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Isaac Cruz
Isaac Cruz

Episode 4: Book Of The Stranger

"Book of the Stranger" is the fourth episode of the sixth season of HBO's fantasy television series Game of Thrones, and the 54th overall. The episode was written by series co-creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, and directed by Daniel Sackheim.

Episode 4: Book of the Stranger

"Book of the Stranger" received widespread acclaim from critics, who noted the reunion of Jon Snow and Sansa Stark, and Daenerys Targaryen taking charge of all the khalasars as high points of the episode, one calling them "huge, forward moving story elements that harkened back to season 1." Filming of the episode's closing scene was shot at two different locations. In the United States, the episode achieved a viewership of 7.82 million in its initial broadcast. The episode was Emilia Clarke's selection for the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards to support her nomination.

"Book of the Stranger" was written by the series' creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. Some material in this episode is taken from the Jon XIII chapter in A Dance With Dragons. Some elements in the episode are also based on the sixth novel in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, The Winds of Winter, which author George R. R. Martin had hoped to have completed before the sixth season began airing.[1]

For the final scene with Daenerys Targaryen emerging from the great fire of the Temple of the Dosh Khaleen, the filming took place in two different locations, with the close ups of Emilia Clarke taking place on a closed set in Belfast, and the large-scale set shots taking place in Spain.[4] In an interview, Clarke had previously indicated she had become reluctant to do nude scenes unless it served the plot.[5] After the episode aired, Clarke made a point to indicate that it was not a body double in the final scene of the episode,[4] stating, "I'd like to remind people the last time I took my clothes off was season 3. That was awhile ago. It's now season 6. But this is all me, all proud, all strong. I'm just feeling genuinely happy I said 'Yes.' That ain't no body double!"[4] She continued, "Taking off my clothes is not the easiest thing, but with the magic of the effects, I don't have to do a season 1 and go on a cliff and do it, I'm in control of it."[4]

"Book of the Stranger" received universal praise from critics, with many citing the reunion of Jon Snow and Sansa Stark, the final scene involving Daenerys Targaryen killing the leaders of the khalasar, and the forward moving storytelling as strong points for the episode. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the episode has an approval rating of 100% based on 63 reviews, with an average rating of 8.79/10. The website's critical consensus reads, ""Book of the Stranger"'s warm reunions, new alliances, and exquisitely fiery finale is Game of Thrones at its best."[8] It is the highest-rated Game of Thrones episode on the website.[9]

In a review for IGN, Matt Fowler wrote of the episode, ""Book of the Stranger" handed us two very lovely, satisfying moments with the Stark/Snow reunion at Castle Black (and the subsequent vow to defeat Ramsay and rescue Rickon) and Daenerys's conquering of Vaes Dothrak. Both were huge, forward-moving story elements that harkened back to Season 1 and gave viewers something to root for and grab onto as the show itself heads into its final arcs."[10] Fowler also noted, "As a reader of the books with no more books to read, Season 6 has been a very interesting experience," giving the episode a 9.2 out of 10.[10] Jeremy Egner of The New York Times also praised the scenes at Castle Black and in Vaes Dothrak, writing "Game of Thrones lived up to its billing as A Song of Ice and Fire on Sunday, as there was plenty of action in both of the signature halves of the story."[11] Brandon Nowalk of The A.V. Club wrote, "Now that is how you set the table. "Book Of The Stranger" doesn't just check off plot points. In fact, there aren't a lot of plot points to check off. It's an episode of introductions, reunions, and wall-to-wall scheming," giving the episode an A.[12] Eliana Dockterman of Time wrote about the strong female storylines in the episode, stating "The creators of Game of Thrones have been touting the sixth season of the show as the year when women finally wreak vengeance. The fourth episode, "Book of the Stranger," suggests that they will hold true to their word."[13]

"Book of the Stranger" is the fourth episode of the sixth season of Game of Thrones. It is the fifty-fourth episode of the series overall. It premiered on May 15, 2016 on HBO. It was written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and directed by Daniel Sackheim.

It was almost worth the inevitable distress that ended the episode, and even the revelation that Ramsay wants to use Rickon as dog food was kind of thrilling because it further bonded Sansa and Jon in a united quest. We indeed.

"Book of the Stranger" is one of those Game of Thrones episodes where showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss pull back the curtain and reveal the major plot developments they've been building toward all along. It packs in dramatic reversals, new alliances, and the death of a once major character.

It is, in other words, a pretty solid installment of the show, and the first episode of the season that really feels like prime Game of Thrones. When it ended with Dany emerging from the flames to the worshipful bows of the Dothraki, I was finally invested in wherever this season is going. It still feels like the show is marking time between now and the point where all of the characters are finally on the same playing field. But at least the marking time is interesting.

The episode ends with Dany, the flames apparently not bothering her in the slightest, standing before her new army, smiling confidently, and it's probably her most bad-ass moment since she used her dragons to set those slavers on fire back in season three. Even the show's occasional lapses with female nudity don't bother it here. Dany might be naked, but she's also just a little terrifying. She's less objectified than she is some kind of demigod.

Anyway, as I discussed with a friend immediately after the episode, it's still not immediately clear why Dany is supposed to be a good and just ruler just because fire can't burn her, but that's also a hell of a lot more than any of the current presidential candidates can say.

Well, mutual enemies can quickly solidify even the most threadbare of alliances, which is exactly what happens in this episode, as the rise of the Faith Militant leads Cersei to propose that the Tyrells' army sweeps in and casts out those who are proposing to force Margaery go on her very own walk of shame.

And yet this episode did a pretty good job of inflaming the hopes of any Jon/Sansa shippers out there, hoping the two will eventually fall in love. Granted, they believe they're brother and sister (though Jon's parentage remains murky), but this episode makes a point of showing how Sansa was never exactly sisterly to Jon, and that hug between the two at the episode's start (when he sees her at Castle Black) is long. If you're the kind of person who writes romantic fanfiction about Game of Thrones pairings, well, you've probably done so off of far less than that.

In the scene where Jorah and Daario fight with the guy who comes upon them in Vaes Dothrak, I realized about halfway through that I couldn't follow it in the slightest. And unlike last week, when the editing rhythms combined to make the swordfight hard to follow, this episode's fight scene was mostly just impossible to see, unless you were watching in a completely dark room with a state-of-the-art HD TV. (I wasn't.)

New pictures from Sunday's episode show that cunning Littlefinger, aka Petyr Baelish, is back on the show for the first time in season six, while Margaery Tyrell, last seen imprisoned in season five, will also make an appearance. We've seen in recent episodes that King Tommen is eager to have his queen freed, leading to tensions between the royal family and the Faith Militant, led by the High Sparrow.

If there's one thing that is all but guaranteed it's even more bloodshed. Already this season we've had a mass execution of Night's Watch members, a royal rebellion in Dorne and poor Walda Frey and her newborn son being fed to the dogs. The title of this week's episode, "The Book of the Stranger," may also point to more death.

Disclaimer: There are no spoilers in this article. I have only read the first three books and I have no knowledge of what transpires in the show moving forward. Any views or content expressed are solely personal theories, opinions and insights.

This 'Game of Thrones' discussion is written by someone who has read George R.R. Martin's books, but will generally only discuss events that have happened on HBO's televised version -- not that it matters much now that the show is going its own way. Still, please respect these boundaries should you choose to participate in the comments section.

Anyway, it's great that forces are finally going to stand up to the Boltons, but Jon should probably just bang Melisandre so she can birth a shadow assassin to murder Ramsay. Gimme a whole episode of that. Just 30 minutes of Jon and Sandy ballin', and 30 minutes of Ramsay getting stabbed and bleeding out. A+ episode, would watch.

For some reason, the High Sparrow's origin story provided the episode's title, a curious decision given that one of the show's main characters flambéd her captors and another reunited with family he hadn't seen in years, but hey, maybe it's a compelling story. Wha'choo got, High Sparrow?

Three episodes in, and Game of Thrones season six may have provided infanticide, resurrection and more human dog food than anyone could have really wanted to see on screen. However, as the trailer for the season's fourth instalment shows, there's still room for old favourites to return and secret greyscale sufferer Jorah Mormont to fight for the valour of his beloved Daenerys yet again. 041b061a72


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