Welcome to the inaugural Game of Thrones Power Rankings. It is in this column every week where we round up the good, the bad, and the irrelevant of our weekly romps through Westeros. A few quick disclaimers/rules:
1) Unlike many Game of Thrones loyalists, I HAVE read the books. I will occasionally mention book plotlines, but only in a “Grantland Ask the Maester” sort of informative way, never in spoiler fashion.
2) You cannot be in the power rankings if you do not appear in the episode. Sorry Bran diehards!
3) Power rankings, of course, reflect trends in their episodic performance. Cersei cannot always be at the top just because she’s Queen. It’s a reflection of how we view them as an audience combined with their Westeros(And Essos) related power plays.
4) Many characters make lateral movements in this show. And even more come tumbling down to the ground. Power Rankings will include Top 5 and Bottom 3.
And with that, let’s get started!
The first champion of the Game of Thrones Power Rankings is…..
Drum Roll Please:
1) Petyr Baelish (Littlefinger)
Ugh. The disgust in the air is palpable after naming Littlefinger the Power Rankings Champ of the First Men and Andals. But what is a lowly blogger to do? Not only did he manage to maintain his facade of loyalty to Cersei AND not get found out for poisoning Joffrey, but he also somehow parlayed his meeting into being promised Warden of the North?! By washing his hands of all knowledge of the means by which Sansa came to be in Winterfell, he undermined the Boltons, gave Cersei a reason to trust him, and found a way to consolidate his power in an even bigger fashion. It’ll be interesting to see what he does upon returning to Winterfell and finding Sansa’s maidenhead ravaged. And how will he get around the “Sansa Stark’s head on a pike” thing Cersei was hot and bothered about? As much as we hate him for (maybe) betraying Sansa, and just for being a schemey little rat in general, we have to give him this. A Little Finger does not small balls make.
2) Arya Stark
Despite getting slapped around like a rag doll for lying to Jaqen, Arya made more educational progress in her 15 minutes of screen time than she made in 400 pages of GRR POV chapters. By lying to a poor dying girl and ending her suffering, she opened the door(literally) to a whole new world of faceless men-ning. I mean, how cool was that room of faces? I half expected to see a little Richard Nixon head sitting there, waiting to be tried on by Arya in the Little Assassins room.
Now that she’s officially begun her assassin training, Arya is well on her way to becoming the most powerful Stark family member, especially considering Jon(based on next weeks preview) losing his support at the wall, Sansa becoming the latest in Ramsey’s stable of intimidated rape victims, and Bran doing gods-wood knows what up in the North with Bloodraven. Unless Rickon has become a Khal Drogo like savage in Skagos with Osha, I can’t imagine anyone in our favorite doomed house will top Arya for a long time.
3) Cersei Lannister
Ah, the Queen of Tarts herself. Despite being on the losing end of a highly entertaining verbal joust with Olenna Tyrell (“What Veil?”, being among the highlights), CL got the last laugh, protesting with less effort than a James Harden defensive series as the Tyrell siblings were taken off to the dungeon. A rather ingenious move, roping Margaery in via perjury, to get her competition out of the way for young Tommen’s affection(And a smart writing decision by the creative team choosing to eschew the convoluted adultery-faking subplot, although I’m not sure such an emphasis on Loras being gay was necessary). Cersei continues to make aggressive, not very well thought out moves to secure her power, something that will certainly come to bite her in the ass. With her lover/brother now imprisoned in Dorne, the increasingly powerful sparrows, Littlefinger playing her like a harp, and an enraged pool of enemies, don’t be surprised if she gets her comeuppance sooner rather than later, especially based on the hushed tones of a High Sparrow – Olenna conversation in the “next time on thrones” preview.
4) Tyrion “Guess Again” Lannister
Yes he’s been captured by Jorah. He’s exiled from his home. He has no access to the gold of his House. Perhaps most frightfully, he’s only being kept alive for one thing. But that one thing is vital to his existence, and when you’re able to keep yourself alive simply based on the size of your… well you deserve to be top 5.
5) Ramsey Bolton
How horrifying is this. Putting Ramsey near the top of any list other than “Characters I’d most like punch in the face” is difficult. However, power is power, and this guy has a lot of it, even if it’s in the biblical sense. In this episode he a) Got married to the “last remaining member” of a Tier 1 Westerosi house B) Had his former lover try to manipulate his bride to be out of love C) Forcefully took the maidenhead of his smoking hot wife and D) forced his formerly high-lord but now-castrated manservant to watch. None of those things are particularly worthy of respect, admiration, or really anything but merciless punishment. But alas, there is no denying that he exhibited strength of an unworthy kind this week. Lets move on and hope that he gets the full Reek treatment in the next few episodes.
3) All Audience Members
Not only did we have to see our beloved Sansa’s youth ripped in front of our eyes, and watch Alfie Allen’s gut wrenching reaction shots(the best acting he’s gotten to do in a long time), but we also had to sit through that terribly done fight scene between the Sand Snakes(who are the most disappointing characters so far) and the heroes of Bronn and Jamies Fabulous Adventure. Now I’m usually behind whatever creative decisions D&D make, but really guys? A really unimpressive display of whip combat? Not to mention the very precise and coincidental timing at which both Bronn/Jamie and the Sand Snakes walked in on the FUTURE PRINCE AND PRINCESS STROLLING THROUGH THE GARDENS WITHOUT RUNNING INTO ANY GUARDS. I know the water gardens are a peaceful place but you’d think Doran would put SOME protection on Prince Trystane/Myrcella? Also, lets not forget that Bronn was cut on the arm by a Sand Snake. Yes, let me repeat that. BRONN WAS CUT ON THE ARM BY A DAUGHTER OF OBERYN MARTELL – a man nicknamed the “Red Viper” due to his knowledge and use of poison. RIP Bronn.
2) Reek of House… wait, Theon of House Greyjoy
Poor Theon. The guy just can’t catch a break. A mere one week after being forced to stand there and apologize to Sansa, after we found him sleeping in the kennels thanks to our dear Miranda, he has to give his former foster sister away at the altar to a known sociopath. I feel like eventually he’s just gotta tell her the truth – there’s no way they get out of Ramsey’s clutches without working together. And after being bonded by traumatic experience of last Sunday, I can only hope that next week see’s Theon hand in hand at the top of the power ranking with …
1) Sansa Stark
This is a fairly obvious choice, and one that is detailed here. With all the protestations of the scene, and how it goes off book, etc etc, the clear show-world reprecussions of this event is that Sansa is again transformed from a woman taking control of her destiny to a victim of the patriarchal society Thrones lives in. I’m not going to rant about the rape scene, I was sufficiently shocked at the portrayal(though not the event, thanks GRRM) Sunday night. Our only satisfaction lies in knowing that Littlefinger is leading an army her way…? O.
Daenerys, Grey Worm, Grey Worm’s netherregions, Varys, Jorah, Jon Snow, Tormund Giantsbane, Essos Pirates, Trystane’s chill-pull ratio, Myrcella Baratheon, Stannis, Mellisandre, Jaqen Al-Hagar, the death fountain, Tart Tongued Queen of Thornes, Loras and Maergary Tyrell, Loras’s Dorne-shaped birthmark, Lancel of the Sparrows, the High Sparrow, Pidgeotto, Arya <3’s the Hound, creepy Ramsey face touch, creepy Littlefinger face touch, Miranda, girl on girl baths, Brienne, Sam, Gilly, and the Cock Merchant