Spoilers are coming.
It’s time to go into Law and Order mode on Game of Thones 4×06: The Laws of Gods and Men. It’s Tyrion’s trial. We also get Braavos, the Dreadfort and Drogon attacking but Tyrion was the best thing on the screen last Sunday night. This time we’re starting in Essos, the land across the Narrow Sea.
Stannis Baratheon and Ser Davos Seaworth travel all the way to Braavos to claim the financial support of the Iron Bank of Braavos. Keep your eyes open for the appearance of Tycho Nestoris, played by Mark Gatiss (Mycroft Holmes from Sherlock!), as the Bank’s representative. Stannis doesn’t make much of a case, but Davos is a much better speaker. The former smuggler proves very convincing when he gets them to acknowledge that the real power in King’s Landing is Tywin. Besides the Hand of the King, there’s little they can expect from Jaime Lannister (a Kingslayer), Cersei (a Queen despised by her people) and Tyrion (now a suspected Kingslayer). The Bank seems to eventually give in as the next scene has Ser Davos offering work to his old friend Salladhor Saan and flashing some coin to boot.
Back on Westeros, trouble is coming for Ramsay Snow. Team Six of the Ironborn, leaded by Yara Greyjoy (aka Asha Greyjoy in the books, the name was changed in the TV series to prevent confusion with Osha the wildling) breaks into… Ramsay’s castle? Does Ramsay own his own holdfast near the Dreadfort? I don’t believe that a medieval commando could break into the Dreadfort so easy. Then again, perhaps Roose Bolton is not home. After threatening a guard, Yara is reunited with her brother but in Theon’s warped state of mind this is another trick and he refuses to be liberated by his sister. Yara and her men have their hands full as Ramsay shows up. Ramsay tips the scales by releasing his feral dogs. Yara abandons Theon to his fate, telling her people that her brother is dead. In another tense scene, Ramsay rewards Reek/Theon for not running away by giving him a bath… and telling him about his plan to “impersonate Theon.”
We now go all the way back across the Narrow Sea to Meereen, to witness bad ass Drogon feasting on goats. The shepherd shows up in front of Daenerys throne to let her know his flock has been decimated. The Queen of Meereen rewards her three times for his loss. Daenerys however doesn’t get off as easy for her next supplicant, Hizdahr zo Loraq. The noble wants his father, who he claims was against crucifying the children to the road posts, to be un-crucified so he can bury his corpse. It’s the first of uneasy consequences for Daenerys, but she agrees to his request. It won’t be the last.
All good morsels, but now let’s go to the main banquet here.
We’re back in King’s Landing to watch a meeting of the small council. Varys, Master of Whisperers, seems to know just about everything. He’s aware of Daenerys Targaryen, her growing army and her dragons, but Jorah Mormont who used to be a spy is no longer reporting to him. He’s also aware of the Hound wreaking havoc in the Riverlands. Tywin agrees to put a bounty upon his head. There’s a nice scene in front of the Iron Throne with Varys and Prince Oberyn Martell.
But on to the good stuff. Tyrion’s trial begins with King Tommen excusing himself and handing control to the Hand of the King, Tywin. Seeing Tywin seated on the Iron Throne has all the implications of a legendary confrontation. Tywin at his strongest against Tyrion in chains at his weakest. But as we will soon learn, this is where Peter Dinklage can really make his character shine.
Theres’ a parade of witnesses for the Crown. Ser Meryn Trant, Grand Maester Pycelle and Cersei take the stand to build a strong case against Tyrion. It’s Varys the Spider recalling Tyrion’s words on the stand that really hurts Tyrion. He’s also the only witness he tries to cross examine, trying to get Varys to recall the time where he admitted what Tyrion had done for this city. Varys’ response is quite ambiguous: “I remember everything.” Easily considered against Tyrion’s favor.
During a break, Jaime goes to appeal to Tywin for his brother’s freedom. He goes as far as renouncing the Kingsguard and taking his place at Casterly Rock. Surprisingly, Tywin agrees. Tyrion is to admit guilt and beg mercy by requesting to join the Night’s Watch while Jaime renounces the white and marries to continue the Lannister line. You can tell Tywin has planned this all along. I don’t think anybody believes that it’s going to work. Jaime still goes over to Tyrion to let him know to just let things take its course and then ask to be sent to the Wall.
Of course the Crown, or more precisely, Cersei has a surprise witness to accuse Tyrion. Shae, who Tyrion thought on her way to Pentos, appears before the court. You can see Tyrion falling into complete despair as she tells the court of a conspiracy between him and Sansa to kill Joffrey. She also admits to being his whore. It’s the final nail in Tyrion’s coffin.
But it’s here where the character seems to rise above everyone else as Tyrion decides to confess. To confess the crime of being a dwarf. To confess that he is innocent of killing Joffrey, but wishes he had. Turning around to face the audience, he snarls as he wishes he had enough poison to kill everyone. His confession, which is more of a slap in the face at his father ends up with a shocker. He wants the Gods to judge him. He demands a trial by combat. Tyrion is a desperate man in that last scene.
You probably remember the last time Tyrion resorted to trial by combat. It happened at the Eyrie, he was in front of Lady Arryn and Bronn was his champion. It was won easily by sellsword Bronn. Who the players will be this time around is yet to be seen, but you know this is not going to end. Book readers, hush.
Highs: Tyrion all the way here. You could have extended his speech at the end of the episode to include the entire episode and I would’ve listened to every word. It was also nice to see Varys. Shae as a surprise witness is really there to break Tyrion’s spirit and it does – but the results may have backfired when Tyrion becomes enraged. Bravo (pun intented) for Ser Davos Seaworth as he wins a huge one for his King. I’m hoping Stannis better treat him a lot better after this one, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him sour again come next week.
Lows: Four episodes left? Are you kidding me?
That will do for now.