Game of Thrones Recap: Book of the Stranger
We got our breakthrough as predicted, we finally got some plot progress in a number of areas. Let’s get started.
Jon Snow and Sansa are reunited, and the potential feud between Brienne and Davos has come forth. There was no fight but there is definitely opportunity for blood. Brienne, Davos, and Melissandre remain on deathwatch. Sansa wants to reclaim Winterfell and resurrect her dynasty. Jon is ambivalent, not wanting to fight. A letter from Ramsey changes that.
Jon agrees to an alliance with the Wildlings, who face annihilation at the hands of the Boltons and their allies. Sansa believes the Northern houses will unite behind Jon and her, but so far we see houses abandoning their prior oaths. Are there any loyal houses in the north? I doubt they’ll want to help anyone who lets Wildlings through the wall. Jon needs help.
Bran is the heir but until he decides to leave the cave, Jon must assume the mantle as leader. He cannot inherit, so his role is of a general who serves the House. If Bran dies, it goes to Rickon. If Rickon dies, it falls to Sansa, who is married to Ramsey. Obviously, Ramsey must die.
The episode explains the Boltons have the larger army. Did Jon inherit his father’s tactical talents? Is he like Robb, a war prodigy? The battle at the wall suggests he could be. Still, he needs help.
Littlefinger returns to the Vale and meets with his stepson Robin. The kid is still a weakling and a spoiled brat. Littlefinger spins a lie about being beset by Bolton’s men and Sansa being forced into marriage. Now the knights of the Vale are going to move. Ramsey now has enemies to the north and south. It is this move that could end the Bolton reign over the North.
Ramsey is not a master strategist. Although clever, he knows nothing about great power politics. He knows he needs Sansa back but sending a threat to Jon was a horrible way of going about it. It gave them warning and offered no reasonable terms for surrender, just horrible threats. He also did nothing to communicate his actions or his aims to the other Great Houses in the north: the Freys, Greyjoys, and Arryns.
Walder Frey’s alliance was with Roose and Tywin. Both are dead. Why would he raise a finger to help a bastard? Robin Arryn, who listens to Littlefinger, will try to maintain the Arryn/Stark relationship. Littlefinger used Sansa to orchestrate a war between the Arryns and Boltons, suggesting he is willing to put Sansa in danger for political gain.
Still not understanding him. I suppose as long as he ends up with Sansa in the end, he doesn’t care about her struggles.
THE IRON ISLANDS
Theon returns and pledges to help his sister Yara claim the throne of the Iron Islands. Apparently the region has an elective monarchy, where the leaders have a conclave called an Ironsmoot, where they pick. Yara and Theon have a claim but Theon has no influence there. No one will vote for him. Yara is a leader but is also a woman, which usually means she is not a popular choice for successor. As such, the Ironborn will probably go with one of the King’s brothers, like Euron.
The North and Iron Islands are at war. Yara seeks to end it and remain an independent realm. For that to be realistic they desperately need an alliance. None of the Great Houses would be interested. Tyrells, Boltons and Freys are loyal to King Tommen. Dorne and Stormlands (Baratheon realm) are in chaos. One possibility is a new alliance by marriage between Greyjoys and Starks, where Starks recognize Iron Islands as independent and in return Ironborn fight to destroy the Boltons and their allies.
With the knights of the Vale heading north, this hardly seems necessary for the Starks. A marriage between Lord Robin Arryn and Sansa makes more sense. I doubt she would agree to such an arrangement again though. Her hope is that one of her brothers rises to become the heir.
Queen Daenerys used her immunity to fire to trap and kill all the Khals. A very clever and awesome move. She emerged from the Dosh Khaleen unharmed from the flames, naked (clothes burned off), and sees the hordes kneel before her. She now has a second army with, which to return south and end the rebellion of the masters and the Sons of the Harpy.
Tyrion makes a deal to end the Sons of the Harpy attacks, allowing slavery for seven more years in Yunkai and Astapor but Meereen is liberated. Grey Worm and Missandei are very unhappy but back his play. Daenerys might not be happy with this arrangement, but it was the right move. It buys time for her to return and resume her crusade against the masters. Until she returns, they are vulnerable. Much of the loyalty to the new regime is to her personally, not to the regime itself.
Cersei and Jaime finally come up with a plan to free Marjaery and Loras. Marjaery is about to take her walk of atonement, although she seems ready to hold out. Loras is weak seems ready to confess. During the walk, the Tyrell army will attack once Marjaery is out in the open, freeing her and slaughtering the Sparrows.
King Tommen revealed that Marjaery was to have her walk of atonement, which is the opening Cersei needed. Both sides (Lannisters and Tyrells) now see their rivalry has been an obstacle. King Tommen was afraid to act, Lord Kevan had no idea what to do, and Olenna Tyrell would not risk losing the future of their house with a direct attack.
Of course, if her grandchildren are out in the open then a rescue attempt is possible. Unfortunately, it sounds like Ser Loras will not be in the open when the move is made. The Sparrows may kill him as retribution. And so, he is on deathwatch.
There will be a religious war in King’s Landing although from what we’ve seen of the city, I do not think that many will join the religious fervor. These are not a pious people.
The War for the North is set finally. The battle for succession in the Iron Islands is also set. The plan to take down the Sparrows finally comes forth!!! The Mother of Dragons is free and with a new army. I love plot progression!!!
I have faith in Jon Snow rallying the Wildlings to victory but the war will take a while. I do not expect Rickon to survive. The Northern houses will in all likelihood join the Boltons for fear of the Wildlings. Unless some sort of alliance can be made, the war will go on and on with heavy casualties. It will take a while for the knights of the Vale to get to the North but I think in the end, they will break the stalemate and turn the war in Jon’s favor. Littlefinger will do anything to help Sansa, who now sees Jon as her only friend left.
I’d bet on Yara losing the Ironsmoot election but scheming to kill her uncle Euron.
Daenerys wants to end slavery, that means war with the Masters. However, she needs a political solution or a plan for after the war. Sound familiar? Her previous ones did not work. Count on Tyrion to think a good one up.
The Sparrows are all on deathwatch. I do not think they survive more than one more episode.
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