Game Of Thrones: 4.06 The Laws Of Gods And Men

Spoilers are included below, as always.

After last week’s slow paced trudge through the snowy and sunny lands of Game Of Thornes this week gives over more time to the stories it’s trying to tell. The increase in impetus that brings moves the show back up a gear.

So a quick summary of the events ‘The Laws Of Gods and Men’: We met Mark Gatiss and The Iron Bank of Braavos, Stannis continued to be a bland before Davos Seaworth’s eloquence comes to his rescue once more; Danerys learns a bit more about the subtleties of being a Queen; Ramsay Snow is still one of the most horrible characters on TV, and his physical and mental torture of Reek is morphing into something even more sinister; some small council action, including the return of Varys. And that was it, oh, apart from the trial.

But first, a couple of nods to the terrific work by some of the on screen talent. First up, Iwan Rheon who has created a monster even more vile and depraved than Jack Gleeson’s King Joffrey. Ramsay Snow has zero redeeming features, but Rheon has managed to make him a mesmeric screen presence, and you never know what he might do next. The return of Varys was most welcome and Conleth Hill is another actor that does some top work on the show. His eunuch knows more than he ever shows and is always a step ahead of where everyone else thinks he is. And none of this is played out in dialogue, it’s all down to Hill’s subtle performance.

Sticking with the performances the trial of Tyrion is all about the Lannisters, and all about the actors portraying this most dysfunctional of families. The most obvious turn is from the ever excellent Peter Dinklage, he’s the one most people think of when talk turns to awards, and his “I am guilty” monologue which he delivers with a venom that has been a lifetime in the making. All those years of being “The Imp” and disappointing his father come out in that poisonous rant. But before that there are some heartbreaking minutes where Shae digs the knife into Tyrion’s heart more deeply than any of his family could, emotional stuff for a fantasy…

Charles Dance is his consistently brilliant self in these sequences too, he’s the power and the brains behind the throne, and an arch manipulator, but played with immense charisma by Dance. You can’t help but admire him. Then Nikolaj Coster-Waldau continues his efforts to redeem Jaime Lannister, this time walking right into Twyin’s trap and giving his future up in exchange for his brothers. Again, the Dane’s portrayal of Westeros’ most misunderstood man is spot on in this episode, combining humility with his inbred confidence. And we can’t miss the ice maiden Lena Headey whose furtive looks guide the whole trial against her younger brother. Headey has the toughest job of the Lannister actors as Cersei doesn’t have many likeable character traits, she somehow manages to keep the former Queen from becoming too much of a Snow White evil stepmother caricature though.

A really strong episode this week, with no Starks, though they weren’t missed too much. With a trial by combat heading our way will we see brother against brother, you’d imagine the crown has to select a warrior. Or maybe a master versus student, Bronn against Jaime, swordfight. Who knows, tune in next Monday to find out.

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