It took me several days to calm down enough from the Game of Thrones finale to even contemplate what I had seen. Now that I’ve calmed a bit, I’m excited to look forward for the first time having absolutely no idea where the story is going. This will be a bit spoiler-filled for anyone who isn’t caught up on the latest season of Game of Thrones and possibly for anyone who hasn’t read the books, though it’s been a couple of years since I’ve picked any of them up, so I might have forgotten everything important anyway. Consider yourself warned.
So where are we now? The power vacuum in Westeros is real. But if this is a game, someone has to win. Right now that Frankenstein’s Monster Kingsguard guy seems like the most likely candidate, but presuming that’s not the direction the show is heading in, here are my power rankings for the usual suspects:
5. Almost anyone named Lannister (including Baratheons who we all know should be named Lannister) – A season ago Cersei would have been much higher on this list, but she’s currently suffering from the utter humiliation that everyone in King’s Landing has seen her naked. And everyone also knows that there has been a fair amount of twincest going on, so there’s that. Jaime has one hand and hasn’t quite bounced back. Tywin is dead. Thanks, Tyrion! King Joffrey is dead, long live king anyone else. And Tommen is technically king, but he’s more qualified to start a semi-successful boy band than run the Seven Kingdoms. We all know the Lannisters aren’t down for the count just yet, but holy crap it’s fun watching them squirm.
4. Stannis Baratheon – You know the Lannisters are in trouble when someone who is very likely dead is ranked ahead of them. So yeah, Brienne of Tarth probably killed him in the season finale (you’ve been avenged Renly, RIP). But, since we didn’t actually see the sword make contact, and didn’t see any blood, I’m still willing to put him a spot higher than naked Cersei. To be fair, Stannis is the WORST. He’s always been incredibly boring, possibly dying is the most exciting thing he’s done on the show. And then, just to try to be relevant, he burned his daughter. There’s nothing worse than the guy who pretends to be good and noble, and then burns his kid. But, he does have an actual legitimate claim to the Iron Throne, which puts him above the “Baratheon” sitting on it right now. Are you glad you don’t live in Westeros yet?
3. Jon Snow – Apparently I have a thing for presumably dead people on this list. And I’m aware that technically the Bastard of Winterfell wouldn’t have much of a claim on the throne anyway, but some of us (book readers especially) have never believed that’s all Jon Snow is, but that’s another post entirely. I will admit it doesn’t look great for our friend Jon right now. I can’t even use my Stannis argument that we didn’t see it happen. But this is Jon Snow we’re talking about. Yes this is a show that doesn’t shy away from killing important characters, but I just really don’t think he’s gone. Luckily the internet agrees. Some people have focused on an apparent change in eye color as the camera panned away at the end (I didn’t even catch that and I’ve spent more than my fair share of time staring into Jon Snow’s eyes over the years, so kudos America). Is this a sign he is a warg like Bran and popped over into Ghost before he died? Maybe. Or, will he be raised from the dead by the Night’s King? Zombie Jon Snow? Before Jon left on his last adventure Maester Aemon said to “Kill the boy, and let the man be born.” Sounds a little prophetic, no?
2. Daenerys Targaryen – I think most of us can agree Dany has been the frontrunner from the beginning. She’s the last of the Targaryens, the family that had the Iron Throne before Robert Baratheon’s army took it from her crazy father. She has an army. And dragons. People like her. And now, she has Tyrion Lannister. Of everyone we have met so far on this journey, Tyrion is probably most cut out to be king. But since that won’t ever happen because of his physical limitations, Dany is damn lucky to have him on her team. She understands people, he understands politics. That’s a powerful combination. Yes right now there is a slight problem in that she’s seemingly been captured by the Dothraki, but our girl knows how to talk her way out of trouble. Also, dragons.
1. ??? – I have no frakking idea. I really don’t. I’ve spent an embarrassing number of hours thinking this over, and then debating theories with friends. There are still too many moving parts. We don’t know who is dead, or if “dead” even really means dead at this point. Stannis or no Stannis, I doubt we’ve heard the end of Melissandre. Who knows what else, or who else, she has up her sleeve. Sansa Stark is running free with Theon Greyjoy now, and they are PISSED. Littlefinger (LITTLEFINGER of all people!) has an army. The Tyrells aren’t in great shape right now, but they have the money to recover and King Tommen can be pretty easily manipulated by his flirtatious (if currently imprisoned) wife. And you know we haven’t heard the last from Dorne. Relations were more than strained already thanks to Oberyn’s rather disgusting end, and now his lady love has gone and pissed everyone off, again.
Really, as a book reader and an obsessive show watcher, I’m not entirely sure we’ve even met the “winner” yet. After all, everyone we know right now is at least 83% screwed. And frankly, would we wish that throne on anyone we actually like? Who am I kidding, Jon Snow for King!