All aboard the Hype Train! In preparation of Season 8 of Game of Thrones, Kelly is doing a rewatch for the greater good to refresh our memories, catch the things we might have forgotten, pick up the things we might have missed, and maybe make predictions! Hold onto your fur rugs from Ikea and AWAY WE GO.
Rules of this series: We’re deep diving into these episodes and I’m watching them on a per-episode base because I like digesting the episodes. Spoilers lie ahead. As much as I can, I am going to try and keep things episode/season specific. It’s out of respect to the narrative as well as the later seasons. Onwards!
4.6 The Laws of Gods and Men
We get Braavos in the opening credits! The home of the Iron Bank, as well as Syrio Forel (RIP!), Braavos is the wealthiest city (I think) in all of Game of Thrones. There are a lot of sellswords being paid with money from the Iron Bank and Stannis plans to add his name to the waitlist. The episode opens on Stannis and Davos as they sail to Braavos to ask for a generous loan that will be spent hiring the Golden Company. (This is another deviation from the book, which has the Iron Bank offering its services to Stannis because they believe he is the frontrunner to win.) Stannis lets it drop that Tommen and Joff aren’t the rightful heirs to the throne as they were born within the Lannister family and the Iron Bank casually waves it away saying that Tywin has explained it as nothing more than a rumor. The gist is that Tywin has a reputation of being good with money and the Iron Bank has faith that he will be able to pay them back one day- meanwhile Stannis has only 4,000 men and no resources to feed them. Davos makes an impassioned speech and rips off his glove to show them his chopped off fingers, which Stannis chopped off for thieving but left him alive because Davos did save his life.
Davos points out that Tywin is old, Cersei is crazy, Jaime killed his own king, and Tommen is a child- basically that Stannis is more trustworthy and more of a leader than any of them. And I guess, that by chopping off his hands fingers, can make fair judgment calls!
Nearby, Salladhor San is wooing some naked ladies and Davos tells him he;s still technically under Stannis’ command and drops some gold to show that the Iron Bank has taken their side.
Sailing up to Deepwood Motte, Yara gives another badass speech, reading out to her men the letter that Ramsay wrote bashing the ironborn and Theon, over a montage of them rowing and Ramsay and Myranda having sex. Yara really knows how to drive it home. I’d totally support the Iron Islands if she was queen. Gemma Whalen is really powerful as Yara, and perhaps more than the role called for. It’s a shame that she disappeared in Season 7. Her storyline with Theon is one that needs resolving.
Yara finds Theon in the kennels but Theon refuses to go with her. He’s so manipulated and damaged that he thinks the rescue is actually a trick set for him by Ramsay and that he’ll be punished more if he goes with them. Bedhead Ramsay shows up shirtless and covered with blood, you know, as people tend to do, strikes a pose, and says, “This is turning out to be a lovely night!” It’s all the things he likes! Naked lady, killing people, loyal Reek in the corner- what more could a guy ask for? After a skirmish in which most of Yara’s men are killed, Theon runs back into his cage and Yara and the few men remaining are forced to leave him behind. Having looked in his eyes, Yara knows that Theon is lost.
Upstairs, Ramsay is so pleased with Theon that he draws him a bath and even scrubs his back for him. Ramsay enjoys seeing Theon undress, as he’s reminded of what a great flaying job he did. In the midst of his reward bath, Ramsay promises more rewards if Theon will help him take back Moat Cailin. In order to do this, Theon has to revert back to his old self. Ramsay presents this as a part that Theon has to play- nothing more than a role in a theater act.
Across the Shining Sea, high on the hill was a lonely goatherder (yodel-lay-ee yodel-lay-ee yodel-lay-ee hee-hoo!), who is startled as Drogon rises up and presumably barbecues one of his goats. Dany promises to pay him back three times over for the dead animal. It’s a generous act and one that makes sense as part of his livelihood was taken away. Good job, Dany! Next up is Hizdahr Zo Loraq, who is of one of the noble families in Meereen, Dany is such a little snot in this scene and sarcastically proclaims that she can’t wait to meet his father, who restored the pyramid she resides in- it’s as if she doesn’t consider the upper class as part of the city. It turns out that Hizdahr’s father spoke out against the crucifying of the mile-marker children but in assuming all the masters were of the same mentality, Dany ended up crucifying him! Bad one, Dany! Dany lets him take down his father from the post so he can receive a proper burial but doesn’t mind threatening Hizdahr with the queen’s decision in whatever it is she decides because she’s queen and yadda yadda yadda. Dany really doesn’t know how to pick and choose her battles. This whole conversation shows her irrational judgement when it comes to treating each case individually. She assumes the Hizdahr is just a part of one class she is trying to overturn and doesn’t realize that it’s this everyone-or-no-one mentality is what causes opposition and unrest under her rule. It’s one of the reasons why she fails so hard as a ruler and at the end of the day, is not a leader. Her compliance with Hizdahr shows that maybe she’s learning just a little but don’t get used to it because she’s still rude to him later on when all he tries to do is help her.
In King’s Landing, Oberyn is at his first small council meeting, when Tywin enters and everyone immediately stands up. Tyrion’s trial is about to start, so let’s get down to business! Varys mentions that the Hound has been spotted in the Riverlands, but conveniently leaves out his sidekick, showing that he’s still on the right side. Varys also reports on Dany conquering Meereen, with 8,000 Unsullied, the Second Sons, Barristan Selmy, and Jorah Mormont. Tywin flicks an insult Cersei’s way, voicing that releasing Barristan was one of the stupidest decisions he’s ever heard of. While Oberyn remarks on the impressive fighting skills of the Unsullied, Tywin’s wheels are working as he plans to undermine Dany’s council.
Tywin asks Mace Tyrell, Lord of House Tyrell and Margaery’s father to “fetch” his writing tools and Mace handles it like he has just been knighted with a huge honor. I forgot how dimwitted Mace is. He’s delightful!
Oberyn and Varys chat about his five years in Essos and Oberyn points out his accent as being from Lys. Varys admits he’s never had any interest in romantic flings and that being in King’s Landing has shown him the downfall that comes with desire. He implies to Oberyn that he’s interested in the Iron Throne, which is a horseshit scene because no one is suspecting Varys of anything wrong after he left out the fact about Arya Stark.
Down in the dungeon, Jaime arrives to escort Tyrion upstairs. Tommen excuses himself as he doesn’t want to make the decision and leaves the final judgment call to Tywin. Among the witnesses are Meryn Trant, Pycelle, Cersei- basically people who already hate him and they manipulate some of the scenes to show Tyrion’s aggression towards Joffrey without providing the context of why he felt the need to discipline Joff. Pycelle pulls out Sansa’s necklace with the missing gem and says he found poison residue in the gem- a poison called the Strangler. Varys is also called up to the stand and presents a mild piece of evidence that Tyrion might have begun shifting his alliance to the North in his marriage to Sansa. Varys isn’t really accusing Tyrion of anything, just playing a neutral role as he knows how the trial will turn out and he doesn’t want to be accused of going against what Tywin demands, especially as it seems Tywin will be in control after all this. It’s the Game! Of Thrones!
At lunch, Jaime confronts Tywin about condemning his own son. Tywin sticks to his guns when Jaime accuses him of always hating Tyrion in saying he’s doing nothing but performing his duties as Hand. As a final plea, Jaime offers to leave the Kingsguard and Tywin immediately agrees, saying when Tyrion confesses and begs for mercy he’ll send Tyrion off to the Night’s Watch when Jaime leaves for Casterly Rock- basically getting everything that he wanted. In this bit the camera slowly zooms in on Jaime’s face as he realizes that this was Tywin’s plan all along.
When Jaime tells him the plan, Tyrion seems to be resigned to his fate- until Shae is called in as a witness. Shae immediately says that Tyrion is guilty and that Sansa, in grieving her family, convinced Tyrion to poison Joff. It’s clearly a story that someone told her to recite. She mixes in enough truth with the testimony, including the night they first met, so that it’s believable for the crowd. When Tyrion asks her to stop, she throws back in his face that she is nothing but his whore. Shae puts the final nail in the coffin when she says Sansa would consummate the marriage only if Tyrion killed Joff, and it’s exactly what people believe of Tyrion’s reputation as a horny devil.
Tyrion can’t take it anymore as the crowd turns against him, claiming he should have let Stannis kill all of them. Tyrion confesses that he is guilty- of wishing he had been the one to kill Joff. Excellent shot of Shae and Cersei in line of his vision as he says Joff’s death gave him more pleasure than a thousand whores. Tyrion doesn’t trust anything his father says- not even his promise of joining the Night’s Watch- and so he finally demands a trial by combat as yup, you guessed it- the Rains of Castamere play out to the credits.
On deck: 4.7 Mockingbird