Game of Thrones: “The Laws of Gods and Men” Season 4 Episode 6 Review

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Instead of bouncing around to every corner of Westeros, The Laws of Gods and Men focused on only a few stories, allowing them to really develop and deliver fantastic moments.

The episode started with two stories we’ve gotten very little time with thus far in Season 4. The first was Stannis’ quest for power. Visiting the Iron Bank of Braavos, Stannis is at first denied his request for financial aid. But the ever-lovable Davos Seaworth is given one of his best scenes in the series as he convinces them that after Tywin Lannister’s inevitable death, the Lannisters will have nothing. It’s an interesting thought to provoke, even though Tywin surely isn’t going to go down as easily as, say, Joffrey. Then Davos convinces a pirate to join their ranks in another scene showing just how clever the man is. Overall, it was a very strong week for Davos, a character who’s been through hell and back for his master.

Next, it was time for Theon’s sister Yara to make her rescue. But is there really anything of Theon left after what Ramsay has done to him? When Yara finally reaches him, he doesn’t even respond to her. Theon appears to be gone. After a brief but exciting action sequence pitting Yara’s men against Ramsay’s, she makes her escape, saying her brother is dead. Ramsay Snow continues to be one of the most terrifying villains on the series, telling Theon, who he calls Reek, that he must pretend to be Theon to conquer his own father’s castle. Yikes.

From there, we return to more familiar territory, as Daenerys adjust to her new role as queen of Meereen. But, in a brilliant sequence, this story starts with a dragon, clearly out of Daenery’s control, frying a goat and sweeping it away. Now she has to deal with the aftermath, as the farmer begs her for help. But the Mother of Dragons is kind, giving him three times what the sheep is worth. Daenery is learning how to be a queen, a solid path after almost a season and a half of her freeing slaves.

The remainder of the episode took place in King’s Landing for Tyrion’s trial. It was easily a highlight of the season. For all of Tyrion’s good deeds over the last few years, he’s hurt a lot of people, all of which comes back to hurt him in spectacular fashion. While Varys’ betrayal was difficult enough, Shae’s was downright heartbreaking. After Jaime strikes a deal with Tywin for Tyrion’s life, Shae’s betrayal is just too much for Tyrion. He lashes out, saying every hateful thing he’s kept inside toward his family. Peter Dinklage may have secured another Emmy in this scene, throwing every weight Tyrion has carried over his life at the people around him. He demands a trial by combat, a seemingly suicidal demand. And then the episode ends.

The structure of The Laws of Gods and Men was incredibly well-paced, giving us one story at a time instead of hopping around. I do hope this is a style Game of Thrones adopts more often in the future. Capped by Tyrion’s stunning trial, this was probably the best episode of the season since Joffrey’s death, and also a presentation of just how great Game of Thrones can be even when people aren’t waving swords around. Grade: A

By Matt Dougherty

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