Game of Thrones Power Rankings, Season 3 Premiere: Valar Dohaeris

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Welcome to the Season 3 premiere edition of the Game of Thrones Power Rankings, which signals an end to HBO’s shitty season (see: Girls) and a return to Westeros, where dragons, Daenerys Targaryen and dragons all exist. Our latest glimpse into the realm introduced several new characters, a batch of fresh storylines and the revelation that Tywin Lannister is indeed the world’s worst father.

Our rankings are based on developments from each episode in particular, and take factors such as likeability, power and general character attractiveness into consideration. At the end of the day, these are wholly subjective, so if you disagree with any of our assessments — and you’d be wrong — state your case in the comments section below. You can track each character’s movement by looking at the Season 2 finale Power Rankings.

One last very important order of business: SPOILER ALERT: The following entries contain information from the most recent episode of Game of Thrones: “Valar Dohaeris” (Season 3, Episode 1).

tywin-season-31. Tywin Lannister (previously 2) — At the end of Season 2, Tywin’s horse took a huge dump in the entryway to the Throne Room. In the Season 3 premiere, Tywin continued to shit all over everybody. Especially Tyrion. Man, we’ve seen some baby daddy drama before (*cough* Greyjoys *cough*), but Big Daddy Lannister just ripped his son’s chest open and tore his heart out. Let me break it down: Son asks father about his inheritance. Father tells son to fuck off, then craps all over his pile of money and torches it so son can’t have any. While Tywin made some likability progress in his Season 2 scenes with Arya, he was never more of a dick than during the premiere. Still, nobody dares question Tywin. Joffrey is a sniveling runt and won’t stand up to his grandfather, Cersei is terrified of what he may find out and he’s got the majority of the Gold Cloaks in his pocket. So Tywin is pretty much free to do as he pleases. Plus, he’s got that fat old Lannister bank account to his name. Mo money, mo power, mo shit to sling on everybody.
— CW

dany-season-32. Daenerys Targaryen (previously 1): Boy, have things turned around for the Mother of Dragons. As recently as the Season 2 finale, Dany was chained up inside a giant phallic tower while a smaller phallic warlock taunted her. But after an offseason conditioning program that would make Nick Saban proud, our heroine has a ship to lead her khalasar across the poisoned water, a lovely gown that shows way more cleavage than the boob armor she wore last year and three growing dragons capable of flying, swimming and staging solo fish fries. Yes, a tiny warlock child (at least Dany thinks it’s a tiny warlock child) tried to kill her, and yes, Valyrian-speaking slaver Kraznys mo Nakloz calls her a ‘Westerosi whore’ to her face, but she survived the assassination attempt thanks to the biggest free-agent acquisition this side of Josh Hamilton: Ser Barristan Selmy has made his way to Dany’s side following his forced exit from the King’s Guard. (Bet you’re regretting that one, Cersei…) Dany’s chances of seizing the Iron Throne will be immeasurably better with Barristan the Bold by her side, but think about how good they’ll be if she can find the coin (and the stomach) to bring Kraznys’ 8,000 Unsullied soldiers into her service. Oh, and first mate Jorah is looking mighty fine — whether or not he smells like piss.
— MR

jon-snow-season-33. Jon Snow (previously 6): So, here’s the bad news: Jon’s not around to help his friends and brothers battle the Others, his Valyrian steel sword currently belongs to the wildlings and he’ll have to live with killing Qhorin Halfhand for the rest of his life. Oh, and he’s about to bunk up with a giant who can literally bang mammoth tusks into the icy earth with his bare hands. But here’s the good news: Jon can finally ditch his v-card and bang Ygritte! Commit to your cover, Lord Snow. Go all in … and I do mean all in. What’s more: It seems like the Halfhand ruse worked. Jon came face to face with King Beyond the Wall Mance Rayder and his wildling small council — including the hilarious Tormund Giantsbane of “From now on, you’d better kneel every time I fart” fame — and lived to tell the tale, convincing Mance, at least temporarily, that he genuinely wants to join the free folk. But does Jon believe his own tale? Will he come to in time? It sure was a convincing speech, and we know Jon’s disdain with the Lord Commander over Craster’s offerings is real enough. Regardless: Jon has, for the time being, successfully infiltrated the enemy camp. Ghost isn’t there to warm him, but Ygritte is. Remember, he’s wearing the wrong colors. He’ll have to shake those furs off soon enough.
— MR

melisandre-season-34. Melisandre (previously unranked): The Red Priestess has Stannis Baratheon whipped. As in: Stannis, if you even so much as turn your head to look at Ser Davos, you will never get any of this kinky, demon-shadow-baby-poppin’, magic vagina ever again. That’s some intense shit. After Stannis’ army was overrun during the Battle of Blackwater, Melisandre is calling all the shots on Dragonstone, torching high lords (literally) as she sees fit. Her hypothetical game is also on point. As she told Davos, had she been present at Blackwater, their army would have triumphed and Stannis would be perched atop the Iron Throne. And since she foresaw Matthos’ death, telling Davos’ son that “death by fire is the purest death,” it’s easy to believe her. Other things that unquestionably would’ve happened if Melisandre had gone north with the troops: Flying Spaghetti Monster would’ve been adopted as the official religion of King’s Landing and the throne would’ve been reupholstered as a plush Lovesac next to a lava lamp. YOLO.
— BG

margaery-season-35. Margaery Tyrell (previously 3, sorta) — The future Mrs. Joffrey Baratheon flexed her pretty little muscles a bit in the premiere. She challenged Joffrey by stopping the King’s motorcade (how dare she!) to pay a visit to some poor children in an orphanage. Thanks to Margaery, we got to see a terrified Joffrey peer through his little fart box; it was like Peter Griffin’s no-girls-allowed fort had an illegitimate love child with Kramer and Newman’s rickshaw incident. But back to the matter at hand: the King’s betrothed. Cersei already hates Margaery to the core, but the Queen-to-be handled an awkward moment with the in-laws with ease. So maybe we can cross Cersei off Margaery’s threat list. As for the King, Margaery proved with Renly that she’ll do whatever she can to please. Maybe another bicurious threesome with Joffrey and her brother? Maybe an OTPHJ to get the procreation juices flowing to pop that royal cherry? Whatever it takes, she’s on it. Oh, and if previous seasons are any indication, hopefully she’ll get naked a lot. Hooray boobs!
— CW

bronn-season-36. Bronn (previously unranked) — Ser Bronn! The sellsword is back, with more money, more whores and a new prefix before his name. Well, maybe the same TWI (total whore intake — it’s a real metric, I swear), but now they have to call him My Lord while he chews on their undergarments. And now, when a squire tries to cockblock him when driving up said TWI, he can threaten to kill said squire and laughs will be had by all! Yes, the newly knighted sellsword jumped up the social ladder in King’s Landing. Highborn knights tried to use it against him, branding him an “up-jumped cutthroat” to undermine his new status, but Bronn doesn’t care. He owned it (Tyrion would be proud). Plus, he pulled a fast one on ol’ Tyrion to double his pay, and he’s back with his partner in crime. The tandem of these two jokesters provides rare light-hearted banter in an otherwise somber show. Riggs and Murtaugh, McClain and Powell, Foley and Rosewood. Everybody loves a good buddy cop tandem. Lannister and Bronn just flows right off the tongue.
— CW

mance-season-37. Mance Rayder (previously 6, sorta): He arrives! The King Beyond the Wall has finally made his entrance, and he commands such respect that his underlings bow at his feet upon every one of his farts. (OK, that came from Jon Snow assuming that Tormund Giantsbane was Mance, but Mance would be wise to install this as law immediately.) In all seriousness, though, Mance is the leader of a massive army, speaks with an accent that commands respect and owns giants. We barely know Mance, but I like to think that he and Giantsbane sometimes get drunk and then play chicken while sitting on opposing giants’ shoulders, because that sounds really fun and it has to get boring just being cold beyond the wall all the time.
— BG

cerseiseason-38. Cersei Lannister (previously unranked): Things could be better for Cersei about now. Tyrion is still alive after being betrayed at the Battle of Blackwater (presumably at Cersei’s behest). Tywin has assumed much of her power after saving the day and facilitating the all-time greatest horse poop in TV history. And thanks to Margaery’s insufferable help-the-poor routine, Cersei is losing sway over Joffrey as he becomes more and more smitten with his betrothed and less and less interested in Cersei’s so-called recollection of “facts.” But the Queen Regent has perspective. She still boasts the upper hand over Tyrion. She’s still excellent at taking passive-aggressive jabs at fellow royal dinner party goers. And she still could totally drink Margaery under the table. Since most feuds in Westeros are settled via Spring Breakers-style drink-offs, this seems reason enough to keep Cersei in the top 10 of this week’s rankings.
— BG

tyrion-season-39. Tyrion Lannister (previously 9): Tyrion is a fan favorite here at TNW, so it feels strange and sick and wrong to rank him this low. But there’s no denying that the Season 3 premiere was a giant shit sandwich for our boy. A quick recap of the things Tyrion has lost since thriving late into Season 2: his position as Hand of the King; his corresponding chambers; any remaining belief that he could salvage his relationship with his sister; his father’s approval; and some of his nose. Conversely, he’s gained … a badass facial scar. Yeah, he’s in the red. Even Bronn — sorry, Ser Bronn — is about to start charging Tyrion double for his protective services. At least Tyrion hasn’t lost his trademark wit, as he notes with his “That still makes me more clever than you” zinger to Cersei. But for Tyrion, this episode really boiled down to one thing: the gut-wrenching scene he shared with father Tywin, who’s more interested in his letters than his son. In fact, Tywin is so disinterested that he didn’t once visit as Tyrion recovered from his wounds. That’s cold, but not as cold as Tywin’s reply when Tyrion states his case for inheriting Casterly Rock. Older brother Jaime is a knight of the King’s Guard, meaning he can’t inherit lands or titles. Tywin’s response is … not nice. He calls Tyrion an “ill-made spiteful little creature full of envy, lust and low cunning” and says that “neither gods nor men shall ever compel me to let you turn Casterly Rock into your whorehouse.” And just for good measure, he threatens to hang the next whore he finds in Tyrion’s bed. Tyrion walks out as Tywin is dishing his last insult, a previously unthinkable act of defiance, but he’s only walking toward more pain.
— MR

joffrey-season310. Joffrey Baratheon (previously 3): Season 3 finds Joffrey exactly how we left him: still the king, still universally despised. But hey, at least he rolls around in a luxurious cage of sorts and can claim Margaery as his bride-to-be! (No offense, Sansa, but Margaery is way hotter.) While the Lannister clan remains as dysfunctional as ever, Joffrey has turned his attention toward adding the word “charitable” to his daily vocabulary and totally missing cleavage jokes by offering his lady a shawl. So will this season bring a different, more gentle side of the Bitchking? Maybe. But instead of hypothesizing, I’m going to watch this 10-minute video of Tyrion slapping Joffrey on loop. After all, it exists, and that is a wonderful thing.
— BG

On The King’s Road

Robb Stark: Hot wife? Check. Amazing hair? CHECK. Living northern prisoners? Errrr…. Robb and his troops arrive at Harrenhal hoping to challenge Tywin, but instead of a fight, they find slaughtered northern bannermen and an otherwise abandoned castle. Robb may not have lost a battle, but he’s lost the Kingslayer, Winterfell and the lives of many loyal soldiers. Not a good run.
— MR

Ser Barristan Selmy: The commander of Robert’s Kingsguard is finally back with the family he’s sworn to protect. Selmy wins Dany’s trust when he fights off a warlock scheme, killing what must be the model version of the alien from Independence Day. Congratulations, Barristan the Bold, you’re in with the last Targaryen. But you also destroyed a priceless movie artifact from an American classic, ya jerk.
— CW

Samwell Tarly: So Sam forgot to send ravens to King’s Landing. Big deal. More importantly, he proved nimble enough to outrun the white walkers, at least until Ghost could come and bail him out. Also, his 11.4 40 time — aired in the opening sequence of the season — isn’t so bad considering he was wearing 50 pounds of fur on top of his David Wells-like frame.
— BG

Kraznys mo Nakloz, slave trader: As far as first impressions go, few Game of Thrones characters have left a better one than Kraznys, the slave trader of the Unsullied army. He dubbed Dany a “Westerosi whore,” told Jorah he smells like piss and — when questioned about his soldiers’ collective toughness — casually sliced off one’s (unnecessary) nipple. In sum, that’s pretty much the trifecta, and it reinforces my long-held belief that nipple-slicing is one of the most underrated motivational tactics in today’s society.
— BG

Littlefinger: On the scale of one to pedophile, Littlefinger’s ploy to secretly whisk Sansa away in an attempt to A) complete his decades-long quest to win over Catelyn Stark, B) impress/have sex with an unsuspecting teenage girl or C) finagle the most unlikely mother-daughter threesome of all-time checks in at about a nine.
— BG

Sansa Stark: For a pretty young thing, Sansa isn’t exactly attracting the most eligible bachelors. The Bitchking, the Hound and … Littlefinger? If only Loras Tyrell played for the right team. Sansa’s still a bit of an enigma; at times wise beyond her years, at times a child. She manages to show both sides in one statement to handmaiden Shae: “The truth is always terrible … or boring.” At least the show is neither.
— MR

Cat Stark: Sucks to be you, Cat.

Davos: Sucks even more to be you, Onion Knight.

Not in the episode

Arya Stark
Bran Stark
Jamie Lannister
Brienne of Tarth
Iron Islanders

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