In March of 2013, amidst the hullabaloo of another NCAA March Madness, I embarked on a March Madness tournament of my own- The Greatest HBO Character of All Time.
Spoiler: Omar won.
A little less than a year ago, I looked back at the tournament– wanting to see what, if anything, might have changed in a year. Would the steady ascent to the ranks of greatness help Game of Thrones? Had anyone muscled their way into the tournament…or out? Is there anyway Omar shouldn’t have won?
Omar still won. And it still wasn’t close. In fact, the tournament’s final four remained firmly intact with the biggest revelations being that Daenerys from Game of Thrones wasn’t really a six seed anymore and Richard Harrow of Boardwalk Empire was the tournament’s biggest omission. Also, Kenny Powers sitting there as a seven seed seemed crazy. And guess what, it seems even crazier now.
Which leads us to…
Wait for it…
Yup, you guessed it!
Yet another review of Giddy Up America’s Greatest HBO Character of All Time Tournament!
Thanks Joffrey. Sorry you’re dead. Sorry you still didn’t make the tournament.
Yeah, play it cool. But you care.
Once again, the final four remains in tact. No changes there. It’s still Tony Soprano, Larry David, Omar and Stringer Bell. And while decisions in those matches haven’t gotten easier or harder, the matches that they took part in to get to the championship have definitely gotten harder- specifically between Stringer and Daenerys and Omar and Tyrion. Now while I can’t see Tyrion ever beating Omar, give that little dude another season or two and it’ll at least be a much closer match.
First, here is how the original tournament played out.
Now let’s look at some changes…
In the Don’t Stop Believing Bracket, Sookie Stackhouse of True Blood sitting there as an eight seed, is out; replaced by Richard Harrow. Two characters from True Blood was a stretch to begin with and even more so now. Harrow needs to be in the mix. Sorry Sookie. But I’m glad you found happiness with a non-vampire. Oh shit, sorry- Spoiler: Sookie ended up with a non-vampire. I think. We think? Maybe? Whatever. Richard’s in, but not for long. He gets knocked out right away by Tony Soprano. Keep dreaming about that farm, Richard.
Wait a second- if Richard doesn’t die, does that mean Tommy doesn’t grow up to be a revenge-seeking gunslinger and eventual killer of Nucky? Presumably with Richard around, Tommy then has a stable up bringing and maybe, just maybe, he moves on from his seriously eff’d up childhood, forgets about his wacko grandmother and throws any lingering frustrations about his horrible early childhood he has into farming. Interesting. I had never thought about that before.
Some of other movement in the Don’t Stop Believing Bracket:
Nucky Thompson moves up to a two seed, taking Al Swearengen of Deadwood’s spot. Swearengen subsequently moves down and replaces Margaret Thompson from Boardwalk Empire as the six seed. This has to do mostly with tenure, specifically Deadwood having such a short run and as a result, Swearengen not having the stats and numbers Nucky ended up with. Another season or two of Deadwood and this would most likely be different as Swearengen was by far a more interesting and compelling character.
So wait, should Swearengen be bumped down?
Yes. Final answer, yes. Body of work is important. Nucky moves up.
Kenny Powers also moves up, making his way all the way up to a three seed. His seven spot is taken up by a newcomer, Gillian Darmody of Boardwalk Empire, because apparently she was way more important in that show than we all thought. Yeah, even you. Admit it. You didn’t see that coming. I don’t think anyone did.
As a dangerous three seed, Kenny F’n Powers takes out Swearengen as he did originally and this time around, beats Nucky before finally losing to Tony Soprano. The final season of Eastbound and Down did wonders for Powers’ legacy, much more so than the final season of Boardwalk Empire did for ol’ Nucky.
Not as much movement in the Natural Police Bracket, with Larry David still beating Jimmy McNulty in that bracket’s final match. But let me ask you, is Hannah Horvath from Girls still a three seed? Would she be higher or lower now? I can’t decide. Ultimately I think she stays where she is, but I’m not 100% on this. Oh and Margaret Thompson gets back into the tournament here, bumping Paulie from The Sopranos and taking his seven seed. I was going to keep Margaret out all together, but decided against it. She faded into the background towards the series’ end, but her body of work is still impressive. Much more so than Paulie’s. Girl power prevails.
Over in The Imp Bracket, presided over by Tyrion Lannister, the biggest change here is the inclusion of Selina Meyer from Veep coming in as a surging five seed. This moves Johnny Drama from Entourage from five to six. It also pits two hellcat, tiger moms against each other- Selina versus Cersei Lannister.
4. Cersei Lannister (Game of Thrones) vs. 5. Selina Meyer (Veep)
Oof, two strong, powerful women here. Cersei still scares the living shit out of me. However, you know who wouldn’t be scared of Cersei? Yeah that’s right, Selina Meyer, current Vice President, possible President, of the United States. Selina is becoming one of the best character’s on television and easily one of the funniest and from the stand point of who is more important on their show- that’s easy- it’s Selina. Don’t you get the feeling that Cersei’s best days are behind her? Because I do. Selina is on her way up! Making moves, taking names, swearing a lot.
Cersei is no slouch, but Selina is a comet right now.
Winner: Selina Meyer
But that is where Selina’s run ends because (as of now) she’s no match for Tyrion. Although they’d make an adorable couple.
Here’s a question for this bracket- does Jon Snow pose a bigger threat to Omar now? Jon is arguably becoming a bigger part on Game of Thrones, he’s in the top tier of GoT characters who can’t be killed (along with Tyrion, Daenerys and Arya.) He’s also the link to the action on both sides of the wall, which is directly connected to his importance because I for one, totally think the action beyond the wall is only going to become a bigger part of the show. I’m not saying he could beat Omar, but I am thinking he’d at least put up more of a fight a second time around.
And finally, in the 40 Degree Day Bracket, Daenerys and Christopher Moltisanti of The Sopranos switch spots with Danys moving up to the three seed and Christopher moving down to the six seed, where he probably belonged all along. He was most likely only a three seed because he had the weight of The Sopranos behind him.
Lower down the rungs of this bracket, Seth Bullock of Deadwood gets the boot, being replaced by Rust Cohle from True Detective. Cohle is infinitely more interesting than Bullock and definitely more significant from a cultural stand point. Ain’t nobody out there quoting Seth Bullock. Meanwhile, even people who didn’t see True Detective can throw out “time is a flat circle.” And that implies that some people didn’t see True Detective, which is something I have my doubts about.
Rust Cohle making the tournament means he’d face Ari Gold of Entourage and I’ll admit, for a second I thought that maybe Cohle could beat Ari. But no, it might be close- but no. There are no shortages of cops circling the HBO doughnut shop, but there is clearly only one super agent and that’s Ari Gold. So there’s no way Rust Cohle is beating Ari Gold. Ari still moves on and Ari still gets send home by Daenerys.
But speaking of the Mother of Dragons, in the original tournament, she was a tough out and a serious up and comer. She gave Stringer a serious scare in the bracket’s championship match. So here’s my question- would Danys be as formidable of an opponent if we did the whole thing again? Listen, I love Ms. Stormborn, but I’m also frustrated with her back-pedaling. She was on a tear for a while, but last season especially had her spinning her wheels more than moving them. I still think she’ll be a major player on the show- just like Jon Snow because for starters, it’s The Song of Fire and Ice and maybe I’m thinking too literally here, but I think Jon Snow represents “the ice” and Danys “the fire.” But either way, I’d have to think that if doing this tournament again, Danys would still advance as she did the first time around. But I’m not sure it’d be as much of a battle for Stringer.
So with all that being said, here is the new bracket…
And here, if you want to complete a bracket of your own, here is a blank one.
Fill it out, let me know what you come up with.
And you can find the entire original tournament HERE.