Oh, Shae. Way to twist the knife even deeper. Tyrion Lannister got served the ultimate betrayal in “Game of Thrones” Season 4, episode 6, “The Laws of Gods and Men.”
Viewers hadn’t seen Tyrion Lannister well and truly angry until his father Tywin trotted Shae out as a witness and had her implicate her former love for Joffrey’s murder. Peter Dinklage thrived in the challenge, giving his best performance all season as Tyrion seethed with anger and told the entire city of King’s Landing he wished he had let them die.
But while that was the major climax of “The Laws of Gods and Men,” plenty else happened across the Seven Kingdoms and in the lands beyond. Stannis and Davos made their case to the Iron Bank, Daenerys learned the hardships of being queen and Yara learned for sure that her brother Theon Greyjoy is dead.
Here’s what happened in “The Laws of Gods and Men”:
Welcome to the title sequence, Braavos! “Game of Thrones” has mentioned the island city for seasons now, but viewers finally got to see the Titan and the city itself in “The Laws of Gods and Men.” Stannis and Davos made their case to Tycho Nestoris (guest actor Mark Gatiss) as to why the Iron Bank should back them instead of the Iron Throne, and after Davos’s logical pitch, Stannis earned the alliance of the important financial backer.
That means more ships, more soldiers and the return of Salladhor Saan. But more importantly, it means that the Iron Bank is no longer on the side of Tywin Lannister. Lady Olenna warned Tywin at Joffrey’s wedding that the Iron Bank could soon come knocking, but he brushed her off. The Iron Throne is in a huge amount of debt to the Iron Bank, and now that their allegiance has shifted, the Lannisters are in a horrible amount of danger — though they don’t know it yet.
What will likely happen is that the wealthy Tyrells will be able to make their play to become the most powerful family in Westeros, which is clearly what they’re building towards with making Margaery queen. Tywin won’t have many options left, though he currently is more absorbed with the takedown of his son Tyrion than the greater issues at hand. The biggest flaw in the majority of “Game of Thrones'” characters is a lack of perspective, and it typically leads to those characters’ downfalls.
At the Dreadfort
It turns out that it is surprisingly easy to take the Dreadfort, at least if you’re a Greyjoy. But Yara’s rescue mission for Theon didn’t go exactly as planned as he thought she was another of Ramsay’s tricks, and he wouldn’t leave his master behind to go with her. Yara managed to get out of the Dreadfort unscathed, and it seems doubtful she’ll be coming back. Her final words were: “My brother is dead.”
Reek, however, is very much alive. Ramsay rewards Reek for his loyalty by giving him a bath, and also a very important mission. It seems Ramsay has figured out the way to make his father proud and take Moat Cailin: He’ll have Reek pretend to be Theon Greyjoy (the irony there hurts the heart) to make the castle’s capture that much easier.
Daenerys Targaryen decided to rule in last week’s “First of His Name,” but now she’s learning that’s much harder than it sounds. Viewers only see Dany receive two of her citizens — a goat herder whose goat was eaten by Drogon, and the son of a master who is named Hizdahr zo Loraq — but there are two hundred more who still want to meet with her. Just meeting with those two is draining enough; she pays the goat herder three times the value of his goat, but has to allow Hizdahr to take his dead father down from the post on which she crucified him to give him a proper burial.
Here is the first sign that Daenerys’s decision to give the masters the same treatment that they gave the slave children was a bad one. As Hizdahr tells her, his father actually was against that treatment of the slaves and considered it barbaric. Hizdahr echoes the same comment Barristan told Dany when she gave the order to kill the masters: “Is it justice to answer one crime with another?” It is not, but that is something Dany will likely find out the hard way.
In King’s Landing
The trial of Tyrion Lannister proved to the Imp that no matter how much good he could possibly do for King’s Landing, he will be nothing more than a dwarf they all hate. “They” means both the city and his family, as his brother Jaime is the only Lannister who moves a finger to try to save him.
Cersei and Tywin do everything within their power to hurt Tyrion. Thanks to Cersei’s manipulations in episode 5, she is set up to have solid witnesses against Tyrion in the form of Ser Meryn Trant, Maester Pycelle and Varys. Then there’s Tywin, who even though he agrees with Jaime to let Tyrion live and be sent to the Night’s Watch if he confesses, still hurts his son by allowing Tyrion’s whore to be a witness.
The seeds of this twist were set up all the way back at Joffrey’s wedding breakfast, when Tywin had Cersei send Shae to the Tower of the Hand. Later Bronn told Tyrion that someone else had been following him when he took Shae to the ship to send her away from King’s Landing — someone he assumed was Varys — but it seems that wasn’t the case.
Her story might seem like it could be the truth to anyone who didn’t know she is lying through her teeth. In the throne room, that extends to Margaery, whose expression after Shae reveals Tyrion and Sansa’s “plot” is priceless, and Oberyn Martell, who clearly sees the scene playing out in front of him. Then there’s Tyrion himself, who finally becomes unhinged after Shae gives her speech.
Goodness, angry Tyrion was a sight to behold. Dinklage let the character’s anger for the past few seasons bubble up and over as he told the entire audience at the trial that he wished he had let Stannis Baratheon kill them all. He then confesses his guilt — to being a dwarf, not to killing Joffrey. He thwarts Jaime’s plot to let Tyrion plead mercy and thus be sent to the Wall, and instead demands a trial by combat since he feels he will get no justice at the trial by judge. But who will rise to defend him?
Some other interesting plotlines playing out in King’s Landing: Tywin holds a new Small Council meeting with the newly instilled Mace Tyrell and Oberyn, and Varys reveals the looming threat of Daenerys. It’s here that the audience is reminded that Jorah Mormont once was a spy for the crown, though he no longer is. Tywin asks Varys to send a message to Meereen for him, which surely can’t play out well.
Meanwhile, Varys has yet another amazing Iron Throne-set conversation, this time with the Red Viper. He ultimately says that Oberyn’s passions cloud his judgment, and implies that he is going after the Iron Throne. In all likelihood, he doesn’t mean he’s going after it for himself, but rather for someone else … like Dany, for instance.
– Don’t forget that goat herder. With no spoilers, let’s just say that scene was a major set up for an important one to come.
– That scene between Yara and Theon never played out in the books, which likely will anger some book readers. But it is the perfect way to show just how mentally shattered Theon is, in addition to being physically mutilated.
– Hizdahr zo Loraq is another character viewers can expect to see much more of soon, so keep an eye out for him. This isn’t the first time he was shown, either. He was one of the characters focused on in Meereen when Daenerys took the city in “Breaker of Chains.”
Tycho Nestoris: “The war is over.”
Davos Seaworth: “As long as Stannis lives, the war is not over.”
Salladhor Saan to Davos: “You’re not my friend, my friend.”
Oberyn Martell at the Small Council meeting: “So does this mean I’m the master of something now?”
Varys to Tywin Lannister: “As for Barristan, it seems he took his dismissal from the Kingsguard a bit hard.”
Tyrion Lannister of how Joffrey died: “He choked on his pigeon pie.”
Tywin: “So you would blame the bakers?”
Tyrion: “Or the pigeons; just leave me out of it.”
Tyrion: “I did not kill Joffrey, but I wish that I had.”