Last night’s episode of Game of Thrones had interesting, new elements catching our attention such as; seeing Dany on her throne learning what it is to rule, her now large, adolescent dragon making an impression–a negative one, and the depths of Theon’s torture. But what stole the show and what everyone was waiting for was the Lannister trial–might as well be called that because in reality, this was more a family affair than a matter of king and country.
Entertainment Weekly got to sit down with show writer, Bryan Cogman who answered a few questions, breaking down last night’s episode from beginning to end. The bulk of the interview was focused on Tyrion’s trial, Tywin’s motivations, and what drove Tyrion’s outburst in the end.
Warning: This post contains spoilers from Sunday’s Game of Thrones.
Writer Brian Cogman spoke on watching lots of Law & Order but not watching to make the episode feel like ‘Law & Order: Westros’, while respecting the daunting task of filming trial scenes technically.
“It was a lot of fun playing with the tropes of a courtroom drama without making it into Law & Order: Westeros. It was a tricky balance, and I know in my first draft I went too far — I never had the line, “Objection your honor!” but I might as well have. At one point, I had a stenographer in a corner with a quill and paper. I have enormous respect for Law & Order doing it all these years — the technical aspects of shooting those scenes with all those people reacting, it was exhausting to shoot. We shot it over four days. Sitting that long and reacting silently while staying focused on what’s happening for hours on end is very tiring; almost as tiring as shooting in the rain.”
During the trial, all witness accounts rained true, and were verbatim to threats Tyrion has made in the past, only they were taken out of context with a mix of outlandish lies. What a nightmare for poor Tyrion! Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss gave the writer notes before writing the scene. They were adamant that the testimonies that we heard in last night’s episode were essentially true.
“Almost everything they say is verbatim what Tyrion actually said and did, but just in the most damning context. Even Shae, most of what she says is basically true. Also the background actors — who did a great job — were huge part of the momentum of that scene and are what help drive Tyrion to his breakdown. The other big layer, and heart of the scene, which director Alik Sakharov really keyed on as well, is this is really a Lannister family drama between Tywin, Jaime, Cersei and Tyrion that is entirely wordless. It’s all in the looks between the four of them. It’s also no accident that “Rains of Castamere” is the last music cue you hear — this is the Lannister family drama finally boiling over.”
EW asks: Dinklage was particularly heartbreaking. When he tells Shae, “Please, don’t,” you know he’s not doing that to try and save his head. He’s saying that only to prevent his heart from being broken before he’s executed.
“That’s exactly right. He knew his head was gone anyway. He knew it the minute the trial started. It’s a nice surprise when Jaime comes in and offers a glimmer of hope, then it all comes crashing down. You’re right, it’s not about him anymore, it’s about them. Also, he loved a woman as a kid and that was screwed up by his family, and now it’s happening all over again.”
Talks about Peter Dinklage’s performance being Emmy worthy are already highly circulating. At the end of the episode, Tyrion is driven over the edge, faces the crowd, and though Jaime’s eyes plead for Tyrion to stick to the plan and keep his mouth shut, he doesn’t. In regards to what’s behind his outburst, Game of Thrones writer said:
“Finally after years of being laughed at and abused and beaten down by almost everybody in his life, Tyrion would rather go out armed with a sword and be brutally murdered than give into his father one more inch. Then the final shot is father and son staring each other down.”
Brian Cogman wouldn’t give anything away about what’s to come other than saying that next episode will be the unraveling of Tyrion’s rash decision. We will also be seeing more from character’s we didn’t see in this episode, “The Laws of Gods and Men”.