May the Lord of Light shield ye from the spoilers below for Game of Thrones, Season 7, Episode 4, "The Spoils of War."
Wow! That may have been the most I've laughed uproariously at the burning of bodies in my whole life! What a week of GoT, with even more upside-down topsy-turvyness flipping the fates of the Great Houses in a dragon's breath, and dethroning last week's No. 1, House Lannister, into a Power Rankings tailspin.
Alas, with so many Great Houses moving into the Once Great, Now Former category, I thought it might be time to insert the true power player into the Rankings. Sorry, sticklers, it's Game of Thrones, and rules stopped applying back in Season 1, as Ned's cold dead not-so-likeness can attest. And so, our new No. 1 is …
1. The Army of the Dead – Let's give the you-say-dead / I-say-undead their due. Sure, we haven't really seen them all season, and perhaps we've forgotten there are giant dead/undead guys marching south too. But I get the feeling that we're about to be reminded of just how much power the Night King's Army truly holds, so much so that the only person who knows as much still playing the insignificant Game for the Iron Throne is the one who's stuck on Dragonstone digging for buried treasure. And just as it looked like Jon would have himself a true ally in the real fight, one perhaps powerful enough to maintain her once-secure No. 1 spot, instead she's called away on incineration duty. So the dead/undead march ever south.
2. House Targaryen – Of course, this week belonged to the Queen of Dragons and her nuclear-powered progeny. I think Drogon will be just fine; that didn't look like a killing blow to me. And now Dany and team know there's a dragon-slayer crossbow out there so they can defensively prep a body of armor for Drogon (and hopefully Queen Mav, too). That's right, I'm envisioning an armor-clad dragon flying into the next battle. Armor-clad dragon! And any other week, that vision alone should have been enough to set House Targaryen back at the top of the Power Rankings. Alas, I see dead people. And undead giants. And until she and her new cave-hiking partner can become White-Walker-killing partners, then both Great Houses are going to have themselves a power problem. Of course, as empathetic as I may be, I can't really grasp how a White Walker would react to seeing a full-grown, armor-wearing, fire-breathing dragon or three raining hellfire from above. Maybe they'll turn right around and run back to the safe confines north of the Wall? Gods know former tough guy Jaime Lannister no longer thinks his team can win, and Drogon wasn't even wearing armor yet.
3. House Stark – Add one more Valyrian blade to the family's stockpile, and one wielded by the deadliest Lady in the Game. In a world where the women are the most powerful living beings, it's also worth noting that House Stark is tripling up on representation, with Arya joining Sansa and don’t-call-me-"Lady" Brienne all wielding maximum power. Furthermore, whether or not Jon Snow is still a Stark by the time he comes back from Dragonstone, either way he'll never cease to support House Stark, even if he's technically batting for the other team. And speaking of Starks who are confused about their bloodlines, Bran's officially changed his name to Three-Eyed Raven, much to Meera's annoyance (and hopefully not at the expense of a fourth badass Lady claiming for Stark), so who knows if his great power even factors into the Starks'.
4. House Lannister – I'm sure that wasn't their only army. Right? Like that was just the gold-guarding part that Jaime, Bronn, and strapping Dickon were overseeing, right? They wouldn't have their entire strength strewn up and down The Reach, just drying out like kindling wood, right? No, I'm sure we haven't seen the last of Cersei, although she may have finally lost Jaime as her right-hand man (or was it left?), either to the murky waters of the Blackwater Rush or to the harrowing and life-altering experience of facing down a full-grown dragon. And this one didn't even have a suit of armor. Yet! Still, as we learned last week, underestimating Cersei comes at the peril of everyone else, and Jaime and the now burnt Lannisters and Tarlys did succeed in dropping off an Iron Bank full of gold. So now she's fully funded to buy herself a Golden Company of mercenaries who probably have some familiarity fighting that other famous Essos-ian fighting force, The Unsullied. And Cersei's still got a strong ally (and another potential bedroom warmer) in Euron Greyjoy, who we didn't hear from this episode. Hopefully, as far Cersei's concerned, he was taking a much-needed break to fireproof Silence and the rest of the Iron Fleet.
5. House Arryn – Ever the wildcard with his Knights of the Vale, Lord Baelish is still creeping his way around Winterfell, although now he appears to have even ickier eyes for an even younger daughter of Catelyn Stark. Ewww. Still, the man knows how to play the game, and now that Sansa knows how much she can trust him (not at all), she does seem to welcome his advice, and his army, a bit more. What he chooses to do with that army is still what makes Littlefinger's House a true power player, and one who's ranked perhaps a tad bit low.
6. House Greyjoy – Nothing from Euron this week, as last we saw he was taking out Dany's fleet off the fetching coasts of Casterly Rock and upping his houses' Power Ranking to a surprising No. 3. But now Theon's somewhat back in the picture, which even if he's not in good standing is still bad for your House's morale. And assuming Drogon can get back up in the air soon (hopefully in Dragonglass-plated armor!), what good is the power of the Iron Fleet anyway? Okay, let's just be honest, now that we've seen Drogon and Queen Mav in Lannister-frying action, what good is anybody's army but the Night King's?
Till next week!