It wouldn't be a Game of Thrones recap without SPOILERS! Don't keep reading if you aren't caught up to Season 4, Episode 6 of the show.
Wow. This episode was simply beautiful, a strong example of the unrelenting momentum this show has truly gained since I would argue "The Red Wedding," and it shows when you consider how event the scenes with Stannis and Theon Greyjoy are mesmerizing.
The first half of "Laws of Gods and Men" was truly excellent, extending some plot threads we haven't explored in a while and introducing us to a new location (yay Braavos!) The main event, of course, was the trial of Tyrion Lannister, but we'll get to that.
The Iron Bank of Braavos
I never would have guessed (before this season) that Stannis Baratheon and Ser Davos would accompany us on our first trip to Braavos, the richest of the Free Cities. I assumed the Mother of Dragons would get the honor, but here we are.
I find it satisfying how we went a few episodes without catching up to Stannis and Davos because they were making the long trip to Essos, and seeing the region on the opening credits was definitely the giveaway for how the episode would be set up: Stannis needs money, which means the Iron Bank is his only chance at getting it.
The Dragonstone Duo appealed to the representatives of the Iron Bank, including Tycho Nestoris, a Braavosi who is well aware of Ser Davos' smuggling past. The Iron Bank initially rejected their claim for gold (seeing as they only have 4000 men and no way to feed them), but Davos turned it around with a stunning speech that pointed out the obvious: Westeros is truly being run by Tywin Lannister (who Tycho surely knows is broke, even if Davos doesn't), a 67-year-old man. When he dies, Westeros will be run by the young Tommen, or in other words, Cersei Lannister. This seemed to have gotten their attention (even Braavosi hate Cersei, apparently), giving them a logical reason to side with Stannis Baratheon.
Before we left Braavos, however, Davos paid a quick visit to his old pirate friend Salladhor Saan, who provided the ships that were subsequently torched during the Battle of The Blackwater. He recruits him yet again with the gold of the Iron Bank as a tempting lure.
So it looks like Stannis will be getting the rebound he's been searching for since being defeated by Tywin's army in Season 2, thanks to a little help from Essos. Way to take a page out of the Daenerys playbook Stan!
Siege of the Dreadfort
In what was one of the most visceral action scenes of the entire season (so far), we finally watched the long-awaited rescue attempt for Theon Greyjoy, er, I mean Reek. Yara Greyjoy, Reek's sister, led the stealth assault on the Dreadfort, eventually finding her brother and witnessing how broken he's become, courtesy of Ramsey Snow.
Yara tried to free her brother, but he was too far gone, believing that the rescue attempt was another trick and that he needed to stay in his cage. Ramsey released the Bastard's Girls (his lethal dogs), forcing Yara to retreat.
Later, Ramsey rewarded Reek's loyalty by allowing him to take a bath. He then commanded Reek to assume a "fake" persona as Theon Greyjoy in order to help Ramsey take over Moat Caillin, which is currently being held by Balon Greyjoy. If you recall, Ramsey was directed to take it over for his father, Roose Bolton, in order to gain control of the Neck.
OK, technically this was just a hillside outside of Meereen, but it was so peaceful to watch someone in this show just enjoying a sunny day without bloodlines or DRAGONS interrupting their goat-herding. But that's not the case for this episode, as we saw Drogon (who is getting pretty big) swoop in and barbecue a bunch of innocent goat morsels. I'll admit that I didn't feel bad for those poor goats.
Later, the goat-herder paid a quick visit to Daenerys in Meereen (who was announced with her 14,000 different names) to let her know that her dragon children burned up everything he had. She paid him back 3 times what the goats were worth, further bolstering her reputation as a good Queen. Should've gone to Braavos by now Dany! Tycho would probably give you all of the gold.
Ruling just one of the slaver cities has turned out to be more than Dany can handle, as she came to the inevitable truth that becoming Queen of a great city means taking responsibility for its many burdens. She was met with a request by Hizdahr zo Loraq, the son of one of the 162 slave masters Dany crucified when she took over. He points out that his father spoke out against crucifixion and begged the Queen to give him a proper burial.
It was a moment of realization for Dany, who is truly experiencing the unexpected weight of her decisions, and it's nice to see someone in this world actually experiencing the reality of being in charge. It seems like all anyone does in Westeros is wage war over the throne, not use it.
The small council is back! I haven't been this intrigued over the intricacies over a group like this since the Party Planning Committee (The Office). It looks like Lord Mace Tyrell has taken Tyrion's seat and will be serving as master of ships. Even Oberyn is here to banter with the masters and discuss Westeros current events.
This was a fun debriefing, as it connected the figureheads of King's Landing with developments we've been following along elsewhere. A significant bounty was put on Clegane's head, which means we can expect the Hound and Arya to face some fun action scenes soon. The council also discussed the actions of Daenerys Targaryen, which is always a rare treat. If it wasn't for Varys, these guys would have no idea what's going on over in Essos, as they now know what Dany has on her side, including the surprising loyalty of their once-spy, Jorah.
Later, Oberyn confronted Varys and engaged him in some interesting conversation over his true intentions. It was exciting to watch these two spar with words, ending with a quick hint that Varys has his eyes on the Iron Throne, maybe even for himself. We also learned that before Varys was a eunuch, he was neither attracted to boys or girls, and Oberyn hilariously replies, "I never would have guessed." Way to read our minds you Dornish devil.
Finally, the moment came that we've all been waiting for: Tyrion's trial for allegedly murdering King Joffrey. Tommen recused himself, as we all expected, placing Tywin, Mace and Oberyn as the three judges.
The trial was a "Tyrion's Greatest Hits," referencing all of the times he stood up to Joffrey--only these moments were used against him. Meryn, Maester, Cersei and Varys were called as the first witnesses, and each one supported the accusation that Tyrion is guilty. Needless to say, this was all very painful to watch, as Tyrion merely looked downward the entire time.
During a recess, Jamie did the unthinkable (sort of). He confronted Tywin and defended Tyrion, even offering to leave the Kingsguard to carry on the Lannister name in Casterly Rock in exchange for Tyrion's life to be spared. Tywin accepts the offer, but only if Tyrion pleads for mercy.
Jamie informed Tyrion of this arrangement, explaining that all he has to do is enter a formal plea for mercy. That's it. That's all.
But this is Game of Thrones, people! Who really expected that kind of turnout? The next witness was Shae, who we haven't seen in quite some time. She surprisingly accused Tyrion of planning the assassination with Sansa, who wanted revenge for her father and would bed him if he helped her. It was a stunning turn of events, her betrayal to Tyrion, and it led to an outburst that will certainly go down in GoT history!
Tyrion confessed to being guilty of a dwarf--a trial he's been going through his entire life. He said that he wished he had killed the king and that he could poison everyone in the room. "Tyrion unleashed" was easily the highlight of an episode that had already been filled to the brim with exciting moments, and it culminated with Tyrion's demand for a trial by combat.
Since I doubt anyone will fight for him (Bronn is still M.I.A. and Jamie wouldn't be permitted), it looks like Tyrion understands he's to go down swinging.