We finally see Stannis, in the very first scene of the episode. Stannis and Davos go to Braavos and we see stunning shot of the Titan, as their ship sails beneath it (the trailers' money shot this year - there will be more epic shots this year, but because of spoiler risk they couldn't show them in promos). Considering how long I'll have to wait until I see Stannis again, I'm just gonna shamelessly fangirl for a little while.
Oh my God. Not only did Stannis finally get some screentime and a really good scene but there was some good lighting going on. Well, kinda - at least it was better than usual. Can I just come to the set and, I don't know, bring a gigantic lamp with me?! Although me being on that set would be a gigantic security issue. I'd take so much stuff home with me. Swords. Dresses. Stephen Dillane.
The scruff is back. Yes, yes, YES! Please get even scruffier. While all of you are losing it over this awesome dragon CGI in this episode, I'm losing it over the fact Stannis refuses to shave.
And also - all the faces.
Stannis walks around the room in the Iron Bank of Braavos, complaining how long he is forced to wait. Davos is trying to get him to chill and sit but his efforts are futile. Stannis does not chill.
Suddenly the door opens and Tycho (Mark Gatiss) and other bankers walk in. Tycho asks Stannis to sit. Stannis takes a moment to decide what to do and reluctantly does it.
My God, even the way Dillane sits down is so Stannis.
Tycho refers to Stannis as "lord" and Davos is quick to correct him - Stannis is the king. Tycho points out that there is a king sitting on the Throne - Tommen. Stannis says the boy is a bastard and the throne is not his.
A quick conversation follows where Tycho questions Stannis about his army (turns out Stannis has 4,000 men) and resources (Dragonstone produces none, unless you count crazy religious gibberish as a resource). Tycho is saying how much he believes in numbers and how blood and rights don't really matter this much to bankers. During all of this Stannis throws the most hilarious "you brought me here....for this shit?" look towards Davos and Davos responds with his best '...sorry' look.
Stannis gets up and Davos decides to try and convince Tycho one more time. While Stannis stands there looking at the wall - because Stannis Baratheon does not fucking beg - Davos shows Tycho his mutilated hand - Stannis chopped off his fingers once because Davos was a smuggler. Davos goes on to say that it was a fair punishment and Stannis is a just man and when he says he'll do something - he will do as he promised.
Davos had a great speech here. He reminds Tycho that after Tywin dies (and he is almost 70) the Throne will be left to a child, a Queen people despise and the Kingslayer. Stannis is a leader. Stannis is in his prime (I was like this when he said that). Stannis is the man. Stannis is someone who would honor the debts. The scene ends with a cliffhanger and we don't know what Tycho's response is. But we will see him again, in future seasons.
Can the writers please get the audience to believe in Stannis as much as me and Davos believe in him? They will have a good shot for making that happen soon. Let's hope they take it.
We get another scene with Davos, when he visits his pirate friend in the bathhouse. He gives him some gold and asks him to join him and Stannis. That scene was there to show all the boobs. Also to piss me off that we didn't get Stannis in that bathhouse - his reactions to the said boobs would have been hysterical.
We cut to Theon's fearless sister Yara (the only tolerable Greyjoy) reading a letter about her brother written by Ramsay Snow to her men. The letter mentions Theon's castration and the killing of other Ironborn. Yara urges her men to fight with her for their Prince. As she says those words we see (for absolutely no reason at all) Ramsay having sex with Myranda.
Yara arrives to Dreadfort and gets to Theon quite easily. Theon is unfortunately so brainwashed - not to mention he has always been a coward - he thinks it's a trick and Yara has to drag him away from his cage. He yells that he is Reek and goes all batshit on her.
Ramsay appears, shirtless, obviously, and the fight begins. While all this is happening Theon bites Yara's hand and runs back to his cage. This is some Eyrie-quality insanity. Some Ironborn are killed and Ramsay's loses some men as well. Yara tells him no more men will die if he gives her Theon. Ramsay mentions that she has balls, way bigger than her brother. Oh, Ramsay. Such wit.
He then takes a key and opens a cage with his hunting dogs. Yara runs away and gets on her boat telling the men her brother is dead. As ultimately pointless as all of this was - let's save Theon-oh no dogs-Theon is dead - at least it was an exciting scene that managed to establish just how broken Theon is without any torture porn (well, apart from that Ramsay/Myranda thing - he was also covered in cuts after he left her, I think that scene went on a little longer in original cut and was shortened - there was a moment in trailers where she slaps him and that wasn't in this scene). Also it was cool of them to remind people of Yara's existence.
Ramsay rewards Theon/Reek with a bath for his loyalty. He asks him if he loves him. He also tells him there is a castle with bad men in it and Reek must pretend to be someone else. To be 'Theon Greyjoy'.
I had to watch Reek take the world's creepiest bath but you just couldn't find the way to get Stannis in that bathhouse?
Meanwhile, in the land of boredom and dragons, a man is there with his child and his goats and Drogon appears, burns shit down and flies away with roasted goat. That was harsh - these goats were cute. A man comes to see Daenerys and tells her what happened. She promises to repay him 3x for what he lost. A lot of book readers scream about this scene today because I think every book reader was expecting it to be something else, but I think that scene is just the set up and we're getting the eventual scene later this season.
Because while Stannis gets scraps of screentime, Dany gets to have set up scenes.
Anyways, Drogon CGI was impressive. We see far less of dragons this season, which I think is great - we saw so much of them and so little of direwolves in the past and now it's the other way around. And they are saving up - there are new creatures appearing in the last two episodes this season, with the finale containing so much CGI, it's the show's most expensive episode yet.
Another man appears before Dany - Hizdahr. Turns out that he is the son of one of the crucified masters. He asks Daenerys to allow him to bury his father. Dany looks turned on again. I refuse to have sympathy for her, seeing how Jorah is there, like right next to her, and she does nothing about it.
I usually defend Emilia Clarke but she was really bad this week. Iain Glen did more with one look than she did with the entire scene. I think Clarke and Dinklage are both overly confident - they are continuously praised - at least when it comes to big award nominations - to high heavens for their work on the show and they are not even best actors - and certainly not the ones giving the best performances this season - in the show.
We travel back to King's Landing where at early morning a Small Council meeting is to be held. Oberyn, chilling, sitting like he doesn't care - because in truth, he really doesn't, expresses the hope that the meetings won't always be held this early as he stayed up late last night. He wonders if since he is now on the Small Council he is gonna be a master of something and Mace Tyrell promptly responds that Tywin already made Mace the Master of the Ships.
Tywin enters and everyone stands up, except for Oberyn. The Hound is briefly discussed and Tywin sets a bounty on his head. Varys gives the account of Hound killing Lannister soldiers - "the phrase FUCK the King was uttered". I so missed Varys. Then conversation turns to Daenerys, because why fear 100,000 wildlings approaching your Kingdom or its rightful King and terrific commander gathering the army when you can worry about incompetent horny chick and her goat killing dragons instead.
Varys mentions how Jorah no longer spies for them in regards to Daenerys. He also mentions her armies and the Unsullied. Oberyn says that Varys is right and Unsullied are to be feared - turns out he saw them first hand in Essos. He mentions they are impressive in battle but less so in the bedroom.
Tywin asks Varys if his little birds can get near Dany and Varys says yes. Then Tywin asks Mace to bring him a paper and a quill as he needs to write something. Friendly reminder that the last time Tywin wrote letters The Red Wedding happened. I'm not saying something will happen. On the other hand - maybe I am?
Varys and Oberyn have a little chat in the Throne room, which made me miss Littlefinger a bit, as well as Oberyn did in the scene, mentioning how Varys should hang out with him and Ellaria in the brothel as they have good wine and boys on retainer. He then tells Varys that he is sure he likes boys and Varys says no. Damn, everyone always accuses Varys of that.
Varys responds he never desired anything - as he saw what people's desires have done to this country. When Oberyn asks him what he is interested in he looks at the Iron Throne.
Jaime goes to Tyrion's cell to bring him for the trial which is held in the Throne room. As Tyrion walks in, people scream 'Kingslayer!' at him. Tommen announces that he recluses himself from the trial and Tywin will be the judge instead. No doubt a decision Tywin influenced, but perhaps also due to Tommen's belief his uncle is innocent?
The other two judges are Oberyn and Mace. Tyrion is asked how he pleas and he responds that he didn't do it. Most of the lines during the trial were lifted straight from the pages of the book and I was delighted, as it is a wonderfully written chapter.
The witnesses give their testimonies - there is Merryn, Joffrey's guard, talking about how often Tyrion threatened the king. Then there's Pycelle reading a list of poisons - that were apparently stolen, which he accuses Tyrion of. He also has Sansa's necklace - apparently it was found with Dontos' body. He says that the poison - called the Strangler - was hidden in one of the gems. He also mentions how it was used to kill the 'most noble child that ever lived' and I laughed for like a minute.
Cersei testifies, doing her best poor, innocent me impression. She repeats the joy to ashes phrase. Oberyn picks up on the words about the debt and asks Cersei what debt did Tyrion mean - she says that she discovered he was keeping whores in his tower and she asked him to keep that business to the brothel. The fact she captured and had Ros tortured is obviously conveniently missing from her testimony.
Even Varys, who I think all thought was Tyrion's friend, goes against him. Tyrion asks Varys if he forgot that he saved the city, something Varys said will never be forgotten and Varys responds 'sadly my lord, I don't forget anything'.
Tywin announces recess. We see him eat which I got excited about considering what my favorite book theory is. Anyways, Jaime visits him and tells him that Tywin owes him his life as Jaime disrespected Mad King's orders and killed him instead of killing Tywin. In the moment that never happened in the books Jaime promises to give up the Gold Cloak and become Tywin's heir in exchange for Tyrion's life.
In the books Tyrion is visited by his uncle Kevan (who you may remember from season 1) who mentions to him his father doesn't want him dead and will instead send him to the Wall. Tywin, in that scene with Jaime, seems like he had that plan all along as well, but he is glad that Jaime will finally give up the cloak.
Jaime tells Tyrion what the plan is - plea for mercy, ask to join Night's Watch, no more outbursts. I suppose this whole Jaime gives up his cloak thing is not important now anyways, as Tyrion does the one thing Jaime asked him not to do and the outburst indeed happens.
Because here comes the final witness. Shae.
I wonder how many of you non book readers were shocked? The show made this little detour - "Shae went to Pentos", to throw you off the track, which obviously now we know didn't happen. I wonder where is Bronn? Did he know Shae was apprehended? Did he know she'll do this? Did he betray Tyrion too? Anyways, Shae appears and the look on Dinklage's face was the only time I thought the words 'great acting' should be attributed to his performance last night. So powerful.
Shae shamelessly lies about everything - she says Tyrion forced her to do things and she didn't want to do them. She tells the judges Tyrion wanted Sansa and that's why he wanted to kill Joffrey - to make her a gift. As she says all those things we see stunned Margaery - we know Margaery knows Tyrion is innocent,. I like to think she was shocked at Shae's ability to be with someone and then after it's over stab them in the back in such a cold and brutal manner.
MAJOR BOOK SPOILERS As Shae is talking we see Tywin far more than Cersei. In the book it is Cersei who manipulated Shae to testify and Shae also slept with Tywin. The show has tendency to whitewash Cersei - will Shae betrayal be completely attributed to Tywin? He did seem to be looking at her curiously during this trial and Cersei told him about Shae a while back.
I always wondered abut that final Storm of Swords chapter about Tyrion - did Tywin bed many whores? Did he bed this one because it was his son's? Did he really hate him so? I wonder what they'll do on the show - on one hand we have Tywin trying to spare Tyrion's life. But why have Shae testify then, if it turns out he is behind it in the series? I hope the show goes into greater detail considering how and when Shae and Tywin started as I was always confused by that in the book. END OF SPOILERS
I will not be joining the shockingly large group of people praising Peter Dinklage for his work last night. I think, after 3 seasons of wonderful work, Dinklage stopped caring, or perhaps only trying, as much as he did before. He has been uneven this whole season - he is great in quieter, tender moments - like his scene with Pod - or just when he acts with his eyes - like that moment Shae enters the room - but holy crap watching him in that ending was like seeing Meryl Streep in August: Osage County again. That is if Streep dropped acid and took quaalludes.
I'm disappointed in Dinklage. The writing was great - though perhaps they did the scene disservice by avoiding Shae's 'he told me to call him the Giant of Lannister!', the line from the book - after she says it, the crowd roars with laughter and Tyrion snaps. Still, whatever the hell Dinklage was doing with his face there was way, way too much. Instead of coming off as bitter, heartbroken, betrayed man, he came off like he was only missing The Joker's make up here.
Some say the intent was to make Tyrion look deranged and ugly - but it was distracting. I literally went 'what the hell is he doing?' as I was watching the scene - that's not what good acting is, when person watching it is thinking of actor, not the character while witnessing the scene. Thankfully the lines were great and when Dinklage stopped doing whatever it was supposed to be with his face he was good.
Pedro Pascal - now, that's someone who disappeared into character last night - he was fantastic and I loved they kept Oberyn bored/amused attitude during the trial.
Anyways, in his outburst Tyrion yells at the people that he wishes he never saved them and that he wishes that Stannis would have killed them all (preach!). He says to Cersei that watching her see her vicious bastard die gave him more relief than bedding thousands lying whores. He goes on to say he wants to confess and he says he confesses of being guilty of being a dwarf and being on a trial his entire life.
Tywin laughs at him, saying that's not what he is on trial for and Tyrion continues to say that he did not kill Joffrey but he will get no justice in this trial. In a fantastic ending Tyrion demands trial by combat and we witness everyone's reaction - Jaime is disappointed as Tyrion just threw away Tywin's offer, Tywin is furious, Cersei looks cunning, Margaery looks shocked.
And Oberyn? Oberyn gets so excited he actually leans forward.
Overall it was a great, exciting episode. It set up future storylines for certain characters very well and it certainly depicted the trial in an accurate way. Apart from my complaints regarding Dinklage, the ending really won me over and his little smirk at furious Tywin right before the camera showed his father again was terrific.
You thought that trial was exciting?
Just wait till you see trial by combat.
Do I whine about next episode now or wait till it airs? Here's the issue - the scene which I was certain will be in finale because 1. it would be a perfect set up for final scene of the season 2. it's just so good - it's finale material, is happening next week. I'm sure it's gonna be terrific, but it's just seems like an opportunity wasted. I bet it closes the episode too - just to get you to crawl on the walls more as after episode 7 there is yet again an excruciating 2-week long wait for the next one, thanks to Memorial Day.
The next episode, entitled Mockingbird (Littlefinger's sigil) will re-introduce us to the Mountain, show Tyrion having few visitors, Lysa getting even crazier at the Eyrie, Sansa in one of the fans' favorite scenes of hers and Dany wasting our time some more, this time with Daario. There are also Stannis' ladies at Dragonstone and according to synopsis we'll see Brienne and Pod again.
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