Game of Thrones Power Rankings, Season 7, Episode 4

In an effort to avoid spoilers in the first paragraph, I’d just like to point out that due to alliances and defeats, we’re really down to only down to about 11 or 12 rankable groups at the moment.  Here’s a new rule: if one of the subgroups (groups allied with someone else) does something important, they can make the rankings.  This opens up a return to the rankings for the Dothraki, Wildlings, and a few other random ones.  That will make things more interesting than ranking groups that haven’t done anything in a couple of weeks, every week. Anyway that’s enough preamble – power rankings time!

1. House Targaryen (Last Week, #7)

The destruction!  The carnage! Fire and Blood indeed!  I want to point out too, that the Targaryen plan no longer relies on naval superiority.  This kind of diminishes the threat posed by Euron Greyjoy’s fleet.2. The Dothraki (Last Week, NR)

Sure they are squarely in Daenerys’ camp, since they believe she’s a goddess and all.  But to leave them off the rankings this week would be a disservice to the effectiveness of their rampage.

3. House Stark (Last Week, #2)

In any other week, the Starks would be #1.  They didn’t burn any armies to the ground this week, but they’re in a great position.  Their leadership now consists of a king, a political savant, an assassin, and a wizard.  And Jon is getting close to getting the Mother of Dragons to understand that the real threat isn’t Cersei…

4. The White Walkers (Last Week, #3)

…it’s these guys.

5. House Greyjoy (Last Week, #4)

Euron could still  cause problems along the edges.  However, since Daenerys no longer needs naval superiority for her invasion, there’s only so much he can do against her.

6. The Night’s Watch (Last Week, #5)

Sam stays on the countdown, if only because he didn’t have to get pushed around by Slughorn, I mean the Archmaester, this week.

7.  House Arryn (Last Week, #6)

Littlefinger’s days look numbered.  His sole purpose right now appears to be keeping the Vale in the fold, but how much sway does he really have over Robin Arryn while he’s in Winterfell?

8. House Lannister (Last Week, #1)

Did anyone really think a big crossbow was going to take down a huge dragon?  The Lannisters have no army and control of one city, which is now under siege with no food.  Does the Iron Bank rescue them, or cut their losses now that they’ve gotten their gold?  If I were them, I’d choose the latter.

Also Receiving Votes: The Wildlings, The Brotherhood without Banners, Ser Pounce, House Reed (so long Meera!), cave paintings, the many lives of Theon Greyjoy (who should be dead about 5 times by now), and crossbows (which can only do so much).

(c) 2017 D.G. McCabe



Game of Thrones Power Rankings, Season 7, Episode 3

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

Game of Thrones Power Rankings, Season 7, Episode 2

The fast paced action that was promised has begun! Euron the crazy pirate appears to be a worthy adversary for the time being. Now, Power Rankings:

1. House Stark (Last Week, #3)

Who makes it to Winterfell first, Arya or Bran? Meanwhile, Sansa gets what she wants, and Jon pays a visit to his Aunt. Throw in a couple of impromptu reunions, and it was a strong week for the North.

2. The White Walkers (Last Week, #2)

The Night King hasn't made his move yet, so I can't move him up. He still has dead giants, so I can't move him down either.

3. House Lannister (Last Week, #4)

It didn't take long, and Cersei has righted the ship. Euron is a powerful ally, Tarley is at least thinking about Jaime's offer, and they have a rudimentary air defense. A few valuable hostages helps too.

4. House Greyjoy (Last Week, #6)

It's good to be the king, even if you're the king of bird poop covered rocks. Props to finally getting rid of some of the show's poorer adaptations too.

5. House Targaryen (Last Week, #1)

Daenerys has lost the element of surprise, a good number of ships, and possibly Dorne. Plus I'm convinced she won't believe Jon when he tells her about the Night King. This invasion will be harder than she thinks.

6. The Brotherhood (Last Week, #5)

In the Game of Thrones Power Rankings, you appear in the episode or you drop.

7. The Night's Watch (Last Week, #8)

I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the wall. I am the scalpel that cuts the gross infection off your body.

8. House Arryn (Last Week, #7)

This was a bad week for the assorted allies. Not awful for the Vale though, since Sansa appears to be more popular with them than Jon. They stay on the rankings for now.

Also receiving votes: House Martell, House Tyrell, Hot Pie, Nymeria, Ser Pounce, icky scene transitions, and the unintentional humor of Theon peacing out.

(c) 2017 D.G. McCabe

Game of Thrones Power Rankings, Season 7, Episode 1

And we’re back!  After over a year we finally have some new Game of Thrones to discuss. Let’s jump right into the power rankings:

1. House Targaryen

The Mother of Dragons has made it all the way to Dragonstone. For now she has a massive coalition ready to burn cities to the ground. This would be great if only there weren’t a zombie horde waiting to pounce up north.

2. The White Walkers

They’re still coming. With zombie giants. At least Jon has the North convinced that they’re real. 

3. House Stark

I think Sansa underestimated the effectiveness of good cop/bad cop. Does she really think those kids will cross Jon when his sister/cousin has made it clear she’d rather sell of their homes and exile/hang them?  It’s clear people get second chances with Jon. No one gets a third with Sansa around. Meanwhile, Bran and Arya are still out there. Arya has a mission and skills granted, but she’s heading in the wrong direction.

4. House Lannister

Jaime is right, they don’t look like the winning side. Where does he go when his sister ultimately fails?

5. Brotherhood Without Banners

How long has the Hound had the ability to see into the flames? He’s been scared of fire all his life so we may never know.

6. House Greyjoy

You may have as many ships as Daenerys, Crow’s Eye, but she has three dragons and last I checked your ships are made of wood.

7. Houses Arryn, Tyrell, & Martell

Hitching your wagon to a bigger horse is a good strategy, but for these houses it’s an imperfect solution. What happens when Littlefinger turns on Jon or the Sand flakes turn on Tyrion?  House Tyrell is a better bet to stay in its coalition, but they’re vulnerable to Crow’s Eye hitting them from the west.

8. The Night’s Watch

Bowls for poop, bowls for soup, either way we don’t have time for Sam’s training montage and neither does he. The faster he gets out of the Citadel the better.

Also receiving votes: Essos, Ser Jorah, Ser Pounce, big maps on floors and tables, snappier banter, poisoned wine, the obsidian throne, and maybe our last “table setting” episode.

(C) 2017 D.G. McCabe 

Game of Thrones Power Rankings, Season Six, Episode Ten, “The Winds of Winter”

Well, that escalated quickly.  Although in Daenerys’ case, it escalated extremely, extremely slowly.  In any event we end the season with four bases of power in Westeros – Targaryen in the South, Stark in the North, Lannister in between, the Night’s King lurking beyond the wall.  Let’s see how this affects our final power rankings for the season:


1. House Stark (Last Week, #2)

For a while, George R.R. Martin’s working title for the upcoming “The Winds of Winter” was “A Time for Wolves.”  We’re starting to see why. We also get confirmation that Jon is indeed NOT the illegitimate son of Ned Stark but the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen.  He may, or may not be legitimate after all, but with only one and a half Targaryens left in the world, it may not matter.  Additional props to Arya for ridding us of the disgusting Walder Frey.  They may not have dragons, but they finish the season on top.


2. House Targaryen (Last Week, #1)

Daenerys seems to have everything in place – if this were a year ago. Winter is here, and there’s a good question about how her Dothraki and dragons will fare in cold weather.  She needs to move quickly if she’s going to be in a helpful position when the real war comes.


3. House Lannister (Last Week, #7)

When you murder most of your enemies in one day, you move up the Power Rankings.  The scariest part is that, even though her tactics evoke memories of the Mad King, Cersei isn’t crazy – she just doesn’t care anymore.


4. House Arryn (Last Week, #3)

The Knights of the Vale were in the room when Jon was proclaimed King of the North.  However, there remains the uncomfortable questions of Littlefinger’s hold on Robin Arryn and the influence he might have on Sansa.  Tread lightly, Jon Snow.


5. House Martell (Last Week, NR)

The Martells have been wisely patient this season.  I thought one of the Sand Snakes was going to whack Tommen, but instead they returned home and made alliances.  Not bad for a season’s work.


6. House Greyjoy (Last Week, #4)

Yara and Theon have also made some good decisions this season.  What drops the Ironborn in the rankings is their crazy uncle.  He’s the ultimate wildcard, and it’s unclear what his next move is now that he won’t be marrying Daenerys any time soon.

The Others

7. The Others/White Walkers (Last Week, NR)

The Wall remains standing.  For now.


8. House Tyrell (Last Week, NR)

The Sparrows are dead and gone, and so is most of House Tyrell. The key word here is “most of.”  The Queen of Thorns has nothing to lose, and that makes her dangerous.  Although, I’d like to point out that Sam’s visit to The Reach showed that her bannermen are hardly ready for any war, much less a war against the dead.

Also Receiving Votes: Lyanna Mormont, Ser Pounce, The Hound, Fast Travel, Meera Dragging Bran Around Again, and Ten Months of Waiting.

(c) 2016 D.G. McCabe


(c) 2016 D.G. McCabe

Game of Thrones Power Rankings, Season Six, Episode Nine, “Battle of the Bastards”

It’s clear to me that in order to make eight seasons of television satisfying, to say nothing of 8,000 pages of fantasy novels, Game of Thrones is going to have to become somewhat more predictable going forward.  But if the show sacrifices its trademark unpredictability for satisfying conclusions like last night’s, I’m all for it.  Anyway, Power Rankings:

1. House Targaryen (Last Week, #2)

Daenerys’ win this week is more decisive than the Stark win, so she gets to claim the top spot for the week.  Her army is completely intact and her enemies have unconditionally surrendered.  Additionally, her leadership team is united behind her.  She’s working especially well with Tyrion, so I’ll be retiring the “House Lannister in Exile” banner from here on out (the Meereenese banner is done too, since they’ve been soundly defeated).


2. House Stark (Last Week, #6)

Victory for the Starks was the focus of this episode, but they paid a much heavier price than Daenerys.  Jon and Sansa failed to communicate with each other, and between that and Jon being Jon (riding out front in a futile attempt to save Rickon meant a mis-timed assault from his troops), they almost lost the battle.  Winterfell is back in Stark hands for the first time since Season 2, but Jon and Sansa’s partnership is still very much a work in progress.


3. House Arryn (Last Week, NR)

I’m tempted to merge the Knights of the Vale with the Starks, but I have good reason to be hesitant.  A reasonable interpretation of  events would be that Littlefinger and Sansa are even now – he left her with a monster, but then gave her an army when she needed it most.  Littlefinger won’t see it that way.


4. House Greyjoy (Last Week, #4)

Sealing a new alliance with a powerful queen is good.  Still having to deal with your crazy uncle?  Not so much.


5. The Faith of the Seven (Last Week, #1)

Control of the actual Iron Throne is feeling less and less important these days.  It will be completely irrelevant once the White Walkers invade.

The Free Folk

6. The Free Folk (Last Week, NR)

I’m going to retire the Free Folk banner this week too, since there’s no reason to keep it separate from House Stark anymore.  I thought I’d bring it out one more time as tribute to Wun Wun’s bravery and sacrifice during this week’s battle.


7. House Lannister (Last Week, #8)

What’s Jaime’s next move?  Is he heading North in response to Jon/Sansa’s victory?  Or is he heading back to King’s Landing?  I guess we’ll find out next week.


8. House Bolton (Last Week, #5)

Finally, someone dies in horrific fashion who actually deserves it for a change.

Also receiving votes: The Meereenese, House Tyrell, House Martell, House Tully, The Faceless Men, The White Walkers, The Hound, Ser Pounce, LeBron James, and Ghost Hanging Out in His Kennel Apparently.


(c) 2016 D.G. McCabe

Game of Thrones Power Rankings, Season Six, Episode Eight, “No One”


It seems a little late in the game for yet another table setting episode, yet here we are.  I’m not sure what the show’s writers have in mind for Jaime’s storyline or the Hound’s, but the pieces are squarely in place for action in Meereen, King’s Landing, and Winterfell over the next two weeks.  Let’s get into the Power Rankings:


1. The Faith of the Seven/Sparrows/Faith Militant (Last Week #1)

Check and mate, Cersei.  For the third week in a row, the High Sparrow has outgunned and outmaneuvered everyone else in King’s Landing.  He’s even cancelled the highly anticipated “Clegane Bowl.”  For those of you not keeping track, this was a widely held fan theory that The Hound would fight the undead Mountain in Cersei’s trial by combat.

2. House Targaryen/House Lannister in Exile (Last Week, #2/NR)

I hope Daenerys isn’t too hard on Tyrion.  If it weren’t for his, albeit temporary, armistice, Meereen would have been put to the sword a while ago.  After all, it takes time to fly north, get kidnapped, escape, and recruit a giant army.  Who else was going to keep the city intact, the charismatic Grey Worm?


3. The Meereenese (Last Week, NR)

Even so, things aren’t looking great for Daenerys.  It wasn’t established this week how far ahead of her army she’s flown.  Also, heavy cavalry aren’t very effective at urban warfare.  If I were her, my play would be to lure the Masters’ army onto the beach and flank them with the Dothraki while the dragons burn their ships behind them.


4. House Greyjoy (Last Week, #4)

Then, once the Masters’ fleet is a smoldering ruin, Daenerys still needs ships.  Fortunately, unbeknownst to her, there is a large fleet already heading her way to lend her a hand.  Isn’t it great that the world on the show is so much smaller than the world in the books?


5. House Bolton (Last Week, #6)

The Bolton’s are still holding steady, and at least we’ve been spared another pointless reminder of Ramsay’s cruelty for another week (I know that I keep saying that, but who disagrees?).  Let’s all hope Jon scores a major come from behind victory next week.  While that seems kind of inevitable, at least we’re due a badass fight episode.


6. House Stark (Last Week, #7)

A girl is Arya Stark, and she is coming to vanquish her enemies.  That is, unless her enemies do the vanquishing before she gets there.  It’s not looking great for Jon and Sansa’s army, since it seems that if they do win, it’ll be with Littlefinger’s help.  And being in Littlefinger’s debt? Yikes.

The Hound

7. The Hound (Last Week, #5)

Revenge is great, but what to do after?  Well I guess you can feel safe hanging out with a guy you’ve already killed once and his band of merry men.


8. House Lannister (Last Week, #8)

Jaime’s anti-climatic victory at least gave us some fun Bronn/Pod interaction.  Otherwise, why exactly did we just spend the last two episodes in the bloody Riverlands?  Maybe just to get Jaime away from Cersei, who at this point is out of options.  Unless she decides to just torch the place.  It’s not like there’s a cache of wildfire underneath King’s Landing that only she knows about or anything….

Also receiving votes: House Tully, House Martell, The Night’s Watch, the Free Folk, The Faceless Men, House Arryn, House Tyrell, the White Walkers, Ser Pounce, Lyanna Mormont, Pod’s Magic Rod, the Ancient Custom of Parlay, Tyrion at the Improv, Leaving Las Braavos, and Absolutely No One Missing Dorne or the Miscast Sand-Snakes.

(c) 2016 D.G. McCabe