May 132014

Don’t think of this post as a day late; think of it as throwing a bone to the DVR / HBO Go crowd.  I struggled with exactly what I wanted to draw from this week’s ‘Game of Thrones’, so I wanted to take some time and watch it again before throwing in my two cents to be read by a half dozen people.  Ah, where’s my sense of propriety?  My bad:

"If anybody should be able to tell a series of half-truths, it should be me"

“If anybody should be able to tell a series of half-truths, it should be me”

WARNING: This post contains spoilers that include information regarding up to and including Season 4, Episode 6 of ‘Game of Thrones’.  You’ve been adequately warned.

As if this post’s title wasn’t enough warning.

Brother’s Keeper

Tywin Lannister is a true G.  When Jaime went to him to plead for his brother’s life, and offered up the biggest chip he could, Tywin could not say “Done” fast enough.  And, because of some pretty good acting work, you can tell that Jaime immediately knew he’d been played.

#RealTalk: I’m a three-time older brother.  If I’m negotiating a deal where I leave my preferred residence and shack up with someone with whom I might not want to in exchange for the continued existence of one of my siblings, that sibling is coming with me, wherever I’m going.  If their life is that in the balance, I want me as close to it as possible.

Jaime looked weak.  When Tywin said that Tyrion would go to The Wall, my immediate thought was, “Oh, no, Jaime.  You tell him that he’s coming with you.”

Yet, Jaime remained a pawn in this episode.  Jaime was a pawn that Tywin goaded into agreeing to return to Casterly Rock.  Jaime was a pawn that Tyrion put into jeopardy when he demanded a trial by combat, wherein Jaime would be his obvious champion.  It was a play that put into jeopardy something that Tywin valued greatly: having a Lannister of his direct line as Lord of Casterly Rock.

Pawns, Knights, Rooks, et. al.

I don't think that's what Jay and Ye meant

I don’t think that’s what Jay and Ye meant

While this Sunday’s episode revolved around Tyrion’s trial, the scene in the throne room with (Don’t Call Me Lord) Varys and Smooth Bisexual Prince Oberyn stuck out.  After my post last week, my friend, Jerry, told me that there is a theory among folks who read the books that the series is a gigantic chess match between Varys and Mayor Carcetti Lord Baelish.  My immediate response was, “Then the show needs to show us some Varys action, ASAP”.  Well, asked and answered.  Varys isn’t messing around.

Varys told SBP Oberyn that the story of how he got to Westeros was a long one, and one he only told those he trusted, omitting that it’s one he told to Tyrion in Season 1 or 2.  Tyrion seemed almost amused by the testimony against him from Ser Meryn Trant and Grand Maester Pycelle (yes, I had to look up those spellings), but the testimony from Varys looked like it stung a bit.  But, Westeros is cold, yo, and Varys understands the game.  There’s no strategic value in casting his lot with a sinking ship, and Tyrion was going to die with or without his testimony; might as well further ingratiate himself to Tywin and Cersei.

Can we get some kind of field guide for criminal procedure in Westeros?  Witnesses seem to be taken pretty much at their word.  The testimony from people who had existing beef with Tyrion was half-truths when it wasn’t outright lies.  There were practically no questions asked of witnesses.  Much of the talk from the judges was Tywin yelling for people to be quiet, leaving me to wonder if Byrd the Bailiff would be making a cameo appearance in the King’s Guard.  Only Oberyn piped in to ask Cersei what debt Tyrion sought to repay her.  Oberyn also noted the absurdity of a handmaiden with the kind of inside information Shae purported to have.  Speaking of Shae…

We Don’t Love Them Hoes

I don’t doubt that Shae testified under some level of duress.  Still, her repetition of the word “whore”, the word Tyrion used to chase her off / save her life, made it seem like she was somewhat complicit, and okay with hurting Tyrion.  There may very well have been a gun to her head, but that didn’t stop her from firing off a few shots of her own.

I’ll be honest, I thought Shae’s testimony, outside of bringing Tyrion’s temper to a boil, was kind of pointless.  I just really wanted to use that subheading.

Take it to the Bank

"So you'd like to talk about a loan?"

“So you’d like to talk about a loan?”

Over in Braavos, ‘Game of Thrones’ met ‘House of Cards’ as Stannis and Davos made a move to turn the Lannisters’ main creditor against them.  The Iron Bank, its interests represented by Mycroft Holmes Tycho Nestoris, was everything I’d hoped it would be.  It was every bit as cold as Goldman Sachs.  Mark Gatiss turned in a very slick performance as Nestoris, who, calculated and monotone, could have been the automated voice of an ATM.  I was slightly surprised that Davos’s ‘Hail Mary’ flashing his half-fingers and questioning the (questionable) reliability of the Lannisters was successful.  I didn’t expect, “Well, why didn’t you say this dude chops off parts of theives’ fingers?  How much do ya’ll need?”

There have been a few drops in recent weeks about just how much money the Lannisters owe the Iron Bank.  Perhaps the institution didn’t need much goading to try more extreme methods to recover their capital.

With Baberaham Lincoln laying up in Mereen to make sure her house there is in order before heading across the Narrow Sea, the immediate conflict appears to be Stannis versus the Lannisters.  This could be fortuitous for the Mother of Dragons; she can let the other two fight it out, and then take on the depleted victor of those battles.

Unless shit goes nuts up by The Wall and throws everything into chaos.

And I guess Yara Greyjoy tried to rescue Theon / Reek?  What’s the point of any of the characters in this plot arc?  The only angle I could think of that has any intrigue is Roose Bolton making a move on Littlefinger’s part of the Riverlands.  As an uncle taught me years ago during a game of Risk, the enemy of my enemy is my friends.  An alliance between Lord Baelish and the Greyjoys to dispatch the Boltons would further Lord Baelish’s rapidly growing influence in the north.

With four episodes to go, I, of the non-series reading folk, am starting to wonder what this season’s “Oh shit!” moment is going to be.  The advertising in the run-up to the premier prominently featured the High Valyrian “Valar Morghulis” – “All men must die”.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of them – potentially a lot of Lannisters – go.

Until next week, winter summer is coming.