The Power Rankings are nearly over good God what will I rank after next week?!
#1 Walder Frey (Last Week: Not Ranked/Being a miserable bastard)
God damn it. The Game of Thrones is about winning, not about being liked and not about playing fair. Walder Frey is a man who has taken this idea to heart. The Game of Thrones and the Power Rankings have very similar win conditions: 1) be powerful 2)maintain power and 3) always be owning. Have a look at Robb Stark for an idea of how to lose. First prize is the iron throne, second prize is a set of steak knives/not having your neck clipped, third prize you and your entire family are fucked.
Many of us had the grim turn hinted at before it came (thanks bookworms for the incredibly cryptic talk of a ‘Red Wedding’, impossible to figure out what that meant) but the impact was unmitigated since, well, it’s hard to lessen the blow of a pregnant woman being stabbed to death no matter how broadly it’s alluded to on twitter.
All of this is to say, no one likes Walder Frey. Not the Blackfish, not lil’ Ned Stark, not anybody. He looks like the GateKeeper from Atmosfear except way less friendly. Despite this, despite being despised and living under a bridge with his Wrong Turn Addams Family, Walder White is winning by being about as righteous as wet shit as well as as likeable. This is a game and he’s in it, my man Frey will fuck you up in a minute, with a right left, stab stab your Rooseless, then you sayin’ Goddamn he ruthless.
It wasn’t all smarmy quisling though, Frey may well have snatched the line of the night with this gem –
“I’d have broken 50 oaths to get into that!”
And even if his idea of a gracious wedding reception is somewhere between the ending of Carrie and The Night Of The Long Knives, you simply cannot fault him for turning up the volume on those cheesy facial contortions which almost had me busting a gut (poor choice of words).
Finally as an aside, who is the worse man to be given away by, Walder or realm daddy Joffre? Neither is ideal but I have to say the implied danger and non implied irritation that Joffre brings to the table clearly wins it for him over Glenn Frey.
Power Ranking regulations prohibit me from ranking absentees, but Tywin Lanniser, even hundreds of miles away in King’s Landing made his presence felt this week, to the extent that he may as well have been one of the fucking groomsmen.
Bear in mind now that every scene we’ve had of him absently letter writing from a comfortable study in the Tower of Power (when they haven’t been lusty passion spews for Olenna Tyrell) he’s been deftly orchestrating this entire cacophony of chaos, conjuring it all just by wielding that quill. Walder Frey is just one of many means to one of Tywin’s many ends.
#2 Roose Bolton (Last Week: Hiding food from orphans)
WARNING: THE ROOSE IS LOOSE I REPEAT, THE ROOSE IS LOOSE.
Is it ok to entirely betray a man’s trust? Should I protect Robb Stark because it’s the honourable thing to do? Is it acceptable to marry an obese child? What should I wear to this wedding?
These are questions which do not occur to Roose Bolton. Tywin Lannister wields the power he does because he is canny, ruthless and willing to pick and choose the rules he follows as he sees fit. Roose Bolton is a psychotic calculator with aspergers, which similarly gives him an edge in an equally cutthroat world as well as a sizeable advantage in dealing with honour bound idealists like the former King in the North.
During a long session of cleaning my car with upholstery cleaner, I was launched into a vision quest by the fumes which I think brought me to the worrying conclusion that if I was any character, I might just be Roose Bolton. I’m not sure if that’s because I think I’d be the severe, teetotal pragmatist who chooses the most logically self serving path despite the consequences for others or just because I really want to be the guy who gets to stick the knife in and whisper “Tywin Lannister sends his regards”.
I think the most distressing thing about the Bolton Wanderer’s play here is that there’s no real malice in it. He didn’t do it because he’s a moustache twirling villain, he simply weighed his options and went with the most profitable outcome, and shanking a pregnant lady or two didn’t change the equation one iota, because Roose Bolton is more algorithm than man. He would have just as soon stuck with the Northern Rock if he hadn’t pissed away a tactical marriage, and had a better foothold in the war effort. Bolton is a fair-weather psychopath if ever there was one.
And of course his nature has been very clearly illustrated to us for the past two seasons, if you weren’t worried you’re the kind of person who leaves their doors unlocked at night and gives out their address to internet strangers. There’s his sigil (guy being tortured), his boys (hand chopping, bear pits) and his home turf which is called THE FUCKING DREADFORT. He lives in a place that sounds like it houses end game bosses, he’s always been bad news.
Remember back in season 2 when Roose explained to Robb that he had to heartlessly execute all surviving enemy soldiers and torture the officers for information like he was explaining that when washing a car you have to use broad circular motions to avoid streaks? Yea, that probably says everything about him.
#3 Jon Snow (Last Week: Not Ranked)
From extreme (and sexy) spelunking to extreme rock climbing to extreme farmer baiting and eagle sparring, Jon has really expanded his horizons since leaving Winterfell. Jon carved up a bunch of wildlings with some help from FUCKING WOLVES, fought off an eagle and rode away to warn his black brothers that Winter is coming for real this time. I really don’t know what else you want from him here, that kicked ass, and Jon Snow knows a thing or two about kicking ass.
#4 Robb Stark (Last Week: still alive)
“I’ve made a terrible mistake”
Oh Robb. It’s been a bad season for you, and now you don’t even qualify for the playoffs. Washed out in the group stages. At the outset of this episode you were stuck between a Casterly Rock and a hard place, contemplating losing the war and dying the way Ned died… or worse. I suppose you did show someone how it feels to lose something they love, in a sense, just with the wrong emphasis on the showing part.
I’m unclear on how you lose a war without losing any battles, but I guess beheading your own men and squandering your chance to get into (in Frey parlance) diamond in the rough Roslin Frey goes a ways to scuppering your chances.
In fairness, the source material (or so Maester Wikipedia informs me) states that Robb is 14 years old. Besting Tywin Lannister strategically at an age when most kids are still losing the battle against acne is a considerable achievement.
Regardless, Robbie Savage is longer warring for Northern independence. Now he’s left whiling away his days forlornly riding the tube, contemplating the dire situation of being famous, handsome and unemployed. On the other hand, he lived like a badass, terrorising people with his wolf and being spoken of in hushed tones like a mythical Northern Wereman (or teen wolf I guess in this case), but went out like a bit of a bitch. Do you remember Ned Stark? He was NEVER without his massive bitching sword. The dude was ready to throw down at the first hint at the Rains of Catamere being played. Could you not have taken out just one guy Robb?
If we have learned anything this episode it is this. Do not let Tywin Lannister request songs for your wedding reception; it will end poorly. I hope you’re taking notes Loras.
North Watch: The Northies
Looks like in light of the tragic events at the creepy Frey mansion, we have an opening for a new KING IN THE NORTH! This coveted position involves such lofty duties as being the first line of defence against an immortal undead iceman army, being belittled by your richer, smarter southern betters, defending your lands from ravaging hordes of humourless Vikings and presiding over a rag tag monk brotherhood of rapists, thieves and bandits.
Let’s have a look at our contenders, place your bets people!
6/1 Brynden Tully
12/1 Bran Stark
23/1 Petyr Baelish
4/1 Jon Snow
9/1 Roose Bolton
42/1 Tywin Lannister
10/1 Robert Florence
#5 Jorah Mormont (Last Week:10)
For the first time in a good while, Jorah steps out of the Friend Zone and into the Danger Zone with awesome results. Jorah, Grey Worm, Daario and Kenny Loggins take the entire city themselves, treating us to a few sick combo kills into the bargain. Seeing him coated in blood, informing Danyres that the city had been taken, looking at her with those expectant puppydog eyes was almost as gut wrenching as a Frey wedding. Sadly it seems Jorah’s place now is with Ser Barristan watching Columbo re runs and not helping the Mother of Dragons sire little bear cubs. Back to the Friend Zone with ye Mormont of Bear Island.
#6 Grey Worm (Last Week: 5)
Grey Worm is a man of action and of few words. All he’s really said so far is “do you want me to fetch that guy’s tongue for you?” and “yea I trust Dazza”. It’s kind of inexplicable as to why he trusts Daario, but it’s tough to doubt that kind of resolve. Personally I think he doesn’t give a fuck and just wants to get into battle with the minimum amount of faffing. It’s obvious why, he batters through slave soldiers with that spear like he’s in a video game. It was sweet. Thumbs up.
#7 Blackfish (Last Week: Not Ranked)
Somewhere in The Twins, there’s a tree half scorched to a stump by Blackfish piss. If you thought for a second that Brynden died offscreen during the Red Wedding scuffle, you are the description of a fool. If the next episode doesn’t begin with Blackfish striding out of The Twins coated head to toe in Frey blood, I will be deeply insulted.
Right now I’m undecided on who’s winning the best man wars. On one hand the Blackfish is the Blackfish, and did survive a massacre of a reception. On the other hand we have Bronn, who didn’t even change out of his mercenary gear which is pretty damn roguish. Let’s reconvene after the next ceremony when we know how Jaime the Mannister gets on and discuss this further.
#8 Bran Stark (Last Week: I don’t even remember)
Bran Stark hasn’t interested me for at least two seasons, his exploits have been about as exciting as, well, actual bran. However we finally see him step it up tonight when he finds Hodor’s off button. Yes, maybe “Hodor! Stop Hodoring!” isn’t all that impressive (whether he really is more intelligent than those dogs is a matter for debate) but there’s plenty of potential now for mindmelding, wolf warging Bran action going forward, which is not something I expected to be typing ever.
Oh right, there’s another Stark kid, Rickon. Huh. I’m not sure if I forgot him or never really noticed him in the first place. Those two really are the Rod and Todd of Westeros.
#9 Barristan Selmy (Last Week: 10)
Barristan you’re solely tasked with personally protecting the Mother of Dragons and what are you doing? Poofing around the tent, quaffing wine like fucking Frasier. You don’t even know how the battle’s going! Maybe Cersei was right to try and mothball you in King’s Landing’s most opulent retirement community for seasoned badasses. Go put your feet up Selmy, you are clearly surplus to requirements.
#10 Warg Wildling Guy (Last Week: Not Ranked)
Another departing presence this week (unless Wargs can leap back into human bodies in which case I’ll be retroactively revoking this pity ranking), Steve Miller goes all Alfred Hitchcock on Jon Snow in a last ditch effort to impress Ygritte by being Beast Boy from the Teen Titans. I am speaking my own language at this point.
There is no eleven, so… swagger award? Daario Naharis
All at once a great whistler, great smiler and great emancipator. Even if the sacking wasn’t quite as smooth as Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaario had planned, he’s still claiming cities and hearts alike with peerless swagger.
Not Ranked: Hodor, Osha, Rodd & Todd, Walder Frey’s many many daughters, Steve Miller, Beast Boy, Tyrion, Bronn, Podrick, Beardy Wildling, Big Andy, Maester Wikipedia, wolves, The GateKeeper, Varys, The Hound, Arya, Ygritte, Catlyn Stark, Edmure Groomzilla Tully, Joffre, Jaime Lannister, Big Brienne, Loras Tyrell, Olenna Tyrell, Bread & Salt, the house band.