Sunday, May 29, 2016

Game of Thrones Power Rankings (S6, E5)

Season 6, Episode 5: "The Door"

Last week's rankings: "Book of the Stranger"

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. The Night King

With only 25 episodes left in the series, it feels like this guy is going to be the big winner of just about every episode he appears in until the end. This show is excellent at having a chief villain step out of the batter's box and up to the plate at just the right moment: Tywin when Joffrey died, Ramsay when Tywin died, and presumably the Night King will take on a much more visible role when Ramsay (inevitably, hopefully agonizingly) dies. 

Two important questions: Was he able to see Bran during the warging because Bran accidentally inserted himself too prominently into the past, or because The Night King can simply tell when he's being watched? And second, after touching and basically branding Bran, can he tell that Bran and Jon Snow are related? 

2. Lady Sansa Stark, Wardeness of The North, which Remembers

Of every important character on the show, Sansa is probably the only one who's never won a scene/circumstance/episode due to her own actions. Yes, she "won" when Joffrey decided to marry Margaery instead, or when Littlefinger arranged to have her smuggled out of King's Landing, but those are all decisions that were made beyond her consultation. 

Finally though, in her little chat with Littlefinger, Sansa felt like a winner. The questions were asked, and answered, on her terms, at her speed, and at her insistence. From the moment the conversation began, there was never a doubt who was running it, and that's a new status quo for her. We even saw it later in the episode, in the strategy meeting with Jon. Everything that happened at that particular chess board was due to Sansa's own orchestration--both the elements that she made privy to the room, and the elements that she kept within. 

3. The Targaryen Invasion of Westeros

I thought about placing Euron Greyjoy here, because he was made King, after all. But I withheld calling him a winner for two reasons. First of all, having to drown for a crown made out of sticks looks like a raw deal. Second, and perhaps more importantly, Euron's grand ole plan to gift Daenerys Targaryen both a thousand ships and his "big cock" seems destined to be precisely, ummm, half successful. 

But that successful half (the ships, obviously--get your mind out of the gutter) will hopefully, mercifully, finally, put the Targaryen invasion of Westeros back on track. 

4. Kinvara, High Priestess of the Red Temple of Volantis, the Flame of Truth, the Light of Wisdom, and First Servant of the Lord of Light

For the first 54 episodes of the show, Varys and Littlefinger were the two characters that always seemed like they owned every situation they found themselves in. That changed for both of them this episode. Sansa verbally overpowered Littlefinger, but what made him nervous was the possibility of Brienne killing him. For Varys, the overpowering and the nervousness both came from the same person, and he looked quite uncomfortable indeed. 

For years now, it's looked like the two great hopes for Westeros were Jon and Daenerys. Jon was brought back to life by a red priestess, and now Daenerys has access to an even more powerful and confident one. 

5. Jorah Mormont, Lord Commander of House Friendzone

He finally declared his love for his Khaleesi, and though it wasn't exactly returned in the same manner, her emotional affection for him was laid bare, as well as her commands for his continued health and wisdom. If there really is a way for Jorah to cure his greyscale, his Khaleesi commanding it will expedite its location. 

Honorable Mention: Gratuitous Nudity 

Making a real triumphant return, courtesy of the community theatre in Braavos! And how 'bout those production values, huh? Not bad! Every aspect of the city life we see in Essos just further confirms that it's clearly a much better place to live than Westeros, and all of the idiots fighting over an uncomfortable chair made out of swords are deeply misguided in their life goals. 


1. Literally Every Living Thing Hanging Out Under the Weirwood Tree

Seriously, here's the rundown of who was hanging out under the tree: The Three-Eyed Raven, Bran Stark, Hodor, Meera Reed, Summer (Bran's Direwolf), and Leaf and her Children of the Forest friends. So, all of them are now dead except Bran and Meera, who were left wandering alone in the endless winters north of the Wall, with no protection. 

The real loss here, obviously, is Hodor, but if I didn't give him a combined spot with those he died with, there'd just be no room left on the losers list for everything else that happened in the episode. Hodor, you are forever denied the spotlight you so richly deserved. But take solace that you will go down in eternity as the answer to the question, "Which Game of Thrones death most gave you PTSD?" 

Meanwhile, Bran has to live with the knowledge that he ruined Hodor's entire life, and then got him killed decades later. Honestly, if Hodor's life is the price of discovering you can time travel, I think most of us would rather just not know we can time travel. 

Also, we're down to two direwolves, one of which has been missing for the last 53 episodes. 

One prediction, though: Max von Sydow is considered one of the world's greatest living actors, and I don't think he signed on to play the Three-Eyed Raven just to appear in three episodes (nor would the show pay him for such a small amount of screen time). I'm not explicitly predicting he isn't dead, or that he'll come back to life; I'm just saying I don't think we've seen the last of Max von Sydow on the show. Most likely, it'll be an Obi-Wan-type situation, where, even though he's dead, he'll continue to appear in Bran's visions and impart more teachings. 

2. Empowering a Force

We saw it last season when Cersei empowered the Faith Militant, and they inevitably turned on her for her own life of sins. We saw it this week with the Children of the Forest, who created the White Walkers to fight off the First Men, and then eventually died at their hands. And we've seen it with the Republican Party, who spent the last three decades cultivating the vote of the uneducated and prejudiced, and now those people enabled Donald Trump Drumpf to destroy the party (and maybe the country). Empowering a group with the intention of using them to take out your enemies will likely result in them taking you out a bit further down the road. And now Tyrion and Varys are toying with granting power and influence to religious fanaticism within Meereen. Actions have consequences. 

3. Littlefinger

Just a week after I declared him a winner for managing to have every verbal encounter go exactly his way, we finally see him get trounced in one. However, the mention of Brynden "The Blackfish" Tully was interesting, and felt a bit like Littlefinger was still getting his little fingers into Sansa's ears. Sansa has now used that information, as Littlefinger no doubt knew she would. But is it accurate, reliable intel? Or does Littlefinger just want Sansa, and, by extension, Jon, to think it is, for reasons unknown? We shall see. 

4. House Greyjoy

Well, The Kingsmoot didn't go so well for them, did it? Where they're headed is anyone's guess, and here's mine: Dorne. First off, it's warm there, and Iron Islanders all just look fucking miserable. Second off, we haven't seen Dorne in four weeks now, and they have to rejoin the fray somehow. But lastly, surely Yara knows that Ellaria Sand killed the Martells and intends to take the fight to the Lannisters. There are only so many places in Westeros you can go with a fleet of ships, and Winterfell and Castle Black aren't on the list. We know the Greyjoys hate the Lannisters, so maybe an alliance with the new rulers of Dorne makes the most sense. 

5. A Girl

As much as a girl may claim she is no longer Arya Stark, a girl will continue being reminded that she once was. And a girl may also soon recall where Arya Stark hid her sword, Needle. And once a girl reclaims the blade of Arya Stark, she will no longer be just a girl. 

Honorable Mention: The Tormund/Brienne Love Affair We All Yearn For

Look out your window, Brienne!!

Confirmed Kills: 8

*Hodor (killed by a small army of wights, because it was his destiny to die at that moment, in that way, holding that door, because Bran didn't understand his own abilities and accidentally ruined Wylis Hodor's entire life)
*The Three-Eyed Raven (Killed by the Night King, because Bran couldn't fucking listen when he told him not to touch the stove)
*Summer (Killed by an army of wights while protecting Bran, yet again)
*Leaf and three other Children of the Forest (Killed by an army of wights who were controlled by the White Walkers, who the Children of the Forest created to begin with, all because karma's a bitch)
*A White Walker (Killed by Meera Reed when she hurled dragon glass at him) 

Season Death Tally: 52


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