TV Review: “Game of Thrones” – “The Laws of Gods and Men”

Written by Spencer Sterritt May 13, 2014

The laws of gods and men, trial, tyrion, justice “The Laws of Gods and Men” kicks off the third act of this season with one of many climaxes, as Tyrion finally returns from his dungeon to take his place as the closest thing “Game of Thrones” has to a main character. There’s some other leg work to be done in this episode as Dany makes her weekly appearance, but “The Laws of Gods and Men” is much smoother and well put together than episodes from previous weeks.

Season four of “Game of Thrones” has thematically been the strongest season, using every story thread to examine the power structure that makes for a supremely shitty life in Westeros. Seasons one and three did a good job at showing how elaborate Westeros is, and just how much power the Lannister’s have, but many stories, like Danaerys across the sea or Jon to the North, were too segregated from the main theme. The last half of “The Laws of Gods and Men” follows the season four template of spending the last half in King’s Landing, at Tyrion’s trial, but the first half hour visits Stannis, Theon, and Daenerys to question whether it is better to rule with an iron fist or a soft hand.

“When I see what desire does to people, what it’s done to this country, I am very glad to have no part in it.”

As in “The First of His Name” Dany, who now has the most lengthy royal name, is caught between her desire for slave justice and the needs of the city. Everything she has done, especially stringing up the old masters of Meeren as carrion, has been harsh to show her rule, to the point of over use. With two hundred people visiting her daily with complaints and concerns, it’s time for Dany to truly learn what it means to be a Queen, instead of a slave driver. justice, stanis, davos, iron bank The other major power we are introduced to this week is the Iron Bank way over in Braavos. After being mentioned for several episodes, Stannis and Davos travel there in an attempt to fund their continuing war efforts. The scene where Stannis and Davos have to plead their case is my favorite in this episode, mostly because I think Stannis is the best. He’s a man of harsh justice, just like Daenerys, but he also knows when to be forgiving. Davos, who has given many impassioned speeches about Stannis’ leadership, is never finer than in this scene, a perfect example of what happens when you mix justice and kindness.

“When Tywin is gone, who do you back?”

All of this is merely a preamble to Tyrion’s trial however. Stannis receiving payment from the Iron Bank is big news, but it’s a small step towards Stannis riding to the North or wherever he is going. As for Dany, her story is slowly but surely going somewhere, though still far too slow for my liking. The real meat of the episode is Tyrion’s trial, but unfortunately most of the trial felt very routine. We’ve known how rigged the trial was going to be, so seeing witness after witness take the stand and twist history and quotes to implicate Tyrion was not that thrilling. It did make for a nice refresher though; I had totally forgotten about the time Joffery pointed a crossbow at Sansa as the King’s Guard manhandled her. The direction, handled this week by Alik Sakharov, is much better than “Oathkeeper” and “First of His Name,” but it still falls into classic court room tropes, right down to the constant murmur and shocked gasps of the onlookers. Tyrion, justice, Peter Dinklage, the laws of gods and men Once Shae appears however, “The Laws of Gods and Men” became a much better, top tier “Game of Thrones” episode. I had completely forgotten about Shae, and seeing her as a witness for Cersei legitimately shocked me. The pain on Tyrion’s face was palpable, and his rage astonishing as he turned on the courts and turned all of the subtext about him being a dwarf into text. This trial was coming long before Joffery was poisoned. If it wasn’t the bastard king who had died, it would have been someone else as Cersei and Tywin plotted to be rid of Tyrion.

“I did not do it. I did not kill Joffrey, but I wish that I had. Watching your vicious bastard die gave me more relief than a thousand lying whores!”

“The Laws of Gods and Men” is an excellent set up episode of “Game of Thrones.” Tyrion’s trial is the climax of the episode, and a major plot point that gives the King’s Landing story line some much needed momentum, while still ending on a climax that sets up what’s sure to be a damn good fight.

My Rating: 8.5/10 

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About Spencer Sterritt

Spencer Sterritt

Spencer Sterritt: former Editor-In-Chief for We Eat Films, future President of the Men With Beards Club, and hopefully candidate for ruler of the world.

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