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Game Of Thrones Power Rankings: ‘The Long Night’

HBO

So this past week’s Game Of Thrones depicted the long-awaited battle with the Night King, and after 10 years of buildup, naturally a lot of people were upset. Should it have been lighter? Should more characters have died? Should the Night King not have gone down so easily after all that buildup? Should we have learned something new?

Probably. But I learned to watch Game of Thrones more as Game of Thrones fan-fiction around season six, and after last week’s excellent episode (probably its best in years) I’m willing to give it a pass. Anyway, Game of Thrones‘ battle episodes are never its best. I don’t think it’s even supposed to have big battle episodes, but the world demanded them and here we are.

In any case, I’m not here to write a review. All my criticisms might be addressed in next week’s episode (the TV watcher’s prayer). Instead, I thought we’d just have a little fun with it. Here I rank the characters — not individually, just a general positive-negative-neutral. Who’s up, who’s down, who made a lateral move, etc., as we close in toward the end and someone claims the Iron Throne.

Down: The Night King

For all the raven’s ink being spilled about the army of the dead being a threat to all existence, he really did turn out to be a paper tiger, huh? Not that he didn’t show some bright spots early on — being immune to fire and whatnot. Speaking of that, if the Night King was immune to fire on account of being a Targaryen, how did they cremate Maester Aemon back in season five? Damn this show for turning me into Red Shirt Guy.

Down: The Army Of The Dead

Even aside from going down to defeat this week, boy, it has to suck finding out that the feudal aristocracy is still in effect in the afterlife, huh? You could almost hear the Dead Army infantry grunts going “B-b-but I thought death was the greatest equalizer!”

Night King: Nope, you’re still the miller’s son, now be a good prole and go and put out that fire with your corpse.

Better luck next time. Maybe *second* death is the greatest equalizer.

HBO

Down: Jorah Mormont, King Of All Incels

On one hand, Jorah suffered the misfortune of being the last guy to die before the army of the dead turned into ice cubes and dissolved, which really had to suck. If only he could’ve held out for like four more seconds. On the other hand, he became one of the great incel martyrs, essentially getting friend-zoned to death. We didn’t see it, but I’d like to think he croaked out one last “m’lady” before dying. “Sorry, I have a boyfriend,” Dany would say.

Put a fedora on Ser Jorah’s tombstone, friends. And better he died this way than eventually succumbing to greyscale, which I assume he got from wacking it. Here lies Ser Jorah, his dick turned to dust years before he did. It was so, so dry.

Up: Arya Stark

I mean obviously, killing the Night King was a big coup, even for Arya. Did she die in the process? Time will tell, but I assume not. No one ever dies on this show anymore, except for ol dry dick Mormont. Anyway, who would’ve guessed that for the girl who trained for years (months?) to become a faceless assassin, her chief skills would turn out to be crawling on the ground and the “oops wrong hand” trick? Sure, maybe she used her face swapping skills to get past the army of the dead and we just didn’t see it… that seems like the part we’d want to see, doesn’t it?

Up: Cersei

Cersei is now the living embodiment of the “free rider” problem. This week was a wake-up call to everyone who assumed Cersei would rue the day she contributed no man power to fighting the army of the dead. But apparently, the old brother-fucker played this one perfectly. It turns out the Night King really *was* just a northern problem.

If the army of the dead was a metaphor for climate change it looks like the deniers won — Cersei just driving around King’s Landing in a yellow Hummer while Jon freezes his nuts off in a smart car lecturing the other vow of chastity takers on recycling. Isn’t that just the way.

Now Cersei and fuckboi Greyjoy (thank God for Euron, the show was desperate for this kind of character ever since original barbarian Daario got replaced by sensitive indie bad Daario) get to face the decimated Targaryen alliance at full strength. Nice one. I guess it pays not to help others.

Down: Dothraki Screamers

Almost no one of any note died this episode yet the Dothraki cavalry was completely routed (except for Ser Jorah, who somehow survived that part only to die celibately). For all the hype about the invincible horse lords, it now looks like they were getting fat on hype crushing tomato cans out on the great grass sea but got exposed as soon as they faced real competition. This was just like when Gonzaga flattened Cro Cop.

Down: Lord Varys

The Spider survived the big battle but his role in this story seems to get smaller and smaller every week. Lately, he seems like either the butt of not-great jokes or the teller of them. “At least we’re already in a crypt.”

Ooh, good one, bro, you should tell that to the Joss Whedon script you escaped from. By the way, for a supposedly smart guy how did no one puzzle out that a crypt might not be the greatest place to hide in a fight against the undead? Didn’t the books end with Lord Varys commanding an army of knife-wielding children? Varys is like the Michael Jackson of Westeros. I keep waiting for that Varys to show up (especially since Conleth Hill is a better actor than anyone could’ve hoped for).

Down: Sean Bean

Speaking of crypts, how did Dead Ned Stark not make an appearance? This would’ve been a perfect time for ol’ Ned to show up, chucking his severed head at people like a maggoty bowling ball (that’s how I want to come back after I die). Can’t a guy get a little help paying his mortgage? He helped put this show on the map!

Up: Samwell Tarly

Seemed like a goner. Apparently not. Big win for bookish chubby cowards who love to go in.

Down: Dolorous Ed

More like Dolorous Dead, am I right? If anyone didn’t see this coming it was only because we forgot Ed was even a character. RIP, Dolorous, you were a much better character in the books.

Up: Brienne of Tarth, Ser Jamie, The Hound, etc.

They all looked dead at one point or another only to be resurrected by smash cut. Brienne goes down in a pile of bodies, two scenes later she walks out of body pile unscathed. Again, I guess I can believe it, but that seems like something you’d want to show.

By the way, we rarely discuss this anymore but is anyone else kind of disappointed that there’s a knight in a fantasy story named “Jamie?” Jamie doesn’t sound like a knight’s name, or a suitable name for a son of “Tywin,” and a brother to a “Tyrion” and “Cersei.” “Jamie” sounds like a guy who works at Enterprise rent a car.

Up: Grey Worm and Missandei

Wait, they’re still alive? Grey Worm has to be the first guy in the history of TV and film to talk about retiring to the coast after his last big battle not to end up dying in said battle. Not that I’m sad to see them keep him around. Even without genitals he still scores more than Ser Jorah.

Down: Theon

Theon got to go down swinging, and have his sins forgiven by Bran on the way down, so I guess that’s something? It sucks having to be the “create a diversion” guy. They always kill the diversion. I kind of wish Theon had had to fight his own zombie dick in the climactic scene. It could’ve been like a Pet Sematary kind of thing. “They come back, but not the same.”

Would that mean the Unsullied would have to fight an entire zombie army of *their* dead dicks? The answer is no, because their dicks didn’t die in the north. Come on, man, do you even watch this show? Anyway, at least Theon got to grope his sister before he died. It’s the dream of every boy in Game of Thrones.

Even: The Lord Of Light, aka R’hllor

I always assumed the red god was a metaphor for Protestantism. If the Seven is Catholicism, all about confessions and bonfires of the vanities and whatnot, the red priests say everything will be peachy keen as long as you slavishly worship the jealous-ass Lord of Light, preferably while maintaining a tone of self-righteousness and sermonizing to everyone. Anyway, the red followers — Melisandre, Beric Dundarrian and his flaming sword — contributed valiantly to the cause this week, but died in the process. Are there any Lord of Light followers left to celebrate their martyrdom?

Down: Bran, warging in general

Hey, man. Uh, what the fuck were you doing that whole battle? Where did those crows go? And if you can control every animal or simple human, couldn’t you have done better than crows? Was Hodor really the only huge strong simpleton in all the north? I’m hoping he redeems himself this week, because that was a real off night for Bran.

Vince Mancini is on Twitter. You can access his archive of reviews here.

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