Game of Thrones Power Rankings: Episode 1: Winterfell (Spoilers)

After every episode in this final season, we will tell you who is winning at the Game of Thrones, and who is playing as well as Ned and Cat Stark… and everyone in between.

Based on our scientific power ranking system (aka…pulling ideas out of my ass), we have broken the players into groups based on their strength in the latest episode.  People can move up.  People can move down.  Anything is possible.

For the rankings, we are just using the pool of candidates in the Gabbing Geek Game of Thrones Death Draft, but will add any new players if they become big enough!

This week…

Season 8, Episode 1 : Winterfell

Big Events: Daenerys arrives in the North.  Bran stares.  Jon rides a dragon.  Bran stares.  Reunions and confrontations occur.  Bran stares.  Cersei rocks Euron’s ship.  Bran stares.  The Night King leaves a message.  Bran stares.  Jon learns the truth.  Bran stares.

How it Ended: Bran stares…at Jamie.

Major Deaths: Ned Umber

Let’s play the Feud!

Valar Morghulis

It means “All Must Die” in High Valyrian, so this group is for those who’ve gone to meet the Old Gods and the New!

  • Ned Umber,  Episode 1:  Poor little Ned.  People named Ned don’t fare well.  Ned Stark.  Ned Umber.  Ned Beatty in Deliverance.  Little Ned was squealing piggy this week as he exited the stage.  The Wee Northman just wanted some wagons to help bring his Umberfolk to Winterfell. Jon may have spared the Little Lord last season, but the Night King was not as benign; ritualistically staking Umber to the wall of his keep so he could scare the hell out of everyone and get burned to death with Beric’s flaming sword.

Honorable mention this week to Rob McEllhenny (It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia) and Martin Starr (Freaks and Geeks) for playing Greyjoy soldiers killed in Theon’s raid to rescue Yara.

Holding the Door!

These characters are not dead yet.. but man is that door coming down fast.

  • Beric Dondarrion: Beric claims the only big kill of the week, but he’s still a dead man walking.  I doubt he makes it to Winterfell.
  • Brienne of Tarth:  I didn’t believe she would die this season but they didn’t give her ANY lines this episode.  I’m starting the think she has to die protecting the Stark daughters.
  • Bronn:  Until this week, I thought Bronn was a survivor.  But given his mission to go North and kill the Lannister brothers, he is now swimming against the tides.
  • Eddison Tollett: Same as with Beric, he might be a quick death next episode as he travels to Winterfell.
  • Euron Greyjoy:  He thinks he moved up but being a part of Cersei’s plots, and he is, doesn’t generally end well…
  • Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane: He’s half dead already.  Might as well make the rest of the journey.
  • Hodor the Wight:  Will he make the journey down and die again to break our hearts?  My buddy Jonathan thinks so, and took him in the seventh round of our draft as a wild card pick…
  • Melissandra: She may not have appeared, but her death is foretold.  The irony if she is plays the role of Nissa Nissa and takes a sword to her heart to help unlock the power of the Price That She Promises will be delicious…
  • Theon Greyjoy: If he had stayed with Yara, he would have lived.  But she released him to Winterfell to meet his heroic redemption.
  • Tormund Giantsbane: I think Tormund survives the trip to Winterfell, only to die protecting the North from the army of the Dead.

Valar Dohaeris

Valar Dohaeris” means “all men must serve” in the old tongue, and represents players who are just treading water.

  • Daario Naharis : He didn’t appear and may not for the rest of the series.
  • Edmure Tully : He didn’t appear and may not for the rest of the series.
  • Gendry : I had Gendry as cannon fodder, but given the little flirty, flirty with Arya, I am reminded of when Robert Baratheon said “I have a son. You have a daughter. We’ll join our houses.” to Ned in the crypts of Winterfell.  Joffrey wasn’t son so that wasn’t applicable.  Here? It would be on point. Gendry could move up a spot.
  • Ghost : Absent for some time, who knows what will happen to one of the few remaining direwolves.
  • Gilly : She didn’t appear (but was mentioned) but appears next episode.  She’s a supporting player in the Game.
  • Greyworm : He had no lines, so nothing big from him this week.
  • Howland Reed : As one of the only people who can confirm Jon’s parentage, this yet to appear character surely will join the Game soon.
  • Jaqen H’ghar : He didn’t appear and may not for the rest of the series.
  • Jorah Mormont : Shouldn’t Jorah have given his queen a little advanced warning that he was introducing her to his friend Samwell TARLY…of HORN HILL???  This is why you ain’t Hand of the Queen AND you are in the friend zone!!!
  • Lyanna Mormont :  Lady Mormont’s acid tongue has turned on Jon now.  She isn’t the ally he thought she was.
  • Meera Reed : Bran’s longtime caretaker didn’t appear this episode, but she should return if her father enters the series.
  • Missandei : She didn’t have much of a role this week, but she could keep using her influence over the Dragon Queen to move up in the Game.
  • Nymeria : She didn’t appear and may not for the rest of the series.
  • Podrick Payne : He didn’t have anything going on this week.
  • Robin Arryn :   He didn’t appear and may not for the rest of the series.
  • Salladhor Saan :   He didn’t appear and may not for the rest of the series.
  • Sandor “The Hound” Clegane : I am not one of those who thinks the Hound has to die.  His reunion with Arya was funny.  That was Houndspeak for “I love you”…
  • See Ilyn Payne :He didn’t appear and may not for the rest of the series.
  • Tycho Nestoris :   He didn’t appear and may not for the rest of the series.
  • Viserion : He’s a pet at this point.
  • Yohn Royce : He said two words and walked off.  Strong week…

Climbing the Wall

It’s glorious on the Wall, & these folks are making a push in the Game. Can they reach the top or fall to their deaths?

  • Cersei Lannister : She was a first rounder in the Death Draft, but Cersei is ascending.  Technically she does currently sit on the Iron Throne, but the game this season is about who has it at the end.  The First Queen of Westeros made some moves this week to put her in position to keep the job:  tricking Euron into a more loyal status, getting her sellsword army, and sending one of the deadliest players in the Game North to deal with her brothers.  Could she rally?
  • Davos Seaworth : Davos is amplifying his position, playing matchmaker between Kings and Queens.  Davos actually wants what is best for the realm, so his path to personal victory is a little easier.
  • Harry Strickland :  Too new to call, but you get upgrades a notch if you bring a large army with you.  He does drop a spot for not having elephants. I’d heard the Golden Company had elephants…
  • Jamie Lannister : Don’t let the previews fool you.  Jamie didn’t travel North to be executed as a window pusher (Bran stares intensely).  He has a big role to play in the game before he meets his end.
  • Qyburn : This guy knows if a girl has pox and how long she will live just by looking at her naked butt. He’s a baller.
  • Rhaegal : The middle child dragon moves up a notch as he finally gets a rider.
  • Tyrion Lannister : Tyrion is still in the game, but to what end?  He has been dormant the last couple of seasons.  Bring your A-game Tyrion, or you are falling back in the back.  You are still coasting on Blackwater Bay.
  • Varys : Similar to Tyrion, Varys hasn’t made any big moves lately.  War with the Dead means that swords and shields; not negotiations and ploys.  Does this new dynamic hinder players like Varys and Tyrion?
  • Yara Greyjoy : She’s free!  She’s Queen of the Iron Islands!  She’s the fallback location for the living.  Big move from being tied to a cabin post by a chatty uncle.

In the Sight of the Seven

So close.  So close to the lead.  This section is for seven players who could take it all, but aren’t quite there yet.

  • Arya Stark : Arya is confident, has a plan, and might be interested in a little Gendry cookie.  She’s a player in the wars to come; armed with one of the few Valyrian steel weapons in the realm.
  • Brandon “Bran” Stark : When you know all and see all, you get a seat at the table.  Bran is the puppet master and plays a huge role in the war to come.
  • Daenerys Targaryen : She is probably in second place, given her position, armies, and her dragons.  But does she give ground next week to Jon with the big reveal?
  • Drogon : He’s still the alpha dragon here.  Wears the big dragon pants!
  • Jon Snow : Vying with Danaerys for the second spot on the leaderboard. What will he do with his newfound legitimacy?  He cares more about winning the Great War (“I’ve seen the Night King. I’ve seen the Army of the Dead!”) than sitting on the Iron Throne.  Will he take a knee as well as bend the knee to ensure Danaerys remains an ally?
  • Samwell Tarley : King Maker Sam…he’s come a long way from an annoying coward, to essentially the Grand Maester of Westeros.  Sam’s knowledge is as powerful as any sword in this setting.  Contrast that with the wits of Varys and Tyrion, and you see why he’s displaced them.
  • Sansa Stark : She may fall down to “Holding the Door” levels quickly, but right now she is the Northern alternative to the Targaryan ruler who just marched into town.

Climbing the Stairs to the Iron Throne

Reserved for the top player in the Game as it stands after the latest episodes

  • The Night King: The folks in Winterfell are bickering about the new landlord, while the Night King is doing arts and crafts with Ned Umber and his friends.  He’s in the catbird seat.  He has an unstoppable army, a dragon, great javelin skills, and is adding team members faster that Uber is adding drivers.  I know traditional storytelling says the monster has to die in the end, but could this show be different?  I don’t see him falling out of this spot next week…

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