Hello, friends and bannermen. On Sunday Game of Thrones finally got around to putting Tyrion on trial, with heartbreaking results. How did it match up with the books? How did it differ?
This weekly chat series is for fans of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire books, upon which HBO's fantasy drama is based. It's meant to be a safe haven to discuss spoilers and changes from the novels and how they have played out or will play out in the TV series. Hanh Nguyen and Sadie Gennis are longtime fantasy fans of varying levels of geekiness who will sound off on all things Westerosi (and beyond!).
[Warning: If you're a Game of Thrones fan who has stumbled upon this chat and haven't read the books yet, begone! Instead, check out our recap of "The Laws of Gods and Men" for a spoiler-free discussion.]
Hanh: Well, effin SHAE! She actually did it. I think the worst thing about her betrayal of Tyrion is the fact that the show made her much more interesting and sympathetic than in the books. In fact, because of that, it doesn't quite ring true that she'd betray him. I feel like show Shae is more perceptive and has a stronger sense of self to have believed his obvious lie about being with Sansa. She gives whores a bad name.
Sadie: I completely disagree. I love that they kept Shae's betrayal, because honestly I think it's far too important to Tyrion's journey to lose. And I don't think Shae betrayed Tyrion necessarily because she believed those lies. Even though she's a whore, she's very proud and ambitious. Add to that her selfish and impetuous nature, and I think it's completely in character for her to lash out at Tyrion for hurting her — his reasoning be damned. This is a woman who wasn't afraid of Tywin Lannister. She isn't that bright.
Hanh: Oh, I think it was important to betray Tyrion for the story's sake. I just didn't buy it the way it played out. I mean, the show did set it up, but none of that rang true to me after how strong she came out of the box. It's like the Shae from the last season is a completely different person from the one we met at the outset. And to betray someone when their life is at stake? SMH. But it's possible Tywin told her that he expected Tyrion to go to the Wall, so that may lessen my hatred of her somewhat if I can believe that. But oh! Tyrion's look of pain! The pathos! And when he said, "Please don't..." my broken heart broke again.
Sadie: Give Peter Dinklage all the Emmys. Actor, supporting actor, sound editing, directing — all of them. He deserves them after that performance.
Hanh: That was indeed masterful how he built that into such a crescendo of, "In. Your. Face. Everybody (especially Dad)!" Amazing speech.
Sadie: It was so much more sinister than I imagined it in the books. Tyrion really became that monster everyone treated him to be for those few minutes, whereas when I read the speech, I imagined him obviously threatening, but also with much more pathos.
Hanh: Oh, I still think the pathos was apparent, which made it all the more powerful. Whew! *fans self*
Sadie: It was a little unnerving seeing Tyrion that way, but it works well to set-up the next big step in his journey.
Hanh: Quite true! After Shae's and his performance, I can totally see him strangling her now.
Sadie: Definitely! Which I oddly can't wait to see.
Hanh: Along with Tywin's signature death. Just a note about those in the court's audience. How guilty did Margaery look? I mean, she wasn't going to offer up her grandmother in Tyrion's place, but she certainly had no doubts after that necklace was brought out about Olenna's hand in Joffrey's death.
Sadie: Those reaction shots were such a great addition to the trial! I love how we were able to see so much of how Margaery is coping with the burden of Olenna's scheme even though she didn't say a word. Though, my favorite little shots were just the Lannister children staring at each other with poor Jaime's eyes jumping between Cersei's death stare and Tyrion's annoyance and despair.
Hanh: Oh yes, the siblings were in fine form. Speaking of those stares — the one at the end with Tyrion burning holes through Tywin was powerful.
Sadie: As much as I love Veep and Silicon Valley, I could have watched that staring contest for another hour.
Hanh: Haha! OK, switching over to Braavos. Out first glimpse of the giant Titan statue was all that I'd hoped. I wanted to linger longer though.
Sadie: It was such a tease! I want to see the murder holes! I'm really hoping we get a longer look up that man's skirt when Arya sails between his legs.
Hanh: It also makes me wonder exactly how that was constructed. History is full of these giant monuments (or the Wall) that are just far too large for me to conceive of how they made them with their relatively primitive technology. How did you like that face-off between Mycroft/Tycho and Davos? We also finally got to see (not see) Davos' chopped-off fingers!
Sadie: I got way too excited when that happened. I feel anyone who doesn't watch the show would be like, "Sadie, why did you just squeal? It's just a hand." But it's a very special hand to me.
Hanh: Right? I'm still upset he doesn't carry the knucklebones in a sack around his neck for "luck" as he does in the books.
Sadie: That face-off was so fun to watch. Davos' journey is always exciting, because as Saan reminded us, it wasn't too long ago he was imprisoned in a dungeon. He knows that he could lose his status (and life) at any second, so he always goes for it. Davos is the epitome of #YOLO.
Hanh: And he's loyal despite the craziness that Stannis has been drawn to (ahem, Red Woman). This is intriguing too because now the Iron Bank's loyalty is to Stannis, not Tywin/the Lannisters. The Tyrells better watch out!
Sadie: Yeah, I know it might sound kind of boring, but I really hope we do see them deal more with the financial issues since it gold is such a game-changer when it comes to war. And as we saw last night, dealing with bankers does not have to be boring.
Hanh: It can't be as boring as Dany in Meereen. Seriously, zzzz! Although I hope she learned her lesson about killing off people impetuously. And it turns out, there is a Hizdahr after all.
Sadie: OK, yeah. We need to talk about that. 1. Dany did not seem to give much of a f--- about her dragons KILLING OFF THAT MAN'S SON! "I can't replace your goats." Are you kidding me? What about saying, "Sorry I killed your only family"?
Hanh: Oh, was the kid dead? I thought it was just goats. The guy didn't mention a son, I don't think. Maybe that was our expectation from having read the books? I'll have to watch that back.
Sadie: 2. Hizdahr is much more sympathetic in his introduction, though knowing his arc from the books, I'm assuming getting this one Mereen tradition back was only his way of opening the door to getting the fighting pits back. And if he really was playing the dead dad card as a way to become king/get rich, Hizdahr is kind of a boss. And I thought when he laid out the bones, he said it was his son. Clearly, queuing up that scene right now.
Hanh: Yeah, I'm trying to figure out if this Hizdahr will have the same trajectory as the one in the books. He definitely seemed reasonable and sympathetic. He could just be pulling one over on me as well.
Sadie: It doesn't hurt that he isn't hard to look at.
Hanh: Ha! Daario better work quickly!
Sadie: That's what I'm saying. And speaking of weird sexual tension: Let's talk about Ramsay and Reek's sexy bath time!
Hanh: Oh, completely. Bathing on this show can be very seductive. Poor Reek! Well, at least they spared us a look at his mutilation downstairs. It was just painful enough to imagine it when he stepped in the bath. Ramsay knew exactly what he was doing with that intimate "reward."
Sadie: Aflie Allen is really impressing me this season. The more I see of Reek, the more I can't believe I ever found Theon dull and annoying.
Hanh: Ha! I always found Theon annoyingly fun on the show.
Sadie: But it seriously broke my heart when Ramsay told Reek he had to pretend to be someone he wasn't and it was Theon, natch. It was just so sad because how true it was. Yara was right in saying her brother was dead.
Hanh: The scene with his sister was interesting. I guess they had to manufacture that one since his physical transformation into Reek didn't make him unrecognizable. It makes it more poignant for sure.
Sadie: I wonder if a season or two down the line, Theon and Yara will meet up again like in the books.
Hanh: Maybe? His story is just one of the most intriguing, especially when he meets up with the fake Arya Stark.
Sadie: That was the one little ironic point of joy in Ramsay's torture-reward. He gets excited at forcing Reek to play Theon again and is so sure of his power over him, but it's that decision that eventually leads him to start becoming Theon again.
Hanh: Right. Ah, hubris!
Sadie: Also, just rewatched the goat scene and you're right. They're only goat bones. WTF, Game of Thrones?! Those dragons need to start murdering kids soon! Or else why will Dany lock them up?
Hanh: That boy will be back to die, I'm sure. How sad! Dragon fodder. Overall, although this was a setup episode for all the huge deaths to come, I really enjoyed it, mainly because of Peter Dinklage. The episode seemed to go so fast, and then bam! Before I know it, "The Rains of Castamere" is playing over the credits
Sadie: I know! That song is just such a punch to the gut every time I hear it. This episode was just so tense and I feel like it's just the beginning of the show ramping up towards the finale. Like, things are only going to get better from here.
Hanh: Four episodes left, four major incidents: Lysa flying through the Moon Door, The Red Viper-Mountain fight, battle at the Wall, and then Tyrion's revenge. OMG, non-book fans won't know what to do with themselves!
Sadie: I don't think I'll know what to do with myself! (Actually yes, I do: Calm my nerves with that sweet Arbor Gold)
Hanh: Haha! OK, let's see what the readers thought of the episode.
Share your thoughts on "The Laws of Gods and Men" below, and if you need a refresher, watch it here.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.