Sunday, May 15, 2016

Game of Thrones Power Rankings (S6, E3)

Season 6, Episode 3: "Oathbreaker"

Last week's rankings: "Home"

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.


1. Ser Arthur Dayne

I don't actually care that this guy died on screen in this episode, or that the character has been dead for over twenty years within the context of the show. Holy shit, this guy is a badass, and he absolutely won the episode, with the help of...

1a. Game of Thrones Fight Choreographers

I mean, am I crazy, or was that like the best on-screen sword fight you've ever seen? Unfortunately, I don't know who to give credit to, because IMDb doesn't list anyone as a "fight choreographer" or anything like that. So by default, let's all applaud Rowley Irlam, who has the most Game of Thrones-y name ever, and serves as the show's lead stunt coordinator. 

2. Varys' Particular Brand of Winning

Varys employed a strategy this week that must seem quite peculiar to all of his co-residents of Westeros and Essos. When he caught the person who had been betraying and aiding in the murder of his allies, he tortured her, raped her, severed her genitals, hung her in the castle square, beheaded her, and then fed her to dogs offered her a bag of money and a journey to a better life. Wait, what? Sure, she fed him information, but still! A bag of money and a cruise to new lands??? If that's the prize for betraying Varys, sign me up!! 

But seriously, this is what makes Varys such a perpetual winner on the show--he (along with Littlefinger) is the only person who understands that winning the long game means not giving into your compulsions to win every confrontation you find yourself in. If it were Cersei who captured someone betraying her house, you know how that would have gone. But Varys instead bargained with his enemy and lavished her with gifts, and has placed himself in a better strategic position for it. 

3. Small Council Meetings 

These just keep getting better and better. Also, when did Mace Tyrell return? How did he find out about the death of Ser Meryn Trant? How did he explain it to Cersei? How did he find out his children were imprisoned? Did he know of Loras' sexual proclivities? We need a Mace Tyrell bottle episode. 

4. Leanna Stark Theories

She's now been the centerpiece of two flashbacks in as many episodes, and they're definitely building to something. Book readers have long theorized about what really happened inside the Tower of Joy, and the idea of finally having that confirmed is tantalizing to them. Why could Ned hear her screaming? 

ON THE OTHER HAND: This episode had a hidden clue that's highly detrimental to the prevailing theories of Jon Snow's parentage. When Arya's a girl's sadistic faceless fighting teacher was grilling her, she asked Arya a girl about her siblings. When Arya a girl responded that she had four brothers, she was hit, because that wasn't true. When she then said three brothers and a half brother, she wasn't hit. So, why wasn't she hit? If the Leanna Stark theories are true, Arya a girl doesn't have a half brother, and the faceless men seem to know these things. There are only four possibilities: Either A) The faceless men for some reason don't know the truth about Jon Snow's parentage, even though they seem to know everything else, B) It's a continuity error in the show, C) Arya a girl really does have a half brother, but it's not Jon, or D) Jon and Arya a girl are half siblings after all. Curiouser and curiouser. 

5. Ser Davos' Pep Talks

"Now go fail again." And he will. 

Honorable MentionArya Stark A Girl

A girl can see again, which sadly means that a girl won't be turning into Daredevil anytime soon. It's a win for a girl, but a loss for me. 


1. The Donald Trump of Westeros

We can only hope for an imminent hanging to everyone that points at an entire group of people and says, "They're all murderers and rapists. I want them off our lands and behind a wall." GTFOOH

2. Rickon Stark, Osha, and Shaggydog

I've been wondering where they were for a while, and now I feel bad for hoping they'd return. Ramsay remains the worst. 

While we're here, it's time for a quick direwolf update. We started the show with six: Greywind, Ghost, Lady, Nymeria, Summer, and Shaggydog. Lady, Sansa's direwolf, was killed in Season 1, Episode 2 by Ned Stark, on orders of Robert Baratheon, for the whole ordeal between Arya, Joffrey, and the butcher's boy. Greywind, Robb's direwolf, was killed in his kennel during the Red Wedding, in Season 3, Episode 9. And now Shaggydog, Rickon's direwolf, seems to have met his end. That leaves Ghost, who's in Castle Black with Jon Snow, Summer, who's under the weirwood tree with Bran, and Nymeria, Arya's direwolf, who ran off into the woods 51 episodes ago. I'm particularly curious whether Nymeria will return. The show has always made a point in emphasizing the importance of the wolves, so I have to assume yes. But the when, where, and how will be particularly interesting. 

3. Khaleesi

That title, one of many for Daenerys Stormborn Targaryen, Breaker of Chains, is starting to be a bit of a hassle, right? 

4. Ned Stark's Honor

One of the biggest pieces of "evidence" for the theories of Jon Snow's true parentage is that the Honorable Ned Stark would have never ever had an affair behind his wife's back. But this week, we actually saw Ned's honor take a real hit. All of the stories about how he bested Ser Arthur Dayne proved false. See Arthur Dayne was ready to kill Ned before he was stabbed in the back by Howland Reed. 

To be fair, Ned was likely lying about what happened as a favor to Howland Reed, so he wasn't known as the person who stabbed the greatest sword fighter in Westeros in the back. Just as Ned may be lying about Jon Snow's parentage for the sake of a promise to his sister. The lesson is that Ned was willing to be dishonorable, or even for people to falsely perceive him as dishonorable, as long as it meant helping those he cared most about. It'll be interesting to see if more examples of this arise. 

5. Jon Snow's Karma

When Robb Stark executed Rickard Karstark for disobeying his orders, he began to lose the allegiance of his people, and they eventually betrayed and killed him. When Jon Snow killed Janos Slynt for refusing his orders, the same thing might have happened, and he was eventually betrayed and killed as well. Last week, when Jon was struggling with whether to execute those that betrayed and stabbed him, I was really expecting him to not do it, as an example of how death had changed him. I was wrong, and that didn't happen. Will there be consequences? 

Honorable Mentions: Jon Snow's Pecker and Playing Drinking Games with the Unsullied

Apparently neither make for a great party. 

Confirmed Kills: 11

4 of Ned Stark's bannermen (killed by the badass that was Ser Arthur Dayne at the Tower of Joy), Ser Gerold Hightower (killed by Ned Stark at the Tower of Joy), Ser Arthur Dayne (*not* killed by Ned Stark at the Tower of Joy), Bowen Marsh, Othell Yarwyck, Olly, and Alliser Thorne (hung by Jon Snow for betraying and stabbing him), and Shaggydog (presumably killed by Lord Smalljon Umber)

Season Death Tally: 28

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