Bravo, Peter Dinklage! He opened a vein and bled, giving us one of the best performances of this season. Granted I’m a little biased – I am a big fan of his – but you’d have to be made of stone to not be moved by him last night. The trial of Tyrion Lannister was the star of this episode, and it certainly had some explosive moments…but before I get carried away with my feels, let’s jump into my thoughts on “The Laws of Gods and Men”.
I love any episode that features Ser Davos; to me, he and Shireen are the only likeable parts of Stannis scenes. This episode, however, mainly featured Stannis and Davos as they traveled to Braavos to meet with members of the Iron Bank. I loved the wide-spread shot we got of Braavos, including the famous Titan. George R. R. Martin is a huge history buff, and the Titan seems to be inspired by one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Colossus of Rhodes. The description of the Titan was pretty cool in the book, so I was excited to see how the show would recreate it – and they didn’t disappoint. The shot itself was very impressive, which just speaks to the quality of work that Game of Thrones continues to put out.
Speaking of impressive things, Davos’ loyalty to Stannis once again came to the rescue. Lady Melisandre has blown so much smoke up Stannis’ ass that he marches around and expects people to bow and scrape to him just because he claims to be the rightful king. He talks a good talk about this being his duty, but I believe he’s just as power-hungry as the rest of them and he’s merely hiding behind a cloak of self-righteousness. That is the reason why I think Davos is so vital to Stannis – everyone else around only tells Stannis what he wants to hear, which to some extent is what he wants. But Davos is the only one with the nerve to tell Stannis what he needs to hear, whether Stannis wants to hear it or not.
But that loyalty doesn’t just stop at telling hard truths, as we saw in this episode when Davos fought for Stannis with the Iron Bank. Stannis spoke to the bankers of his right to the Iron Throne, but they were more interested in cold, hard numbers, as they are “more plain, less open to interpretation”. When they seemingly dismissed Stannis, Davos held fast and revealed the “payment” he gave to Stannis as punishment for his smuggling, calling it an “honest accounting”. Now if that isn’t loyalty, I don’t know what is. I was excited that they finally showed Davos’ hand, as in the books, he made mention of it quite often. He even wore his knuckle bones around his neck as further reminder, until they were lost during the Battle of the Blackwater. But Davos didn’t rely on only that to further Stannis’ cause; he also pointed out that when Tywin died, there would be no one in King’s Landing to count on to repay the debts owed to the Iron Bank. Save for one: Stannis. For all his faults, Stannis is a man of his word and can be trusted to follow through with his promises.
The Braavos scene ended with Davos rehiring his pirate friend Salladhor Saan. I love their interactions and am interested to see if we will get to see more of them together.
On the other hand, the scene with Yara was okay but ultimately disappointing. She was so full of piss and vinegar over saving her brother from torture and agony, yet she gave up doing so rather quickly. This is one instance where I really wished they had stayed true to the books. I won’t go into details, but this small scene seemed like no more than a throwaway scene to give the character something to do until she had a relevant plot line again. The following interaction between Theon and Ramsey was truly disturbing, as we saw once again just how far gone Theon is. Not only does he obviously have Stockholm Syndrome, but with the way Theon reacted at being taken away from Ramsay – how upset and insistent he was on staying – that he didn’t want to leave at all. Ramsay cleaning Theon up seems to be a part of the plan to retake Moat Cailin from the Ironborn that occupy it, and I’m interested to find out what we’ll see of that particular plan, as what happened in the books was extremely gruesome.
In Meereen, Dany’s dragon Drogon is growing even wilder, attacking a goat herder’s flock and roasting some of his goats alive. When the man presents the charred bones of one of his goats, Dany gives the man the value of his flock three-fold. Drogon is the only dragon we’ve seen so far, which is a little disappointing, but I suppose this is just a way the production goes about saving money (by animating one dragon instead of three). Like the Titan of Braavos, the work done on the dragon was stunning, almost making you think it was a living and breathing creature.
Dany’s next visitor was Hizdahr zo Loraq, the son of one of the Masters of Meereen. The conversation she had with him seemed to be an echo of the dismissed counsel Barristan gave her just two episodes ago. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Hizdhar as he begged for the right to give his father and the other noblemen proper burials. Dany compromised by only allowing him to bury his father, bringing up the fact that the children the Masters put to death received no such respect. I think this was a good learning experience for Dany, as she is forced to face the consequences of her decisions. Her thought process right now seems to be very black and white, with little gray in between. This situation with Hizdhar showed the error in that way of thinking, as his father was innocent of the crime of which he was accused and yet was still put to death for it. I have a feeling that if Dany does not adjust this way of thinking, things are not going to go well for her.
Finally we reached King’s Landing, where the real action took place! The Small Counsel was shown first having a quick meeting to discuss affairs of the state before the trial began. Mace Tyrell was such an unbelievable brown-noser through this entire scene – no wonder Lady Olenna can’t stand him! Additionally, Varys’ birds seemed to be losing their touch, as they reported sightings of the Hound but nothing about who is traveling with him. I mean, they were even able to send back some of his more colorful quotes…yet no mention whatsoever was made of Arya? I suppose the Master of Whispers isn’t as all-knowing as people believe, but I still love him!
On the subject of Daenerys, I’m not sure whether it’s arrogance, ignorance, or both, that would lead Cersei to be so utterly dismissive of Dany’s growing power. It’s truly baffling how she seems to be under the impression that she is untouchable, regardless of that fact being disproved with Joffery’s death. The counsel meeting ended with Mace being a good dog and fetching quill and paper for Tywin, who was not so dismissive of Dany. I’m interested to find out who will be the recipient of Tywin’s letter via one of Varys’ little birds.
Equally interesting was Varys’ conversation with Oberyn. The Master of Whispers remains a mystery even to book readers, and I can’t help but hope to learn more about him, and I would love it if Martin gave us a POV chapter for Varys! Though he and Oberyn stood opposite each other on the subject of desire – Varys seemingly absent of it and Oberyn full to the point of over flowing – there must be something Varys desires. It’s just a matter of figuring out what it is.
The joke that was Tyrion’s trial followed, where person after person took the stand, and Tyrion was denounced in every way possible. Ser Meryn Trant’s testimony had me gritting my teeth and shouting with Tyrion. At the end of his testimony, though, the camera cut to Jaime. I can only hope and pray that this means he will knock Trant down a peg or two and remind the man of what it truly means to be a knight. Pycelle seemed to be laying it on extra thick during his testimony, trying his damnedest to get back into Cersei’s good graces. I thought a lightning bolt was going to burst through the ceiling of the Red Keep when he called Joffrey “the most noble child the gods ever put on this good earth”! Really, Pycelle? Even the grieving Cersei knew that was a load of bull manure.
Speaking of Cersei, her testimony was moving, which is a credit to Lena Hedley’s talent as an actress. Her character may be one of the wickedest on the show, but she is still a grieving mother. While Tyrion must have expected her lies and half-truths, you could tell that Varys’ testimony stung him (even though there was worse yet to come). Tyrion and Varys had become something like comrades, so to hear Varys on the stand speaking against him must have hurt. But I can’t find it in me to be angry with Varys. Though much about him is shrouded in mystery, he’s more ambiguous than, let’s say, Littlefinger. The way Varys carries himself doesn’t scream “villain”, and his testimony seemed to be more him going through the motions for the sake of keeping his position on the Small Council.
I loved how Jaime rushed to Tywin to defend Tyrion, naming the trial for what it was: a farce. With Tyrion surrounded by enemies at all sides, Jaime continuing to fight for his little brother was great. The deal that he made with Tywin showed just how determined he was to save Tyrion; he was even willing to commit to a life he doesn’t want. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Jaime, though, as this was all for naught – Tywin had an ace up his sleeve, so it didn’t really matter that he agreed to Jaime’s deal. You could tell by the smirk on his face at the end of his conversation with Jaime – Tywin knew that ace would drive Tyrion to act out and damn himself. And so he did, when Shae arrived in the Red Keep and took the stand. I almost started crying at the look of devastation on Tyrion’s face as Shae laid bare all their personal secrets, turning them into twisted manipulations. It was obvious that Shae was forced to say those things – you could see the reluctance on her face at even being there in the first place. Her testimony seemed to be more than a way to prove Tyrion’s guilt; it was a public shaming of both her and Tyrion. But while I could only feel sorrow, Tyrion was quickly filled with rage. He lashed out at the crowd behind him and at his judges, particularly his father. His only crime, as he put it, was being a dwarf. He then turned his rage on Cersei, saying that while he did not kill Joffrey, he wished that he had. Throughout this entire speech, I had chills and goosebumps. Peter Dinklage is truly a gifted actor, and he portrayed Tyrion’s rage with such vehemence that one would think it was his own. And then, before all was said and done and he was dragged away by the guards, Tyrion demanded a trail by combat. As a book reader, all I will say is this: be prepared for one hell of a fight!
All in all I thought this was a fantastic episode; much more exciting and entertaining than last week. Next week’s Mockingbird looks to be just as exciting, as we are returning to the Eyrie. But as for The Laws of Gods and Men, what are your thoughts, dear readers? What did you think of Peter Dinklage’s performance? What moments stood out to you? Comment below…and thank you for reading!
Author: Sarah Sue
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