HBO’s Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones Episode Review “The Laws of Gods and Men”

Day-um.

Peter Dinklage’s Emmy reel just got about 30 minutes longer with his absolutely incredible performance last night. While everyone’s favorite Lannister has been MIA more often than not, confined as he was to the black cells, the trial of Tyrion Lannister more than made up for his past absence.

Much emotions, krakens, goats, and major episode spoilers after the jump.

After a very long “Previously on Game of Thronesmontage going back to the second season, you just knew all of those smartass Tyrion-isms were coming back to bite him on the ass during his trial for the murder of Joffrey. (May he not rest in peace.) Apparently people don’t like it when you point out all of their failings and try stripping them of all status? And maybe repeatedly smacking your king in public and threatening his life to his crazy mother isn’t wise?

But I doubt hindsight makes Tyrion want to take it all back.

Tyrion’s trial sped by so fast, I didn’t realize the whole scene was actually a half hour long—just like Joffrey’s wedding. Nice counterbalance of two keys moments of the fourth season. After the first group of “witnesses” to Tyrion’s crimes against the crown, I was cringing with him.

As tough as that was to watch—especially Cersei’s testimony—it was when Shae took the stand and spewed all of those secrets, all of those lies, that my heart broke for Tyrion. From that moment on, I couldn’t take my eyes off of Peter Dinklage. Every sigh, every furrow of his brow, the defeat on his face… and then the absolute venom he unleashed on the crowd. It gave me a chill. It was so, so well done.

Game of Thrones The Laws of Gods and Men Jamie Lannister

So, a trial by combat. We remember how well that worked out for Tyrion in the Eyrie. Interesting that Jaime was willing to give up the Kingsguard to take up the Lannister legacy if Tyrion could live. Jaime had the perfect “What the hell are you doing, bro?” look.

And Shae. Oh, Shae. I don’t know how to feel about her. On the one hand, she has to lie about Tyrion to save her life. She has no power in King’s Landing. She doesn’t even have a surname, that’s how much of a nobody she is to the court. And she didn’t look happy to tell everyone that Tyrion made her act like she loved him. But when she looked at Tyrion and said “I’m a whore,” spitting back the name he only called her precisely to get her to leave King’s Landing and save herself from Tywin, well… that was just unfair to Tyrion and made Shae seem vindictive. And that sucks, because it just didn’t feel true to the TV version of Shae who was shown to have genuine feelings for Tyrion and not little more than a jealous ex-mistress. Ah well.

Elsewhere in Game of Thrones, we welcomed Braavos to the opening credits map and Sherlock’s Mark Gatiss to the cast. I felt for Stannis; I hate waiting in line at the bank, too. I’m glad Stannis went to make his case for financial support—at least he’s doing something besides sitting on his barren rock twiddling his thumbs instead of going to the damned Wall like he said he would a freaking year ago. (Well, a year in viewer-time.)

Game of Thrones The Laws of Gods and Men Braavos

Now that Stannis has money and the world’s best pirate—Salladhor Saan!—all seems right with this storyline again. But as the Lannisters go deeper in debt and Stannis actually has to deliver on his promise to the Iron Bank, I’m hopeful that we’ll be seeing more of Mark Gatiss’ Tycho Nestoris soon.

In another new-for-TV scene, Yara Greyjoy went to collect her brother and seemed all badass until she was pretty quickly defeated by Ramsay Bolton and his hounds. That was… less climactic than the pointless sex scene we had to sit through for no good reason. Any excuse to show breasts on HBO. To that, a one-second derail to applaud John Oliver’s new HBO show for Going There in an extremely funny way last night. Ahem.

Game of Thrones The Laws of Gods and Men Daenerys

And then we have Dany and her roast goat-lovin’ dragons. That was pretty ominous because it doesn’t take a grand maester to figure out that there’s absolutely nothing keeping those surly teenage dragons from going after bigger meals. Is Dany going to promise three times as much gold to every farmer who loses something to her babies and expect it to just solve the problem?

A new problem turns up for Dany in the form of Hizdahr zo Loraq, son of one of the Great Masters Dany crucified after the capture of Meereen. He looked younger and more handsome than I pictured him in the books, and more emotional as he pleaded for his father to be buried properly. It’s an interesting take on Dany’s definition of justice being too one-size-fits-all.

She’s definitely got a lot of learning ahead of her.

Final Thoughts:

  • Davos is one hell of a passionate speaker on behalf of Stannis. Shit, he even made me like Stannis a little bit more and I see how he treats his wife and daughter.
  • “Bring me my BROWN PANTS!” Ha! Well, not working in a Braavosi pleasure house, I hadn’t heard that one before.
  • That Small Council scene. Always a great opportunity for characters to be hilarious. Oberyn not standing when Tywin came in the room and complaining about having to get up early for a meeting. He’s so relatable. The bounty for The Hound went up ten times its original amount. Tywin sending Mace Tyrell to fetch some paper. And talk of Meereen. I love when King’s Landing acknowledges that Dany is a growing threat. She has twice the amount of soldiers than Stannis with her Unsullied alone, never mind the Second Sons, too. And she’s got three times the hungry dragons.
  • Speaking of Oberyn, he’s the guy who backpacked through Essos for a summer and now he’s more worldly than you, plebian. “The wine here is swill. Not like in Lys. Where I traveled. Did you hear me? I travel and I’m so progressive. Be shocked by me!” But I forgive him because he’s ungodly hot.

 

Next week: We check in on the Eyrie and meet the third Mountain.

Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9pm ET/PT on HBO.


Theresa DeLucci is a regular contributor to Tor.com, covering True Blood, Game of Thrones, and gaming news. She’s also the resident Hannibal fannibal at Boing Boing. Follow her on Twitter @tdelucci

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