From the moment the sword came crashing through the neck of the first season’s protagonist, Game of Thrones has left me searching for a hero and with tonight’s episode The Laws of Gods and Men, that hero finally emerged to take their place
(SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT)
This season has played out a bit different than the season two and three in terms of how the episodes are laid out. Instead of bouncing back from character to character, the show runners have settled into a nice flow of devoting half the episode to the various subplots before settling into a meaty second half focused squarely on one major story arc. As has been the case throughout Season 4, this episode revolved around Tyrion Lannister resulting in the season’s best episode since the death of that little twit Joffrey.
But first, let’s catch up on the rest of our cast of characters. Stannis and Sir Davos arrive at the Iron Bank. They fail to make much of a case as to why the IB should back Stannis instead of the Lannister clan, until Sir Davos makes a case simply based on the fact that Tywin Lannister is getting old and could die any time leaving the Iron Throne under the command of a boy. The pitch worked and Stannis now has money to buy himself some sell-swords and an army strong enough to challenge Tywin’s army.
Daenerys is getting a taste of what being a queen is like and she’s not enjoying it nearly as much as she has barking out orders. First, her dragons are acting like rowdy teenagers and vandalizing the farmlands and roasting goats and then she has the moral conflict once the son of a nobleman pleads for his crucified father’s body to be taken down so it can be properly buried. The weight of the crown is weighing heavily on Daenerys. And yet, I still don’t care about her subplot this season.
In a meeting of the small council, Tywin reveals he has kept an eye on Daenerys and is growing a bit concerned with her mounting forces. Cersei, being Cersei, scoffs at the idea that there could possibly be another powerful woman running around anywhere in the land, but Tywin wants Varys to have some of his men infiltrate Daenerys’ forces — a subplot that will no doubt reach fruition right around the pivotal ninth episode.
After finally getting Ramsey Snow’s letter calling for the Greyjoy Household’s surrender — along with Lil Theon — his sister, Asha, leads a rescue mission to free him. Meanwhile Ramsey is having some bloody passionate sex. Literally. Asha and her men find Theon/Reek quickly enough, but Reek wants no part of a rescue, which gives Ramsey’s bloody chest and his men time to kill some of Asha’s men. Realizing the pointlessness of the matter, Asha leaves and tells her men that her brother is dead. Hard to argue with that thought. I kinda wish this encounter occurred later in the season since I wanted to see Asha vs. Ramsey for real. This episode’s creepiest scene when Ramsey rewards Reek with a bath. Not because of something crazy that happens, but just because my imagination comes up with about 58 deathtraps set ups Ramsey has for poor Reek. Shockingly, it’s nothing. He wants Reek to pretend to be Theon Greyjoy. That dude is twisted.
And now it’s time for the nitty gritty of tonight’s episode — the trial of Tyrion Lannister.
It’s going about as awful as you’d expect for our favorite Imp as the witnesses are all reading from that “Smear Tyrion!” propaganda letter Cersei must have distributed right before the trial. Tywin barely gives his son a chance to cross-examine the witnesses. Clearly this is just for show and Tyrion seems resigned to his fate.
Recognizing this trial for the farce it is, Jamie appeals to Tywin’s compassion for his children vanity for his dynasty. Since Jamie is a member of the King’s Guard he’s not supposed to get married (check) or have any children (hmm, well technically that could be a check I suppose…), but to spare his brother, Jamie offers to leave the position that gives his life meaning — beyond that whole lusting for his sister thing.
Tywin admits as much that Tyrion’s trial is a formality, but agrees to spare him so long as Tyrion keeps his mouth shut and pleads guilty. He’ll get the Ned Stark treatment of being sent to The Wall to be a member of The Night’s Watch — hopefully sans the beheading part. Jamie tells Tyrion the plan and Peter Dinklage does an expert job of letting you see the wheels turn in Tyrion’s head as he wonders what his brother had to sacrifice to save him.
Tywin and Cersei can barely contain their smug expressions when Shae comes up next and goes on a vindictive humiliating recount of their relationship. Dinklage, who has been amazing throughout this entire segment, goes into award-seizing mode now capturing Tyrion’s devastation as Shae cuts him with a final shot that she is simply a whore. Yikes. And then, not able to take any more, Tyrion confesses.
Not for killing Joffrey the Twit King. Nope, Tyrion goes off on the ingrates of Westeros saying he should have let Stannis kill them, says he wishes he was the one who killed Joffrey and not even the satisfaction of a thousand lying whores would be worth killing Joffrey and all those mocking and jeering him now. And with no illusion of justice, Tyrion demands a trial by combat.
If ever there were a drop the mic moment in a trial, this would be it and I can’t imagine anyone not rooting for Tyrion at this point. My only question is does Tyrion fight himself or have Jamie or Bronn fight in his place?
Now since I’m all in on the Tyrion Fan Club now, I figure he’s got about three more episodes left before he’s brutally killed/betrayed and then killed, but I don’t care darn it. I’m #TeamTyrion to the end. Let’s get to next week’s episode already!