Each week of Game of Thrones this season we’re going to be posting a collection of thoughts about the episode in the form of a recap/review. This is from the perspective of someone who has read the first two books and not any further than that, so the show’s plot will all be new to me. Also, please watch the show beforehand because there will be SPOILERS! Enjoy!
Wow. What an episode. No doubt you’re still feeling dazed from that spectacular performance by Peter Dinklage as Tyrion in his trial. What I loved was how deliciously complex the whole trial was, with so many twists and turns. First of all we have these witnesses and they give accounts of when Tyrion said certain things that tried to sway the court into thinking he had motive, such as past threats against Joffrey (which were perfectly justified as us viewers would remember). Initially he tries to argue but soon he realises it is all futile. Court is adjourned and we cut to Jaime and Tywin. I loved this scene because again we are reminded of how brilliantly cunning Tywin is. Jaime bargains with Tywin, saying that he’ll give up being in the Kingsguard to continue the Lannister name in return for Tyrion’s life. To which Tywin agrees straight away. The look on Jaime’s face is priceless.
So Tywin had this planned all along. He knew Jaime would look out for his brother – as he always has his whole life. The one thing he wants from Jaime is to leave the Kingsguard and father some legitimate sons. He really knows the best way out of a situation. Once the trial resumes, they bring in the star witness, Shae, who completely breaks Tyrion. The way she twisted every truth, every intimate moment with Tyrion into a complete lie in order to paint him as a monster is what completely crushes him. Peter Dinklage sells this performance so well as you can see immense pain Tyrion is going through, until he finally breaks, at which point he confesses. In true Tyrion style, he confesses not to the crime for which he is on trial, but for being a dwarf his whole life. His monologue is superbly written as he cries out that he is not the monster that everyone makes him out to be, just because he is a dwarf. I cannot praise Peter Dinklage enough, his performance displayed so many emotions in that short span of time and captured the heartbreak and anger so perfectly. The reactions to Tyrion announcing that he wants a trial by combat are also spot on. Jaime bows down his head in despair knowing the fate of his brother is out of his hands, Cersei looks on, displaying no emotion and Tywin is looking angry, knowing his plans have been foiled by his pesky dwarf of a son.
Why did the trial have such a profound effect on me? For me its a combination of how much I like Tyrion as a character and also the realism of the scene. Tyrion is one of my favourite characters because he is smart, funny and moral. He saved the city from Stannis through his ingenuity and was not rewarded for it at all. He did not force himself on Sansa, knowing he was from the family that murdered members of hers. Compared to the other Lannisters he is much more likeable. The realism aspect comes into it as the whole trial is a farce as Jaime says, and it is designed to crush Tyrion. He does not deserve all this hatred. He did not commit the crime. The realism lies in the fact that there is no easy out. In any other show perhaps he would have come up with a way to find out the real killer. Everyone can relate to the position where you are wrongly accused of something and there is nothing you can do, but accept that sometimes life just kicks you in the balls. May the Gods bring him justice.
This week’s episode had quite a focus on family, and shifting away from one dysfunctional family to another we get to see Yara Greyjoy on her way to save her lost brother Theon from Ramsay Snow. It was such a heartbreaking scene to watch, as Theon recoils in fear at the sight of his sister, because he is Reek now. He has been so traumatised by Ramsay that the fear of admitting any of his past outweighs his desire to escape and be free. Thankfully Yara quickly realises this and just says that her brother is dead, and rightly so. Theon Greyjoy is dead, only Reek lives on now. Iwan Rheon is electrifying as ever as Ramsay (“This is turning into a lovely evening!”) and that scene where he bathes Theon is just terrifying, as I didn’t know if he was going to waterboard Theon or be kind. Finally he tells Reek that he wants him to play the part of (you guessed it!) Theon Greyjoy. So its going to be Theon being Reek who is being Theon. Theonception!
Davos continues to shine, as he and Stannis have sailed into Braavos, in search of a loan from the Iron Bank. Stannis is unable to convince the bankers but Davos pulls out an awesome speech, saying that Stannis is a fair man, a skilled commander and that who else is going to be fit to rule Westeros since Tywin Lannister is getting old. Davos used to be one of my least liked characters, as in season two I thought he was just some random pirate guy and was quite annoying. However he continues to serve Stannis well, providing reason in his counsel (especially against Melissandre) and is growing to be one of my favourite characters. Something I found interesting was that there is a bank involved, and their motive is solely money and whether or not they can make a return on their investment. Its something different from all the different parties vying for power.
Drogon continues to grow and hunts some goats for breakfast, with the goat herder coming to Danaerys crying for help. She grants him the value of the goats…three times over. She is holding consultation times with the people of Meereen and realises ruling is not as easy as conquering a city. Some guy whose name I really cannot remember comes in and says that his dad was one of the nobles that Danaerys nailed up on the cross, and argued against nailing the children on the cross. We are reminded that although saying that she will answer injustice with justice sounds really damn cool, what is the true nature of justice? The answer to that lies in a really gray area. She is learning quickly that its not easy to rule and she should probably listen to her counsel (two old knights as we are reminded by the Small Council). I don’t think its wise to overpay people who have fallen on hard times and I think she can’t continue to rule sustainably like this.
The Small Council is back on screen and it does so well in depicting how the characters are in their interactions with one another. Oberyn is laid-back, joking around, while Mace is bumbling and pompous, but ultimately is weak and does not really have a say. The discussion between Varys and Oberyn was great, with Varys indicating he had no sexual desire and preferred to focus on other pursuits (looking at you, the Iron Throne). To me he doesn’t seem like the kind of character that wants the throne for himself, but rather to be the person controlling whoever is on the Throne. Also I think it serves to remind us that Varys has his ambitions too much like Littlefinger (remember their discussion about Chaos being a ladder last season), in light of Littlefinger’s recent success. I feel like both those characters are really dangerous and are quite safe, because they have considerable power and resources to protect them, and also because they do not make direct enemies like the Starks and Lannisters did.
The structure of the episodes seems to be short scenes to follow up on the other characters’ storylines, while there is a larger sequence, perhaps just less than half an episode on one particular plotline. This week it was Tyrion’s trial, last week it was the big clash up north at Craster’s and a few weeks ago it was the Purple Wedding. I quite like the way they’ve done this this season, as it allows for us to be able to get through a big chunk of plot in one episode. More than halfway through the season I just wish that there could be more episodes.
Well we’re more than halfway through the season and this episode was the best one to date. You know you have a great drama when you the best scene is a powerful speech. What makes a show great is not the CGI, nor how great the battle scenes are but how deep the characters are. This week we get such a deep look at Tyrion’s character and his monologue will go down as one of the greatest TV performances in history for sure.
- Mycroft is in the Iron Bank!
- Not many this week, I’ve said everything I’ve had to say 😀