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GAME OF THRONES Re-Throned: “Book of the Stranger” (S6, E4)

Winter is coming, but not soon enough. So to help pass the time until season seven of Game of Thrones, we’re doing a weekly re-watch of the series, episode-by-episode, with the knowledge of what’s to come and—therefore—more information about the unrevealed rich history of events that took place long before the story began. Be warned, though: that means this series is full of spoilers for every season, even beyond the episode itself. So if you haven’t watched all of the show yet immediately get on that and then come back and join us for Game of Thrones Re-Throned.

Because the next best thing to watching new episodes is re-watching old ones.


Season 6, Episode 4: “Book of the Stranger”

Original Air Date: May 15th, 2016
Director: Daniel Sackheim
Written by: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss

You don’t need to re-watch this episode to remember how incredible it was when Daenerys burned all the khals alive and emerged from the flames like a goddess to find every Dothraki kneeling before her.

But you should, because it’s still really freaking awesome.


As was her seemingly fulfilling the prophecy of the Stallion Who Mounts the World, the mythical “khal of khals” who will unite all the khalasars into one and make all the people of the world “his” herd. Because after seeing firsthand how she earned the moniker “the Unburnt,” all the Dothraki became hers.

But this scene is reminiscent of another infamous, much more tragic moment in House Targaryen history, which could point towards Daenerys fulfilling a different, far more important prophecy: the one about the Prince That Was Promised.

It’s hard to argue against Daenerys being the Stallion Who Mounts the World, since she fulfilled the first part of the prophecy by bringing all the Dothraki into a single khalasar. Plus, she seems well on her way to the second part as well, now that she truly controls Slaver’s Dragon’s Bay and is sailing to conquer Westeros.


(Note: There are those who think that Drogon fulfills the prophecy. “Swift as the wind he rides, his enemies will cower before him, and their wives will weep tears of blood.” When Mirri Maz Duur betrayed Daenerys by killing her son, she did say she did it because “now he will burn no cities.” All of that certainly sounds like it could be about a dragon, but whether the prophecy refers to Drogon or to Daenerys flying on his back it probably doesn’t matter much. She is the leader of this khalasar, and that’s what’s important.)

But the prophecy about the Stallion Who Mounts the World is very different from the ones that talk about Azor Ahai or the Prince That Was Promised. Those both tell about a hero who will lead the living to victory against the Long Night and the White Walkers. Saving mankind is slightly more important than ruling over it.

Game of Thrones TK Season 7, Episode TK Air Date: TK Emilia Clark as Daenerys Targaryen and a Dragon

Despite those differences in the prophecies, what took place amid the flames of Vaes Dothrak calls to mind a night long ago, when a great fire almost destroyed House Targaryen. And that night is forever entwined with the prophecy of the Prince That Was Promised.

It began when (future king) Jaehaerys II Targaryen made his children, Aerys (who would become The Mad King) and Princess Rhaella, marry, after Jaehaerys was told by a witch that the Prince That Was Promised would be born from their line. Those are Daenerys’s parents.

But it was thought that their first child, Rhaegar, was that prince, especially when he was born amidst smoke and salt like the prophecy foretells. Because his birth took place during a terrible fire known as the Tragedy of Summerhall. (The smoke from the flames, the salt of the tears shed.)


That tragic night happened because King Aegon V, frustrated by his inability to enact meaningful laws to protect the common folk, became obsessed with dragons, which had been extinct for generations. He believed he could do what he wanted if he had them, and so he tried to hatch stone dragon eggs at the Targaryen pleasure house using unknown magic.

Few survived the massive fire, including King Aegon and the legendary knight, his Lord Commander Ser Duncan the Tall. Being immune to fire is not a common trait even for Targaryens. But it was there that night Rhaegar was born, much like Daenerys was reborn (for the second time) in the flames at the Dosh Khaleen’s temple.

Of course, Rhaegar was killed by Robert Baratheon, pointing towards someone else fulfilling the prophecy. (If Rhaegar was the Prince That Was Promised then mankind has been doomed since before the show started, which sounds exactly like something George R.R. Martin would do.)


That someone could be his younger sister, who came out of the flames in a far different manner than Rhaegar did years before. His birth came during a great tragedy that almost ruined his family. Hers came during a great triumphant that could lead to her family returning to power.

If that means she is the Prince That Was Promised, her greatest triumph will come not in making the people of the world “her” herd, but in the Great War. Because while she might have emerged from the flames as the Stallion Who Mounts the World, there is a far more important prophecy this scene could be pointing towards.

But what do you think? Is she either of these prophesied heroes? Neither? Both? Set our comments section on fire with your thoughts.

Images: HBO

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