The Laws of Gods and Men by Bryan Cogman
The episode opens with our first glance of the city of Braavos (which book readers will know becomes more important later on in Game of Thrones) as Stannis and Davos visit the Iron Bank. These two characters normally only interact with each other or Melisandre, so it was nice to see them face off with Tycho Nestoris (Mark Gatiss) as they attempt to convince him to lend them money to take back the seven kingdoms. After Tycho casts doubts on Stannis ability to do this with so few men and ships, Davos makes an impassioned speech about how Stannis is the only reliable leader left in Westeros and the only one who could pay the Iron Bank its due if Tywin dies, which sways Tycho to grant them some funds. Its the best scene Liam Cunningham (Davos) has got in some time.
Next we get a glimpse of Yara Greyjoy, Theon’s sister, as she leads an attack on the Dreadfort in an attempt to rescue her brother. Unfortunately, while she finds him, Theon’s mental state is so fragile that he refuses to come with her, in fear of it being a trick by Ramsay. Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) does seem to be filling the Joffrey sized whole as the shows most despicable villain, check out his manic smile as he says ‘this is turning out to be a lovely evening!’ before attacking Yara and her soldiers. Ultimately Yara and her men are driven off and she considers her brother dead to them. Ramsay rewards Reek’s loyalty with a bath (Rheon even makes this harmless scene nerve-wracking for the audience) and discusses a plan with him to deal with the Ironborn still in the north.
The main part of the episode however is devoted to Tyrion’s farce of a trial, as Cersei, Ser Meryn, Pycelle and a very reluctant Varys all give false or adjusted testimonies against him. This leads Jaime to offer Tywin a deal: he’ll resign from the kingsguard and become Tywin’s heir again if Tywin lets Tyrion live. Tywin instantly accepts, suggesting this is what he wanted all along, Jaime restored and Tyrion banished to the wall for the rest of his life – showing how good a manipulator Tywin is!
However, the last witness in Tyrion’s trial comes as a shock: it’s Shae. Having taken Tyrion’s rejection earlier this season far worse than he realised, she’s back and tells a plethora of lies about him; how he desired Sansa Stark and plotted Joffrey’s murder with her so she would bed him etc. After this betrayal and humiliation of having the whole court know a twisted version of his private life, Tyrion snaps, in Peter Dinklage’s best performance (and that’s saying something!) as he rails against the assembled crowd, saying he wishes he HAD killed Joffrey and let Stannis slaughter the lot of them at Blackwater, then taunting a furious Cersei by saying how much pleasure he got from watching Joffrey die. Tywin attempts to calm the situation, but Tyrion has one last twist: he leaves it in the hands of the Gods and (like in season 1) demands a trial by combat, infuriating Tywin.
Overall a strong episode with a great ending and a powerhouse performance by Peter Dinklage.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Next Time: Tyrion struggles to find a champion and Arya crosses another name off her list…