You know just watching the “Previously on,” filled with some of Tyrion Lannister’s greatest hits from early seasons, that he’s going to get screwed over in “The Laws of God and Men,” which bounces around a bit before settling in King’s Landing for the big trial. But as jaded as Tyrion is, betrayal still takes his breath away.
Before that, though, we see Stannis and Davos setting sail. It’s good to see them on the move, even if they’re just traveling east to ask for a loan. Wow, Braavos likes big statues.
At the Iron Bank, Stannis continues to personify the whole “you gotta stay hungry, better to burn out than fade away” mentality. The bankers are not impressed as he rails about his claim to the throne and the terms usurper, blood right, etc. “Here,” one of them reminds Stannis, “our books are filled with numbers.” The two spend a little more time in Braavos, establishing that the shortage of women’s clothing is a global issue, and recruit some more help from Davos’ smuggler days.
Speaking of unnecessary nudity, no one needed to be told that Ramsay Snow likes kinky sex. But it is nice to be reminded that Yara Greyjoy is still coming to rescue her brother after her announcement last season.
Stockholm Syndrome has nothing on Dreadfort Disease. Theon, who looks like the last puppy up for adoption at the shelter, refuses his rescue, despite some satisfying combat in close quarters, and gets a bath as a reward.
In Slaver’s Bay, we’re treated to a thrilling dragon sequence, though the little boy and his goats no doubt were not as enthused. If Daenerys Targaryen’s pets are so expensive to render that we can see them only in brief flashes, those are some sweet flashes we’ve been getting.
Their mom is not having as much fun, stuck listening to appeals from any commoners and lords who will climb her new pyramid and take a number. It appears that ruling Meereen is like being the only clerk at the DMV. Next!
Back in King’s Landing, Tommen’s small council is talking about Dany, and it’s nice to spend so much time with Varys. Oberyn Martell has taken a break from the brothel for some business, even trying to get some quality intelligence from Varys after the meeting by taking his temperature about his sexuality. Varys shuts him down, saying, “The absence of desire leaves one free to pursue other things.”
Cersei has certainly prepped her witnesses well: Tyrion is going down for poisoning Joffrey, that much is clear. Tywin Lannister obviously loves sitting in the Iron Throne as he judges his son.
They bring Tyrion in chains, and the travesty commences. Everyone keeps repeating the lies about Joffrey’s bravery at the Blackwater. Every slap, verbal or otherwise, that Joffrey got from Tyrion is documented. During lunch, Jaime begs his father to ease off.
“Do you know the last order the Mad King gave me? To bring him your head!” he tells his father. That stops Tywin, but only for a moment. Jaime agrees to give up the Kingsguard and get married if Tywin will let Tyrion take the black, and his orders to “father children named Lannister” is the closest those two are going to get to addressing the Cersei incest thing. And that’s fine.
So the Kingslayer Brothers get to bond a bit, and there’s a glimmer of hope before Shae appears and destroys Tyrion’s soul.
Tyrion’s face silently screams with despair when she appears. (Peter Dinklage’s Emmy clip is in the can.) The throne room grows darker as Shae recites her damning testimony about the invented poisoning plot with Sansa, then humiliates him with details of their affection.
“Shae,” he croaks, “please don’t.”
“I am a whore, remember?”
At this point, it becomes clear that we’ve never seen Tyrion angry before, not really. But when he lets loose, he does it well. Dinklage’s epic courtroom confession, one of the best in recent television, dances along the edge of overwrought during the “on trial for being a dwarf” moment. But his family would be wise to remember his words going forward: “I wish I was the monster you think I am.”