I know what you're thinking: "How can we sit around talking about Game of Thrones right now when America's own royal family is in such a state King's Landian disrepair? It's like "Watch the Iron Throne" over here!"
But like the goat herder of Meereen or the hooker of the Iron Bank bathhouse, we must hold our heads high and persevere, even as the world collapses around us. And how do we do that? By counting the Throne bones, of course. Put aside your Bey-Z worries and leeeeeeeeeet's recap.
Last night's GoT, titled "The Laws of Gods and Men," started off with Davos and Stannis stopping by the Iron Bank to beg for a little coin to fund their upcoming ventures. I think this scene might have been a product of writers room mad lib that went "[Boring Game of Thrones character] and [boring Game of Thrones character] visit [most boring place you can think of]" and yet there here we are.
At first, the fancy bank tellers are not too thrilled about the idea of loaning the pair money, but Davos then gives a very convincing speech about what a safe investment the elder Baratheon is. "He doesn't just talk about paying people back, he does it," Davos promises. To make his point all the more clear, he holds up his right hand which is missing four fingers. Davos has lost appendages at Stannis' command and knows from personal experience that this king does not fuck around. Turns out that's quite good enough for the money men who end up handing over the cash. After a quick stop at the bathhouse for a reunion of friends and a glimpse at some nakey nakey ladies, Club Stannis is on its way, far richer (or at least more in debt) than they were when they sailed in.
Over in Meereen, Khaleesi continues to learn that this ruling a kingdom shit is hard. A queen CANNOT even get a break between peasants rolling in to tell her that her pet dragons have been roasting their goat herds or nobles showing up to complain about how she miiiiiiight have unjustly crucified a few of their family members. I feel you, Dany. It's like your work week is MY work week.
Because this seems to be one of those episodes where they tackle all of the most hard to watch story lines, we also see what Reek née Theon and Ramsay Snow are up to (cowering and erotic asphyxiation, respectively). Whereas I'm not all that into Stannis and Dany because they're always giving me a bad case of the zzzzzzs (honestly, they could replace all of their scenes with a placard reading "Now's a good time to check your Instagram feed" and it wouldn't change the way I watch the show at all), I find the Theon stuff hard to swallow because it's just too heartbreaking to bear — and it's only getting worse. In this episode,
Asha Yara, Theon's sister, makes a valiant attempt at his rescue, but ultimately fails because Theon is so conditioned to fear Ramsay that he refuses to be saved. "My brother is dead," Asha says as she leaves him behind and in a way she's right — Theon has been tortured away and Reek is all that remains.
And finally, Tyrion's trial! Leading up to the event, Oberyn and Varys have a fascinating discussion about desire, a subject that Oberyn knows about all too well and Varys knows about all too little. "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," Varys says. "Besides, the absence of desire leaves me to ponder other things."
Of course, Varys might not be as free from desire as he thinks. He desires secrets and he desires power and this might be what leads him to act as witness against Tyrion, someone he's been friendly with (though certainly not friends with) in the past. The pair have long held a mutual respect for each other though, which is what makes the betrayal so painful.
"You once said that without me, this city would have faced certain defeat," Tyrion confronts. "You said the histories would never mention me, but you would not forget. Have you forgotten, Lord Varys?"
Varys' reply: "Sadly, my lord, I never forget a thing."
This isn't the worst back-stabbing Tyrion experiences that day. Shae, who he worked so hard to keep safe, returns to danger to testify against him as revenge for what she thinks was him dumping her for Sansa. This here might prove that Shae is the dumbest idiot in all Westeros (certainly too dumb for Tyrion) and maybe HE SHOULD have passed her up for Sansa and her lemon cakes because at least they know to get the fuck out when they can.
Shae lies and says that she overheard Tyrion and Sansa plotting Joffrey's murder. Her testimony makes Tyrion — who has been told that he would be able to join the Night's Watch if found guilty, thanks to some negotiating by Jaime — say "Fuck aaaaaaaall this" and go HAM on the whole room.
"I did not kill Joffrey," he says. "But I wish that I had. Watching your vicious bastard die gave me more relief than 1,000 lying whores. 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....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."
This then leads to 10 minutes of cut-aways to every single person in King's Landing looking shocked, but Tyrion/Peter Dinklage is so incredible in this scene that it might all be worth it. Bring on the trial by combat! It's worked well for him before...