‘Game of Thrones’ Power Rankings: This Week’s Winners and Losers


You can finally stop chugging the dreamwine — HBO’s Game of Thrones is officially back for its second season, and you’ll want to be as clearheaded as possible for everything that’s going down in the Seven Kingdoms. Last week, we watched Tyrion tell a few lies to find out who he could really trust; Renly Baratheon try to convince himself that having 100,000 men at his disposal was enough to secure the throne; and Theon Greyjoy win the dubious honor of piloting a ship called The Sea Bitch. Meanwhile, Arya was captured by a group of Lannister men; Cersei threw a total fit over Tyrion’s plan to ship Princess Myrcella off to Dorne; and Grand Maester Pycelle had his beard lopped off and was thrown into one of the infamous black cells.

As Cersei Lannister once said, “When you play the game of thrones you win, or you die. There is no middle ground.” In that spirit, each week we’ll be ranking the show’s major characters’ performance in these high stakes power games, and declaring winners and losers. Let us know if you agree with our assessment of tonight’s episode in the comments.


Robb Stark: The King of the North is winning battles, if not the heart of that mysterious field nurse. (Seriously, where did she come from?) She makes a good point though. Why is Robb fighting to overthrow a king without a plan for what comes after?

Sansa Stark: Yes, her life was threatened by her betrothed, who also ordered her to be publicly beaten and partially stripped of her clothing. But as Tyrion points out, she clearly understands the game that Joffrey’s playing, and is prepared to say whatever necessary in order to survive.

Tyrion Lannister: Not only did he totally put crossbow-happy Joffrey in his place, he also managed to convince his pretty little cousin, Ser Lancel, to spy on Cersei as he beds her in secret. Unfortunately, that whole plan to help his nephew let off a little steam by “dipping his wick” completely backfired.

Catelyn Stark: She got Ned back. We only hope she isn’t tempted to go along with Lord Baelish’s plan to swap Jaime for her daughters.

Daenerys Targaryen: Just when it looked like Dany and her people were going to die in the Red Waste, one of her outriders returns with news that the city of Qarth is only three days away. When its leaders, the Thirteen, try to turn them away at the gates of “the greatest city that ever was or will be,” Dany ferociously talks her way out of the Garden of Bones. “Thirteen, when my dragons are grown, we will take back what was stolen from me and destroy those who have wronged me,” she warns the men. “We will lay waste to armies and burn cities to the ground. Turn us away, and we will burn you first.” OK, takes Xaro Xhoan Daxos vouching for her, but they finally get in.

Arya Stark: Things were looking pretty bleak for Arya & co. with Ser Gregor Clegane in charge of the place (we’re still shivering over the use of rats in those interrogation scenes), but now that Lord Tywin has arrived at Harrenhal, we think she’ll survive — as long as he doesn’t discover the truth behind her disguise.

Grand Maester Pycelle: He’s still off the small council, but at least he’s out of the black cells.

Melisandre: If there’s anything that takes more strength than giving birth, it’s giving birth to a man-sized shadow.


Joffrey Baratheon: Punishing poor defenseless Sansa for Robb’s victories in the field seems almost as insane as forcing one of the two prostitutes who your uncle has scored you to beat the other one bloody. And again with that crossbow! Someone needs to hide that thing. The sad thing is, we’re sure that he thinks he’s a winner.

Renly and Stannis Baratheon: As Catelyn says, “Listen to yourselves. If you were sons of mine I would knock your heads together and lock you in a chamber until you remembered you were brothers.” If they could only put aside their power struggle and join forces against their common enemy, between Renly’s numbers and Stannis’ know-how, they might actually get somewhere against the Lannisters.

Lord Petyr Baelish: Jockeying for favor with Renly now seems like a wise move — you don’t want to put all of your eggs in Joffrey’s basket. But here’s a thought: maybe don’t proposition a woman as you’re delivering her dead husband’s bones.