Warning – the following recap contains spoilers. Do not read unless you have seen ‘The Laws of Gods and Men’
This episode was all about the politics; how people rule and how people are judged. With the past few episodes filled with so much action, it was about time to sit down and think about the future of the country (or countries, if we’re counting Essos). Let’s face it – it still looks as bleak as ever, no matter what any of the characters do at this point.
Tyrion’s trial demonstrated the test that men’s faith has to go through and how they ultimately change as a result. The trial was full of surprises at every turn, surprises no one saw coming. People Tyrion thought he could trust betrayed him, but the ultimate form of betrayal came from the woman he loved, Shae, who was supposed to have left Kings Landing. Shae, clearly motivated by her own form of revenge and hurt from Tyrion’s rejection of her, repeated his own words, reminding him that he had called her ‘a whore’. Tyrion and Shae had a promise to never leave each other, in a sense, their own private law, and now Tyrion was being punished for breaking it. Shae’s faith in Tyrion had been destroyed by those simple words, and the trial had finally worn Tyrion down so much, he lost faith in the judgement of men and called for the God’s to settle this with a trial by combat. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen him ask for this; however, this time, Tyrion was filled with the desire to take the power from humans, men, and put it back in the rightful hands of the Gods. A lesson, perhaps many of the Lords and Kings in the world of Game of Thrones could learn to do. (Apart from Stannis, he pretty much has that down.)
Speaking of Stannis, he’s seen still fighting to convince many of his claim to the throne, but Davos, as loyal as he is, fights for his right to take a loan from the bank of Braavos. Davos demonstrated this by proving that whilst Stannis judged wisely, and as a result would make the best King, if not the rightful one. He showed them the fingers he cut off as punishment, and suddenly the vault was opened. That loan that means a second chance to reclaim what he has come so close to reclaiming before.
Dany was also shown trying to rule as a Queen, but she has slowly been failing in many aspects of that. Bearing in mind she’s only a child too, she’s making critical mistakes – mainly judging too harshly and acting too swiftly and without reason. Some may argue a Queen without mercy is needed, and indeed, in the face of battle it is. Dany isn’t at war anymore though and it seems she’s finding it hard to remember how to understand simple human emotions. The son of one of the Masters reminds her of that. To remember that in order to be a Queen you need to have mercy, because without mercy, you are just a tyrant on a throne.
The theme of mercy rang throughout this episode too. Even the most villainous characters appear to have mercy. Reek, for example, being rewarded (and again because he was judged by Ramsay) with a bath was shocking, simply because Ramsay up until this point, has been nothing but cruel.
At this point, we really don’t know what to expect. For one mystery that is unraveled, another is presented. The next episode will no doubt be another action packed mess of mayhem.
Monday, Sky Atlantic, 9pm