Last week on Game of Thrones, the Queen of Thorns told a secret, Brienne got a new squire, and Bran got himself captured. This week, Pod rode a horse, Dany settled in, and Jon visited Craster's Keep. GOT is all about how people jockey for power, so click through for our season 4 Game of Thrones Power Rankings.
Game Of Thrones Power Rankings, Week 5:
1. Tywin Lannister: In Season Two, Varys had a discussion with Tyrion about the nature of power: "Power resides where men believe it resides. It's a trick. A shadow on the wall. And a very small man can cast a very large shadow." As we learn this episode, Tywin knows the importance of appearances very well. Even though the Lannister mines haven't produced any gold in years, he's been able to consolidate his family's power—only Tyrion, Littlefinger, Varys, and a very few others have any idea how in debt Tywin is. He's broke, but he still impresses. Just don't try to pat him on the back.
2. Daenerys Targaryen: A new turn for Khaleesi's story—it's a been a long time since we've seen Dany out of battle mode, so listening to her reminisce about Qarth with what passes for her best buddy was refreshing. The girl who ate a horse heart in Season One seems like so long ago indeed.
3. Pizza: Speaking of eating...
4. Jon Snow's Burgeoning Sense Of Leadership: Commanding his fellow brothers, stabbing rapists through the mouth, reuniting with his puppy. Maybe all he needed was a little positive reinforcement all this time.
5. Margaery Tyrell: With her beloved grandmother having left the city, Lookie McLookerson has gotten a lot more savvy at playing the game around King's Landing. Cersei may be playing nice right now, but she didn't look too pleased by the end of the scene with Margaery's casual dropping of the word "daughter."
6. Cersei Lannister: Cersei was having frank conversations all over the city with Margaery, her father and Oberyn. Recent events—the death of her son, her rape by her notably absent brother, her marginalization by her father, her betrothal to the Knight of the Flowers—have led her to an honest place, with perhaps a glimmer of self-awareness. At the same time, her hatred has also calcified into a dagger that is pointed directly at Tyrion (also noticeably absent this week). Much of what she does this episode is in pursuit of his death. "The things he did shocked me," she says about Joffrey. Where do you think he got his resolve?
7. Tommen Baratheon: Oh sweet, innocent Tommen. Could he be the first man to sit on the Iron Throne in 50 years to actually deserve it? Probably. Which means he probably will not.
8. The Previously On GOT Ghost Of Ned Stark's Manbun: Ahead of the curve.
9. Red Viper/Prince Oberyn Martell: Oberyn traded in polyamorous five ways this week for strolling through the Garden Of Betrayal with Cersei and writing poetry to his daughter. Ya know, one of his eight daughters—the one who makes him saddest!
10. Arya + The Hound: One minute, our favorite odd couple in Westeros are bonding over the warm, rejuvenating fires of hatred (it's like delicious young blood!). The next minute, Arya's trying to stab The Hound in between pirouettes. Cue "Every Time I Turn Around."
11. Brienne + Pod: Our second favorite odd couple in Westeros ends the episode getting along a bit better than the two above, as Brienne recognizes Pod as a kindred (oathkeeping) spirit.
12. Sansa Stark's Slow, Layered Realization That Her Aunt Is Batshit Crazy: Alayne or "Elaine?" Is she going to start showing off her little kicks now? Sweet Fancy Moses.
13. Bran Stark: The show teased us yet again with a Stark reunion that was not meant to be (see: Arya & Robb/Cat; Bran & Jon via Samwell), which makes us wonder how many more times we're destined to cycle through this (it's just a matter of time before Arya narrowly misses seeing Sansa, right?). If the first half of the story of Game Of Thrones is about the decimation of honorable houses like the Starks (because people who play by the rules like Ned Stark can't survive in this literally cutthroat world), then we can only hope that all these near-misses by the living Starks will be paid off with a joyous reunion as part of the endgame.
Oh wait, we're talking about George R.R. Martin here:
"We've all seen the movies where the hero is in trouble—he's surrounded by 20 people, but you know he's gonna get away 'cause he's the hero." Martin says. "You don't really feel any fear for him."
"I want my readers, and I want viewers to be afraid when my characters are in danger," he adds. "I want them to be afraid to turn the next page because the next character may not survive it."
14. Littlefinger's Look Of Disgust When Lysa Arryn Warns She Will Scream So Loud They'll Hear Her Clear Across The Narrow Sea: He, on the other hand, will never stop whispering.
The Viserys Targaryen Memorial Least Powerful Person Of The Week Award: The chubby Night's Watch deserter, Rast, who ran into the woods after the battle at Craster's Keep only to find himself inside Ghost's mouth.
The Ser Pounce Memorial Most Powerful Pet Of The Week Award: In case you missed the terrible news, Ser Pounce, beloved cat of the realm, will not return again this season. Until the hand of fate intervenes, we'll honor his memory by shining a spotlight on the most worthy animals in Westeros: this week, that recognition goes to direwolf Ghost for going beyond the call of duty (see: above).
The Joffrey Baratheon Good Riddance Award: GOT aficionado Steve Harvey is still not over Joffrey's death. In fact, he's waging a one-man campaign to unpoison Joffrey, because Steve Harvey stays up at night fantasizing new ways to torture him.
The Hodoriffic Honorary Minor Character Of The Week Award: We certainly wouldn't enjoy blacking out and waking up with blood on our hands, so we feel for poor Hodor. At the same time, he basically ripped Locke's brain out! What!?! It shows how much more powerful Bran has got at warging, and also reminds us what a gentle soul Hodor really is.
Rickon Watch 2014: Is Rickon Still On This Show? When the corn moon rises, so shall Rickon appear.
The Remember Roz Sexposition Quotient: There was no notable nudity, and nothing sexy about this week's episode, unless you count writing poetry as sexy, in which case we should probably talk.
The Mystery We Didn't Realize Was Still A Mystery But Now It's A Solved Mystery Of The Week: Back in the days of Ned Stark's Manbun, Jon Arryn was the former Hand Of The King keeping the realm together while King Robert Baratheon drank and banged his way through King's Landing. His death was the initial spark that drove Ned Stark to King's Landing—and Ned's dogged investigation into Jon's death is what led to him discovering all of Robert's bastards, which is what led him to realizing Joffrey was the product of incest and not the rightful heir to the throne. And all that led to Littlefinger betraying him, handing him over to the Lannisters, and standing by while Joffrey cut off his head.
The last we heard of Jon Arryn was when Tyrion interrogated Grand Maester Pycelle in Season Two; Pycelle revealed that Arryn planned to tell Robert about the bastards, and someone definitely poisoned him, but it wasn't Pycelle. The mystery of who killed him then drifted away to the same place where Rickon, Osha and Mance Rayder presumably spend their time—but that was fine, because Jon Aryyn always seemed like more of a MacGuffin than an actual character. He was the inciting incident that began this whole mess, but he himself was incidental, and so were the exact circumstances of his death.
Except now we know the answer to a question we forgot about, and it's given us a much more compelling answer: Littlefinger was the one pulling the strings the whole time, convincing Lysa to poison him, which ties in nicely with the 'shadow of power' theme running through the episode. Now we want to go back and reevaluate all his scenes with Ned in Season One (and also the ones with the Lannister Twins, whom Ned thought had poisoned Arryn to protect their secret). Did Littlefinger kill Arryn purely to further his own means and sow the seeds of chaos? Or like the death of Joffrey, was he doing a 'favor' for one of his friends? And when he says, "The deed is done, faded into nothing. Only speaking of it can make it real," is he talking about Jon Arryn or his wavering accent?
The Is Little Robin Arryn Still Breastfeeding? Question Of The Week: No damning visual evidence—except the fact he was napping on his mother's breast in a suspiciously familiar pose when we first are re-introduced to him hmmm—but we're leaning toward probably.
Way Beyond The Wall: Lots of very notable absent friends this week, including Tyrion and Jaime Lannister, Ser Bronn, Ser Pounce, Queen of Thorns/Olenna Tyrell, Stannis Baratheon and the Dragonstone crew, the Thenns, the White Walkers, and the Wildings (Ygritte). No sign of the Boltons/Freys/Reek (except for dead Locke, of course), and The Brotherhood Without Banners remains MIA. We can't even remember if Mance Rayder's name was mentioned this time.
Until next week's trial, if you're going to record a cover of the theme song, do try to include a toy dragon: