Game of Thrones – Book of the Stranger

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Well hurrah and hussar, Littlefinger has returned to Game of Thrones. The supremely cunning master of court intrigues and ruthless abuser of trust and morality, Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillen), has wasted no time getting under the skin of the impressionable young numpty Robin Arryn, inciting the previously neutral armies of the House Arryn to march North in search of Sansa Stark.

As you’d expect from such an expedition, the only one who’ll benefit when the dust, or snow as the case may be has settled, will be our double-dealing chum who sold Sansa into the tyrannous clutches of Ramsay Bolton in the first place.

As Protector of the Vale, Baelish has the ear of the spoilt and impulsive ‘Sweetrobin’ and will no doubt create much mischief as counsel and ward to the easily-led weakling head of Arryn.

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Sansa (Sophie Turner), on the other hand, fresh from her escape from the Bolton’s arrives at Castle Black with Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) and Podrick Payne and is reunited with Jon the Bastard (Snow). Just when Snow thought his fighting days were over – back into his life walk the Starks bringing with them the prospect of battle with Ramsay Bolton.

You can see where this is going can’t you? Littlefinger is marching North with the Knights of Arryn, while Ramsay Bolton is forming an alliance of convenience with the Houses of the North against the Wildlings and Jon Snow. The former Commander of the Night’s Watch, his loyal friends and a ragtag assembly under Tormund steel themselves for the journey over to Winterfell to try and spring Rickon and put an end to Ramsay after he sent a rude letter laced with profanity to Snow. It’s pretty safe to say that things are going to escalate and get a bit more bloody in the next few weeks.

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Further south, away from the snow and the cold, Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) and Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman) continue their quest to find and free Queen Daenerys from her Dothraki captors and take a turn around the none too salubrious neighbourhoods of the Vaes Dothrak. With 10,000 blood riders milling around, the chances of the two lost souls finding the queen and successfully rescuing her look slim. In fact, if I were a betting man I’d say they were non-existent. So it is a good thing that Daenerys is made of tough stuff. With the gathered Khals debating how sadistic and rapey her death should be – in a way that GoT seems to revel in, Daenarys offers them the option of being ruled by her.

It is an interesting power shift, which the Dothraki chiefs would have been well advised to accept – but they didn’t and for that they burned in a fiery finale that also brought another of Thrones‘ staple themes to the fore: the obligatory female nude scene.

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Okay, Emilia Clarke didn’t have too many lines with which to make an impact in this episode, but what she said were the words of truth  and carried ‘good medicine’, as such I didn’t really see the need for her to get her kit off in front of a horde of gawkers – including Mormont and Naharis. But as an impact statement, with the entire Dothraki leadership flame-grilled on a pyre as a backdrop, I guess it was pretty effective.

Game of Thrones is broadcast on Mondays at 2am and 9pm on Sky Atlantic.

 

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