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Tyrion on trial
Hi there. I'm the King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm. Nice to meet you.

Okay, maybe not, but four years into the Game of Thrones, so many people are still making this claim that it seems like we need a shorthand version. I mean, you get half a dozen people toting this title out in the same episode, and it takes up enough time to cater a whole new Westeros wedding. KOTAATFMLOTSKAPOTR? No, that sounds like something the Dothraki might put on horse steak.

Why not just a nice short name. Like George. Hi, I'm Danerys Targeryan, and I'm the new George. Stannis Baratheon, the one true George. See how much faster that is? And really, any ruler relying on a long string of titles to impress probably isn't going to be king for long.

Okay, let's go inside and check on some of the people who claim the Georgehood and what each of them means by the word "justice."

This week Tyrion Lannister goes on trial for the murder of the odious King Joffrey, Daenerys Targaryen sits down on her own iron-free throne and Stannis is at the mercy of accountants.

Not 10 seconds after the opening titles show us a cool little clockwork Titan of Braavos, here come Stannis and Ser Davos sailing under the wide legs of the real thing. Stannis has made the journey across the Narrow Sea to appeal to the Iron Bank of Braavos, which serves the age/planet/dimension that includes Westeros as a kind of combination of Borgia-era power broker and mob enforcer. In other words, it's a Wall Street investment bank.

Stannis, with his always-winning personality, only succeeds in making the accountants check their actuarial tables and confirm that he's a losing bet. But then Ser Davos—still the best man in any kingdom, and still having to explain the difference between a pirate and a smuggler—delivers a winning speech that convinces the bankers their best chance of being repaid is with making Stannis George, er, king. Afterward, we get some Braavos bathhouse gratuitous nudity, which is at least a change from the King's Landing brothel gratuitous nudity.

Up in the north, Yara (hey, Yara! wondered when you'd turn up) leads a raid of the Ironborn to take Theon back from Ramsay Snow. Only what they find is a Theon so badly broken that he won't even flee when he has the chance. Yara is forced to leave without her brother, and Theon is left to simper for his torturer.

Meanwhile, back in Meereen, Dany has decided to solve the problem of bad rulers taking over in her wake by sitting still and just ruling herself. Only actually being queen seems to be not quite as fun and simple as expected. That's especially true when it turns out one of the people Dany crucified in the name of justice was, according to his son, a man who fought against slavery and tried to stop the crime that Dany punished him for. With 200+ more people waiting in line, there's one word Daenerys Targaryen needs to learn but fast: delegation.

Daenerys is also getting some attention back in Westeros, where the king's Small Council seems increasingly concerned with what to do about a girl who has an army, dragons and increasing experience at using both.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, our main event. Tyrion Lannister is led out of his cell in chains and paraded past a crowd where a few voices cry "kingslayer"—the name usually hung around Jaime's neck. One after another, everyone who Tyrion ever threatened or insulted (usually with very good reason) returns to throw his words back at him. Meryn Trant is there to remind us that Tyrion slapped Joffrey, which is now viewed as a bad thing, even if it generated the best GIF on the internet. Grand Maester Pycelle is at his pseudo-doddering best, accusing Tyrion of raiding his poison larder for weapons and identifying the compound that killed the former George as a lovely item called "The Strangler," traces of which were found on Sansa's necklace. And of course Cersei piles on her brother, reciting every threat that Tyrion ever made against her.

Not only do the witnesses paint a very black picture of Tyrion, they also sing such praises for Joffrey—"the most noble child the gods ever put on this good earth"—that we're sure to have a sainthood ceremony over at the Sept before long.

Seeing that the trial is a farce, Jaime leaves the hall when the judges take a break and follows his father out of the room. Jaime confronts Tywin, who makes a show of believing every false charge trotted out against his youngest son. Tywin shows every sign of being very prepared to see Tyrion die.

Desperate, Jaime makes Tywin a serious offer—he will leave the Kingsguard, take up the seat at Casterly Rock, and breed a new generation of Lannisters. Instantly, Tywin accepts the offer. In fact, Tywin accepts with such alacrity, and is so prepared with every detail of the deal, that it's suddenly clear this is exactly what Tywin had in mind from the beginning. Knowing how stubborn Jaime was, and how set he was on reclaiming some scrap of honor, Tywin has structured this whole event as the only thing that can put enough pressure on Jaime to get him to forgo his vows.

With Jaime agreeing to leave the Kingsguard, and a plan in place to find Tyrion guilty then shuffle him off to the Night's Watch, Tywin is as satisfied as he's ever been. Only the plan doesn't quite work out.

Not only does Varys take the stand, lying about Tyrion's actions and breaking the trust between them, the final witness is Tyrion's true love, Shae. As Tyrion's features twist in agony, Shae betrays him utterly, painting a picture not only of Tyrion as conspiring with Sansa to kill Joffrey, but also framing him as abusive thug and turning their love into something ridiculous.

Heartbroken and furious, Tyrion comes roaring out of the docket, condemning the whole process and delivering a speech that rakes the walls of the throne room. Though he will not confess to the murder, he confesses that he wishes he had killed the wretched king. Wishes he had never saved King's Landing. Wishes he could see them all die. "I wish I was the monster you think I am," he cries ... then he goes completely off script, demanding trial by combat. Suddenly Tywin's plans are torn to pieces, and where it goes from here is about as clear as the Blackwater.

One last thought: Tywin Lannister, who everyone keeps proclaiming as the most powerful man in Westeros, is secretly broke, publicly without heir and increasingly unable to control events. Rather than looking like a golden lion, he's beginning to seem like a paper tiger.

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