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Recap / Game of Thrones S4E6: "The Laws of Gods and Men"

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We begin with Davos and Stannis, sailing into Braavos to make their case before the Iron Bank. Stannis' argument boils down to "give me money because I'm the real King." The Iron Bank doesn't really feel that the "One True King" has any real chance of winning, and refuses. Davos saves the day by pointing out that Tywin is 67. Who will run things once he dies? The little kid Tommen, a product of incest, the despised Cersei, or the oathbreaker Jaime? Stannis, on the other hand, is a tried and tested battle commander and a man still in his prime, and he doesn't just talk a big game about paying his debts - he actually follows through, as Davos' severed fingers bear witness.
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Meanwhile, Salladhor Saan is in a public bath with two women, regaling them with an old, old joke; something that Davos lampshades as he walks in. He informs Salladhor that they sail tomorrow, which is strange as Salladhor never agreed to anything. The pirate's mock-bewailings are cut short when Davos pulls out a full money-box and says he left more at his home with Salladhor's wife. Though convinced by this, Salladhor can't help but surly grumble "You are not my friend, my friend," in response.

We then finally return to the mission launched last season by Yara Greyjoy; carrying out her assault on The Dreadfort. It goes swimmingly at first, until she actually meets the supposed rescuee sleeping in the dog cages. Reek, Theon, is not too happy to see her, convinced that she's a trick from Ramsay to test his obedience like the other cruel deceptions he'd been subjected to by his master. His terror-induced devotion is absolute, as when Ramsay leads his half-naked counterattack into the pens, he grapples with her, biting her hand while her men die. Managing to get free of his sister's grip, Reek instantly jumps back into his dirty "bedroom" and stays there, cowering. As Yara looks on in baffled terror at the sorry state her brother has been reduced to, Ramsay praises her chutzpah and advices her and the rest of her men to run as fast as they can; before unleashing his prized bitches on them. By choice or necessity, Yara and the rest of her forces flee to the boats with the hounds on their heels; as the castle awakes around them. "My brother is dead," she tells her men and they cast off in full retreat.

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The next day, Ramsay praises Reek for remaining loyal, and rewards him with what's probably been his first bath in months. Reek, though frightened and nervous that it is yet another trap, reluctantly crawls into the tub at Ramsay's gentle (No, really!) insistence. Ramsay then starts, in what is a travesty of a tender gesture, to wash Reek's back with a sponge. Ramsay now asks the question of his servant: do you love me, Reek? "Yes, of course, m'lord!" The faithful pet gushes after an agonizingly long pause. Ramsay's eyes light up in perverse delight and he informs him that this is good as he needs his quivering lackey's help to take back what we suppose must be Moat Cailin. In order to do this, Reek will have to play a role, to pretend to be someone he's not. "Who?" Reek squeaks. "Theon Greyjoy." Ramsay answers with evident relish.

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Outside Meereen, a goatherd boy is watching over the placid flock with his father as they graze on the edge of a ravine, the boy is clearly bored to tears. He casts some stones into the river below but one doesn't land on what sounds like water... Suddenly, Drogon rises up and out of the plunge-pool gorge on his now massive wing-span; keeping himself aloft on thermal currents. The black dragon spices up the afternoon, unleashing a jet of fire upon the panicked animals before swooping in and flying off with one of the freshly roasted goats to consume at his leisure.

Cut to Daenerys, ruling from her seat of high power and receiving petitioners within her throne room. The first being the now destitute shepherd. Daenerys, deeply troubled, pays the man threefold compensation for the loss of his livelihood. The next petitioner is even more difficult: the new head of one of the most influential families in Meereen. Hizdahr zo Loraq. His late father, as he explains, was a respected and beloved architect and renovator, and amongst the Good Masters Daenerys had crucified, but his father had also objected to the murder of the slave children, yet he was made to suffer the same cruel fate as the ones in favor of the murders. However, he has still accepted Daenerys' rule, appealing to his Queen that while leaving so many people to die such an undignified and painful death may already have been done; leaving them to rot as carrion for vultures is disrespectful to such great men and requests permission to at least allow them a shred of dignity and bury them according to Meereen's traditions. Daenerys retorts that while some of the nobles may have objected to the cruel demonstration; neither did they intervene. Hizdahr begs Daenerys on his knees to relent and her guilt at executing at least one of the Masters who had not been active participants wins through. She allows Hizdahr to only take down and bury his father and Hizdahr thanks her profusely before taking his leave.

Stricken with doubt and nearly overcome with remorse, Daenerys asks how many more supplicants are still waiting to beg her favor. Missandei tells her there are two hundred and twelve... Daenerys echoes her statement in exhaustion but after a small lapse and a 'What are you gonna' do?' look from Jorah, Daenerys perseveres. "Send the next one in."

At King's Landing, The Small Council waits for the Hand to arrive. Oberyn, somewhat miffed, asks if they always be getting up this early, and what he's going to be master of. Whatever it is, it won't be ships, as that went to Mace. Tywin shows up, announcing that the meeting will be brief, as Tyrion's trial will begin later that day. Sandor Clegane has been spotted in the Riverlands. Tywin authorizes a 100 silver stag bounty on him for his desertion. The bigger news is that Daenerys Targaryen reigns in Meereen. Varys reels off the impressive military force she has gathered around her, including a very well respected former Kingsguard member, Ser Baristan Selmy, with a thinly veiled criticism at Cersei for retiring the honorable, renowned knight. Tywin says it openly: firing him was stupid. Cersei sneers that the child on the other side of the world is nothing to fear, but Varys points out that she does have a sizable, extremely well-trained army behind her. Oberyn agrees, mentioning that he has born witness to Unsullied martial techniques while touring the East, and that they're very skilled (just not in bed). Tywin, oddly, comments that dragons don't win wars, armies do. She must be dealt with, but not yet with force. He asks Lord Mace for a quill and parchment and Varys whether his little birds can infiltrate Meereen...

Oberyn and Varys have a tête-à-tête in the Throne Room after the meeting has wrapped up. Varys asks if Oberyn really went to Essos. Oberyn answers that he traveled there for five years, despite being a Prince. Most people never leave their little corner of where they were born, but Oberyn is not most people and has experienced the grandeur of the world. The Dornishman's interest is piqued by the enigma that is Varys and he ascertains that the eunuch originally hailed from Lys, one of the nine free cities, even though Varys had effectively eliminated his accent. Much to the Spider's chagrin. Oberyn is a lot more surprised, (practically dumbfounded,) when the spymaster claims to be completely asexual when asked to join one of his daily orgies. Varys says that he's happy to be free of desire, having seen the ruin it can bring to both individuals and Westeros as a whole, noting that lack of need to indulge baser pleasures in a person frees one to focus on — other things. "Such as?" Oberyn probes, intrigued. Varys glances at the Iron Throne before mincing away; leaving Oberyn standing on his own, still as curious as ever.

"Let me guess," Tyrion jibes as Jaime enters his cell, "I've been pardoned." He's led up to the Throne Room in manacles, where a crowd is waiting. They stand when Tommen does. He recuses himself from serving as judge, formally appoints Tywin, Mace, and Oberyn in his place and departs. "Tyrion of the House Lannister", Tywin projects, "you stand accused by the Queen Reagent of regicide. Did you kill Joffrey?" Tyrion glibly denies it, and says that Sansa is also innocent, at least, as far as he knows.

The first witness (we see) is Meryn Trant, testifying to threats Tyrion made to Joffrey. Tyrion mouths off at him, prompting Tywin to tell him to speak only when spoken to. Next comes Pycelle, reeling off a list of poisons that Tyrion stole from him. Joffrey was murdered by a rare poison called The Strangler, one of those poisons, and was concealed in Sansa's necklace. He also testifies that Sansa was seen fleeing with Dontos Hollard. Cersei testifies to Tyrion's threat to turn her joy to ashes, saying that it was prompted by her discovering his whoring. Varys testifies to yet more threats by Tyrion ("kings dropping like flies"), and that he didn't seem gladdened by the Red Wedding. At this point, Tyrion is allowed to ask one question, and asks Varys if he's forgotten all the praise Varys had given him? Varys, saddened, replies he doesn't forget anything, and court adjourns for an hour.

Jaime follows after Tywin and asks him if he's seriously going to kill his own son. Tywin plays up the impartial judge role, and says that if Tyrion is convicted he'll be punished accordingly ("You mean executed!" "I mean he'll be punished accordingly.") Jaime then tries throwing Tywin's usual spiel about loyalty to the family and his dreams of a thousand year Lannister dynasty back in his face. Who, he asks, is to take over when Tywin dies and continue the bloodline if Tyrion is killed? Jaime is in the Kingsguard and has vowed never to marry, so the Lannister name will go to the one of the lesser branches while the main line will forever be broken. As Tywin is still unmoved by this, Jaime, in increasing frustration, offers to leave the Kingsguard and become Tywin's heir in exchange for Tyrion's life being spared. Tywin agrees on the spot. Once he's convicted, Tyrion will be offered the chance to take the Black if he pleads for mercy. But if Tywin is to keep his word, so is Jaime. He is to take Tywin's place as Lord of the Rock, get married, and father children with the name Lannister. Though obviously reluctant, Jaime agrees.

Just before the trial resumes, Jaime tells Tyrion about how Tywin has promised to have him sent to the Wall instead of killing him if he confesses and asks for mercy. Understandably skeptical, Tyrion cites the fate of Ned Stark; who was offered the same. As the trial resumes he seems to consider doing so, not because he trusts Tywin to keep his word, but because he trusts Jaime.

Unfortunately this is when Cersei calls her next witness... and Tyrion's jaw drops in utter shock and horror as he sees Shae walk into the court.

After taking the witness stand and identifying herself as Sansa's maid, she tells the court how Tyrion and Sansa poisoned the king and how much he hated Joffrey, Cersei and Tywin, before conveniently corroborating Pycelle's earlier testimony as she describes how he stole his poison to do the deed. As Margaery looks on guiltily and Loras has a mild expression of disbelief, Oberyn interjects to ask why Tyrion would reveal something like this to his wife's maid, at which point Shae claims Tyrion had her fiancée assassinated and forced her to be his sex slave against her will on the eve of his first battle, where he ordered her to "fuck him like it was his last night in this world". A heartbroken Tyrion's face contorts with rage and humiliation as the crowd laughs and jeers at him (something not helped by Oberyn asking to clarify if she really did fuck him to such a high standard). As she describes how she "kissed him where he wanted, licked him where he wanted, let him... put himself where he wanted," Tyrion turns his face away, looking on the verge of sobbing at this betrayal by the woman he loved... only for Shae to punctuate this with a Call-Back to the moment where she comforted a sobbing Tyrion after the Battle of Blackwater when he had lost everything where they proclaimed their love for each other, which she twists into another way of humiliating and demeaning him, dismissing it as another thing Tyrion forced her to do for his own gratification.

Slumped over in his chair and looking very red eyed, Tyrion can only respond with "Shae... Please don't." As she looks him in the eye, she tearfully yet spitefully reminds him "I am a whore, remember?", causing Tyrion's tearful face to contort with unrestrained rage. After this, she further implicates Sansa (while lying to the court about how Tyrion was obsessed with fucking her) and ends her statement with how they plotted Joffrey's death together as the court gasps in shock once again.

Shaking in deep anger, Tyrion decides to make a confession. Unlike the last one, the venom here is truly something to behold as four seasons and three decades of humiliations, insults, and ingratitude explode in a single rage filled tirade.

Tyrion: Father... I wish to confess... (shouting) I wish to confess!
Tywin: You wish to confess?
Tyrion: (turning to the audience) I saved you. I saved this city and all your worthless lives! I should have let Stannis kill you all!
Tywin: (almost shouting over the crowd's outrage) Tyrion! Do you wish to confess?
Tyrion: Yes father. I'm guilty, guilty! Is that what you want to hear?
Tywin: You admit you poisoned the king?
Tyrion: No, of that I'm innocent. I'm guilty of a far more monstrous crime. I am guilty of being a dwarf!
Tywin: You are not on trial for being a dwarf.
Tyrion: Oh, yes I am! I've been on trial for that my entire life.
Tywin: Have you nothing to say in your defense?
Tyrion: Nothing but this: I did not do it! (turns to Cersei) I did not kill Joffrey... but I wish I had! Watching your vicious bastard die, gave me more relief than a thousand lying whores! (looks contemptuously at Shae before turning back to the crowd) I wish I was the monster you think I am! I wish I had enough poison for the whole pack of you! I would gladly give my life to watch you all swallow it!
Tywin: Sir Meryn! Escort the prisoner back to his cell!
Tyrion: I will not give my life for Joffrey's murder, and I know I'll get no justice here! So I will let the gods decide my fate. I demand a trial by combat.

As the court room erupts, the camera then pans over the faces of many of the attendants. Margaery and Loras looking both nervous and ever so slightly guilty in their knowledge of Tyrion's innocence, Shae, shocked into silence at this reaction and visibly wounded by Tyrion's furious rebukes, Oberyn, incongruously riveted by this unexpected turn of events, poor Jaime on the edge of tears at seeing his last ditch effort to save Tyrion crumble before him, Cersei stewing in rage that her efforts to frame Tyrion were all in vain... and finally Tywin delivering the single most furious and withering look of pure, unadulterated hatred yet seen in the entire series at Tyrion, who merely smirks back defiantly, his gaze not even wavering.


Tropes:

  • Absentee Actor:
    • Besides Stannis and Davos (who are at Braavos), and Yara, Reek, Ramsay and his girlfriend (at the Dreadfort), nobody north of King's Landing shows up in this episode. This is the first episode in the whole show where no Starks appear at all (not even Jon Snow).
    • More notorious absences are Bronn and Ellaria Sand in King's Landing and Roose Bolton at the Dreadfort.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Every single plotline in the episode outside of Tyrion's trial is either invented for the series or somewhat embellished: In the books Asha never attempts to rescue Theon (and never even receives word that he's still alive until too late to try it), Stannis never approaches the Iron Bank for money (although the Iron Bank later approaches him and offers to fund his campaign in exchange for repayment of the crown's existing debt from Robert's reign once he wins), and Hizdahr never even mentions his father or protests his innocence in the matter of the signpost children.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • In the books, Mace Tyrell actually wants Tyrion to be found guilty and executed because he believed that Tyrion had attempted to kill his daughter, since she almost drank from the same cup as Joffrey that contained the poisoned wine. Here, he is only going along with finding Tyrion guilty because, as Tyrion pointed out a few episodes ago, he is doing what Tywin tells him to.
    • Hizdar is much more sympathetic in this series. His first scene is giving an emotional plea to bury his father, while in the books he has returned for the umpteenth time to obsequiously request that Dany re-open the fighting pits, one of his business interests.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In the books, Tywin (and Kevan) come up with the plan to send Tyrion to the Wall on their own, while here it takes Jaime begging for his brother's life. It is possible that this was Tywin's plan all along, and he simply seized upon the opportunity to blackmail Jaime.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Or apologetic accuser; Varys testifies against Tyrion, but in answering Tyrion's question, makes it clear he had no particular desire to do so. Not that it gives Tyrion much comfort.
    "Sadly, my lord, I never forget a thing."
  • A Friend in Need: Varys and Shae both testify against Tyrion. Only Jaime is willing to give up everything he values to save him.
  • Armor Is Useless: Ramsay fights and kills at least two fully armored Ironborn soldiers while shirtless, in a stunningly straight use of the trope on a show that just last episode demonstrated that "armor and a big fucking sword" will beat skill and inferior armament any day.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Just for a moment, Jaime gets through Tywin's belligerence and makes him pause. Tywin recovers very quickly and the second question has no effect on him.
    Jaime: You know the last order the Mad King gave me? To bring him your head! I saved your life so you could murder my brother?
  • Asexuality: Varys claims to not be interested in boys, girls, or anything else even before his castration, much to Prince Oberyn's surprise.
  • Badass Baritone: Peter Dinklage already has a fairly deep voice (especially for a man with dwarfism), but during his confession he dips into a lower register than he's ever used before to better express Tyrion's rage.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: Tyrion's confession turns into an angry "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Batman Gambit: It's implied that Tywin set up the trial at least in part to get Jaime to quit the Kingsguard, given how he immediately answers "Done." to Jaime's proposal without pause or any look of surprise.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Lannister dirty laundry is all brought out into the open; Cersei is trying to railroad her brother so he'll be executed, Tywin is willing to let this happen to get rid of one son and pull the other into line, while Tyrion throws away his chance of a deal just to spite his father and sister. The whole thing is lampshaded in Mace Tyrell's shock that Cersei was threatened by her own brother — for all that he's mocked by his own family, such disfunction is unknown amongst the Tyrell's.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Pycelle calls Joffrey "the most noble child the Gods have put on this good earth," but even Joffrey's own mother realizes that he was a monster.
    • He also accuses Tyrion of stealing the poisons while Pycelle was in the Black Cells, even though he had no way of knowing who stole them (if indeed they were stolen at all).
    • Cersei also tells the crowd that Tyrion tried to kill Joffrey during the Battle of Blackwater Bay by forcing him into battle and that Joffrey was so brave that he wanted to lead in the front and looked forward to it. In the battle, the precise opposite happened and indeed Joffrey asked Mandon Moore of the Kingsguard to murder Tyrion during the battle, which is why he wears that scar across his face. The sad part is that Cersei might genuinely believe this to be true.
    • Furthermore, she states that the reason Tyrion threatened her (with the "joy will turn to ashes in your mouth" line) was because he was angry when she asked him to stop bringing his whores into the Tower of the Hand. He, she, and the audience all know that it was really because she had Ros (who she thought at the time was his special girlfriend-whore) kidnapped and beaten to get leverage on him.
  • Blood Knight: Ramsay Snow relishes the thought of combat. When faced with an attack by Ironborn, he simply proclaims “This is turning into a lovely evening” and charges at them, shirtless.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Theon a.k.a. Reek.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Salladhor Saan tries telling this joke, only for his whores to beat him to the punch-line.
    Ser Davos: Do you think they've ever met a pirate who didn't tell them that joke?
  • The Bus Came Back: Shae comes back just 4 episodes after Tyrion tried to put her on a bus, in the worst possible way for Tyrion.
  • Butt-Monkey: Yup, Mace Tyrell. Even in the Small Council.
    Tywin: Be a good man. Fetch my quill and paper.
  • Call-Back: Tyrion's trial is a Continuity Cavalcade of Call Backs:
    • Ser Meryn recalls how Tyrion "educated [his] nephew" back in Season 2.
    • Cersei again retells the "Your joy will turn to ashes" speech from Season 2.
    • Margaery and Loras' mostly synchronized reactions in this episode are reminiscent of how they were very much on the same wavelength when they had dined with Cersei and Joffrey in "Valar Dohaeris" (which included a perfectly-timed Meaningful Look between brother and sister). Even when the Tyrell siblings don't speak, they always seem to be attuned to each other's feelings.
    • In Varys' testimony, he brings up Tyrion's threats against Joffrey during the Small Council meeting after the Red Wedding. Tyrion in return asks Varys if he had forgotten how he acknowledged his efforts during the Blackwater battle.
    • Shae brings up numerous details of their affair from Season 1 onwards.
    • Tyrion's trial contains call backs to his trial at the Eyrie in Season 1, including his joking "confession" and request for trial by combat, this time Darker and Edgier.
    • Davos vouching for Stannis in front of the Iron Bank's representatives is a visual call back to Salladhor Saan's statement about smugglers having to vouch for kings.
    • Tywin once again has to resort to writing a letter to deal with a problem. He asks Varys to send it through one of his little birds in Meereen to sabotage Daenerys' campaign before she becomes too big.
    • Jaime calls Tywin out on his talks of a thousand year dynasty back in Season 1.
    • A particularly perverse one is Theon insisting that Yara's rescue is "a trick." This refers to his first meeting with Ramsay and that phony rescue he staged pretending to be an Ironborn sent by Yara. Now that the real rescue has come, he's unable (or unwilling) to tell the difference.
    • In "Oathkeeper" Professional Killer Karl boasted of being paid seven stags for every man he killed, so the ten stags Varys suggests as a bounty on Sandor Clegane is indeed high.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Daenerys is force-fed a humility pill by the second of her new subjects to petition her, and after he exits, she is told there are over 200 more. She visibly realizes ruling isn't all it's cracked up to be.
  • Coitus Interruptus: Yara's "rescue" mission does this to Ramsay, as he is having sex when this happens, which is why he is shirtless in the battle.
  • Combat by Champion: Invoked by Tyrion when he demands Trial by Combat.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: Ramsay seems to be having the time of his life during the brawl between his and Yara's men, as expected for an Ax-Crazy psycho.
  • Cool Chair: Subverted with Dany's throne, which is a simple bench. Her throne room is so imposing that she doesn't need anything else. The Iron Bank has a similar monolithic motif, conveying their power without frivolous trappings. Played for laughs when King Stannis has to sit on a stone bench before the three bankers in their much larger chairs.
  • Covered in Scars: Ramsay Snow and Reek both have impressive collections, though Ramsay's also covered in fresh wounds. It's likely these are from kinky sex, although possibly he was in a fight offscreen.
  • Culture Clash:
    • Tycho Nestoris has a visibly low opinion of Westeros' feudal obsessions for titles and bloodlines, and seems to regard their wars and conflicts as petty. He also dislikes Davos for his past as an ex-smuggler, which included a former run-in with the Iron Bank.
      Tycho Nestoris: I am not a lord, "Ser" Davos Seaworth. You would not be either, here. In Braavos, thieves are not rewarded with titles.
    • There is also a subtle version of this with Varys and Prince Oberyn. Oberyn is quite open-minded and respectful of Essos and its traditions, but Varys gets defensive when he manages to place him by locating his accent (from Lys) that he believed he had lost. Varys has Immigrant Patriotism for a continent that will never accept him as more than a useful freak while Oberyn is essentially a wealthy playboy whose privilege has given him a liberal worldview that nonetheless rubs Varys the wrong way.
  • Dangerous Deserter: How the Lannisters regard Sandor Clegane after news of his slaughter of Polliver and his goons reaches the Small Council. Tywin puts a sufficiently large bounty on him to tempt any idiot to take a shot at the Hound.
  • Death Glare:
    • After Tyrion's "confession" and demand for a trial by combat, Tywin can do nothing but stare at him with barely concealed rage and hatred for having scuttled his plans to get Jaime to quit the Kingsguard. Tyrion gives one right back, tossing in an angry smirk seemingly because he knows it will only piss Tywin off further.
    • Stannis gives a nasty one to Davos when the Iron Bank, initially, refuses his loan. Davos immediately gets the hint and uses his wits and saves Stannis' war effort and very likely, his own life.
    • A more humorous version is Tywin casting a quick glare at Oberyn, who is insolently failing to rise when he enters unlike the rest of the Small Council. As he's trying to draw Oberyn into his influence, Tywin doesn't make an issue of it.
  • Death of Personality: Yara tells her men that "My brother is dead" when she finds not Theon Greyjoy, but the broken mess that calls himself "Reek." It's more than likely she saw that she stood no realistic chance of bringing Theon back, after having half her men killed and now being pursued by Ramsay plus two vicious hounds, and was forced to cut her losses.
  • Depraved Dwarf: Cersei and Shae's testimony plays on this trope.
  • Despair Event Horizon:
    • After being humiliated by Shae, Tyrion stops giving a shit and lets his anger run loose.
    • Theon/Reek has been far beyond this already as his sister discovers.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Margaery and Loras are present at the trial, but don't have any lines.
    • The same is true of Ser Barristan, Ser Jorah and Grey Worm in Meereen.
  • The Dog Bites Back: The people in King's Landing that Tyrion had threatened come back against him to implicate him further on Joffrey's murder by stating his words and threats verbatim (if out-of-context).
  • Do You Trust Me?: Tyrion understandably balks at Tywin's offer of the Night's Watch, given what happened the last time. Jaime doesn't tell Tyrion about the deal he's just made with their father, saying only that Tywin is not Joffrey and asking "Do you trust me?" Tyrion only has time to nod before the trial recommences.
  • Dress-Coded for Your Convenience: Shae wears a conservative dress as opposed to her maid or concubine outfit, playing up her story of an innocent forced into being a Depraved Dwarf's Sex Slave. Tyrion on the other hand is brought into the courtroom in chains and shackled to the dock like a beast, even though the idea of him overpowering his guards and fleeing on his short legs is ridiculous.
  • Dual Wielding: Ramsay uses a mace in one hand and a dagger in the other.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Tyrion tries to call to attention his saving of King's Landing during his trial, but no one believes him or cares.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Hizdahr zo Loraq, although this could be because his storyline is being altered. In the show, he pleads with Daenerys to be allowed to bury his father properly. In the books...note 
  • Elephant in the Living Room:
    • Tyrion refers to Joffrey as a bastard in front of everyone, though his entire speech is so insulting it's doubtful anyone notices.
    • A possible example when Tywin tells Jaime that he will take a wife "and father children with the name of Lannister" though in "The Children" it's suggested that Tywin has Selective Obliviousness to the Twincest that's been occurring right under his nose.
  • Erotic Asphyxiation: Myranda and Ramsay engage in this during their sex scene, with Myranda choking Ramsay.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Tyrion's anger over Shae's betrayal makes him throw away all his pragmatism for a risky gamble on his life.
  • Exact Words: Jaime clearly hoped that Tywin would release Tyrion when he asked him not to kill him. Tywin merely insists that Tyrion will be "punished accordingly." When Jaime makes his bargain, Tywin immediately pounces on it, and tells Jaime that Tyrion is going to be judged guilty anyway and be sent to the Night's Watch. It's not something that Jaime had in mind, and it's probably what Tywin was hoping for, when Jaime walked into that trap.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Margaery and Loras are visibly sympathetic towards Tyrion when Shae is brought in to humiliate him.
    • Oberyn is apathetic to the entire trial in general. He doesn't seem to suspect Tyrion at all, and instead of getting in on the Kangaroo Court bandwagon he decides to snark at the witnesses and go off on tangents.
    • Jaime is upset and disapproves of the entire trial, calling the entire thing out as a farce and doing everything in his power to save Tyrion's life.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Tywin was fully on top of the trial until Tyrion threw it Off the Rails by demanding trial by combat. Tywin still could not understand that Tyrion did truly love Shae and how badly her testimony would affect him.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Apparently Varys' little birds didn't spot Arya Stark with the Hound.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • Shirtless Ramsay is revealed to be quite well built, but unfortunately he's covered in blood.
    • Reek taking off his shirt to reveal his heavily scarred and scratched torso.
  • Fanservice: Salladhor Saan takes a bath with two attractive and naked whores. In a whole bathhouse of them.
  • Fictional Currency:
    • Tywin authorizes a reward of 100 silver stags for The Hound's capture (ten times as much as what's initially considered a generous amount). Season 1 mentioned that the crown's debt stands at several million gold dragons. The exchange rate between gold, silver (and, presumably, copper) coins has not been specified in the show (or the books, although the sourcebooks for the Tabletop RPG setting give one), but it would seem that a single gold dragon is a lot of money.
    • Davos gives Salladhor Saan a bunch of coins that were issued by the Iron Bank. The exchange rate between those and Westerosi's currency is also undetermined.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: Cersei believes she's doing this. While she is coercing witnesses, twisting facts, and lying about others, she does believe Tyrion is guilty and will do anything to make sure that he's seen as such.
  • Hates Small Talk: Tycho Nestoris and his fellow bankers waste very little time on Stannis, noting that the Bank considers him a serious liability and don't think he has a chance to win the Throne leave alone repay the debts. These are also the same qualities Stannis himself possesses and perhaps why Davos manages to make them come around to him.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Ramsay yet again invokes the nightmarish form of this with Reek as he makes him bathe, even going as far as washing Reek himself and asking him "Do you love me, Reek?"
  • Hope Spot:
    • Yara infiltrates the Dreadfort and finds Theon, only for Theon to reject and bite her to return to Ramsay, who kills half her men, forces her to retreat and abandon her brother in under two minutes of screentime.
    • For both Tywin and Jaime. Tywin is delighted that Jaime is finally accepting to be his heir in exchange for Tyrion being spared execution while Jaime feels hopeful that Tyrion will at the very least, "live".
    • Shae returns as a witness in Tyrion's trial, only to testify against him and use his most vulnerable moments with her to humilate him in front of everyone in court.
  • Humiliation Conga: Played for Drama, not laughs.
  • Hypocrite: Tywin stating that Tyrion's not on trial for being a dwarf is this. In the context, he's right, since Tyrion is charged with regicide. But the fact is this is the same man who has unjustifiably hated and abused his son for being an "ill made, spiteful creature" who killed his mother at childbirth. He also sees the trial as doing away with Tyrion for good, already declaring his guilt to Jaime and noting that he intends to send him to the Night's Watch and rid himself of him forever.
  • Inadequate Inheritor:
    • The one rather large snag to Tywin Lannister's dreams of a proud Lannister legacy is that he has no credible heirs. Jaime notes that with him serving in the Kingsguard, Cersei being Queen Regent (plus she's engaged to Ser Loras Tyrell) and grandson Tommen on the throne, the line would likely fall to all kinds of distant relatives, and perhaps, Lancel. Jaime offers to resign from the Kingsguard and take his inheritance at Casterly Rock in exchange for Tyrion's life. Tywin agrees.
    • Davos uses the exact same argument to convince the Iron Bank to back Stannis. Right now King's Landing has Tywin Lannister, an old man with a boy-king as a grandson and whose two eldest children have incredibly poor reputations. The Lannisters are entirely dependent on Tywin for their reputation and credibility not only in Westeros, but around the world, and in the long run, they are less reliable than Stannis is at present.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • Subverted when Tywin tells Jaime that if Tyrion is found guilty, he'll be punished accordingly. Jaime presses the issue, saying he'll be executed, but Tywin doesn't even let him finish before repeating the words "punished accordingly." The subversion comes from the fact that Tywin really doesn't intend to execute Tyrion and is more inclined to send him to the Night's Watch.
    • Throughout the trial, Tyrion addresses Tywin only as "father".
    • Tycho Nestoris keeps calling Stannis, "Lord" despite Davos insisting that he's King. Nestoris for his part refuses to let himself be called "lord" since he's a merchant-banker that's part of a nascent bourgeoisie.
    • Once again, Davos has to explain the difference between being a smuggler and a thief. "Technically the pirates did all the stealing, I just moved the stolen property from one place to another."
  • Irony: As Jaime escorts Tyrion into the trial room, one of the epithets thrown at his little brother is "Kingslayer".
  • Kangaroo Court: Tyrion's trial is nothing but witness testimonies full of out-of-context half-truths and blatant lies. It gets so bad that Jaime calls it a farce to Tywin's face during the recess. Tywin first pretends at some objectivity before telling Jaime outright, in the middle of the trial, that a guilty verdict is already decided and that he's only hoping to use it as an excuse to send Tyrion to the Wall and con Jaime into quitting the Kingsguard and become Tywin's lawful heir.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch:
    • Tyrion's brutal insults towards Shae and Cersei, dismissing the former as a lying whore (something he knows upsets her enormously) and rubbing Joffrey's death in the latter's face with sadistic relish, are vicious as all hell but 100% justified given both the shit Cersei has been pulling on him and Shae's especially vindictive and cruel betrayal of him and his love for her.
    • Tywin made a smaller one to Cersei at the council meeting with regards to her decision to dismiss Ser Baristan Selmy, who is now working with Daenerys Targaryen. While Cersei protests that he was too old to protect King Joffrey, Tywin still pointed out that Joffrey was killed anyway and that her decision was insulting as well as stupid.
  • Kubrick Stare: Tyrion to the entire Deadly Decadent Court.
  • Lady Macbeth: How Shae presents Sansa in the trial, she guilted Tyrion to take revenge on Joffrey for the death of the Starks, as part of a Lysistrata Gambit.
  • Madness Mantra: "REEK! REEK! LOYAL REEK! NOT THEON, REEK! REEK!"
  • Meaningful Look
    • The constant non-verbal communication between Margaery and Loras.
    • Ser Barristan gives a "that was unwise" look to Daenerys when she offers to compensate the goatherder for three times the worth of his lost herd, no doubt anticipating every goatherder for miles chucking his goats in the fire and saying a dragon did it.
    • Varys casts a look at the Iron Throne at the end of his conversation with Oberyn. YMMV as to what this means.
  • Metaphorically True: Yara saying that "my brother is dead."
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Margaery and Loras are clearly conflicted during Tyrion's trial. They know the real murderer is their grandmother Olenna, the price for keeping that secret is watching an innocent man being unjustly humiliated and facing certain death. So long as Margaery wants to remain Queen and not drag House Tyrell through the mud, she and her brother have to let Tyrion take the fall.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Daenerys upon hearing that at least one of the slave masters she crucified was innocent.
    • Margaery and Loras, sort of. Despite the fact that they didn't orchestrate or take part in Joffrey's murder, they look somewhat guilty during Tyrion's trial.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: Every time Tyrion gave a "Reason You Suck" Speech to Joffrey, or any member of the court? Yeah, that gets brought back as evidence that he'd want to kill the King.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Tyrion could've controlled himself and just gone with Jaime's plan, saving his life and letting his brother get his father's approval back (though he didn't know about that part). By making his huge outburst, he severs that lifeline and the plan is shot to hell.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!:
    • Well from Tywin's perspective, it's the opposite, but he calls out Cersei for firing Ser Barristan from the Kingsguard when he and the Small Council learns that he's become a vital part of Daenerys' campaign in Slaver's Bay.
    • Ironically, Tywin giving Shae permission to testify when Tyrion is clearly considering taking up his and Jaime's offer ends up being the final straw for Tyrion who is now actively working to fuck up everything he can to spite both Tywin and the court.
  • Noodle Incident: Davos elaborates on the Noodle Incident he mentioned to Shireen in "Breakers of Chains". He and Salladhor Saan apparently tried to rob one of the Iron Bank's gold barges and barely escaped. The Bank hasn't forgotten and doesn't take kindly to Davos' presence, lamenting Westeros' tolerance of thieves.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Tyrion's tirade certainly does not improve his favor with the court. Jaime anticipates this and asks Tyrion not to get carried away by snarking out at everyone. Of course, neither of them expected Shae.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Tyrion's bile-filled tirade is definitely unlike himself, showing how close he is to his breaking point. It's also implied that he's forgoing his most pragmatic option just to spite Tywin (also out-of-character) which is confirmed to be true in the next episode.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Yara when Ramsay is about to let his hounds out.
    • The goatherder boy when he chucks a stone into a gorge and a hungry fire-breathing dragon appears in response.
    • Even before Davos reveals he left most of the gold with Salladhor's wife, the pirate doesn't look as happy as he should be when his old friend produces a load of gold coin, no doubt remembering the disaster that happened last time he was in Stannis' service.
    • The final part of Tyrion's trial has a number of these for several different reasons.
      • Tyrion has one when he sees Shae walk into the court.
      • Tywin has one when he realizes Tyrion is not going to play along with Jaime's plan.
      • Cersei has one when Tyrion demands a Trial by Combat, since this could mean he escapes her revenge despite her rigging of the trial.
      • Jaime has a rather tragic one when he realizes his last ditch sacrifice to save Tyrion's life has failed due to Tyrion losing his cool and throwing away his chance to escape to the Wall.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: In-universe, this is how Oberyn deduces Varys' origins, much to the latter's surprise.
    • Some bits of Peter Dinklage's own Eastern US Accent emerge when he makes his angry tirade.
  • Only in It for the Money: Nestoris and the Iron Bank don't care if Stannis or Tommen is the rightful king. Their only concern is to get their gold back, with interest.
  • Please Spare Him, Father!: A rare example between brothers. Jaime offers to step down from the Kingsguard if Tywin will let Tyrion live out his life on the Wall, a deal that the latter is glad to accept.
  • Plot Armor: Bare-chested Ramsay fights off several Ironmen without any apparent injury, despite the importance of armour being lampshaded in the previous episode.
  • Puppet King: King Tommen steps aside to allow Lord Tywin to handle the trial, apparently due to his earlier acceptance that he's not experienced enough to adjudicate such matters. Tragically he's unaware that he's putting his favorite uncle's fate in the hands of someone who has every reason to want Tyrion found guilty.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Partway through Shae's testimony, Tyrion quietly begs to her to not continue, despair in his eyes. She continues to condemn him and all his negative emotion becomes caustic hate towards everyone.
  • Reaction Shot: Margaery and Loras get several close-ups during the trial, probably because they know that Tyrion is innocent.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Tyrion only got away with berating, threatening, and outright hitting Joffrey because of his position as Hand of the King and because of Refuge in Audacity. Once he's stripped of his title and on trial for Joffrey's murder, all this comes back to bite him in the ass when it's used as evidence against him.
    • For Daenerys, it was easy to brutally execute one hundred and sixty three men when she believed they were all child killing monsters; here, she (along with the audience) is treated to the reality that some of the people she killed were good men who objected to the actions of others, and that the Masters aren't one and all Card Carrying Villains. Compounding this is that, up until reaching Mereen, she'd never actually had to govern before.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Tyrion gives an amazingly vicious (and awesome) one to his father and the entire court.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Tywin intends to send Tyrion to the Night's Watch and Wall. That's what he tells Jaime. Tyrion notes for his part that it's the exact same offer given to Ned Stark and everyone knows how that worked out.
  • Rebel Relaxation: Oberyn slouches at the Small Council meeting (failing to rise for Lord Tywin unlike everyone else) and Tyrion's trial.
  • Rousing Speech: Yara gives a pretty good one by first reading out loud Ramsay's letter to the Greyjoys then yelling to her raiders:
    Yara: They skinned our countrymen, and they mutilated my brother! Your prince, your prince! Everything they've done to him, they've also done to you! As long as they can hurt our prince with impunity, the word Ironborn means NOTHING!
  • Scenery Porn: Braavos gets one of the series' greatest establishing shots. A camera tilts up from a sizable galley and pans up to the mammoth Titan of Braavos and the city behind its shoulders.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Yara's attempt to rescue Theon does lead to a reunion but Theon is so broken beyond reason that he thinks Yara's rescue is another one of Ramsay's tricks and doesn't even recognize her. Several of her men die in the attack and she goes back to her ship, telling her crew that Theon is "dead".
  • Shaming the Mob: Part of Tyrion's bile-filled rant extends to calling the citizens of King's Landing Ungrateful Bastards after all he's done for them, though none of them take any notice.
  • Sheltered Aristocrat: Oberyn is quite critical of this trope and has become the complete opposite:
    "It is a big and beautiful world. Most of us live and die in the same corner we were born and never get to see any of it. I don't want to be most of us."
  • Shirtless Scene: Ramsay Snow gets one, and so does Reek.
  • Silence, You Fool!: Lord Tywin has to yell "Silence!" on several occasions.
  • Smug Snake: Cersei's idiocy really shines during the Small Council meeting. She dismisses The Hound as a cowardly traitor, believes Dany's dragons are too young to be any danger, disregards Barristan Selmy due to his age and on the whole sees no reason to be concerned about Daenerys building a powerful army and conquering Slaver's Bay. Tywin sets her straight on just about everything: The Hound is a dangerous loose end that needs to be tied up, firing Ser Barristan was pointless since Joffrey died anyway and while he does disregard the dragons he takes the threat of Daenerys' powerful army very seriously.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • Tyrion's decision to call for Trial by Combat essentially renders Jaime and Tywin's deal void.
    • Speaking of that, Cersei calling Shae to the stand leads to Tyrion's angry tirade and decision to call for Trial by Combat.
  • Straight Edge Evil: Varys claims to not distract himself with "desire" (ostensibly sexual desire, but make of that what you will) since he sees how much it distracts people and leads to ruin. "Evil" is a bit of a stretch with him, but nevertheless he abstains.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Poor Theon...
    Ramsay: Do you love me, Reek?
    Theon/Reek: ... Yes of course, my lord!
  • Surprise Witness: Shae, and certainly not in the way Tyrion hopes....
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Tyrion makes it abundantly clear that he's sick of all the shit that people give him and wishes to be the monster that they all think he is.
  • Title Sequence: So far in this season, the title sequence had been exactly the same for each episode. In this one, it changes for the first time and we get to see Braavos in it.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    "What would it take to make the common soldier stupid enough to try his luck with the Hound?"
  • Tragic Hero: Tyrion manages to screw himself over twice in the same episode.
    • His open animosity towards Joffrey in the past really comes back to bite him. Various witnesses directly quote him word-for-word when using his various quips made towards Joffrey and Cersei against him to "prove" his guilt for Joffrey's murder.
    • When Jaime offers Tyrion a chance to save himself by falsely confessing in order to go to The Wall and join the Night's Watch, Tyrion declines and demands a Trial by Combat after angrily telling the entire court he wishes he could kill them all. Thus endangering his own life.
  • Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: And to think she has to listen to this over two hundred times a day.
    Missandei: You stand before Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of Meereen, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons.
    • Tycho Nestoris greets "Lord" Stannis, causing Davos to correct him.
    Davos: This is Stannis of the House Baratheon, King of the Andals and the First Men, and Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm.
    Tycho: The Iron Throne is currently occupied by Tommen of the House Baratheon, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Cersei dismisses Daenerys as a child with baby dragons, despite the fact that she also has an army and conquered an entire city. Tywin also dismisses the dragons, pointing out that it's been 300 years since they won a war (seemingly forgetting the extenuating circumstances for that), but he's smart enough to know that armies do win wars and treats that threat seriously.note 
  • Ungrateful Bastards: Tyrion angrily calls out the entire court for being this, condemning him without a chance in a Kangaroo Court, despite the fact that they would all be dead if it weren't for him. True to form, they have the gall to get enraged over this.
  • Villainous Glutton: When Jaime pleads to his lord father for Tyrion's life, Tywin is uncharacteristically more concerned with his food, feeding himself with little to no pause and dirtying his hands in the process, underscoring his callousness.
  • Villainous Valor: Ramsay is indeed crazy, but credit must be given where it's due: he leads his men from the front and is not afraid to be in the thick of it. With no armor, even!
  • We Used to Be Friends: Tyrion receives the grudging permission of his father to ask Varys a single question. Instead of questioning the Spider's testimony, he asks if Varys has forgotten his words of praise after the Battle of Blackwater.
  • Wham Line: "You crucified him."
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Bare-chested Ramsay drops his guard and busies himself with opening the kennels. The Ironmen flee rather than attack. Yara has apparently already decided that Theon is a lost cause and it is not worth risking a further head-on battle for his benefit.
  • With Friends Like These...: Saan is not happy when told there's an entire chestful of coins waiting for him at home...which Davos dropped off with his wife.
    "You are not my friend, my friend."
  • Woman Scorned: Shae, during her testimony, oozes bitterness, and is obviously not just saying what she was told to say, but clearly also wishes to hurt and humiliate Tyrion as much as possible in the process.
  • 0% Approval Rating: Davos points out to Tycho Nestoris that, once Tywin Lannister dies, the boy-king Tommen will be left to govern under the influence of Cersei, whose own people despise her.

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