‘Game of Thrones’ 6.04 Recap: “I’m Not Here to Change the Way of the World”

In my opinion (which may not be shared by all fans), ‘Game of Thrones’ is rarely at its strongest when it goes for big action spectacle. My favorite episodes are those that focus on scheming and plotting and duplicitous back-stabbing. This week has plenty of that, highlighted by the return of the show’s best master manipulator.

Castle Black

As Jon Snow packs up his things to leave, his friend Edd lays a major guilt trip on him about abandoning the Night’s Watch. Snow’s plans are delayed a bit when the castle gates open to reveal that his half-sister Sansa has arrived, with Brienne and Podrick in tow. While the two of them never much got along as children, their reunion is cemented by a big hug.

Sansa laments that, “We never should’ve left Winterfell” and apologizes for being such an awful sister (and just generally an awful person). Snow catches her up on everything that happened to him, including his murder and resurrection. He wants her to come with him. Although he isn’t sure where they’ll go, he feels obligated to protect her. (Also, it’s probably not a great idea to leave her at Castle Black with a bunch of former murderers and rapists, half of whom hate his guts and the other half think he’s an undead monster.)

Sansa believes that the only place they can go is home. She urges Snow to help her retake Winterfell from the Boltons, but Snow doesn’t want to fight anymore.

When Ser Davos asks her plans, the witch Melisandre replies that she serves Jon Snow now and will do whatever he commands. She believes that he is the fabled Prince That Was Promised. Davos expresses skepticism, reminding her that she used to think Stannis Baratheon was the Prince, and that didn’t exactly work out for her.

Their conversation is interrupted by Brienne, who makes it clear that, even though they all find themselves on the same side now, she will never forget or forgive Melisandre for killing her former master, Renly Baratheon. She also coldly informs them that she executed Stannis on the battlefield.

Later, Jon Snow receives a letter from Ramsay Bolton, demanding his bride back and threatening to do many awful things to the both of them if they don’t comply. The letter reveals that Ramsay is holding their brother Rickon captive and taunts Snow to, “Come and see.” From the way he signed the letter as Warden of the North, Snow deduces that Ramsay must have murdered his own father.

From what she saw at Winterfell, Sansa estimates that the Bolton army has about 5,000 soldiers. Snow asks Tormund how many Wildlings could fight at his side, and is told about 2,000. In order to fight the Boltons, he’ll need to raise an army from other houses of the north, which won’t be easy give how much they all hate and distrust Wildlings. Nonetheless, Jon Snow agrees that it’s time to go to war.

The Vale

Littlefinger is back! Rejoice! We haven’t seen him since the middle of Season 5 and his presence was sorely missed. Baelish returns to the Vale with the gift of a rare falcon for his master, the idiot child Robin Arryn.

Robin’s bannerman Lord Royce has nothing but contempt for Baelish and accuses him of turning Sansa Stark over to Ramsay Bolton. Although that’s exactly what he really did, Baelish denies it. He claims that he and Sansa were captured by the Boltons, and accuses Royce of leaking information about their travel plans. Their spat is resolved when Baelish demonstrates how easily he can pull Robin’s strings, convincing the boy to threaten to toss Royce through the Moon Door in the castle. Royce is forced to plead for another chance to prove his loyalty, which Baelish magnanimously grants him.

Baelish then suggests to Robin that they should send the Knights of the Vale to ally with Jon Snow and Sansa against the Boltons, slyly tricking the boy into thinking it’s his own idea.


Much to the displeasure of both Grey Worm and Missandei, Tyrion invites the slave masters of Astapor, Yunkai and Volantis to the throne room to open formal diplomatic relations. In exchange for them cutting off funding to the Sons of the Harpy (which they deny, and he doesn’t press them to acknowledge), Tyrion proposes a compromise. The practice of slavery will be allowed to continue for a transition period of seven years, whereupon a new system will replace it and the masters will be compensated for the loss of their slaves. He seals the deal by plying the masters with whores.

Tyrion is then confronted by a group of former slaves, who don’t trust the Half-Man and are upset that he would in any way placate or acquiesce to the masters. Although they don’t like the deal either, Missandei and Grey Worm stand behind Tyrion, out of loyalty to their queen.

Grey Worm warns Tyrion not to trust the masters. Tyrion replies that he doesn’t trust them, but he does trust their greed and self-interest, both of which this deal satisfies. Grey Worm isn’t convinced. He believes the masters will betray them.

King’s Landing

Margaery is brought before the High Sparrow, who tells her a very long and involved story about how he used to be a successful cobbler who gave in to the vices of greed and avarice until he had a religious revelation. He then allows her to see her brother Loras, expecting that she will convince him to give up and confess his sins. However, Margaery whispers to Loras that he must stay strong. Although she has pretended to begin the process of atonement, she’s secretly as defiant as ever. Poor Loras is in bad shape from the torture and begs her to help him.

Cersei walks in on Grand Maester Pycelle bending her son Tommen’s ear and advising him not to antagonize the High Sparrow. She pissily orders Pycelle out of the room and warns Tommen not to trust the old fool. Tommen is clearly afraid of the High Sparrow and just wants his wife back. Cersei agrees that rescuing Margaery is of paramount importance. As much as she may dislike Margaery, she hates the Sparrow more, and she cannot abide the position of Queen (whoever holds it) being so publicly demeaned.

Cersei and Jaime intrude on a meeting between Lady Olenna and Ser Kevan Lannister, the current Hand of the King. Cersei proposes that they set aside their differences and unite against the Sparrows. When Olenna scoffs, Cersei informs her that the Sparrow plans to make Margaery do a walk of atonement through the capital, as Cersei herself did. Olenna is adamant that they can’t allow that to happen. She agrees to bring the Tyrell army to the capital to put down the Sparrows and rescue Margaery and Loras. Kevan objects that the king expressly forbade him from using the Lannister army to make a move against the Sparrows. Cersei suggests that he’s under no obligation to prevent anyone else from doing that. All he has to do is step aside and let the Tyrell forces in.

The Iron Islands

Theon Greyjoy returns home and finds his sister Yara in the throne room, still mourning the loss of their father. She isn’t exactly pleased to see him. She blames Theon for the deaths of many good men in the failed attempt to rescue him from Ramsay. Even when Theon tells her that he finally came to his senses and escaped, Yara assumes that he only came back in a bid to claim the throne. However, Theon tells her that he doesn’t want the throne. He thinks she should rule, and he will do whatever he can to help her.


In addition to writing the nasty letter to Jon Snow, Ramsay has a conversation with Osha, the Wildling captured with Rickon Stark. She claims that she has no loyalty to the Starks, and had planned to sell the boy. Osha tries to seduce Ramsay, all the while reaching for a knife on the table behind him to stab him with. This was not a smart play. Ramsay stabs her in the neck with his own knife first, killing the girl, then returns to using that knife to cut and eat an apple.

Vaes Dothrak

Jorah and Daario bicker while following Daenerys’ trail. Daario teases Jorah about being in love with Dany, and jokes that he’s too old to “ride the dragon.” Daario then spots a patch of greyscale on Jorah’s arm, but Jorah tells him not to worry about it.

They get within sight of Vaes Dothrak and scope out the place from a nearby cliff. Jorah tells Daario that weapons are forbidden in the holy city so they’ll need to leave theirs behind. If they get caught in the city with weapons, they’ll be executed, whereas if they get caught without any weapons they can pretend to be merchants who got lost on the way to the market. Daario isn’t happy about leaving his favorite knife behind.

That night, the two men sneak into the city. They run into a pair of skeptical Dothraki in an alley who don’t buy Jorah’s story about being merchants. One of the Dothraki runs for help. Daario chases after him and snaps his neck. Jorah is overpowered by the other Dothraki, but Daario returns and stabs the brute in the throat. It seems he didn’t leave that knife behind after all. Jorah worries about what will happen if the body is discovered with a knife wound, so Daario picks up a big rock and smashes the corpse’s skull to deflect attention.

Daenerys converses with the other Khals’ widows and claims that she would never run from the Dothraki. When Dany says that she needs to pee (the polite phrase is “make water”), a young widow escorts her to wherever these savages go to do that. On the way, the girl enthuses about how amazing it must be to see dragons. The poor girl was widowed young and never had much of a life. Dany likes her.

Jorah and Daario leap out of hiding and grab the widow. Daenerys orders them not to harm her. She asks the girl to trust her and not report her. The men want to abscond with Dany immediately, but she has a better idea.

A group of Khals meet in the holy temple and have Daenerys brought before them so they can decide her fate. She remains defiant and arrogantly calls them all weak and unfit to lead, proclaiming herself queen of all Dothraki. Enraged, Khal Moro pronounces her sentence. She will not be allowed to live with the other widows. She will be raped by all the men in the room, and then raped by all their underlings, and then raped by all their horses if she somehow survives that long. She will be used and beaten until there’s nothing left of her and she dies.

Daenerys isn’t intimidated in the slightest. She grabs a flaming brazier with her bare hands and knocks it over, starting a fire in the temple. Then she knocks over another and another, until the whole building is aflame. The Khals run for the door only to find it locked. Jorah and Daario killed the guards outside and barricaded the only exit.

The burning temple lights up the city. Thousands of Dothraki run toward it and witness the triumphant Daenerys emerge from the flames completely unscathed, aside from the fact that all of her clothes have burned off. Fearing her as a goddess, the entire horde drop to their knees and bow to her. Even her lover Daario is flabbergasted at what he’s just seen.

Episode Verdict

For my money, this is easily the season’s best episode so far, by large margin. I suppose that’s mostly a reflection of my disappointment with the first three. I have to acknowledge that the episode’s rousing climax feels a little repetitive of the Season 1 finale, in which Daenerys similarly demonstrated her resistance to fire in order to ascend to rule the Dothraki. The scale may be a little larger, but the basic point is the same.

(Also, before someone takes me to task for my comment last week about Emilia Clarke not doing nudity anymore, doesn’t it look like her face was digitally pasted onto a body double here?)

I’m much more interested in all the other wheelings and dealings and maneuverings, and am excited to have Littlefinger back. He may not have gotten much to do this week, but it sure is nice to know he’s around again.


  1. With many more witnesses around this time, “the unburnt” in her title takes on more meaning and gains her another army. 🙂

    As someone, who is familiar with the books, this season has been moving at a fast pace, which indicates we are getting near the eventual endgame.

  2. Timcharger

    And the winner of this week’s title quote guess is:

    No One. Yes, only Jaqen H’ghar is the winner.

    (Upon verification of course. Josh’s selection is so
    unmemorable, I have to review the tape to confirm
    if it is even in the episode. I’m guessing that was a
    line from Tyrion this week. It certainly sounds like
    something Tyrion would say. But would say before
    or after, a better more memorable line.)

    • Josh Zyber

      It was Tyrion, talking about his tolerance for slavery. My alternate was Ramsay’s “Come and see,” but I don’t think that works well out of context.

      Your mistake is assuming that when I choose these quotes I’m just looking for zingers. That isn’t the case. I also look for lines that are meaningful.

      • Timcharger

        The guesses of quotes are NOT all zingers,
        rather most aren’t zingers. And I find that
        the guesses are meaningful.

        What isn’t always predictable is your opinion
        of the episode. Your yea or nay perspective
        affects your quote choice. But that’s the

        Pls understand that I value the thought you
        put into your writing, as seen in the selection
        of your title quote, and my game honors that.
        Despite disagreeing with your choice. My
        mockery is under the umbrella of flattery.
        (And that’s a quote from a wise man, me.)

    • Timcharger

      Upon further review…
      …the call on the field stands.
      No One has won. The quote is in the episode.

      It is so unmemorable, Tyrion does not even
      pause before or after saying the line.

      In the same scenes, there are other more
      meaningful lines of:
      “We make peace with our enemies, not with
      our friends.”
      “War is a horror that must be abolished
      immediately. So is slavery. I can’t do both

      Nonetheless, the ruling on the field is

  3. Al

    Josh, in regards to your nudity comment, all you have to do is compare the bodies. Go back and look at the nude scenes from Season 1. It’s the same body. People can take you to task, for last week’s comment, all they want. 😀

    • Josh Zyber

      Something about the scene still looked off, though, didn’t it? Honestly, it looked almost as bad to me as Cersei’s walk of shame with Lena Headey’s face bouncing up and down on a stretchy neck. Maybe this one wasn’t fake, but something about it felt that way.

      • Al

        I just watched it again. I agree that something looks off. However, I think you can chalk that up to the CGI used to put any actor/actress into flames, and the resulting attempts to render it in such a fashion that it looks believable. It’s no different than the green screen effect that you get, in a lot of movies, which causes something to look off. You discuss digital effects and the resolutions that they are rendered in, as much as anyone. I’m sure that’s all you’re seeing here.

      • Mario Menchaca

        I heard in a podcast that, as mentioned in other comments, this is indeed Emilia Clarke nude. However, the scene was not shot in front of all that people. She was alone in a studio, somewhere else, and then they pasted her in the scene, which makes it look kind of strange. Add to that the fire, and there you go.

  4. cardpetree

    Emilia Clarke is claiming that this latest nude scene was all her saying “This is all me, all proud, all strong. I’m just feeling genuinely happy I said ‘Yes.’ That ain’t no body double!”

  5. Steve

    Emilia Clarke has gone on record that it was indeed her and not a double, and that apparently (contradictory to earlier statements about her non-nudity contract) she is fine with nudity when it serves the story, which arguably it does here.

    THAT SAID, totally agree Mr. Zyber, I thought it looked like a digital double and commented as such to my wife until we both found out it was indeed the real deal.

  6. Timcharger

    “Honey, it’s not what you think.
    I need to examine Daenerys’ body for prosperity.
    Going frame by frame, zooming in and out,
    especially around this area of her body, I need
    to do this for science. I’m pursuing knowledge
    here. And I need to win an internet fight. What
    I’m doing is entirely chaste.”

  7. Timcharger

    Castle Black
    Josh: “While the two of them never much got along as children, their reunion is cemented by a big hug.”

    5 years it took for 1 Stark reunion. That is
    some kind of commitment. GoT writing is
    that good to make the audience wait so
    long for it. And no lines. No dialogue.
    Silence. Falling snow. Everyone watching.
    Big hug.

    As much as earlier episodes stated that
    Sansa was going to Jon at Castle Black, I
    didn’t dare believe it. No, no, no, poor
    unlucky Sansa, she can’t possibly succeed,
    can she? And to do it right at the
    beginning of the episode. Good call. I
    knew it was going to happen, yet also so
    surprised, a Stark reunion!

  8. Timcharger

    Castle Black
    Josh: “Snow catches her up on everything that happened to him, including his murder and resurrection.”

    I’m not too sure Jon told Sansa about his murder
    and resurrection. Jon talked about how tired of
    all the fighting he’s done, and listed a few of his
    kills that he had to do. There’s a hint that they
    can’t stay at Castle Black because of “what
    happened.” But that’s it. It’s not entirely clear.

    Plus I figure if Sansa knew, she might say
    something like: who cares about Ramsay’s
    5,000 soldiers, we have Jon, the undead. You’ve
    conquered death! Retaking Winterfell will be a
    piece of Nan’s pie.

    • Timcharger

      Oh, and gotta love Strong Sansa.
      She starts off this episode leading the ladies
      in their demonstration of girl-power. The
      male siblings cower, but the sisters…
      …Damn! You go, girls! Show the men how to
      be tough. Nature chose wisely by giving the
      stronger sex, gestation. If men had to give
      birth, our species would be extinct ages ago.

  9. Timcharger

    Castle Black
    Josh writes about the conversation between Davos, Melisandre, and Brienne.

    You didn’t write about how Davos asked
    Melisandre about Shireen. And right when
    he asked what happened to the Princess,
    Brienne interrupted with: “I saw what

    The writers are clever about this. Brienne
    then proceeded to answer what happened
    to Stannis. Confirming Stannis’ execution
    by her hands. But nothing about Shireen.

    Groundwork is being laid here about what
    may happen when Davos learns what
    really happened to Shireen.

    • Timcharger

      What happened to Shireen was really
      a big deal last season. There was talk about how
      that event would permanently affect the GoT

      Shireen’s parents paid a price. All of Stannis’
      men paid a price. I don’t think Melisandre losing
      her faith is a big enough price.

      Despite her alleged help in Jon’s return and now
      being allied to our beloved bastard, the Red
      Witch has it coming.

      It is difficult to cheer for harm against someone
      that’s 80 years old, so being 800 years old does
      win her some sympathy.

      But her exit will place Jon’s character back into
      peril in a good storytelling way. Jon having a free
      get-out-of-jail card traveling at his side really
      undermines any threats he may face.

  10. Timcharger

    Castle Black
    Josh: “Later, Jon Snow receives a letter from Ramsay Bolton.”

    Something smells fishy about that taunting
    letter. Why does Ramsay need to taunt Jon
    into leaving Castle Black? It is hardly a castle.
    Jon isn’t behind high walls like the Red Keep
    or Winterfell. Ramsay can easily attack and
    overtake Castle Black from the south. Castle
    Black’s defense is the giant ice wall in the
    north. A Bolton rider rode there to deliver
    the letter. And last we saw of the Bolton
    army, there was a huge cavalry easily
    charging through Stannis’ men. Why give
    Jon a warning, more time to prepare and
    organize his forces? Ramsay doesn’t show
    his hand. Cuz he’s usually hiding a knife in
    his hand. This letter tells too much.
    Something doesn’t smell right.

  11. Timcharger

    The Vale

    The scene played out too easily for Baelish.

    Littlefinger could use Varys or Tyrion on
    the same continent to do battle with him.

    “Thank goodness the Bolton men were
    only able to kidnap Sansa, and you
    Littlefinger with your fighting skills luckily
    escaped.” Varys or Tyrion would quip.

  12. Timcharger

    King’s Landing
    Josh: “the High Sparrow, who tells her a very long and involved story about how he used to be a successful cobbler…”

    The High Sparrow is like the Joker in Nolan’s
    Dark Knight. The Joker/High Sparrow will
    eventually tell half a dozen different versions
    of his origin story.

    Previously he told Cersei a different version
    of why he didn’t wear shoes.

    The High Sparrow is making a play for Josh’s
    title of “the show’s best master manipulator.”

  13. Timcharger

    King’s Landing
    Josh: “However, Margaery whispers to Loras that he must stay strong. Although she has pretended to begin the process of atonement, she’s secretly as defiant as ever.”

    I’m loving Margaery. And Olenna was great
    a couple seasons ago. If only the Tyrells
    were introduced back in Season 1, instead
    of Season 2, I may think that the Tyrells just
    might make it to the Iron Throne and win
    this game. From the start, it was between
    the Starks, Lannisters, and Targaryens.
    With how strong Margaery is, I wouldn’t
    mind it if the Tyrells makes it to the final 3.

  14. Timcharger

    King’s Landing
    Josh: “All he has to do is step aside and let the Tyrell forces in.”

    High Sparrow leaks info to Tommen…
    Tommen leaks info to Cersei…
    Cersei leaks info to Small Council…
    …and all they have to do is let the Tyrell forces in???

    This solution sounds too easy. So easy that
    Olenna should have had this planned earlier.
    She knows Loras & Margaery aren’t being
    pampered at the Four Seasons. And Cersei’s
    walk of shame must have informed Olenna
    the same may happen to Margaery. I’m
    disappointed in Olenna. I keep giving her the
    benefit of the doubt, thinking she must be
    planning something big. But this is Cersei’s
    plan and it’s her strength that’s pushing for it.

    Much like Tywin’s last season, he went from
    someone who cleverly manipulated the all the
    pieces on the chessboard, to a grandfather of
    the King who ignored his grandson’s true
    murderer(s), engineered false testimony to
    frame his son Tyrion, and more interested in
    sleeping with Tyrion’s whore. What happened
    to the Tywin character?

    What’s happening to the Olenna character?

    Guess the theme of girl-power in this episode,
    only applies to younger female characters.

  15. Timcharger

    Josh: “Ramsay stabs her in the neck with his own knife first.”

    Osha disappears for 2-3 seasons? And
    we get her back for barely 2 episodes.
    At least she got in 2 funny lines. “I know
    what men want, when I get to have a
    bath.” And she was able to shock
    Ramsay. She impressed Ramsay with
    the “do you eat it after” question.

    If she didn’t go for the knife, Ramsay may
    have kept Osha alive, despite knowing
    her allegiance. She would definitely keep
    Ramsay entertained.

    Thinking about it. How great it would be
    if Osha reached for the food on plate
    instead? And started to eat the apple
    while grinding Ramsay. She just proved
    that she only served the Starks for her
    own self-interest.

  16. Timcharger

    Vaes Dothrak
    Josh: “Daario then spots a patch of greyscale on Jorah’s arm, but Jorah tells him not to worry about it.”

    If Jorah wants to conceal his greyscale,
    shouldn’t he wrap something around that
    hole in his sleeve by now? Does Jorah think
    tugging his sleeve over the exposed skin
    won’t reveal it the next time he moves his

    And Daario must buy any excuse sluts give
    him about the blisters on their bodies. Just
    work around the blisters Daario, you’ll be


    • Josh Zyber

      Perhaps the greyscale is so abrasive that it tears apart any fabric covering it? That’s why there’s a hole in his sleeve in the first place.

      • Timcharger

        I figured the greyscale stoneman fighting
        Jorah, tore that hole, and causing skin-to-
        scale contact.

        • Timcharger

          It grows where the contact is, I think.

          Stannis said an infected doll is what
          got Shireen grayscale. So I imagined,
          Shireen hugged that doll to her face.

  17. Timcharger

    Vaes Dothrak
    Josh: “Thousands of Dothraki run toward it and witness the triumphant Daenerys emerge from the flames completely unscathed.”

    Daenerys and Jon must be related! They are so
    competitive. Dany is reborn and a dozen Dothraki
    witnessed it back in Season 1. Jon gets reborn,
    and impresses 50 Watchmen/100 Wildlings. Now,
    Dany has to one-up Jon and be reborn before an
    audience of 100,000?!

  18. Timcharger

    Josh: “Also, before someone takes me to task for my comment last week about Emilia Clarke…”

    Free pass.

    • Timcharger

      I think going with the most obvious
      is the best choice for the next episode. It
      works. It’s succinct; it’s poignant. It is very
      much meaningful.

      “Hold the door.”

        • cardpetree

          Funny, wrong but funny. Poor Willis, so I guess the show has some time travelling issues to explain.

      • Timcharger

        I do need some levity. Thanks Josh.
        The sadness sucks. Hodor is just a giant baby,
        so the sadness sucks extra hard. And I even
        imagined a giant versus giant, Mountain versus
        Hodor matchup. Well maybe a wight/White-
        Walker-Hodor in the future?

        What a gentleman, Hodor is. Gentlemen hold

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