Director Alik Sakharov on Peter Dinklage’s performance, and the master of manipulation Ramsay Snow
By Lightbringer on in Interview.

Last night’s episode of Game of Thrones, “The Laws of Gods and Men,” ended with one of the most powerful scenes in the series to date. Carried by a phenomenal performance from Peter Dinklage, we were filled with just as much heartbreak and anger as Tyrion, who had been betrayed by those few people he thought he could trust.

This episode also revealed that Theon Greyjoy is truly dead to those who once knew him, which was followed by another disturbing scene. Ramsay Snow offered his pet a gift, bathing Reek’s scarred body in exchange for one simple request.

In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Director Alik Sakharov talks about his work on this “very internal episode” that is setting up “for something grand to come.” He discusses working with Peter Dinklage for the trial scenes, and the future of Theon Greyjoy at the hands of master manipulator, Ramsay Snow.

Peter Dinklage gave one of his finest performances of the series this week. What did you two talk about for the trial scene?
Working with Peter is not very complicated, because gets his character so well. Speaking with Peter, we talk about nuance and controlling his emotions. If he were to show right off the bat that he’s bothered by this trial, then it would diminish the ending, which the scene has set up.

There are so many other great performances in the trial scene as well. What were some of your favorites?
In addition to what she said, Sibel Kekilli (Shae) does much of it with her eyes. And there’s a big moment in which Tyrion challenges Varys — basically accusing him of forgetting that it was Tyrion who saved them all at the Blackwater. Varys says “Sadly my lord, I never forget a thing.” There is a setup there that perhaps Varys could help his friend in the future.

This episode also sees things getting worse for Theon  — or at least there now seems to be no hope of rescue.
It’s sad for Yara, because realizes that she has lost her brother and it was quite an emotional shift for her. She’s a brave girl. She’s very strong. She did not show any of it, but we know she felt it.

In your mind, is Ramsay making a pass at Theon in the bathtub scene?
It’s about control. He is the master of manipulation. He knows how to play Theon and he knows which buttons to push.  Here for the first time, he’s being kind to him. Viewers will go “what is this guy thinking? Is he going to hurt him?”  The actor who plays Ramsay is a very strong actor and Alfie is an equal match. They are wonderful together. They have such chemistry in the frame you really feel it. When they look at one another – or if they don’t – you go “oof!” You feel it. It goes right into the core.

For more from Alik’s interview, including his thoughts on Tywin and Jaime’s deal, and working with Nikolaj and Charles, be sure to visit The Hollywood Reporter!


43 Comments

  1. Lady
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Reek! My name is Reek!

  2. Lady
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Alfie and Peter are acting the hell out of their roles.

  3. Arthur
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    You know,

    I am not one of the big Peter Dinklage fanboys, I still am annoyed that he sucks up a lot more limelight then other characters I would like to see more of…

    But I have to admit, his performance in that last scene gave me goose bumps! It was really powerful and Peter definitely earned his paycheck for doing something like that.

    I can’t wait for the trail by combat!!!

  4. iam76
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    BARRY!!!!

  5. BobbyAtomic
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Dear Alik do you know why medieval battlefields weren’t blanketed in packs of dogs? Because they pose absolutely no threat to men with swords, that is all.

  6. patchface
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Reek it rhymes with weak

  7. King Stannis
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    “So did you fuck him like it was his last night on this earth?”

  8. Khal-A-Bunga
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    BobbyAtomic,

    Dogs pose no threat to someone with a sword? Uh… You’re wrong. An attack dog can pose a threat to a guy with a fully-automatic gun, let alone a sword. I think you’re underestimating how dangerous a trained attack dog can be, whether someone is armed or not.

  9. MariANA
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    BobbyAtomic,

    Modern police forces and militaries use dogs. If they are a threat to people with guns, they are a threat to people with swords.

    Dogs are fast, and can be trained to have no fear. Additionally, nobody wants to fight Bolton soldiers while dogs are trying to hamstring them. And it does remove the possibility of escape. Obviously, Bolton has more men in his own castle than Yara does. If she stays to fight, she loses. If she retreats later, the dogs will tear her down the minute her back turns. It was a credible threat, and she made the right choice to leave immediately.

  10. Our Blades Are Sharp
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    iam76:
    BARRY!!!!

    SAVE ME BARRY!!!!!!

  11. Arthur
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    After watching this episode 3 times, I agree it was one of the strongest episodes with others who have stated that.

    I also agree the only bad scene was the Yara scene. I mean, the scene did do its job to establish to the TV viewer that Theon is no longer Theon anymore and so mentally and psychologically scared that he is a total submissive being now named Reek.

    However, the scene itself made you have to suspend belief of how it be possible for a few dozen Iron Born to storm a fortified keep and then retreat unscathed back to their rowboats. The whole dog thing was also just silly… This is all just my opinion of course.

    And the whole sex thing while Yara was giving a great speech was just stupid, maybe they needed to make their T&A quota?

    That’s one thing that still pisses me off, (the blatant insert of female nudity when it serves no purpose other than female nudity).

    I do not mind T&A when its part of the story telling but when its just thrown in there like that it really demeans our intelligence.

    Do D&D really think its necessary to shower us with tits and ass to keep our attention still? Maybe there is like a 5% viewer total that likes the T&A but I am sure the other 95% would like more character development and meaningful scenes.

    Put some main character nudity in there to make everything seem more real if the storyline calls for it, stop with the random pointless boobs please.

    But yeah, Peter’s last scene, cant say it enough, incredible…

  12. Dis Pater
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    I loved the erotic undertones in the Theon/Ramsay bathing scene.

  13. Arthur
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Arthur,

    Like during Yara’s speech, D&D could have shown a lot of cut scenes that would have been a lot more meaningful to the storyline than T&A.

    They could have cut to Theon in the dog cage, with fleas crawling on him, they could have shown Theon eating some kind of raw nasty meat type thing in a dog bowl and drinking water from a dog bowl. They could have shown feces and stuff in the corner of his cage…

    All this could have been the cut scenes while Yara was giving her speech.

    Wouldn’t that have been more effective then T&A???

  14. the real tyrion pimpslap
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    The real tyrion pimpslap here: dinklage is da man

  15. WeirwoodTreeHugger
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    BobbyAtomic,

    Alik is the director of the episode. Not the writer. Show runners and head writers create the plot on TV shows. Directors interpret the script. They don’t change it.

  16. WeirwoodTreeHugger
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Ramsay is so creepy. He’s displaying text book abuser behaviors here.

  17. GreatJon of Slumber
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    I’m trying to rack my brain now for another episode with a more devastating ending if you exclude episodes that end with horrific acts of violence or threatened horrific acts of violence. I think this is probably tops. Other candidates would be “Kissed by Fire,” with Tywin’s “My children” speech to Cersei/Tyrion, and “The Pointy End,” where Sansa promises that her father will apologize and confess.

  18. Leo
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Arthur:
    However, the scene itself made you have to suspend belief of how it be possible for a few dozen Iron Born to storm a fortified keep and then retreat unscathed back to their rowboats.

    I don’t know what beliefs you had about the unknown fortifications of a castle we’ve barely been introduced or the unestablished strength of the Ironborn, Yara particularly. I had none, so I didn’t have to suspend anything.

  19. zenm
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    The whole Ramsay vs Ironborn fighting scene just reeked (no pun intended) of fan-fiction.

    Ramsay shows up and fights them all shirtless? He’s suddenly such a good fighter that he doesn’t even need armor or clothes? It seemed like fanservice that completely unimmersed me from the show.

    Honestly there’s a very obvious lack of good writing/plot when they begin inventing things that aren’t in the book. This scene and the Bran/Jon stuff was just goofy, cliche, and in the end it just serves no purpose to the plot. It’s just filler meant to have characters do something in between books

  20. Inv1ctus
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Lady:
    Reek! My name is Reek!

    It rhymes with weak.

  21. Nymeria
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    I have to agree that for the most part when they go off book the material is weak. Although it is inevitable that they change some material or we would be spending alot of time watching them eat!!

  22. Zack
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    I watched it again and it may be one of my favorites in the series to date, based on the brilliant Ramsay/Asha/Reek moments, the trial, and various scenes set around Kings Landing.

    It’s great to finally get a chance to see why exactly Olenna refers to Mace as a ponderous oaf, because that’s a very fitting description the very first time he opens his mouth in response to Oberyn. Great casting for Mace.

    And also for Tycho Nestoris (although I don’t think his name is given in the episode). But that was a fantastic scene at the Bank, with Gatiss’ calculating, logical banker.

    The only gripe I’ve got is with Ramsay v. Asha. Why she just waits to let them unlock the kennels. It’s not like there wasn’t plenty of potential reaction time to keep him from getting the doors open. They can’t free Theon, because that’s not how it went in the books, so they had to find a way to make the mission a failure. I just think something about this–the writing, staging, something–was not fully thought through.

    I do love Gemma Whelan though. I hate that she’s such an infrequent character and I dearly hope that the Ironborn get plenty of screentime in the coming years. She’s marvelous. Kind of a left-field bit of casting but it so works for me.

    As for Tyrion…this episode should win Dinklage Emmy #2. My god.

  23. chamush
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Arthur,

    I agree with your unnecessary use of Tits&Ass comment 135%…maybe more…

    But I kinda think that showing Ramsey having sex while she is re-reading how he took Theon’s man part!does have some purpose/context/message etc.

    He is enjoying what Theon loved to do but cannot longer do, in some way is a reminder of his cruelty and horrifying treatment of Theon…just my opinion of that scene

    On the attack/escape scene I think the writers coulve somehow made that scene better and more believable , maybe they shouldve have had them drag Theon out to the edge of castle and while climbing down Theon wouldve stayed behind by a last minute action like biting her etc, that way both their message of Theon being gone forever would be conveyed and also you could see that Yara did what she could and had no choice to retreat instead of running away from dogs…

  24. Rabid Grunt
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    To anyone saying it’s unbelievable that the ironborn stormed the castle, I think the fact that Yara’s group of about 10 (the ones she scaled the walls with) killed 4 guards on the battlements without a single casualty shows that the other 40 could easily cause a lot of damage in the rest of the castle.

  25. sloosh
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    There are more than one dog, while you axe one the others could pose a threat. But I don’t think Yara ran out of fear from the dogs, she ran out of despair over what Theon has become. The last shot of her in there she isn’t looking at Ramsay, she’s looking at Theon.

  26. Hodor's Bastard
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    Arthur:
    All this could have been the cut scenes while Yara was giving her speech.

    I rather enjoy those optional cuts that you mentioned. The scene would have had much more impact for me with ugly depictions of Reek’s existence in a cage as Yara made her speech.

    As others have pointed out, if the Myranda T&A (distracting Ramsay) would have had some real ramifications, like enabling the sneak attack by the ironborn and really hurting Ramsay’s forces before a difficult realization and escape, that would have been satisfying (imho). Maybe as Yara was escaping, she could have come across Myranda with fatal results….bolstering Ramsay’s wicked wrath even more.

  27. sara
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 9:55 pm | Permalink


    Arthur,

    sara
    Arthur,

    I agree with the t and A meaninglessness… but I do believe that the dogs symbolize the foreshadowing of how Ramsey kept then to be so “loyal” . Ramsey is now sicking his most loyal dog to take over, and although he might be weak now he is so committed to that monster that he clearly will do anything to please him.

    s

  28. Pedro
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    zenm,

    He was cock-blocked, so there was no time to put an armor, I guess.

  29. ATG
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    Arthur,

    I absolutely 100% agree with this, that part of the episode felt rushed, sloppy, illogical and just altogether unnecessary. The whole story arc with Yara/Asha this season feels extremely shoehorned in there and I hope we dont see none of that, as someone else mentioned already, borderline fan fiction in the show again.

  30. Brandon James
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

    I actually agree that the Ramsey T&A scene was about him enjoying what Theon often did. It reminds us of what Ramsey has successfully done, what he has created, and how a rescue would fail.

    Also, when Ramsey showed up at the kennels, why was he covered in bloody cuts? Was it from some sick fetish had had Miranda do to him? Or did he kill Miranda after sex and they we’re claw marks? I was just totally confused because when he was getting it in, they were clean and uncut…

  31. jentario
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 1:05 am | Permalink

    Lady,

    Yes! As weird as the transitions were in the Yara scene it was actually pretty good! It really proved what Theon has become.

  32. jentario
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 4:54 am | Permalink

    I have two issues with the Ramsay/Reek/Yara scene:

    1. In the end, it serves no purpose. It comes out of nowhere and goes nowhere. Like the Craster’s stuff, it develops characters (here more successfully IMO) but ends up being completely irrelevant. This hardly affects Theon and Ramsay’s storyline, and we may yet see Yara disappear again. That would sincerely suck. Instead of making a full arc out of this, they leave one sole scene that seems like it was added just to fill Gemma Whelan’s contract.

    2. The transitions were quite bad. Yara’s speech was awesome, and her on a ship and boat as well, but Ramsay banging Myranda felt out of place. I feel like a scene was cut here for lack of time- like the sex scene was supposed to lead directly into the attack (which would also explain why he joins it shirtless and full of blood). The second bad transition is the one from Yara in the kennels to Yara in her boats. I get what they were trying to do, but it didn’t work. It felt like we missed half the action. How would Yara mange to get out of that castle?! It would have been better to cut at the dogs being unchained and return to the Dreadfort later to see Yara escaping and Reek and Ramsay’s scene.

    Other than that, it was really good. The acting, on all accounts, was terrific. Alfie and Gemma aced it, as did Iwan. Yara looked awesome with her ax, and Reek biting her to escape was really sad. One thing that could have made the scene better is if the Balon/Yara scene in season 3 happened this season instead. It would have made it less out of place.

    I really hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Yara this season. Hopefully she stops at Moat Cailin. I just don’t want this change to be another with no consequence like Craster’s Keep.

  33. Pau Soriano
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    MariANA:
    BobbyAtomic,

    Modern police forces and militaries use dogs. If they are a threat to people with guns, they are a threat to people with swords.

    Dogs are fast, and can be trained to have no fear. Additionally, nobody wants to fight Bolton soldiers while dogs are trying to hamstring them. And it does remove the possibility of escape. Obviously, Bolton has more men in his own castle than Yara does. If she stays to fight, she loses. If she retreats later, the dogs will tear her down the minute her back turns. It was a credible threat, and she made the right choice to leave immediately.

    You gotta be kidding me!!!

  34. freoduwebbe
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Brandon James: I actually agree that the Ramsey T&A scene was about him enjoying what Theon often did. It reminds us of what Ramsey has successfully done, what he has created, and how a rescue would fail.

    I also think it showed he is a bit bored with Myranda… Look at HIS face… She seemed to be more into it than he was.

  35. Tatters
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    jentario,

    We have yet to see any results of these two storylines, so how can you know?

  36. jentario
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Tatters,

    I don’t. But it doesn’t seem likely that they’ll fit Yara in in the rest of the season. I’m still hoping she goes to Moat Cailin or at the very least witness her father’s death at Pyke but I honestly doubt it. We shall see.

  37. Raluca
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Peter Dinklage’s performance left me blinking at the screen for 5 minutes after the credits rolled. I could not believe what I just saw my eyes.

    And Iwan Rheon is a damn fine hot guy.

  38. Ionuts
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Raluca,

    Yeah, I think Dinklage will be (again) a serious contender for the next Golden Globe Award for whatever category he’ll be in (or at least an Emmy), but let’s not forget that Nicolaj Coster-Waldau (Jamie Lannister) was amazing in the third season (especially in that bath scene) and still got no recognition for his work.

  39. Hodor's Bastard
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Pau Soriano,

    Upon Yara’s return to Pyke:

    [Balon]: Did I hear correctly that you let a shirtless Bolton Bastard taunt and scare you and you fled?
    [Yara]: Yes…Theon is no longer your son.
    [Balon]: Get out of my sight. You are not my daughter.

    ———-

    Upon returning to the Dreadfort:

    [Roose]: Did I hear correctly that you let a Greyjoy bitch invade this castle, kill my men, and then flee?
    [Ramsay]: Yes…I wanted to play a game with my bitches.
    [Roose]: Get out of my sight. You are no son of mine.

  40. jentario
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Hodor’s Bastard,

    That is also an issue, true. Well, at least the scene looked good. For the middle section :/

    So I give it to the actors and the director and take it away from the editors and the writers.

  41. ATG
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    Hodor’s Bastard:
    Pau Soriano,

    Upon Yara’s return to Pyke:

    [Balon]: Did I hear correctly that you let a shirtless Bolton Bastard taunt and scare you and you fled?
    [Yara]: Yes…Theon is no longer your son.
    [Balon]: Get out of my sight. You are not my daughter.

    ———-

    Upon returning to the Dreadfort:

    [Roose]: Did I hear correctly that you let a Greyjoy bitch invade this castle, kill my men, and then flee?
    [Ramsay]: Yes…I wanted to play a game with my bitches.
    [Roose]: Get out of my sight. You are no son of mine.

    Hahahaha that was gold.

  42. Setä
    Posted May 14, 2014 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    MariANA,

    Modern police use dogs and they are effective because a modern man with automatic weapon is basically not a man at all. Medieval knight were a whole different breed of men. They had armor and they died all the time, even while practicing. As I recall, there was not much difference between an exercise war and a real war.

    Whatever a dog can be trained to, a man can be trained to be a much better. Dogs aren’t as cabable on overriding their fear and aggression.

    Wearing protective clothing, this is what a dog can do – nothing:

    http://youtu.be/QFan1fDZ5pw?t=8m30s

    Now picture a man without fear. Someone, who’s only purpose is to kill. He’s been practising it his whole life, he’s not some reality tv partitioner. He’s not afraid of pain, he can’t be intimitated with pain – or death. Dog has little effect on him. The whole point of a dog in police use is fear. If there is none, the dog is dead. Man will be injured if there’s no equipment or weapons involved, but even then my money’s on the mass, size and thumbed fist. Add gear and steel to that, the dog loses.

    There’s a place near here where I live where am 1800 century post man died fighting a pack of wolves. Story goes he killed a few with his sabre before he got eaten. I’ve read story from 1800 century newspaper of a man hunting bear with spear and skis after a hand to hand brawl and their skalps and skin torn and intestines hanging out. There were people that lived off of hunting bears with a spear.

    My point is, what we in the western world as men are now, pale in the comparison of the men that were. We’re like little boys compared to them. Scared, weak and bad at dealign with pain.

  43. Samantha
    Posted May 15, 2014 at 12:51 am | Permalink

    zenm,


    Yeah, I tend to agree with you. I understand that they need to and those that have read the books will be annoyed at these ‘fillers’ but the problem is, GRRM did not write the books strictly in chronological order and if we were to stick to the books completely, we wouldn’t even be watching Theon’s scenes yet. I think from a television series perspective, they are needed, even if it was a bit fanfiction-y with Ramsay’s shirtless fight scene. Although it was the first time I’ve watched Ramsay on screen and actually liked what I saw… ;-) He still creeps me out though, just goes to show that Iwan Rheon does a brilliant job of portraying him.


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