Game of Thrones: 406 “The Laws of Gods and Men” Review
Reviewed by Thomas Firth.
Troublesome times have reached all corners of the map by now, with Tyrion facing trial, Iron Islanders attack the Dreadfort and dragons are loose on the borders of Meereen. The storylines remain ultimately engaging and with new suprises every week, Game of Thrones appears to have had a definite transformation. One thing is absolutely clear and that’s the writer’s devotion to the script. The series has a certain quality the separates it from any other series broadcasting these days, and that is an intelligent script. Every word that’s said in Game of Thrones means something and that has never changed, and this technique is shown in full with Tyrion’s final speech in this week’s episode. “I’m guilty of a far more monstrous crime. I am guilty of being a dwarf. I’ve been on trail for that my entire life!”
It began quite explosively this week with a picturesque panorama shot of the wonderful Braavos, which was nicely added to the opening credits. The CGI has improved tremendously well with a few notable details included this week. The appearance of Braavos on-screen has been highly-anticipated by the viewers, especially with mentions made by Davos, Arya and Tywin in the previous episode. Stannis and Davos’ meeting with the Iron Bank executives is wonderfully played, and its evident that Mark Gatiss fits the role of a bureaucratic administrator. The return of Sallador Saan is also pleasing with an inevitable role to be played in future episodes of the season.
In the Dreadfort, tensions are high as Yara Greyjoy makes a bold attack on the castle with a small group of Ironborn men. Her intention is to save Theon and take him home, but this goes horribly wrong as not only does Ramsay arrive to protect his “pet”, but Theon is reluctant to leave his cage. Tragically, this is Yara’s, and perhaps our, realisation that Theon has truly disappeared from the world and is now posing in the alias of Reek. As we learned from episode two of the season, Ramsay has been asked by his father to try and retake Moat Cailin from the Iron Islanders, but he decides to use Reek as a disguised agent in order to take the town. Whilst these scenes are undoubtedly sharp and ruthless, they are also forgettable, which is something this show shouldn’t be allowing. The best alternative is to elaborate the scenes with a bit more strong content. Perhaps the fatal derivative was the fact that the series detached from the novel series to begin with, owing to a disjointed feel to the plot development.
Meereen is now fully under control by Daenerys’ forces, but is she really confident and powerful enough to rule? This has been a question we’ve been asking ourselves since she first met Drogo in the Free City of Pentos. Truthfully, her discipline over her children (she is the Mother of Dragons) is completely non-existent. Naturally, this has lead to her naughtiest child, Drogon, to interfere with the livestock of the local people. In addition, her attitude towards the responsibility of ruling must be questioned, not to mention her generosity in paying for the herder’s loss, three times more (how much money does she think she has?). The story so far for Daenerys has been up and down so far, but we’re starting to see the routes of some greater problems.
Of course, the highlight this week was Tyrion’s trial. Some might’ve said that Tyrion would perhaps have joked his way through the entire proceedings, but completely the opposite it seems. One of the strength’s of this sequence was looking back into the past where Tyrion has previously made seemingly violent threats towards the late King Joffrey. Bit by bit, the character that we loved so much, for his wit and his strength in personality, has been ripped apart by Cersei, Ser Meryn Trant, Pycelle, Varys and most notable Shae, who has made the worst betrayal possible. There did appear to be light in the darkness with Jaime assuring Tyrion of their father’s decision to send him to the Night’s Watch following the trial. This is momentously cut short by a stunning performance from Peter Dinklage who has owned the episode. Not only was this extended scene impressive for this reason, but it was also the great coordination between Tyrion, the witnesses and the appointed jury, Oberyn, Tywin and Mace.
Strengths aside, The Laws of Gods and Men didn’t have enough to really pull through as a completely successful Game of Thrones it seems. Details such as Mace Tyrell, who has been a practically invisible character this season, is treated rather heavy-handedly by Tywin Lannister during the council meeting. Perhaps this a part of his overall character, but those of us who have not read the novels are in confusion as to why he has been set so low in the social classes of Westeros. On the other hand, he does have a substantial role in the trial with the privilege of owning one third of the vote when it is time to decide, but that was no doubt thrown out of the window when Tyrion demanded a trial by combat. Also, it has been yet another episode without the appearance of either Roose, Tormund or Ygritte, not to mention the Lady Melisandre. We don’t want characters dropping in and out when there’s storylines to be fulfilled.
Once again, baby steps were taken this episode to draw out this season even more, despite a copious development of the story in general. Game of Thrones may have the knack to be consistent in strength, but it takes some doing to make that final push. Next week’s “Mockingbird” sounds like an intriguing episode, but it’s the way the content is presented that will give it the high marks. One thing’s for certain though, writer Bryan Cogman can certainly write a cliffhanger.