Game of Thrones Season 4 Ep 6 (TV Show Review)

The previous episodes of Game of Thrones season 4 have all been travelogues in that they have attempted to touch base with a myriad number of characters scattered throughout Westeros and across the Narrow Sea, and so there has been distinct lack of cohesion of the story. When six-seven storylines are going on at the same time in each episode, it can become quite a task to keep everything straight, and to follow along, especially if you happen to be a new entrant to the show (not recommended!). And the quality of these five episodes has definitely been all over the place as well, for a myriad number of reasons.

This week’s episode, “The Laws of God and Men“, thankfully tells a much more focused story and it moves the larger story forward significantly, much more than the previous episodes did in my opinion. We first meet with Stannis and Ser Davos as they sail to Braavos to secure the aid of the Iron Bank. We also meet up with Daenerys as she “learns to govern” in Meereen instead of continuing her conquest. Then we are in the North with Yara Greyjoy and her chosen Ironborn as they go to Ramsay Snow’s base at the Dreadfort to rescue Theon. And then finally we are in King’s Landing, where Tyrion is finally led to trial for the murder of Joffrey. Lots happened this week and thankfully almost all of it was good.

Game of Thrones Season 4 Poster 0002

This was a show full of some really interesting developments, and one of the most important ones in the context of the larger game plan afoot is that Stannis and Ser Davos go to the Iron Bank of Braavos to secure funds for the former to put together an army that can seize power in Westeros and take the Iron Throne in the name of Stannis Baratheon. The two men have an uphill task in that their current situation is rather dire, and the Iron Bank’s representatives are more than cognizant of that fact, as Tycho Nestoris points out to them. Stannis acts quite petulant in these scenes, but the show is stolen by Davos here for sure. I love Stephen Dillane as Stannis but he took an unfortunate backseat to Liam Cunningham’s character, who earned every bit of his surname in these scenes. Stannis means to press his claim for the Iron Throne and Davos will be damned if his lord doesn’t get his way, not after everything that they’ve both sacrificed.

And at the same time, we see how Daenerys is wasting her time in Meereen by learning to be a proper Queen. She means to not just conquer, but rule as well, and in the scenes here she is forced to deal with two negative results of her conquest of Meereen. The first is rather pedestrian in that one of her dragons kills an entire herd of goats belonging to a local shepherd for food and the shepherd appears before her to ask compensation. The second is much more personal and even a challenge to her since the son of one of the many Masters that she had ordered crucified a couple episodes back appears before her to ask for her to relent so that he can give his father a proper burial.

Daenerys’ reactions to both cases are quite weird in that it is as if she mocks both supplicants and is even amused by their plight (and this was quite weird), but her judgement is of one who does seek to rule fairly. Given that we’re now seeing a very different side to her character here, I liked her as a ruler more than I did as a conqueror, but I still can’t get over why the focus is on the ruling part and not the consolidation of her forces. Where are the army trainers of the Unsullied? Shouldn’t they be recruiting and training more men to join the Mother of Dragons? Are more ships being built in Meereen? Those are the kinds of things I want to see here rather than see Daenerys act the ruler.

Once we are done with events across the Narrow Sea however, we are off to the North. At the end of the last season, Yara Greyjoy had set out from the Iron Islands with a company of her most trusted men and she was intent on rescuing her brother from the clutches of Ramsay Snow, who had already mutilated him and promised to do worse. As she finally makes her comeback in this season, we see her relating to all her men the contents of the letter that Ramsay sent to her father, rousing their passions for their captive Prince. The attack at the Dreadfort is well-orchestrated and the gem of the entire sequence is when Yara gets to the dog-cage where Theon aka Reek is held. The question remains: will Theon leave with his sister and get back to the Iron Islands or whether Reek will be an obedient dog and stay loyal toB

But the thing is, this is all the prelude to the big event of this season: the trial of Tyrion Lannister. This has been a while coming, and the various pieces were being set in place for the last three episodes, so we finally come to it, and see how it unfolds. Given the power that Cersei holds in King’s Landing, an army of her supporters is paraded before the three Judges presiding over the trial. Tywin Lannister, Mace Tyrell and Oberyn Martell are the judges and they watch, often in silence, as one witness after another presents testimony against Tyrion, including Cersei herself. One by one, as each testimony is heard, we see how the scales of judgement fall ever more towards Tyrion’s execution.

The trial in its entirety is one of the longest scenes of the show to date, and by that very fact it is also one of the best. Betrayals and treachery have ever been at the heart of the show and this episode makes that crystal clear, for Tyrion is betrayed by those he considered friends, and those he considered more than that. The character’s trademark wit and humour is always in place and serves to alleviate some of the tension of the scene, but it cannot be escaped that the trial is fixed against him already and that he is likely to find his head chopped off, like Ned Stark suffered in season 1. There are a couple of twists in the second half of this scene, and we see how hope turns to bitter ashes in the end. The betrayal that happens with the last witness is the one that I didn’t expect to see, not given everything that Tyrion attempted to prevented such an occurrence, and it is the one that shakes you up the more.

Game of Thrones Season 4 Stills 0006

And it leaves you wondering: Tyrion is going to suffer worse than hell before he ever comes out of his predicament. If he ever comes out that is.

Given that the majority of the episode this week was focused on Tyrion’s trial and that the other scenes were all brief and to the point, this was undoubtedly one of the better episodes of the entire show to date. It had a much stronger focus on these characters and it noticeably moved the entire story forward, which is needed at this point since the season ends in another 4 weeks, and the dominoes need to start falling at this point.

Where we go from here is anybody’s guess, and I can’t wait to see what is going to happen with Stannis, Yara and Tyrion in the rest of this season. Hopefully something positive.

More Game of Thrones Season 4: Ep 1, Ep 2, Ep 3, Ep 4, Ep 5.

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Posted on May 12, 2014, in Game of Thrones, Review Central, TV Show Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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