Much as it was on the Blackwater and at the Eyrie, Tyrion Lannister’s is once again in danger. And, much as he did in those situations, Tyrion must rely on his phenomenal way with words (and Peter Dinklage’s phenomenal acting) to sidestep that danger.
The closing minutes of “The Laws of Gods and Men” was a court scene –- let’s call it Tyrion’s Trial –- and it was one of the strongest scenes this season. Dinklage's final monologue summed up with true feeling all of his character's troubles throughout his privileged-but-demeaned life and the injustice he now finds himself facing. It was a mix of anger, hatred, self-pity and fearlessness, and it was perfect.
After listening to a litany of twisted-truths and out-right lies, Tyrion knows there’s no escaping a guilty verdict in this sham trial orchestrated by his father and sister. Even Shae has chosen to turn against him by falsely saying he was responsible for the boy-king Joffrey’s murder.
“I wish to confess,” Tyrion tells the crowd watching the trial. But it’s not the confession they’ve been clamoring for.
“I’m guilty of being a dwarf,” Tyrion says. “I’ve been on trial for that my entire life.”
His voice rising and his resolve hardening, Tyrion categorically denies killing Joffrey: “I did not do it. But I wish I had … I wish I was the monster you think I am.”
Knowing he can’t get a fair trial with his father among the judges, Tyrion demands a trial by combat. (Oh snap!) It’s the same tactic Tyrion used with success at the Eyrie when Bronn saved his life.
But who will be Tyrion’s champion this time? The one-handed Jaime? (Bad choice.) Bronn? (Good choice.) Brienne? (She's probably too far away.) Someone else? We’ll have to wait until next week to find out.
Elsewhere in the world, Stannis and Daavos sail to the Iron Bank in Braavos to try to persuade the rich bankers to back Stannis as king. (He does, after all, have the most legitimate claim to the Iron Throne.)
Asha/Yara Greyjoy stage a raid on the Dreadfort to rescue her tortured brother Theon. This scene gives us our only violence of the episode, but the raid is ultimately unsuccessful as Theon is so brainwashed into believing he’s Reek that he refuses to escape. Ramsey Snow then runs off Asha and her men with dogs. After, Ramsay rewards Theon by giving him a bath and asks him to carry out a special mission for him by pretending to be … wait for it …Theon Greyjoy.
In Meereen, Dany’s dragons are hunting goats and she’s having to repay all the goat farmers in the area for their dead animals. This hunting is messy business because the dragons’ fire is, well, huge and out-of-control. Bystanders are going to get burned.
Thus Sunday’s “Game of Thrones” left us with three cliff-hangers: The mystery mission Theon will be sent on; the growing recklessness of Dany’s dragons and the pending trial by combat of Tyrion.
Sunday nights should be fun this summer.
Episode grade: A-