Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 6 Review: “The Laws of Gods and Men”
This week’s episode of “Game of Thrones” really set the trajectory for the remaining episodes of the season. While our characters in the South of Westeros seem to think their kingdom is settled and can focus on Tyrion’s trial, things in the North are still uneasy and another war seems to be brewing. In Meereen, Daenerys is learning how to be the queen for a vast number of people, and is learning diplomacy; something she really never had to do while she conquered Slaver’s Bay. If one thing is clear from this episdoe, Tywin Lannister should not underestimate his foes in the North and East. Let’s quickly recap what happened this week.
We begin with Stannis and Davos sailing to Braavos to meet with representatives from the Iron Bank. Davos is hoping the Iron Bank will help support Stannis’ fight for the crown of Westeros. Keep in mind, the Lannisters already borrowed a large amount of money from the Iron Bank to fund their cause during the War of the Five Kings, and now this bank basically owns the throne.
Once Stannis and Davos arrive in Braavos, they are forced to wait hours before their meeting with the bankers. Finally, three men arrive and ask Stannis and Davos to sit. Stannis explains to the bankers why his claim to the Iron Throne is true and that they should support him since he is truly the only Barratheon that can claim the throne. The main banker explains they look to numbers rather than birthrights to make their decisions; he says Stannis’s numbers do not look like he stands a chance against the Lannisters. When the man tells Stannis they deny his request, Stannis looks at Davos with contempt and stands up. Davos stands up and pleads their case again. He explains that Tywin Lannister is truly ruling the kingdom and that he is getting older. Once Tywin dies, Tommen will still be young and inexperienced, and the only other Lannisters left are Cersei, whom the entire kingdom hates, and Jaime, whom no one trusts. Davos shows the bankers his hand with the fingers half way cut off, and explains Stannis is just and true to his word. He argues that Stannis is the only person the kingdom can rely on; he is a proven leader and soldier.
Later that evening, Davos finds his pirate friend, Salladhor Saan in the baths with two women. Salladhor is surprised to see Davos; he thought he was being kept prisoner at Dragonstone. Davos tells Salladhor to get ready to sail back with him and Stannis that night. When Salladhor laughs at Davos, Davos brings out money and shows the Iron Bank is supporting Stannis.
Hundreds of miles away, Asha Greyjoy reads her men the letter Ramsey Snow sent to her about her brother as they sail towards the Dreadfort. She tells her men that Ramsey flayed and mutilated Theon and their men, and that they must attack Ramsey for justice and to save her brother. Asha arrives at the Dreadfort and sneaks into the castle. As they are attacking, Ramsey is having violent sex with his lover. Asha manages to get one of Rasmey’s guards to take her to Theon in the dungeons, but when she finds Theon, he is absolutely terrified of her. He thinks this is another one of Ramsey’s tricks and begs her not to take him. Asha and another man have to force Theon out of his cage. As they prepare to leave, Ramsey arrives with his men and the two small forces attack one another as Theon runs back into his cage. Asha nearly defeats Ramsey but he sets his dogs upon her. She manages to escape the castle without her brother, and when her men sail back to their ships they ask about Theon, and she tells them her brother is dead.
After Asha sails away, Ramsey has Theon visit him, and explains that he has a reward for Theon’s loyalty. His gift is a bath, and asks Theon to take off his clothing. Theon is very hesitant, but does as Ramsey asks. Once he steps into the bath, he takes in every second of the water touching his skin. Ramsey begins to bath Theon, and asks if Theon loves Ramsey. Theon insists he loves him. Ramsey explains that is good because he has an important mission for Theon; he wants Theon to pretend to be Theon Greyjoy in order to get a castle back.
Across the Narrow Sea, a boy sits with his sheep as one of Daenery’s dragons flies above them, and eats a sheep. Inside Daenerys’ throne room in Meereen, a man visits Daenerys and, through her interpretor Missandei, tells Daenerys her dragons killed his whole flock and now he has nothing left. He explains he was happy she defeated the slave masters and hopes she is not offended by his comments. Daenerys apologizes for her dragons’ behavior and tells the man he will pay for all of the man’s sheep at three times their value. The man is exuberant as he thanks Daenerys and leaves. Her next visitor is Hizdahr zo Loraq. Hizdhar explains he is a member of the Ghiscasi family, who built many buildings in the city, including Daenerys’ throne room. His father was one of the slave owners Daenerys had crucified, and he explains his father did not support the murdering of innocent children and spoke against this with the other slave owners. Hizdahr explains he would like to ensure Meereen’s traditions are kept, most importantly their tradition of burying the dead. He explains as a son he would like to put his father to rest. Daenerys agrees to his wishes. Once he leaves, Daenerys seems overwhlemed by the visit, and asks Missandei how many supplicants are left to see her. Missandei tells her there are over 200 people waiting, and Daenerys sighs and asks for the next visitor to enter.
The remainder of the episode takes place in King’s Landing, We find Prince Oberyn sitting at the small council with Mace Tyrell, Cersei Lannister, Varys, and Grand Maester Pycelle. Tywin Lannister walks into the room and everyone stands. Tywin immediately starts talking about business. Tywin is told there that Sandor Clegene, aka the Hound, was seen in the Riverlands and killed five Lannister men. Cersei calls the Hound a traitor and Tywin raises the price on the Hound’s head. Varys lets the council know that Daenerys has conquered Meereen and now has a vast army of Unsullied, a band of sellswords, two knights, and three dragons on her side. Varys explains the Unsulled are not an army to underestimate, and Oberyn affirms Varys’ words because he saw them when he visited Essos. Cersei seems to think Daenerys is simply a child and not a threat, but Tywin thinks otherwise and agrees she needs to be dealt with. He has Mace Tyrell get his quill.
After the small council meeting, Oberyn finds Varys in the throne room and Varys asks about Oberyn’s time in Essos. Oberyn explains he spent five years in Essos and has traveled throughout the world in order to be more worldly. Oberyn asks about Varys’ romantic desires and Varys explains he desires nothing; he has seen what desire can do to people. Oberyn then asks what Varys’ motives are, and Varys simply looks to the Iron Throne and walks away.
In the dungeons, Jaime visits Tyrion with two guards, and is Tyrion chained up and taken to his trial. In the throne room, Tyrion stands below Tommen, and before the trial begins Tommen officially steps down as judge of the trial; Tywin, Mace Tyrell, and Prince Oberyen will be the judges. When Tywin asks Tyrion directly if he killed Joffrey, Tyrion says no. Tywin also asks if Sansa Stark killed Joffrey, and Tyrion explains not to his knowledge.
Tywin proceeds by bringing forth the witnesses. Meryn Trant and Grand Maester Pycelle recall past experiences when Tyrion threatened themselves. Grand Maester Pycelle explains his poisons were plundered when Tyrion had him imprisoned. He explains they found a necklace on Ser Dontos’ body that contained traces of the poison called “The Strangler,” and this is the poison that killed Joffrey. He tells the court Sansa Stark was wearing this necklace.
Cersei testifies against Tyrion, as does Varys. Once Varys gets off the stand, Tyrion asks his father if he may ask Varys a question. Tywin says yes, and Tyrion asks Varys is he remembers that he told Tyrion he would never forget that he saved King’s Landing during the Battle of Blackwater; Varys says he will never forget.
The court takes a break, and Jaime finds his father and accuses him of killing his own son. He says this trial is a joke and there is no way Tyrion stands a chance. Jaime offers to leave the King’s Guard, take his seat at Casterly Rock, and keep the Lannister dynasty alive in exchange for Tyrion’s life. Tywin agrees, and explains he will find Tyrion guilty, but will save his life and send him to the Night’s Watch. Jaime agrees to these terms.
When the court goes to back to session, Jaime is able to relay the plan to Tyrion and asks Tyrion to trust him. The last witness is called, and, much to Tyrion’s sadness and surprise, it is Shae. Shae’s testimony is a complete lie, but it is unclear if she is lying because she is angry with Tyrion, or because the Lannisters threatened her. She testifies that Tyrion and Sansa planned to murder Joffrey. She says Sansa wanted revenge for her family and Tyrion was happy to help her because he hated his nephew. She explains she was stolen by Tyrion, and did everything Tyrion wanted her to. She says after Tyrion married Sansa all he wanted was Sansa, but Sansa would not sleep with him. She explains that in order to appease Sansa, Tyrion agreed to help her kill Joffrey.
Tyrion begs Shae to stop, and asks his father if he can confess. Jaime looks at his brother in disbelief. Tyrion turns to the people and says he saved them all but should have let Stannis kill them during the Battle of Blackwater. He becomes enraged as he says he is not guilty of killing Joffrey but he is guilt of being a dwarf. He says he wishes he killed Joffrey and had the guts to poison everyone. Tywin tries to get the court in order as everyone is scandalized by Tyrion words. Tyrion looks at his father, and demands a trial by combat.
And with that, the episode is over! It came as no surprise to me that Tyrion would ask for a trial by combat; he has done this before. What surprised me more what Cersei and Tywin’s surprised reaction. Did they honestly think Tyrion would not demand this type of trial again? Tyrion speech was on point; I do not blame him one bit for his anger. Shae’s betrayal was too much for him to take and after all he has done for King’s Landing while Joffrey played and tortured innocent people, I completely understand his outburst. Now the question is, who will fight on Tyrion behalf? I won’t give this away, but I will say the trial by combat is one of the most exciting parts of this story.
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