For better or worse, much of the plot of the first three episodes could have lasted seven. That's what happens when you have a show with such rich source material. For television purposes, however, things need to be moved forward, and rich backstory sometimes needs to be replaced with moving the plot along faster. Anyway, here are this week's Power Rankings:
1. House Lannister (Last Week #3)
It's surprising that the queen racking up early victories is Cersei and not Daenerys. Raiding the Tyrell treasury may have been her most important victory, since it gets the Iron Bank off of her back. Going forward, it may not be so easy. Ambitious Tyrell bannermen won't like the Tarleys being put in charge, and Dorne still wants revenge. Their army is spread thin too, between years of war and no reliable allies in the Riverlands.
2. House Stark (Last Week, #1)
Jon is lucky that Davos is a great hype-man. He's not doing a bad job right now, but he really needs to stop being so modest. This woman was impressed by Daario after all, not the meek Ser Jorah. Meanwhile, at Winterfell, it was great to see a reunion, but Bran's been out in the woods too long. How about picking something a bit more mundane to demonstrate your power rather than the worst day of your sister's life?
3. The White Walkers (Last Week, #2)
Yep, keep demanding fealty, Daenerys. Never mind the hideous monsters lurking offstage, let's keep on keeping on about that Iron Throne quest.
4. House Greyjoy/Crow's Eye (Last Week, #4)
Naval superiority is important. Tyrion thought he had it, but so much for that. As for Euron himself, I'm actually enjoying his over the top mustache-twirling villain schtick. Euron is a monster in the books, but, like a bunch of other Ironborn characters, he's introduced too late to have much of an emotional impact. The show is making him a just fun bad guy rather than getting too deep into his character, which is working pretty well so far.
5. The Knight's Watch (Last Week, #7)
Well, Sam, you could have killed us all, but we're super impressed with your doctoring skills. Here is a "punishment," where you have read and copy dozens of old scrolls. As if that's not one of your favorite activities.
6. House Arryn (Last Week, #8)
Everyone seems to be ignoring the only house with a huge army untouched by battle. Plus, Sansa hasn't had Littlefinger impaled yet.
7. House Targaryen (Last Week, #5)
Holy crap. In Tyrion's defense, his initial plan was sound because he thought he had naval superiority. It's the British model of conquest, after all. Base your operation out of a secure island and with a powerful navy you can strike where you want, when you want. If they went after a land foothold first they could have gotten boxed in really fast. Now they're boxed in anyway.
8. House Tyrell/House Martell (Last Week, Not Ranked)
The Tyrells and Dornish had run their course and neither was that strong of a ally for Daenerys when you come right down to it.
Leave it to Olenna to twist the knife on her way out. Still, Westeros being Westeros it was always going to be hard for the Queen of Thorns to maintain control with dozens of ambitious lords like Randyll Tarley waiting in the wings.
As for the Dornish, the characters were introduced far too late in the series and far too clumsily for them to have the same impact they had in the books (which, by the way, was also harmed by their late introduction). The show cut the best Martell character completely, and severely watered down the second best one. I'd be surprised if we hear from them again on the show.
Also receiving votes: The Brotherhood without Banners, Ser Pounce, epic voiceovers, gazing longingly across the hills of budget Ireland (filmed in Spain), and putting some aloe on it.
(c) 2017 D.G. McCabe