Tyrion’s made many enemies since coming to Kings Landing. His short-lived stint as Hand gave him stature he’d never known before. With the heady responsibility of ruling the 7 kingdoms, he had to reign in his nephew and subdue the many forces that sought to challenge the king and his new hand.
Tyrion, as always, chose to overcome these challengers with a mixture of manipulation, bravado and sheer instinct: truly, the Lannister method. What Tyrion lacks in brute strength, he makes up for with wry intelligence. It’s a gift, but Tyrion has one weakness that his father and sister do not: a heart.
He trusts his confidantes. He pities the afflicted: genuinely pities them, unlike Margaery and her shows of empathy. Most of all, Tyrion embodies a true ethical centre—he finds it impossible to do anything that he doesn’t believe is right.
So the betrayals he faces sting even more: his confidantes, his friends, the people he tried to protect, and the people he treated fairly (if not kindly).
Even as Jaime does everything in his power to save Tyrion’s life, bargaining with their father and trading away his dearest possession (his freedom), Tywin delivers the death blow that he knows will ensure that Tyrion won’t go gently to the wall: the betrayal of his one love, Shay.
I believe that Shay does her betraying under duress. Clearly coached on the sequence of events—the plot, the poison, Sansa’s ultimatum—Shay peppers in her own cutting remarks, the very words Tyrion spewed at her to drive her away from the Capitol to safety: You’re nothing but a whore.
I don’t believe Shay is, at her core, vindictive. Circe did order her imprisoned in the tower at the same time that Tyrion attempted to spirit her away. Locked up since the wedding, knowing nothing but that her Lion was no longer in love with her, why wouldn’t she take her way out? Why protect a man who thinks of her as nothing?
She’s a survivor, which means she’s not stupid. She knows Tyrion has the heart of a Lion: perhaps it’s too much to hope that maybe she lied in order to spur him to save himself.
Her testimony that Tyrion plotted to kill Joffrey does spur him: but not to save himself against a certain guilty verdict. Instead, Tyrion chooses to go down fighting. He stops holding his tongue, he gives up his act of victimized innocent and turns instead into a wounded lion. Even more dangerous in his vulnerability, he lashes out viciously against the citizens of Kings Landing and demands trial by combat.
We’ve seen this before, of course: in the Eyrie, tried by Cat Stark for the attempted murder of her son. Tyrion of course named Jaime to fight for him, but in the Kingslayer’s absence, Bron stepped in to save Tyrion’s life (it was love ever since).
Assumably, Tyrion may call on these two again. But what will the outcome be? Handless Jaime, Lord Commander of the Kings’ Guard, Joffrey’s uncle and captain of his defense – could he take up arms on his brother’s behalf? That would leave Bron, a sell sword who would almost always rather be drinking than anything else. Bron and Jaime have been sparring together, perhaps a foreshadowing of an impeding duel.
I’d put money on Bron in this circumstance, but we’ve learned before never to underestimate Jaime in a tight spot.
Across Westeros, another battle takes place: the fight for Theon-cum-Reek. Broken in like a horse, he’s the picture of blind obedience to Ramsey Snow. Tortured psychologically and physically for months on end, no part of Theon remains.
As Yara plows across the sea to her brother’s rescue. What she finds isn’t even a shadow of Theon: she finds an abused puppy, terrified and loyal only to his master. Though it was obviously some kind of fraternal affection that sent her on her rescue mission, Yara has just as much Iron in her veins as her father. Upon seeing Theon, broken and cowering, she knows he’s beyond redemption.
Yara leaves him there, informing her men only that her brother is dead.
But Ramsey has more plans for Theon. Now that his loyalty has been tested even in the face of his own rescue, he knows Reeks transformation is complete. He sets off on the next phase of his plan: something involving Reek playacting a part he was born to: Theon Greyjoy.
But what could Ramsey require of Theon? What sick game could he have planned next? It’s sure to result in the Bolton’s acquiring of the Iron Islands and all their lands.
One thing is certain: the laws of gods are steadfast, but the laws of men are full of holes.
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