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GAME OF THRONES Recap: The Laws of Gods and Men are Tricky (and Never Fair)

Know what’s tricky? Other people and the laws by which they rule themselves (internal, external, or otherwise). And on tonight’s new episode of Game of Thrones, those machinations were pulled increasingly taut, which means bad things for the characters but great things for us as viewers. In “The Laws of Gods and Men,” we saw how the Realm’s finest were both emboldened and betrayed by these myriad ruling principles, and how quickly all those things can change. So, let’s get started!

Over in Meereen…

Dany’s got some work to do when it comes to making her citizens happy. (A queen’s work is never done!) And it should start with shortening her title. Here we thought the King of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms was excessive… goodness. We get it, you’ve conquered all of the things and also still claim the Iron Throne as your own. Is calling yourself “Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, Mother of Dragons, and Queen of Meereen” really all that necessary? How about just Queen, full stop? No? OK, well listen, guys, I tried.

But Dany’s learning — after last week’s declaration of her intentions — that rulin’ ain’t easy, and sometimes justice has unintended consequences (you know Barristan Selmy was all “I told you so!” in his mind). After paying off a man whose goats Drogon had killed, she was introduced to Hizdahr zo Loraq, a Meereenese nobleman whose father was nailed up in the name of justice. Turns out he was against stringing up the kids on the walk to Meereen. Thankfully, Dany seems to have learned from her horrific lesson (a bit?) and allowed the man to give his father a proper burial. See why sometimes mercy is good, Dany? Keep that one in your pocket for next time.

Up at the Dreadfort…

Things are certifiable. As in insane. Theon/Reek really has lost all of his marbles (is Theon one of Toodles’ ancestors?). The depths of Ramsay Snow’s mental manipulation are clearly beyond extreme if the one-time Prince of the Iron Islands cannot even recognize his own sister, Yara, who was clearly raging with the power of 10,000 p-i-s-s-e-d o-f-f suns. If you’d forgotten, last season Yara set out to fetch her brother (against her father’s wishes), so it’s unfortunate that Ramsay’s tomfoolery (of course he likes to be choked during sex though. Of course) managed to best her. We’ll have to see if his plan to send Theon/Reek as a conspirator to bring the Iron Islands under the control of Ramsay’s daddykins Roose Bolton will work.

Meanwhile, Across the Narrow Sea in Braavos…

Meet The Iron Bank (hi there, Sherlock and Doctor Who writer, Mark Gatiss!): the real, true ruler of Westeros. Of course there’s a bunch of money that’s the real power — of course! Proof that even in a fantasyland, some things never change. You see, the Iron Bank has the Iron Throne by the Iron Balls because they bankroll the entire thing. (There are literally so many iron jokes I could make here, but I’ll refrain.) Tycho Nestoris (Gatiss) was none too moved by Stannis Baratheon’s plea for money he believes he’s owed as the only natural heir following Robert’s death, but his Most Loyal Bestie, Ever, Ser Davos, a little butthurt from the initial brush-off, managed to turn the bank to their favor when he laid down the cold, hard truth. After Tywin Lannister is dead (the bank’s current pawn), which of the Lannisters makes any sense as a string-puller? The incestitwins, their bastard children, or perhaps the imp? After facing those cold, hard truths, they changed their tune (even though we all know Tyrion would’ve clearly made a fine Lannister ruler, but I digress). So, looks like Stannis is going to get that money after all. Next stop…?

And at The Trial of the Century…

Things — wait to be totally shocked and surprised — did not go in Tyrion Lannister’s favor during his trial for the murder of King Joffrey! After a surprise appearance from Shae (what a lying liar who lies!), Tyrion had enough of the trial’s mockery. The lies, the character assassination, all of it was too much for him to bear. So the only thing left to do? Use the laws of gods and men to your benefit — demand a trial by combat. TWIST! Don’t you love how sometimes their own rules can betray them? Get that justice, Tyrion!

I have to say, though, letting the trial carry on in such a grossly one-sided manner felt like a ploy by Tywin to get Jaime to leave the Kingsguard and roost up at the Casterly Rock homestead. After all, he’s long stated how unsuitable an heir Tyrion is for the Lannister name — a point Jaime frequently contested. Pushing Jaime’s hand — oof, sorry. That was a bad, unintended joke, Jaime — Tywin was able to get whatever exactly what he wanted because he knew Jaime would do whatever it took to keep his brother safe. No wonder the Iron Bank put all their money behind Tywin Lannister. Daaaaaaaamn!

Stuff and Things and Other Loose Ends

– For as bad as things were for Theon, at least he was hangin’ with the hounds, which I at least think is better than the dungeons because PUPPIES!
– Of course Ramsay likes to get choked during sex. Of course.
– Oberyn surprising Varys (is that the first time he’s ever been surprised?) was delightful.
– With all the full frontal lady we see on this show: WHERE WAS THE THEON STUMP SHOT?
– I can’t possibly be the only one who was grossly curious about that, right?
– Drogon makes his own rules and that makes me very, very nervous.
– “I did not kill Joffrey but I wish that I had.” Don’t we all, Tyrion. Don’t we all.
– (Just kidding, the idea of murdering another human is absolutely terrifying.)
– A round of applause for the soap opera levels of melodrama in those FINAL STAREDOWN MOMENTS.
– Which brooder was your favorite? I think mine was Oberyn (because, I mean, of course it was).

UPDATED: Game of Thrones Fantasy Fantasy rankings

(Editor’s note: we’ll do our best to get these figures out to you in a timely fashion, but as many of you are finding out, there’s a ton of characters! These are calculated by game creator Andrew Nielson. Some of you have slightly different counts in the comments, but any disputes should be resolved by Small Council or your local Game Maester.)

Week 6 – “The Laws of Gods and Men”

Ramsay Snow: +4
Yara Greyjoy:: +3
Tywin Lannister: +2
Tyrion Lannister: +2
Davos: +2
Jamie Lannister: -2

All other characters received a net score of zero points. We will do our best to have these scores calculated for you the day following the original episode’s run.

What’d you think of the episode? Let us hear it in the comments!

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20 comments

  • While these pleas have fallen on deaf ears, it would be great to get scoring recaps with breakdowns and explanations. Something that might look like this: 
    Ramsay: +3 points -Has way with unnamed woman +1 
    -Stabs Greyjoy soldier in neck with knife +1 -Smashes another Greyjoy soldier in head with mace while stabbing in groin +1 
     (while his actions with Reek are likely to result in manipulation, we don’t see the result of that here – points to be awarded when/if we do) 

    Yara Greyjoy: +3 points -Buries axe in head of Bolton guard +1 -Slits Bolton boy’s throat with pick +1 -Puts axe into Bolton soldier’s groin +1 -Slams axe into back of Bolton soldier +1 -Plot to rescue Theon unraveled -1 

    Davos Seaworth: +5 points -Manipulations revealed re: arranging meeting between Iron Bank and Stannis +1 
    -Manipulates Iron Bank into backing Stannis +2 -Manipulates Salladhor into joining their cause by paying majority of his salary to his wife in advance +2 points 

    Tyrion Lannister: -1 point -Plot to get Shae out of King’s Landing officially unraveled -1 
    (While his demanding a trial by combat also seems likely to result in manipulation points, again, we don’t see the result of that here thanks to cliffhanger ending – points to be awarded when/if we do) 

    Tywin Lannister: +4 points -Puts bounty on Hound’s head (i.e. orders death of a character): +2 points 
    -Manipulates Jamie into giving up Kingsguard and becoming Lannister heir in exchange for letting Tyrion join Night’s Watch + 2 points 
     (It seems likely this plot will be unraveled by Tyrion, and that Tywin will be manipulated by him demanding trial by combat, but again – cliffhanger ending, don’t see that in this episode) 

    Jamie Lannister: +2 points -Manipulates Tywin into letting Tyrion live and join Night’s Watch in exchange for giving up Kingsguard and becoming Lannister heir + 2 points 

     (Impossible to say who’s manipulating who, so points awarded to each, since each gets the other to do something for them that they don’t want to do) 

    Daenarys Targaryen: -1 point -Manipulated by Hizdahr zo Loraq into letting him take father off cross instead of letting body rot in sun like originally intended -1 

    Cersei Lannister: +2 points -Exacts bloodless revenge on Tyrion with her testimony +2 

    Maester Pycelle: +2 points -Exacts bloodless revenge on Tyrion with his testimony +2 

    (other characters’ motivations behind testimony are murkier, but both Cersei and Pycelle clearly feel they have been wronged by Tyrion and are motivated by revenge) 

    Whether you agree or disagree, at least this gives a foundation on which to start a discussion. When the creators refuse to provide any of this, it makes it seem like they have a lack of respect for players and carry no interest in engaging with them. 

    While I appreciate everything that’s been done in creating the game, there’s a responsibility to follow through on what you’ve created as well. Otherwise it all falls apart. Just ask Daenarys :)

  • They changed Ramsey’s sexual behavior for the show.  I think it was a smart choice to have him be the one who was choked.  The way the book tells it the girls he has are all terrified of him.  But for television I think this is safe alternative.

  • Can someone please tell me how Little Finger pulled the poison necklace from Sansa’s neck and tossed it off the boat, yet at the trial Maester Luwin held it as evidence. Did I miss something big? Was this a fake? Is he in on it? I’m so confused…

    • He threw it overboard but it landed on the fool who was on the rowboat. The rowboat was found in Blackwater Bay by the King’s guard. They found the necklace. The beauty of the necklace was remembered as being on Sansa’s neck.

      Little finger planted the poison on it to frame Sansa and Tyrion, as it was he who supplied the Tyrell’s with the poison.

    • He threw the necklace within the boat of the body of the ‘fool’ aka the guy who directed Sanza to Littlefinger’s boat. Thats where the Maester found the body of him within the boat when it came near King’s Landing shore.

  • Fantastic episode, though they were setting up Shae’s betrayal early on in the season. GOT seems to want to differ its self from book series as often as possible, giving real fans an extension of that world.