By D.G. McCabe
Episode six “The Laws of Gods and Men” presents the audience with a study in power relationships. Questions asking who has power and how they use it are central to George R.R. Martin’s story, but this episode in particular offers a microcosm of those concepts.
1. The Braavosi (Last Week – NR)
We finally got to Braavos this week and saw the true power behind the Iron Throne. In the books, the peoples of the Free Cities often refer to the residents of the Seven Kingdoms as barbarians. The Free Cities, after all, are old, absurdly wealthy, and more arguably powerful individually than the Seven Kingdoms as a whole. Mark Gatiss (also known as Mycroft Holmes to BBC “Sherlock” fans) does a great job portraying the contempt the Braavosi have for “the Sunset Kingdoms” and their petty squabbles.
2. House Lannister (Last Week – #2)
Soon enough “Tyrion Lannister” will have to be his own entity in these power rankings. He may have temporarily upended his father’s plans by asking for a trial by combat, but Tywin still holds most of the cards. Also, Peter Dinklage’s performance last night has been getting rave reviews and with good reason.
3. House Targaryen (Last Week – #1)
It’s easy enough for Daenerys to proclaim that she’s going to rule because “that’s what queens do.” Paying goatherds for dragon-feed has a low degree of difficulty as well. The hard part comes when you’ve dispatched blanket punishment without regard to individual guilt and you have to live with the consequences.
4. House Baelish (Last Week – #3)
Of course, the consequences such decisions become easier when you are a sociopathic nihilist like Littlefinger.
5. House Baratheon (Last Week – #10)
It looks like the Iron Bank has decided to at least give Stannis enough line of credit to hire some more ships. This should be helpful if he every decides to stop burning people and actually do something.
6. House Tyrell (Last Week – #4)
I can’t in good conscience rank House Tyrell over Littlefinger this season. They may have pulled the trigger on Joffrey, but Littlefinger is seeing the most benefit at the moment. The Tyrells are down in the muck with the Lannisters and Lord Baelish isn’t.
7. House Martell (Last Week – #5)
Unlike Mace Tyrell, people actually want to talk to the Red Viper. The problem with the Dornish is twofold right now. Oberyn’s brother Doran, ruler of Dorne, is far away from the day to day politicking of King’s Landing and unable to let his meticulous nature temper his brother’s impulsiveness. Second, Oberyn is still more interested in the sword between his legs than the swords aimed squarely between his shoulders.
8. House Bolton (Last Week – NR)
Well, that wasn’t much of a rescue attempt. Now you’ve just pissed off a deranged animal. If Asha/Yara stayed long enough she might have pissed off that big dog too.
9. House Stark (Last Week – #7)
An aside – why didn’t Stannis keep the letter from Ned Stark telling him of Jaime/Cersei? It would have come in handy at the Iron Bank.
10. House Arryn – Last Week – NR
A bit of an omission from last week, but what is House Arryn right now if not Lyssa. Things are looking good for crazy old Aunt Lyssa at the moment.
Also receiving votes: The Night’s Watch, the Meereenese, the Yunkai’i, the Free People, House Greyjoy, House Tully, the Others, big angry dogs, unnecessary sex scenes (thanks HBO!), and barbequed goat meat.
(c) 2014 D.G. McCabe