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Season 4, Episode 6, “The Laws of Gods and Men”

Episode 6 was a well-paced yet, an intensely character driven episode. It was written by Bryan Cogman whose clever dialogue showcased the many talents of GOT. As well, Alik Sakharov’s direction was outstanding. Braavos was featured in the opening credits. And we got dragons!

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Braavos

Tonight’s opening where Stannis sails into Braavos under the Titan was a triumphant return of this storyarc. As they wait at the Iron Bank, Stannis grows impatient. Both he and Davos receive a less than hospitable welcoming from Tycho Nestoris. Unable the convince the bankers that Stannis has the numbers to guarantee a loan, the Iron Bank denies their request. In a final attempt to convince the Bank, Davos shows proof of his missing fingers to justify Stannis’s claim. He also reminds them that Tywin is guaranteeing KL’s loan for now but; what will happen when he dies?

Davos finds Sallador Saan convening in a steam bath with two female companions. He recalls a story of being a pirate. Seaworth instructs his friend that they will sail at sunrise. Saan is not convinced until Davos shows him the Braavosi coins, “a bag of the good stuff, I left for your wife”.

Finally, Stannis has a purpose instead of gloating at Dragonstone. He might be a feirce leader but the man needs to learn some lessons in humility. And this is why he needs Davos, to remind him of those very things he often forgets. The return of Sallandor Saan, the pirate is a bonus. Both Cunningham and Dillane compliment each other.

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The Dreadfort

Yara Greyjoy returns for her brother, Theon. She reads Ramsay’s letter to rally her troops for attack. As Ramsay and Miranda are in bed, the Ironborn attack the Dreadfort. Yara grabs one of the guards and demands her brother, who is not in the dungeon but in the dog kennels. She is taken aback by Reek’s appearance. She tries to convince him to come with her but he insists as Reek to stay in his cage. Ramsay confronts Yara and words are exchanged before he lets the dogs out. As the Ironborn depart, Yara concedes, “my brother is dead”; leaving for parts unknown.

The next morning, Ramsay’s reward for Reek’s loyalty is a bath. He (Reek) wavers taking his clothes off and getting into the bath. All over his body are the scars of his torture. Bolton asks his servant, “if he loves him”. He convinces Reek to help him capture some dangerous men by becoming Theon Greyjoy again.

Ramsay is fast becoming the new dude to hate. He picks up where Joffrey left off. The psychological manipulation of the submissive Reek is nearly complete. His eyes say it all. Alfie Allen’s portrayal of Theon/Reek is so tragic, it will garner sympathy. Yara’s scene was closure from last season, however; it will definitely have an impact on the Ironborn in a future episode.

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Meereen

The scene opens with a goat herder and his son. As his son throws stones down the cliff, a very large dragon appears. It captures the goats for its midday meal. Dany sits in her new throne room at the Great Pyramid of Meereen. The goat herder appears before her with dead goat bones. She compensates him with 3x the worth of his goats. Hizdahr zo Loraq comes forth to claim to his father’s body. He was crucified as one of the slave masters. Loraq’s father spoke out against slaves but he was outvoted. He asks that this father be buried by the Meereen tradition of funeral rights. Dany agrees and allows him to take his father. Missandei informs her there are over two hundred people waiting.

The dragons are causing havo. Her justice may have some repercussions. Perhaps, she should have heeded Selmy’s warning of balancing injustice with mercy. There is a lot to learn about her new people. With the introduction of Hizdahr; it will be interesting to see how Dany will deal with the nobility. Things are going to intensify in Meereen.

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Kings Landing

A meeting of the small counsel began this portion. Oberyn and Mace are now inducted into it. Varys informs everyone that Sandor Clegane is the Riverlands killing Lannister men. Tywin declares 100 silver stags for killing him. Next, the Spider informs the table that Daenerys has taken Meereen with her army of Unsullied and her dragons. She has two new advisors, Jorah Mormont (who previously spied on her) and Barristen Selmy. Cersei tries to defends Joff’s dismissal of the former Kingsguard. Tywin believes that letting Barristen Selmy go was an insult because no King ever died on his watch. He knows that Dany will pose a great threat to the 7 Kingdoms.

Later, Oberyn find Varys in the Throne Room. They have discussion about the Unsulled as well as Oberyn’s knowledge of Essos. The Red Viper realizes that Varys is from Lys. Varys is not interested in anything but pursuing certain interests (as he glances at the Iron Throne).

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Jaime comes to get Tyrion for the start of his trial. Tommen excuses himself as judge while announcing Tywin tak his place as judge along with Mace and Oberyn. As he is accused of regicide, Tyrion says he didn’t poison Joffrey; nor did his wife, Lady Sansa. Several witnesses come forward such as Meryn Trant, Grand Maester Pycelle and the Queen Regent,herself. They recount how Tyrion disliked Joffrey and made threats against each of them. Tyrion counters Trant with his beating of Sansa. Pycelle brings forth the necklace that Sansa wore at the wedding delcaring there was poison in it. Varys also takes the stand against Tyrion implicating him for his hate of Joffrey. Tyrion rebutts by asking if he remembered their conversation. Varys says he doesn’t forget anything.

Court is adjourned for an hour, as Jaime visits Tywin bargaining for Tyrion. He tells his father that the trial is a ‘farce; moreover, Tyrion is the last “heir” for his line. They settle on sending Tyrion to the Wall while Jaime must quit the Kingsguard, in order to rule at Casterly Rock. Jaime informs Tyrion to ask for mercy and he’ll be sent to the Wall. Tyrion recalls Ned Stark’s fate.

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The next witness comes forth while Tyrion stares in shock as Shae enters the room. She was Sansa’s handmaid as well as Tyrion’s mistress. Tyrion lost interest in her after his marriage to Sansa. Shae testifies that Sansa and Tyrion planned Joffrey’s murder after her brother and mother were killed. He pleads with Shae not to say anymore. In a rage, Tyrion says he innocent of Joffrey’s murder; even though he wishes he had done it. The only thing he is guilty of “is being a dwarf”. Tyrion demands a “trial by combat”.

Kings Landing was the pinnacle of this episode. Varys and Oberyn’s conversation was intriguing. The looks between Cersei, Tyrion and Jaime were emotional and raw. The shock of Shae returning was a priceless moment for all. Peter Dinklage ‘s performance as Tyrion was exceptional. He definitely deserves an Emmy. The “trial by combat” is going to be sensational.

Random Thoughts/Quotes:

“Thieves are not given titles” Tycho Nestoris to Davos Seaworth
“Our books are filled with numbers” Tycho Nestoris to Stannis and Davos
“As long as Stannis lives, the war is not over” Davos to the Iron Bank
“This is turning into a lovely evening” Ramsay to the Ironborn
“You have bigger balls than he ever did” Ramsay to Yara
“Joffrey didn’t die on his watch…..dismissing him was insulting…” Tywin to Cersei on Selmy’s dismissal as Kingsguard
“The absence of desire leaves one to pursue other things” Varys to Obyern
“Does this mean, I’m pardoned” Tyrion to Jaime when he comes to get him in his cell
“You’ll never turn your back on your family again” Tywin to Jaime
And everything thing that Tyrion had to say at his trial!!!

Here is a preview of Episode 7, “Mockingbird”:

{ 9 comments… add one }

  • Limaxis May 15, 2014, 7:11 pm

    Another clever insertion of an off-canon element in Stannis & Davos sailing to Braavos, although I thought they could have done a better job with the Titan. It wasn’t as impressive as it was (SPOILER ALERT!) through Arya’s eyes in the book.
    Once again we see how valuable Ser Davos is to Stannis. His impassioned and well-reasoned plea to the Iron Bankers was well-written and nicely read.
    So many great sympathetic characters, and Davos is another of many favorites.
    I think you meant Stannis was “brooding” at Dragonstone, not “gloating.”
    The Dreadfort thread, with Theon/Reek is really hard to watch, but at least it gives us another character to hate now that Joffrey is gone.
    Theon/Reek’s thread is making him one of the least predictable of the series. I love a good payback, but what he has gone through after he sacked Winterfell and killed the millers’ sons is beyond the pale. I won’t issue another spoiler here, but we have yet to see where his character’s arc is bending.
    The Meereen venue was short and to the point. 212 more supplicants! Poor Dany!
    The small council was another opportunity for the cast to show their chops. Charles Dance again shows his regal credentials, and each of the other members of the council left no doubt question of his value (or lack thereof) to the realm.
    Each of them has a weakness, and it was interesting to see Oberyn trying to divine Varys’. As a devotee of the equivalent of our Kama Sutra, it is difficult for him to imagine someone whose interests do not include some form of sensual pleasure.
    I was not as quick as my wife in recognizing Tywin’s strategy for getting Jaime to renounce his White Robes and take up his duties as heir to Castery Rock. She saw it coming. I did not. This and Cersei’s marriage plans are two plot elements that will take interesting twists soon.
    Tyrion Lannister once again shows himself to be at once articulate, determined, and sometimes, as the British say, “too clever by half.” That he will not let his father manipulate him, even if it costs him his life, is very much in character. I love Tyrion’s reaction to the bargain. Joffrey reaches out from the grave in the memory of his Ned Stark promise, leaving a very powerful “How did that turn out for him?”
    I wish you had not nominated Peter Dinklage for an Emmy after his performance in the Trial. I wanted to do that but you beat me to it!
    His recognition that Tywin was using the death of Joffrey as a means to finally be rid of the dwarf who killed his wife was brilliantly played out in his confession of the “crime” of being a dwarf.
    There are a great many who might watch this and identify with his circumstances, suffering lifelong punishment for the crime of their birth.
    The appearance of Shae at the trial, when she was supposed to have left Kings Landing, was a shock I suppose, to those who had not read the books. It was a nuanced scene and performance, leaving (as I am sure was the intention) a question as to whether her testimony was coerced, retribution for Tyrion sending her away, or a little of both. Nicely done!

  • nightshadow May 15, 2014, 11:20 pm

    Awesome points…couldn’t have said it better myself.
    I’m excited for Stannis now and it the potential of that storyline. It really illustrates that that human compassion is more powerful than mystical powers at times. So I wonder if it might change Stannis’s view of Melisandre since she didn’t bring forth money through her fires.
    Great catch about Tywin and Jaime. If anything, the one person he cares about is Tyrion. Their bond is strong and he actually tried to help him if anything. I can’t wait to see what happens with him next.
    Shae’s testimony is a bit of both, imo, being spurned by Tyrion and I don’t think it’s just Cerse/Tywin got to her too.
    I thought the Varys/Oberyn scene was nicely executed and leaves one think was also said as the scene faded away. Time will tell in future episodes. I so look forward to seeing Dorne next season.
    And yes, sometimes adaptation works well for the little nuisances that we don’t get in the books.

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