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Game of Thrones - Episode by Episode #36

Since there are 73 episodes of Game of Thrones, this episode is the last episode before the halfway point in terms of episode count. Already many of the iconic characters of the show have been met with surprising, but logical fates.  So here we come to the trial, which is just supposed to be a bridge to more interesting things to come, right?  I mean it couldn't have been the best episode of Game of Thrones so far, right? Nope...it's better than "Blackwater."

Episode 36: "The Laws of Gods and Men"



This episode opens up with Stannis going to the Iron Bank to look for credit. They deny him. Crab Man then makes a speech and shows the bankers.  He also rightly points out that while  Bad Dad is in charge now, he is getting long in the tooth, and as the viewers are aware, his kids are hated by everyone.  Apparently, they reconsider as the next scene is that pirate from before -- who I'm calling Pirate Man because I'm out of ideas -- spending time in a tub with some women. Crab Man sets down some coins and tells him there's a big chest at his house...so I guess they got the loan?  Or?   This should have been a little more clear and is the only real flaw in the episode.

Elsewhere, one of Daenerys' dragons (which has even gotten bigger since Season3) sets fire to a flock of livestock while feeding.  So this hersdman brings the charred bones to the Queen, who hears his petition and promises to repay him three-fold. Meanwhile a young man comes to petition Daenerys to let him bury his father, one of the 163 men she crucified. At first she denied him, but after his plea continues, she decides to have mercy.

But then we get to Stephanie McMahon's rescue of her captive brother. She leads a charge of men ashore and frees him from the dog kennel where he's kept, but he resists, fully submerged in the identity of "Reek."  Jigsaw McGraw catches them. There's a fight and "Reek" bites Stephanie in the middle of it. So Jigsaw McGraw pulls out a key and opens the kennels so his real dogs can chase Stephanie away.  She says her brother is dead.

So the next morning Jigsaw McGraw coaxes "Reek" and gives him a bath, then tells him to pretend to be someone else for an important mission - his old identity as the Waterboy.

And then we get to the capital, where there is a meeting of the Small Council, and they finally acknowledge that Daenerys is a problem. Apparently, Mormont was supposed to be a spy but has defected.  They now realize Daenerys is now a problem, even if her dragons are considered obsolete weaponry...okay, I'm really seeing the Attack on Titan parallels here.  So Bad Dad gives Uncle Fester an order to get a certain message to where Daenerys is ruling.  They also increase Scarface's bounty so more people would come after him.

There's also this disgusting scene in the throne room where Oberon first assumes Uncle Fester is interested in men, then assumes that he was interested in women before being castrated. Uncle Fester says he was interested in neither (yay!) but says that not having desires has given him more time to pursue other matters, then looks on the throne.  I know he meant it as just a sly remark, but did we REALLY need the whole "asexuals are so much better because they aren't thinking about sex" stereotype? Then again, this is the same show that thought having two scheming gay characters was progressive and killed off one of them very quickly yet let the heterosexual incest twins live.  Given that Oberon is openly bi, I wonder if he's going to die soon. So okay, this series attitude is distasteful, but I can't fault the series but to much given that it does have a source material to stick to.

So then we get Tyrion's trial, and this kangaroo court is just like the trial from Chrono Trigger.  I mean seriously, if you played Chrono Trigger, this is almost exactly how it played out, just with different characters. I was wrong as I thought Uncle Fester was a judge, but it's actually Daddy Tyrell.  And King Tom Thumb recuses himself because he's a good little boy.

Anyway, just like Chrono Trigger, every single minor instance of Tyrion being mean to poor Joffrey is brought up as evidence that he killed him.  Tyrion isn't really even allowed to speak in his own defense.  Poor Tyrion, who usually puts on a show of being flippant and not caring, just can't here, as his colleagues and even Uncle Fester testify against him.
So Incest Charming, because unlike the rest of his family, does genuinely care for his brother, decides to make a proposal to Bad Dad; he will resign from the King's Guard and go back to Casterly Rock provided that Tyrion confesses and throws himself at the mercy of the court.  Bad Dad immediately accepts, and as part of this deal Tyrion spends the rest of his life at the Wall.

This is what Bad Dad wanted all along.  He doesn't want either of his sons dead. He just wants his one son out of the way -- but living, and away from a sister who WILL kill him -- and the other to act as his rightful heir.  Plus at the wall, Tyrion would be useful, given that that flock of crows can't do anything in terms of strategy (I'm pretty sure Bad Dad knows about the rampaging Wildlings...having Tyrion take care of them and any other Wall threat is sound strategy).  It's also a particularly cruel form of mercy for Tyrion since the people at the wall are supposed to be celibate.

But there's a problem. Bad Dad overplayed his hand by piling on the evidence too thick as he brings his next witness -- Melania.

Melania testifies that Tyrion and Sansa plotted to kill Joffrey. She's clearly going this only partly out of revenge; she's reciting this plot in a stilted way that makes you think they threatened to cut off her toes.  But it still hurts.  And then Tyrion, because he's a human being finally snaps.

Then he decides to address the audience.  It's probably exaggerated, but he finally says what has been eating at him through the entire series - he isn't on trial because he killed Joffrey, but he's on trial for being a dwarf. This is an amazing speech where he's finally free to stop acting like he doesn't give a care but how he's felt his entire life.  Of course Bad Dad matches Tyrion's passionate fury with cool, measured authority -- Charles Dance and Peter Dinklage are in rare form here -- but Tyrion, instead of throwing himself at the mercy of the court, declares he's not going to get justice but wants a trial by combat.

Note (yes, just one):

  • Daenerys has power built on love, and she's also smart, but it has been shown to be short in cash in the past.  Stannis has cash, is a fierce fighter, and has a blood magician.  Would it not behoove these two to make a very temporary alliance to take down the Lannisters?  Yeah, they both want to rule, but you know, even though Tywin is old, he's not dead yet, and while Daenerys is young and surrounding herself with wise counsel, she has just seized power and she might not be able to hold it.  You're not going to defeat this man separately.

Tags: game of thrones
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