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Ranking Each 'Game of Thrones' Plotline From Best to Silly (Sam and Gilly)

By Brian Byrd | Game of Thrones | May 31, 2016 |


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Every week we’ll slot each Game of Thrones plotline into tiers from most to least interesting. These scientific, analytics-based rankings are 100 percent objective and cannot be disputed. Dissenters will be warned once and only once. Subsequent infractions will result in a being denied bread at the dinner table. Enjoy.

The “Everyone Shut the Hell Up So I Can Hear This” Tier

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Bran
First off, shout out to Meera for her one-woman Iditarod tribute that opened the episode. Can’t be easy dragging a warged-out cripple through a snowy forest while being chased by a thousand pissed-off skeletons. “Excuse me, did you notice she fell over and nearly got them killed because she’s a weak girl who needed a half-undead male ranger to bail her out?” said a fedora-clad truth-teller who cannot cook a Hot Pocket without his mother’s help.

Bran’s storyline continues to deliver the hotness. Benjen is Coldhands! Coldhands is Benjin! I kissed a man? OH MY GOD I KISSED A MAN! We also got some Mad King Aerys action — guessing “BURN THEM ALL” becomes an overused reaction GIF for well-timed insults before the week is out — and confirmation that Bran is the new Three-Eyed Raven (while Joe Flacco’s run as the One-Browed Raven continues unabated).

Last week: Same

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The North
No Jon/Sansa/Davos/Ramsay/Brienne this week. Assume it’s still cold up there.

Last week: Same

The “Gonna Fold This Laundry Quick” Tier

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King’s Landing

Some shit finally happened in the city by the sea this week, and much like Mace Tyrell’s ridiculous speech to his mute troops, still managed to be a major letdown. Jaime, an armored-out Lorax, and a few-hundred Highgarden soldiers stormed the Great Sept of Baelor to prevent Margaery from performing her walk of shame. WORLDSTAR! the King’s Landing poorz screamed as they whipped out their Obamaphones to vertically record the imminent mayhem. Just as events threatened to get interesting, though, a sad trombone noise blared and King Tommen the Manipulated, First of His Name, emerged from the Sept announcing a union between the crown and faith. Two legendary families, sonned by a disheveled septuagenarian wearing a burlap sack. The only way that scene could have gone worse for the Lannincesters is if Jaime had to slowly ease his horse down all 336 steps while the crowd stared awkwardly.

As anticlimactic as this plotline proved to be, it at least places major players on paths that should pay dividends before the season is out. Cersei and the crafty old lady with the cuckoo clock hat are effectively neutralized (although methinks Lady O helped facilitate the aforementioned union) and Jaime is off to Riverrun to help the Westerosi Duggars take their castle back from the Blackfish. An unemployed guy named Jaime is travelling across the country to see Phish, eh? Go figure.

Last week: Same

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Pyke
No Pyke this week. But this is probably what happened:

Ironborn: “King Euron, we’ve canvassed every Iron Island. There are only 14 trees available, sir.”
Euron: “Can you turn those 14 trees into a thousand ships?”
Ironborn: “Uhhhhhhhhh, we can maybe craft one.”
Euron: “Is that less than 1,000?”
Ironborn: “Fewer.”
Euron: “What?”
Ironborn: “Nothing.”
Euron: “Are you wearing the Sea Trash crown, or am I?”
Ironborn: “You are, sir.”
Euron: “Exactly. So make me my ships. Fashion them from rocks if need be.”
Ironborn: “Rocks will sin…nevermind, sir. We’ll get right on it.”

Last week
: Same

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Meereen

No Tyrion or Varys. Imagine they’re sitting around wondering why there are so many “Es” in “Meereen.” That city sounds like the noise your phone makes when you accidentally dial a fax line.

Last week: Same

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Walder Frey and his 600 Kids

Forgot about Elderly McChildfucker. Seems like Old Walder has had a rough go of it since the Red Wedding. Blackfish is eating his lunch, Thoros is running amok turning the populace against him, and his newest young wife doesn’t seem to enjoy getting her ass slapped by a 90-year-old man, anymore. Now he’s counting on a one-handed sisterfucker to help change his fortunes. Should work out fine for him.

Last week: Not ranked

The “DONNNNNNNNNNNNT CARRRRRRRRRRRRRE” Tier

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Dany and Daarri2.0

I understand the show’s fascination with dragons and why Benioff and Weiss wanted to end the episode with Dany inspiring her legions. But we’ve seen this twice already. They know she has dragons. They know she’s fireproof. They know she wants to run shit. Save the CGI budget for when it really matters. Instead we got Dany straddling a dragon (a sentence that probably aroused WAY too many of our readers) spitting store-brand Braveheart lines at warriors who didn’t need the Gipper speech.

WILL YOU TAKE THE SEVEN KINGDOMS FOR ME?
“Uh, yeah, bro. What do you think we’re doing here in this stinking desert? We are literally following you. You don’t need to sell us.”
WILL YOU VANQUISH MY ENEMIES?
“Yes! For fuck’s sake, Khaleesi, it’s hot as shit out here, let’s gooooooooooo.”
WILL YOU CROSS THE BLACK SEA?
“Hell with this. I’m gonna go find someone to threaten with horse rape.”

Last week: Folding laundry

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Sam and Gilly
SAM AND GILLY
SA AN GILLY
S AN ILLY
S A ILLY
SILLY

Twenty minutes. Twenty goddamn minutes with Sam and Gilly, all because he obviously needed to get his hands on a Valyrian steel sword. SNL Gilly >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Sam and Gilly. Somehow, in a show with generous servings of rape, infanticide, and murder, Randyll Tarly verbally abusing his son at the dinner table may have been the most unnecessarily cruel scene of the series. Yes, he’s fat. Sick burn, Dane Cook. While you were out in the forest hunting the most dangerous game (Bambi), your pear-shaped son airholed a Thenn and stabbed a White Walker in the dick. But hey, yeah, bringing down that deer from 70 meters is pretty boss, too. Sam needed to get the sword. He got the sword. Fine, whatever. Sam and Gilly will stay in this tier until their story links back up with the main narrative in some meaningful way.

Last week: Same

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Arya
Let’s recap Arya’s arc over the last two seasons: arrives in Braavos, hides Needle in a rock pile, joins the Faceless Men, trains, doesn’t follow the rules, goes blind, trains, gets a second chance, doesn’t follow the rules, retrieves Needle from its hiding place. Here’s a thought: MAYBE JUST HAVE ARYA SKIP BRAAVOS ALTOGETHER INSTEAD OF WASTING OUR TIME WITH THIS STALLING NONSENSE!

I get that her story needs to park itself in orbit for a while to let other threads catch up. One, we don’t need to see that. Two, the writers couldn’t give her something better to do than the narrative equivalent of a NASCAR race? How did her time with the Faceless Men benefit her in any way? What skills did she learn other than how to take a staff to the dome? The Arya who pulled Needle from the rocks this week appears to be the same person who buried it two years ago. Inexplicable decision-making. As with Sam and Gilly’s journey, Arya’s scenes aren’t poorly written or incompetently acted. The show simply hasn’t given us a reason to get invested. Perhaps that will change sooner rather than later. But two years is more than enough time to figure out an answer.

Last week: Same

The “Wait, is this motherfucker still rowing?” Tier

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Last week: Still rowin’

Previous rankings
Episode 5 — “The Door”



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