Game of Thrones S4E6 “The Laws of Gods & Men” [Thirteen Things]


1)   Finally a change in the opening credits! It was great to see Braavos, and what a killer reveal it was as Stannis and Davos sail under The Titan. It felt like a very Tolkienesque visual.

2)   The Iron Bank of Braavos. They keep the books. The books have numbers. The numbers don’t lie.

3)   Davos Seaworth delivers a nice impassioned plea for Stannis Baratheon as the rightful King of Westeros, it seems that Stannis always pays his debts too. Davos has an interesting take on things, including a foreshadowed image of Westeros without Tywin Lannister as the most powerful figure.

4)   Most scenes are better with Salladhor Saan, my friend.

5)   The Iron Islanders assault on The Dreadfort is a thing of dark visceral beauty, from Yara dispatching her tour guide without a second thought, to the mental status of Reek, to the emergence of Ramsay Snow. It made me wish for a heads up fight between Yara and Ramsay, and the image of the shirtless bastard also made me feel like he’d make a good low budget Wolverine. Not sure why Ramsay wouldn't just kill the Ironborn though, and how'd they outrun the dogs back to the boat?

6)   After straight up steamrolling her way through several cities, it was nice to see Dany get a hard lesson on the political nuance of actually ruling, that she’s got to win over the “middle class” of these cities, and not just the freed slaves. Jorah Mormont shoots her a priceless look, as if to say “hey, you wanted to do this, sister!”

7)   The Small Council Meeting is one of the three best scenes in this episode. Varys running down an accounting of Dany’s military assets is great, and it’s clear that Tywin, Varys, and Oberyn all “get it,” they’re all on the same page, while Cersei is blind, and poor old Mace Tyrell is completely out of his league. Oberyn’s casual smarts (his refusal to stand when Tywin enters is pure psychological power play) are so charismatic.

8)   It was fun to see Varys get a new verbal sparring partner in Oberyn, especially with Littlefinger away from the capital. Oberyn is particularly good at reading people, and he susses out a new appreciation for Varys and his abilities, right along with the audience.

9)   Finally, we see that the first half of the episode was basically all lead-up for Tyrion’s trial. It becomes obvious fairly quickly that the entire deck is stacked against him, in a confounding mixture of truth, distortions, and outright lies, from witnesses recounting out of context moments that stretch back seasons.

10) Jaime and Tywin’s scene is one of the three best moments in the episode. Jaime’s incredulity at the entire trial being a sham, followed by a display of pure love for his brother, followed by the speed with which Tywin pounces on Jaime’s unexpected offer is just a triple threat of emotion. This is another example of the show (especially for non-book readers) totally juking the audience and lulling them into a momentary false sense of security, since neither Jaime or Tywin anticipate what Tyrion will do, essentially invalidating their little deal.

11) Tyrion knows this is a kangaroo court, but it doesn’t negate the raw emotion he’s able to pull out of the scene. If Varys broke his heart and betrayed their brief friendship, then Shae comes along and stomps all over that heart, then eats it like she was the bride of a Khal. It demolishes him to such a degree that it literally knocks him off his feet. He just wasn’t ready to see Shae reappear, and then be coerced to testify to incriminate him, revealing their most intimate moments in the process.

12) One of the themes that emerges in this episode is a string of people pretending to be something they’re not. Stannis acts like he’s the King at the Iron Bank, Theon assumes the role of Reek (and is then asked to “pretend” to be Theon while he’s Reek – mindfuck!), Dany plays at being Queen, Mace Tyrell pretends he can hang with the real power players on The Small Council, Jaime pretends he’s ok with being the heir to Casterly Rock, Shae pretends she was under duress during her entire relationship with Tyrion, Grand Maester Pycelle pretends he has the poison necklace when we last saw it with Littlefinger (I guess? Or did Olenna have *several* copies made?), etc. This includes Tyrion’s end monologue, which is of course THE other of the three moments in this week’s episode. He wants to pretend to be the monster that nearly everyone in Westeros believes him to be, not because he truly wishes ill of anybody, but because it would simply be easier to just be the monster, than to continually try to prove himself to people who are predisposed to hate him.

13) The culmination of the trial is Tyrion proclaiming that he demands trial by combat, which is a stirring moment, but the most interesting bits past his monologue are the reaction shots. Tywin is incredulous that Tyrion has found a 50/50 shot at escaping his King’s Justice – ditto Cersei, Jaime is startled and pissed that Tyrion couldn’t keep his mouth shut long enough to take the mercy of The Wall, shoot, even Loras Tyrell has a quick look of recognition as to what this means since he’s a seasoned knight, and of course, Prince Oberyn Martell of Dorne certainly admires Tyrion’s craftiness and has his curiosity piqued.


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