Tyrion’s sharp tongue, the asset that has gotten the quick-thinking Lannister son out of some very tight situations over the past three seasons, becomes a liability in this week’s Game of Thrones.
Every single thing he says is the gods’ honest truth – and needs to be heard — but given the way things turn out, maybe he could for once let discretion stand as the better part of valor?
Sigh. Tyrion is probably my favorite Thrones character, and this is going to hurt. Read on as we review the regrettable events of “The Laws of Gods and Men.”
HOUSE “THERE IS NO THEON” GREYJOY | Yara rallies her men to free Theon from Ramsay Snow by reminding them that “everything they’ve done to him, they’ve also done to you.” Her group successfully infiltrates the castle and finds her brother sleeping in a cage alongside the dogs. But when she opens the door and tells Theon she’s there to bring him home, he insists he’s Reek – and always has been. He resists her and her men as they try to bodily remove him, which buys just enough time for Ramsay to finish giving some girl the ol’ Snow job (is that the girl from the woods? Hard to tell amid the grunting and the thrusting and such) and bust into the kennel room, shirtless, bloody and spoiling for a fight.
Theon, completely brainwashed into Reek-dom, bites Yara’s hand to get away and then scampers back into his crate like a pooch who just ate a pie left to cool on the windowsill and knows punishment will soon follow. There’s some fighting, Ramsay releases the vicious dogs from their pens, and then Yara and her men retreat to the boats — alone. Someone wonders why Theon’s not with her. “My brother’s dead,” she says flatly.
As a reward for his “loyalty,” Ramsay draws Reek a bath and orders him to disrobe. This gives us an almost-complete view of what the sadist has done to his prisoner’s body; thankfully, the camera skips his most crucial of cuts. There are scars, wounds, dirt and some impressively chiseled abs – nice to see that Reek’s imprisonment hasn’t interfered with sticking to his P90X routine. A highly freaked Reek slips into the tub and can’t figure out why Ramsay’s being so nice to him, but he nevertheless pledges his love when prompted. Snow seems pleased as he creepily sponges Reek’s back; he’s got a job for his smelly underling. They’re going to go to battle, and he needs him to pretend to be “someone you’re not: Theon Greyjoy.”
HOUSE BARATHEON | Stannis and Davos sail to Braavos, where the Iron Bank is less than receptive to their request for funding to overtake the Iron Throne. Stannis protests that Tommen is a bastard, and that as Robert’s brother, he is the rightful ruler. “Yes, we have heard this story,” one banker replies dispassionately, more concerned with the quantities of men, ships and food available at Dragonstone. (For the record, those numbers are 4K, 32 and none, respectively.) When the money men turn Stannis down, Davos makes an impassioned plea for his boss, using his amputated fingers as proof that Stannis pays people what they’re due. Next we know, Davos is finding mercenary captain Salladhor Saan (remember him?) and tossing a bunch of coins his way. Guess we’re setting sail for King’s Landing pretty soon!
HOUSE TARGARYEN | Daenerys sits her throne and holds an audience with all of the supplicants waiting to see her. The first one is mad that her dragons barbecued his entire herd of goats; she offers him three times what the animals were worth and he gladly accepts. Dany looks around with a self-satisfied little smile as if to say, “This ruling thing isn’t so tough.” Just wait, honey. Her next appointment is the son of a nobleman who is one of Meereen’s most lauded architects. When Dany says she’d like to meet his dad, he’s all, “Well, you can’t, because you crucified him on a mile marker.” Oops. She tries the righteous indignation tack… but it loses power when he states that his father argued against the killing/public display of the slave children but was voted down. Chagrined, the Mother of Dragons allows the man to give his father a proper burial, then wearily prepares to see the hundreds more in line seeking her ear. Queenin’ ain’t easy, eh?
HOUSE LANNISTER | A meeting of the small council kicks off our time in King’s Landing this week, but there are much bigger problems on the Lannisters’ plate, so I’m just going to give you the minutes: Oberyn Martell, Grand Maeester Pycelle, Cersei, Varys, Mace Tyrell and Tywin attend; the biggest deal is that Varys offers an update on Daenerys, and Tywin is concerned enough to ask The Spider to install a few of his “little birds” in Meereen. Meeting adjourned.
Then, it’s time for Tyrion’s so-called trial to begin. As we’ve known for weeks, it’s a total sham, which starts when Tommen recuses himself and installs Tywin in his place alongside the other judges, Oberyn Martell and Mace Tyrell. Jaime is given the unenviable task of escorting his accused brother to the throne room, where he’ll face his fate; the looks the pair exchange are heartbreaking, because both know that Tyrion is (literally) royally screwed.
Those testifying against the “imp” include a member of the Kingsguard, Pycelle, Cersei and Varys, all of whom speak to past threats/possible crimes that the former Master of Coin carried out against his bratty nephew. A few notes: Pycelle calling Joff “the most noble child the gods ever put upon this Earth”? OBJECTION. Also, there’s so much gloss on Cersei’s retelling of Joffrey’s Blackwater performance that I could check my make-up in it. Finally, isn’t it impressive how everyone has such crystal-clear recollection of past episodes’ dialogue? They must have an HBO Go subscription.
Anyway, It’s all going very badly by the time Tywin calls for a break, and Jamie knows he has to do something to save his younger brother. “He killed his king,” Tywin asserts. “As did I!” the aptly named Kingslayer protests. Jamie offers to leave the Kingsguard, marry and carry on the family name if Tywin allows Tyrion to live… and the older man shocks him by saying, “Done.” (Take a screen grab of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s face right here, and paste it into your dictionary under the entry for “gobsmacked.”)
After a guilty verdict, Daddy Lanister says, Tyrion should ask for mercy, and he will be granted a lifetime sentence of service as a man of The Wall. Jaime relates this hopeful development to his younger brother, who (understandably) isn’t psyched – after all, Ned had the same deal right up until the axe severed his spinal cord. Still, Tyrion agrees to keep quiet…
HOUSE LANNISTER: POINT-OF-NO-RETURN EDITION | … until the court calls Shae to testify. Oh, ow, ouch. Her speech is full of lies and delivered in a stilted fashion, as though the prostitute is making very sure to remember all of her lines. It literally takes Tyrion down; he slumps as she says she was his whore – “He ordered me to call him ‘My lion,’ and so I did’ – and that he and Sansa planned the murder. Peter Dinklage kills me with his soft, “Shae, please don’t,” right before all hell breaks loose.
Unable to contain his anger and hurt any longer, Tyrion pipes up that he wishes to confess. (If Jaime’s face were captioned, it might say, “No no no NO NO NO NO!”) “I saved you,” he growls to those gathered. “I saved this city and all your worthless lives. I should’ve let Stannis kill you all.” He adds that he didn’t kill the boy king – “but I wish that I had” and that his guilt is of the crime of being an imp, the perceived monster running amuck in King’s Landing. “I will let the gods decide my fate,” he finishes fatalistically. “I demand a trial by combat.” And over in the corner, Jaime gulps nervously, flexes his one good hand and wonders if Bronn is available for an emergency training session.
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!