Game of Thrones: The Laws Of Gods And Men
May 11, 2014 10:07 PM - Season 4, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Stannis and Davos seek new allies in their war for the Iron Throne. Danaerys deals with petitioners to her throne. Yara makes a daring assault to rescue her brother. Tyrion has his day in court.
posted by Green With You (505 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
YARA I AM MAD AT YOU and also your name is wrong.
posted by elizardbits at 10:08 PM on May 11, 2014 [12 favorites]


Welp, I think Peter Dinklage just locked in another Emmy tonight.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:10 PM on May 11, 2014 [12 favorites]


if the voters think otherwise they can fly from the moon door
posted by elizardbits at 10:11 PM on May 11, 2014 [12 favorites]


Dat Peter Dinklage. Wow.

Lots of interesting things happening tonight.
posted by Alterscape at 10:13 PM on May 11, 2014


I bet 211 of those 212 people in the Danaerys line heard about the sweet deal that one guy got and hope to fool the Khaleesi with a bucket of Meereen Fried Goat.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:15 PM on May 11, 2014 [14 favorites]


WHAT

THE

FUCK

THEON
posted by lonefrontranger at 10:16 PM on May 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


I loved Mycroft as the Iron Banker.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:19 PM on May 11, 2014 [17 favorites]


I wish the Ironborn had just knocked Reek out and gotten him out of there. They usually don't shy from brutal methods, so now I'm trying to figure the purpose of the scene.
posted by rewil at 10:20 PM on May 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


I think the purpose was to show us just how much Theon has broken and accepted his identity as Reek.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:21 PM on May 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


obviously the purpose was to show us all how fucking creepy Ramsey Snow is. I want to kill him SO HARD.
posted by lonefrontranger at 10:22 PM on May 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


The non reader I watch with kept asking me how much things across the Narrow Seas matched the books; I'm starting to think I slept through a few chapters.

But yeah, no wonder the Iron Bank has lasted so long with Mycroft running things. :P
posted by tilde at 10:29 PM on May 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Awwwww yyyyyyyeeeeeaaaahhhhhh.
posted by KathrynT at 10:39 PM on May 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


When Tywin told Jamie "done!" I thought, damn, he'd anticipated that all along. But then he overplayed his hand with Shae, and Tyrion refused the offer and demanded trial by combat, and I couldn't help but think of what Tywin had said to Arya some time ago: "You're too smart for your own good. Has anyone told you that?"
posted by homunculus at 10:42 PM on May 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


Pretty sure that calling Shae as a witness was Cersei's doing, not Tywin's. Tywin did make an effort to at least SEEM to be an impartial judge, and rounding up witnesses for the prosecution would have undermined that.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:45 PM on May 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


I loved Mycroft as the Iron Banker.

That was brilliant. I guess Davos doesn't about the Lannister mines going dry or he would have mentioned it, but I wonder if the Iron Bank does. They must have informants everywhere.
posted by homunculus at 10:45 PM on May 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also remember that one of Cersei's spies overhead Shae and Tyrion talking and then ran to tell Cersei in S04E01. I don't think Tywin knew about Shae, only Cersei did.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:47 PM on May 11, 2014


But then Cersei told Tywin about her at the family brunch and he wanted her sent to the Tower of the Hand, so I just assumed it was him. It does seem like more of a Cersei thing to do, though.
posted by homunculus at 10:49 PM on May 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yara should have shanked Ramsay while he was unlocking the cage. No excuse.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:53 PM on May 11, 2014 [17 favorites]


Does anyone know what Varys was referring to when he told Tyrion (paraphrasing) "Sadly, I don't forget anything"?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:59 PM on May 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Khaleesi read Antigone and didn't pull a Creon. Enemy funeral rites hype!

Also, why was Ramsey covered in blood when he showed up to the fight? Did he get 9 superficial torso injuries on his way to the kennel or was there a weird sex thing?
posted by Hume at 11:01 PM on May 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Pretty sure it was implied to be a weird sex thing. I think Myranda likes to scratch.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:03 PM on May 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


if the voters think otherwise they can fly from the moon door

Of all the ways to die in Westeros, this would be by far the most preferable. I'm surprised the lords of the Eyrie haven't hired some maesters to develop some kind of rudimentary parachute technology. Base jumping from the Eyrie would be a hoot.
posted by homunculus at 11:07 PM on May 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm starting to think I slept through a few chapters.

and I'm starting to think I slept through / skimmed pretty much everything following the Purple Wedding.

oy vey I need a reread.
posted by lonefrontranger at 11:08 PM on May 11, 2014


They're mixing in stuff from later books.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:12 PM on May 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I bet 211 of those 212 people in the Danaerys line heard about the sweet deal that one guy got and hope to fool the Khaleesi with a bucket of Meereen Fried Goat.

I want a scene of Daenerys, her crew and the shepherd sitting around a table eating goat shawarmas.
posted by homunculus at 11:15 PM on May 11, 2014 [13 favorites]


I'm surprised the lords of the Eyrie haven't hired some maesters to develop some kind of rudimentary parachute technology. Base jumping from the Eyrie would be a hoot.

Dude, they haven't managed to develop BUTTONS. Not sure I'd trust one of their parachutes.
posted by KathrynT at 11:16 PM on May 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


Westeros seems to have an interesting mix of period-appropriate, and.. less-so.. magitechnology. No buttons, but implausibly tall magical ice walls with man-powered elevators that so far have (surprisingly) not killed anyone and magic!napalm. I know the Fall of Valyria is credited with the lack of additional Valyrian Steel (ref: Damascus Steel, I suppose), but.. you'd think someone would've given them the secret of buttons by now!

Also, speaking of magitechnology: the intro animation for Bravos was nicely done, I thought, rolling coin ramp and all. I'm sort of hoping that in the series finale, the entire intro monks-watching-the-world machine is revealed to be a giant Rube Goldberg contraption created to pour The King of the Hour a cold brewskie. Err, mead. Whatever form of alcohol they've managed to invent.
posted by Alterscape at 11:29 PM on May 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


They have beer. It's what Tyrion drinks with breakfast.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:31 PM on May 11, 2014


Touche. My error! I wonder what I was thinking of, at this point. Bah. 11:30 PM local is apparently what I was thinking of.
posted by Alterscape at 11:33 PM on May 11, 2014


"Time for breakfast. Bread. And two of those little fish. And a mug of dark beer to wash it down. And bacon, burned black." -- Tyrion, S01E02
posted by Jacqueline at 11:38 PM on May 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yes, I remember the quote. Like I said, my error.

I do like what the show is doing with the pacing of the various plotlines, relative to the books. Can't really say more without verging on spoilers, though.
posted by Alterscape at 11:41 PM on May 11, 2014


You can say more over in the still-open fan theories thread, if you like.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:44 PM on May 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Margaery's face during the trial was interesting. She knows Tyrion is innocent, and she seemed genuinely discomfited by the proceedings.
posted by homunculus at 11:54 PM on May 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


When Shae took the stand, was she wearing one of Cersei's gowns?
posted by KathrynT at 11:55 PM on May 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


obviously the purpose was to show us all how fucking creepy Ramsey Snow is. I want to kill him SO HARD.

He is Joffrey's true heir.
posted by homunculus at 11:56 PM on May 11, 2014


Did anyone else watch The Station Agent again recently? (It's on Netflix.) If you haven't you should and if you have you should again.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:57 PM on May 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


When Shae took the stand, was she wearing one of Cersei's gowns?

After spending 15 minutes surfing through various GoT fashion blogs I'm going to tentatively say no? But the style is indeed very similar to the ones that Cersei wears.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:14 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


When Tyrion was on trial at the Eyrie, the accuser chose her champion first and then the defendant picked his. Based on the teasers we've seen I think I know who the crown is going to pick and who Tyrion will then choose in response. I anticipate quite a rumble.

(Did we ever decide whether we can talk about the previews for next week which are at the end of each episode, or is that considered too spoilery? I left out the details here because I'm not sure. Either way is fine with me.)
posted by homunculus at 12:40 AM on May 12, 2014


We're not supposed to talk about the previews or other promotional material for future episodes.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:45 AM on May 12, 2014


Okey Dokey.
posted by homunculus at 12:46 AM on May 12, 2014


A.V. Club grade (and recap for newbies): A-
posted by homunculus at 12:46 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


the intro animation for Bravos was nicely done, I thought, rolling coin ramp and all.

Yes! But where is Dorne? I keep waiting for Dorne.
posted by torticat at 12:49 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I prefer this version of Jamie and Tyrion entering the court (10 minutes into the spoilery video or scroll down for the gifs.)
posted by homunculus at 1:09 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I am sad that those goats will never know the joy of singing the GOaT theme music.
posted by homunculus at 1:12 AM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


ET TU, SHAE?

Bored by the Ironborn stuff in the books, bored by it in the show. At least that's consistent I guess.

This is the first episode I can remember without a single Stark in it! I wonder if that's happened before?
posted by Justinian at 2:46 AM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Things to ponder:
What would a party with the Martells and Salladhor Saan (The Essosian-Westorian pirate) be like?

How did Devos find Salladhor in the bath houses?

Kind surprised the dragon only took one goat and not the larger boy or man. Leave no witnesses is dragoning 101!

Was Daenerys being manipulated by Mereenian son? For such a fierce and smart combat leader, it seems like the everyday tasks of ruling will wear her down.

Why was Ramsay all cut and bloodied before the fight? Never mind, you know the answer.

Where the fuck has Yara been? It's the sixth episode of the season, then she's only on screen for five minutes?

Why the fuck didn't any of the Iron Born have a crossbow to shoot Ramsey? Or at least rush him as he dramatically pulls out the key to the kennels.

Can Ramsey get any creepier, after giving Theek a bath and talking nicely to him?

Would Jofferey and Ramsey have been best friends?

For someone with the formidable nickname Kingslayer, doesn't Jaime look pretty weak?

How does the justice system in Westros work? Tyrion doesn't seem to have a lawyer or much of a chance to defend himself.

How brilliant is Tywin? He was waiting for Jamie to offer himself up of Tyrion's life.

How stupid is Tywin? Allowing Shae to testify was enough to piss off Tyrion and make him uncooperative.

Why isn't there a tv show named Judge Oberyn Martell? "And did you fuck him like it was his last night on Earth?"

Oh Shae.

Is Game of Thrones just an Emmy dispenser for Peter Dinklage?

Who will Tyrion pick for his Champion? Jamie doesn't seem up to it. I'm guessing Bronn was involved in Shae being found (he told Tyrion he had seen her sail off on a ship), so he's probably not available.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:16 AM on May 12, 2014 [16 favorites]


Did anyone else notice the use of "The Rains of Castamere" at the end? I think it's the first time we've heard it this way, epic and stirring. Usually it's slower and more sinister. Good musical reminder that 1. Tyrion is actually a Lannister and 2. This is all about the Lannister family drama.
posted by lunasol at 4:16 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Also, the opening sequence, that shows all the cities where action will be taking place for the episode is fascinating because it almost always shows Winterfell. Yet nothing much has occurred there since Season 3.

I wonder if they're just filling time or is representative of something else. There are a lot of Stark children floating around.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:34 AM on May 12, 2014


They not only continue to show Winterfell in the opening credits, but there have been multiple visions of the Winterfell crypts. I think something important is down there.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:42 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah the Iron Bank has been hassling Tywin with "Number Blocked" ravens for a while now, he's just learned to ignore them. That's why he was up in Dragonsbane or Shagreach or whatever for a while, so he could say he never got any of their letters. But the Iron Bank is just going to sell the debt on, Tywin, and those people really have nothing better to do.
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:49 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


(Did we ever decide whether we can talk about the previews for next week which are at the end of each episode, or is that considered too spoilery? I left out the details here because I'm not sure. Either way is fine with me.)

Yeah I am seriously amped for the "big thing" to happen next week, I hope I don't die before then or something lame.
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:50 AM on May 12, 2014


What's so great about the second half of ASOS is that I have no idea which "big thing" you're referring to. There are so many of them.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:55 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh, looking back at the context of the comment you're replying to, I don't think THAT big thing is going to happen until episode 8 based on the episode titles. Which means we've got to wait 3 more weeks, given the Memorial Day weekend break. Then the other related big thing plus another pretty epic thing will be in episode 9. Next week is going to be the other thing.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:59 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I am really looking forward to all the things.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:03 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Omg what is this Memorial Day inconvenience? So lame.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:06 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I actually yelled OH FUCK when Shae showed back up. I mean, of course she was going to one way or another, but somehow I'd let myself get lulled into Tyrion's belief that she'd just gone quietly away to live somewhere.

Still, I was really surprised she was willing to flat-out lie about so much. I know she was furious at him for ending their relationship, but I have to assume Cersei is threatening her with something (although I can't fathom what it would be, short of "I will straight-up kill you if you don't say what I tell you to say.")

Which I guess might be enough? I don't know. Maybe I misread Shae, but I wouldn't have figured her for this particular betrayal.
posted by Sokka shot first at 5:14 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


[Just a note: let's go ahead and stick with discussing this episode without a lot of reference to important things coming up. I get that no one is saying what those things are, but it's becoming sort of distracting and also a bit like a couple of people having a sub rosa conversation about other stuff in the middle of this thread. The big All-Spoilers thread is still open on the Blue, so maybe those who want to discuss upcoming plot twists can do it there. ]
posted by taz at 5:31 AM on May 12, 2014 [21 favorites]


KathrynT, I've got an answer for you about where we've seen Shae's dress before: It was Sansa's.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:32 AM on May 12, 2014 [18 favorites]


Still, I was really surprised she was willing to flat-out lie about so much.

Remember how much of a dick Tyrion was to her? He did that to get her to do something that she didn't want to. I am choosing to believe that regardless of what Cersei has on her, part of Shae's viciousness was directed at spurring Tyrion to not go quietly into the night('s watch) just because his father said so.

I really, really wanted her to have gotten on that boat.
posted by sparklemotion at 5:33 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


I thought her statement that she was his whore was very pointed. As in "you said I was so here I am in all my whoriness".
posted by double bubble at 5:36 AM on May 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


I am choosing to believe that regardless of what Cersei has on her, part of Shae's viciousness was directed at spurring Tyrion to not go quietly into the night('s watch) just because his father said so.


But how would she know he was offered the Ned Stark deal? I think she hates him because she feels discarded. She bought into the whole "my lion" thing, but when Tyrion played Lithgow to her Harry from "Harry and the Hendersons", she felt abandoned and alone and very very angry.
posted by inturnaround at 5:40 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Shae thought she had become more than a whore, but then Tyrion made it clear that she was nothing but a whore. Fine, now she's a spiteful whore.

KathrynT, I've got an answer for you about where we've seen Shae's dress before: It was Sansa's.

That's not the same dress, the belt, sleeves, pattern and color are different.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:43 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


To clarify, I don't think Shae was testifying of her own free will. But once they (Cersei, Tywin, whomever) had her, she let her anger at being cast aside ease her guilt in lying.
posted by double bubble at 5:44 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Jacqueline: KathrynT, I've got an answer for you about where we've seen Shae's dress before: It was Sansa's.

Yeah, I don't think it was the same dress, but it would make sense that Cersei would pull something out of Sansa's abandoned wardrobe to give to Shae to testify in.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:47 AM on May 12, 2014


Eh, it looks like the same dress to me, just with a different belt and the sleeves rolled up a bit. But I'm not a fashionista so what do I know.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:49 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I honestly don't think that Shae is that stupid. High-spirited? Yes. Emotional? Yes. Justifiably hurt? Yes.

But how the character has been presented so far doesn't lead me to really believe that she'd be so totally clueless about what Tryion was trying to do that she'd hate him to the point of wanting the twist the knife the way she did.

But how would she know he was offered the Ned Stark deal?

Maybe she didn't, even if she thought he was just going to die I could see her trying to do something, anything, to get him to stand up for himself. After all -- that is why he had to send her off -- he was never able to stand up to his family for what he wanted.
posted by sparklemotion at 5:49 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I mean, she essentially got the same treatment as Nymeria. And when (NOT IF DAMMIT) Nymeria shows up again, I don't expect her to rip Arya's face off.
posted by sparklemotion at 5:51 AM on May 12, 2014


But how the character has been presented so far doesn't lead me to really believe that she'd be so totally clueless about what Tryion was trying to do that she'd hate him to the point of wanting the twist the knife the way she did.

She was offered wealth by her wildest dreams to walk away. She didn't sell herself then. She put up with him marrying someone else and emptying her chamber pot and she didn't leave.

Then Tyrion was cruel enough to send her away. I can totally see her saying "Fuck this, I'm going to roast his ass, considering all the shit I put up and opportunities I turned down with just to stick with him. Fuck him."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:58 AM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


sparklemotion: But how the character has been presented so far doesn't lead me to really believe that she'd be so totally clueless about what Tryion was trying to do that she'd hate him to the point of wanting the twist the knife the way she did.

Yeah, but it's not about what he was trying to do as it was about the outcome. She wanted to be with him, and he wanted her sent away. If she had gotten on that boat, she knew (given the vicissitudes of life in Westeros) that she would probably never see him again. Whatever his motives, from her perspective he dumped her, suddenly and fairly brutally.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:58 AM on May 12, 2014


I really wish we got some of Tyrion's thoughts just before and during this trial. He's smart enough to know what's going on.

I am all for more Varys and Oberyn conversations though. (and more Oberyn in general. <3)
posted by royalsong at 6:30 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]




I wasn't a huge fan of Oberyn Martell in the books but Pedro Pascal has made him one of my favorite characters on the show. Brilliant casting and acting.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:38 AM on May 12, 2014 [18 favorites]


Also, why was Ramsey covered in blood when he showed up to the fight? Did he get 9 superficial torso injuries on his way to the kennel or was there a weird sex thing?
posted by Hume at 11:01 PM on May 11 [+] [!]


Pretty sure it was implied to be a weird sex thing. I think Myranda likes to scratch.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:03 PM on May 11 [+] [!]


I got the impression, from the battle sounds outside the kennel, that he fought his way in there. That he didn't don any armor speaks to his kink in feeling pain, but I don't think it was from the balling he just got before the rescue.

but when Tyrion played Lithgow to her Harry from "Harry and the Hendersons", she felt abandoned and alone and very very angry.

Yes! I was trying to think of another scenario to compare it to and all I could think of was that scene at the end of the movie Cheetah (from 1989) where the kid had to throw stones at his pet cheetah to get it to go back into the wild.
It feels like they severely dumbed her character down. She was always a clever, multi-dimensional character and it feels like they pulled her back into a 1D character, not smart enough to understand Tyrion's motivations. That felt cheap.
posted by GrapeApiary at 6:48 AM on May 12, 2014


it's not about what he was trying to do as it was about the outcome.

I think it was about both. She tried to get him to say that he didn't really want her to leave, and he would not say it. He had also been refusing to have sex with her. She did have reason to think he had lost interest and that he was getting rid of her in a pretty brutal way because she had become inconvenient.

The parallel with Nymeria is valid when you consider Tyrion's perspective, but not so much from Shae's. Because she's not a dog, so she understands what Tyrion did as a betrayal, not simple rejection. Also, not being a dog, she doesn't have the instinct to know Tyrion's a good guy underneath. :)
posted by torticat at 6:51 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Of all the terrible violence we've seen on this show, the psychological transformation of Theon to Reek has been by far the hardest for me to stomach. It's not like he was a great guy as Theon, but he'd be better off dead than as Reek.

Ramsay is much more evil than Joffrey, because he's smart.
posted by desjardins at 6:58 AM on May 12, 2014 [12 favorites]


I think there's an interesting parallel between Theon/Reek's storyline and what we see with Shae this week, and I think it's intentional that they show up in the same episode. Consider how long it's been, in the show's universe, since Tyrion Henderson'd Shae. If she didn't get on that boat, which it appears she clearly didn't, then it stands to reason that she was captured pretty quickly (recall that Tyrion sent her away because Cersei and Tywin had designs on her even before Joffrey died.)

Tywin and Cersei have had Shae for weeks. What has she been through in that time?
posted by Navelgazer at 6:59 AM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'm ashamed to tell you I couldn't stop trying to figure out whether that giant statue you pass under to get to Braavos was anatomically correct. It strained credibility for me that no one on Stannis' boat was looking up when they passed beneath.
posted by thivaia at 6:59 AM on May 12, 2014 [18 favorites]


My thoughts:

1 - the Iron Bank giving Stannis money seems like a *horrible* investment. How could it possibly be more likely that they'll collect from him vs. the crown?

2 - Theon thinking Yara was a trick of some sort, while incredibly hard to watch, was the first one that actually viscerally made me feel how much his identity has been destroyed. I don't know if the seasons-worth of torture scenes were worth it, but this is the first time I've felt like they paid off.

3 - Tyrion was amazing, yes. And Shae's scenes were devastating. Did anyone else feel like Tyrion was literally challenging his father to combat? Somehow I think that's the undertone of the trial by combat declaration.

Can Oberon actually think the trial is fair?

4 - Really interesting to watch all the Kings Landing folk twist the truth up there on the witness stand, and hilarious when they would talk about Joffery like he was some sort of innocent child.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 7:00 AM on May 12, 2014 [7 favorites]


Ramsay is much more evil than Joffrey, because he's smart.

That and he has heart, he'll get in there and fight, unlike Jofferey. Ramsey is actually a pretty good villain, because he is wily and smart. He could actually win the big battles that lie in the future.

I'm ashamed to tell you I couldn't stop trying to figure out whether that giant statue you pass under to get to Braavos was anatomically correct. It strained credibility for me that no one on Stannis' boat was looking up when they passed beneath.

We all were commenting on the exact same thing and wondered who sculpted that part and that shift boss was probably yelling at them to make changes at certain points. But realistically, it's probably dark under there, so not a big deal.

1 - the Iron Bank giving Stannis money seems like a *horrible* investment. How could it possibly be more likely that they'll collect from him vs. the crown?

They're playing both sides. Stannis clearly means to go to war and there's a chance he might win. Why not put him debt to the Iron Bank also?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:05 AM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


See, when Shae said "I'm a whore, remember?" I took it to mean "My life is bought and paid for, and always has been. They are paying for me and protecting me now, so they call the shots."
posted by KathrynT at 7:10 AM on May 12, 2014 [12 favorites]


the Iron Bank giving Stannis money seems like a *horrible* investment. How could it possibly be more likely that they'll collect from him vs. the crown?

It does seem pretty bad, but it seems to me the argument Ser Davos made amounts to, "Look, you've already made a really bad investment by backing a Lannister-led Westeros. Nobody else has the credibility to sit on that throne, so why not give him some money and see what happens?"

It's not a particularly good argument, but it's not totally crazy, and the Iron Bank guys must know their only chance to recoup anything is for the Westeros government to be in hock to them—which it wouldn't be, necessarily, if (say) Danaerys took charge.

(Or, I guess, would they just come knocking at King's Landing demanding repayment, period? That seems plausible.)
posted by Sokka shot first at 7:12 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think the logic is that Stannis is someone who's actually principled enough to care about owing a bank money and would probably be better than the Lannisters about making whatever sacrifices necessary to return the Bank's investments to them.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:18 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


So You're Saying These Are Pants?: "1 - the Iron Bank giving Stannis money seems like a *horrible* investment. How could it possibly be more likely that they'll collect from him vs. the crown?"

I think the Iron Bank is starting in on its strategy of funding your enemies if you don't pay them back quickly enough.


Brandon Blatcher: "How did Davos find Salladhor in the bath houses?"

Given that Davos said he'd been to Saan's house and seen his wife, I'd assume his wife said, "Oh, you know Salladhor, he's down at the bathhouse visiting the girls." If you're going to marry a pirate like Salladhor Saan, you're probably going to have to be okay with that sort of thing.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:20 AM on May 12, 2014 [8 favorites]


I agree with Jacqueline that Shae's dress is Sansa's, just reworked.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:22 AM on May 12, 2014


This is one where I can't remember whether the show says it outright, but it's not a spoiler because we're playing past it now, but there's an understanding that if a crown or noble or what have you defaults to the Iron Bank, the Iron Bank gets their due by funding their enemies. Davos' speech was basically defending Stannis' credit rating, which... man, I could have watched a full hour of Mark Gattis' objective views on the situation in Westeros. Stannis had just been denied a car loan and was deeply embarrassed, which was a great scene to see played out. Davos then proving his value and making the case that Stannis is too fundamentally proud to make was also excellent.

When Tyrion was on trial at the Eyrie, the accuser chose her champion first and then the defendant picked his.

Point of order: the idea in trial by combat is that Tyrion will fight whomever the prosecution chooses. He has no right to order anyone to fight on his behalf - Bronn volunteered in the Eyrie. Tyrion has also just cursed all of King's Landing. His position is a bit more precarious now.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:23 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Stannis' asset list should include his daughter/princess.

I think Shae is mad, and I believe mad enough to get him killed off. I could have sworn that she had told him once about killing him herself if he fucked her over ... but I could be misremembering as I don't watch the episodes over and over and over ... not something I can leave on in the background while I putter.

Shae was dressed similarly to Sansa but I don't think it was necessarily one of Sansa's dresses.
posted by tilde at 7:24 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ser Davos's right hand was a pretty convincing argument that Stannis will repay his debts.
posted by GrapeApiary at 7:25 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Point of order: the idea in trial by combat is that Tyrion will fight whomever the prosecution chooses.

Both parties (the Crown and the accused) get to choose a champion to fight for them, but the requested champions must agree to it.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:26 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is one where I can't remember whether the show says it outright,..., but there's an understanding that if a crown or noble or what have you defaults to the Iron Bank, the Iron Bank gets their due by funding their enemies

Tyrion gave Bronn (and the audience) a primer on regal financing last season (with explicit explanation of how iBOB works at 1:10)
posted by sparklemotion at 7:29 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: "Kind surprised the dragon only took one goat and not the larger boy or man. Leave no witnesses is dragoning 101!"

I'm reminded of Flintstones chewables. 10,000 dragons ... and growing!

Larger shwarmas in a month or so, methinks.
posted by barnacles at 7:33 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Point of order: the idea in trial by combat is that Tyrion will fight whomever the prosecution chooses. He has no right to order anyone to fight on his behalf - Bronn volunteered in the Eyrie. Tyrion has also just cursed all of King's Landing. His position is a bit more precarious now.

How it worked the last time; Tyrion appears to have the right to name a champion in addition to the Crown. It does appear, though, that the champion from both sides needs to be voluntary - note that Ser Vardys is not eager to kill a dwarf. However, Lysa puts the case on the "rocket docket," so Tyrion has to ask for volunteers.
posted by nubs at 8:00 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]




What happens if no one volunteers for Tyrion, does that mean he has to go into combat himself? I doubt Jaimecould or would fight for him, as he would be going against the crown and some oath as Commander of the Kings Guard. Bronn is sellsword at heart and the crown will double or triple whatever Tyrion can offer, assuming Tyrion has any money left.

Could Tommen assert Kingly authority and declare Tyrion guilty and banish him to the Night's Watch? Tyiwn might work that angle, to get Jamie to keep the bargain. Jon Snow would probably appreciate Tyrion's advice against the Night Watch council, which has it in for him.

Though I doubt Tyrion would stay on the Wall. Doesn't seem the type, you know?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:10 AM on May 12, 2014


Also, Jaime honestly can't fight again yet.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:13 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


I have no particular viewpoint on whether the dress Shae was wearing was Sansa's or Cersei's, or just some random dress. But I did notice that it didn't seem to fit her very well, to the extent that it was distracting me from what was actually happening in the scene. She kind of looked like a child wearing her mother's clothes as they were much too big for her.

I'm also hoping there is more going on with Shae, because as noted above she has seemed to be simplified into one dimensional Emotional Spurned Woman, which is kind of disappointing.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 8:13 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


*Read through thread again*

*gleefully rubs hands in anticipation of the next 4 episodes*
posted by nubs at 8:15 AM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


I loved Mycroft as the Iron Banker.

I found him very distracting; I can't see Mark Gatiss without immediately being reminded of his hapless vet Mr Chinnery from The League of Gentlemen.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 8:19 AM on May 12, 2014 [7 favorites]


She kind of looked like a child wearing her mother's clothes as they were much too big for her.

IMO this is further evidence that the dress was Sansa's as Sophie Turner is freakishly tall (and still growing?).
posted by Jacqueline at 8:23 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


What happens if no one volunteers for Tyrion, does that mean he has to go into combat himself?

Yes. That's actually the general way trial by combat works -- the accused fights the prosecutor's champion. If I remember his previous trial by combat correctly, his designating a champion was seen as fairly radical.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:29 AM on May 12, 2014


I'm also hoping there is more going on with Shae, because as noted above she has seemed to be simplified into one dimensional Emotional Spurned Woman, which is kind of disappointing.

Shae's betrayal on the show makes a LOT less sense than in the books.

Books!Shae was much younger, portrayed as very materialistic, and never had a relationship with Sansa. Show!Shae is like a completely different person, so much so that I'd been wondering whether they were even going to have her betray Tyrion in the show because it would be so out-of-character.

I hope that they've added as much depth and nuance to her as-yet-to-be-revealed-on-the-show motivations as they did to her character, because I'm finding this turn of events really jarring even though I knew it was coming!
posted by Jacqueline at 8:32 AM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Stannis clearly means to go to war and there's a chance he might win. Why not put him debt to the Iron Bank also?

Because they are a bank, and so preservation of capital is probably the #1 concern, i.e., don't make bad loans.

I think the Iron Bank is starting in on its strategy of funding your enemies if you don't pay them back quickly enough.

if a crown or noble or what have you defaults to the Iron Bank, the Iron Bank gets their due by funding their enemies.

Right, but what was strange to me was that they didn't mention that in the scene at all. They made it sound like a straight, "this is a good financial play". I'm with you, I sort of feel like the scene should have played out differently if that was really their motivation.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 8:34 AM on May 12, 2014


If you're going to marry a pirate like Salladhor Saan, you're probably going to have to be okay with that sort of thing.

Saan is a believer in a religion, and his actions are in keeping with his faith. Note also in this scene that Davos is a good persuader; the Iron Bank is not the first time he has argued for Stannis and won.

I always though Davos was a fascinating character in the books, and I really appreciate how they've handled him on the show. The backstory on his relationship with Stannis (because I think last night is the first time they've shown and not just referred to his fingers): During Robert's Rebellion, Stannis held Storm's End for his brother. When they were close to starving during the siege, Davos (at the time, just a smuggler) smuggled onions into the castle by sea. After the war, Stannis took his fingers for having been a smuggler and knighted him. Because the good doesn't wash away the bad.

So Davos let the Iron Bank know - Stannis doesn't forget, and he will repay in the same coin as is given.
posted by nubs at 8:39 AM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


...portrayed as very materialistic...

For example, I'm 100% certain that Books!Shae would have jumped on Varys' offer of diamonds to leave Westeros in a hot second. That Varys made the offer and Show!Shae didn't take it was a pretty significant deviation from the books.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:39 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Ser Davos's right hand was a pretty convincing argument that Stannis will repay his debts.

I dunno, I wanted to love the scene, but the bankers just got done telling Davos that Westeros stories are nice, but what they care about in Braavos is the numbers adding up. And Davos' right hand is a story: Stannis cares about repaying his debts. But ultimately, in a year from now he could very easily be worth nothing at all, or dead -- which means the numbers don't add up.

Bad loan, IMO, and the awesomeness of the Iron Bank wasn't quite what I was expecting.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 8:40 AM on May 12, 2014


Can Oberon actually think the trial is fair?

This is the most interesting part. Oberon is worldly and smart; he knows exactly what's going on here and he's too much his own man to mutely play along because he's told to. On the other hand he has no reason to stick his neck out for Tyrion and stands to gain nothing by pissing Tywin off. All the same at minimum I expect him to make it plain to anyone who's paying attention that he knows the trial is laughable bollocks.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:41 AM on May 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


Ser Davos's right hand was a pretty convincing argument that Stannis will repay his debts.

Well, it's a convincing argument that Stannis makes other men pay theirs.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:46 AM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Fair point. The Iron Bank should have awarded the loan to Ser Davos, then.
posted by GrapeApiary at 8:49 AM on May 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'm very glad that the show isn't neglecting the economic subplots from the books. As corb has written about before, they're actually pretty significant.

I suspect that economics will become even more significant in future books (and thus seasons) as Winter descends upon Westeros and they have to find a way to import sufficient food and fuel to keep everyone alive for an unknown number of years until the next summer. I imagine that it will play out something like a cross between a natural disaster and a long siege in the real world.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:54 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Though I doubt Tyrion would stay on the Wall. Doesn't seem the type, you know?

I don't know, I can definitely imagine angsty Tyrion, having been betrayed by his whole family and most of his friends, hunkering down at the Wall and stewarding the shit out of things to keep himself distracted. Hell, he's already been the accountant for the whole kingdom, so he could step into that role easily for the Night's Watch. It's mostly criminals up there getting drunk in the cold and occasionally fighting some Wildlings, but if there's a place for Aemon, there could also be a place for Tyrion.
posted by Copronymus at 9:02 AM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Mycroft didn't actually move from his chair after turning down the loan. He may well have planned to let Stannis walk all the way to the door before extending a counter-offer, just so it was clear where the power lay.

so preservation of capital is probably the #1 concern

But they have a lot of capital lying idle, so they can afford to gamble a bit. Maintaining their reputation as The Bank With Whom You Do Not Fuck is, in this instance, more of a priority than accruing interest. They're not issuing a loan to Stannis. They're hiring him to kneecap the Lannisters.
posted by Iridic at 9:04 AM on May 12, 2014 [13 favorites]


Everyone's going to be talking about Dinklage's acting in this episode, because he's going to win an Emmy for it and all, but can we give it up for Natalie Dormer during those trial scenes. Perfectly conveyed someone who is furious at the injustice she's witnessing but cannot say a word about it.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:04 AM on May 12, 2014 [25 favorites]


the Iron Bank giving Stannis money seems like a *horrible* investment.

Are we totally sure that the Iron Bank gave Stannis money? We saw Davos's stirring speech but not the bank's response. Could it be that Davos is turning to Salladhor because piracy is the only option left to him?
posted by torticat at 9:05 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know what Varys was referring to when he told Tyrion (paraphrasing) "Sadly, I don't forget anything"?

I thought it was a touch of sadness that yes, Varys remembers his conversations with Tyrion, but he's none-the-less going to betray him anyway.

Varys also seemed more openly ambitious in the scene in the Throne Room with Oberyn: that very deliberate glance towards the Throne. Usually Vary's ambitions are carefully cloaked in "for the good of the realm" -- and that has notably been the tone he has previously taken with Tyrion. But that look seemed much more overtly greedy.

Is Varys dropping Tyrion as no longer useful and instead cultivating Oberyn as an ally?

(Yes yes, wait and see.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:06 AM on May 12, 2014


They're not issuing a loan to Stannis. They're hiring him to kneecap the Lannisters.

I like this interpretation. I guess the whole scene just played up the financial savviness of the Iron Bankers and that didn't work too well for me. Like...shouldn't they have had a plan before Davos and Stannis show up?

OTOH, Braavos seems like such a cool city, based on everything we know about it. Seems like the place I'd want to be living.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 9:11 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Are we totally sure that the Iron Bank gave Stannis money?

Yeah, Davos had a box of gold with him when he showed up at the bathhouse, and said he left another chest of gold with Salladhor Saan's wife. Davos doesn't have that kind of money to be throwing around himself and Stannis wouldn't fund such a deception so they must have fotten the loan.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:12 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


It feels like they severely dumbed her character down.

They absolutely did not, if anything they gave her character greater depth and development in ways that were strange but very interesting, as Jacqueline notes above. In the book she is far more pragmatic and financially motivated; whereas the show presents her as being as optimistically naive as Sansa, thinking that nothing bad can ever happen to her. It was grating and awful.
posted by elizardbits at 9:14 AM on May 12, 2014 [9 favorites]


It's mostly criminals up there getting drunk in the cold and occasionally fighting some Wildlings, but if there's a place for Aemon, there could also be a place for Tyrion.

There's a place for anyone on the Wall; they are an Army of Thieves and Whores although the show and books do show the difficulty in making any type of practical force from that - it tries to avoid the romance of it the trope sometimes evokes. We see characters at the Wall grow up and become more (most of Jon's training group go from being raw, untrained boys with unsavory pasts to capable fighters who employ their skills in pursuit of the larger goals of the NW) but we also see men who remain fundamentally criminal and untrustworthy (the Craster's Rape Shack crew, and some of the men now in charge of the Watch who still derive authority and a world view from the South - where titles matter and it's about self-interest/status as opposed to service).

Folks like Aemon, Benjen, Jon and somebody like Tyrion are highly valued in the Watch - educated, skilled, knowledgeable, capable of management and clear thinking about the Watch, its role, and strategic next actions in pursuit of that role and function.
posted by nubs at 9:14 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


To followup on what I said earlier, this is the dress (minus the belt and overwrap) that I thought Shae was borrowing. But upon reflection, I think it could just as easily have been this one. But either way, I think the messages in the dress are clear: it was not made for Shae, it fits her badly, but at the same time, someone wanted her to appear not as a handmaiden but as a lady of King's Landing. It's an interesting costuming choice.
posted by KathrynT at 9:17 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Can Oberon actually think the trial is fair?

Not a chance; he's too savvy for that.

OTOH he is the only of the judges who's actually engaged in the proceedings. He's observing closely and asking smart questions -- he notices the "debt" in Cersei's testimony.

Of the other judges, Mace is simply a chair-filler; and Tywin has no need to be engaged because he's already decided what the verdict and the punishment will be. (And I assume he'd decided it long before Jamie's offer; so Jamie falling into line is a bonus.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:23 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


(And I assume he'd decided it long before Jamie's offer; so Jamie falling into line is a bonus.)

I assume he decided it in order to get Jamie to fall into line.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 9:24 AM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Tywin accepted Jamie's deal very quickly; it was like the jaws of a trap closing.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:26 AM on May 12, 2014 [17 favorites]


Is Varys dropping Tyrion as no longer useful and instead cultivating Oberyn as an ally?

Whatever game Varys is playing, this is a critical reveal about him; he works with other players as long as they have value and do not threaten his own position.

I thought the scene between him and Oberyn was fascinating and I am looking forward to a rewatch; I think Varys is a master of misdirection.

I also really enjoyed the small council scene, in which it becomes so wonderfully evident that Mace is a useful idiot and everyone around the table knows it - his self-importance at being asked to get Tywin's ink and parchment, while those that remain actually continue a conversation with huge import.
posted by nubs at 9:27 AM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


his self-importance at being asked to get Tywin's ink and parchment

I liked the brief reaction shot of Oberyn at that moment; amused, and fully aware of the power dynamic.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:30 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Are we totally sure that the Iron Bank gave Stannis money?

Yeah, they went to great pains to show us the sigil on the coin, and IIRC it had the Titan of Braavos on it.
posted by KathrynT at 9:31 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Right, but what was strange to me was that they didn't mention that in the scene at all. They made it sound like a straight, "this is a good financial play". I'm with you, I sort of feel like the scene should have played out differently if that was really their motivation.

I'd have to go rewatch the last couple episodes, but I'm not sure Stannis or Davos - or really anyone - are aware that the Lannisters have incurred a massive debt they can't pay. I doubt it would be any secret that the Lannisters borrowed from the Iron Bank, but Tywin would definitely play it close to the chest that their mines are dry.

Stannis knows the Lannisters have borrowed money and that the Bank would like it back, but unless he knows about their mines (and I don't think he does), he's operating under the impression that they are just deciding not to pay the Bank, instead of the truth that they can't.

Post-Red Wedding, there's pretty much no one in the West with any hope of unseating the current regime besides Stannis. If Stannis knew just how over a barrel the Lannisters are, the Bank would lose a lot of bargaining power. It would go from "Funding me would be a good way to get your money back" to "You pretty much have to fund me if you ever want to see even a penny of a return on your investment."
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:31 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


I liked the brief reaction shot of Oberyn at that moment; amused, and fully aware of the power dynamic.

Even the opening of the scene was fantastic:

O: (casually, lounging) Am I Master of something now? Coins, ships?

M: (sitting all prim and proper) Actually, it's been decided that *I* will be Master of Ships and....
posted by nubs at 9:33 AM on May 12, 2014 [10 favorites]


I'm not sure Stannis or Davos - or really anyone - are aware that the Lannisters have incurred a massive debt they can't pay.

I'm a bit hazy on this: originally I thought it was the Crown that was massively in debt to the Iron Bank. Did the "gold mines" conversation also reveal that House Lannister also owes them?

It seems to me that there's one player outside the Lannisters who knows exactly how indebted the Crown is: ex-Master-of-Coin Petyr Littlefinger.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:37 AM on May 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


Stannis knows the Lannisters have borrowed money and that the Bank would like it back, but unless he knows about their mines (and I don't think he does), he's operating under the impression that they are just deciding not to pay the Bank, instead of the truth that they can't.

Isn't the difficulty that the Crown is in debt? Regardless of the Lannister situation, the Iron Bank's loan is to the Iron Throne. Held by Tommen Baratheon, First of His Name, Lord of the Andals and the First Men, yada yada. Stannis is saying nothing about the Lannister economic problems - just that the Iron Throne is in debt, the current holder doesn't seem to be doing anything about that, support me in my foreclosure effort and I will make sure that debt is honoured.
posted by nubs at 9:38 AM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Petyr Littlefinger

Gah: Petyr Baelish. I'm getting my names and my nicknames mixed up.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:39 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


First of His Name, Lord of the Andals and the First Men

Incidentally: I believe we heard this title proclaimed four times in this episode, about three different people.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:41 AM on May 12, 2014 [14 favorites]


I've been wondering how the show would deal with Shae's betrayal for a while. As others have pointed out, she was a much shallower, less-developed character in the books, so while the betrayal stung, it also made sense.

The problem is that, on the show, they gave the character a lot more depth and intelligence - but they couldn't really skip her betrayal, as it's an important plot point. So they were stuck with just sort of shoehorning something that book-Shae would do into show-Shae's arc. And it's awkward and doesn't really make a lot of sense.

At the same time, I think one way that it works is that so much of both the books and the show are about agency. So much of the characters' lives are pre-determined by things outside their control (birth, politics, war, family allegiances, plots they don't know about), and so much of the main characters' struggles are about them trying to find some sort of personal agency amid that context.

Given that, when Tyrion sent Shae away, it had a parternalistic tone, and I knew this would be the catalyst for her show-betrayal. Yes, he was trying to protect her, but she had told him over and over again that she didn't want to back down. She wanted to stay. She didn't want to let the Lannisters dictate how she lived her life. He told her the dangers, and she made her own decision. Not because she was stupid, like book Shae, but because it was important to her personally to not let herself be scared away.

By trying to buy her off, and then lying to her about his feelings to get her to leave, Tyrion robbed her of the freedom to make that choice. His intentions were good, but still, it was paternalistic. It was a Lannister approach to a problem - use money and deceipt to manipulate someone into doing what you want them to do. Given that, it makes some sense that Shae would turn against him.
posted by lunasol at 9:45 AM on May 12, 2014 [30 favorites]


Incidentally: I believe we heard this title proclaimed four times in this episode, about three different people.

Speaking of that, I thought the Dany scene was fantastic and starts getting at the difficulty that this series often likes to explore: how to rule.

From the Grantland review:
...what appears to be a simple snack to one of Daenerys’s scaly children is anything but that to the humble herder left holding the bag (of bones)...it’s the sort of problem that can be solved by throwing money at it, a classic method beloved by leaders, fictional and otherwise, who prefer making grand gestures to making tough choices....The arrival of the handsome, exceedingly polite Loraq — he speaks for the treeqs! — represents something new in the Khaleesi’s quest for power. He’s a roadblock that can’t be overcome with money or bloodshed; the handy deployment of a metaphor catapult won’t work, and neither will a flirty horse murder....

As Westeros has slid into hell, Daenerys’s adventures in the east have taken on a moral certainty bordering on the evangelical. It’s a conviction that simply can’t be supported by reality — hers or our own. Every ruler wants to be lifted up by her people, but only a good one can maintain equilibrium when everything in the world appears committed to dragging her down. The goatherd and the nobleman were but two of the more than 200 subjects lined up at the pyramid that day — I could hear Barristan’s knees barking from here; 8,000 soldiers and not a single chair? — each with a specific, lived-in complaint that had little to do with puffed-up words like “justice” or “birthright.”
posted by nubs at 9:49 AM on May 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


I'm not a book reader so this is not a spoiler but just speculation: I think Tyrion chose trial by combat because he is so heartbroken by Shae's betrayal that he doesn't care if he lives or dies, yet he still has honor and won't just let himself be executed outright (or kill himself by his own hand).
posted by desjardins at 9:54 AM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I keep conflating the Lannisters and the Iron Throne. Last week, Tywin said that the mines of the Westerlands (where the Lannisters are from) have run dry, and we know that Littlefinger used the Iron Bank to fund the Throne; in other words, the Throne is in massive debt, which the Lannisters can't get it out of (and they're hoping they can fix this by joining the Tyrells).

Either way, I think Stannis is seeing the situation as the Throne's refusal to pay instead of its inability to do so. If he knew they just flat-out couldn't pay at all, I suspect he'd have more bargaining power with the Iron Bank.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:54 AM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


So they were stuck with just sort of shoehorning something that book-Shae would do into show-Shae's arc. And it's awkward and doesn't really make a lot of sense.

Interesting how some don't think it makes sense. To me, it's makes total sense: she never turned her back on him, despite offers of wealth and danger to her own life. Then he turns his back on her.

Isn't the difficulty that the Crown is in debt?

I think the Lannisters have been borrowing money to keep the Crown afloat, probably for some time before their gold mines ran dry.

But even if all the debt is in the Baratheon name, it still doesn't do the Lannister name good to have the Kingdon so in debt, as they're considered the backers of and marriage bound to the crown. If the Crown defaults or word gets out about the massive debt, then the Lannisters appear weak, as if they're a dying House.

I think Tyrion chose trial by combat because he is so heartbroken by Shae's betrayal that he doesn't care if he lives or dies, yet he still has honor and won't just let himself be executed outright (or kill himself by his own hand).

That and he's a bit of a wild card, while being very intelligent and knowledgable.

Tywin sort of messed up by having a public trial. Since it's open Tyrion can push and manipulate the letter of the law to his own ends and the court kinda sorta has to listen to him if he doesn't push too far. Judging by the surprised and pissed off looks on Tywin and Cersei's faces, Tyrion did the right thing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:59 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


All this time with no Yara and she just leaves without Theon? WEAKSAUCE.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 9:59 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


He did bite her hand. She'd need to leave for rabies shots.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:00 AM on May 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


Also I can't be the only one who was wondering exactly how much the camera would show when Theon got naked before stepping into the bath.

I'm not gonna say I was disappointed with it staying above the waist, but I kind of was.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:05 AM on May 12, 2014 [16 favorites]


By trying to buy her off, and then lying to her about his feelings to get her to leave, Tyrion robbed her of the freedom to make that choice. His intentions were good, but still, it was paternalistic. It was a Lannister approach to a problem - use money and deceipt to manipulate someone into doing what you want them to do. Given that, it makes some sense that Shae would turn against him.

Brilliant take.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 10:06 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Tywin accepted Jamie's deal very quickly; it was like the jaws of a trap closing.

Jaime's expression when his father accepted that deal matched mine when someone immediately accepts one of my trade offers in fantasy football with no feedback or counter-offers: "Oh, holy fuck, I just wrapped myself up in a bow and handed myself to them, didn't I?" If this had been an old pre-movie cartoon, Jaime would have briefly transformed into a lollipop with "Sucker" on the wrapper during that scene.

I loved the Iron Bank scene. I felt it was a reminder that sometimes the servant is the master: check out how Stannis kept looking at Davos with as much of a "Please hope me, bro" countenance as his stiff neck would permit him to have when Mycroft was advising him to try a payday lender instead of the IBB.

And, man, Dinklage pulled off the live-action equivalent of "If you look closely, you can actually pinpoint the exact moment his heart breaks in two" scene from the Simpsons. Seriously, you can rewind that scene and see the very second he gives in completely to despair. Outstanding performances all around this episode, but he's that damn good.
posted by lord_wolf at 10:08 AM on May 12, 2014 [26 favorites]


If the Crown defaults or word gets out about the massive debt, then the Lannisters appear weak, as if they're a dying House.

It's also that Lannister power is consolidated into the Crown. They can't go back to just being in charge of Casterly Rock: if there's any sort of regime change, it's a certainty that the Lannisters will not be friendly with the new rulers. So, the Crown's stability is equivalent to their own.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 10:09 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Either way, I think Stannis is seeing the situation as the Throne's refusal to pay instead of its inability to do so.

This makes things make much more sense.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 10:09 AM on May 12, 2014


Interesting how some don't think it makes sense. To me, it's makes total sense: she never turned her back on him, despite offers of wealth and danger to her own life. Then he turns his back on her.

For me, it seems like they wrote her character up to this point as being smart enough to understand what he was doing - that he didn't want to say harsh words and force her away, but had to - but then they portray her at the trial as not understanding any of that. I agree with lunasol's reading of the situation (now that someone has spelled it out for me). It still smells wrong, though.
posted by GrapeApiary at 10:24 AM on May 12, 2014


Also I can't be the only one who was wondering exactly how much the camera would show when Theon got naked before stepping into the bath.

Especially since the actor has done full frontal nudity on the show, so we were wondering if the show was going to go there. Kinda disappointed they didn't, just from a theatrical perspective.

For me, it seems like they wrote her character up to this point as being smart enough to understand what he was doing...

But she wasn't that smart (though clearly intelligent). When Varys offered her money to go away, she assumed Tyrion was behind it, but he had no idea about that, it was solely Varys' idea. She even blamed Tyrion for it later, but he had idea what she was talking and thought she was being nut and emotional.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:34 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


It seemed clear to me that Shae's testimony was forced by Cersei et al – because why else would she even be there – but she has also decided to go along with it for her own reasons which have been discussed here. That made it plausible to me.

(Now, the Yara invading the Dreadfort bit seemed real stupid to me, though I'll have to rewatch it to make sure I didn't miss something. On the other hand I am looking forward to Reek impersonating Theon, that should be enjoyably nuts)
posted by furiousthought at 10:39 AM on May 12, 2014


Bad loan, IMO, and the awesomeness of the Iron Bank wasn't quite what I was expecting.

Literally all I cared about was that they did not make the bankers all hilariously offensive jew analogues.
posted by elizardbits at 10:48 AM on May 12, 2014 [25 favorites]


Bad loan, IMO, and the awesomeness of the Iron Bank wasn't quite what I was expecting.

The awesomeness was in the treatment, not the setting: They made the rightful king stand and wait for half a day, then come in and take their chairs before inviting him to sit, and then address him as "Lord".

It was all theatre to put Stannis in his place as a supplicant rather than a ruler...and reminder that if they did decide to finance him (and I think they were looking for something and weren't seeing it until Davos did his thing), who holds the whip hand in this relationship.
posted by nubs at 11:02 AM on May 12, 2014 [7 favorites]


When Tywin's laying out the deal to Jamie he really emphasizes "You will have children named Lannister." Is this implying that Tywin knows the rumors about Jamie's and Cersei's relationship are true, and that his grandchildren really are bastards without a proper claim to the throne? I don't recall the show ever making it clear whether Tywin knew.

I mean, he could have just said "You will have children." But to really drive it home with the "named Lannister" made me think he knows Jamie already has children.
posted by Arbac at 11:04 AM on May 12, 2014 [14 favorites]


That's how I interpreted it, yep, Arbac.
posted by gaspode at 11:05 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I read that as meaning "children who can be openly acknowledged as Lannister heirs".
posted by elizardbits at 11:08 AM on May 12, 2014


Although come on, in an old-school Targaryen kingdom they could be legitimate Lannister heirs.
posted by elizardbits at 11:09 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


But they are legitimate Lannister heirs as children of Cersei, aren't they?

What they aren't is legitimate Baratheon heirs.
posted by sparklemotion at 11:13 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Sure, but its the Baratheon angle that's more important here.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:15 AM on May 12, 2014


Incest-kids aren't legitimate no matter what, I think. The whole "abomination" thing.
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:15 AM on May 12, 2014


Tywin's problem with the incest heirs isn't their lack of claim to the throne, after all it has given him effective rule over the seven kingdoms, it's that they aren't Lannisters. Yes the incest and so forth is tied up in it, but the real problem is that the control of the Lannister name moves to the cousins and away from Tywin's direct progeny, unless Tyrion or Jaime have legitimate children. Tyrion probably could have stayed in good graces with his father by producing a (preferably normal stature) heir with Sansa, but since he didn't Twyin is planning to have him either dead or on The Wall, neither of which allow for legit Lannister offspring to be produced.
posted by mzurer at 11:16 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


then come in and take their chairs before inviting him to sit

And the bankers sit on high, ornate chairs; while Stannis and Davos as supplements had to sit on low, plain benches. Office-chair politics.

(And although only one of the bankers spoke, there were three of them. That way they outnumber Stannis.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:19 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Incest-kids aren't legitimate no matter what, I think. The whole "abomination" thing.

That's why I said they would only be legit under the rule of the 300 year old ex-royal family founded on sibling incest.
posted by elizardbits at 11:21 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


TV Shae's also always seemed to be protective of Sansa, until this testimony -- she has reason to be angry with Tyrion, but not with Sansa, who is implicated severely by what was said. That points to coercion beyond simple revenge.
posted by rewil at 11:28 AM on May 12, 2014 [15 favorites]


the real problem is that the control of the Lannister name moves to the cousins and away from Tywin's direct progeny, unless Tyrion or Jaime have legitimate children.

I'd sort of forgotten about Lancel until Jaime brought him up, but is there anyone at all less likely to lead the next generation of Lannisters to glory? At least there's a slight chance that the severely unbalanced characters could hit on an unexpected triumph. Lancel is just a one-way ticket to a slow, unglamorous (if slightly foppish) decline as he hems and haws his way through all decisions and gets stepped on by every lord in the Seven Kingdoms.
posted by Copronymus at 11:35 AM on May 12, 2014


she has reason to be angry with Tyrion, but not with Sansa, who is implicated severely by what was said

She may feel as though Sansa turned her back on her also.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:35 AM on May 12, 2014


Why would she think that?
posted by Jacqueline at 11:43 AM on May 12, 2014


Grr why isn't it next Sunday.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 11:48 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Why would she think that?

Because Sansa was last seen leaving wtih Dontos and he's dead now, so it sort of looks and left everyone else to take the blame. Being pinned to a King's murder would not be fun experience.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:52 AM on May 12, 2014


Point of order: the idea in trial by combat is that Tyrion will fight whomever the prosecution chooses. He has no right to order anyone to fight on his behalf - Bronn volunteered in the Eyrie. Tyrion has also just cursed all of King's Landing. His position is a bit more precarious now.

Tyrion was allowed to chose a champion and he chose Jamie, who he knew would accept, but Lysa Arryn rejected it because she insisted the trial happen that day. That's when Bronn volunteered. I doubt he'd chose Jamie again, all things considering.
posted by homunculus at 11:53 AM on May 12, 2014


spoiler alert he chooses ser pounce

sry mods plz dont delete
posted by elizardbits at 11:59 AM on May 12, 2014 [31 favorites]


Where the fuck has Yara been? It's the sixth episode of the season, then she's only on screen for five minutes?

"I'm going to find my little brother and I'm going to-- ugh, never mind."
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:05 PM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


That last scene with Yara and her dudes running back to the boats all Benny Hill-style was pretty hilarious.
posted by Ian A.T. at 12:18 PM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


how were we supposed to interpret that? That the dogs were let out of the cage and the soldiers outran them all the way back to the boats? bizarre to me.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 12:22 PM on May 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


how were we supposed to interpret that? That the dogs were let out of the cage and the soldiers outran them all the way back to the boats? bizarre to me.

There's been a lot of that this season is my impression, where what's happening on the screen doesn't make much sense. It feels like the show is sort of treading water at time. I've heard that's a problem with the fourth and fifth book, which some of this season is pulling from, so maybe that's happening here. Or the show is really trying to keep costs down, so they're cheaping out in various ways.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:28 PM on May 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


I assumed that they agreed to run away like little diaper babies in return for the cage not being opened.
posted by elizardbits at 12:30 PM on May 12, 2014


That was the impression I got, yeah. Yara saw a fight she wouldn't be able to win without sustaining heavy losses and she'd just realized there was nothing of Theon left to save, so they bailed.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:32 PM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it was a threat, not something Ramsay was actually going to do.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:33 PM on May 12, 2014


Ramsay is totally capable and willing to do something like that, come on.
posted by elizardbits at 12:35 PM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Okay that makes sense, thanks. I still agree with Navalgazer that putting Ramsay + Yara in a tiny room and having them both leave alive is fairly unrealistic within this show.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 12:38 PM on May 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


I guess I mean he knew he wouldn't have to in this case. He'd certainly release the dogs with bees in their mouths if he had to, but he knew he already had the Ironborn on the run. I liked how they managed the fight choreography in the kennel so that the Dreadforters ended up on the inside, with the Ironborn near the door, in a reversal of how the fight started.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:39 PM on May 12, 2014


Only if Ramsay didn't have some reason to want her alive.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:39 PM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ooh.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 12:40 PM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I guess I mean he knew he wouldn't have to in this case.

Ramsay would release the hounds on people just to pass the time on a busy Tuesday afternoon.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:46 PM on May 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


Just rewatched the end of the episode again and paid close attention to the reaction shots after Tyrion demands trial by combat.

Margaery, Shae, and Loras look utterly dismayed. Jaime looks like he wants to fling himself from a window this time. Tywin has as baleful a Death Glare as I've ever seen on the screen or in real life. But -- and all praise is due to Lena Headey here -- I can't read Cersei's expression. Like, at all. It's not blank; there's the suggestion of a smile, but it's not there for long, along with some other things. ShowCersei just keeps elevating her game this season.

Also, count me among those who are just totally grooving on Oberyn. BookOberyn is amusing and kind of cool, but ShowOberyn is cool as all get out. I totally want to hang out with him, and not just for the sexy times stuff.
posted by lord_wolf at 12:51 PM on May 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


Oberyn's face of genuine confusion as Varys said he wasn't into sex with anybody was a highlight.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:55 PM on May 12, 2014 [16 favorites]


Why the heavily armed and armored Ironborn couldn't fight three dogs and two or three Boltons, one of them half-clothed, is beyond me. That scene was pointless, except to set up the later Reek nub-shot, which also didn't deliver.
posted by GrapeApiary at 12:55 PM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't think it was pointless (I think the point was for Yara to see that Theon essentially no longer exists), but I agree that it was rather poorly executed. It would have been better if she had decided to leave without Theon before Ramsay showed up.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:57 PM on May 12, 2014


I prefer to think they ran away from the dogs the entire way, because it is funnier.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:59 PM on May 12, 2014 [7 favorites]


Pointless was the wrong word. Poorly executed is a much better assessment.
posted by GrapeApiary at 1:10 PM on May 12, 2014


I think it was also a (really unnecessary) buff to Ramsay's villain rep, too. Yara was portrayed as such a badass earlier, and he sent her home scared, beaten, and ashamed.
posted by Ian A.T. at 1:15 PM on May 12, 2014


From wayyyyy upthread: you'd think someone would've given them the secret of buttons by now!

[pretty certain there are no spoilers in this, even though it's from the books]

I just started a re-read of the series, because I don't remember ADWD at all. I'm in ACOK, and happened across this line, from Davos I:

"His [Salladhor Saan's] buttons were carved jade monkeys, and atop his wispy white curls perched a jaunty green cap decorated with a fan of peacock feathers."

So buttons are definitely a thing that exist and are known about!
~The more you know~
posted by Lemurrhea at 1:28 PM on May 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


Why the heavily armed and armored Ironborn couldn't fight three dogs and two or three Boltons, one of them half-clothed, is beyond me.

That, and why Ramsay lets them go when they have invaded his castle, a) because that's not terribly forgivable, like, Ned Stark would've killed them if they did that to his castle and b) because he could cut off their escape, presumably, and kill/ capture/ torture them if he did have the upper hand – which wasn't clear at all because his entire upper hand appeared to be that he has American Ninja shirtless fighting powers. But with a villain like Ramsay we pretty much need a reason why he shows mercy. (Who knows, we'll probably get the reason next week.)
posted by furiousthought at 1:29 PM on May 12, 2014


If he lets them live now, he can send Theon/Reek over to Yara and dismantle her authority from the inside. He likes toying with his prey.
posted by desjardins at 1:33 PM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Compared to Yara (or just about anybody actually), Theon has zero authority with the Ironborn.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:40 PM on May 12, 2014


And less now that Yara can come back to report that he's been brainwashed!
posted by furiousthought at 1:53 PM on May 12, 2014


But Yara still loves him, and his "return" is going to fuck her up.
posted by desjardins at 1:54 PM on May 12, 2014


So, what? Is this supposed to goad her into making a rash attack on the Boltons? She just did that!

Also I had guessed they were going to send Reektheon to Castle Black actually for a second shot at Jon Snow.
posted by furiousthought at 2:02 PM on May 12, 2014


Why the heavily armed and armored Ironborn couldn't fight three dogs and two or three Boltons, one of them half-clothed, is beyond me.

This seemed like a plot point that utterly failed to me, for this reason. One of the basic features that makes GoT good is that it's extraordinarily realistic, for a story set in a world where magic exists. That Ramsay got the upper hand so easily and without ever showing any worry made him seem more like a super-villain than a sadistic sociopath.

Even smart people make mistakes and get taken by surprise sometimes. The story is good when it demonstrates that reality is unpredictable and contingent, and it's a lot weaker when it feels like a story, because in stories things happen to characters because of who they are. It seemed in this episode like Ramsay won the battle and got the upper hand because he's such a detestable character that he draws some kind of mysterious metanarrative strength from it, not because the show demonstrated why it should have happened that way and not some other.
posted by clockzero at 2:14 PM on May 12, 2014 [8 favorites]


Threekon.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 2:24 PM on May 12, 2014


the Iron Bank gets their due by funding their enemies.

Right, but what was strange to me was that they didn't mention that in the scene at all. They made it sound like a straight, "this is a good financial play"
.

There was some strangeness about that scene alright-- and I'd say it all goes to one of the larger questions the show has been grappling with -- should decisions by the powerful about the worthiness of a supplicant rest more on Logic or Passion?

I'm guessing (but I can't be sure) the Iron Bank made Stannis the loan, and first they went through the whole Settlers of Cataan-esque decision tree song and dance about Stannis' resources and chances to make it look like a decision from Logic, but they were also probably coming from a place of Passion (loss aversion, let's stick it to the debtors who won't pay). We've seen something like this before, both in the show and in real life. Is it justice based on clear and convincing evidence or is it all smoke and mirrors? (US Supreme Court, anyone?)

This scene harkened back to that scene from S2E6 in Qarth, where Dany asked The Spice King of Qarth for ships so she could cross the Narrow Sea, and he denied her request after explaining "I make my living by trade and I judge every trade by its merits." His logical, dispassionate refusal to give Dany the ships sealed his fate.

"You ask for ships.
You say I shall be repaid triple.
I do not doubt your honesty or your intentions.
But before you repay your debts, you must seize the Seven Kingdoms.
- Do you have an army? - Not yet.
You do not have an army.
Do you have powerful allies in Westeros? There are many there that support my claim.
When were you there last? I left when I was a baby.
So, in truth, you have no allies.
The people will rise to fight for their rightful Queen when I return.
Ah.
Forgive me, little princess, but I cannot make an investment based on wishes and dreams...I admire your passion. But in business, I trust in logic, not passion."

Dany tried to persuade him she was credit-worthy: "Whatever you grant me now will be repaid three times over when I retake the Iron Throne." (And in this episode she was the one to repay her shepard supplicant three times the value of his charred flock.)
posted by hush at 2:41 PM on May 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


Why the heavily armed and armored Ironborn couldn't fight three dogs and two or three Boltons, one of them half-clothed, is beyond me

Yeah that little battle was totally implausible. A half-naked man among a group of people eager to pay the iron price, and none of them can manage to stick him with the pointy end? Silly.

Also, it's really not necessary to keep on letting us know what a creep Ramsey is. That was established (too well established) last season. The whole Yara-sequence feels like a place-holder for the characters. The single interesting thing that comes out of it is Ramsey's telling Reek he's going to help take a place back from the "bad people" holding it.
posted by torticat at 2:56 PM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Theek.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:59 PM on May 12, 2014


his self-importance at being asked to get Tywin's ink and parchment

I'm curious what message Tywin is sending to Mereen. Hopefully we'll find out soon.
posted by homunculus at 2:59 PM on May 12, 2014


Probably that one of her advisers was spying on her for King of Westros. Nothing like sowing dissent in the ranks of your enemy.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:03 PM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


I think that Dany already knows that Jorah was a Crown spy. I might be remembering it wrong though.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 3:07 PM on May 12, 2014


Yeah, they went to great pains to show us the sigil on the coin, and IIRC it had the Titan of Braavos on it.

Ah okay, I missed that. Obviously Stannis doesn't have a lot of money to throw around, but I did wonder if that gold might be misdirection to make us think the bank had given him money when really Davos was returning to his piratical ways in support of Stannis (which would be ironic obvs). His ears had certainly perked up a couple episodes ago when Shireen mentioned barges out of Braavos. Also of course Salladhor Saan is a pirate, not a commander of troops, so I was unclear on what Davos was commissioning him to do.

Since that whole sequence was extra-textual I wasn't (and still am not) sure where the show is going with it.
posted by torticat at 3:12 PM on May 12, 2014


Salladhor commands a fleet of pirate ships, around 30 I think. That could be useful.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:15 PM on May 12, 2014


Yeah, I was trying to remember what Dany knows about Jorah and why he is there. I'm not sure she does: There is a scene in season 3, after the acquisition of the Unsullied where Jorah and Barristan talk while on the march. It's easy to miss, but he very carefully asks Barristan about King's Landing and being on Robert's small council (which as Lord Commander, he should sit on) and being privy to all those details about governing, and Barristan replies that he never went. It's a subtle, subtle moment but it is Jorah finding out whether or not Barristan knows that Jorah started off as a spy for the Iron Throne. And I can only see him doing that if there's some value to the secret.

I'm guessing Tywin's note might be for him rather than her though - a renewal of the offer of pardon, and more, if he deals with the problem over there. After all, some wars are won with swords, and some with words.
posted by nubs at 3:16 PM on May 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


For some reason I thought the banker guy asked Stannis "How much beetroot do you have for your troops?" and I was like whoa, these marching army guys must be eating some pretty fuckin' fancy k-rations, but what a mess that would make. Just a trail of beetroot juice and bootprints. The roads all churned to beetroot mud. Fuckin' beetroot, man.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:23 PM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


I think that Dany already knows that Jorah was a Crown spy. I might be remembering it wrong though.

So, after a quick read through some background:

Season 1:
Jorah accompanies Daenerys and her handmaidens to the market. He receives a message from a lad (one of Varys' informers that he calls his Little Birds), who says "the Spider sends his regards", and hands him a parchment which he says is his pardon and he can go home now. Ser Jorah clutches it and looks at it with longing, but realizes it means that if they don't need anyone to spy on Daenerys anymore, she is likely in danger. He goes back to the market and seeing a wineseller is trying to give Daenerys a cask as a gift, he intervenes and prevents the assassination as the wine is poisoned, thus saving Daenerys.
Season 3:
On the road north to Yunkai, Jorah reminisces to Barristan about the day he got knighted by King Robert for his part in the Siege of Pyke in the Greyjoy Rebellion but could only think about how badly he needed to piss after being sealed in armour for sixteen hours straight. Barristan then starts to prod Jorah about his past when he sold a number of poachers to slavers and warns him that his presence alongside Daenerys may taint the people's reception of her. Jorah then questions Barristan about the advisors on King Robert's Small Council, subtly trying to figure out whether he was aware of his original position as a spy for Varys.
So Dany knows that Jorah sold poachers into slavery, but not that he acted as a spy - I couldn't remember how the show let us know that, but not her.
posted by nubs at 3:37 PM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Just another note for the awesomeness of Marge's face at the trail, both frustrated, bored, trying not to eye roll, and seeing exactly what a show trial looks like. So much learning and growing for the future Queen.
posted by The Whelk at 3:44 PM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


I think the iron bank of braavos is not interested in stannis as king. I think they are interested in stannis as muscle to force the kingdom to pay its debts. I would guess that they gave stannis enough money to be a pain in the ass to the throne, marked it down as part of the advertisement budget, and put on a little show for him so that he doesn't realize what he really is to them.
posted by rebent at 4:02 PM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


> If he lets them live now, he can send Theon/Reek over to Yara and dismantle her authority from the inside. He likes toying with his prey.

Also, i they simply don't return then everyone died a heroic death from the point of view of the rest of the Ironborn. This way they know Theon rejected a return in favour of staying with the Boltons. The humiliation is greater.
posted by vbfg at 4:12 PM on May 12, 2014


I want to see a mash-up video of Tommen standing up all pomp and circumstance, dubbed with the voice of the Futurama judge saying, "I'm going to allow this," and then walking off.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:32 PM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm surprised that Yara didn't put a bolt through Theon's skull (or whatever instakill thing would have made sense in the moment). I bet she is going to wish that she had.
posted by sparklemotion at 5:00 PM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]




Daenerys Stormborn,
The UnBurnt
Queen of Meereen
Queen of the Andals and the First Men
Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea
Breaker of Chains
Mother of Dragons
Buyer of Goats
BFF of Knights
Taker of Baths in the Desert
Employer of Linguists
Admirer of Fine Afros
Admirer of That One Guy Who Killed His Partners, Unasked, For Her
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:09 PM on May 12, 2014 [10 favorites]


How did GM Pycelle get Sansa's poison necklace? Didn't we see it last being thrown on top of dead Ser Dontos by Littlefinger? How did he know it was where the poison came from?
posted by moons in june at 5:40 PM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


How did GM Pycelle get Sansa's poison necklace? How did he know it was where the poison came from?

After Ser Dontos rowed Sansa out to Littlefinger's ship, Littlefinger had him shot dead by crossbowmen. Littlefinger then made a show of crushing one of the gems on the necklace while monologuing with Sansa, dropped the necklace down into the rowboat, and sailed off. Presumably the rowboat washed ashore, with Dontos' corpse and the necklace still in it.

As for how Pycelle knew the necklace was poison, I'm not sure it's been explained. Given that Ser Dontos was the last person who was seen with Sansa, it's not a stretch to believe that the boat his body washed up on shore in would be searched reasonably thoroughly, though.
posted by tocts at 5:47 PM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I wonder abut the Iron Bank's internal thinking tho. Like, yes the Crown owns us a shit ton but Westeros is kind of a complete fucking basket case right now so why not just wait and see?
posted by The Whelk at 5:51 PM on May 12, 2014


Like isn't Stannis better as a card they can play later, an actual heir who is more than willing to take whatever deals they offer. I bet there are lots of internal Iron Bank arguments about the value of keeping Stannis on retainer so they can take the loss of gold but gain like, total tax duties on exports or something?
posted by The Whelk at 5:58 PM on May 12, 2014


Shirtless Ramsay is super goofy. I wish the invasion sequence had been better-executed, especially with regard to blocking. It sort of seemed like the Ironborn just sort of sailed into a cramped hallway, but then became confused and left. However, I did enjoy the following scene of Ramsay manipulating Reek. Textbook abusive manipulation.

When a show trial is that obvious, why go through with it? He doesn't even have counsel.

Tyrion seems like he could be a wonderful person, who will be excoriated by the history books. Makes one wonder about a lot of things.

It's nice to see Daeny being brought to earth by her supplicants. Revolution is not the same as rule. She's trying, but it will be hard not to become the Thomas Carcetti of Meereen.

Very good episode overall.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:08 PM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Stannis Baratheon
King of the Andals and the First Men
Lord of the Seven Kingdoms
Protector of the Realm
Master of the Clenched Jaw
Champion of Enduring Things He Dislikes
Grinder of Teeth
Baron of Inflexibility
Prince of the Awkward Silence
Lord of Sleeping With Another Woman but Your Wife is OK With It Because It's a Religious Thing
posted by nubs at 6:16 PM on May 12, 2014 [13 favorites]


I'm wondering if Tyrion's decided that he's just going to champion himself and go down fighting to spite his father.
posted by ursus_comiter at 6:26 PM on May 12, 2014


I'm ashamed to tell you I couldn't stop trying to figure out whether that giant statue you pass under to get to Braavos was anatomically correct. It strained credibility for me that no one on Stannis' boat was looking up when they passed beneath.

It should function as a bell. Like a doorbell for the harbour. Park a ship under it, pull a rope, the clapper starts swinging.

*dong*
posted by Sys Rq at 6:39 PM on May 12, 2014 [33 favorites]


Did anyone think the use of the bath with the reveal of a new identity lined up well? I kind of liked the washing-off-of-one-identity-in-order-to-adopt-another-thing going on.

Perhaps also call-back to another tortured individual: Jamie declaring his name in the giant steam baths as he collapses in Breinne's arms.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 6:40 PM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


I can't be the only one who was wondering exactly how much the camera would show when Theon got naked before stepping into the bath.

Dudes who like watching tons of naked-for-no-reason window dressing bathtub and brothel ladies and find random rape noises appropriate to convey "these people are bad, like really bad" might not like looking at someone's absent junk because it makes them feel weird. I am hoping it was just a point in Allen's contract but yeah, that was a pretty noticeable directorial choice.
posted by jessamyn at 6:57 PM on May 12, 2014 [13 favorites]


I was wondering if it they didn't want to show someone who's genitals had been mutilated. Alfie Allen has done full frontal nudity in film and theatre, so it's doubtful he was against it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:03 PM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think it's one thing to show the "natural" nudity* of lots of tits and the occasional vulva (and even more occasional dong) but it's another thing altogether to set to the makeup/costume/CGI design necessary to depict Theon's gash.

I mean, I am not a dude who likes watching NfNRWDBaBL, and seeing that someone went to the trouble actually depicting that particular bit of mutilation would make me feel weird too. Hell, Davos' fingers were weird enough.

*scare quotes because makeup and the video version of photoshop are certainly involved in the depiction of NfNRWDBaBL
posted by sparklemotion at 7:07 PM on May 12, 2014


NfNRWDBaBL

Well that's gonna be a stumper.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:09 PM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


naked-for-no-reason window dressing bathtub and brothel ladies
posted by sparklemotion at 7:16 PM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


"Why was Ramsay all cut and bloodied before the fight?"

The actor who plays Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) is all ripped, so the people behind the scenes said, "How can we show him off being all muscle-y in a fight? Ah, okay, we'll put in a sex scene beforehand. That'll supply reason for him to be topless."

Ramsay was screwin', the Ironborn invaded, he popped out of bed to fight, got other people's blood on him from where he killed them real good, then finally showed up for the boss battle with Yara looking all ... well, muscle-y and bloody.

It's not weird sexytimes blood, it's 'the producers wanting to show skin but also signifying that he's a badass fighter' blood.
posted by komara at 7:18 PM on May 12, 2014


(I'm not saying that makes sense in terms of the show, but it makes sense in terms of making the show.)
posted by komara at 7:23 PM on May 12, 2014


I found that scene quite disappointing. The Ironborn invade the Dreadfort with no more than 30 people, Yara takes her time with Theon instead of knocking him out, the Ironborn get killed mostly off camera, and then when Ramsey is in front of her... she leaves.

Ramsey Bolton is the heir of the Lord Protector of the North (a.k.a. dad) with whom they are at war and Yara was just giving speeches about how the name Ironborn means nothing while Theon remains captured. Running away instead of fighting against Bolton looks like bad characterisation.

IIRC this is also a plot created for the show - I hope more attention is paid to detail on future ones because at some point we'll run out of book.
posted by ersatz at 7:34 PM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


desjardins, that is super funny.

Rhaego has feelings

Daenerys wants to understand

Witnesses attest to his feelings
posted by clockzero at 7:41 PM on May 12, 2014




it's another thing altogether to set to the makeup/costume/CGI design necessary to depict Theon's gash

Maybe; but they'd already committed to the extensive makeup needed to depict the many, many scars that Ramsay had left on Theon's upper body. It doesn't seem that much more of a stretch to have Allen tuck his bits in, Silence-of-the-Lambs style.

But the scars, although shocking, seem incidental now: the real horror visited on Theon is the destruction of his identity. The way Allen plays it -- the cowering in the kennel, the jolt as Ramsay sponges him -- really sells it.

"How can we show him off being all muscle-y in a fight? Ah, okay, we'll put in a sex scene beforehand. That'll supply reason for him to be topless."

I'm pretty sure there's also a big dash of "how can we shoehorn some gratuitously-graphic sex into this episode" thinking. It seemed unnecessary except, as you say, as a means to get to shirtless-blooded-berserker-Ramsay. And it seemed contrary to what we've seen of Ramsay before: up to now his appetites have been shown as sadistic, not sexual.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:45 PM on May 12, 2014


I'm just thankful the bathtub scene didn't turn into a rape scene, which it really really felt like it was going to do. Eurgh.
posted by kavasa at 7:51 PM on May 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'm curious what message Tywin is sending to Mereen. Hopefully we'll find out soon.

Probably that one of her advisers was spying on her for King of Westros. Nothing like sowing dissent in the ranks of your enemy.


Oh, right, of course.
posted by homunculus at 8:38 PM on May 12, 2014


Shirtless Ramsay is super goofy

At the sight of him, I yelled out "VOLDO!" in that Soul Calibury announcer voice.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:33 PM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Having just done a re-watch:

-as glad as I am that the Iron Bank is in the show, it does seem to be prompting a lot of questions - my wife wondered where they get their money from, and how exactly they work; and then - in a fascinating bit of timing I didn't notice yesterday - because the Ironborn raid happens next, wondered if there was any relationship between the Ironborn and the Iron Bank.

-bleh - the Ironborn sequence is even worse the second time around.

-the trial just crackles with energy, even knowing what is coming. My wife, who didn't stay up to watch it with me yesterday was very impressed with it all, and instantly knew that somehow the Jaime/Tywin deal was going to get messed up because Tyrion would say something or do something that would render it impossible. And then she was quite surprised when Shae came out, and at what Tyrion did say. And then she had tons of questions about trial by combat, so I took out season 1 so we could see Tyrion at his last trial by combat. Some interesting parallels and differences:

-he confesses, but not to the crime he is accused of - instead, he talks about all the bad things he has done in his life, ending with "there was this time I brought a jackass and a honeycomb to a brothel -" whereupon he is cut off. But his confession is light-hearted, meant to amuse and win the crowd. His most recent confession is again not about the crimes he is charged with, but is filled with venom and hate and spite.

-the judge in the Eyrie is little Lord Robyn, who is obviously under the influence of his mother; in KL he is not being judged by the young king, but rather directly by the power behind the throne.

-it isn't immediately clear who will champion each side, with Tyrion in the end having to ask for a volunteer. Right now, it isn't known who will champion each side (unless you've read the books, in which case shush. It'll be just as exciting when everyone can take part).

-in both cases, Tyrion is quite clear in stating that there is no justice possible for him in the obviously unfair trial; that trial by combat is the only way.

But it's the emotional tenor that strikes me as so hugely different - his confession in the Eyrie is lighthearted, and even when he asks for a volunteer he is almost jovial despite the stakes and the risk. It is only once the combat starts that you see the intense pressure he is feeling; here all you feel is hate and his desire - no matter what the outcome of the combat is - to spite his father and ruin his plans.
posted by nubs at 9:37 PM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Dudes who like watching tons of naked-for-no-reason window dressing bathtub and brothel ladies and find random rape noises appropriate to convey "these people are bad, like really bad" might not like looking at someone's absent junk because it makes them feel weird.

Plus, it's already been done: Apollo Adama on television's The Smoke. He got all his gear burned off in a big fire, and he's pretty angry about it. Dunno what happens in the show after episode one, that scene simultaneously raised, lowered, kicked over, and rendered the bar (ha, "bar") moot.
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:55 PM on May 12, 2014


TV Shae's also always seemed to be protective of Sansa, until this testimony -- she has reason to be angry with Tyrion, but not with Sansa, who is implicated severely by what was said. That points to coercion beyond simple revenge.

Maybe Shae was told or assumes that Sansa is dead? Or maybe she's pissed because Tyrion apparently pushed both her and Sansa out, and Sansa's the one who betrayed him by actually leaving but Shae's the one who he called a whore and kicked out of his bed? Maybe she's angry at Sansa for being the "lucky one" or the "smart one" and actually getting out?

I also think she's second guessing whether Tyrion ever loved her at all. To realize his love was a lie seems devastating to her, and maybe she thinks that the only way to show him how devastated she feels is to stand in Court and make him feel just the same way.

It's also not just that he betrayed her, I think that she might feel she betrayed herself by even believing in his love in the first place, and this might be one way of resettling herself into her "natural" place in life, as a loveless whore.

I think the iron bank of braavos is not interested in stannis as king. I think they are interested in stannis as muscle to force the kingdom to pay its debts. I would guess that they gave stannis enough money to be a pain in the ass to the throne, marked it down as part of the advertisement budget, and put on a little show for him so that he doesn't realize what he really is to them.

As long as there's another contender for the Iron Throne, the war is also going to continue, which means that the Throne and the Lannisters are going to have to keep borrowing more and more from the Iron Bank. That gives the Iron Bank more and more influence and power, even if it puts them out some money, and that's good for them, because they don't have all that much influence and power (relative to some of the lords/reigning families, I think) but they seem to have plenty of money.
posted by rue72 at 10:28 PM on May 12, 2014


-it isn't immediately clear who will champion each side, with Tyrion in the end having to ask for a volunteer. Right now, it isn't known who will champion each side (unless you've read the books, in which case shush. It'll be just as exciting when everyone can take part).

Or seen next week's preview. This must be how the book readers feel.
posted by homunculus at 10:57 PM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Nubs: in the Eyrie, Tyrion still has the belief that being a Lannister will buy his way out of anything.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:54 PM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Did anyone else notice the use of "The Rains of Castamere" at the end? I think it's the first time we've heard it this way, epic and stirring.

Yeah, I think it's still going to be playing in my head when I wake up tomorrow. I kinda hope Martin introduces a mysterious character who ends up being the last survivor of Castamere and sings their own version: with one last left to hear.
posted by homunculus at 12:39 AM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Or seen next week's preview. This must be how the book readers feel.

Indeed it is.
posted by nubs at 1:06 AM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


as glad as I am that the Iron Bank is in the show, it does seem to be prompting a lot of questions - my wife wondered where they get their money from, and how exactly they work

I think it's as simple as: it's a bank. They get their money by lending it out to people they calculate will be able to conquer/retain the throne and who will then be able to pay them back with interest. They've presumably been doing this successfully (using all their numbers to make sure they back the right people) for hundreds of years and have built up quite the horde of gold.

I think they're funding Stannis for a couple of reasons:
a) They need to demonstrate that if you don't pay up, they'll fund your enemies. Maybe it's been too long since this last happened, and they need to remind people how it works if you default.
b) If Stannis does win, they're more likely to make some money off him than they are from the current Crown.

Like someone above said, they're basically selling the debt to the baliffs/hiring Stannis to kneecap the crown. They'll make less money this way (compared to if the crown paid up), but less real money is better than lots of hypothetical money.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:29 AM on May 13, 2014


The attempted rescue of Theon was hilariously awful. It really needed the Benny Hill theme. Seemed utterly pointless and just horribly shot and directed.
posted by empath at 2:34 AM on May 13, 2014 [7 favorites]


Yeah it was pretty disappointing. I was all up for some badass Ironborn (cool name, cool inspiring speech) ninja-ing into the Dreadfort, kicking ass, and hopefully stabbing Ramsay Snow in the gut. Once they'd reached the kennels it all kind of fell apart. She should have knocked out Theo and dragged him back to the boats.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:56 AM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I can even basically understand why Yara didn't want to "rescue" Theon...but why not at least perform a mercy-killing? Or at least kill the shirtless torture-schmuck leering and gamboling before you?

They could have even had Yara still just leave Theon, just with some better direction, so it was more clear what was going on. As it stands, that sequence makes the Ironbane seem sorta...flat-out dumb.

I realize that Ramsay is meant to be one of GoT's big-time villains, but his smugness, cruelty, and invincibility is also a bit frustrating. It reminds me of when I would watch the Nightmare on Elm Street movies as a little kid. Freddy Krueger's smug sadism made me want all the dreamers to suddenly develop wonderful lucid dreaming, so somebody could quickly (and anticlimactically) kill him with a falling boulder.

For a more modern example, see Jigsaw in the Saw movies. God, I hate that guy, he's like a Juggalo Nietzsche. I want the Saw-type movie which opens with somebody in a trap, and a dictaphone playing a spooky monologue about how they'll have to risk their lives to get out, only to have the intended victim use lateral thinking to calmly extricate themselves and walk out, as the taped monologue continues to ramble on about all kinds of awful things which are no longer happening at the moment.

I mean, I would have laughed hard if Ramsay had tried to show off Theon's shaving trick, with Ramsay in mid-speech about how Reek is his loyal servant, only to have Theon quickly and calmly slit his throat. Cue Roose golf-clapping and offering Theon a job.

Even just with Ramsay as he is, it would have made more sense if they'd shown him overwhelming the Ironborn not with shirtless invincible fighting style, but with carefully placed booby traps and whatnot. Ramsay is not a warrior, he is a torturer and a prison guard. Show the audience how this allows Ramsay to prevail. Don't just "assert" that Ramsay is this amazing fighter, show us why he deserves to win, using skills that it would make sense for him to have. Show that invading Dreadfort is almost impossible, not because Ramsay wears story armor, but because he'll just trick you into a set of fatal traps.

...

With regard to showing off the gelded Reek, I'm also reminded of a certain recent vampire movie which had actually showed the results of similar procedure. The shot had happened so quickly, that I remember many people wondering what it was that they had just seen.

...

And [the sex scene] seemed contrary to what we've seen of Ramsay before: up to now his appetites have been shown as sadistic, not sexual.

Yes, this is a good point. It makes more sense for Ramsay to use sadism as a substitute for the sexual act. It's weird and pointless to show him having what appears to be vanilla sex.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:37 AM on May 13, 2014 [8 favorites]


It's weird and pointless to show him having what appears to be vanilla sex.

Well, she was choking him. I see that and the going into battle topless as signs that he's got a bit of a masochistic streak as well. Not that that really makes the character anymore interesting, unless it somehow builds up to an actual vulnerability down the line.
posted by sparklemotion at 5:11 AM on May 13, 2014


Whoops! I missed the choking. Shows what I know.

Makes me wish that Ramsay was simply Carol from Archer.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:28 AM on May 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


It would be funny if the reason why he went shirtless is because he has very sensitive skin. He needs time to apply Gold Bond beforehand.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:29 AM on May 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


It's weird and pointless to show him having what appears to be vanilla sex. I don't now, maybe he is kinky that way.
posted by Pendragon at 5:50 AM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


I can even basically understand why Yara didn't want to "rescue" Theon...but why not at least perform a mercy-killing? Or at least kill the shirtless torture-schmuck leering and gamboling before you?

This was kind of like Bran deciding not to to to his brother in the last episode. Maybe these beats work out better in the books--I've heard references to people coming frustratingly close to one another only to miss each other--but they felt like awful contrivances meant to keep the plot wheels in motion but pretty blatantly nonsensical from a character standpoint.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:03 AM on May 13, 2014


I think they're funding Stannis for a couple of reasons:

I think Davos was most convincing speaking about the future. Stannis and the Lannisters have very different timelines.

Tywin is old, and there is no credible leader after him. His children would make poor regents for various reasons, Tommen is a child and Kevan clearly doesn't command the same sort of respect. They already know how chaotic and ineffective a Cersei regency would be. From their point of view, Westeros is going to have another civil war once Twyin dies. And more chaos in Westeros means they cannot recoup their investment.

I don't think they necessarily have any particular problem with Tywin. Tywin doesn't seem to have any intention of screwing them, he just doesn't have the money. If he was younger, they probably would be willing to give him time to stablize Westeros so he can start paying back the Bank. But Tywin doesn't have that time.

If Stannis wins, it's true he won't have any more money than Tywin has, and you probably have a few more years of chaos during the war and consolidation periods. But then you have a leader who could credibly keep the throne for another 20-25 years. That's longterm stability that the elderly Twyin cannot provide.

And since right now Tywin can't pay them anyway, it's not like a few more years of Stannis' campaigning hurts their numbers any worse.
posted by spaltavian at 6:06 AM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


PhoBWanKenobi: Maybe these beats work out better in the books--I've heard references to people coming frustratingly close to one another only to miss each other--but they felt like awful contrivances meant to keep the plot wheels in motion but pretty blatantly nonsensical from a character standpoint.

I know we are not supposed to talk about book/TV differences, but since you mention it, Yara's attempted rescue and the Bran/Jon close call are probably the two greatest points of divergence from the plot of the books thus far. It does not bode well for what might happen if the show should overtake the books, if you ask me.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:14 AM on May 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


Even just with Ramsay as he is, it would have made more sense if they'd shown him overwhelming the Ironborn not with shirtless invincible fighting style, but with carefully placed booby traps and whatnot.

Had Yara and the othe Ironborn dude who were holding Theon had thrown his ass back in the cage and started fighting, the Ironborn probably would have won. Once Theon bites her hand and scurries away and she starts fighting, then she starts putting the smack down.

Ramsay does show he's a good fighter, with strength, vigor and speed in a few clips.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:18 AM on May 13, 2014


If I had to come up with a (relatively) workable in-universe explanation for why the Ironborn segment went the way it did (and perhaps earn a No-Prize - excelsior!), it'd probably go something like this:

1. Ramsay is crazy and he isn't afraid of anything. But unlike any of the other excellent fighters in Game of Thrones, whose fearlessness is born of bravery and/or experience, Ramsay's fearlessness is born of complete fucking insanity. So where even a seasoned fighter might hesitate, he won't. This makes him a formidable opponent in ways that aren't immediately obvious.

2. He might be crazy, but he's also smart. Frighteningly so. It's not yet apparent what his entire plan is, but he's got one.

3. The episode was kind enough to remind us - twice (once in the Previously On and once with Yara reading the letter) that he not only tortured Theon in horrific ways, but he cut off his dick and sent it to the Greyjoys with a letter indicating exactly what he'd done, and telling them to get out of the North or he'd do more of it. Again, Ramsay is crazy but he isn't stupid. He wasn't trying to intimidate them, he was trying to provoke them. He had to have known that, as a prince of Pyke, Theon is essentially worthless if he can't produce an heir, so threatening to do more than cut his cock off is no threat at all, and there's no reason to think they'd capitulate. Even if he'd had no strategic information to speak of, there's no way he'd think the Greyjoys would just roll over on that. Except...

4. He does have strategic information about the Greyjoys. He has this because he's just spent however long torturing it out of Theon. Ramsay knows everything Ramsay knows, and he knows everything Theon knows, too. Theon has spent most of his time in Winterfell for a while now, but he remembers Pyke, and he was there recently. It's not a huge stretch, at least in terms of Fictional Character Prescience, that Ramsay would be able to figure out exactly how this would play out: With Theon having disobeyed his father's orders and unable to produce an heir, Balon would let him swing. But Yara already stuck her neck out for him when she came to Winterfell to try to convince him to come home, so he knows Yara stands a good chance of trying to rescue him if she knows where to look for him and if she's sufficiently provoked. And since Balon wouldn't support a full rescue, he knows Yara would only bring a small contingent, not a full army (Again, this is Fictional Character Prescience, not real prescience, but it hangs together well enough).

5. Which is exactly what happens. Yara shows up and is allowed to get to Theon and see what's happened to him. I don't think Ramsay could have known exactly when she was going to show up, but he had to know she would. He had everything set up so that she wouldn't think anything was off - she'd face just enough resistance to get to him. Sure, some of Ramsay's men would die, but I doubt he'd care. I don't think it's an accident that they had a really easy time getting in and then the shit hit the fan when they got to Theon. In fact, I'm even going to say that I don't think it's an accident that Theon was sleeping in the kennels. It seemed like just another way for Ramsay to be sadistic - and maybe that was a nice bonus - but bear in mind that Ramsay provoked the Greyjoys so he had to know a reprisal would come in some form; once he heard the dogs barking, he would know the rescue party had arrived.

6. So she sees what's happened to Theon. She sees that there's nothing left to rescue. Her raiding party has been depleted to a handful by the fight. She's now staring down Ramsay, who's got crazy-person strength and does not appear afraid of anything at all (case in point: he's fighting with no armor and sincerely doesn't give a shit). There's no guarantee she'd survive if she continued fighting, and it's been demonstrated that the battle is pointless and she would be dying for nothing. Plus, seeing what's become of Theon has almost certainly rattled her and broken her resolve, as much as her resolve can be broken. She's been maneuvered such that her back is to the door. She already knows she's not guaranteed to survive against Ramsay, and he's about to bring the hunting dogs into it. And...

7. Again, Ramsay isn't stupid, and he's also crazy. If this encounter were only what it appeared to be, Yara would be dead. If he didn't have a problem cutting Theon's dick off and taunting his family with it, he wouldn't have a problem cutting her down on the spot. I believe that if she's still alive, there's a reason for it. He wanted her alive, and he wanted her resolve broken, and he wanted her to turn tail and run back home.

Ramsay has a plan. It's not immediately obvious what it is, but he has a plan. What we saw was not a failed rescued attempt, but the successful next step in the plan. I'm not sure what he's planning, exactly, but someone noted above that it probably doesn't involve sending Theon home as though everything were fine, and I agree with that.

Anyway, that's my take on it.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:30 AM on May 13, 2014 [14 favorites]


Also also: This may be just a crackpot theory since there's no incredibly compelling reason to think it, but: I would not at all be surprised to learn that Ramsay did not really cut Theon's cock off.

I hadn't even considered the possibility until this episode, when the camera stayed very deliberately above Theon's waist. And I thought, why would they do that? I mean, obviously it would unsettle the audience and all that, but in a show that thrives on sensationalist reactions from the Internet, it seemed strange that they wouldn't at least have a quick shot of something.

Again, it seemed deliberate. And other episodes have used the camera for foreshadowing, like at Joffrey's wedding.

So I went back and read episode summaries, and I remembered the exchange between Ramsay and Theon, in which Ramsay is eating a big ol' sausage and he talks to Theon about phantom pain - talking about how Theon might still feel it, even though it isn't there. This was on the same day when he renamed Theon; by that point, he'd been thoroughly demolished.

Farfetched as it may seem, it's something that even happens in our world - penis panic is a real thing, and it happened a lot in medieval Europe. Dudes believe that their cocks have disappeared and can't be convinced otherwise. I doubt this would be difficult to induce in someone after a long period of brutal torture. Picard did see five lights in the end, after all.

Theon has been thoroughly brainwashed. He believes what Ramsay tells him to believe. If Ramsay says he doesn't have a penis, then as far as he's concerned, he doesn't. He's at the point where Yara was standing directly in front of him and he believed she was just another trick. Reality is a very pliable thing to him.

I don't think this is definitively the case or anything, but I would not at all be surprised if this were just one more mindfuck from Ramsay, and a plot twist waiting to happen.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:49 AM on May 13, 2014 [13 favorites]


Fun theory!
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 7:09 AM on May 13, 2014


If that were going to be the case, though, I'd have expected this to be the scene where they did the reveal. It would be the perfect time: look, audience, Theon is so messed up he thinks he's been emasculated, but Ramsay's so good at this psychological torture stuff, he didn't have to actually do it, and now Theon loves him, to boot.

I think it happened; I also think they're never going to show us photographic proof that it did.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:09 AM on May 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


Great theory FAMOUS MONSTER but I'm with ocherdraco, I think it happened. Or some variation thereof happened.

Of course, if you are right, you'd have to wonder what poor fella got the chop so that Ramsay had something to send to the Ironborn in the box.

I didn't see anything too wrong with Yara's rescue attempt, apart from the fact that she didn't knock him out when he was struggling, but I'm guessing Threek has a further role to play so couldn't be rescued. I am wondering about Westeros and their counselling facilities. I think Threek needs a whole heap of help to ever get anywhere back to normal, if that is the future for him...

Also have to agree with everyone praising Dinklage. He was fantastic. And I loved Margery's reactions too. I do feel sorry for Shae though, she obviously never got on that ship, so where has she been?
posted by Fence at 7:18 AM on May 13, 2014


In the Purple Wedding, Bronn is *very* insistent that Tyrion has nothing to worry about regarding Shae: that she got on the ship and is gone, gone, gone.

So, has Bronn been flipped?
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 7:27 AM on May 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


IIRC, he is very insistent that she is gone, but he carefully avoids mentioning the ship. He may have assumed that whatever ended up happening, she was effectively out of Tyrion's life. Even so, it's possible he put her on the ship and the Lannisters got her off the ship later (or she got off herself). But yes, I'd say it's very possible they could buy his loyalty.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:45 AM on May 13, 2014


So, has Bronn been flipped?

Bronn is a sellsword and has already said he would have taken part in the baby massacre at the brothel for the right price.

His very nature is to flip.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:49 AM on May 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


Or rather, it's all part of his job.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:50 AM on May 13, 2014


Right. Have we seen Bronn since that scene? I don't think so.

If he has been bought and paid for by the Lannisters, it's interesting he didn't show up as a witness at the trial. Or maybe he was about to be called. Or, hmm, maybe he'll be Tywin's champion?
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 7:53 AM on May 13, 2014


Have we seen Bronn since that scene?
I'm almost certain that we've seen him sparring with Jaime.
posted by dfan at 7:56 AM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Bronn's been working with Jaime, teaching him how to fight with his left hand. So he seems to be in good graces with the Lannisters in general.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:57 AM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


In the Purple Wedding, Bronn is *very* insistent that Tyrion has nothing to worry about regarding Shae: that she got on the ship and is gone, gone, gone.

Bronn very carefully did not answer the question about "but you saw her get on the ship, right?"
posted by vitabellosi at 7:57 AM on May 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'm hoping Tyrion fights Tywin. Put your money where your mouth is, Daddy.
posted by vitabellosi at 8:02 AM on May 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm hoping Tyrion fights Tywin. Put your money where your mouth is, Daddy.

I would love to see that, but I imagine it would be approximately this one sided.
posted by mordax at 8:14 AM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


In the Purple Wedding, Bronn is *very* insistent that Tyrion has nothing to worry about regarding Shae: that she got on the ship and is gone, gone, gone.

Bronn very carefully did not answer the question about "but you saw her get on the ship, right?"


I don't think Bronn was necessarily lying or deceiving Tyrion. I think he said that the only people who knew about it were himself, Tyrion, and Varys.

1. Ramsay is crazy and he isn't afraid of anything. But unlike any of the other excellent fighters in Game of Thrones, whose fearlessness is born of bravery and/or experience, Ramsay's fearlessness is born of complete fucking insanity. So where even a seasoned fighter might hesitate, he won't. This makes him a formidable opponent in ways that aren't immediately obvious.

I think this is exactly why that scene (and the character in general) are so disappointing. In reality, being fearless without having fighting experience just means you'd get killed really fast because you leave yourself open or don't know how/when to parry. The "so crazy that he's a dangerous combatant despite having no/little training" trope is exactly the kind of mythology the series is usually against; as opposed to e.g. dragon-related mythologies, which it is obviously cool with.
posted by clockzero at 8:21 AM on May 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


Well, I don't think Ramsay is untrained - he's not crazy instead of having combat training; he's crazy and he's had combat training.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:24 AM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh god, I can't wait til they reveal who Tyrion's champion is, I'm actually squirming in my seat. Did they show it in the preview? If so I need to keep my husband away from them because I want to see his reaction during the actual show.
posted by like_neon at 9:00 AM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Did they show it in the preview?

Didn't see it, but it sure sounded like they did.
posted by mordax at 9:09 AM on May 13, 2014


Enough, Jesus, I didn't even know he would get a champion and now I already know it's going to be a big fucking deal and who woulda thunk it. There's a whole thread for squeeing about how exciting it is to be a week ahead. That's not solely to you like_neon, I've flagged others too.
posted by Iteki at 9:10 AM on May 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


My husband is convinced that Tyrion is going to end up having to fight Jaime.
posted by gaspode at 9:15 AM on May 13, 2014


What? It was in this show we are talking about that we know he's asking for a trial by combat. How is that spoiling anything? I haven't said anything that hasn't been said starting way up here in this same thread.
posted by like_neon at 9:21 AM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


[Stop talking about the preview please, it's enough of a grey area that it's probably not a great idea for here.]
posted by jessamyn at 9:22 AM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


My husband is convinced that Tyrion is going to end up having to fight Jaime.

Kingslayer vs Kingslayer, eh? Tyrion's deadly with an axe and Jaime's having problems fighting. But he does have the aerial attack advantage, so...
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:32 AM on May 13, 2014


So, even more than the other episodes this season, this one seemed to have a clear theme to it, namely of domination and sublimation (Stannis & Davos with the Iron Bank, Reek with Ramsay, etc.) which did more than just give the episode a sense of cohesion. When you watch the first two thirds showing someone as proud as Stannis get humiliated and have to take it, watch someone as fierce as Yara forced to retreat, watch Ramsay just utterly destroying Theon...

Well once you get to Tyrion, about to take the deal and go to the wall, and Tyrion has to stick the final knife in the Shae, echoing the atrocities with Tysha all those years before...

Well no matter how stupid it may turn out to be, seeing Tyrion stand up to it and refuse to be dominated was extraordinarily well-earned.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:35 AM on May 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


(people talk shit about Lancel but everyone forgets he's a kingslayer too...)
posted by Navelgazer at 9:37 AM on May 13, 2014 [9 favorites]


It was weird last night going back to s1e06 to see Tyrion's last trial, because that's the same episode where Robert Baratheon goes out hunting with Lancel; so while I didn't watch the whole thing it felt like some serious call backs were happening - in s4e06, Tyrion is on trial for the death of the king; in s1e06 Tyrion is on trial and it's the same episode where the King dies. Lancel, who hasn't been mentioned in forever, pops up in s4e06; he plays a key role in s1e06. It also looked like s1e06 is where Ned, as the Hand, hears from the common folk about the depredations of the Mountain and the Lannister men in the Riverlands; in s4e06 Dany is hearing about the depredations of her dragons...

I am thinking there might be some interesting structure things between the two episodes.
posted by nubs at 9:47 AM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Nubs: in the Eyrie, Tyrion still has the belief that being a Lannister will buy his way out of anything.

I think that's a key difference - in the Eyrie, he's still a Lannister. Once his father entered King's Landing he's been lessened, and the trial is the ultimate stripping away of his family identity - to see his sister and father manipulate the trial the way they have. And so he embraces being the monster they all see him as.

I think it's as simple as: it's a bank. They get their money by lending it out to people they calculate will be able to conquer/retain the throne and who will then be able to pay them back with interest.

I agree, it is that simple (in addition to backing kings and rulers, they also likely back merchants and other ventures) - I think it comes down to the fact that the show has done such a good job of pointing out the realities of the world and how things actually work, that when a new element is introduced like the Iron Bank, there is a bit of an expectation now that we are going to see a bit of the machinery as well and how they actually do their thing.
posted by nubs at 10:00 AM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I didn't even know he would get a champion and now I already know it's going to be a big fucking deal and who woulda thunk it.

We've known since S01E06 that people are allowed to choose champions to fight for them in Trials by Combat. Cersei is his accuser, obviously she's not going to fight for herself, and thus Tyrion will be able to choose a champion too.

Of course people are going to speculate about it and of course it's going to be a big fucking deal when we eventually see who it is because right now it's pretty questionable whether Tyrion even *has* anyone left who would fight for him. Jaime can't fight, Bronn's loyalties are in question (since he apparently lied about Shae), and Pod left with Brienne.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:41 AM on May 13, 2014


Bronn's loyalties are not in question at all. Give him a large sack of gold, especially one larger than someone potentially paying him not to fight and he's all yours.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:45 AM on May 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


This is kind of out of nowhere, but does The Vale have any resources aside from a nifty telegenic method of execution?
posted by Navelgazer at 10:52 AM on May 13, 2014


From the Game of Thrones Wiki entry about The Vale:
Geography
Unlike the Westerlands, which have gently rolling mountains, the mountains of the Vale are much less hospitable and more difficult to traverse. Further, while the mountains of the Westerlands are filled with precious metals such as gold, the mountains of the Vale are not particularly rich in resources. The valleys scattered between the harsh mountains, however, are as fertile as any in the Riverlands.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:59 AM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


C'mon, the post in question wasn't "Gosh, I wonder who his champion is! How exciting to speculate!". It was "oh oh oh I can't wait until all you non-book-readers find out who the champion is going to be, you guys are going to pee your pants." That's totally two different things.
posted by Ian A.T. at 11:00 AM on May 13, 2014 [11 favorites]


yeah I got the impression The Vale was like some alternate Switzerland, impossible to conquer mountain-state that keeps to itself and is only nominally involved.
posted by The Whelk at 11:03 AM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Bronn's been working with Jaime, teaching him how to fight with his left hand.

Indeed.
posted by homunculus at 11:08 AM on May 13, 2014


I noticed in this episode that Tommen is officially Tommen of house Baratheon first of his name and so on but Joffrey was of house Baratheon AND Lannister. Is this because Tywin thought one of Joffrey's offspring would become lord of Casterly Rock and now he's washing his hands of Cersei's kids as far as Casterly Rock is concerned?
posted by cmfletcher at 11:08 AM on May 13, 2014


Navelgazer: This is kind of out of nowhere, but does The Vale have any resources aside from a nifty telegenic method of execution?

The Eyrie is held to be unconquerable, as it sits behind a gate, three waycastles, and a basically single-file exposed path up the mountain.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:15 AM on May 13, 2014


the camera stayed very deliberately above Theon's waist.

Yes but right when Theon took his pants off, Ramsay was shown grinning as if admiring his handiwork. I think they just didn't want to spend the money on a special makeup effect or whatever.
posted by dnash at 11:16 AM on May 13, 2014


I'm hoping Tyrion fights Tywin. Put your money where your mouth is, Daddy.

I have no idea here, but Tyrion did recently mention to Jaime (during their conversation where Jamie was sort of woe is me after his prosthetic hand knocked over the wine) something to the effect of "father hasn't picked up a sword in years" and yet look how powerful father remains - as if to say, you can be awesome again too Jamie, which led to just go pay for some supersecret training sessions with Bronn.

If Tywin truly hasn't picked up a sword in years, well?

Lancel Lannister got Beetlejuiced out of nowhere during the conversation between Jaime and Tywin re: the Lannister name/legacy, so Ser Lancel must therefore be due for a comeback. We haven't seen Lancel since the Battle of the Blackwater when Cersei punched Lancel's arm wound and he dropped to the floor in pain after he suggested to Cersei that Joffrey needed to go back to the fight ASAP because his absence was hurting troop morale (the lie version of this story was also mentioned during Tyrion's trial). I had almost forgotten we know for sure that Cersei was also sleeping with Lancel while Jaime was at war, and that Tyrion had figured out Cersei and Lancel's secret and had threatened to tell it to Joffrey and/or Jaime if Lancel didn't cooperate with Tyrion.
posted by hush at 11:21 AM on May 13, 2014


Of course people are going to speculate about it and of course it's going to be a big fucking deal when we eventually see who it is because right now it's pretty questionable whether Tyrion even *has* anyone left who would fight for him. Jaime can't fight, Bronn's loyalties are in question (since he apparently lied about Shae), and Pod left with Brienne.
I thought it might actually be Jaime, since Bronn's been training him, but I guess not.
posted by dfan at 11:29 AM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


We haven't seen Lancel since the Battle of the Blackwater when Cersei punched Lancel's arm wound and he dropped to the floor in pain...

She punched him where he had been stabbed with a sword, so yeah, it was painful.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:38 AM on May 13, 2014


The Eyrie is held to be unconquerable, as it sits behind a gate, three waycastles, and a basically single-file exposed path up the mountain.

Harrenhal was also considered unconquerable and then Harren the Black learned otherwise (as Arya sort-of pointed out when she was there in season 2). But then again, there were dragons back in those days...
posted by tempestuoso at 11:42 AM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm betting that Tyrion requests Prince Oberyn as his champion (they bonded over being second sons and all), who accepts in order to fight The Mountain as Cersi's champion.
posted by Uncle Ira at 11:46 AM on May 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


yeah I got the impression The Vale was like some alternate Switzerland, impossible to conquer mountain-state that keeps to itself and is only nominally involved.

I think the Vale has gotten involved in past kerfuffles, just not this one. Jon Arryn was a key figure in Robert's Rebellion and then served as his Hand for years. Lysa, his widow, has kept the Vale out of the current set of wars. She isn't portrayed as a particularly sympathetic person, but it sure seems like the right decision.
posted by Area Man at 11:48 AM on May 13, 2014


Harrenhal was also considered unconquerable and then Harren the Black learned otherwise (as Arya sort-of pointed out when she was there in season 2). But then again, there were dragons back in those days...

The Eyerie has a interesting history in terms of being conquered and Harrenhal:
The Eyrie has never fallen to a conventional army, and it is said that a dozen major assaults were made against it during the Age of Heroes, but all in vain. Similar to Harrenhal, however, it did prove vulnerable to dragons during the War of Conquest, but unlike Harrenhal, the Eyrie was not burned with dragonfire. Visenya Targaryen simply flew her dragon Vhagar up over the walls and landed in the courtyard, as a display of supremacy - Visenya arrived at the Eyrie some time after Aegon had burned Harrenhal by simply flying his dragon Balerion over the walls, so the implication was obvious. The inhabitants offered no battle - instead Ronnel Arryn, the current King of the Vale and only a boy, was so excited to see the dragon that he rushed out into the courtyard to greet Visenya. Rather than pointlessly resist the power of the Targaryen dragons, her mother and Queen Regent, Sharra, surrendered after King Ronnel stated he wanted a ride on the dragon, which Visenya granted him.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:51 AM on May 13, 2014 [10 favorites]


She isn't portrayed as a particularly sympathetic person, but it sure seems like the right decision.

It was likely at Littlefinger's behest.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 11:59 AM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm betting that Tyrion requests Prince Oberyn as his champion (they bonded over being second sons and all), who accepts in order to fight The Mountain as Cersi's champion.

Yesssssssssssssssssssssssssss this is exactly what I have been saying. Also it seems like a fight the show really wants to set up?
posted by ominous_paws at 12:21 PM on May 13, 2014


I think The Mountain was mentioned during the small council -- is he still off raiding up North or something?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:31 PM on May 13, 2014


I think the small council meeting mentioned Sandor Clegane. AKA The Hound. They called him a "coward and a traitor" (vis a vis Blackwater, and the whole "fuck the king" business).
posted by sparklemotion at 12:36 PM on May 13, 2014


Here's a clip of Tyrion's speech at the end of the episode.

I love that this scene demanded that the main cast act with their facial expressions and body language to a greater degree than just about any other scene in the show so far. So many feels communicated with just the line of the lips and shape of the shoulders throughout the entire trial.
posted by lord_wolf at 12:37 PM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


That clip, lord_wolf, brought to my attention something I missed the first time: Tyrion very publicly calling Joffrey a bastard.

It also made me think that one of the emotions flitting across Cercei's face might be actual doubt as to whether he did poison Joffrey.
posted by GrapeApiary at 12:56 PM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


I thought it might actually be Jaime, since Bronn's been training him, but I guess not.

Well, clearly it's been set up for us to think it could be Jaime... he's certainly one of the few people (or maybe the one person) on Tyrion's side in the trial.

It does seem unlikely that he would duel, though. Didn't his giving away Oathkeeper suggest he's kinda giving up on ever being the kind of swordsman he used to be?

But I wouldn't take commentary/speculation to be anything other than that. It's not clear that Tyrion himself knows who he could turn to at this point. (Okay, I think he does. But the pickin's are slim.)
posted by torticat at 1:00 PM on May 13, 2014


It also made me think that one of the emotions flitting across Cercei's face might be actual doubt as to whether he did poison Joffrey.

I read it as cool disdain combined with intense thinking about how to spin the latest development to still get Tryion executed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:04 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I liked that there was some kind of pronouncement or clarification about a person's identity or character in almost every scene: Davos selling Stannis' character to the not-lords of The Iron Bank, Ramsey's note that talks about himself as Yara gives a speech about the Iron Born. Reek not Theon, Daenerys with a long processions of supplicants telling her about themselves an their problems, Oberon wondering if he's a master if something like ships, the not-lord Varis, and the whole the trial is basically a character assissination. The deal with Jaimie is the most joy we've seen Tywin ever present. It's a win-win for him in that he essentially erases Tyrion with the black cloak on the Kight's Watch and frees Jaimie's character by making him take of the King's Gaurd cloak which will allow him to carry on the family name.

I think Ramsay's blood splattered body was supposed to contrast with Reek's scar covered body, but I would agree the way it played out as if he was a super warrior overshadowed anything else.

As far as graphic depiction of severed male genetalia goes, I recall there's a scene during the first season of Spartacus that includes a freshly neutered nub spewing blood. The thematic elements of that show were very closely tied to what that scene offered, but still pretty graphic stuff and I'm alright if someone wants to spare me that sight.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:07 PM on May 13, 2014


I'm betting that Tyrion requests Prince Oberyn as his champion (they bonded over being second sons and all), who accepts in order to fight The Mountain as Cersi's champion.

This is what I think is going to happen too.
posted by homunculus at 1:15 PM on May 13, 2014


Who do you guys think that the crown might choose as their champion? I doubt that Tywin would be happy about his heir, Jaime, getting into the fray. But they don't have a very deep bench at this point, either. I would say Bronn, but having some random sell-sword be the crown's champion seems a bit tacky.
posted by rue72 at 1:18 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


The deal with Jaimie is the most joy we've seen Tywin ever present.

Arya made him laugh in this scene. (It's also the scene where Tywin and she discuss the conquest of Harrenhal I referenced in my earlier comment.) So he does smile occasionally. It's just rare.
posted by tempestuoso at 1:18 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


That clip, lord_wolf, brought to my attention something I missed the first time: Tyrion very publicly calling Joffrey a bastard.
I've watched that clip about a dozen times over the past two days, and I missed it every time until you mentioned it. o_O That seems pretty huge, though I guess the spectators will take it as an insult hurled in anger rather than a statement of truth.
posted by lord_wolf at 1:18 PM on May 13, 2014


You know that Cersei wishes she could be the crown's champion SO BAD. She's probably going to have blood in her mouth from biting her lip so hard while that fight is going on.
posted by rue72 at 1:19 PM on May 13, 2014


the small council meeting mentioned Sandor Clegane. AKA The Hound

Yeah, you're right -- I had got my Cleganes mixed up and thought that they had both been mentioned.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 1:27 PM on May 13, 2014


Arya made him laugh in this scene yt . (It's also the scene where Tywin and she discuss the conquest of Harrenhal I referenced in my earlier comment.) So he does smile occasionally. It's just rare.

I really hope someday there's a scene in which Tywin figures out that his cup bearer was actually Arya Stark. The look on his face should be priceless.
posted by homunculus at 1:42 PM on May 13, 2014 [8 favorites]


I would say Bronn, but having some random sell-sword be the crown's champion seems a bit tacky.

That's Ser Bronn of Blackwater and I'm guessing he's 50 miles from King's Landing with whatever gold he's been paid from Tyrion and Jaime. That guy didn't get where he is today* by sticking around when lords start executing the unsavory.

*still alive
posted by cmfletcher at 1:52 PM on May 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Another possibility regarding the trial by combat I've been considering is that it's not going to happen because someone is going to help Tyrion escape. Olenna seemed to show a bit of interest in him and might view him as a secret asset if she can arrange to get him to Highgarden, and Varys might actually want to help him if he can do so with confidence of not getting caught. If it's the latter, it would be ironic if Tyrion ends up being the bird who delivers Tywin's message to Mereen. I admit these scenarios are very unlikely, but you never know.
posted by homunculus at 2:15 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Who do you guys think that the crown might choose as their champion?

How about Loras Tyrell? Cersei would love to see him dead before their wedding.
posted by hush at 2:34 PM on May 13, 2014 [5 favorites]




But Cersei will want her champion to win. Getting Tyrion is her top priority.
posted by homunculus at 2:43 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


True, although Loras could certainly win. He's been in how many tournaments? Loras beat Jaime in a joust back in the day, right?
posted by hush at 2:54 PM on May 13, 2014


Loras can joust with the best of 'em, but a lot of people could defeat him hand-to-hand.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:02 PM on May 13, 2014


Such as Brienne!
posted by hush at 3:04 PM on May 13, 2014


Tywin don't risk alliance building husband material just to settle a grudge.
posted by cmfletcher at 3:04 PM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Lancel Lannister as the crown's champion, assuming he's a grown-ass knight by now? (Yeah, I'm with those of you who've said this trial by combat ain't actually happening, because someone will help Tyrion escape. Shae? Olenna? Varys?)
posted by hush at 3:13 PM on May 13, 2014


Shae? Olenna? Varys?

Isn't Jaime the most obvious possibility?

Shae and Varys seemed perfectly willing to throw Tyrion to the dogs during the trial. Olenna? Maybe, only isn't she the one who set up Tyrion & Sansa to take the fall for the poisoning?
posted by torticat at 3:20 PM on May 13, 2014


The Mountain almost killed Loras already in the first season, so I doubt Loras wants a rematch. And the showrunners have spent a lot of time reminding us how much Oberyn wants to avenge his sister.

Revenge is a dish best served dangerously sexy.
posted by homunculus at 3:40 PM on May 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


I can't watch Oberlyn without thinking of riiiiich Corinthian leaaaather

Revenge is a dish served with eagles. So many eagles.
posted by The Whelk at 3:51 PM on May 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


I can't watch Oberlyn without thinking of riiiiich Corinthian leaaaather

Corinth is known for its leather!
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:16 PM on May 13, 2014


I'm betting that Tyrion requests Prince Oberyn as his champion (they bonded over being second sons and all), who accepts in order to fight The Mountain as Cersi's champion.

It occurs to me that it could be the other way around. My guess is whoever picks their champion first is going to pick the Mountain, the most notorious warrior in Westeros, and then the other party will pick Oberyn, who everybody knows wants revenge against the Mountain. If Tyrion picks first and picks the Mountain, Clegane would only do it if Tywin wishes it, but Tywin might allow it in order to preserve his deal with Jamie, and then Oberyn could end up fighting for Cersei. But I think it's more likely that Cersei will pick the Mountain first and then Oberyn will fight for Tyrion. Either way I expect Oberyn to survive simply because of the amount of time they've put into developing his character; it seems too soon in the story for him to die.

If Tyrion's champion wins, he'll still need to get out of Westeros fast, so I think it's possible that he could end up in Mareen courtesy of Varys and his birds. If his champion loses and he escapes, he might still end up in Mereen, or perhaps in Highgarden if Olenna wants him. Or he could just end up dead like so many others on this show, which would suck, but it's possible.
posted by homunculus at 4:20 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is all assuming the Mountain is even available. When he hears about the bounty on his brother he might decide to go hunt him down, in which case maybe Arya and the Hound will get that chance to cross him off their lists.
posted by homunculus at 4:32 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Would the champions fight to the death? I thought it would be more like a tournament match, in that there will be a declared winner but both fighters are expected to survive? I doubt tournament rules would be in effect, though, since there's no requirement that a champion be a knight (I guess, since Bronn has been Tyrion's champion before), so I'm not sure.

Honestly, I think it's kind of messed up that you don't have to fight in your own trial, because how does having some other person fight for you "prove" anything -- but I guess those are the rules.
posted by rue72 at 4:45 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well clearly the gods will champion truth and justice.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:55 PM on May 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Game of Thrones and the Case for Trial by Combat
But trial by combat isn’t just a matter of might-makes-right: in theory, the gods will favor the innocent. The winner is not meant to be the strongest one or the luckiest one but the one meant to be saved.
Hopefully Tyrion's many prayers to The God of Tits and Wine will pay off.
posted by homunculus at 4:58 PM on May 13, 2014


I can't see Oberyn wiling to fight to the death over Tyrion (who he's only just met) or the late Joffrey (of the families who were basically accessories before the fact to the rape and murder of his sister, et al). What on earth would he possibly stand to gain by participating in mortal combat? How could that level of risk possibly make sense for Oberyn? After all, Tywin has already promised him The Mountain simply for acting as trial judge.
posted by hush at 5:00 PM on May 13, 2014


I'd say that with Tyrion's demand of a trial by combat, Tywin's plans are basically shot and Oberyn (not to mention Jamie) knows it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:01 PM on May 13, 2014


Trial by combat is the way to go. Can't say I blame Tyrion for pushing the "FUCK EVERYTHING" button.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:04 PM on May 13, 2014 [12 favorites]


[re: Who would help Tyrion escape?]

Isn't Jaime the most obvious possibility?

Yes - but this show is so damn captivating in part because it has been all about actively avoiding the so-called obvious possibilities. That's why I mentioned Shae and Varys, because it so obviously appears they've both fucked Tyrion over, but they absolutely could still surprise him. I say this also because Varys seems to always want the opposite of whatever he thinks Littlefinger is going for, and we know Littlefinger has been trying to off Tyrion for ages, ever since the planted dagger/Catelyn Stark bit in S1. Perhaps Varys knows or strongly suspects this is all Littlefinger's doing.
posted by hush at 5:09 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


At least in trial by combat, you're allowed *some* type of defense. And you don't get publicly humiliated on the way to the gallows. It's probably the best shot that Tyrion has at this point.

Why would Varys even testify against Tyrion? What was in it for him? I assume that Shae was bribed, threatened, and manipulated, but I'm not sure what would have tempted or scared Varys into doing it.
posted by rue72 at 5:11 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


The key to Varys, I'm pretty sure, is in his "Sadly I never forget anything." That is a Line of Great Portent. I just wish I knew what the hell it means.
posted by KathrynT at 5:12 PM on May 13, 2014 [9 favorites]


Why would Varys even testify against Tyrion? What was in it for him?

Who even knows what merlings want?
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:14 PM on May 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Why would Varys even testify against Tyrion? What was in it for him? ... I'm not sure what would have tempted or scared Varys into doing it.

What @Kathryn T just said. (I, too, hope we learn the meaning of that statement.) Also Varys got his power by marshaling secrets and using misdirection - plus his infinite patience and intestinal fortitude (he had the sorcerer who cut him in the box, remember? Probably my favorite scene ever in this show's history).

Varys was probably asked to testify, and might have calculated that there's nothing to gain by flouting Tywin Lannister's wish at that time, and if he wanted to he could at the same time scheme privately on Tyrion's behalf.

Come to think of it, Varys and Oberyn are probably in cahoots.
posted by hush at 5:21 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


The problem is that, on the show, they gave the character a lot more depth and intelligence - but they couldn't really skip her betrayal, as it's an important plot point. So they were stuck with just sort of shoehorning something that book-Shae would do into show-Shae's arc. And it's awkward and doesn't really make a lot of sense.

Well, but it feels like they did skip her betrayal. Watching it, it was devoid of pretty much all of the emotional impact that the book-Shae betrayal had. More than ever, it made me conscious of how much we missed with "my giant of Lannister." In the book, she wasn't just woodenly reading the lines - she was revelling in the attention. She mocks him, saying that he threatened her, forcing her to do terrible things, to call him her giant. And the crowd laughs, and she looks excited, and repeats it again, for the impact. She's on display, and everyone is looking at her, and she fucking loves it. When she says she was taken and forced to be his whore, she says that she was engaged to a squire, but Tyrion put him in the van in order to die so that he could make Shae his whore. It's an enormous, bug-nutting betrayal. This wooden reading by show-Shae makes me feel like there's a crossbow trained on her or something.
posted by corb at 5:26 PM on May 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


I can't see Oberyn wiling to fight to the death over Tyrion (who he's only just met) or the late Joffrey (of the families who were basically accessories before the fact to the rape and murder of his sister, et al). What on earth would he possibly stand to gain by participating in mortal combat? How could that level of risk possibly make sense for Oberyn? After all, Tywin has already promised him The Mountain simply for acting as trial judge.

I don't think he cares about Tyrion or Joffrey, but I also don't think he cares about the risks. Oberyn gives off a sense of supreme confidence and great physical menace when he's angry, and he's been described as a legendary warrior at least once. I think he wants to kill the Mountain himself as a matter of honor, and if asked to do so, I think he's too proud not to accept.
posted by homunculus at 5:28 PM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


I agree with a lot of the stuff above. One thing that bugs me slightly about this show is the "Hierarchy of Fighters", and figuring out which fighter is better than which other fighter. Is Brienne better than Bronn? Is Jaime (with hand) better than The Hound? Is Ramsey better than Jon Snow? It would be nice if they had other skills other than swordplay.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:00 PM on May 13, 2014


A Game of Tags
posted by homunculus at 6:09 PM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Jaime, with hand, was probably the best swordsman alive. I don't know how he would have compared to Selmy in his prime but Selmy's prime was quite a long time ago.
posted by Justinian at 6:11 PM on May 13, 2014


How could that level of risk possibly make sense for Oberyn?

If the kingdom chooses the Mountain, then Oberyn be able to extract revenge in a legal fashion. He wouldn't be fighting for Tyrion, he would be fighting for his sister and her children. Sure, Tywin said he could arrange a meeting, but why trust Tywin when there's a legal way to kill the man he wants to kill.

s Brienne better than Bronn? Is Jaime (with hand) better than The Hound? Is Ramsey better than Jon Snow? It would be nice if they had other skills other than swordplay.

Clearly they do have other skills. Some are natural leaders (Jon, Ramsey), others are smarter, Ramsey is ruthless, Bronn is tricky and has speed, Brienne is neither, but has a lot of heart which goes with her skill and training. Bronn or Ramsey would probably get in good blows against her, but Briene would probably beat either through sheer refusal to be beaten by such "dishonorable" men.

Jaime, with hand, was probably the best swordsman alive. I don't know how he would have compared to Selmy in his prime but Selmy's prime was quite a long time ago.

At one point, when talking to Brienne, he said there were about 3 men in the kingdom who might be able to beat him, on a good day. I'm betting Selmy was one of them, but no idea on the other two.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:21 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Jaime was The Best. Although even the best can be bested in any single combat.

Jon Snow is a natural fighter who honed his skills practicing a lot as a kid; he's largely untested as yet though.

Brienne has to be excellent because she could almost keep up with Jaime. And she defeated Loras.

I don't know that Bronn is any better than your typical well-trained and seasoned sellsword (which would probably be pretty damn good).

I also don't think we know that Ramsey's a particularly good fighter at all; his tools are psychological not physical. I take his victory over the ironborn to be the luck of the VERY CRAZY, not so much skill. Ramsey basically doesn't accept the possibility that he could lose, and thus he doesn't.

The "hierarchy of fighters" is interesting because people bring such different strengths/weaknesses to any given fight. So yeah, it's hard to say who would win in the hypothetical matchups you suggest.
posted by torticat at 6:25 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


And yeah, what BB said.
posted by torticat at 6:26 PM on May 13, 2014


If you're involved in anything resembling a fair fight, you've obviously fucked up anyway.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:27 PM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


No, I mean like...I don't know what I mean.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:28 PM on May 13, 2014


I'm betting Selmy was one of them, but no idea on the other two.

One must be Ser Pounce, undoubtedly.
posted by homunculus at 6:30 PM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]




I think it's an interesting question! But probably more interesting for being unanswerable.
posted by torticat at 6:31 PM on May 13, 2014


Their virtues are also their vices. Bronn is has guile but he's ultimately only loyal to himself, Brienne is goodhearted but easily blindsided when people don't play by the rules, Ramsey is fearless but he's also prone to take unnecessary risks or go too far for the thrill, etc. I think that a lot depends on context in terms of who might win in any particular fight, because they're all elite.

I think that their relationships with each other also matter. If Oberyn or the Hound were facing the Mountain, for example, they'd be likely to go for broke in a way that might give them an advantage or might end up psyching them out.
posted by rue72 at 6:33 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Excellent scene, homunculus.

But Brienne's got her hands tied there as much as Jaime does.
posted by torticat at 6:35 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't know that Bronn is any better than your typical well-trained and seasoned sellsword (which would probably be pretty damn good).

I get the sense that he's good. When Tyrion appointed him head of the King's Guard, Bronn refused to wear the uniform because it made him visible at night and slowed him down. He had a novel solution for dealing with thievery problem in Kings Landing. Plus beating Jaime with his own hand was brilliant. In short, I get the sense he's very good at being unconventional.

I also don't think we know that Ramsey's a particularly good fighter at all; his tools are psychological not physical. I take his victory over the ironborn to be the luck of the VERY CRAZY, not so much skill. Ramsey basically doesn't accept the possibility that he could lose, and thus he doesn't.

In the fight with the Ironborn, (according to Yara these were the 50 best killers on the island) he was swift and merciless, that's enough to win most fights. Throw in his obvious intelligence and the fact that men follow him and it's easy to infer that he's good fighter.

On preview:
Oh yeah, Brienne smacked Jaime with her fist during their duel. That hints at her being a bit unconventional.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:42 PM on May 13, 2014


Interestingly, though, in the Brienne vs. Jaime fight, she is wearing armor while he has all his agility, even if he is weakened by a few weeks or months of not being able to move around as he would wish.

I would really love to see a fair fight with both of them at 100%.
posted by Night_owl at 6:44 PM on May 13, 2014


Tier 1: Jaqen H'ghar
Tier 2: Jaime, Barristan, Brienne, Khal Drogo
Tier 3: The Hound, The Mountain, Ned Stark
Tier 4: Loras... Oberyn? Syrio?
Tier 5: Bronn, Locke probably, Jorah, Daario, Ramsay I begrudgingly guess
Tier 6: Jon Snow, Beric, Thoros of Myr, Yara, Coran Halfhand, assassin dude at Craster's

(and these are all very good at the fights)

That is my sense of it just from matchups and deeds performed/related. Can't tell at all from the fight choreography, everyone fights the same on this show.
posted by furiousthought at 6:44 PM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Interestingly, though, in the Brienne vs. Jaime fight, she is wearing armor while he has all his agility, even if he is weakened by a few weeks or months of not being able to move around as he would wish.

Jaime also wasn't very good in that fight or he's seriously underestimating Brienne 'cause she's a women. He tried to knock her off her feet by throwing his body at her and hitting her shoulder to shoulder. But Brienne didn't move and Jaime just bounced off and looked surprised that he did so. I doubt he would have made that mistake with a man. He thought she was weak, but forgot or didn't realize she had to be good in order to get into Renly's Kings Guard.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:50 PM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Either way I expect Oberyn to survive simply because of the amount of time they've put into developing his character; it seems too soon in the story for him to die.

This is Game of Thrones, where precisely the opposite of this happens time and again. In fact, you've convinced the most likely way this is going to turn out is with oberyn's death. It seems audience likability carries with it a huge liability in Westeros.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:25 PM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


This is Game of Thrones, where precisely the opposite of this happens time and again.

Yeah, you're probably right. He has largely been defined by his desire for vengeance, so that would be a logical GOT conclusion to his character arc.
posted by homunculus at 7:44 PM on May 13, 2014


furiousthought, I'd pretty much agree with that except I'd move Jon Snow up. And Oberyn probably.

Also where does Ygritte fit in? She has to be at least tier 3?
posted by torticat at 8:24 PM on May 13, 2014


Random thought from this episode: is it just me, or does Shae's makeup seem to be significantly different when she's testifying at the trial from her usual look? (Less eye makeup, mainly?)
posted by ocherdraco at 8:33 PM on May 13, 2014


Robert was also supposed to be quite the brawler, back in the day.
posted by emeiji at 8:36 PM on May 13, 2014


does Shae's makeup seem to be significantly different

Her cheeks looked totally different to me and I was trying to figure out why, whether it was makeup or the actress had gained/lost weight or something else. She looked "different in the face" to me somehow.
posted by jessamyn at 8:41 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I want a Neo-Geo-inspired fighting game centered around GoT swordsmanship.

I was frustrated by Ramsay's fight scene in the show, because his fighting style seemed sort of silly and impersonal. Part of the fun of a show with a martial element is that you have the opportunity to communicate character through their fighting style.

I picture Ramsay Snow as being tactical, dirty, and effective. He doesn't work as a soldier, he works as an "army of one". He can be sadistic when he wants to be, but he's too smart to let that get in the way of victory. Check out the highly underrated film The Hunted: I see Snow as being in the mold of Benicio Del Toro's character. There's a scene in which Del Toro has been slashed on the arm. Very quickly, we see him pause, compress the slash, cup his hand to collect the pooling blood, and then he throws that blood into the eyes of his opponent. It's one weird trick to win a fight - FBI agents hate him!

Brienne is quintessentially Amazonian, so I'm instantly reminded of Futurama's line "no slam dunks, but good fundamentals". I'm not even trying to be an asshole: I totally see her fighting style as being basically like that, extremely professional and well-practiced. She's never overly clever or show-offy. She keeps winning because she has more energy and she has more discipline. Very few fighters can keep up with somebody who brings their A-game all the time - they'll get worn out before she does, especially if they waste their time with big fat high swings in the beginning.

Jaime was the best. Unfortunately, he also knew he was the best. That allowed him to underestimate Brienne, just as it is also interfering with his retraining. He's like a CEO learning how to be a fry cook - he does not understand how to be new at something, or not the best at something.

Robert Baratheon probably fought exactly like E. Honda, down to the rapid-slappy thing.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:44 PM on May 13, 2014 [10 favorites]


Yeah, I missed the Baratheons – Robert at his prime probably rated tier 3 and Stannis has gotta be tier 3 or 4. We've only seen Oberyn jump a Lannister and people talk about him so I am fuzzy on him at best. Grey Worm and all the Unsullied are tier 5 at least, probably tier 4. No idea about Ygritte or how to even begin rating archers – that guy who pals around with Beric at top tier, Ygritte/ Meera/ Theon at the next tier? who the fuck knows.

I've never seen anything to really indicate Jon Snow is more than a well-schooled & combat-talented nobleman so going from that I sort of guess the land beyond the Wall is kind of a bush league for swordsmen, but.. (throws up hands)
posted by furiousthought at 8:45 PM on May 13, 2014


Her cheeks looked totally different to me and I was trying to figure out why, whether it was makeup or the actress had gained/lost weight or something else. She looked "different in the face" to me somehow.

She looked downright ill to me, but not in an over-the-top way. I presume that was intentional, to communicate duress? I'm sure that she genuinely loathes Tyrion at this point, but I doubt she testified of her own volition.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:48 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm betting Selmy was one of them, but no idea on the other two.

Arthur Dayne and Rhaegar Targaryen, both of whom are long dead.
posted by elizardbits at 9:10 PM on May 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Tier 1: Jaqen H'ghar

I don't know that Jaqen's actually that skilled a warrior- to get all D&D, I think he's more of a rogue/assassin type than a straight fighter. He's effective at murdering some dudes, but he seems to do it by ambush and guile.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:30 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yes but as a Tleilaxu Face Dancer he has access to powers our feeble human minds cannot begin to comprehend.
posted by elizardbits at 11:00 PM on May 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


Jaqen H'ghar is like if you combined Hattori Hanzo, Anton Chigurh, Mystique and Tinkerbell. Stick him in an arena with a dude and he'll vanish into the stands and shoot the dude with the crossbow of one of the arena master's bodyguards. I don't know but probably. I always wondered what he was doing going to the Wall anyway, like, did his assassin master want to see if that White Walker shit was real or something?
posted by furiousthought at 11:03 PM on May 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Tier 1: Jaqen H'ghar
Tier 2: Jaime, Barristan, Brienne, Khal Drogo
Tier 3: The Hound, The Mountain, Ned Stark
Tier 4: Loras... Oberyn? Syrio?
Tier 5: Bronn, Locke probably, Jorah, Daario, Ramsay I begrudgingly guess
Tier 6: Jon Snow, Beric, Thoros of Myr, Yara, Coran Halfhand, assassin dude at Craster's


WHERE is Syrio Forel, First Sword of Braavos??

On Edit... oh yeah, Tier 4. Of course I see it NOW. Still, I think he would have to be higher than that. You do not just place a First Sword of Braavos in tier 4.
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 11:32 PM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Look guys it's actually really simple:

Greagor "The Mountain" Clegane = Rock type
Jon Snow = Ice type
Rock is super effective against Ice. The Mountain would beat Jon Snow, QED.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:23 AM on May 14, 2014 [4 favorites]


Tier 0: Ser Pounce
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:33 AM on May 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


Re: The Iron Bank's motivations, is it possible that they are playing

*puts on sunglasses*

A game of loans?
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 12:54 AM on May 14, 2014 [26 favorites]


Arthur Dayne and Rhaegar Targaryen, both of whom are long dead.

Dayne, sure. Rhaegar? Robert killed him in a fair fight, and I doubt Robert's better than Jaime.

And obviously Syrio "I'll just kill five men on my own, with a stick" Forel should be Tier 1, but it's understandable if the Westerosi don't know that...
posted by Pink Frost at 12:57 AM on May 14, 2014


Jaqen H'ghar

OH YEAH WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT GUY? HE WAS BADASS!

Though I gotta wonder, is he really such a great swordfighter? Considering the first time we meet him he's in a prison cart?
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:14 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


I remember nm. Short Round is trying to get to him in Braavos.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:22 AM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


the Unsullied are tier 5 at least, probably tier 4.

Well now. I might rate the unsullied higher than that, because they are utterly loyal and have nothing to lose. But they are different from the others in that their strength is in their numbers. No way to know, for example, how Grey Worm would fare in individual combat. But the unsullied are trained to be fighting machines, so I expect they're pretty good.
posted by torticat at 3:32 AM on May 14, 2014


This is Game of Thrones, where precisely the opposite of this happens time and again. In fact, you've convinced the most likely way this is going to turn out is with oberyn's death. It seems audience likability carries with it a huge liability in Westeros.


Not really. It's doubtful that Daenerys, Jon or Tyrion will die anytime soon, if ever. More than likely all or most of the Stark children will survive.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:44 AM on May 14, 2014


Ned is a competent and trained swordsman, but he was never in the elite ranks.
posted by absalom at 4:42 AM on May 14, 2014


I love this tiering business all too much. When it comes to pure murder skills, it makes sense to put H'ghar number 1, but I dunno if that's the same as swordfighting skills. I mean, if one indulges me in a show-universe-cross hypothetical here, Hannibal would also be Tier 1 murder skills, but he'd fall pretty quickly to an armored knight.

And despite The Hound's mockery, Syrio Forel is definitely Tier 1 swordfighting skills. This is more clear from his death scene in the book, where its made clear that he just straight up kills everyone but Meryn Trant with his little piece of wood but is still outnumbered. In the show things are paced a little too slowly, and all I could think was: well grab a real sword from one of those dudes you just disposed of, Syrio, and tell death "not today!". But in the book it seems to go so fast you see how Forel could be the fastest blade in all of Braavos and probably the Seven Kingdoms too and still not be able to make it out of there alive.
posted by dis_integration at 6:43 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


But in the book it seems to go so fast you see how Forel could be the fastest blade in all of Braavos and probably the Seven Kingdoms too and still not be able to make it out of there alive.

In the book, he's able to hold Trant off with a wooden blade, scoring several hits that would've been fatal had it been a real blade - Trant just never gives him time to get one. It's always been clear to me that Forel is sacrificing himself to ensure Arya's escape - killing who he can and then engaging Trant in a drawn out fight that he can't win (but could if he were properly armed and equipped).
posted by nubs at 7:05 AM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


Tier 1: Jaqen H'ghar, Syrio Forel*
Tier 2: Jaime (in his prime), Barristan, Khal Drogo, Oberyn
Tier 3: The Hound, The Mountain, Brienne, Jaime (w/hands tied or missing one)
Tier 4: Loras, Ned Stark, Bronn
Tier 5: Locke probably, Jorah, Daario,
Tier 6: Jon Snow, Ramsay, Beric, Thoros of Myr, Yara, Coran Halfhand, assassin dude at Craster's
Tier 7: Arya

My version of furiousthought's rankings

*because bizarro Inigo Montoya
posted by GrapeApiary at 7:45 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Loras is hard to place - he's the quintessential Knight of Summer. He's maybe the best in the seven kingdoms at jousting, and a talented, well-trained swordsman, but he's never seen actual combat. The closest he came was that aborted battle between Renly and Stannis, and if that had happened, I think the combination of inexperience and being the tallest poppy means that Loras doesn't get out of there alive.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:58 AM on May 14, 2014


Loras was with the Lannisters at the battle of Kings Landing. He was standing with various knights and guards Tywin entered the throne room and Cersi and tiny Tommen were seated on it. So he may have seen some combat, but it's not clear and it wasn't much if he did.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:17 AM on May 14, 2014


I'm not sure Syrio Forel is Tier 1, otherwise what is he doing bumming around KL giving lessons to the Hand's kid? Maybe once he was, but not now. I'd also swap Ned Stark and Jorah Mormont. Jorah beat Jaime (granted, in a decision, not a KO) at Lannisport in 289AC, and I don't think we have any real evidence of Ned's proficiency in battle, do we?
posted by Rock Steady at 8:22 AM on May 14, 2014


Also, subscribe to my Fantasy Westeros Tourney League podcast for my recommendations for your 301AC Draft and my top Sleepers and Busts for this season.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:27 AM on May 14, 2014 [5 favorites]


rock steady: being #1 does not mean being a good businessman. Maybe he was only #2 at cardsin Braavos?

Anyway, this whole tier thing is tedious. I know we love tiers but honestly, being good at swordplay isn't like being good at chess. If anything, it's much more important to choose the winning side than to actually have combat skills.
posted by rebent at 8:36 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


ersatz: "Ramsey Bolton is the heir of the Lord Protector of the North (a.k.a. dad)"

Except his name is Ramsey Snow, not Bolton, because he's a bastard, not an heir. Roose only promised him lands and name if they succeed in finding the remaining Starks (including Jon Snow)
posted by I am the Walrus at 8:37 AM on May 14, 2014


Brandon Blatcher: "Oh yeah, Brienne smacked Jaime with her fist during their duel. That hints at her being a bit unconventional."

Being a woman in a duel hints at her being unconventional
posted by I am the Walrus at 8:41 AM on May 14, 2014 [7 favorites]


I don't think we have any real evidence of Ned's proficiency in battle, do we?

Ned's proficiency is never really shown on screen (though he has a brief battle with the Kingslayer on the show) and not at all in the books. However, the books do delve a bit into Ned's past, and my read on it is that he was a pretty kickass swordsman in his day - he was the second son of the Starks, and raised to be a soldier; he lead Robert's vanguard during the Rebellion; and he was fostered at the Eyrie with Robert - and Robert was no slouch himself in battle (and there's one or two other things that are book only at this point).

But - and I think Ned would be quick to point this out - battle isn't a tourney and it isn't a duel; it's about terrain and advantage and exploiting weaknesses. Some Ned show quotes about fighting:


Eddard Stark: [to Jaime Lannister] I don't fight in tournaments because when I fight a man for real, I don't want him to know what I can do.




Barristan Selmy: Life is strange. Not so many years ago, we fought as enemies at the Trident.
Eddard Stark: I'm glad we never met on the field, Ser Barristan. As is my wife. I don't think the widow's life would suit her.
Barristan Selmy: [chuckles] You're too modest. I've seen you cut down a dozen great knights.
Eddard Stark: My father once told me you were the best he'd ever seen. Never knew the man to be wrong about matters of combat.
Barristan Selmy: He was a fine man, your father. What the Mad King did to him was a terrible crime.
posted by nubs at 8:43 AM on May 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


In the show, Ned held his own against the Kingslayer to a sufficient degree that Jaime flew into a rage and assaulted the Lannister soldier who cut the duel short. That's pretty skilled.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:50 AM on May 14, 2014


Strong take, nubs. Ned can stay in Tier 4, but is he Elite?
posted by Rock Steady at 8:50 AM on May 14, 2014


Ned can stay in Tier 4, but is he Elite?

For me to make that argument, I would need to bring in book knowledge.
posted by nubs at 8:58 AM on May 14, 2014


pope, I rewatched that scene and my take on it was that Jamie was toying with Ned. I think he punched the soldier for basically insulting his skills by implying that he needed help.
posted by rebent at 9:02 AM on May 14, 2014


my take on it was that Jamie was toying with Ned.

Well, here it is. My take on it has always been that it's two elite swordsmen in the opening stages of a long fight, taking a measure of each other, feeling each other out. Ned is more serious and Jaime more stylistic/playful in appearance (of course), but they way they part after the first exchange and reset leaves me with no sense that Ned feels overmatched.

It is entirely possible that Jaime is pulling his punches out of fear for Tyrion's life, but I don't get that sense - there were several moments leading up to this where it is pretty strongly hinted that Jaime wants to fight Ned, to see who is better - which in itself points to the fact that Ned has a bit of a reputation.
posted by nubs at 9:15 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


And of course, there's the whole "by what right does the wolf judge the lion" bit between them as well.
posted by nubs at 9:20 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


I wonder if being a fighter in this kind of setting is actually a whole lot like being a boxer or a mixed martial artist, two fields where there is a saying that "styles make fights" and the sports have a long history of combatants ducking challengers to avoid getting into a scrap with a fighter who makes for a bad style matchup for them.

While Bronn can't say that he fought to great renown at the Battle of Such and Such or that he squired for the finest knight the land has ever known, I'd bet that he'd be a lot like the Ken Norton to Jaime's Ali. (That's Jaime with his right hand, obvs.)

Brienne strikes me as someone who'd be what the combat sports call a gatekeeper: a threat to the top level fighters if they don't take her seriously, able to mop the floor with a lot of the lesser fighters even when they do take her seriously, but generally seen as primarily a stern test to those who want to rise in the ranks and challenge the top dogs.

Then you've got your folks like The Mountain and Robert, who are kind of like the George Foremans (Foremen?) of their setting.

Oberyn strikes me as a Roy Jones Jr type.

This is fun. :-)
posted by lord_wolf at 9:28 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Somebody could make a fighting game based on the knights and swordsmen of ASOIAF so we could have a dream tourney.
posted by nubs at 9:38 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think "bad style match-up" probably fits what we know of the Robert-Rhaegar fight. Robert would have basically been an armored tornado with a huge hammer, so just hugely advantaged to start with.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:42 AM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


i'm just joining this so haven't gone thru it all in detail...but FAMOUS MONSTER i love that explanation of the bad ironborn rescue. and also about phantom penis. i can totally see that given how mentally gone theon is.
posted by sio42 at 9:55 AM on May 14, 2014


Robert would have basically been an armored tornado with a huge hammer, so just hugely advantaged to start with.

And they were fighting in rushing water, in the midst of a horrific battle. Rhaegar, a perpetual tourney winner, seems to have been the supreme technical swordsman of his day. But feints and footwork won't avail in a brawl on uncertain ground.
posted by Iridic at 10:11 AM on May 14, 2014


Super Tourney Fighter II Westeros

Characters:
Balrog - Khal Drogo
Blanka - Robert Baratheon
Cammy - Brienne Tarth
Chun-Li - Ygritte
Dee Jay - Jacen H'gar
Dhalsim - Ramsay Snow
E. Honda - Gregor Clegane
Fei Long - Loras Tyrell
Guile - Jon Snow
Ken - Jaime Lannister
M. Bison - Barristan Selmy
Ryu - Rhaegar Targaryen
Sagat - Oberyn Martell
T. Hawk - Sandor Clegane
Vega - Syrio Forel
Zangief - Ned Stark
posted by Rock Steady at 10:12 AM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


Rhaegar, a perpetual tourney winner, seems to have been the supreme technical swordsman of his day. But feints and footwork won't avail in a brawl on uncertain ground.


Barristan Selmy: Your Grace, the Prince of Dragonstone was a most puissant warrior, but...

Daenerys: Go on. You may speak freely to me.

Barristan Selmy: As you command. A warrior without peer... those are fine words, Your Grace, but words win no battles.
posted by nubs at 10:18 AM on May 14, 2014


Super Smash WesterBros Tourney:

Sansa - Zelda
Arya - Sheik
Ygritte - Link
Jon Snow - Pit
Ramsey Bolton - Jigglypuff
Loras Tyrell - Roy
Ned Stark - Ike
Jorah Mormont - Ike
Brienne of Tarth - Ike
Gregor Clegane - Donkey Kong
Jaime - Marth
Barristan Selmy - Snake
Jaqen H'ghar - Meta Knight
posted by Iridic at 10:36 AM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


And they were fighting in rushing water, in the midst of a horrific battle.

Reminds me of Abraham Lincoln's choice of conditions when challenged to a duel by a short man: sledgehammers in four feet of water.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:44 AM on May 14, 2014


"Reminds me of Abraham Lincoln's choice of conditions when challenged to a duel by a short man: sledgehammers in four feet of water."

That was James Humble. Lincoln's challenge was broadswords in a pit.
posted by komara at 10:50 AM on May 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


Snow shovels on a sand dune. Axes in a bouncy castle. Javelins in an ice rink. Meat cleavers in a ball pit.
posted by Iridic at 10:56 AM on May 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


Polearms in an elevator.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:57 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Steel-toed boots in a hot-tub.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:58 AM on May 14, 2014


Judy Bagwell on a pole match.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:59 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Atlatls on a mountaintop.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:59 AM on May 14, 2014


Ferrets in a crowded danceclub.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:00 AM on May 14, 2014 [5 favorites]


This might be a derail.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:00 AM on May 14, 2014


Flails on rails.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:02 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Non-sequiturs in a derail!
posted by nubs at 11:03 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.
posted by Uncle Ira at 11:27 AM on May 14, 2014 [17 favorites]


You in a jerk store.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:28 AM on May 14, 2014 [10 favorites]


So, I'm guessing: Bronn was the last to tell Tyrion that Shae was 'gone' and Bronn is a sellsword. We can probably deduce that Bronn has been bought by Cersei.

Jaime is the single person in the trial that has a little (a lot) of sympathy for Tyrion.

Therefore:
Jaime will fight for Tyrion - and Bronn will fight him.

(snakes on a plane?)
posted by Riton at 11:42 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Pick axes in a submarine.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 11:59 AM on May 14, 2014


Daenerys, her arms wide!
posted by homunculus at 12:02 PM on May 14, 2014 [5 favorites]


pastrami on rye extra mustard

what is happen
posted by elizardbits at 12:05 PM on May 14, 2014 [9 favorites]


You in a jerk store.

It's a smart line, and a smart crowd will appreciate it.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:15 PM on May 14, 2014 [3 favorites]




So, I'm guessing: Bronn was the last to tell Tyrion that Shae was 'gone' and Bronn is a sellsword. We can probably deduce that Bronn has been bought by Cersei.

Bronn said that Varys knew Shae was on the ship too, didn't he? I think Varys got her for the Lannisters. Varys wouldn't sacrifice his own position to prevent Tywin and Cersei from framing Tyrion and sending him into the Night's Watch, even though he has nothing against Tyrion. To him, it's a family conflict whose outcome doesn't have any immediate implications for the well-being of the kingdom, since (as Varys himself implied when he said history wouldn't remember his saving King's Landing) nobody really cares about Tyrion one way or the other.
posted by clockzero at 2:30 PM on May 14, 2014


Therefore:
Jaime will fight for Tyrion - and Bronn will fight him.


This is way more boring than the dream fight people have suggested of the mountain Vs oberyn... which is why i agree with you and think it will probably happen.

I do think we'll see some kind of shakeup though, like whoever fights both people will impale eachother and BOTH will die, or someone will chuck a sword at the other one, miss, and impale someone important, or...
posted by emptythought at 2:35 PM on May 14, 2014


I thought the scene between him and Oberyn was fascinating and I am looking forward to a rewatch; I think Varys is a master of misdirection.

I thought the most interesting thing about that scene was Varys's reaction when Oberyn recognized his accent. Varys doesn't like people learning his secrets, and who knows what secrets he's keeping about his origins. I wonder just how threatened he felt by that.
posted by homunculus at 2:46 PM on May 14, 2014 [5 favorites]


And of course, there's the whole "by what right does the wolf judge the lion" bit between them as well.

Boy, I sure miss Sean Bean after watching that clip. He was perfect as Ned Stark.
posted by Pendragon at 2:53 PM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


I do think we'll see some kind of shakeup though, like whoever fights both people will impale eachother and BOTH will die

That would be the perfect GOT conclusion to the fight. But if they both die, would that mean Tyrion is found guilty or innocent according to Westerosi law? I assume as long as his champion dies, that means the Gods are against him and he's guilty, but I don't really know.
posted by homunculus at 2:53 PM on May 14, 2014


That would be the perfect GOT conclusion to the fight. But if they both die, would that mean Tyrion is found guilty or innocent according to Westerosi law? I assume as long as his champion dies, that means the Gods are against him and he's guilty, but I don't really know.

Oberyn throws a spear so hard that it goes through The Mountain, up through Tywin and Cersei, then inexplicably gains immense speed and rockets deafeningly northward, just as the camera cuts to a scene of Ramsay looking out a south-facing window in the Dreadfort.
posted by clockzero at 3:26 PM on May 14, 2014 [6 favorites]


...passes out the back window, continues north to Bravos passing between the legs of the Titan and meets Stannis' head by impaling it to the floor of his ship.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:35 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Aww, Stannis isn't any fun at parties, and Melisandre is scary as hell, but he's not on my version of Arya's list or anything.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:39 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Dude worships demons. I wouldn't want him as an enemy, but I wouldn't hang with him at dinner parties either.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:44 PM on May 14, 2014


Stannis then steadfastly refuses to die, but they can't take the spear out, either; eventually Davos has to gently explain that Westeros won't accept a ship-man as its king, so Stannis decides to go all-in with the ship part and commands his men to attach a steering wheel to his face.

I wonder if there's a long-lost Baratheon brother named Ferris, who's even tougher than Stannis but more prone to rust.
posted by clockzero at 3:45 PM on May 14, 2014 [6 favorites]


Based on Oberyn's past behavior, he may not be exactly interested in fighting The Mountain.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:01 PM on May 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


Varys also seemed more openly ambitious in the scene in the Throne Room with Oberyn: that very deliberate glance towards the Throne. Usually Vary's ambitions are carefully cloaked in "for the good of the realm" -- and that has notably been the tone he has previously taken with Tyrion. But that look seemed much more overtly greedy.

Maybe it's both. He seems to be genuinely concerned for the health of the realm while also being contemptuous of royal shenanigans. Perhaps Varys is a closet republican who wants to destroy the Iron Throne altogether. And he's actually funding the Brotherhood Without Banners from a secret black fund while blaming the money's disappearance on Littlefinger's creative accounting.
posted by homunculus at 4:24 PM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


...passes out the back window, continues north to Bravos passing between the legs of the Titan and meets Stannis' head by impaling it to the floor of his ship.

Or it might bounce off a chest of Iron Bank gold and impale Stannis to the Titan's colossal junk.
posted by homunculus at 4:26 PM on May 14, 2014


OK I AM STILL ON THE DRESS THING

After watching a lot of youtube clips, I think the dress Shae is wearing at the trial is the dress Sansa was wearing when the riot broke out in King's Landing. The costuming in this show is done so deliberately and carefully, I feel certain that this is a choice that was made on purpose to communicate something. but what?!
posted by KathrynT at 4:41 PM on May 14, 2014 [6 favorites]


I think you're right.

In the riot scene, Sansa was an innocent who many were willing to sacrifice. Only Tyrion and the Hound gave a damn about her.

Nobody cares about
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:07 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure Syrio Forel is Tier 1, otherwise what is he doing bumming around KL giving lessons to the Hand's kid? Maybe once he was, but not now.

But you see, Syrio got a little tired of all the politicking and backstabbing that went with being the First Sword of Braavos. So he took a sabbatical in the now peaceful Westeros and decided to recapture his passion for water dancing by teaching it to others...
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 5:51 PM on May 14, 2014


Kathryn T, I think you're right about the dress. They've just exposed the lining of the sleeves and changed out the accessories. But it is the same dress and I'm sure that is going to be meaningful!
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 5:52 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


After watching a lot of youtube clips, I think the dress Shae is wearing at the trial is the dress Sansa was wearing when the riot broke out in King's Landing. The costuming in this show is done so deliberately and carefully, I feel certain that this is a choice that was made on purpose to communicate something. but what?!

Well, I mean, you could definitely have something there, but on the other hand, reusing a dress is nothing compared to reusing an actor.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:24 PM on May 14, 2014 [3 favorites]




Holy crap, @Sys Rq, that is one hell of a clip. "Martin Lannister," eh?
posted by hush at 8:32 PM on May 14, 2014


Suuuper late to the thread, but as no one's mentioned it --- I thought the Shae heel turn was fine, because ever since Tyrion's marriage to Sansa she's been super insecure about their relationship, and he was throwing some hardcore mixed signals --- "I love you. But I can't sleep with you. Because I'm married. But I'm not sleeping with her either. Because I only married her for my family. But I still can't sleep with you. Because I'm afraid for you. So you have to go away. But I totally love you. And not the woman I'm married to, who is equally highborn as I am. Whereas you're a whore. Who I'm not sleeping with. Because I'm married. And you have to go away. But totes love you, babe, never forget that." That's been her core insecurity throughout, that despite his love of her he'll ultimately reject her because she's a whore. And that's the fear her puts both thumbs into and twists in order to get her to leave. So I have no problem with the idea that she hates him for that. Probably loves him some too, still, but I'm sure she wants to get back at him, make him feel as bad as he made her feel.

Overall I was a little underwhelmed by this episode, really. i was hoping Tyrion'd get out of it with some cleverness; he kind of does in a way, but from the muffled squees of the book-types it looks like it'll end up being decided with some kind of battle. Would rather have him win off his own bat and not via a champion. Also the dwarf line felt a little on the nose to me.

Also --- does anyone know what possible good Reek acting like Theon Greyjoy could do for Ramsey Bolton? Theon has no legit claim to the North, it's not like you can produce him as an heir and use him to help rule anything, as far as I know, anyway. He commands no personal loyalty from anyone, now that his sister's left him for dead. So what use do people think Bolton has for him?
posted by Diablevert at 9:49 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


If Theon turns up at Pyke going "HAY SUP THEON IN THE HOUSE", his sister at least is going to be inclined to treat him as such- Ramsey already knows that she cares at least enough to try and rescue her brother. But if Theon's really Reek now, loyal only to Ramsey, it gives Ramsey an incredible infiltrator/inside man.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:56 PM on May 14, 2014


So I have no problem with the idea that she hates him for that. Probably loves him some too, still, but I'm sure she wants to get back at him, make him feel as bad as he made her feel.

And of course there's the possibility that she's doing this because she's been threatened or bribed. Remembering Cersei had Alayana whipped because she thought she was Tyrion's lover; think how much angrier Cersei is with Tyrion now and how much his power has diminished. I'd imagine Cersei could have been very persuasive towards Shae.
posted by Pink Frost at 11:30 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also --- does anyone know what possible good Reek acting like Theon Greyjoy could do for Ramsey Bolton? Theon has no legit claim to the North, it's not like you can produce him as an heir and use him to help rule anything, as far as I know, anyway. He commands no personal loyalty from anyone, now that his sister's left him for dead. So what use do people think Bolton has for him?

Well he could walk right in to anywhere in the iron islands and if he was acting normal, people would just go "lol sup dude?" right?

Like couldn't he go just waltz in and kill his dad or his sister in their sleep, or any number of other things? show up and talk troops out of things who recognize him even if he supposedly doesn't have a ton of authority?

Never underestimate the usefulness of a flipped undercover agent like that who has some built in credibility...
posted by emptythought at 11:36 PM on May 14, 2014


I wish to watch Oberyon and Loras combat with the challenge weapon "hot gay makeouts".
posted by gingerest at 12:16 AM on May 15, 2014 [16 favorites]


from the muffled squees of the book-types

This is such a great description, thanks.

"Bookwalker" makes my skin crawl (wtf). "Muffled squees of the book-types" is fair enough.
posted by torticat at 4:35 AM on May 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


Also --- does anyone know what possible good Reek acting like Theon Greyjoy could do for Ramsey Bolton?

Bolton's forces are trapped south of Moat Cailin, which is currently held by the Ironborn.
posted by clockzero at 7:39 AM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


Bolton's forces are trapped south of Moat Cailin, which is currently held by the Ironborn.

Ah, that makes sense. Theon snapping into Manchurian candidate mode and being able to make it back to Pyke and assassinate his Dad or sister seems implausible to me; I just don't think he could keep it together well enough or long enough to pull that off, especially since his sister's seen him in Reek mode and his father despises him anyway. But putting one over on a bunch of foot soldiers long enough to pop open a city gate, that seems doable.

And of course there's the possibility that [Shae's] doing this because she's been threatened or bribed.

Could be, of course, but I don't think the actress played it like she was being coerced. She looked right at Tyrion and threw his words back in his face; if she wanted it to come off like she was only there because he arm was being twisted, I think she's have avoided looking him in the eye, muttered the line as a quiet aside. Too much anger and pain in it the way she played it. I'm sure she got a bit of stick and carrot from Tywin/Cersei also, but I still think her motive was personal. Doesn't much matter, plot-wise, I think, either way.
posted by Diablevert at 8:39 AM on May 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


"And of course there's the possibility that [Shae's] doing this because she's been threatened or bribed."

Discussing this last night we came to the conclusion that even if the reason that Shae is there is because of Lannister coersion there's still a huge portion that's personal vendetta and this is made plain by her comment about the 'Lion' nickname.

Cersei has no reason to know that Shae had a nickname for Tyrion and even if she did I doubt that she would say, "Yep, that's a big deal - make sure to throw that into your testimony." If I recall correctly Shae herself decided to call Tyrion that, and yet she tells the story the other way around just to make him look bad.

It's a tiny and relatively inconsequential thing and something that I don't think the Lannisters would have bothered to make her say, so that leads me to believe it's all Shae behind that comment.
posted by komara at 8:53 AM on May 15, 2014 [6 favorites]


You know, another interesting thing about the directorial choice to make Shae more into Tyrion - it makes even more pathos. He is so ready to believe the worst of everyone. Show Tyrion says - Shae, don't. (my opinion. not canon) He assumes her agency, her betrayal, that she has come back from the ship he put her on specifically to hurt him. He doesn't appeal to anyone else to stop - he appeals directly to her for something that she may not even have the power to grant.

This is similar to the Tysha situation. He marries a girl and lives happily with her, and then when he finds out she is a whore bought by his brother, (show only) he doesn't bother to ask her - why? Do you care for me now? What is the situation? He just lets his father have guardsmen rape her, without interceding for her at all.

(Also, man, on rewatch, there are so many things that make the Shae trial scene worse. Like Shae: "You should have known she was a whore.")
posted by corb at 9:33 AM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


One way I made sense of Shae's betrayal was imagining Tywin persuading her to believe it was the best way to save Tyrian. The trial's outcome was predetermined. Based on Tywin's quick reaction to Jamie, it seems the backroom deal was as well. Shae may have believed she was expediting Tyrian's release to the Wall. Honestly though, this thread has lessened my belief in this idea.
posted by firemouth at 10:47 AM on May 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


Sorry, Tyrion, of course.
posted by firemouth at 10:54 AM on May 15, 2014




whaaaaaa?
posted by rebent at 11:42 AM on May 15, 2014


oh, right. Man, that's not even anything compared to, you know, the lannisters.
posted by rebent at 11:43 AM on May 15, 2014


Yeah but for Lily Allen it would mean getting felt up by her actual brother. I got the impression she meant "too much incest" IRL, not for the fictional purpose of the role.
posted by torticat at 11:49 AM on May 15, 2014 [8 favorites]


Too much incest? She wouldn't make it in Westeros AT ALL.
posted by Justinian at 11:58 AM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


oh, right
posted by rebent at 11:59 AM on May 15, 2014


I can't fault Tyrion too much for the Tysha story, because he was still a kid and was an additional victim of what happened, but we can see in his retelling there, as well as in the situation with Shae, that one of Tyrion's faults is an instinct to make things all about himself. In many ways, he and Shae were the healthiest, most loving couple in the show for a long time, but the give-and-take was always unbalanced.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:37 PM on May 15, 2014


Ned and Cat were a pretty healthy couple. Until you know.
posted by Justinian at 1:11 PM on May 15, 2014


He lost his head in an argument?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:11 PM on May 15, 2014 [5 favorites]


Dammit Tyrion
posted by Jelly at 1:21 PM on May 15, 2014 [8 favorites]


That's a good point. Even as he says "She had so many silver coins they were slipping through her fingers," the read I get on that was more "What a whore she was, thus, it was painful for me" rather than "My god, what did they do to her, poor woman."
posted by corb at 3:04 PM on May 15, 2014


Trying to imagine Lily Allen as Yara is blowing my little mind.
posted by gingerest at 4:15 PM on May 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


To the tune of "Alfie":

Ooooo deary me,
My little brother's in the Dreadfort with Ramsey,
I tell him he should get out cos it's dead he's gonna be
He can't be bothered cos thinks his name is Reek.
I ask him very nicely if he'd like to come with me,
But he's real fucked up, cos they cut off his wee-wee.
Released the hounds so that my Ironborn must flee.
My baby brother Theon how I wish that you were free.

[Chorus]
Oooooo I only say it cos I care,
So please can you deal with Damphair.
Now, now there's no need to swear,
You'll never sit the Iron Chair.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:35 PM on May 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think "The Fear" is a better match

"I want lots of slaughter and lots of beheadings..."
posted by The Whelk at 4:48 PM on May 15, 2014


I think that the "so many coins" was also about him feeling *culpable.* Just like I think that Tyrion feels guilty and culpable in Shae's betrayal in a way he doesn't feel in others' betrayals, and that's why he pleads with her to stop.

Tyrion was also a "customer" of Tysha's and Shae's, and I think that part of what he hates about seeing them transformed into "just" whores is that it makes him into someone that just used them (as whores) instead of someone who loved them, when he *wants* to be someone who loved them. I don't think that the betrayal is just about them betraying him, I think it's about him also betraying them by presenting himself as a husband and then ultimately turning out to just be another customer (against his own will). I think that because he feels a certain amount of culpability in these women's degradation, he is *angrier* about being forced to bare culpability for things he knows he's *not* guilty of.

I'm not sure whether Tyrion makes it all about himself in general or not. The way that he tries very hard not to repeat the past mistakes with Tysha with Shae (getting so afraid about his father finding out about her, reminding them both over and over the difference between a "wife" and a "whore," etc) actually makes me think that he was genuinely humbled and is trying hard not to behave foolishly this time. Cersei and Tyrion both, I think, genuinely think Tywin is *correct* most (maybe all) of the time, and they really do try to see and do things his way. That ends up coming out as selfishness and coldness a lot of the time, because Tywin is selfish and cold -- I don't think that means *they* are necessarily selfish and cold. I think that when Tyrion recounts what happened to Tysha, he's talking about what he did and how he felt because he's trying to convey how *he fucked up.* He's trying to say that Tysha wasn't in the wrong, *he* was, *he* should have known better. Since he's the one who fucked up, he's the one the focus is on in his story. That's self-involved in a "What have I done?!" way, but I don't think it's self-involved in an uncaring way, at least not necessarily.
posted by rue72 at 4:50 PM on May 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


I can't read Cersei's expression. Like, at all. It's not blank; there's the suggestion of a smile, but it's not there for long, along with some other things.

Just rewatched the episode and after Tyrion demands trial by combat there's definitely a microexpression of a smile on Cersei's face before she composes herself. She's pleased by this turn of events -- I think she planned for this eventuality.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:10 PM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure whether Tyrion makes it all about himself in general or not.

I agree with that whole assessment. I don't think Tyrion makes things all about himself, generally. But he DOES have a big mouth, which is what worries Jaime during the trial, and definitely comes back to bite Tyrion.

The fact that a lot of his quotes were taken out of context doesn't change the fact that Tyrion has a tendency to tell it like it is, which isn't always the wisest course of action. Part of what makes it hard for the viewer is that we had been cheering for him every time he mouthed off. See: all the gifs of Tyrion slapping Joffrey in season 1.
posted by torticat at 6:49 PM on May 15, 2014 [2 favorites]




Late to the party, but can I just say I loved Davos in this episode. Mostly when he goes to talk to Salladhor San. He is full of excitement and mischief, a glimpse of him, perhaps, in the old life. Up until now, he's been serious and humble, afraid, but strong. The about face giddiness at recruiting pirates was so well done.

(as was the camera work on Jamie's realization that his father was getting what he wanted all long. But that was fun in a different way.)
posted by [insert clever name here] at 9:18 AM on May 17, 2014






They skipped Shae's career in hardcore German porn.
posted by empath at 7:38 AM on May 19, 2014


No one's here anymore, and I won't watch the new one for another hour but gotta say: The look between Tyrion and Tywin at the very end of the reaction shots of his demand for trial by combat say that they both realize now that Tywin backed the wrong son.
posted by digitalprimate at 11:06 AM on May 20, 2014 [5 favorites]




The look between Tyrion and Tywin at the very end of the reaction shots of his demand for trial by combat say that they both realize now that Tywin backed the wrong son.


I wish I had a gif of that.
posted by bq at 1:25 PM on May 20, 2014






"That's not a monster."
posted by like_neon at 2:10 AM on May 23, 2014


I can't watch Oberlyn without thinking of riiiiich Corinthian leaaaather

Indeed.
posted by homunculus at 12:50 PM on May 25, 2014


Well I only finally got caught up on this episode today so here's a bunch of wordbarf. Enjoy!

I thought her statement that she was his whore was very pointed. As in "you said I was so here I am in all my whoriness".

Really? I read that as "I have my price, and someone has met it."

the Iron Bank giving Stannis money seems like a *horrible* investment. How could it possibly be more likely that they'll collect from him vs. the crown?

Well, ideally, they lend him the money and he becomes the crown. But yeah, it's a terrible investment.

Also can I just say Danaerys' throne room is stunning? All the Meerenese architecture so far is stunning, actually. I want them to build me a house.

but can we give it up for Natalie Dormer during those trial scenes

Every time the camera cut to her I was like, "wow, you really are actually that cold-ass who plays the Game really damn well."

I liked the brief reaction shot of Oberyn at that moment; amused, and fully aware of the power dynamic.

That's Oberyn in every single scene, though. The only people in Westeros who can match his intellect and insight, I think, are Tyrion, Varys, and Littlefinger.

Isn't the difficulty that the Crown is in debt?

Yes and no. The Crown has been borrowing from the Lannisters for years, but we now know their mines haven't been producing for at least three years. So they've been dipping into their reserves to prop up the Crown, along with the loans from the Iron Bank, or they are personally in debt to the IB as well, laundering the IB's money through their own property so that Robert would see Lannister coins.

Plus it seems pretty obvious that Littlefinger has not only been robbing Peter to pay Paul, but a deep look into the books may find some 'irregularities' in the numbers entered. Remember what he wants: Everything. Everything there is.

Is this implying that Tywin knows the rumors about Jamie's and Cersei's relationship are true, and that his grandchildren really are bastards without a proper claim to the throne?

I don't think there is any way Tywin doesn't know the truth behind the parentage of Joffrey, Tommen, or Myrcella. I suspect in his mind, even if the Lannister name dies (which he will do everything he can to prevent), the Lannister blood will still be ruling Westeros.

I think it was also a (really unnecessary) buff to Ramsay's villain rep, too. Yara was portrayed as such a badass earlier, and he sent her home scared, beaten, and ashamed.

Speaking of buff, Ramsay is... damn. But count me in with the 'there's no way the ironborn would have lost that fight' team. It was a poorly executed scene that pushed the plot forward in one small way (there is no more Theon), while being completely ridiculous and unbelievable in every other way.

Except for Ramsay's abs. Those are not ridiculous.

Yes, this is a good point. It makes more sense for Ramsay to use sadism as a substitute for the sexual act. It's weird and pointless to show him having what appears to be vanilla sex.

Notice where th girl's hands were. Around his neck, choking him. That was not vanilla sex at all.

This week's maisiewilliams.tumblr.com recap

OH MY GOD I DIED I AM DED

Ferrets in a crowded danceclub
dot tumblr dot com

Aww, Stannis isn't any fun at parties, and Melisandre is scary as hell, but he's not on my version of Arya's list or anything.

In my headcanon, Melisandre dies, ironically, in a bonfire. I figure Stannis wil just stoic himself to death.

does anyone know what possible good Reek acting like Theon Greyjoy could do for Ramsey Bolton?

Because Theon Greyjoy of Pyke can open doors that Ramsay Snow, Sadistic Bastard cannot.

(as was the camera work on Jamie's realization that his father was getting what he wanted all long. But that was fun in a different way.)

Oh god yes! Watching the realization dawn that he got manoeuvred right to where Tywin wanted him was priceless.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:33 PM on May 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


"Really? I read that as "I have my price, and someone has met it.""

In earlier episodes she was offered all sorts of mad cash to leave town and she refused. I'm pretty sure she's not sold out for money. I think it was more like, "You do this and you get to keep breathing."
posted by komara at 7:54 PM on May 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think it was more like, "You do this and you get to keep breathing."

Like I said, they met her price. She DGAF about diamonds as we saw. But her testimony was essential to having Tyrion convicted, so she did have some negotiation room, and whatever that negotiation was and with whom, they met her price.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:56 PM on May 26, 2014


"But her testimony was essential to having Tyrion convicted, so she did have some negotiation room"

I am of the strong opinion that's not true. When someone says "Do this or you die right now" - and they mean it, it's not an idle thread - that doesn't really leave room for negotiation.
posted by komara at 10:00 PM on May 26, 2014


I should have added: I don't feel that her testimony was essential to having Tyrion convicted. It was essential to breaking his spirit, yes, but he was going to be convicted regardless. Shae wasn't in a position to negotiate by saying, "If you don't have me you risk losing the trial." She was just the icing on the cake but they were willing to serve up that cake sans icing if necessary.
posted by komara at 10:01 PM on May 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


In earlier episodes she was offered all sorts of mad cash to leave town and she refused. I'm pretty sure she's not sold out for money.

This is a weird point for book readers, definitely. Shae of the books would absolutely have taken the diamonds, so those of us following along at home really aren't even sure if the two characters are exactly the same/followed/will follow the same path, or if there will be a radical divergence a la Talisa/Jeyne.
posted by corb at 7:23 AM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


"idle thread"

I'll trust that you all know I meant 'threat' and was just to sleepy to notice what I'd done.
posted by komara at 7:33 AM on May 27, 2014


It was essential to breaking his spirit, yes,

Remember, it's Cersei engineering this. She wants him to die, yes, but she needs him to die knowing that she won and he lost. Shae is integral to that working.

Perhaps Shae's price for breaking Tyrion's spirit was nothing more than the chance to do that very thing. But either way, there was a price of some sort, and Cersei has paid it. We'll probably have to wait an episode or two to find out what it was.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:34 AM on May 27, 2014


I agree and I also think it's partially revenge. She refused diamonds when tyrion was trying to pay her to leave because she thought they had something. But when he outright refused her, her love turned to hate and she was willing to twist the knife. A Lover Scorned etc.
posted by rebent at 7:35 AM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


The parallels between Shae and Nymeria in S1 are pretty striking.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:39 AM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


"either way, there was a price of some sort, and Cersei has paid it"

Okay now we're approaching wager levels of disagreement, so I need some clarification: are you implying that the Lannisters - or Cersei in particular - have given Shae some sort of financial compensation (whether gold, jewels, land, status, title, etc.) in return for her testimony? Because I am confident they have not. I'm convinced that their only "payment" was letting her live.

Yes, Shae brought out some personal venom in her testimony (which I commented on above) but I don't think that was because Cersei offered her that chance, that the opportunity to spill this venom was her "price". I think she was forced into showing up and told "Make it look good or you die" and so she did.
posted by komara at 8:52 AM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


The parallels between Shae and Nymeria in S1 are pretty striking.

If Shae ends up leading a multi-hundred prostitute pack around in the woods, causing havoc and sometimes doing helpful deeds I will be so enthused.
posted by Lemurrhea at 9:14 AM on May 27, 2014 [4 favorites]


Okay, fine, let's try this again. This is my last word on this topic.

Shae is a whore. Whores can be bought. Harping on her I'm A Big Whorey McWhoreWhore during her testimony is saying "I know what I am, and I have been bought."

Again, you need to remember that it is Cersei who is engineering all this; it is not good enough for her to win, her opponent needs to know that they have lost.

The comment is back. You're missing the point. I'm not having this discussion anymore.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:57 AM on May 27, 2014


Payment != coin, fyi. Which is the entire point you're missing.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:58 AM on May 27, 2014


"Payment != coin, fyi. Which is the entire point you're missing."

I have made perfectly clear that I understand you're using the word "payment" not strictly in reference to financial remuneration. I will reiterate - and then shut up - that I am confident Shae does not walk away having been "paid" in any measurable capacity. She gets nothing out of this other than to continue living. To testify was not her choice, it's something into which she was forced.

If you put a gun to someone's head to make them perform then they didn't do it for "pay" - even if you throw money at them afterward.

The only reason Shae mentioned the whole "I am a whore" bit in her testimony was to slander Tyrion and make it look good, not as some secret code "PSSSSTT THEY PAID ME TO BE HERE AND I ACCEPTED THE [payment] GLADLY."
posted by komara at 10:05 AM on May 27, 2014


[Seriously folks: leave this alone at this point, please. This drop-the-mic shit is tired.]
posted by jessamyn at 10:05 AM on May 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


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