Much like the regular season in competitive sports, most of the episodes in a season of television don’t carry much significance. Sure, there are some memorable performances and powerful moments along the way, but those episodes lack the lasting impact of a season finale or the chapter that leads into it. ‘Game of Thrones’ follows this formula to a tee and if the first two seasons are any indication, then “The Rains of Castamere” is going to be a showcase of epic (and likely bloody) proportions. Having read the books I know what’s in store for us tonight and next week, and so long as they stick to the source material it should be a hell of a stretch run. Yes, my expectations are high, (spoiler alert), but that’s what happens when you kill off Ned Stark one year and then give us the stunning Battle of Blackwater the next.
It’s been a while since I last updated my power rankings, but luckily the past three episodes have been pretty slow so I don’t have a lot to recap. There’s been a couple of big moments though, and I’ll give my opinion on those, as well as my rating for each episode I missed below.
1. House Targaryen (Last ranked: 1)
Yes, Team Khaleesi was in possession of the top spot last time I did this, but what has anyone done to knock her off since then? She followed up her sack of Astapor by convincing Daario Naharis (like the hundredth new character this season) to kill his friends and deliver the Second Sons to her, and she accomplished this without even lifting a finger. Now that all of their soldiers are fighting for their enemy, the slavers at Yunkai seem powerless to stop the Mother of Dragons, who is becoming quite the liberator.
2. The Wildlings (LR: 4)
We haven’t seen much of Mance Rayder’s scout team lately (much less the man himself), but these rankings are decided by a group’s literal and figurative progress in the show. Other than Khaleesi, no one has covered more ground than the Wildlings, who successfully climbed the Wall and are gradually making their way to Castle Black. Of course, the wildcard here is Jon Snow; his choice between his love for Ygritte and his vows to the Watch will have huge repercussions for both sides. Come on Jon, crows before hoes man.
3. House Lannister (Lw: 2)
So what if the Hound escaped the Lord of Light’s justice? The Brotherhood still has Arya to ransom and their leader is immune to death, a combination that has already proven to be quite fortuitous. Plus they recruited Gendry to their cause, and you really can never have enough smiths.
4. House Baratheon (Lw: 6)
Ygritte convincing Jon Snow to break his vows was a great moment for everyone’s favorite bastard. It didn’t do so much for the other Wildlings, who can’t seem to even hold a conversation with Jon without threatening to kill him. Ah well, boys will be boys.
5. House Stark (LR: 8)
Margaery and her grandmother were THIS close to making Sansa apart of their family and securing the north for themselves. When you try to beat Tywin at his own game though, you better act fast or he’ll leave you in the dust wondering what the hell just happened. It appears the Tyrells just weren’t fast enough.
6. House Tully (LR: 7)
The Baratheon’s small bump in the rankings is more the result of the Starks falling apart than anything they did. Though we’ve only had small glimpses of Stannis and Davos this season, so I suppose every appearance those two make constitutes as positive momentum for their house.
7. Night’s Watch (LR: 10)
You have to admire the Tully’s loyalty to Robb. Even when he makes a terrible decision that decimates the strength of his army, they stand by him. And seeing as it’s been awhile since Robb has made a good decision, it’s no coincidence that the Tully’s have been stuck near the bottom of these rankings since they debuted.
8. Jaime and Brienne (LR: NR)
Robb’s inability to keep the Lords who fight for him in line has hurt him far more than his enemies ever have. And even if Robb secures the alliance he seeks with Walder Frey, he’s pretty much back at square one.
9. Brotherhood without Banners (LR: 3)
Like their liege lord, the Tully’s just haven’t accomplished much this season and so it’s difficult to rank them anywhere else.
10. House Tyrell (LR: 5)
Those rosy Tyrells started out strong enough, what with Margaery manipulating Joffrey and the Queen of Thorns plotting with Varys in order to secure Sansa Stark. But they have really gotten off track the last few weeks: they lost Sansa to the Lannisters, were forced by Tywin to marry Loras to Cersei, and now Joffrey has returned to his monstrous ways, which is bad news for Margaery.
11. House Greyjoy (LR: 9)
The show has spent WAY too much time with Theon this year. Look, I get that the writers loved Alfie Allen’s portrayal of one of the show’s most conflicted characters, but at a certain point torture without purpose becomes awfully difficult to sit through. I was glad Theon wasn’t in the last episode and I wouldn’t mind if he just sat on the bench until next season.
“The Climb”: 8.6/10
“The Bear and the Maiden Fair”: 8.3/10
“Second Sons”: 9/10