It’s been about a day and a half since Game of Thrones’ sixth season and if not for a story on The Today Show this morning about a parrot possibly being called as a witness in a murder trial, it’d be all I’d be thinking about. There’s just much to unpack from “The Winds of Winter” and that’s not even tackling the delicate subject of whether or not it was the best episode of the series to date. The good folks at Vulture ranked every episode of Game of Thrones and slotted in “The Winds of Winter” at number 7. I’d bump it up to number 5.
Giddy Up America’s Top 5 Episodes of Game of Thrones
5. “The Winds of Winter” (season 6, episode 10)
4. “The Rains of Castamere” (season 3, episode 9) – you know, the Red Wedding episode
3. “Baelor” (season 1, episode 9) – you know, the one where Ned Stark died and we all collectively realized that this show wasn’t effin’ around
2. “Blackwater” (season 2, episode 9) – you know, the Battle of the Blackwater and also the first episode where I found myself in disbelief that Game of Thrones was a television show
1. “Hardhome” (season 5, episode 8) – you know, the White Walker massacre of the Wildlings and number one because it had the element of surprise, it just kind of happened and when it did, it was breath-taking
Regardless of where “The Winds of Winter” is ranked, I think this season was the show’s best and also the season when it became a fully formed TV show. The tracks laid down by George R.R. Martin’s books have been left behind for the most part and with it, the density and sadism that defined the show’s first five seasons. Those seasons shouldn’t be short-changed though, as they laid the ground work for this season, and we wouldn’t be here without them. It just seems that with the TV folks in charge now, the show has become smoother, more stream-lined and ultimately more satisfying. You have to wonder how Martin feels about all of this. Writing about it on The Ringer, specifically the reveal of Jon Snow’s parentage, Jason Concepcion summed it up pretty well.
So, a moment of silence for George; he squandered a 5–0 lead and now the core mystery of his epic tale has been revealed by someone else. That must feel terrible.
It must feel kind of shitty. Luckily he’ll have all those fat stacks coming in from HBO to console him.
Our song of the week:
Followed by our rule of the week:
Don’t mess with Cersei.
On to the rankings!
Giddy Up America’s Game of Thrones’ Power Rankings: Week Ten
1. Keeping Up with the Lannisters
Listen, we all knew that somehow Cersei was going to wreck some fools and with whispers of the presence of leftover stock piles of wildfire making the rounds on the Internet and such, how she was going to do it was becoming less and less of a surprise. But still, but still, that was some serious Godfather-like business. I’m surprised Qyburn didn’t tell those kids to grab the cannolis after they shanked Grand Maester Pycelle.
Let’s take a look at everyone who was killed in the explosion:
King Tommen – where was his Third Eye Blind tape when he needed it most?
Queen Margaery – I’ll miss you the most
Loras – talk about a haircut and a quick shave, am I right?
Lord Tyrell – who will fearlessly lead his army now?
The High Sparrow – he got an explosive verdict all right!
Now not on that list, but boy I bet she wishes she was the Shame, Shame woman who is now looking at a delightful stint comprised of torture, torture and more torture at the hands of the Mountain. I wanted that woman gone as much as anyone, but even I felt a little bad for her. Like a little, possibly the smallest amount of emotion I could muster. And that could just be because I’m a swell dude.
Cersei is now Queen even though I’m not sure how any kind of reasonable succession plan would lead to that conclusion. Who would be King or Queen if both of them died on the same day, they had yet to produce an heir, and neither of them had anymore living siblings? I guess maybe it would fall to Cersei. Or at the very least, amidst the confusion, giving it to Cersei would seem to make the most sense. Cersei also did just level half of the city, so maybe let’s just play nice and give it to her anyway. You know, just to stay on her good side – provided she has one. Queen Cersei is unhinged now, unencumbered and free to wreck havoc on anyone she pleases now. The only trace of humanity she has left is her relationship with Jaime, but on the real, that relationship could be a little tense now. Jaime got his rep as a the Kingslayer by murdering a King who wanted to “see them all burn.” Now his sister followed through with that promise. I would have to think that it might not sit well with him. But who knows. Jaime is hard to pin down, especially when Cersei is involved.
Going forward, Cersei is most likely going to start settling scores. There’s those she-devils in Dorne and eventually she’s going to hear that not only is Sansa alive, she’s re-taken Winterfell. I’d have to think that she’ll also hear about Daenerys’ travel plans and that her newly-appointed Hand is Tyrion. Did I miss anyone? I don’t think so. But with Cersei assuming the role of Big Bad now, it’ll be a lot of fun. Almost as much as watching this kid make eyes at a camera for over a minute.
That dude is a pimp in every single sense of the word and I want to be best friends with him.
2. Behind Every Good (and Resurrected) Man is a Good (and Pissed Off) Woman
Now that they’ve retaken Winterfell, Jon and Sansa 2.0 now face the burdensome task of governance and self-preservation, two things I’m not sure Jon is all that good at seeing as how the last time he was in charge he was murdered by those he commanded. His LinkedIn profile is as spotty as Davos in terms of legitimate accomplishments. But I have faith in Sansa 2.0 and it was great to see her not only brush off Littlefinger’s advancements, but finally do what no one seems to be able to do – get him to actually admit what he really wants. He’s lingering though and it’d be better if he were gone altogether because as long as he’s around, he’ll be there whispering conspiracy theories into Sansa 2.0’s ears, playing the role of your one relative who keeps sharing right wing trash on Facebook about the dangers of “those Muslims” and how we need to take our country back. Jon would be smart to get Littlefinger out of Winterfell as soon as possible, give him the Melisandre treatment- “you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.”
We’ve obviously haven’t seen the last of Melisandre, not with the Brotherhood Without Banners out there, but her return, when it happens, will be an interesting one and I could see a situation presenting itself where Jon has to pick between her and Davos.
Oh, and Jon is half Targaryen.
Yup. Pretty sweet.
So let’s talk about that.
3. Branventures Through History
For Bran, a Weirwood tree is as welcome of a sight as a free wireless sign is for business travelers. With Kind of Dead Uncle Benjen dropping him of near the wall, but no further because fun fact, the wall is made with magic that keeps the dead out, Bran does what Bran now does best, he hooks up to the Internet and falls down a YouTube sinkhole of Westerosi history. But no really, that’s pretty dope the wall has magical powers. Does that mean we can expect the Night’s King and the White Walkers to try and bust it down and if so, will that then become the coolest Game of Thrones visual to date? Probably, right.
While online, Bran goes back to the Tower of Joy scene that he visited earlier this season, but now it’s the director’s cut version with Ned ascending the stairs and finding his sister Lyanna, near death and apparently post-child birth. What we do hear: Lyanna telling Ned to protect her newborn son. What we don’t: who the dad is. But based on the R+L=J theory, Daenerys’ brother Rhaegar is the dad, meaning that despite the adorably wonderful Lady Mormont’s claims that Ned Stark’s blood runs through Jon’s veins, that’s not entirely accurate. Or even a little accurate.
But what does Bran Flake do with this information? I assume he’s headed back to Winterfell, if not now, he’ll definitely be once he gets to Castle Black and learns about what’s been going on – unless he knows that already thanks to his Tree Google alerts. Or would he try and go get some more information about this whole Jon/Targaryen business from someone who was there, like Meera’s dad? I don’t know, but the more Starks in Winterfell, the better as far as I’m concerned.
4. Damn, Danys
Poor Darrio. He had his eyes set so squarely on Danys, he didn’t realize that the car was leaving without him. It’s almost as embarrassing as having James Harden dunk on you without knowing it.
Darrio couldn’t roll with the crew though and everyone knew it, well, knows it now. I for one hadn’t thought about that, but that’s why Tyrion is the Hand of the Queen and I’m some dude writing about on a blog. Either way, the fact that Danys is finally headed to Westeros would easily be the most exciting news to come from the episode if not for the whole Jon Snow parentage thing. We’ve been waiting for this voyage since at least season two, when Danys began her endless series of mic drops, sputtering side tracking, more mic drops and even more sputtering side tracking. This is fantastic news for a character everyone loved initially but had since kind of grown tired of, even though it pained us to admit it. But now, let’s go to Westeros!
5. This Dornish Wine is Delicious…wait is this poison???
Yes, I know, the Arya stuff is cooler, but “The Winds of Winter” flowed so well, I feel like these week’s rankings should follow suit. So we’ll get to Arya.
I thought we’d see something from Dorne in the finale, I just didn’t know what. I thought that if anything, we’d maybe see the Sand Snakes emerge from the shadows and kill Cersei. Game of Thrones doesn’t do throw-away plots and with the action in Dorne taking place in the season premiere, I just felt it would come back eventually. Cersei wasn’t murdered though, but a hell of a strong alliance is forming down south of a crew chomping at the bit to get rid of her. Team Sand Snakes/Tyrell/Danys is going to be a force and also, a solid showing of powerful female characters.
Let’s talk about Arya.
6. A Girl Must Get Her Act Together
I also thought that the most we’d see of Arya in the finale was her cruising on a boat, making her way back to Westeros. But she must have taken one of those high-speed jawns Varys took to get back from Dorne in time for the voyage east. Although couldn’t Varys have just sat one of those trips out and been like, yo, things are dope in Dorne, I’ll meet you here? I would have. Probably smart though, better to deliver the word in person. Varys would be using burner ravens and those things are totes unreliable.
Arya! She not only made it back to Westeros, but she got to the Twins, brought a face with her and laid waste to the Freys.
Does she head north to Winterfell now or south to King’s Landing, seeing as how Cersei is one of the few people left on her list?
Fingers crossed she heads north. Keep an eye out for the Stark Family Reunion evite. It’s going to be awesome.
7. The One About Sam and Gilly Being Adorable
Sam & Gilly finally made it to the Citadel. Cool. Awesome. Books. No ladies or children. But books.