Game of Thrones Power Rankings: “The House of Black and White.”

About these rankings: Last year, I began sending out power rankings of the characters on Game of Thrones via text message to a few select friends. It evolved to email and I am now posting it online. Really this is just a quick analysis of the most recent episode. I have also posted last weeks, which went out via email, for context.

1.) Cersei (Last Week: 1): The only thing Cersei loves more than her incestuous relationship with her brother is power and her children. Since the source of her power stems directly from her children (and her children from Jaime), her loves are intertwined. She’ll ravage all of Westeros to hold onto them, but she’ll need to re-assert her control over the small council if wants to remain on top of the list. She took steps in the right direction by giving members new titles and responsibilities, but the public dissent of her uncle is unsettling.

2.) Jon Snow (LW: 2): More important than becoming the 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch in these rankings, Snow once again showed his Stark upbringing. This week, he stood tall in his against the man who saved him, Stannis. His refusal to break his loyalty to the Night’s Watch to try for his childhood dream is admirable. In the coming episodes as Lord Commander, he will certainly face new challenges, from both sides of the wall, that will try and knock him down the rankings.

3.) Brienne of Tarth (Not Rated): Yes, she is wielding Valyrian Steel, but it still is a massive feat of strength to break another fighter’s sword in half and break through the armor to inflict a severe wound. Brienne is proving to be a one of the top fighters in Westeros, who would be gladly welcomed into any camp if it weren’t for the rampant sexism that exists in this world. She’s now a rogue sword who will chase Sansa and Petyr across Westeros, likely leaving a wave of carnage in her wake.

4.) Arya (NR): Held out last week after not appearing in the season premier, she returned with the same fiery determination that has made her a fan favorite. Never one to let fate decide her route, she washed up in Bravos and was not demurred by her initial rejection from the House of Black and White, willing to take on a band of kids twice her size to hold onto a pigeon she killed. By the end of the episode, she had gained entrance to the house she sought out, and was reunited with pseudo-mentor Jaqen H’ghar.

5.) Jaime Lannister (NR): The much transformed Jaime, who began the series interested only in his sister, has grown into a well-received and much deeper character. He had a small role this episode, but the potential greatness of a bro-trip to Dorne with Bronn is enticing enough to keep his stock high.

6.) Daenerys (10): She’s learning that ruling is not easy, especially when you conquer your constituents to achieve power. Her decision to execute Mossador was something we’d expect of someone raised by Ned Stark (the Stark offspring seem much more fortified in their convictions and doing “right” than other characters), even though it sparked a riot. The quasi-return of Drogon was another positive to help raise her stock. She’s got a ways to go to settle Mereen and will need to unleash her Dragons to climb the list (and eventually take Westeros, if she ever makes it there).

7.) The man with no name (Jaqen H’ghar) (NR): A brief appearance, but the reveal of his identity (if he has one), was a powerful moment in the episode (that was wonderfully shot) and hints that after all her wanderings across the Riverlands with the Hound, Arya is on back on track to finally avenging the destruction of her family.

8. Sam the Slayer (8): He stood up and through enticing rhetoric not only destroyed the credibility of Janos Slynt, but also got his best friend elected Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. He still lacks confidence in much of his actions and needs directing from others, but Sam is silently building up a stellar resume of memorable moments. His biggest challenge will finding the courage to express his true feelings to Gilly.

9.) Bronn (NR): Lollys Stokeworth lived up to the uninspiring description she received in the books, and it was obvious Bronn’s interest and affection toward her was tied up in the land he’d receive in the marriage. An adventure to Dorne with Jaime Lannister is a much more appealing alternative.

10.) The Eunich and the Imp (4,6): The ever-inebriated Tyrion had a funny quip, but other than that, the traveling companions had a fairly forgettable appearance. There isn’t much intrigue talking about routes while in transit.

Others receiving votes: Ellaria Sand, Maester Aemon, Petyr Baelish, Daario Naharis

Dropped from the list: Petyr Baelish (still just using Sansa to attain power), Mance Raydar (deceased), Stannis (no one listens to him), viewers of the fairer sex

Death of the week: If this were “kill of the week,” it would easily go to Brianne’s dispatching of Petyr Baelish’s bannermen. But this is a section recognizing great deaths, and that goes to Mossador (the freed slave who joined Daeny’s council, if you do not know him by name as he only appeared in three episodes). His death signifies Daenery’s strive for justice and a major step in her learning how to rule, as it shows it is impossible to please everyone. The biggest surprise from his death was that it wasn’t more graphic. When the cameras showed to the on looking crowd of freed slaves reaching their hands to the sky, I was sure we’d see a severed head fall (especially since we had already seen a severed head earlier in the episode). Alas, we did not, so with a fairly weak field to choose from, Mossador gets the nod.

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