Sunday, May 24, 2015

Game of Thrones Power Rankings (S5, E6)

Season 5, Episode 6: "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken"

Last Week's Rankings: "Kill the Boy"

In the Game of Thrones, you win or you die. In that spirit, here’s your weekly look at who’s winning and who’s (slowly, painfully) dying.


(Disclaimer: This was a pretty depressing episode where basically everyone lost, so I had to get a bit creative to find five "winners")

1. Living

Well, let's start with the good news: for the first time in memory, no one died this episode!

And that concludes our good news for the week. Thank you, and please drive safely. 

2. The Return of Lady Olenna

She's just enough of an ancillary character that you don't really notice the long stretches of episodes she disappears for, but the second she starts launching verbal barbs at Cersei ("Put the pen down, dear. We both know you're not writing anything."), she reclaims her status as possibly the show's best supporting character. And the look she fires at Cersei following the inquest into Loras Tyrell's sexual proclivities portends a great many things to come. Don't forget, she already killed Joffrey, and without the level of ego that necessitated taking credit for it. She's a very dangerous woman. 

3. Tyrion's Rhetoric

Once again, Tyrion's quick wit saved him. But "Guess again" cock-size jokes aside, Tyrion's quick verbal reflexes and persuasive abilities also saved Jorah, redirecting their captors from Volantis (where they would've been totally screwed) to Meereen, where Jorah is likely to be noticed by the Powers That Be. It's those little victories that keep Tyrion alive and relevant, and they help illuminate why he might eventually be of huge value to Daenerys' campaign to take back the Iron Throne. 

4. Tyrion's Cock

It has magic powers! (Allegedly.) And it's not dwarf-sized! (Also allegedly.) And it's worth a fortune at the cock merchant's! (That one, apparently, amazingly, is factual.)

5. Arya Stark

I mean, that's a pretty cool basement she gets to hang out in, right? And lot's of faces to try on, amiright? And maybe soon she'll learn how to slay people more effectively? (I'm grasping here.)

Okay, enough of that. Let's get to the many, many, many (many!) losers this week… 


1. Show Viewers

Look, Game of Thrones has never made it easy for us. The first episode alone saw Daenerys traded into glorified sex slavery by her own brother, and a young boy thrown out a window by a guy fucking his sister. Four and a half years later, we really should be used to this by now. And yet, Sansa's wedding night somehow seemed to tread new ground of Good God, why are they doing this to us?? territory. 

As I'm sure everyone knows by now, that did not happen in the books (nor did Sansa's entire engagement to Ramsay), which means it was proactively decided on by the showrunners. Smart, creative people sat around a room and debated whether or not to include this as a plot point in the show, and they ultimately decided yes. They wanted us to see that. Or, at least they wanted us to see Theon seeing it. After four and a half seasons of truly excellent television, to say the showrunners get the benefit of the doubt is a massive understatement. But this is also the first moment where it makes you wonder if veering off course from the books is a wise idea, and that, just maybe, the people who chose to give us that scene might be going a bit too far with the nihilistic elements of George R. R. Martin's story. 

2. Sansa's Virtue

This is totally my fault. Just last week, in these very rankings, I joked that Sansa's virginity was becoming the biggest prize in Westeros. That joke is no longer funny, and it never will be again. I'm the worst. 

3. Loras Tyrell, Queen Margaery, Tyrion Lannister, Jorah Mormont, Jaime Lannister, and Bronn (just Bronn)

Hey, look, it's six characters who ended last week as captives! Loras & Margaery are now imprisoned in King's Landing, Tyrion & Jorah are being held by a band of pirates and praying they reach Meereen before finding a good cock merchant, and Bronn & Jaime's bromantic holiday in Dorne seems to have reached the end of it's cheeriness. It's easy to be optimistic for Tyrion and Jorah, because they're at least headed in the direction of help. The other four… not so much. 

4. King Tommen and Theon Greyjoy Reek

And here are two characters who emphatically proved last week that they have no balls. (Well, Theon literally doesn't have balls. Or does he? Is it just the main member that got lopped off, or the whole set? Can we get an official ruling on this?) Both characters had a perfect moment last week to step up and prove their worth to the show, and instead they both sat and watched their world spin out of control, without a fucking peep. 

With Tommen, I'm not totally surprised. But I have to admit, I'm starting to wonder why Theon is actually still in the show at all. Two seasons of torture felt like it only could have been there because there was a real payoff looming at a key moment, but that moment should have been while he was watching Sansa get raped on her wedding night. That was his moment to step up and redeem himself by killing Ramsay and saving Sansa, earning back every awful second we spent with him in Seasons 3 and 4. But he just stood there and watched. Like his sister last year, I'm becoming convinced Theon's beyond saving at this point. 

5. Cersei Playing the Short Game

Cersei's the best. There's just absolutely no long-term thought put into anything she does. Kate Moss once famously said, "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." But Cersei operates on the exact opposite side of that logic spectrum. While Moss can prevent herself from eating to maintain the longterm goal, Cersei just ravenously gobbles up every bite of revenge she can get her hands on, no matter how bloated with enemies she becomes. Actions have consequences. 

Confirmed Kills: Zero! (Unless you count Sansa's virginity)

Season Death Tally: Still 51

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