Whether you watch Game of Thrones or not, by now you’ve heard about what’s become known as “The Red Wedding.” It’s received a significant amount of national media attention; author George R.R. Martin and several prominent cast members have appeared on a variety of talk shows and I’ve lost count of the people who have said that it was the most shocking or violent scene that they’ve ever witnessed on television. As I predicted, the fallout from last week’s episode has been enormous and it altered nearly every perception about where Thrones is heading in future seasons. It may have had an even bigger effect on the last edition of our weekly (minus a few) Thrones power rankings. I know there’s still the season finale this Sunday, but next week I’ll be doing something a little different. Stay tuned.
With the Starks mostly wiped out and the audience feeling depressed and confused over who they should be investing in now, it’s not really a surprise that most of the fan favorite groups and families find themselves all bunched up at the bottom. That’s what happens when you fight a war against the most powerful family with the best strategic leader in Westeros.
1. House Frey
In one fell and bloody swoop, the Freys went from barely being remembered by the majority of viewers to one of the most vilified families in Thrones. That’s quite an achievement considering some of the horrible acts others have committed, but there’s just no topping the Red Wedding. To heartlessly execute that many people after promising them protection in your own castle is about as low as you can sink. On the other hand, it’s actually pretty shrewd on Walder Frey’s part to swap allegiances and be on the winning side rather than risk his family’s longevity fighting for a King who had already spurned him once. Unforgivable and barbaric, but shrewd.
2. House Lannister
“The Lannisters send their regards.” Man oh man, remind me to never invite the Lannisters or any of their supporters to my wedding. I don’t much care for their gifts or the messages they send. And is it too early to say that they have the War of the Five Kings pretty much in the bag? Tywin has more or less smashed all of the armies in Westeros that oppose Joffrey, and all it took this time was some ink and a few letters. The pen is truly mightier than the sword.
3. House Targaryen
It’s hard to tell what Daenerys cares about more these days: freeing slaves or gazing at Daario Naharis and his flowing golden locks and piercing blue eyes. Okay that was a little much, but it’s pretty obvious that she swoons every time the guy walks in the room. Hell, she even cared more about his safety than Jorah’s, which means that the poor adviser is probably forever stuck in the friend zone. On a happier note, Dany has pretty much kicked ass the whole season, has a great number of forces at her command and her dragons are getting stronger all the time. It’s just too bad that she’s not taking the fight to the Lannisters yet.
4. House Tyrell
No one is better at doing absolutely nothing and seeing their family’s stock increase than the Tyrells. I seriously doubt they would approve of what Walder and Tywin did to the Starks, but with Margaery set to become Queen any day now it’s not like they’re going to question their King’s warfare ethics.
5. House Baratheon
No army? No allies? No problem for Stannis, who keeps on truckin’ while his enemies continuously slaughter one another. And don’t think for a second that he gives a rat’s ass about what happened to Robb, because he doesn’t. Stannis sees all of these self-proclaimed “Kings” as traitors and he won’t be satisfied until they’re all rotting in the ground.
6. The Wildlings
In the grand scheme of things, it probably doesn’t matter that much that Jon used these guys in order to discover Mance Rayder’s plan and make it back to the Wall. The Wildlings still outnumber the Watch by a significant amount, so the odds are still in their favor. That doesn’t mean they’re happy about him taking off, especially Ygritte, who thought she had something special with Lord Snow. Sorry lady, there’s one or two men in this show who actually keep their promises, and you were just unlucky enough to bed one of them.
7. Brienne and Jamie
Two things I’ve learned regarding this pair: 1) People who allow Brienne to serve under them typically wind up dead, and 2) Everyone should’ve been a lot more suspicious of Roose Bolton when he allowed Jaime to leave Harrenhal. And I could’ve included the Boltons in these rankings I suppose, but they would’ve just wound up there with the Freys and Lannisters, and I’d rather not think about those bastards any more than I already have to.
8. The Night’s Watch
Yes, the Watch is still severely undermanned and they are going to have a hard time stopping the Wildlings, but they’re getting Jon back at least! The Bastard of Winterfell kept his vow and shoved a sword through Orwell before fleeing for the Wall, which unfortunately for him means that Ygritte probably won’t be as gentle with his sword if she ever gets a hold of it again. Love is a cruel mistress indeed.
9. The Brotherhood without Banners
I love how these guys pretend that they don’t serve anyone other than the commoners of Westeros, but when Melisandre shows up and demands that they give up Gendry to serve the Lord of Light’s purposes, they surrender him without any hesitation. But if trading someone I just met meant that I got to keep my flaming sword and immortality as a reward, I would probably have a hard time saying no too.
10. House Greyjoy
I have a pretty good feeling Theon’s demented captor will reveal his true identity this week, which in turn will shed some light on why the hell he’s been torturing him in the first place. If it doesn’t happen, then I don’t know what the hell the point of this story line was.
11. House Tully
There is a LOT of speculation out there that the Tully’s had a hand in the eradication of their King and his mother, one of their immediate family members. It’s interesting too because Blackfish (Catelyn’s uncle) wasn’t at the Red Wedding in the book and his bathroom break had pretty convenient timing. Obviously I won’t spoil anything for non-book readers, but that just shows you how paranoid everyone is concerning characters they don’t know very well now.
12. House Stark
Poor honorable Ned Stark is rolling over in his grave this week. Actually, I’m not sure he ever even reached his grave, so I guess his bones are rolling over in that box? Who knows. If you haven’t seen the reactions to last week’s episode on YouTube yet, you may want to check them out. It more or less tells you everything you need to know about how devastated everyone is now that the Starks are gone.