Last week on Game Of Thrones, the Queen of Thorns dispensed some advice, Cersei got some revenge, and Dany and Jon finally came face-to-face. This week, Jon and Dany went spelunking, Arya arrived at her destination, and Jaime went for a swim. GoT is all about how people jockey for power, so click through for our SPOILER-FILLED season seven Game of Thrones Power Rankings.
Game Of Thrones Season Seven Power Rankings, Week 4
1. People Who Own Dragons: This is the equivalent of bringing a machine gun to a knife fight. Or a nuke to a Renaissance Faire. There's a damn good reason why the Targaryens keep finding ways to conquer Westeros with just a couple of them. Dragons settle arguments.
— dani (@Normanmeignora) August 7, 2017
As it turns out, dragons have great tactical combat value when not circling your own castle. Go figure!
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) August 7, 2017
2. Increased CGI Budget x Fewer Episodes + End Game Approaching = So Many People On Fire: Holy High Septon, I couldn't stop cackling once I realized we were really about to watch a human BBQ. Flaming people started to run across the screen...and then people began disintegrating into dust...and then the poor horses started losing limbs...
That entire battle was like an Age of Empires 2 skirmish brought to life and I loved it.
— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) August 7, 2017
The entire last third of the episode—the, uh, "Loot Train Battle," which is a far cry as a name from "The Battle Of The Bastards" or "The War Of Five Kings"—was expertly constructed, from the far-away sound of the Dothraki approaching to the cries of Drogon to the screams of the aforementioned flaming soldiers. It's the most exciting sequence of the entire season so far, give or take your mileage with Jorah medical procedures. It could be viewed as a subtle inverse of the "Hardhome" dynamic, substituting the dragon's fire for the White Walker's ice blades. It definitely makes no sense how much time passed between Dany asking Jon for advice and her arriving (with full Dothraki horde) near Blackwater.
But despite the chronological confusion and the "ambiguous" shot of Jaime at the end which feints toward his death (duh alert: he ain't dead), it's a heart-pounding, unforgettable sequence that pits two sets of main characters against each other with no good outcome. Initially, I thought it was a little bullshit to have such a major battle with no major casualties, but as a spiritual sequel to "Hardhome" which sets up a further battle between Cersei and Dany's forces, it's just right.
*sees countless people being burned alive*
me: haha yas
*horse's leg gets cut off*
me: WHAT KIND OF MESSED UP SHOW IS THIS #GameOfThrones
— childish sambino (@samanthicus) August 7, 2017
3. Sexy Spelunking: Before Drogon started lighting up Lannisters like Christmas trees, the sparks started flying between Jon and Dany on their super sexy date into the dragonglass mines. This scene has everything: dramatic reveals of settings that are too dark to see clearly on my TV, cave paintings of rudimentary circles, and of course, very intense eye contact. We all know how much caves turn on Jon Snow:
— I. A. Melton 💁🏽 (@ijamelton) August 7, 2017
Why were the Children of The Forest able to draw detailed pictures of the White Walkers but not anything else?
Nobody's ever succeeded by inviting a woman to his cave and showing her illustrations of zombies
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) August 7, 2017
This wasn't just a chance for two main characters to flirt in a very sexy confined space—it was also a chance to draw a very obvious parallel about people coming together to fight common enemies. They've only known each other for two episodes, but we all know the deal with these two: "I will fight for you, I will fight for the North...when you bend the knee." Always with the knee bending! They're both so stubborn, it's like...they belong together! Or are related. Or both. Look, we all need to accept this is happening now so we aren't shocked later—this show started with some epic, unapologetic incest, and it's going out with some as well.
4. Did We Just Become Best Friends?! Arya's return to Winterfell was filled with alienation (seeing how much has changed since she was last there), anger (staring daggers into Littlefinger) and awkwardness (her reunion with Sansa and Bran). But there was one part that was enjoyable both for Arya and the viewer: watching her spar with Brienne of Fucking Tarth (who finally gets to speak more than a line or two this episode).
We're reminded of how great a fighter and teacher (well, let's assume Pod is just a bad student) Brienne is, and we (as well as Sansa) get to see just how much Arya has changed, and how her fighting abilities have increased ten fold. Arya channels her old teacher Syrio Forel and his graceful "Water Dance" style; she pecks at Brienne's weak spots like The Hound taught her; and she retains the acrobatics of her time training with the Faceless Men. Ultimately the two women come to a draw, satisfied to find a possible new best friend.
When you RT yourself pic.twitter.com/HXYUUWgOAU
— tom mckenna (@tmckenna1) August 7, 2017
5. Getting Out Of Debt: Tycho Nestoris, a mere instrument of the institution which he represents, noted that some at the Iron Bank were very fond of their interest payments from the Lannisters. But thankfully for Cersei, the Highgarden gold made its way to King's Landing before the dragon started melting everything in sight. Now, Cersei can stay focused on "re-establishing control over this continent and every person on it" (humble goals).
6. Inspirational Jon Snow Speeches: Davos and his inspirational speeches are finally rubbing off on our moody King in the North (is that King Snow or King Jon?). After their spelunking trip, Jon is the one Dany turns to for advice on her next move. For Dany, this is her being vulnerable.
"I never thought that dragons would exist again," Jon says. "No one did. The people who follow you know that you made something impossible happen. Maybe that helps them believe that you can make other impossible things happen. Build a world that's different from the shit one they've always known. But if you use them to melt castles and burn cities, you're not different. You're just more of the same." Davos, Tyrion, even Varys look moved by his words. Of course, she kind of just goes ahead and burns the shit out of whoever she wants, but considering that we see her talking to prisoners in next week's preview, clearly his words made some impact.
7. The Long-Awaited Return Of Ser Bronn: On the one hand, it is a joy to have Bronn back in our lives, whether he's bugging Jaime to pay him, taking hilarious shots at Cersei ("Yes I'm sure Queen Cersei's reign will be quiet and peaceful") and revealing a talent for motivating reluctant farmers to hand over their wheat. On the other hand, it is a really bad week to be Bronn, especially once we get to that remarkable sequence where he wanders around the battlefield searching for the Scorpion crossbow amid total chaos and burning Lannisters. Having lost his Lannister payoff in the heat of battle, maybe he'll consider switching sides to his old pal Tyrion.
8. Depressing Stark Family Reunions: It was always going to be hard to top the emotional catharsis of Sansa reuniting with Jon Snow last season. But the days of us looking forward to feel-good Stark reunions have given way to a season filled with complicated, uncomfortable reunions (looking your way, Bran old buddy). Sansa just can't catch a break with her siblings.
Sansa: my family sure is going to be surprised by how much I've changed
Bran: I'm a psychic bird
Arya: I'm no one
Arya: Also a murderer
— Meredith Haggerty (@manymanywords) August 7, 2017
— Nerd Girl Says (@Rachael_Conrad) August 7, 2017
In this episode alone we had three such ones: Bran did his now-expected thing creeping out Arya, Jon had to use all his willpower not to beat the crap out of Theon (yes, I'm counting Theon as an honorary Stark, he was there in the pilot), and then there was Sansa's chilly reunion with Arya. It was a little distant, to put it mildly, as if both women were taking stock of the other and didn't want to show their hands just yet. (Can they learn to trust each other and share their traumas?) But they did briefly connect over their equally harrowing journeys getting back to Winterfell ("Not a pleasant story, but our stories aren't over yet") and their shared fantasy of killing Joffrey. They even hugged for real in front of a statue of their beloved father, appropriately. It's at least a start for the sisters (even if Sansa looks pretty freaked out after watching Arya spar with Brienne).
Sansa: I majored in political science but my siblings joined two different cults in college and now things are weird at home.#GameOfThrones
— 💛 (@tlfrc) August 7, 2017
Sansa: Yo sis
Arya: Yeah, hey, I'm like alive
Sansa: Cool, so's our brother
Bran: Yeah hey
Arya: Oh good
Sansa: He knows stuff
— emily (((dreyfuss))) (@EmilyDreyfuss) August 7, 2017
For what it's worth, actresses Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner are very close friends in real life. They even got matching tattoos depicting the date they first met after they started shooting their scenes together. And we have at least one Stark reunion left—Jon & Arya—to be excited about. As Sansa put it, "When he sees you, his heart will probably stop."
9. Mets Pitcher Noah Syndergaard: He popped up for the latest GoT celebrity cameo, and the show had the dignity not to cram his appearance down our throats like a certain shape-obsessed singer/songwriter. In fact, you may not even have realized he was in the episode if you didn't scroll Twitter after the fact:
— Mets Citi (@metsciti) August 7, 2017
— Noah Syndergaard (@Noahsyndergaard) August 7, 2017
But of course, he was on the losing side, and the Mets stink right now, so we can't bump him up too high.
To my sides defense....they had a FRICKEN DRAGON!!! 🔥🔥🔥
At least I didn't throw behind him.
— Noah Syndergaard (@Noahsyndergaard) August 7, 2017
10. Tyrion's Topsy-Turvy Rollercoaster Of Counseling Rulers: I hate to say it, but Tyrion really hasn't been a great Hand for Dany so far. They've lost Dorne, the Iron Islands and the Reach in the last three episodes (which could have taken place anytime between one and five months). But I don't think it's because he's underestimating his family so much as he is a decent person who wants to avoid bloodshed as much as possible. That is also the quality which may be most important in keeping Dany from unleashing her full dragon and burning Westeros before The Long Night. Also, he's super sad that his brother is "a fucking idiot."
11. Bran, The Worst Teenager South Of The Wall: Or perhaps we should start calling him The Tree Stump Formerly Known As Brandon Stark. Bran is doing everything he can to make sure everyone around him knows he identifies as an all-knowing, all-seeing tree raven now. He's somewhere between malfunctioning robot and guy who just finished freshman year at Oberlin and is really into weed now.
But there is something sincerely sad about his inability to communicate like a human with people he loves (loved?), and about his resignation over his new role. "I remember what it felt like to be Brandon Stark, but I remember so much else now," he tells Meera. At least he uses his powers of awkwardness for good in freaking out Littlefinger.
I am right about this. pic.twitter.com/eDG2soe2cn
— Kathryn VanArendonk (@kvanaren) August 7, 2017
Shouldn't Bran use his mystical powers to convey some sort of useful information to someone instead of just acting creepy?
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) August 7, 2017
WAITRESS: What can I get you, hon?
BRAN: It was cold at your daughter’s funeral.
— Noah Garfinkel (@NoahGarfinkel) August 7, 2017
12. The Least Appreciated Character In The History Of Game Of Thrones: Speaking of Meera Reed, she has now cemented her status as the Poor Martha of the Seven Kingdoms. "My brother died for you. Hodor and Summer died for you. I almost died for you," and all I got for it was a lifetime full of nightmares about zombie people.
She got to drag Bran around on a makeshift sled through terrible conditions while hiding out from White Walkers for years. She also got a lot of time to sit around and think about all the people in her life she's lost in order to watch an awkward teenage boy stuff his body inside a tree hollow. This could very well be the last time we ever see her, and she'll go out as she came in: under-appreciated by Bran, the audience, and even the Power Rankings.
13. Jaime "C-" Lannister's Horrified Reactions To All The People Burning To Death Around Him: "Even though Daenerys is the hero and the Lannisters are the villains, being burned alive is not great," Nikolaj Coster-Waldau told EW in the understatement of the week. "It’s a terrifying thing when this monster flamethrower comes along and incinerates thousands and thousands of men who are just doing their job." This is all pretty true!
— The Ringer (@ringer) August 7, 2017
His last ditch attempt to rush at Dany was pretty ill-conceived, if understandable—it's like the reverse-Theon. "Jaime is such an idiot that he thinks for a second, 'If I can do this, I can win the whole thing in a Hail Mary,'" Coster-Waldau added.
But let's be real: Jaime isn't dead yet. He might be wearing some heavy armor, but he's wearing even heavier plot armor (like way too much unfinished business with his sister).
Tell me about it !
— Nikolaj CosterWaldau (@nikolajcw) August 1, 2017
Lighten up man I love the part but I have two older sisters myself and jaimes sisterly love is messed up. So yeah I find that creeeeeeepyyyy
— Nikolaj CosterWaldau (@nikolajcw) August 2, 2017
14. The Accent Formerly Known As Littlefinger: Every single bone in his body should be screaming, "GET THE HELL OUT OF WINTERFELL YOU ACCENT-AVERSE SOAP OPERA CHARACTER." His ability to sweet talk Starks and manipulate people really isn't working anymore—you can see him sweating in his interactions lately with Jon, Bran and Arya. He definitely should have left the second Bran uttered the phrase "chaos is a ladder," aka Littlefinger's only true motto.
Early GOT Littlefinger was at his most devious because he still hadn't settled on an accent to use.
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) August 7, 2017
15. Crossbows: We were skeptical when Qyburn first unveiled his secret anti-dragon defense system—apparently named the "Scorpion"—back in the second episode of the season. We were skeptical when Bronn raced past Dothraki arakhs and burning soldiers to retrieve it. We were skeptical when he used it to kill one Dothraki, which doesn't exactly compare to a 747.
— New Life (@LordBalvin) August 7, 2017
And I know some people will step in here to say, "But the crossbow did wound Drogon, didn't it? That counts for something, it did something." Except that it didn't—it ever so slightly inconvenienced Drogon before he smashed it to bits less than 20 seconds later. Unless they can come up with a much more clever (or possibly magical) way of dealing with them, crossbones are hereby declared entirely useless against giant fire monsters.
The Viserys Targaryen Memorial Least Powerful Person Of The Week Award: We have a bounty of candidates here: Theon Greyjoy (a multiple Viserys Targaryen award winner), those crispy fried Lannister soldiers, poor scent-sensitive Dickon Tarly. But in terms of people who are truly powerless on the totem pole of life, we hand this to The Two Winterfell Guards Who Tell Arya To 'Fuck Off' Several Times. Sansa really does need better guards.
The Ser Pounce Memorial Most Powerful Pet Of The Week Award: Obviously it has to be Drogon, right? Drogon burned more people alive this week than should be legally allowed on television. He is basically the F-16 of the medieval world—he's so clearly the most powerful pet of the week. But we here at the GoT Power Rankings defy any assumptions over presumptuous winners and losers. We already acknowledged the dragon up above—so instead, this one goes to the three horses who galloped the fuck off the battlefield the second Drogon turned up.
Game of Thrones, at its core, has always been a show about how much it sucks to be a horse
— Dan Sheehan (@ItsDanSheehan) August 7, 2017
The Hodoriffic Honorary Minor Character Of The Week Award: Quick shoutout to Dickon Tarly (who, despite the smell and the nicknames, acquitted himself well on the battlefield) and Pod, who after years of tutelage under Brienne still seems totally incapable of defending himself in battle (at least he still has perfect manners). But let's make this two weeks in a row for perennial scene-stealer Davos Seaworth, whose conversation with Jon about Dany was a highlight this week, even with the line, "I noticed you staring at her good heart." He is, as ever, pretty insightful about the people around him—he's also taken a shine to Missandei (in a fatherly way), and kept the memory of Grammar Nazi Stannis alive ("fewer").
Game of Thrones only needs 73 hours to establish the difference between "less" and "fewer."
— Sam Adams (@SamuelAAdams) August 7, 2017
The Memorial Lord Oaf Of Highgarden Oafiest Glimpse Of The Night: We haven't seen them since the season premiere, but we know the White Walkers are slowly marching their way toward The Wall (we know this mostly because Jon Snow won't stop talking about it). But what's The Night's King been up to in the meantime? What does a typical day in his undead life look like anyway? And what is his favorite Drake song?
— 👕Muay Thai Corey👕 (@KeyW0rldWide) July 23, 2017
The Ceremonial Queen Of Thorns In Memoriam: She is gone, but her total ownage of the Lannisters, the Sand Snakes, and anyone else who happened to cross her path is not forgotten.
The Benioff & Weiss Inside The Episode Symposiums: Someone at HBO heard my cries last week about the Inside The Episode videos not going up in a timely fashion, and finally put the vids up for the last episodes (check up above for the latest one). We remain David Benioff sideburn truthers.
First, they dive into episode two to talk about Arya's relationship with Nymeria, and Jon Snow's predilection for calculated risks:
Then they discuss Jon's first meeting with Dany in episode three, as well as the Lannister's battle strategy and Jaime's final confrontation with the Queen Of Thorns:
Gendrywatch 2017: Will Gendry Ever Row Back Into This Story? Yet again, no sign of the King of the Wharf this week. But at moments like this, we think back to that long period (seasons four and five) in which we had no word of the heroic exploits of Rickon Stark. What has rowed shall never drown!
A Quick Check-In With Absent Friends: While he's stuck at Casterly Rock with Euron's fleet closing in, Grey Worm has kept himself busy by reviewing fan-made GoT rap songs:
Ramsay Bolton may have a new TV program to push (Marvel's Inhumans), but he still takes a moment to reminisce about that time his face was eaten by dogs:
And Yara, who was only mentioned by Theon this week, noted on Instagram after last week's episode, "Got to meet Cersei though, which was kewl af."
Way Beyond The Wall: Psychotic Pirate Joshua Jackson and his captor Yara were nowhere to be seen this week. Grey Worm was trapped at Castery Rock. Jorah Mormont, Samwell, Gilly and little Sam took the week off. No sign of Lyanna Mormont either. Melisandre is away on a trip for now. There was no time this week to check in on The Hound and The Brotherhood Without Banners (Beric Donadarrion, Bald-os Of Myr) and the jolly fellows at The Wall. Tormund is off to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. Yet again, no glimpse of the White Walkers.
Hot Pie is still on the bench, along with Ellaria Sands and what's left of that one Sand Snake. Otherwise, a lot of expected characters took a backseat: Septa Unella (assuming she's still being tortured somewhere in King's Landing), Robyn Arryn (aka Prepubescent Julian Casablancas), the mighty Ser Pounce, Salladhor Saan, Daario Naharis 2.0, Edmure Tully (assuming he's still alive), Zombie Benjen, The Children Of The Forest (though they got referenced), and The Faceless Men (I guess they count?).
On next week's episode of GoT ("Eastwatch"), Tyrion tries to keep his job, Jon meets Drogon, and the White Walkers head toward Eastwatch-By-The-Sea. Until then, this is likely the most hardcore cello cover of the theme of all time: