Hayden Donnell (has memorised every word of every book and spends his evenings correcting historical inaccuracies on the Westeros Wikipedia page):
Tywin Lannister can skin a deer while delivering a lecture on the intricacies of politics. He ended a war with some skilful letter writing, then sewed up half the Realm by marrying two of his children to a weeping northern teenager and a "renowned pillow biter". Before Tyrion told the assorted nobility of King's Landing he'd love to poison them all, Twyin was in the middle of a masterclass in how to make the most out of the murder of your sociopathic grandson. Even Jaimie's last ditch attempt to save his brother had been worked into his schemes. That look in his eye when his son defied him and demanded a trial by combat may have been the first time he has ever been genuinely surprised. He looked like the Wolf of Wall Street did before he stormed off the set of 60 Minutes. Tyrion may be the only person in King's Landing with a mind to match Tywin's. It's the older Lannister's greatest weakness that he can't see it. He's blinded so much by Tyrion's height that he can't appreciate his mind. That makes Tyrion, even in shackles, his greatest threat.
Robert Smith (has read every book, watched every episode, owns several T-shirts, and possibly has a George RR Martin shrine in his bedroom):
Peter Dinklage has been Game Of Thrones' not-so-secret weapon since the first episode - in the hands of lesser actors, Tyrion Lannister could just be a happy joke, but Dinklage has spent the last four seasons filling the character with real depth and humanity. This was highlighted once again in this week's episode, as Tyrion sits in resignation and frustration, and listens to the world calling for his head, before taking charge of his own destiny. The moment of final betrayal, where the one person he thought he could still trust - and even love - turns on him, like all the rest, is heartbreaking, especially when Tyrion begs her to stop. But then he lets fly with a vitriolic tirade that has been building his entire life, finally spitting out truths that others would rather not hear. He's still facing the sharp edge of the executioner's sword, but Dinklage shows that an imp with nothing to lose can still be triumphant, and scare the hell out his awful Dad.
Bridget Jones (a latecomer, but only because she is incredibly impatient and prefers binge-watching. She'll look at spoilers, but will always deny it):
First things first. If someone kills Tryion in this "battle to the death/innocence" palaver, I don't think I can continue watching this thing. Peter Dinklage is the best at everything in the whole world, and that is the end of it. Second things second. Daenerys needs to get that Three Day Nanny in from TV3 and sort out those scaly kids of hers. Now I don't have children, but I'd like to think that if I did, (and if somehow my offspring were, ah, dragons) I'd be able to teach them that burning people's stuff - especially when that stuff is a herd of cute goats - is really quite wrong. Danny, all the money won't bring back those sweet little goaty faces. And as the nanny lady said on her show last week, your children need to respect you, otherwise they will turn into out-of-control lunatics who, in all likelihood, could burn the entire world to a crisp and ruin everything. It was something along those lines, anyway.
Cameron McMillan (a Thrones trainspotter who can always be relied upon for up-to-date statistics and random factoids):
I want to talk about all the talking. A man asking his bank for a loan, day one of a murder trial, the discussions over the proper reparations for a flock of goats flamed-grilled by a hungry dragon - in my experience all these things are rather boring and monotonous. Last night's episode featured a lot of talking, instead of previous episodes which have had a lot of walking (see Aayra, Hound, Hodor et al). And the only deaths in The Laws of Gods and Men were of meaningless people who you couldn't name - with all due respect to those hard working bannermen of House Bolton and House Greyjoy. On the face of it, that sounds like a pretty boring episode after all the shocks and twists we've come to expect but that just shows how great Game of Thrones is, which last night went from fantasy-action drama to a fantasy-courtroom drama. Half the episode was dedicated to murder trial of Tyrion for his alleged killing of King Joffrey, yet I was still found wanting more, and half-expecting Denny Crane to come to his aid.
Chris Schulz (has watched every episode, is halfway through book one, and has a not-so-secret obsession with Brienne, the Maid of Tarth):
TMI, Game of Thrones, TMI! Okay, I get it: you were chasing shock value. The last person anyone expected to take the stand during Tyrion's shonky murder trial was Shae, his secret mistress-hooker partner last seen being smuggled out of King's Landing lest Tyrion's dad Tywin discover her existence and order her execution. Shae's bitterly false testimony - claiming Tyrion was responsible for Joffrey's death - turned the trial on its head. But did she really need to go into so much detail about their love life? For a moment there I was having Bevan Chuang flashbacks, muttering "must-stop, can't stop, must-stop" over-and-over again as I listened to the sordid details of an affair unveiled in explicit detail. Best line? Shae's, "I am just a whore, remember?" as she glared at Tyrion, exacting her revenge for him shipping her off to safety. Coming soon: Whale Oil's exclusive interview with Shae, in which she reveals gruesome details about what really went on in the Ngati Whatua room.
Russell Baillie (may possibly be hate-watching the show, we're not entirely sure where his allegiances lie):
So far as I can tell this happened: A visit to the bank, a day in court, a roasting of a goat and an unleashing of the hounds. Quite satisfying it was too.
But before the usual head-scratching of a recap posing as a review, a thought. So we're past the half way mark in this ten-episode season and it appears that I, the GoT unbeliever is still watching. So something must have taken hold. That may have less to do with the fitful excitements of this season and more to do with the Tuesday morning chats with some of the folks who you see writing above on this page. It's just like the good old days when everyone had to watch the same show at the same bloody time.
Wasn't Peter Dinklage good last night? As Tyrion Lannister, his cry of defiance from the dock - one especially trimmed to his height - during his trial for the murder of Joffrey was quite something. He'd been buried by a run of prosecution witnesses, various folks he had dispensed with earlier in his adventures who had come back to haunt him.
Especially Shae, his mysterious mistress whose testimony pretty much put his head on the chopping block. But no! He's now gone for trial by combat! Gazooks! Egad!
Meanwhile, across the seas in Mereen, Daenerys was holding court. That involved introducing herself with her full title which now goes on for several days. Among those seeking an audience was a local farmer. It appeared one of her dragons had grabbed and grilled another goat (see earlier episode attempt at dragon-goat joke here). Fair enough, she said, viewing the charred remains the peasant had brought to court. After "mother of dragons" and all her other roles, Daenerys can now have to add "insurer of goats" to her job description. So that's something. It all started, though, with that visit to the Iron Bank at Braavos where Iron Throne claimant Stannis Baratheon has gone for a loan to keep fighting the Lannisters, which, despite being a little low on collateral, he gets. The Braavos financiers seem to think the madly Macbeth-ian Stannis just might be the man to call in the Lannisters' debts for them. What clever bankers. Meanwhile, this week's Most Villainous Player (MVP) title returns to the creepy and cruel Ramsay Botlon, who saw off a rescue attempt on the poor Stockholm syndrome-ed Reek by sister Yara and squad, by hopping out of bed half naked, stabbing as many as he could and then setting the dogs on the invaders. Seemed to do the trick. Then Ramsay gave Reek a bath which was somehow more disturbing.
But this episode belonged to Dinklage's Tyrion. With him back centre-stage, it's more than enough reason to keep watching.