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Ranking The Best Players Left On The Board After The Season 6 'Game Of Thrones' Culling

By Lord Castleton | Game of Thrones | July 7, 2016 |

By Lord Castleton | Game of Thrones | July 7, 2016 |

Tap tap tap.

That’s me meastro’ing my baton. Let your theme music….commence.

Now let’s see who’s still breathing after the bloodbath that ended season six.


Lancel LannisterLast Week: Unranked

Yes, he was the main heavy for the ruling lunatic, but he never struck me as a tough guy. He was just a broken boy, easily repurposed by an ancient cobra. It’s not like he had any real guidance. His own father watched him carve another man’s face open and said NOTHING. I actually feel bad for Lancel Lannister. His dad may have been the person I disliked the most in show history. You don’t let your boy be 1. taken by a cult and 2. Become their instrument. Jesus Christ. Does any parent have a more important responsibility than protecting the soul of their child? Kevan Lannister didn’t, and stood there watching in his inactive wrongness and emotional abandonment. I won’t weep for Lancel Lannister. He made his bed — a bed that Cersei Lannister used to roll around naked in. You want to play hide the pickle with Atia of the Julii? You better be ready to pay the Iron Price.


Loras TyrellLast Week: Unranked

Poor Loras. There was one point in his life where he was the happiest, most beautiful person in Westeros. That was his rep, anyway, even if he never had that Oberyn Martel holy shit my reproductive organs just spasmed reaction to him. When we first met him he was like Brad Pitt. He unhorsed the fucking Mountain! They called him the Knight of the Flowers. How lovely. Then they took everything from him. Publicly. And put their brand on the poor boy’s face. Before he died he either betrayed or lost everything he ever had, and his reward was to be knife-fucked in front of his family before being blowed up. Sigh.

I’m not sure Ser Loras…Brother Loras at the end… didn’t end up with the saddest story of anyone. He lost everything because he was gay. That’s all. Even in the uniquely unfair world of Game of Thrones losing everything because you were born a certain way just draws the deepest sadness out of me. I just want that world to be better. I just want our world to be better. It was hard to see.

(Incidentally, the best part of this GIF is Ned being a total dad.)

Lord Walder FreyLast Week: 11

It was so satisfying to see how confident Arya was when she slit that motherfucker’s throat. Boy, did he have it coming. He had so much worse coming after what he did to people we loved. He had everything coming. Arya’s killing was a comparative euthanasia. Burn in the seven hells eternally, Walder Frey, you dishonorable, self-important, twat. Only Mrs. Norris weeps.

Grand Maester PycelleLast Week: 9

This lascivious, shuffling predator got his, and hard. Usually you have to visit a Mongolian Barbecue to see that many fast moving knives. Too bad. He seemed like such a pleasant fellow.

Kevan Lannister, Hand of the KingLast Week: 7

His tenure was marked by absolute shit planning and zero awareness. He spent his last moments decidedly not sensing danger, looking utterly confused and being herded with the other mewling sheep. What a pathetic fool. That’s not a hand of the king. This is the last time I’ll get to say it, so I’ll yell it from the treetops: Kevan Lannister, you sad, empty, stultifyingly pathetic fool and resounding failure as a father. You’re no Lannister. You’re just a Frey with money. Good riddance.

King Tommen BaratheonLast Week: Unranked

Poor little rabbit. In the end his death was incredibly moving and powerful and sadly, human. He went on his own terms and tore himself from the spiteful, glowering shadow of his mother. I despised his inert blindness and innocence and how readily he was co-opted by the Faith Militant, but he wasn’t a bad kid. Just not a king. Never a king. He died as he lived, alone and emotionally vulnerable. Sleep, little rabbit. Sleep now.

The High SparrowLast Week: 1

OOOOOHHH! Jonathan Pryce’s religious leader falls off the very tippety-top of the cliff. Or, is blown off it, really. Hubris, good people. It was so simple, once Margaery laid it out for him. “Cersei doesn’t intend to suffer the consequences.” BAM. It goes to show that you don’t stare at your chess pieces when an angry bull is charging at you. You run. He didn’t. I won’t miss this storyline, but I will miss his acting excellence and his smirks. What a vain fucker he was, but deliciously.

Queen Margaery BaratheonLast Week: 6


Oh, Margy! Can I call you Margy? I suppose it doesn’t matter at this point. Natalie Dormer improved as an actress at least as much as anyone on the series. Maybe slightly less that Kit. I used to watch her on The Tudors and I felt that her mouth thing was an acting crutch equivalent to the head tilt of Clooney’s Dr. Doug on ER. Just a sign of acting immaturity. They both got better once they scrapped those tells. Dormer, and Margaery by extension, went from an interesting distraction to a true power player.

As the storm came, she was tuned into it like no one else. She was a finer player than the High Sparrow and the Hand and every other guileless, gutless animal in that stone pen when the fyre came. She was right. She was 100% right and it didn’t matter. That’s the tough part to swallow. It didn’t matter. Her craftiness. The well laid plans. Her long game. It all went up in smoke anyway. Whew. That’s so hard to stomach. Her death will always kind of haunt me.

Now, Back to the living.

21. Edmure Tully, CowardLast Week: 21

He’s locked back up in the Frey’s dungeons. The only reason he’s even here is because Arya has torn the Freys a new one, and he’s the Lord of Riverrun. Will Arya know there’s a Tully in chains? Will she bust his ass out? Tobais Menzies is a brilliant actor, and because of that it’s easy to hope there’s a final performance of some import for him. For now he’s not really a player. He only moves up because so many people died and there are less players. But he’s the bottom.

20. Randyll Tarly, House TarlyLast Week: 17

I don’t even know if the Westerosi Robert Sean Leonard’s dad from Dead Poet’s Society will even be back.

I thought we might see him again, but it appears he was just backstory fodder for Samwell Gamgee and an explanation of how Heartsbane will kill zombie Stannis or whatever. What? You think Stannis isn’t coming back with like Smalljon and Mountain Dew Karstark in the Night King’s Army? Where did you think The Night’s King was getting all his Tucker Max books from? Who’s gonna shit on the Mountain Dew Throne, y’all? Shiiiiiiiiit.


I don’t know if this has been discussed anywhere but Sam is George R.R. Martin, right? I know GRRM relates to Tyrion, but I think this whole damn things ends with Sam being the only one to survive and sitting in the Hightower in Oldtown, writing it all down.

How High is Hightower, anyhoo? I know that’s what you’re wondering.

(click to make it go big)


Okay, maybe they all live. Maybe they all end up in a polka band called ‘Sandor and the C*nts with Named Swords’ and they tour around high-fiving everyone and being well-liked and respected. Yep. That’s probably going to happen. That sounds about right for this show.

I mean, visions always come true on this show but this was probably just a fluke, right gang? I mean…heh…heh…this probably won’t happen…right?

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Forget I said anything. Enjoy the offseason.

19. Theon Greyjoy, First Mate of the Iron FleetLast Week: 20

All Theon did last week was look up at a flag and show us that he wears a long belt to replace his missing dong. You serious with that belt, playa? That would irritate the shit out of me.

18. Lord Wyman ManderlyLast Week: 18

Santa Manderly has thrown in with DAKINGINDANORF. Would have been nice last week but hey, better late than never. HE IS THE WHITE WOLF. You go out on a limb whenever you try to kind of get a new nickname to stick on the spot. That took real courage. Wyman Manderly is so fetch.

17. Euron Greyjoy, King of the Iron IslesLast Week: 16

Whispers of sorcery surround this pirate king, and while I’ve made fun of the lack of any discernible forest on the Iron Isles with which to make ships, I’m guessing Euron somehow has a thousand ships come the start of Season 7. We also know that he wants a hot blonde queen and —well, would you look at that? One just sat down on the Iron Throne.

16. Ellaria Sand, Viper of DorneLast Week: 18

I wish I could just take her off the list entirely. Dorne has been the biggest weakness of this show in toto. When we look back, after it’s all done, and some people try to figure out where the show ranks in the pantheon of all time great shows, Dorne will be what they whisper as a counterpoint, and at the eye of that storm are the Sand Snakes and Ellaria Sand. With Varys joining their military to Daenerys, they’re little more than Targaryen bannermen.

15. Ser Jorah MormontLast Week: 10

Absent from the finale, Jorah’s esteem has actually skyrocketed. House Mormont is much more important than it was a few years ago (and we know why) and by leaving Dreamy Daario in Essos, the door is open for Jorah’s…council. Probably nothing else.

What I’m most pumped about with Captain Friendzone is how he’s going to look when he comes back. I want half his face to be all Greyscaled. I think that would be badass.

14. Sandor Clegane, The HoundLast Week: Not ranked

Where oh where was The Hound in the finale? And why bring him back this season if you’re not going to use him. I never thought I’d say this, but the Hound is absolutely one of my favorite characters. He’s got a great story and now he’s presumably in the Riverlands, teamed up with the Brothers Without Banners. While I doubt he has political ambitions, he clearly has a role to play in the story going forward.

13. Arya Stark, Faceless WomanLast Week: Not ranked

All the Stark kids are within spitting distance of their home after spending years being cast to the winds. Robb and Rickon are gone, but the rest persevere. Arya is in The Twins as the show closes, but timelines aren’t congruent everywhere, so by the time the Targaryen Fleet lands, she could be anywhere.

I’m just sitting here thinking about her seeing Jon again and I’m getting misty and giddy. Mistgiddy.


12. Lyanna Mormont, Lady of Bear IslandLast Week: 14

She was the catalyst behind which the weight of the viking moot turned for John Snow. While everyone with a brain would like her to sit on the Iron Throne and rule over unprecedented years of peace and happiness, she likely doesn’t covet that idea. For now, she’s an important VASSAL of House Stark.

11. Jaime Lannister, Heir of Casterly Rock, The ‘Lion of Lannister’Last Week: 15

Jamie’s in possibly the most precarious spot on this list. Because where is he? And who is he to Cersei? That look they shared when she sat upon the Iron Throne? That wasn’t a good look. That wasn’t “we’re the two closest people in the world to each other.” So who are they? Are they through? Jaime certainly can’t be king, and Cersei needs soldiers. Who will she bed to get their army…or NAVY? Eh? Eh? With asshole Kevan Lannister dead, Jaime is now the Lord of Casterly Rock , I believe. If I were him I’d take his army and repair back there to hunker down.

It just feels like with all their children gone, Cersei has nothing left to live for but to rain vengeance upon everyone and give artful physicality to her spite. If she had a red priest, she’d be pumping out spirit demons like a fucking pez dispenser. I doubt she wants Jaime around to see it. Which may prove dicey for him. Is he next on her kill list? She might be next on his. He stuck his sword in the last monarch who even threatened to burn them all…

10. Olenna Tyrell, The Queen of ThornsLast Week: 3

The Queen of Thorns tumbles. Last week her family line was wiped out. “Cersei has taken the future from me.” By throwing in with the Targaryen forces, she has marginalized her own power to an extent. Which is okay by her. All she wants is to see Cersei Lannister pay.

9. Yara Greyjoy, Commander of the Targaryen FleetLast Week: 20

She’s got a big ass fleet and she’s up for anything, really. Being Daenerys’ Master of Ships is a good spot to be in right now. I mean, until the storm comes, right? The storm in episode one that’s going to absolutely annihilate this fleet, right? Horses trying to swim for it? Targaryen Fire and Blood sails in the water? It’s either storm or Ironborn. That’s my guess. No way a force like this is allowed to land in Westeros unmolested. Right? because roll credits, right? Game over.

Nope, something has to trim their whiskers a bit, I’d think. But we’ll see…

8. Lord Petyr Baelish, “Littlefinger”Last Week: 2

For all of his scheming, Baelish took one in the nose this week. He rolls down this ladder as virtually every avenue to power for him gets cut off. Had the North rallied behind Sansa, and she married him, he would have been the de facto King in the North. But this is a point oft missed by schemers: only heroes get shout-voted. Only true men of passion ignite the passion in others. Bravery can be felt in your bones.

Littlefinger has none of that, and now the North is shut off to him completely. Sansa has turned on him, and yet he’s very clearly declared his allegiance to House Stark by bringing the Eyrie forces to Winterfell. How is the Lord of Harrenhal going to explain this to Queen Cersei? Baelish is still the most patient player on the board and he’ll rebound…somehow.

7. Sansa Stark, House StarkLast Week: 8

Sans above Littlefinger? Pshaw! The only reason she’s here is because she can currently see his cards and she knows his mind. And she has access to power that he doesn’t right now. But I don’t even really know what Sansa is at this point. The Lady of Winterfell? She’s certainly the only remaining Stark that anyone knows about. But with Jon being shout-voted last week to the kingship, who is she? And where does she belong?

She’s safe. That’s one thing we can just take a long, deep breath about. For once, she’s actually safe. Pour one out for Old Nan, by the way, the old lady that gave Sansa hope when things were bleak and told her that The North Remembers. Ramsay peeled her alive for her trouble. Fucking House Bolton and their flaying. I hope Sansa wipes them from the face of the known world.

6. Ser Davos Seaworth, Enjoys MuttonLast Week: 13

He couldn’t be more awesome. It’s mathematically impossible. Jon is King now, and a King needs a Hand. Will Davos be that? It was a position he wanted back in the Stannis the Mannis years. Did you know he was a smooglah? Just a lowly smooglah. And now look at him. Hand of the North! Or perhaps Lord of the Dreadfort? Lord of the Last Hearth? For what it’s worth, I love him more than most of my family so I hope he stays close to Jon and stays alive.

5A. Qyburn, Hand of the QueenLast Week: Unranked

Oh, what a career accelerant a wee spot of wyldfyre can be! Qyburn’s detached murder of his rival maester-type person was actually kind of refreshing. No fuss, no muss. Just the way your garden variety Dr. Frankenstein should be. He’s now the right hand of the Queen, which gives him a huge uptick in power and reach. We already know he’s unscrupulous, unprincipled and violent. We know he taught children to kill and that he masterminded the biggest mass killing in King’s Landing’s history, and did it without a moment’s grief or hesitation. His resume reads like a laundry list of Pandora’s box escapees. What will an injection of raw power do to that wonderful mixed salad of maliciousness?

5. Lord Varys, The SpiderLast Week: 4

A resounding victory for Lord Varys. While I HATED that he was summoned by a bell by lowborn Dorne bastard (lowdorne?) Ellaria Sand like a servant, you can’t knock the timing and efficacy of his mission. He brought two major regions, armies and navies into the Targaryen fold. He’s a goddamn beaut. I understand that he was much more Baelish-like in the books but this Spider is a complete stud. All he does is catch touchdowns and his robe game is ON POINT.

4. Tyrion Lannister, Hand of the QueenLast Week: 5

I could just watch that scene on a loop (and pretty much have, when I wasn’t watching Lyanna Mormont say “you refused the cull.”) To see Tyrion validated? It’s apparently all I’ve ever wanted out of life. And Jon validated at the same time? My god. Ecstacy.

For the first time in his life, Tyrion is locked into a rock-solid position with a powerful ally and he has real authority. He’s the right man in the right place at the right time.

3. King Jon Snow, Bastard, Targaryen, Former Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, King in the NorthLast Week: 22

I’m trying to think of a character’s journey that we’ve seen on TV that compare to Jon’s. Ones that we felt truly connected to and a part of. How many people can we say that about? That we felt this deeply and closely? Walter White? Tony Soprano? Veronica Mars? Jack from Lost? His story is a powerful one and I can’t get enough of it:


2. Daenerys Targaryen, Queen of MeereenLast Week: 12

What do you say about Daenerys Stormborn after she frees all the slaves in Essos and teaches Grey Worm to use an edged weapon? She has been an unstoppable force of destiny. Pure destiny. The only whiff of an issue I have with her is how they made her stand on the deck of that ship, with her neck tendons all blaring out and shit. I’m like “why is she so tight in the neck region?” Seriously: you think I’m kidding but try to make the tendons in your neck stand out like she did and tell me it’s not hella uncomfortable. I love thinking that several thousand people are all flexing their necks in Targaryen solidarity right now.

Pop those neck tendons for us, hon!

Other than that, she’s poifect!

1. Queen Cersei LannisterLast Week: 19

There she is! Miss America! Cercei sits upon the Iron Throne and that makes her the best player. It’s hers. She burned her rivals and seized power, even though I have no understanding about how she is entitled to anything. It’s a war of attrition in King’s Landing and she’s the only player left standing. Last week I thought she should have run for her life. This week? I still think she should run for her life. She has nothing right now, not even a brother who cares for her, based on Jaime’s look.

The prophecy that said she would bury three children and be queen for a short time, also said that she would be deposed by someone younger and more beautiful. We had all just sort of assumed it meant Margaery, but now Cersei is queen again, and this time her gallivanting, whoring louse of a pig husband isn’t alive to weight her down. This is her time to be queen! For a short time, anyway. Because a younger, more beautiful woman approaches, with more than a hundred thousand soldiers, to tear everything Cersei stole down.

It makes this clip that much sweeter:


“I will hurt you for this. A day will come when you think you are safe and happy, and your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth. And you will know the debt is paid.”

Ashes, people! Because he’s got DRAGONS. Oh god it’s so beautiful. In the ciiiiiiircle of Life! It’s the wheeeeeeel of fortune! It’s the leap of faith! It’s the band of hope!

Goddamn I’m so excited I’m breaking into Elton John lyrics over here.

In the borrowed words of Joe Abercrombie:

Cersei Lannister, First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men:


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Lord Castleton is a staff contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.