Game of Thrones Power Rankings (Season 3 Recap Edition)
Winter is coming! Like, tonight! Game of Thrones is back (!!!), but before we dive into a fourth season of death, decapitation, torture, castration, incest, crossbow practice, and sexposition, let’s take a quick look back at how our key players and themes fared last year. Who were the winners and losers of Season 3? Glad you asked
1. Daenerys Stormborn Targaryen, Khaleesi of the Dothraki, Mother of Dragons, Freer of Slaves, Commander of The Unsullied, Rightful Ruler of Westeros, Mhysa
Well then. Let’s take a moment to reflect on the three-season journey of Daeny. She began season one with her brother bartering her into sex slavery with a barbarian horde. Now, she’s basically Alexander the Great, Abraham Lincoln, Mother Theresa, and blonde Jesus rolled into one.
There was a moment last season where she asked someone for help in conquering Westeros, and the person questioned the practicality of this goal by pointing out that she had no ships. “Yes,” Daeny replied, “and last week I had no army.” If that scene were taking place at an 8 Mile-style rap-off, that line is when Daeny would have dropped the mic. But not only was it a great line, it was also a sobering reminder to the audience that Damn, this girl is seriously kicking ass and taking names. It was a moment where we the viewers collectively came to terms with the idea that Daeny suddenly seems like a safe bet to get anything and everything she wants. Including (but not limited to) the Iron Throne.
2. The Debts of the Lannisters
It’s true, Jaime lost a hand and probably won’t be known for his swordsmanship anymore, but I’m ready to call that addition by subtraction. He’s a better character now. And yeah, Tyrion had a bit of a rough go of things in his personal life, what with losing his lady, being placed in an arranged marriage with someone who hates him, and finding out his pops considers not drowning him an act of “unselfishness.” Meanwhile, Cersei can’t even discipline her son without having her life threatened, and she’s being forced to marry someone that she isn’t quite phallic enough for.
So it wasn’t all roses for House Lannister last year, but anytime your biggest rivals for control of the kingdom get slaughtered to the soothing sounds of a wedding band playing your victory song, you’re doing all right.
And speaking of the Rains of Castamere
Of the five best scenes from Season Three, two of them were weddings, and one of those might have legitimate claim to the title of (no hyperbole) The Greatest (or at least most memorable) Scene in the History of Scripted Television. Tyrion’s wedding was light-hearted and hilarious, and The Red Wedding forever scarred the life of everyone that watched it. Especially me—I watched that episode immediately after getting home from an out-of-state wedding.
Why is this all relevant? Because the biggest wedding of the show might be coming this season, with King Dickface Joffrey Baratheon set to wed his betrothed, the insatiably throne-hungry Margaery Tyrell. Whenever this wedding takes place, it has a lot to live up to, and I expect it will deliver. Plus, we might be seeing Cersei marry the ever-so-manly Loras Tyrell as a bonus!
4. The Inner Badass of Arya Stark
Arya has now spent three seasons accumulating two lists of names: enemies she wants to see dead, and badass assassins that call her friend. She’s also spent three seasons learning how to hate humanity and excise every ounce of compassion from her being. If Vegas listed odds on which GoT character is most likely to go on a killing spree in the near future, Arya would be the runaway favorite. Stick ‘em with the pointy end, girlfriend.
5. Jack Gleeson: Most Hated Actor Ever
There was a moment in the final episode of Season Three, when Tyrion arrives at a meeting of the small council and Joffrey is bouncing up and down with a sadistic look of glee in his face, like a kid that just mutilated his sister’s My little Pony collection after plowing through too many Red Bulls. He just can’t wait to gloat about the Stark massacre of the Red Wedding, and containing himself is an exercise in the most joyous futility imaginable. Jack Gleeson, the actor that horrifically brings Joffrey to life, played the moment perfectly. That’s when I realized portraying the most hated character in the history of televised fiction is something that Gleeson actually really enjoys. And then I hated him even more.
I read an interview with the show runners last year where they said their biggest fear about Joffrey is that people loathe the character so much that it’ll lead to Jack Gleeson getting his ass kicked in a dark alley one night. That would, of course, be unfortunate, but I can also imagine myself relaying the story to someone, just as giddy as Joffrey telling Tyrion about the death of Robb Stark. And even then, I still won’t nail it as perfectly as Gleeson did.
Losers, AKA: Better Luck in Season 4
1. The Honorable House Stark
In the same way that Season Three culminated Daenerys’ upward mobility from sex slave to Future Savior of the Universe, it also culminated the downward mobility of the Stark House. Put simply, there no longer is one. The show has always taught us that actions have consequences, and being truly good and honorable in a world where deceit and backstabbing for power is the dominant currency of the land will probably just get you dead.
In actuality, there are still plenty of Starks running around Westeros (4 ½, to be exact, with Jon Snow the bastard as the ½). But the Starks as a real House and Banner are completely done for, as is any remaining illusion that this was a show where Good would prevail over Evil. Winter might have finally, mercifully left Michigan, but it’s still comin’ to Westeros.
2. True Love
Season Three featured three great couples that really seemed to adore one another: Tyrion & Shae, Robb & Talisa, and Jon & Ygritte. So how did that turn out? Ummm, not well. Shae watched Tyrion marry the beautiful girl whose chamber pot she’s tasked with emptying, and then she was offered a pouch of money to discreetly leave the kingdom. Meanwhile, Tyrion repulses his new wife, and Shae starts giving him the cold shoulder, so he’s getting no nookie for the first time in his life. Robb watched Talisa get repeatedly knifed in her pregnant belly, and stayed conscious just long enough to see her bleed to death before he was stabbed through the heart by one of his most trusted allies. And after being introduced to the glories of oral sex, Ygritte finds out Jon was only hangin’ with her peeps to get the scoop on their plans for a Westeros invasion, and when he tries to plead his case by saying that he really did love her, she shoots him with a hail of arrows.
So yeah, love was a whopping 0-for-3 in Season 3. I’d love to forecast a dramatic comeback this year
but I just don’t see that happening.
3. Theon Greyjoy, Iron Born and All-Time Winner of the Television Torture Crown
Theon spent literally the entire season being tortured, a “plot line” that culminated with his castration. And yet somehow, he’s only ranked third in the Loser Power Rankings. Westeros everyone! The only major plot hole in this show is why in the hell Daenerys would want to travel halfway around the world to rule such a dismal place.
Hey, speaking of The Mother of Dragons
4. Anyone Who Questions the Promiscuity of Daenerys Targaryen
First, Kraznys spends a few episodes calling her “slut” and “whore” in a foreign language (which she actually speaks fluently), and then when she asks Mero and his Second Sons to fight for her, Mero asks to see her lady nest so he can decide if “it’s worth fighting for.” (Note: he does not make this request in a way that suggests he has much game.)
How does this go for them? Well, Kraznys gets barbequed by one of Daenerys’ dragons, while Mero’s severed head gets hand-delivered to her in a burlap sack. Surgeon General’s Warning: Insinuating The Mother of Dragons is fast company might will lead to horrific death.
5. Tyrion’s Daddy Issues
It had never exactly been a secret to Tyrion that he wasn’t Tywin’s greatest pride and joy, but the conversation between them in the season’s final episode was about as cold-blooded as it gets. Whatever familial love Tyrion had for his father, you could just about see it evaporating as the scene unfolded. By the time Tywin walked out of the room and left Tyrion too stunned to move, it was obvious Tyrion had reached that rare Michael/Fredo moment with his father: “You’re nothing to me now.”
Check back each week this season for an update in the Game of Thrones Power Rankings!
Daniel Joyaux is a film and entertainment critic living in Ann Arbor. You can see more of his writing at http://thirdmanmovies.blogspot.com and follow him on Twitter @thirdmanmovies