Saturday, May 31, 2014

Game of Thrones 4.06: "The Laws of Gods and Men"

“I will not give my life for Joffrey’s murder, and I know I’ll get no justice here. So I will let the Gods decide my fate.”

The main focus, as you might potentially guess from the title, of “The Laws of Gods and Men” was the trial of Tyrion for the murder of Joffrey. The trial wasn’t over by the end of the episode, but the creative team picked quite the cliffhanger to end it on. It was an exciting enough episode, although it felt a little bit like a retread of season one’s “A Golden Crown.” That episode featured Tyrion’s first trial for murder (that time at the Eyrie). There were even some comments Tyrion made in this episode that were reminiscent of the first. I have mixed feelings about those parallels. On the one hand, the crime being regicide, the location being King’s Landing, and the involvement of all the other Lannisters raised the stakes for this episode. On the other hand, “A Golden Crown” is one of my favorite episodes of “Game of Thrones,” so this feels like kind of a pale imitation of the original.

Since this is an episode of “Game of Thrones,” it couldn’t be focused just on Tyrion’s trial. So let’s run through some of the other smaller plots that were touched upon. First, Stannis and Davos take a trip to Braavos. They are trying to convince the Iron Bank to back Stannis. The Iron Bank is owed a lot of money by Tywin, though so it’s kind of a tough sell. Davos gives a really great speech about how once Tywin dies, the Lannisters are going to fall apart (ruining the Iron Bank’s investment), but the Iron Bank’s managers still don’t seem entirely convinced. On the Westeros side of the Narrow Sea, Yara Greyjoy undertakes a mission to try and rescue Theon from Ramsay Snow’s clutches. Ramsay fights Yara and wins (as Theon hides), and she runs off with her soldiers, declaring Theon “dead”. Ramsay continues to enjoy torturing Theon (I personally really wish this plotline would end…it’s just skeevy).

In Meereen, Daenerys is trying her hand at actually ruling a kingdom. She decides to take audiences with the citizens of Meereen, and it’s just one problem after another. There’s a guy whose goats were killed by Dany’s dragons (she pays him back threefold), and a guy whose father was killed by Dany’s invasion (she’s unsympathetic). And that’s just the beginning. Ruling seems kind of boring really. Having to sit there and seem interested in all of these problems all day. In Westeros, Tywin and his Small Council discuss the latest developments with Dany ruling in Meereen. There is disagreement over how much of a threat she poses. Cersei especially thinks that Dany should be ignored for now, since she’s all the way on the other side of the Narrow Sea. Tywin is in favor of dealing with Dany now. Following the Small Council meeting, Varys and Prince Oberyn have a scheming sort of conversation of the old school type that used to take place between Varys and Littlefinger. Before Littefinger left for the Eyrie, that is.

The rest of the episode is focused on Tyrion’s trial. Early on, we see three witnesses in quick succession. First is Grand Maester Pycelle, who testifies about Tyrion’s interests in poisons and also testifies about the poison that was in Sansa’s necklace. Then there’s Cersei, who testifies about that whole “joy will turn to ashes in your mouth” line Tyrion said to her before Blackwater Bay. Varys also testifies against Tyrion. Tyrion fights back at this one, asking Varys if it’s true that Varys once said King’s Landing would never have made it through Blackwater Bay without Tyrion. Varys, as he does, manages to dance around that one.

While the trial is in recess, Jaime tries to strike a deal with Tywin to save Tyrion’s life. We don’t usually think of Jaime as being the one to try to play political/cerebral games, so this was kind of interesting to watch. Jaime agrees to leave the Kingsguard, marry, and sit at Casterly Rock if Tywin lets Tyrion live. Twyin says that if Jaime does indeed take his rightful place at Casterly Rock, Tyrion will be given the chance to take the black and live the rest of his life with the Night’s Watch. Jaime is pleased by this deal, and before the trial resumes, he tells Tyrion the plan. He asks Tyrion to just trust him for once that everything will be okay.

When the trial resumes, however, everything falls apart. Shae is the next witness. She says that she knows Tyrion and Sansa plotted Joffrey’s murder because she was Sansa’s handmaid. Then she says she was Tyrion’s whore, and it’s like a knife through Tyrion’s heart. She goes through the history of their relationship in the most negative way possible (because she’s still pissed at Tyrion for sending her away). She says that when Tyrion married Sansa, he became all about Sansa and cast her (Shae) aside. It’s obvious that all of this is just killing Tyrion. He felt deeply for Shae, and the only reason he sent her away was because he knew she would be in danger if anyone found out about their relationship, and he didn’t want her to get hurt. Also, he didn’t cast her aside out of preference for Sansa, but out of respect for his marriage vows.

When Shae’s testimony is over, it’s clear that Tyrion has had it with this whole trial. It was one more hurtful jab than he could handle. He says he wants to confess, and he goes into a “guilty of many things other than the crime of which he’s being accused” speech like he did in “A Golden Crown.” I still like the original better, but Peter Dinklage did make an admirable effort to chew the scenery with this one. It’s Emmy bait gold, for sure. He is now convinced that he will get no justice through a conventional trial, so once again he wants Trial by Combat. He thinks he’ll have better luck letting the Gods decide his fate.

No comments:

Post a Comment