He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

A Review of Game Of Thrones season 6 episode 4, Book Of The Stranger

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

My interest in Game Of Thrones, I am ashamed to say, had been dwindling for some time. I couldn’t get excited about the plot twists I anticipated, and the ones I didn’t anticipate failed to properly surprise me. The show seemed to move towards resolution with a tedious slowness, and I was finding it harder and harder to pay attention. Until now. It seems Game Of Thrones, having separated book-plot and tv-plot, is picking up the pace. 

In this show as I have come to know and love it, there’s always something to strive for, something to root for. We want Brienne to kill Stannis and avenge Renley. We want Sansa to escape the terrible Lord Bolton. We want Jon to not be dead. We want all of the Stark siblings to reunite in a tearful but beautiful moment.

This Sunday, we got at least part of our wish. When Sansa reached Castle Black and saw her brother Jon for the first time in over five freakin’ seasons, I was filled with the kind of joy only well-written plots suffused with character development can bring you. Because Sansa was so glad. And she was so, so sorry for having been a brat. And then, to top it all off, she was a complete badass, making sure Jon would be motivated to take back Winterfell.

As a matter of fact, women being badass seemed to be something of a theme in this episode. There was Sansa, encouraging Jon to fight for Rickon and for Winterfell. There was Margaery, telling her seriously messed-up brother Loras not to give up, and there was Yara Greyjoy, who is going to be the first ever female ruler of The Iron Islands. That is, if her brother Theon has anything to say about it.

Of course the final scene of the episode was the best. One of the best, perhaps, that I have ever seen on this show. Daenerys killing her captors and would-be rapists by simply tipping over a few torches, all the while smiling like the cat who got the cream? Give me more scenes like that, please. Give me a full hour-long episode of Daenerys being a badass lady, and the occasional sibling dialogue where the sisters are telling the brothers to toughen up.

For the first time in quite a while, I was genuinely excited to see these plots unfold, because they were seducing all of my favorite characters with the things they so desperately want. Jon and Sansa need to take Winterfell back. Either the Tyrell siblings or the Lannister siblings need to take a stand against that awful High Sparrow, do us all a favour, and wring his neck. Brienne, it appears,  needs to get herself a boyfriend.

brienne tormund

It boils down to this: the writers have given us, and all of our favorite characters, a little bit of what we want in this episode, and like the true bingewatching junkies we are, it has only made us desperate for more. Way to go!

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