Tonight, Tyrion faced the court of the Crown, while Daenerys reigned across the sea in Meereen. Check out our book readers’ recap and stop in to share your thoughts on “The Laws of Gods and Men” in the comments section below!
Spoiler Note: This post is for those who have read the A Song of Ice and Fire series. As such the post itself and the comments will contain spoilers. If you haven’t read the books yet, you can discuss this episode in our non-book-reader recap. Thanks!
Crossing the Narrow Sea and arriving in Braavos, Davos and Stannis find a chilly welcome at the Iron Bank. Tycho Nestoris (Mark Gatiss) and his fellow businessmen deal in hard numbers, and are unmoved by Stannis’s claim to the throne. Their assessment of Stannis’s assets is brutal but accurate, and the Dragonstone king’s request for funds is denied. It’s only the persistence of Davos Seaworth that saves their cause, as Ser Davos displays his maimed hand and current situation as proof of just how good on his word Stannis can be.
His mission a success, Davos stops by a bathhouse to visit an old friend- the pirate Salladhor Saan, enjoying himself with two ladies. The Onion Knight recruits the pirate for another job, with payment upfront this time.
Sailing from the Iron Islands, Yara Greyjoy rallies her men on the quest to save Theon from the clutches of the Boltons, as Ramsay spends the night in bed with Myranda at the Dreadfort. The Ironborn take the castle by surprise,and cut their way through the Bolton men easily, with Yara forcing one to lead her to her brother.
In his cage, Reek cringes back from Yara, frightened and convinced her rescue attempt is some sort of trick. He screams, alarming the dogs, and rouses Ramsay. The Bolton bastard and his men enthusiastically join the fray, and Yara finds herself fighting off Theon as well as the Boltons. Ramsay releases his hunting dogs, and Yara realizes the mission is a failure, and that her brother is dead to her. She retreats with what remains of her men.
In the morning, Ramsay rewards Reek with a bath. A suspicious Reek gets in, and then Ramsay reveals he needs Reek to play a role in order to help him win a castle. The person he needs Reek to pretend to be? Theon Greyjoy.
In a Meereenese pasture, a boy and his father tend to their goats peacefully- until a black dragon rises over the herd, and scorches the goats, snatching away his meal. The goatherder presents the blackened bones to Dany where she sits presiding over her new court. She offers generous restitution for the man’s loss, and carries on accepting visits from supplicants.
The next person is not so easily placated- the young nobleman Hizdahr zo Loraq (Joel Fry), whose father was crucified on the day Daenerys entered the city. He begs for the right to bury his executed father, but Dany is incensed as the Masters had crucified children on the road to Meereen. Hizdahr claims that his father argued against the crucifixion of the children but that she ordered his death nonetheless. After conflicted consideration, Daenerys agrees to allow the burial of the dead.
A meeting of the Small Council convenes with new members Oberyn Martell and Mace Tyrell. The council is brought up to date on the most pressing news: Sanor Clegane has been sighted in the Riverlands, and Daenerys Targaryen has conquered Meereen. Varys apprises them of Dany’s acquisition of the Unsullied and the Second Sons, reminds them she has two seasoned advisors in Jorah Mormont and Barristan Selmy, and three dragons, and that she is not to be taken lightly.
After the meeting, Oberyn approaches Varys, with the Dornishman surprising him with his knowledge of Essos. Oberyn shares that he spent several years in Essos, and spots that Varys is originally from Lys, unsettling Varys who believes he has no noticeable accent. The men exchange uneasy banter, and Varys makes it clear that unlike Oberyn with his thirst for all the world’s pleasures, his only interest is in the throne.
Tyrion’s trial begins, and King Tommen immediately recuses himself, passing his duties to his grandfather Tywin. The other judges are confirmed to be Oberyn Martell and Mace Tyrell. Tyrion denies the charges flippantly, and the testimonies begin.
His past comes back to the haunt him as witnesses step up to testify. Ser Meryn Trant, Grand Maester Pycelle, and his sister Cersei deliver evidence, relaying damning comments and incriminating moments from the past few years, now twisted to make Tyrion seem like the obvious guilty party. Varys testifies as well, confirming that Tyrion threatened Joffrey’s life at a Small Council meeting.
The court takes a recess, and Jaime uses the opportunity to present his father a bargain. Tywin wants a dynasty, and he has no direct heir anymore if they execute Tyrion. Jaime offers to leave the Kingsguard if Tywin allows Tyrion to live. His father accepts the offer happily- Tyrion will still be found guilty, but he’ll be permitted to join the Night’s Watch.
Back in court, Jaime informs Tyrion he’s to join the Night’s Watch, but the trial takes a shocking turn when Shae takes the stand. Shae lies, declaring outright that Tyrion murdered Joffrey, and twisting the events of their relationship to humiliate him personally. He pleads with Shae to stop, but she throws his own hurtful words back at him: “I’m a whore, remember?”
Furious, Tyrion says he wishes to confess. Not of Joffrey’s murder, but of the crime of being a dwarf. He didn’t kill Joffrey, but he wishes he had, and he would like to watch the audience all die.
Knowing he will get no justice from this farce of a trial, Tyrion demands the right of a trial by combat.
What I Liked
Bravo for Braavos– In the opening credits and in the first scene of the episode, Braavos and the Titan looked incredible.
The Iron Bank– The Braavos scenes were fun to watch, with Liam Cunningham, Stephen Dillane, and Mark Gatiss bringing their A-game. As for adaptation changes or additions in this part of the story, Team Dragonstone needed more to do and this makes sense.
A new player to keep Dany on her toes– I really enjoyed what we saw of Hizdahr zo Loraq tonight, played by Joel Fry. It was an interesting dynamic; frankly, a little more interesting than the book’s version at this point.
Familiar faces– It was so great to have Salladhor Saan and of course Yara back. More of this, please!
Tyrion’s trial – All those great moments he owned people, you just knew it would come back to haunt him sooner or later. It sure made for a helluva good scene though. Great performance by the actors involved, especially Dinklage.
What I Didn’t Like
A jarring moment– The scene with Ramsay and Myranda cutting into Yara’s moving moment on the way to rescue just didn’t work. It was a distraction, and felt really awkward.