Tyrion goes on trial as we catch up on some of the other storylines in Game of Thrones.
1. After a few weeks of Tyrion being absent or appearing in a single scene, this episode returns him to centre-stage. In fact, he is put in the centre of the throne room at King’s Landing, where he gets subjected to the theatre of a trial. I don’t think he was too surprised to see Cersi, Ser Meryn Trant and Maester Pycelle testify against him, but there is true disappointment when Varys speaks against Tyrion.
The surprising arrival of Shae and having her lie to implicate Tyrion and Sansa in the crime is a brutal blow for Tyrion. In turn he gives a speech to the crowd, filled with venom, for their betrayal of a man who had saved them all from massacre months before: “I saved you. I saved this city and all your worthless lives. I should have let Stannis kill you all.”
I thought for a moment he was going to admit to the crime, but Tyrion instead demands trial by combat. I’m actually surprised he did not make this demand at the beginning of his trial, since he already surmised that he would not be found innocent. Like he did with Lysa at the Vale, a trial by combat seems like his best chance of escaping with his head.
2. If the trial by combat is accepted, then it brings up the question of who would serve as the champion for Tyrion? It seems like a natural that Jamie would be his choice, but what about Bronn? Also, could we see the battle be between Jamie and Bronn, considering that they have been doing this practice fighting for most of the season?
3. Jamie Lannister also comes across well in this episode, for he is the only one who seems to be backing his brother, going so far as to plead for his life to his father. While his love for his family is sometimes misplaced (he just loves Cersei too much!) he does not find hard to sacrifice his role as a member of the King’s Guard just so to his brother won’t be executed.
4. The character of Mace Tyrell is slowly getting more screen time, and so far he comes across as a simpleton and easily influenced. It’s hard for me to believe that the patriarch of the Tyrell’s is some kind of fool.
5. It has been a long time since we had the chats between Varys and Littlefinger, but in this episode we get to see an interesting conversation between Varys and Oberyn Martell. The Spider’s knowing look at the Iron Throne might indicate that he could become the power behind the throne for the impressionable boy King Tommen. Of course, a lot of people at King’s Landing think that too.
6. The show actually opens with Stannis Baratheon and Davos Seaworth sailing into Bravos underneath a giant statue. This scene was inspired by the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the wonders of the ancient world. Here is how it was depicted by a 16th century artist:
7. After the Iron Bank declines to loan Stannis money, based on a good judgment of how weak his assets are, it seemed to me highly improbable that Davos’ speech could have made them change their minds. While everything he said about the Lannisters is true, that doesn’t give them a good reason to put their money behind Stannis. If the people at King’s Landing knows how successful Daenerys has been, surely word has also reached Bravos. Why doesn’t the Iron Bank back her?
8. As for Daenerys, we get to see her holding court. While I liked her decision with the son who wanted to bury his crucified father, I think her offer of paying three times the rate for the animals lost by the shepherd could soon lead to many false cases of her dragons taking other goats. A ruler cannot be too generous too her subjects, otherwise they will try to take advantage of her.
9. The attempted rescue of Theon Greyjoy by his sister Yara provided the action and blood for this episode. The scene of Yara seeing how destroyed her brother was, with the battle and barking dogs all around her, was particularly intense.
10. During the credits they played The Rains Of Castamere – I now see this as a ominous warning for what might come in the next episode.