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The Game of Game of Thrones: Season 6, Episode 4, Book of the Stranger

The Game of Game of Thrones: Season 6, Episode 4, Book of the Stranger


Ain't no party like an artisan cobbler party

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Helen Sloan / HBO

The Game of Game of Thrones is a fantasy game based on a fantasy show, but we're not the only Double Fantasy in town. It's come to our attention that a thinly-written fan-made character, built on the most indulgent impulses of the worst corner of internet fandom, seems to have made it into the cut of season six of Game of Thrones that HBO decided to air. How this error has gotten through unchecked is mystifying to all of us here at GOGOT; even more mystifying is how this character ended up on our draft, of all things. But since it would be too complicated to remove him from the game at this point, the best we can do is apologize and tell you the truth:

Ramsay Bolton is a Mary Sue.

Ramsay is:

  • A bastard turned legitimate son
  • Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North (fine, fine, +25)
  • Tactical military expert
  • Weakens Stannis' entire army with "20 good men"
  • Torturer
  • Rapist
  • Bow and arrow user
  • Murderer with 100 percent success rate
  • Effective letter-writer (+10)
  • Dog owner
  • Worst fucking Game of Thrones character yet

Last week, I optimistically guessed that Osha would finally be the one to end Ramsay, creating a nice poetic triangle between her, Ramsay, and her former tormentor Theon. I didn't yet know about the true nature of the Ramsay character, but it's clear now that the amateur enthusiast who conceived him and edited him seamlessly into this otherwise super normal show has no interest in poetry. Alas, Osha tried, but she could not out-stab the all-consuming power of the violent fanboy imagination run amok. That's +40 for Ramsay, though I'm tempted to dock him -5 for that horrifically wasteful apple-peeling technique.

A guitar-solo end zone dance of a scene

I put Ramsay's action at the top of this week's GOGOT recap because I wanted to get it over with, and because his (fake, completely non-canon) scenes were a black mark on what was otherwise a pretty jammin' episode. After all, "Book of the Stranger" kicks off with a seemingly untoppable guitar-solo end zone dance of a scene: Jon Snow and Sansa Stark, reunited! Neither Stark offspring technically earn points for this crowning achievement, but I want to give Sansa, Podrick Payne, and Brienne of Tarth +10 just for making it to the Wall (something I don't think we can take for granted on this show.) I also must toss Tormund Giantsbane +5 for making piercing, powerful, meat-gnawing sexy-eyes at Brienne. And +10 to Brienne for wasting no time rubbing Stannis' death in Melisandre and Davos Seaworth's faces.

Sansa and Jon drink soup. The soup is good! (+1 to Soup.) Sansa tries the Night Watch's craft ale. The craft ale is bad! (-1,000 to craft ale.) Sansa and Jon agree they must team up wherever they go from here, but when Jon decides he's arbitrarily "tired of fighting" and doesn't want to take back Winterfell, his half-sis stops short of slapping him upside his pretty undead head. "You think you had it hard because you got stabbed a bunch by your own brothers? I am technically still married to Ramsay Bolton. Ramsay Bolton isn't even a real character! Do you know how humiliating that is?" (+10 for pep talk #1.) Later, after getting flamed by the aforementioned new Warden of the North, Jon Snow again has his doubts about whether or not it would be worth it to murder Ramsay. "A monster has taken our home and our brother," Sansa reminds him. "But sure, by all means, go rent a cabin without Wi-Fi and write poetry about how you're still dead inside." (+10 for pep talk #2.)

A quick pause for the 'Game of Thrones' Growth Spurt Power Rankings

We take a little break and check in at the Eyrie, where Littlefinger finally makes his season six debut, a-schemin' and a-plottin' as usual. He brings a falcon for Robin Arryn as a congratulations present for appearing to have joined the Strokes' still-unconfirmed reunion tour. (Real quick, the Game of Thrones Growth Spurt Power Rankings: #1 Rickon Stark, #2 Robin Arryn, #3 Bran Stark.) With some heavy prompting from Littlefinger, the floppy-haired Lord of the Vale decides that his army will march north to defeat the Boltons and save Sansa. If you're keeping track at home, we now have two armies (Jon Snow and the wildlings, the knights of the Vale) who want to kill Ramsay. Promising!

Also probably interested in killing Ramsay: Yara Greyjoy and Theon Greyjoy, another reunited sibling duo, albeit one tainted with that signature Ironborn hostility (and dampness). Yara's mad because Theon happened to show up just before the kingsmoot, she suspects to throw her claim to the (not recognized by GOGOT) Salt Throne into even more doubt. But Theon is like, "No, I'm not." And Yara's like, "Oh, Okay." And that's that.

Game of Thrones

Of course, not everyone wants to kill Ramsay just yet. By the end of this hour the Tyrells have resolved to send their army (the second largest in Westeros, apparently) to take back King's Landing from the Faith Militant. (The Kingsguard will merely stand down.) This is all part of an effort to prevent Margaery Baratheon from having to atone for her sins publicly in the style of Cersei Lannister, and to get the sadly broken Loras Tyrell (-10 for being completely broken; hang in there, guy) out of prison. Olenna Tyrell, Kevan Lannister, Jaime Lannister, and Cersei have formed a very cautious alliance for this effort, but that doesn't mean Olenna still won't read Cersei directly to her face. ("My dear, you have been stripped of your dignity and authority, publicly shamed and confined to the Red Keep. What's left to work with?" +15 for a Level 3 burn.)

Artisan craftsmen are the root of all evil

Oh, I forgot, The High Sparrow also shared the story of his religious awakening with Margaery, which basically just sounded like a really bad hangover? (+5 for this week's story time.) My main takeaway from this parable was that artisan craftsmen are the root of all evil, and cobblers throw sick parties.

You may have sensed, as your humble Thronesmaster did, that after the Jon / Sansa reunion, this episode was filled with a lot of plotting and planning, but very little action. Luckily, that turned around in Vaes Dothrak, where Daenerys Targaryen awaited the verdict on whether or not she would get inducted into Crone Club. She had seemed to realize that it's not the worst fate that could befall her, and she even makes friends with another non-Dothraki widow. But Jorah Mormont and Daario Naharis (the latter fresh off neck-snapping / head-bashing two Dothraki randos, +20) show up valiantly to "rescue" her.

Game of Thrones

Can we discuss Daario for a brief moment? I've never been the biggest fan (especially NüDaario), but when did he turn into such a lame creep? He's been incessantly bullying Jorah this entire trip (+8 for about two 4-point burns), but now he's just being gross. One minute he's rudely discussing bedroom matters that should remain between him and the queen ("She's wild, don't let her size fool you," yuck) and the next he's fondling his cheesy mudflap girl dagger ("I'm very attached to this knife") and ogling some public fornication ("I should have been born a Dothraki!" — cue "sproioioioing" sound effect). Are we sure he and the Khaleesi have ever actually had physical relations? Are we sure he's ever even had a conversation with a woman? These horny teen boy antics make me think that Jorah's right on the money when he predicts, "You'll disappoint her before long, she'll move on" (+5).

The old fire-and-nudity trick, works every time

Who wouldn't disappoint Dany, though? Our girl shows up before the khals, laughs in the face of their rape jokes, calls them "small men" (it sounds brutal in Dothraki, +10) and then burns down the temple of the Dosh Khaleen (five redshirt kills + Khal Moro = +70), and then deigns to run through the whole "whoops my clothes burned off, bow before me, brown people" routine again (+15). Once again a CGI horde falls to their knees, once again Daenerys finds herself in command of a new city. (+60 for taking Vaes Dothrak.)

Is it too much to ask that Daenerys, Daario, and Jorah just stick with the Dothraki, and we can forget all about the boring mess she left behind in Slaver's Bay? The Dothraki are more fun, they spend more time outdoors, and I think Dany shares more values with their culture. She's clearly better at making friends in Dothraki than in Valyrian. She's not saddled down by a big musty pyramid and all the baggage that comes with it. I'm just floating this out there, because if we lose the Meereen plotline — and just forget Missandei, Grey Worm, Varys, and Tyrion even exist — then I won't have to start docking Lame Plotline penalties for all of them next week. Because even as this game is ultimately subject to my gut judgement, we can all agree that Meereen is objectively lame.

The Verge's league rankings:

  1. Loren Grush: 370 (Top scorer: Daenerys Targaryen, 155)
  2. Kwame Opam: 311 (Top scorer: Daario Naharis, 28)
  3. Bryan Bishop: 125 (Top scorer: Brienne of Tarth, 20)
  4. Kaitlyn Tiffany: 100 (Top scorer: Sansa Stark, 30)
  5. Liz Lopatto: 90 (Top scorer: Podrick Payne, 10)
  6. Michael Zelenko: 75 (Top scorer: The High Sparrow, 5)
  7. Ross Miller: 70 (Top scorer: Jorah Mormont, 5)
  8. Andy Hawkins: 45 (Top scorer: N/A)
  9. Jamieson Cox: 45 (Top scorer: N/A)
  10. T.C. Sottek: 25 (Top scorer: N/A)

For the full list of updated stats visit The Game of Game of Thrones on Fantasizr.

Learning the Game of Thrones theme song on a futuristic keyboard