‘Game of Thrones’ Power Rankings, Episode 509: ‘The Dance of Dragons’

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Messer Benioff and Weiss, you’ve done it again. I’m sorry, viewers, readers, and Thrones fans across the world, but

Making light of the pyrotechnics on display this week is the only way I can find to cope with what happened. This was yet another jam packed episode, and I’m completely back in on the show. The last two weeks gave me Thronemotions that I haven’t had in ages, and I have the two best episodes of the season to thank for that. Without further ado, lets get to the rankings.

1) Fire, and by association Drogon the Dragon, Melisandre the Witch, and Ramsey the Bitch

Sunday’s episode was incendiary in more than one way. We had 3 major fire scenes this week. Mini power rankings

1a) Drogon’s Fire

1b) The burning of the Baratheon Camp by Ramsey

1c) Shireen of Hou… No no, I can’t do it.

From the sheer awesomeness of #1 to the indescribable agony of #3, Fire was the name of the game. Let’s go in reverse order.

I’m want to get the unpleasantness of the Shireen Incident out of the way first. Welcome to the second week of being forced to rank terrible people that don’t speak at all in the episode in the top 3. Props to Melisandre for getting her way with Stannis again. I don’t really know where to begin to describe the absolute desolation I felt in the North this week. Of course, the bleakest the outlook has been (at least since the Sansa Bedding 2 weeks ago) was when Stannis sacrificed his beloved (or so he claimed to her) daughter to the pyre. I don’t know how many Fan-nises he’ll have left after that brutal display. Another seemingly unnecessary sacrifice that doesn’t exist in the book world (where Shireen is chilling at the Night’s Watch controlled  tower of Eastwatch By-The-Bay) has left book readers a little hollow, despite apparent behind-the-scenes interviews saying that Martin confirmed Shireen burning in a future book plot line (albeit not at Stannis’ command).

This exemplifies a problem I have with the TV adaptation of Game of Thrones. In the books, we have sympathy for many characters thanks to the built out portrayal of motivations and decisions. The show has begun to collapse plotlines and take dramatic license with insignificant characters (like Shireen) for the shock effect, and all that does is further dehumanize characters like Stannis in our eyes. TV show viewers need someone to root for, and for me, the potential objects of affection are dwindling.

Oh, and lets not forget that Stannis is now at a distinct military disadvantage following Ramsey’s sneaky little mission. Cocky bastard really didn’t need more that 20 men. Without food, his daughter, shelter, and his onion knight, and with his men starving in the cold, even R’Hllor’s might won’t be enough to overcome the gates of Winterfell. To lay a siege you need siege supplies, of which the Stags have none. They even lost their horses.

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The #1 fire of the week belongs to the goddess herself, the love of my life…

2) Daenerys Targaryen (Last Week, 3rd)

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On paper, Daenerys had a pretty up and down day. Attacked and exiled by the city she rules, husband killed, much of her guard slaughtered, and her people under attack. But fuck the paper. Dany’s Dragon/Son Drogon came home to roost in a big way, burning Sons of the Harpy left and right. If we’re being honest with ourselves, the survival of her advisor, her lover, her handmaiden, and her… Jorah… was also a huge win. Though she is now twice widowed, she is at her most powerful, like an Anna Nicole Smith. She has become the world’s only dragon rider, and it’s first in many many years. I hope this is the last we see of Dany for the season (even though I would watch just an hour of Emilia Clarke doing whatever), because it honestly could not get any better than this. She’s ready to conquer the world. I mean look at the picture on the top of this article! The only thing I would maybe enjoy more as a sequel to this is getting Tyrion on Rhaegal. Now THAT would be dope.

3) Jorah Mormont (Last Week, 3rd from Last)

Despite looking outmatched in every battle, he triumphed in the prestigious Mereen fighting pits, and then saved the life of the woman he loves by accurately tossing a spear from 50 feet away. Dany clearly showed that she cared about ol’ Jorah, and he kept her safe until Drogon spirited her away to better places. He’s still not gonna hook up with her, and he’s still a terminal case, but at least he can die a bit happier knowing that he’s been welcomed back in the fold.

4) No one (Last Week… wtf?) 

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A girl must kill the gambler. A girl decides she is not just a girl, but in fact Arya Stark, youngest daughter of Lord Eddard Stark, the former Lord of Winterfell. A girl decides that she will find a way to kill Ser Meryn Trant, who is on her death list. A girl will be Lana, and go sell her dirty seafood in a brothel. She will make good tips, because for some reason it’s okay to sell oysters in a brothel. Doesn’t a girl find that unsanitary? A girl did not kill the thin man. The thin man was not hungry. Perhaps that is why he is thin.

Oysters Clams and Cockles!

Halftime: High School Game of Thrones

BOTTOM: 

3) Ellaria Sand (Last Week, Unranked)

Doran went all Sand-Dornish on her ass this week. After her bad-ass wine pour, Doran just put his foot down (figuratively, of course) in the first display of aggressive leadership and fire that we’ve come to expect from his people. Threatening to kill her, giving her an ultimatum, etc etc was a true display of power after tolerance. She did deliver a heartfelt speech to Jaimie at the end of the Dorne section though, about lovers and sisters and brothers. It was a bold choice by Doran to send Trystane back with Myrcella… let’s see if Ellaria isn’t going to be trying to avenge another Martell by the time the season is up.

3) Hizdhar & The Sons of the Harpy (Last Week, Unranked)

This 1980’s pop band did not have a great week. One could assume that Mr. Dany Targaryen set up the Harpy revolt (based on his late appearance and flimsy excuse), and then had it all go south for him when he was stabbed to death by a Harpy operative. For a guy who has had a pretty visible plot line, most of which involved avoiding death, it was a rather lame way to go. Vallar Morghulis, young man.

The Sons of the Harpy, on the other hand, were clearly about to win the Battle of the Fighting Pits AND kill a Lannister, a Mormont, and the Dragon Queen… until Drogon showed up. Quickly the day was lost, and like 15 of them were encased in fire. Dope for us, bad for them.

2) Stannis Baratheon (Last Week, Unranked)

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Mostly covered up above, but damn dude, you really blew it. 3 weeks ago I was ready to give you Father of the Year. Now you’re sacrificing poor Shireen to R’Hllor just for the opportunity to lose and be flayed by Ramsey Bolton when it turns out Jon Snow is the real Azor Azhai? Hmm?! I’m glad your tent burned down you asshole. The only consolation for Stannis is that he’s alive, and hat his horrible actions got kind of muted emotionally by the immediate transition to Mereen. If Davos can’t get him his supplies next week, he’ll quite literally get buried.

P.S. Let’s also not forget that Shireen was his heir. The whole conceit of his claiming the throne was to see his family in power. Davos had instructions to seat Shireen on the Iron Throne if Stannis died… that, combined with the love he’s shown for Shireen and the fact that he’s renown for being an amazing military commander makes this whole turn of events seem kind of counterintuitive. The Stannis character wouldn’t let his camp be penetrated by Ramsey – who is probably not ninja-quiet. He would have guards posted and his mercenary troops would be fully on alert. Plus, he just burned his daughter in front of an army… I don’t think that inspires loyalty OR the motivation to put someone on the Iron Throne for the Lords of Westeros. He may have just lost himself the war just take to take Winterfell

1) Shireen Baratheon (Last Week, Unranked)

We don’t have to go over this again, but of all the ways to die, being sent to burn by your dad minutes after you tell him you love him and want to help him become king is a pretty bad one. I’ll let Matt sum it up.


  RiP Shireen. May Davos learn to read in your honor.

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Not Ranked:

The Quick Beheading, Putting your money on the fast one, Jon Snow, Wun Wun, Meryn Trant, 3 too-old Whores, The Thin Man, Daario, Tyrion, Rhaegal, , Sam Tarly, Gilly, Baby Sam, Olly, Jaimie Lannister, Tommen Lannister, Ramsey Bolton, Alliser Thorne, Bronn, The Slap Game, The Sand Snakes, Doran Martell, Lebron James, Steph Curry, Grey Worm, Davos, Ghost,, The Thin Man, and of course, the Cock Merchant.

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