Each week, we give every episode at least 24 hours to breathe and for you to get caught up. After that, you’re clicking at your own risk. Spoilers ahead.
When Game of Thrones elects to start an episode with a cold open, rather than their heart pumping theme, there’s usually a good reason for it. I’ve personally used my puppy emoji in texts and tweets way more than I had before thanks to the open. Unfortunately we had a short-lived experience with one HBO’s all-time great alums…
This will not be the last we see of Ian McShane as he will be starring in Neil Gaiman’s American Gods coming to STARZ in 2017. If you love Thrones, I recommend giving Gaiman’s book a read and preparing for what should be an awesome TV adaptation. McShane will play Mr. Wednesday, and he may be the best actor for it.
But that’s not why you called…
#CleganeBowl is back on. Arya needs to get out of Braavos. Yara gets some. The Queen of Thorns throws serious shade. Jon and Sansa are on the recruiting trail. Oh, and Brynden Tully has zero Fucks to give. Also, FINALLY…A CASTLE WITH A MOAT!
1. Daenerys (Previously 1st)
Daenerys Stormborn remains Queen of the Rankings, even without an appearance this week. Daenerys’ reputation is growing rapidly, as we see Yara and Theon banking their futures on aligning with her to take back the Iron Isles. We know that she and her dragons are key to defeating “Winter”, that the high Red priestess believes has foreseen her rule, and her army is only growing. Which Greyjoy tandem will she choose to get her ships though…Euron & Aeron or Yara & Theon?
2. The Night King (Previously 2nd)
The Night King is only referenced in the episode, but he is part of the compelling argument that Davos makes at House Mormont. Davos fully understands that it’s all of humanity vs. The Night King, and that’s why we hold him in lofty regard.
3. Bran Stark (Previously 3rd)
Bran’s understanding of his powers is just getting stronger and Benjen is there to remind him how important that is.
4. Ser Davos (Previously 13th)
Davos reminded us again how excellent a recruiter he is. When neither Jon or Sansa could convince Lady Mormont why she should put her people’s lives on the line for them, Davos did he his classic relatable thing and won her over. Despite snide remarks and glares from Sansa, she and Jon are much better off with his advisement than without it.
5. High Sparrow (Previously 6th)
The High Sparrow is certainly in the catbird seat. He is the puppet master and Tommen is his, well…ya know, which makes him the most powerful man in King’s Landing. Pressuring Margaery to give Tommen an heir and threatening her grandmother though? We saw her pass the note to Olenna, and he seems to be underestimating Cersei. I don’t think he’ll be sitting pretty for very long.
6. Queen Margaery (Previously 8th)
The circumstances are not ideal but Margaery is queen. She may have the Septa lurking over her shoulder and appears to have bought in to the High Sparrow’s ways, but I think she is much more cunning than that. I also don’t believe she has totally sold out her brother like she says she has.
7. Brynden Tully (Previously 10th)
The Blackfish is the most important variable to Sansa and Jon’s fight against Ramsay. If he can somehow het past the Lannister and Frey forces, there is hope for the Starks to have a formidable army. His willingness to let Edmure die in order to keep Riverrun and to stand with his back to Jaime (who stabbed his king in the back) shows how tough and arrogant this S.O.B. really is.
8. Jon Snow (Previously 5th)
Jon finally seemed back to rallying form when he spoke with the Free Folk. He was humble yet forceful and convincing when speaking to their leaders about fighting with him, which is what we’ve come to love about Jon. He was knocked back a bit after a tough grilling from young Lady Mormont and a full out rejection from House Glover. However, he is exactly why the Starks have the bulk of their army and he’s ready to take them into battle as soon as possible to get Rickon back.
9. Sansa Stark (Previously 4th)
This wasn’t a great episode for Sansa. When trying to remind Northerners of how she was treated and their allegiances to House Stark, the response was not subtle. Both Mormont and Glover suffered when serving her brother Rob, so her assertiveness was not greeted too kindly. The sass she gave Jon over having Davos as an advisor and scoffing at their forces was not a great look either. One can assume though that the letter she is writing will be going to Petyr Baelish…who has Vale forces ready to assist.
10. Tyrion Lannister (Previously 7th)
Based on the next episode’s description, we’re going to find out how well his propaganda experiment went. It was a well-thought out and calculated move to gain the trust of Meereen, after dealing with Slavers. Hopefully the philosophy doesn’t clash with Daenerys’ wishes, but at least he has her two other dragons on his side…
11. Cersei Lannister (Previously 9th)
As Olenna pointed out, Cersei is missing a lot of backup. She does have her Zombie Mountain, Qyburn and a Trial by Combat coming. I would also think that she and Queen Margaery have a common interest, or more of an “enemy of my enemy” type bond. I don’t doubt her success in the Trial and I think she’ll be getting the blood she’s wanted all season long.
12. Benjen Stark (Previously 11th)
Benjen is now the key to Bran realizing his full potential. Hopefully Jon gets to see him too.
13. Brienne (Previously 12th)
If House Tully is going to make it to help Sansa and Jon, Brienne has reach Brynden before Jaime does with a sword. Brynden knows Brienne from her service to Catelyn, and Jaime knows her well too. We see the Blackfish pull out his sword in her presence and Jaime does a lot of shouting in the teaser. Maybe she brings the two to an understanding, as Jaime did promise Sansa would be safe to Brynden’s niece…?
14. Petyr Baelish (Previously 14th)
Based on the assumption that the raven Sansa is sending was intended for Littlefinger, the Vale increases her and Jon’s odds immensely. Petyr Baelish is full of surprises though. How do we know he won’t flip flop sides on her…again?
15. Jaime Lannister (Previously 19th)
The backhand Jaime gave to Walder Rivers would make Djokovic proud. Like Cersei, Jaime is looking for blood but I don’t know if he really wants to do it on behalf of the Freys. He clearly doesn’t respect them, and he’s even less inlined to serve either Tommen or The High Sparrow.
Something that has always struck me about Jaime though, despite his incest issues, is how important honor is to him. With Brynden out in the open and having his back turned, Jaime could’ve ended the whole dispute with a quick pull of his sword. Nope. That’s not how Jaime rolls.
16. Varys (Previously 16th)
Since we last saw Varys, he was getting burned bad by Kinvara. At this point, he’s still Tyrion’s most trusted advisor in a city they rule and he knows more about everything than anyone else. Will Kinvara keep terrorizing him though? She seems to know a bit too much about him.
17. Euron Greyjoy (Previously 17th)
Euron has a leg up on Yara and Theon getting to Daenerys. He obviously knows her reputation better from his travels and he is the one with access to building ships since he wears the crown. He has a Ramsay-esque screw loose and arrogance too that might not go over well with the Mother of Dragons.
18. Ramsay Bolton (Previously 18th)
This is a nice streak of Ramsay-less episodes.
19. Tormund (Previously 22nd)
I can’t wait to see Tormund back in battle. I don’t understand the”Southerner” prejudice toward him and his people. They’re too respectful to hate. He did some nice rallying for Jon too with the other Free Folk leaders.
20. Zombie Mountain (Previously 11th)
Mountain…Smash! From what we see in the teaser, THAT’s finally coming.
21. Sandor Clegane (Previously NR)
Welcome back, Sandor Clegane!
I feel much better about predicting his return for the last few weeks. Here we find The Hound trying to be civilized and peaceful. How can’t you be with Ian McShane? Then after he felt sort of at home and helpful, some jerks kill his new friends and he’s out looking for blood.
There have been predictions that #CleganeBowl, the battle of the brothers, will be Cersei’s Trial by Combat. I think he has other unfinished business to take care of first, regarding the Brothers Without Banners who slaughtered his community, and the Trial is coming too soon for him to be making an appearance in King’s Landing.
22. Kinvara (Previously 24th)
Meereen’s Secretary of Propaganda is going to show us her stuff this coming week and I’m only curious how Daenerys feels about someone manipulating her people. We do know she’s very powerful though, considering she’s #1 on the Red Woman depth chart.
23. Drogon (Previously 20th)
Death from above.
24. Wun Wun (Previously 31)
He speaks! What would have his colleagues have done if he didn’t agree to help Jon though?
25. Rhaegal & Viserion (Previously 30th)
Pumped for the family reunion.
26. Daario Naharis (Previously 27th)
I assume Daario will rank pretty high in Daenerys’ army when they return to Meereen. He’s really going to hate Euron though.
27. Tommen Baratheon (Previously 26th)
Who is Tommen rooting for in the Trial by Combat? If his balls would drop, there wouldn’t even be one.
28. Jorah Mormont (Previously 25th)
After seeing more House Mormont, I would love to see Jorah get back home to help their cause. He seems a bit far away though and I’ll maintain that he’s going to be crossing paths with the Maesters at the Citadel to cure his greyscale.
29. Lord Commander Edd (Previously 29th)
If Bran’s coming to the Wall, he’s going to want Commander Edd’s help…who has also seen the White Walkers in action.
30. Melisandre (Previously 23rd)
Melisandre has been in multiple episodes in a row now with zero impact since bringing Jon back to life. Whenever she’s ready to do something cool again, I’ll be waiting.
31. Jaqen H’gar (Previously 36th)
What’s Jaqen’s plan for Waif, since she didn’t kill Arya quickly like he ordered? There is a theory that Waif is basically a figment of Arya’s imagination. If that’s true, then Jaqen’s powers are crazier than even I thought.
32. Bronn (Previously 33rd)
“A Lannister always pays his…”
“Don’t say it. Don’t fucking say it!”
Missed you, Bronn.
33. Ghost (Previously 32nd)
If Ramsay dies, I want Ghost to at least get a bite of him.
34. Lyanna Mormont (Newbie)
Who didn’t love this “talk to the hand” moment? She may have just 62 fighters, but Lyanna is more assertive and mature than any of the characters we’ve seen at her age. She also comes off as a responsible leader with her people in mind first. Davos made the best argument of all to recruit her as well, “the living vs the dead”.
35. Missandei (Previously 38th)
Daenerys’ circle of trust is going to be pretty crowded when she gets back.
36. Grey Worm (Previously 39th)
Grey Worm has some rage to unleash. Have not seen him swing his spear yet all season.
37. Ollenna Tyrell (Previously 48th)
At least Olenna is finding joy in something, even if it’s Cersei’s failures. I don’t think she’s leaving King’s Landing quite yet without Cersei’s help.
38. Robin Arryn (Previously 52nd)
If Sansa is writing for Littlefinger’s help, then that makes Robin Arryn and his moon roof relevant again.
39. Yara Greyjoy (Previously 41)
Good for you, Yara. Happy she’s able to have “love” for a short bit before going on a mission that could get her killed. Maybe don’t tell the person who has your back the most to kill himself though…
40. Theon Greyjoy (Previously 42nd)
One question: If Theon is missing his manhood, where does all the ale he’s chugging go? Oh wait…grosssssss
41. Dim Dalba (Newbie)
I had no idea how tall this guy was until he walked up to brace forearms with Jon.
42. Meera (Previously 35th)
Being on Team Bran isn’t the safest, but it might be the most important place to be.
43. Samwell Tarly (Previously 52nd)
How soon will Sam put his family’s sword to use?
44. Gilly (Previously 37th)
Does Gilly just keep wearing the dress wherever she goes and does Talla want it back?
45. Podrick (Previously 40th)
I know Podrick-Bronn is the reunion we’ve all been waiting for.
46. Arya Stark (Previously 28th)
GET OUT OF BRAAVOS ALREADY!
47. Waif (Previously 58th)
Waif is totally going to regret not killing Arya when she had the chance. If she’s a Fight Club/Mr. Robot ripoff though, I’ll be pretty disappointed.
48. Septa Unella (Previously 62nd)
Septa moves up for still having some authority over Margaery, but I share Olenna Tyrell’s sentiments.
49. Yohn Royce (Previously 53rd)
If Petyr is coming to save the day for the Starks, Royce has his chance to redeem himself for selling Sansa out.
50. Qyburn (Previously 47th)
Besides prepping The Mountain, Qyburn also gathers intel and should have some tricks up his sleeve when things get hairy for Cersei in King’s Landing.
51. Robett Glover (Newbie)
While I can’t condone his bigotry toward the Free Folk, he makes good points not wanting to jump into battle with Jon and Sansa. He saw this movie before with Rob, and he won’t put his people in danger without better odds.
52. Ellaria Sand (Previously 43rd)
So we just gave up on the Sands entirely after the premiere, huh?
53. Tyene Sand (Previously 44th)
54. Nymeria Sand (Previously 45th)
…what was the point of killing the Martels then?
55. Obara Sand (Previously 46th)
56. Lem Lemoncloak (Newbie)
Representing Brothers without Banners, the dude in the putrid colored cloak led a raid to kill a whole bunch of innocent and defenseless people. However, this may open the door to the return of ANOTHER character that we thought was dead…
That’s all I’ll say.
57. Melessa Tarly (Previously 49th)
Melessa may be the last line of defense between Randyll and her son. Not sure how sympathetic she is after he left without saying bye though…
Kidding, she seems compassionate.
58. Randyll Tarly (Previously 50th)
He’s, um, pleasent.
59. Aeron Greyjoy (Previously 54th)
How pruney are this guy’s fingers and feet after being in water so much?
60. Walder Frey (Previously 51)
Creepy ass old man, whose sons can’t even conduct a proper siege.
61. Rickon Stark (Previously 57th)
Anyone else worried that Rickon isn’t okay?
62. Smalljon Umber (Previously 48th)
Is Smalljon code for something?
63. Harald Karstark (Previously 56th)
…still wonder if the Karstarks flip, like Sansa suggested.
64. Lancel Lannister (Previously 63rd)
He leads the evil agents of the faith, but he’s going to be praying to anyone else who will listen when the Mountain gets to him.
65. Talla Tarly (Previously 59th)
Going to make this a weekly reminder that Talla was hushed when mentioning the guy she is set to marry…and that might matter.
66. Dickon Tarly (Previously 60th)
Unfortunate name, bro.
67. Zanrush (Previously 61st)
This man has seen some things.
68. Lady Crane (Previously 64th)
Ive cut out the rest of her acting group, but the hit on Lady Crane affected Arya enough to go rogue…
69. Walder Rivers (Previously 65th)
How does the back of Jaime’s hand taste?
70. Lothar Frey (Previously 66th)
The less assertive of the Frey douches.
71. Lhazareen (Previously 67th)
Wonder how she’ll feel about Meereen.
72. Ser Loras (Previously 71)
Everybody but Cersei and Olenna has abandoned him…Maybe Margaery hasn’t either.
73. Edmure Tully (Previously 70th)
Edmure, on the otherhand, was totally bailed on by Brynden. Sorry, dude. At least Jaime is getting him bathed and fed.
74. Mace Tyrell (Previously 72nd)
75. Maester Pycelle (Previously 73rd)
Why is he still here? Seriously.
Anyone too high or too low in this week’s rankings? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter. Don’t forget to checkout The Piffcast, where we regularly discuss the show.