What a scorcher, Daenerys! 7 things we learned from Game of Thrones season 6 episode 4
***WARNING: SPOILERS for season 6 episode 4***
What a scorcher indeed. Daenerys's burning ambition injected serious tension into Khaleesi-Dothraki relations as she casually torched the great hall of Vaes Dothrak and, just to remind us she IS still the Mother of Dragons, stepped calmly (and nakedly) through the flames.
Elsewhere, Jon Snow was momentarily cheered as he reunited with half-sister Sansa, then plunged into a black pit of despair all over again when forced to real aloud Ramsay Snow's clunking attempts at menacing letter writing. Some other stuff happened too – much of it momentous. Here is our takeaway...
1: Daenerys is seizing control of her go-nowhere storyline
Poor old Daenerys, we thought as the episode began. She has been sentenced to an apparent eternity mooching around Essos and made suffer the humility of a rescue by bickering man-couple Ser Jorah and Daario.
Actually no. Fed up being condescended too, on screen and off, the character grabbed her destiny by the scruff as she fought the fiery words of the Khals with literal fire.
They burned – she, being Targaeryan, was unharmed. It was an incredible scene, especially as we cut to wide-shots of the building turning to kindling.
2: Jon and Sansa re-reunited
The kids of Winterfell were delighted to clap eyes on one another. How astonishing to think they have not been in each other's company since the very first episode of Game of Thrones.
Yet there were problems. Sansa urged a strike against the Boltons, Jon thought he had left all that behind when he'd died and come back (a fact Sansa apparently accepted with nary a shrug).
Oh and now Ramsay was writing poison pen-letters threatening to feed baby brother Rickon to the wolves. You could understand Snow's frustration. Headaches like this are what caused him to quit the Night's Watch in the first place.
3:We could have a Shame Walk Part Deux
It may be just part of the High Sparrow's machinations but word on the Kings' Landing street is that Queen Margaery is about to be stripped naked and forced to endure the cat-calls of the mob.
The prospect has thrown toxic foes Cersei and Lady Olenna into an uncomfortable alliance. Bloodshed is sure to follow – but, when the fighting is over, who will be left standing?
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4: Tyrion has a plan
But it isn't a very good one. The princes of Slavers's Bay were to have a seven years grace period in which to phase out slavery (and presumably come up with a new name for Slavers's Bay). In return they would desist backing the Sons of the Harpy insurgency in Meereen.
What was in it for them? Well some prostitutes, said Tyrion. In the short term, he certainly triumphed at the negotiating table. But what incentive could the slavers possibly have for holding up their end of the bargain?
5: Boo-hiss…Ramsay was at it again
It was a relatively mild week in the Ramsay-verse. He peeled an apple, sent a rude letter to Jon Snow, slit the neck of Wildling Osha, protector of Rickon over the past several seasons. It was a slight exit for the character, to whom we had only just been re-introduced.
The scene in which she attempted to seduce the new Lord of Winterfell only to discover, in the most painful fashion, that he'd been onto her all along was tensely played. Yet her death had a whiff of the perfunctory – one more loose end hastily knotted off as Game of Thrones pivots towards its denouement.
6: Theon has no idea why he's back on the Iron Islands
Let's just say it: nobody really cared for the Iron Islands storyline and now that we were back in dank and underlit Pyke we remembered why. Theon had arrived with no clear purpose and the scene in which he and sister Yara traded jabs felt perfunctory. Does the cripple formerly-known-as-Reek have the slightest notion what he is at?
7: Littlefinger has a plan too
Only this one is somewhat less circumspect than Tyrion's. His idea is to raise an army in the Vale and march on Winterfell. It was a surprising course change from Westeros's master of the long game. Nonetheless, how wonderful to see Aidan Gillen enjoy some quality screen-time and to remind us that Lord Baelish had lost none of that wicked charm.
Game of Thrones episode 4 airs on Sky Atlantic on Monday at 9pm.