open the south gate.

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Accompanied by Brienne of Tarth and Podrick, Sansa Stark has finally done what Arya couldn't and what Bran wouldn't: she has arrived at Castle Black. Jon leaves his quarters to see the new guest of the Night's Watch, and is absolutely stunned. Suddenly, the fact that neither has shared any scenes or dialogue with each other doesn't matter at all; two of Ned Stark's children have finally reunited with a touching embrace. As Sansa warms up by the fire, she and Jon reminisce over their shared upbringing. Sansa states her intention to rally the North and take back Winterfell, because it belongs to their family and is their home, but Jon is tired of fighting and killing. Nonetheless, he promises he will not leave Sansa's side and vows to protect her.

Outside in the yard below, Melisandre awaits orders from Jon, declaring him the Prince that was Promised. Ser Davos reminds her that she once believed Stannis was this mythical Chosen One and gets around to asking about what happened to his king, anyhow. Brienne chooses this moment to swagger up and declare that she executed him in revenge for Renly's death. She also takes this opportunity to express her distrust of Melisandre, reminding her that she has not forgotten or forgiven what Melisandre has done (ie. murdering Renly). Brienne's just carrying around Oathkeeper unsheathed, as though looking for an excuse to start something.

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Over in the Vale of Arryn, we check with Robin Arryn, who is— You don't remember who he is? Don't worry, he hasn't been around much. Okay, remember in season 1 when an old man died? He was Jon Arryn, Hand of the King, and his death led Ned Stark to replace him as Hand. He left behind a wife, Lysa (Catelyn's sister), and a son Robin, who has never amounted to much. Well, Littlefinger got his little finger on Lysa and married her, and then pushed her out the Moon Door, leaving Robin to uphold his father's rule as the Arryn of the Eyrie and Lord of one of the seven kingdoms, and Petyr Baelish as his advisor and regent. He's a little kid whose Beloved Smother was breast-feeding him at the age of eight. Anyway, he's trying his hand at archery and failing miserably. But Littlefinger arrives with a caged falcon as a gift and news of the absolute riot that Sansa has been going through. Lord Yohn Royce dares to challenge Baelish, pointing out that he was escorting Sansa when she was "kidnapped" by House Bolton. Baelish retaliates by pointing out he only told Royce where they were going and implies that Royce betrayed them to the Boltons. Whatever the case, Littlefinger orders that—scratch that, convinces little Robin (who's busy fawning over the falcon) to order that—the knights of the Vale sally forth and attack House Bolton.

Back in Meereen, Tyrion is attempting to treat with the rulers of Yunkai, Astapor and Volantis. Book-series author George R. R. Martin is on record as wanting to read a lot more about the realpolitik of fantasy—he once asked about the tax policy set by Aragorn son of Arathorn—and Tyrion throws Martin a bone by admitting that slavery is, at present, the foundation of the world's economy, with much larger implications than the plain human-rights ones. Having said that, slavery has been banned in Westeros for many centuries so clearly, prosperity is possible without slavery. As such, Tyrion proposes a tiered phase-out of slavery over the course of seven years, allowing shareholders to re-invest their assets, as well as compensation for their lost property. Nobody's really happy with the solution—the Astapori, Yunkai'i and Volantenes guard their tongues, and Daenerys's Meereenese freedmen are furious. Missandei and Grey Worm toe the party line in public, but in private are very clear that Tyrion, in their opinion, is in over his head.

Just outside Vaes Dothrak, Ser Jorah Mormont and Daario Naharis plan their Stealth-Based Mission to get in and rescue Daenerys, posing as Westerosi merchants who have gotten lost. Even if they could fight their way through every single member of the Dothraki people at once, weapons are forbidden in the sacred city, so stealth it is. There's a quick brawl when two Dothraki figure out that they are intruders, but fortunately, Daario disobeyed Ser Jorah and brought his Myrish stiletto with him, saving the day. Daario also notices that Jorah has contracted greyscale, which puts an end to the banter between them. Within the temple of the Dosh Khaleen, Daenerys manages to make a new friend in the person of a former khaleesi. The two of them step outside to take a whiz, and are accosted by Daario and Jorah. Daenerys orders them to stand down, believing that their small party has no hope of escape. Fortunately, she has a plan.

In King's Landing, Margaery is summoned to a private audience with the High Sparrow. He tells her the story of how he gave up his high-flying life as a well-paid cobbler to become an evangelist. He then allows her to visit Loras. Loras is absolutely broken from having been far more heavily tortured than both Cersei and Marge and just wants it all to end. Meanwhile, in the Red Keep, Cersei visits Tommen and learns from him some crucial information, which the High Sparrow told him in confidence. She and Jaime barge in on a very small council meeting, consisting solely of Ser Kevan Lannister and Lady Olenna Tyrell, and spread the news: in three days, Margaery too will have to hire a body double with a CGI head to make her walk of naked atonement. For once, the four in the chamber are in agreement: "That cannot happen." Jaime lays out the battle plan: the Tyrell army will march into the city and liberate Margaery from the Sept of Baelor. Doubtlessly this will result in the truly unfortunate destruction of the Faith Militant. Ser Kevan, the current regent, will stand by and let this happen, since this is his best chance of getting back his son, Lancel, who has joined their ranks.

A ship approaches Pyke, bearing Theon Greyjoy. His sister Yara awaits within, furious at him for wasting her efforts to get him back. She is certain he plans to disrupt the kingsmoot and make a play for the Salt Throne of the Iron Islands, but Theon declares that he is there to support her claim instead.

In Winterfell, Ramsay Bolton ostentatiously skins an apple with his knife. A woman is brought to him: Osha, Rickon's erstwhile protector. She tries to use the same wiles on him that she used on another upstart Lord of Winterfell, and it seems to be working... until Ramsay mentions that he got a great deal of information out of Theon. Including the story of the two boys Theon killed in place of Bran and Rickon, and the story of the people who helped them escape. People like Osha. Osha dives for the skinning knife, but Ramsay has already stabbed her through the neck. She bleeds out on the floor as Ramsay takes a bite of his apple.

At Castle Black, Dolorous Edd apologizes to Sansa for the quality of their supper: "We're not known for our food." Next to them, Tormund Giantsbane makes flirty eyes at Brienne, with disturbed reactions in return. A messenger delivers a letter to Jon, destined for the Lord Commander. "I'm not Lord Commander anymore," Jon says, but takes the letter anyway. It has the wax seal of House Bolton. It's from Ramsay Bolton, Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North. "He's killed his father," Sansa declares. The letter is scarcely congenial: Ramsay declares that he has Rickon as his captive, and wants Sansa back. If he does not get her, he will sweep Castle Black with 5,000 men. When Jon reads Ramsay's threats against Sansa and Rickon, he can't bring himself to continue reading the letter aloud, but Sansa snatches up the letter from her brother and reads the rest of it to the group, which contains some rather unflattering descriptions of what Ramsay plans to do to Jon and Sansa (and/or their corpses) after he wins. During their discussions to form an army to fight Ramsay, Tormund asks Sansa how many men Ramsay has and she explains she heard Ramsay say he had 5000 men. Jon asks Tormund how many men he has. Tormund replies he only has 2,000 men at his command who can march and fight. The Night's Watch would not be able to take part in this battle due to their vow of neutrality (see "Out Of Order" below for details). Sansa begs Jon to rally the North as a son of Ned Stark so they can take their home back and save Rickon, to which Jon agrees in order to save their brother and protect their family.

In Vaes Dothrak, the khalar vezhven, a meeting of all the khals, is occurring. Everyone is a little distracted by the Dothraki Jorah and Daario killed, who have since been found (Daario at least had the wits to smash the stabbed guy's head in with a rock, presenting a more obvious cause of death than "Stabbed, so it's time for a holy war"), but eventually Khal Moro orders Daenerys brought in. Moro wants her to join the crones, while Khal Rhalko wants to sell her to Yunkai for a new herd. Dany reminds them that she was married to a far more accomplished rapist and pillager, and declares that none of them are fit to lead the Dothraki people — so she will. They laugh at the little pink girl, of course, why, for her to take control of every khalasar there is, all the khals have to die! Unfortunately for them, they are all sitting here, unarmed, in this one holy temple, which Dany promptly sets on fire. Doh!

As the Dothraki populace come scampering over to see the decapitation of their leadership, a single naked woman emerges from the holocaust and stands framed amid the inferno. Bow before your Queen! Warriors, wise women and slaves all fall to the ground and grovel before Daenerys of the House Targaryen, the First of her Name and the Unburnt; Jorah and Daario take the knee also, as our Khaleesi becomes the undisputed leader of the Dothraki.


This episode contains the following tropes:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: Jon declares that his watch is ended and he wants some peace. Shortly after, he's dragged into another war, this time to retake Winterfell and rescue Rickon.
  • Adaptational Context Change: Ramsay finally sends Jon the show's version of the "Pink Letter" and where the contents and authorship of the letter in the novels is left ambiguous as of A Dance with Dragons, here it is clear and absolutely correct.
  • Adult Fear: Brought up by Cersei for Kevan, the fact his son has been seemingly brainwashed by a violent and dangerous religious cult.
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: Averted; Brienne is noticeably uncomfortable under Tormund's Male Gaze. Under all the armor she's still a virgin Southron highborn lady, and not used to being lusted after by huge hairy barbarians from Oop North.
  • Allohistorical Allusion:
    • The debate on graduated emancipation of slaves with compensation for the owners versus immediate and total abolition without compensation mirrors the debates on the real-world attempts to abolish slavery. More specifically the context of The American Civil War, where President Lincoln came to office stating that he opposed extension of slavery but was content with graduated abolition and compensation for the South, with Missandei and Grey Worm as the Radical Republicans criticizing this plan. Word of God, in the Inside the Episode featurette, Benioff says they were directly inspired by the difficult choices Abe Lincoln had to face dealing with the political reality that the slave-owners would rather go to war than immediately allow all of their slaves to be freed.note 
    • Likewise, Tyrion's compromise of allowing slavery in some places in exchange for an end to the violence of the Sons of the Harpy echoes the end of Reconstruction, where in 1876 the Republicans compromised with the South-based Democrats to remove troops from the American South and in exchange looked away from the enforcement of Jim Crow laws and the attendant violence used to prevent freedmen and their descendants from voting.
  • Always Someone Better: Ramsay attempts to intimidate Osha, however as established before Even Evil Has Standards and cannibalism is beyond him so when she says she has seen worse than anything he's done his reaction is basically 0_0`
  • Amazon Chaser: Tormund is clearly attracted to Brienne and doesn't try to hide it.
  • Appeal to Wealth: When negotiating with the slavers, Tyrion points out that Westeros doesn't have slavery and he grew up wealthier than them, so they don't need slavery to be rich.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: When Yara angrily demands to know from Theon why he returned to Pyke if he isn't there to make a bid to be King of the Iron Islands, Theon tells her he wishes her to rule the Iron Islands and he will help her. Yara is left speechless and calms down.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Cersei refers to the High Sparrow as a filthy peasant, and even Olenna Tyrell comes on board, stating that she doesn't care if more people die in a brawl between her and the High Sparrow as long as it isn't her family.
  • Asshole Victim: The Dothraki khals' deaths at Daenerys's hands were undoubtedly painful but well-deserved, after they threatened to gang rape her. Moro's blood riders in particular also count, who are heard saying how they are going to rape a red-haired girl and drown her baby in a lake if he is redheaded too, before they are killed by Daario.
  • Back for the Dead: Osha is brought back to Winterfell (after being Put on a Bus for Seasons 4-5), just to be killed by Ramsay.
  • Bad Boss: When investigating the warriors murdered by Daario, Khal Moro mocks the one whose head was crushed by a rock, saying if he died in such a pathetic way, he deserved to die.
  • Bathe Her and Bring Her to Me: Ramsay has his servants bathe Osha thoroughly before bringing her to him to be used as a sex slave, since she and Rickon had been on the run for months. She notes that his intentions couldn't have been more obvious.
  • Becoming the Boast: One of Dany's titles, the Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea was always In Name Only on account of the fact that the Dothraki fragmented after Drogo's death. Now Dany finally makes it a reality.
  • Behind the Black: Inverted. Even though some of the Dothraki are behind or to the side of the temple of the Dosh Khaleen, and can't possibly see Dany when she makes her triumphant appearance, they still bow without hesitation to the burning building.
  • Being Personal Isn't Professional: Missandei and Grey Worm believe that Tyrion is foolish to strike a bargain with their enemies, but still openly support him so that Meereen remains undivided.
  • Betrayal by Inaction: Jaime tells Kevan to command the Lannister army to stand down when their coup starts.
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • Margaery is very protective and comforting towards Loras, and is desperate to do something to help him.
    • Sansa is even more resolved to march on Winterfell once she learns Ramsay has Rickon.
    • Jon promises that he will go wherever Sansa goes, so he can protect her. Also, while he originally doesn't want to try to fight the Boltons, Jon is convinced to fight them once he learns Ramsay has Rickon.
      • Along those same lines, Jon's so protective of Sansa that he refuses to even read Ramsay's threat to rape her aloud.
  • Big Damn Reunion: Jon Snow and his half sister Sansa Starks reunite, marking the first time since the first season that any of the (related by blood) Stark siblings get to meet up with each other after everyone left Winterfell.
  • Blatant Lies: Littlefinger's claim about being attacked by a large group of Bolton men is so terrible, an idiot can see that he is lying.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Sansa and Jon discuss what to do now that they're reunited. Jon, who was preparing to flee South, tells Sansa he's tired of fighting because it never has a happy end; he had to execute his own men, including a boy no older than Rickon, who betrayed him. Sansa in the meantime says that they can't just leave the remains of their legacy to the Boltons; Ramsay will keep taking and taking, and they need to take back Winterfell. Despite their disagreeing, Jon promises that whatever happens, he's behind his sister and won't leave her again.
  • Broken Bird: Loras Tyrell, as a result of his imprisonment.
  • The Caligula: To a much lesser extent than some, but the young Lord of the Vale obviously has some degree of mental disability that makes him unpredictable to his fellow lords. That is, except for Littlefinger, who plays Robin like a harp. (In the novels...) 
  • Call-Back:
    • Osha once more attempts to pretend she has no loyalty to the Starks and seduce a usurping lord of Winterfell in order to ultimately protect them. This time, however, she fails and is killed. Ramsay had heard about the first time from Theon, after all.
    • She also says that unless the Boltons eat their flayed victims, she's seen worse, referring to the Thenns.
    • Once again, Dany walks out of a bonfire unharmed, her clothes burnt away, and everyone around her kneels. Only this time, it's the entire Dothraki rather than just the remnants of her khalasar.
    • This isn't the first time Theon returns to Pyke from imprisonment in Winterfell and gets viciously victim-blamed for it by his own family. However, the perpetrator is a bit more sympathetic this time.
    • The Dothraki khals' threat to rape Daenerys, saying they will all rape her, as well as their men and their horses too, is reminiscent of Viserys saying in the first episode that he would let Drogo's entire army fuck her, as well as all his horses.
    • Jon states "I fought, I lost", the same words he received from Alliser Thorne in the gallows.
    • Likewise his enumeration of people he killed mentions people he admired, as he had to kill Quorin Half-hand.
    • Tyrion recalls that a clever man once told him "we make peace with our enemies, not our friends". Littlefinger first said this in Season 1, when he suggested Ned Stark extend an olive branch to the Lannisters, and Tywin said something similar in S4, when he mentioned that you only make treaties with people you did not trust.
    • Daario refuses to let go of his dagger before entering Vaes Dothrak, and gives it a kiss. This is the same dagger he kissed in his duel with the champion of Mereen to kill his horse and make him fall to the ground.
    • Dany's retort to Khal Moro refusing to serve her; "You are not going to serve, you are going to die", calls back to the phrases (and previous episode titles) "Valar Morghulis" (All Men Must Die) and "Valar Dohaeris" (All Men Must Serve).
  • Cavalier Consumption: Ramsay nonchalantly finishes his apple as he watches Osha bleed out on the floor.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
  • The Chosen One: Melisandre declares Jon is "The Prince That Was Promised" once again, and that she serves him now.
  • Composite Character:
    • Sansa takes the place of Alys Karstark in seeking protection at Castle Black from an unwanted marriage. Likewise, Rickon takes the place of Mance Rayder as the prisoner mentioned in the letter sent by Ramsay to Jon.
    • Tyrion also takes over some of Daenerys's plotline from A Dance with Dragons. In the books it was Dany who compromised by permitting slavery to continue in Yunkai and Astapor, with some token reforms. Here it is Tyrion who does this.
  • Continuity Nod: The fact that Daenerys is immune to fire in the show (unlike in the novels, where she just seems to have some resistance to heat) is not only kept consistent, but is used as a plot point when she burns down the entire tent with all the khals inside, knowing it won't hurt her.
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: Jorah is almost strangled by a Dothraki, but Daario stabs the man from behind just in time.
  • Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: Jon tries to shield his sister Sansa from the latter part of Ramsay's threatening letter but Sansa grabs the letter from him and reads it, calmly and coldly stating the intent of the Boltons to have her raped. Given that she's spent the better part of her last months actually being raped on a regular basis, simply reading a threat about it has no impact on her.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Dany collaborates with the Dosh Khaleen to kill the Dothraki khals and ends the episode as the new leader of the Dothraki. Jorah and Daario weren't needed after all, except to kill the guards at the temple's doors to keep them from releasing the khals.
  • Dare to Be Badass: Sansa tells Jon that, as the son of Ned Stark, the last true Warden of the North, the Northern houses will rally to him...if he asks them to.
  • Death by Adaptation: As far as we know, Novels!Osha is still alive, at Skagos. Although to be fair, after getting given to Ramsay, a knife in the neck was pretty much getting off scot-free.
  • Defector from Decadence: The High Sparrow's story of how he gave up his former life as a wealthy cobbler the morning after a drunken orgy when he was badly hungover. His grogginess coupled with the collective stench of naked bodies laying around his house and uneaten food going to waste, caused him to have a visceral epiphany that prompted him to walk out of the house barefoot and become a holy man.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Beyond all of the usual with the Dothraki, one of the other Khals is significantly less impressed with Daenerys' appearance than Khal Moro and asks why they're wasting their time on "a midget" with "flesh paler than milk".
  • Deliberately Distressed Damsel: Daenerys refuses to sneak off with Daario and Jorah when they come for her, and instead willingly returns to the tent and seemingly puts herself and her fate at the mercy of the other khals, all so she can become a Damsel out of Distress by killing them and thus earn the loyalty of all the other Dothraki.
  • Dented Iron: Jorah's age and sickness are catching up to him; without armor, he can't hope to win a fight against a younger warrior.
  • Despair Event Horizon: After being betrayed and murdered by a group of fellow Night's Watch members and resurrected only to discover there's no afterlife, executing Olly for aforementioned murder and Thorne's last words turned out to be the last straw for Jon, breaking him to the point where he feels there's nothing more he can do to fight the White Walkers or help the realm, he just wants to go south where he can stop fighting an endless and hopeless battle. Reuniting with Sansa does help Jon and removes some of this, but he still doesn't want his endless fights until Ramsay sends him the pink letter, convincing Jon to fight again.
  • Dissonant Serenity: As she often does, Dany keeps on a small, calm, polite smile while the other khals talk about how they plan to rape her, let their blood riders rape her, and give her to their horses afterwards. She then proceeds to, equally calmly, burn them all to death.
  • Enemy Mine: In a reversal of their normal MO, the Lannister twins seemingly seek the help of Lady Olenna and Uncle Kevan to fight the High Sparrow.
  • Erotic Eating: Tormund makes a very awkward attempt at this as he's ogling Brienne during the dinner scene. Brienne can barely keep a straight face, and Edd is trying in vain not to notice.
  • Evil Gloating: Ramsay sends a letter to Jon that consists of nothing but this, To the Pain, and hypocrisy. The contents of this so-called "Bastard Letter" are here:
    To the traitor bastard Jon Snow,
    You allowed thousands of Wildlings past the Wall. You have betrayed your own kind and you've betrayed the North. Winterfell is mine, bastard, come and see. Your brother Rickon is in my dungeon. His direwolf's skin is on my floor, come and see. I want my bride back. Send her to me, bastard, and I will not trouble you or your Wildling lovers. Keep her from me and I will ride North to slaughter every Wildling - man, woman, and babe - living under your protection. You will watch as I skin them living. You will watch as my soldiers take turns raping your sister. You will watch as my dogs devour your wild little brother. Then I will spoon your eyes from their sockets and let my dogs do the rest. Come and see.
    Ramsay Bolton, Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North
  • Exact Words: Jaime encourages his uncle Kevan to use this on King Tommen's orders: stand down and do nothing to the Faith Militant can also mean have the Lannister bannermen do nothing as the Tyrell army massacres the Sparrows.
  • Exploited Immunity: Dany exploits her immunity to fire and kills all the khals by burning down their meeting hall, prepared beforehand with flammable floor coating, doors barred shut from the outside, and the guards killed.
  • Extended Disarming: Jorah reminds Daario that weapons are forbidden in Vaes Dothrak. Daario removes a lot of weapons from his person, and keeps a dagger anyway.
  • Fanservice: Emilia Clarke seems to have taken a break from her alleged no-nudity-clause, most likely to mirror the season 1 finale.
  • Forced to Watch: Ramsay's letter threatens to do this to Jon.
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: Overhearing a conversation between Ser Davos and Melisandre about what happened to Stannis at Winterfell, Brienne quickly relates that she was present at Stannis's last moments... right before she executed him. She then casts a withering glance at Mel with a mention of how Renly died due to "blood magic." When Ser Davos tries to justify that this was in the past, Brienne curtly mentions that despite that, she does not forgive nor forget.
  • Frame-Up: A minor, downplayed version, but present nonetheless. Littlefinger is the reason that Sansa was in the Boltons' possession in the first place, but when Lord Royce expresses suspicion of him, Littlefinger turns it around and implies that Royce could have sold him out instead, deflecting the (justified) suspicion onto his accuser and briefly putting Royce in hot water.
  • Friendship Moment: Tormund has zero reluctance to the idea of fighting someone else's battle when it is Jon's.
  • Grew a Spine: Now that Sansa is no longer anyone's political hostage she's coming into her own — assessing the military situation, being willing to lead the troops herself but also motivating Jon and the Wildlings by reading the letter out loud, without any qualms.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Apparently the Dothraki are light on the sentries in their holy city. There's only two standing outside the central building (whose throats were slit by Daario), and nobody else noticed this happening or bothered to check up on them.
  • A Handful for an Eye: Defied. Jorah tries this while fighting a Dothraki, who easily dodges the thrown dirt. Luckily, Daario was there for backup.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Invoked by Daario in regards to his Cock Fight with Jorah over Dany. Despite his enjoyment of needling Jorah, he won't actually challenge him to a real fight because neither outcome is appealing: he either beats up an old man or loses to an old man.
  • Held Gaze: Jon and Sansa exchange a very long one when they are finally reunited.
  • Hello, Nurse!: One of the khal's can be seen checking out Dany's behind as she walks past during her Badass Boast.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Jon is so traumatized by dying and having to hang a boy that he resigns from the Night Watch and prepares to flee south. Sansa snaps him out of it by triggering his Big Brother Instinct; despite their disagreeing on what to do, he promises he's not going to leave her again.
    • Subtle, but Davos and Melisandre seem to quietly despair as Brienne admits that she executed Stannis, and still holds a grudge against them.
  • Honey Trap: Attempted by Osha but defied by Ramsay. Osha tries to seduce Ramsay in order to get close enough to kill him. It doesn't work, because Theon told Ramsay all about Osha and the time she used that trick on him, so Ramsay sees through the act and kills her instead.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Tommen and Robin Arryn are both totally out of their depth in politics and only trust their closest parental figures to advise them...Too bad those people are Cersei and Littlefinger. And unluckily for everyone else the two kids are the King of Westeros and Lord of the Vale. Just how clueless they are is really highlighted when Tommen finally notices that Cersei "doesn't like Margaery very much" when the whole Faith Militant catastrophe was caused by Cersei trying to get rid of her, and Robin Arryn instantly goes along with Littlefinger's threat to kill Yohn Royce.
  • Hypocrite:
  • I Hate Past Me: Sansa looks back on her haughty youthful demeanor with regret, noting that she was an idiot for falling for Joffrey and for being nasty to Jon.
  • I Have Your Wife: Or in this case, I Have Your Brother, and You Have My Wife and I Want Her Back. Ramsay tells Jon that he has Rickon and wants Jon to give up Sansa. This convinces Jon to fight Ramsay.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: Grey Worm is a soldier, not a politician, and doesn't like being forced to vouch for Tyrion's pragmatic but morally dubious political acts.
  • Implied Death Threat:
    • The good thing about controlling the will of Robin Arryn is that you can make people fly, as Littlefinger quickly teaches Lord Royce.
    • Brienne makes one to Melisandre when she confronts her regarding the nature of Renly's death. Brienne states that she neither forgives or forgets.
  • Incoming Ham: Baelish announces his presence greeting Robin Arryn with a loud "The Defender of the Vale!"
  • Internal Reveal: Jorah's Greyscale infection is revealed to Daario, so far the first and only person who knows about it.
  • It's All About Me: Jon Snow has this attitude at the start, quitting the Night's Watch after being betrayed and murdered by a group of Night's Watch mutineers. While stepping down as Lord Commander is understandable, given his trauma and his post-resurrection mental state, he is also abandoning his Night's Watch brothers and the Wildlings he helped save, feeling there's nothing more he can do in the fight against the White Walkers. Dolorous Edd and, later, his sister Sansa, call him out for this. Jon ends up returning to the war.
  • I Will Fight No More Forever: Jon tells Sansa how he feels about fighting all these years, and the things he had to endure as Lord Commander. He wants to stop fighting. Naturally, this changes when he learns Ramsay has Rickon and wants Sansa back, both of whom Ramsay is threatening to harm.
  • Jabba Table Manners: Tormund's idea of Erotic Eating involves chowing down on what appears to be an entire mutton chop barehanded.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Despite everything, there's one thing that Khal Moro said that Dany can't refute: going against tradition has its consequences. Khal Drogo and his son — The Stallion who mounts the World — both ultimately died because Drogo chose to go against tradition for her. The jerkass part is that he's just playing it safe by subsisting as raiders instead of risking his rule for greater rewards.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Dany burning the Dothraki khals alive would have been far more horrifying if not for the fact that they said that they intended to gang rape her, then let their dozens of blood-riders rape her, and then, if there's anything left, let their horses take a turn. You don't really have any sympathy for them after that.
  • Made of Incendium: The khals apparently hold their most important meetings in gasoline-soaked huts, if the alacrity with which Dany is able to set the place ablaze is any indication. Or maybe Dany's previously-established Targaryen fire-resistance has given way to latent pyrokinesis... it's not entirely clear.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: After Daario stabs a dothraki, he bashes the guy's head in so the guards will assume someone beat him to death with said rock, rather than someone having violated the law against weapons in city limits.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": All of the khals have this reaction when Dany touches the metal brazier with her bare hands and has no reaction to the heat.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: When Dany tips the braziers over, the flames seem to rabidly attack the khals as if alive. Perhaps Dany's powers are evolving to rudimentary fire-binding. A trick that Mel is capable of at the Wall when she sets a Warg's eagle alight. This is especially apparent when Dany tips the third brazier and we hear a dragon roar as the conflagration charges forward to consume Khal Moro! This might also explain how the incendiaries spread so quickly aside from being usual TV and film logic when it comes to fire spreading like the plague. We'll have to wait and see if it was just heavy-handed metaphor.
  • Missed Him by That Much: Averted for once. Sansa arrives at Castle Black while Jon is still packing up to leave.
  • Mood Whiplash: Osha's graphic and unexpected murder leads directly into a comedic eating scene at Castle Black where Tormund makes a hilariously inept attempt at impressing Brienne. And then the mood changes again as Jon receives a letter revealing the imprisonment of Rickon and explaining in graphic detail what Ramsay intends to do to him and to Sansa, convincing Jon to fight the war against Ramsay.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Osha mentioning that she's seen cannibalism is a reference to the Thenns in-universe, but doubles as a reference to how she takes Rickon to Skagos, inhabited by cannibals, in the books.
    • Ramsay's Bastard Letter almost applies the same number of Bring It lines as Revelations VI, 'The Seals'. "And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see."
  • Naïve Newcomer: What most Mereenese think of Tyrion's negotiation with the slavers as Tyrion is ignorant of the struggle they had to go through and doesn't know what the Masters are capable of.
  • Neck Snap: Daario kills one of Moro's blood riders this way to prevent them from warning other Dothrakis.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Jon was originally going to give up on fighting after being killed, but Ramsay's threatening letter convinces him to keep on fighting when he mentions the horrible things he'll do to Sansa, Rickon, and the Wildlings if he doesn't get his way. The numbers are not in Jon's favour as he doesn't yet have an army but Ramsay threatening to murder every Wildling at Castle Black instantly gives Jon the army he needs.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Due to being so utterly broken by past events, Jon is just tired of fighting. However, once he finds out that Ramsay has Rickon and is threatening Sansa, this convinces Jon to fight again.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Jon and Sansa when they learn that Ramsay is holding Rickon hostage.
    • Khal Moro after watching all his fellow khals burn to death, and once again moments before Dany sets him ablaze.
    • Royce when he realizes Robin is dumb enough to throw him out the Moon Door because Littlefinger hints he is disloyal.
    • Ser Davos and Melisandre when they realize they're standing next to the woman who executed their king.
  • One-Woman Army: In a Guile Hero sort of way, Daenerys single-handedly kills almost twenty or so men using nothing but her wits, immunity to fire, and some conveniently places braziers in a locked and highly flammable building.
  • Out of Order:
    • In the books, Jon received Ramsay's threatening letter before the "Ides of Marsh" (so named because First Steward Bowen Marsh was the head conspirator instead of Alliser Thorne). In fact, Jon's decision to break his vows and march south to handle the Boltons—albeit at the head of Tormund's wildling host, so that no other members of the Night's Watch would need to be hanged for treason—served as the final straw to the already-dissatisfied brothers, since the Watch is supposed to play no part in the wars of the realm. Here, Jon receives the letter after the mutiny has already occurred, freeing him of his oaths via Revival Loophole.
    • In the novels, Theon Greyjoy wasn't on the Iron Islands during the Queensmoot, which could be used as a Loophole Abuse to overthrow the decision. Asha (renamed Yara on the show) had been determined to bring him back for this reason but hadn't put a rescue plan into action yet.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The reason why Daenerys's plan caught the Dothraki khals so unawares was because: a) they couldn't conceive that a woman could pose any threat to them and b) the idea of a person immune to fire was completely alien to them and therefore impossible to prepare for.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Jon has been a staunch fighter and loyal to the Night Watch despite being forced to hear about his family's suffering and unable to help. To see him abandon his fellow fighters and wildlings show how much dying, resurrection, and hanging the mutineers, has traumatized him.
  • Out of the Inferno: After using her fire-immunity powers to burn the Dothraki khals alive inside the temple of the Dosh Khaleen, Daenerys emerges unscathed out of the flames in front of the rest of the Dothraki, who bow down before her.
  • Phallic Weapon: Daario is most reluctant to give up his woman-hilt blades, openly caressing them before casting them aside (or so Jorah thinks).
  • Playing Both Sides: The Lords of Yunkai and Astapor negotiate peace with Tyrion, with the Yunkish diplomat pointedly asking for the queen and apparently willing to come to some compromise. But then later we hear the Dothraki discussing the fact that the Lords of Yunkai has offered a lot of money for Daenerys as a captive slave, and there's a price on her head. This suggests that Missandei was right when she mentioned that the Masters were using Tyrion all along.
  • Plot Armor:
    • Daenerys may be fire-proof, but she isn't crush-proof. There would have been the serious possibility of the burning hut collapsing on top of her, if the plot didn't require it to leave her unharmed.
    • Ramsay survives yet another attempt on his life. Effortlessly, but this time it's more justified than usual because he knows of Osha's ways, as he points out.
  • Psychotic Smirk: As Khal Moro describes in detail how she's not going to be a Dosh Khaleen and instead will be gang raped for her insolence, Dany just stands there with a smug malevolent grin, savoring the notion that he, the other khals, and their blood riders are moments away from dying in a fire. Moro is unnerved that she's doing this instead of despairing.
  • The Purge: Dany purges the Dothraki of all their leaders and takes over, with fire and blood.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: After five years, we finally have an actual reunion between the Stark children. Specifically, Sansa and Jon. They plan to rally their loyalists and take the North back.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Yara gives this to Theon when he returns back to Pyke believing he only came back to claim himself King of the Iron Islands.
    • Before burning the Khals alive Dany delivers an epic one complete with a Precision F-Strike in Dothraki, making sure to let the Khals know that her late husband was a much better Khal than they'll ever be.
  • Relative Button:
    • The Lannister twins can bring Olenna and Kevan over to their side thanks to the Sparrows pushing theirs. Olenna is willing to screw P.R. and have her men slaughtering the Sparrows in the street to stop her granddaughter from being disgraced in public, while Kevan is willing to let it happen because (he thinks) they brainwashed his son Lancel (the truth has more to do with Lancel's guilt over killing Robert and committing adultery with Cersei, but only Jaime and Cersei know this in the books, and their HBO equivalents may not. In neither continuity is Ser Kevan in the loop).
    • Jon is reluctant to join Sansa to take back Winterfell at first. However, when Ramsay openly declares to Jon that the Night's Watch and the Wildlings are his targets and tells Jon that he has captured Rickon, threatening both Rickon and Sansa, Jon gets ready for war.
  • Revival Loophole: Directly referenced by Jon Snow about his abandoning the Night's Watch, then turned on its head when Edd calls him out on it.
    Edd: You swore a vow!
    Jon: Aye, I pledged my life to the Night's Watch; I gave my life.
    Edd: For all nights to come!
  • Rule of Symbolism: Littlefinger gives Robin Arryn a caged falcon as a gift. Falcons are the symbol of House Arryn, and Littlefinger has young Robin completely under his control.
  • Seen It All: Ramsay attempts to threaten Osha by using his reputation alone. Osha, unimpressed, asks Ramsay if he also eats his victims, probably referring to the Thenns.
  • Self-Deprecation: Sansa and Jon engage in this while reminiscing about their past: Sansa about her naivety and haughty demeanor, Jon about his past self "sulking in the corner while the rest of you played."
  • Ship Tease: Tormund's obvious interest in Brienne may have mostly been Played for Laughs, but the fandom is already having a blast with it.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: Look at the kind of outfit Jon wears for the duration of the episode. It's virtually identical to the formal Northman clothing Ned Stark wore as Hand of the King for most of Season 1.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat:
    • Scenes with Daario and Jorah are impregnated with this trope.
    • Between Dany's small council (particularly Tyrion) and the visiting Masters of Astapor and Yunkai.
  • Thicker Than Water: A running theme in this episode.
    • Only one thing convinces Jon Snow to pick up his sword again — a threat against his younger siblings.
    • Robin Arryn agrees to declare war on the Boltons to save his cousin Sansa.
    • Margaery does whatever she can to comfort and support Loras.
    • Olenna agrees to work with Cersei and Jaime to stop the High Sparrow from forcing Margaery into a walk of shame and torturing Loras. Likewise, Kevan joins this tentative alliance to rescue his son from the High Sparrow's influence, despite his issues with his niece.
  • This Means War!: Sansa is royally pissed when she finds out that Ramsay took Rickon hostage. She begins her campaign to take him down and rescue her little brother alongside her big brother Jon, Tormund, and the Free Folk.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Sansa finally reunites with a family member who loves her and unconditionally will support her. She notes with irony that she was nasty to Jon as a child, but Jon says it doesn't matter; they're family. Jon in the meantime regains his will to fight.
  • Tired of Running:
    • Sansa is done trying to escape from Ramsay, and she won't back down anymore. She's ready to fight him to take back Rickon and her home.
    • Daenerys refuses to escape Vaes Dothrak with Daario and Jorah. Instead, she lures the khals into her deadly trap and gains the worship and control of all the khalasars.
      Daenerys: We will never get out of Vaes Dothrak alive.
      Jorah: All we can do is try.
      Daenerys: No, we can do more than that, and you are going to help me.
  • Title Drop: The Book of the Stranger is a part of the Faith's primary religious text, The Seven-Pointed Star; Margaery quotes from it.
  • Too Dumb to Live: You don't have to be versed in modern-day fire safety to know that it's a stupid idea to build a giant fully flammable hut with only a single exit and illuminate it with several open fires sitting on loose pedestals that can easily be knocked over by a 1.57 meter woman. The Dothraki had it coming.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Sansa decides to go to war against Ramsay to take Winterfell back after he threatens the Night's Watch and declares he has Rickon as his hostage. Jon, Tormund and the Night's Watch join her plot.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Brienne openly taunts Davos about Stannis's death, despite taking revenge for Renly on him as the man who ordered it, and Davos insisting that it was in the past.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Sansa admits she was an ass to Jon when they were younger.
  • Undying Loyalty:
    • Osha to the Stark family. She puts herself at extreme risk in order to attempt to kill Ramsay to protect Rickon, and is ultimately killed for it.
    • Melisandre claims that she now has this for Jon Snow, stating that she will go along with whatever he decides to do, because he is The Prince That Was Promised.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Daenerys doesn't explain her plan onscreen, so naturally it works flawlessly.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Grey Worm is not impressed with Tyrion's negotiations, and reminds him that the slavers do not think of them as people (they see him as a weapon and Missandei as a whore).
    • Missandei gives him a smaller dose of this when she says that seven years is not a small amount of time to a slave, especially since Tyrion had earlier admitted that being a slave is bad, despite having been one for little more than a week.
    • Edd reminds Jon that he was with him at Hardhome and asks how he can abandon the Watch with winter so close when he knows better than almost anyone what's coming for them.
    • Then Sansa calls out Jon on his reluctance to fight to win back their family home from the monstrous Boltons and take back the North. This all changes when Jon agrees to war against the Boltons once he learns that Ramsay has Rickon prisoner and of Ramsay's threats against Rickon, Sansa, and the Wildlings.
    • Yara yells at Theon for rejecting her earlier rescue attempt.
  • Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: Brienne taunts Davos and Melisandre by relating that she killed Stannis.


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