Editor’s Note: This post contains major spoilers for Game of Thrones’ season 7 finale. You’ve been warned!
As we stand here in the wreckage and destruction wrought by “The Dragon and the Wolf,” the season seven finale of Game of Thrones, it’s about time to take stock of who exactly holds the power in the Seven Kingdoms and what that tells us about the final season coming our way in 2019 (most likely). Because after the Stark team-up we’ve all been waiting for, the X-rated allegiance that (we guess) Benioff and Weiss were waiting for, and the utter wildness of all that went down in the longest episode of the series, ever, we’ve been left reeling. But how exactly has that changed the balance of power in Westeros?
Let’s take a look at where everyone’s power stands heading into season eight.
14. Lord Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish
Really, he shouldn’t even be on this list—Littlefinger is no more and the world rejoices! No more power plays, snake tongue, or ephebophilia. Unless he comes back in the Night King’s army, we’ve finally seen the last of the ladder-climbing creep that was Lord Petyr Baelish. BYE, YOU SNAKE. NO ONE MOURNS YOU.
After making pretty much every bad decision that he possibly could and betraying the Starks—not to mention living in a hellish nightmare as Ramsey Bolton’s Reek—last season Theon finally began his inevitable redemption arc by rescuing Sansa. Coming face-to-face with Jon in the penultimate episode set up what was a truly stirring moment for the finale: when Jon said that he forgave Theon, and it inspiring him to go rescue Yara. That led to some classic toxic masculinity where Theon earned the respect of Yara’s crew by getting the shit kicked out of him. Maybe there’s hope for the Iron Island’s most despised son yet.
What has Varys even been doing this season? There was a time when you could happily argue that Varys was the most important player in Game of Thrones. A man dedicated solely to the good of the Seven Kingdoms, he did some serious power moves at the end of last season, but has been rather lacking over the last seven episodes. Step it up or die, Varys. You’re on thin ice, you merman.
11. Tormund and Beric
These two. These two lovely boys. They both played a part in Jon Snow’s short lived beyond the wall “Snowicide Squad” and thus were integral in bringing the wight to King’s Landing. Though it looked as if their time may have been up in the season finale, we think that these two have likely got more important roles to play. If they survive, they’ll be the messengers who let the rest of the world know that the Wall has fallen and winter is truly here. You can do it boys. We believe in you.
10. Tyrion Lannister
He’s been a huge power player this season, with his position as Daenerys’ hand granting him untold reach and responsibility. After all, it was his plan that brought the houses together in King’s Landing to try and unite the living to battle the army of the dead. But with the newly consummated Targaryen relationship, and Cersei making false promises after his council, it looks like the rogue Lannister may finally be losing his grip.
Everyone’s favorite impeccably dressed cheeky pirate of the seas—who also happens to be a brother-murderer and kidnapper—made some serious power moves in the final episode of the season. Though it at first seemed like he was the coward we all assumed him to be, it turned out he’d actually just been scheming with his future boo, Cersei Lannister, and ran off to bring back the Golden Company to fight in the Lannister war. Alas, this secret pact drove Jaime to finally cut ties with Cersei, creating an entirely new enemy for this terrible twosome, so things are unlikely to end well for old Euron.
Ruthless and cold, for a short while it looked like the lion queen may have been hardcore enough to truly rule the Seven Kingdoms, even if it was only from the ashes. For a moment in Sunday’s finale it even seemed like she’d come to her senses and was ready to play her part in the great war. Alas, it was but a trick. With Jamie finally deserting her—and hopefully teaming back up with Brienne—it looks like her sociopathic ways may finally cause her downfall in season eight. As the first snow fell on King’s Landing, the likelihood of Cersei surviving the winter dropped dramatically.
Well, well, well. After two seasons of squandering what seemed to be some great character growth, Jaime finally cut ties with Cersei and rode out of King’s Landing as the first snow began to fall on the Red Keep. This was a huge moment for Jaime, though he probably should’ve killed Cersei for good measure. Who knows where he’s off to, but we hope he’s ready to ride off into the sunset with Brianne after killing a whole bunch of wights, obvz.
6. Daenerys Targaryen
The dragon queen is starting to look like quite the proper ruler, though another inexplicable dalliance with an ally—in this case her sexy northern nephew, Jon Snow—will likely cause her some kind of trouble. With two dragons and the rightful heir to the throne by her side, it’s likely Dany could do some serious damage in the wars to come as long as her longing for power doesn’t drive a wedge between her and
Jon we mean Aegon.
5. Jon Snow/AEGON MOTHERFREAKIN’ TARGARYEN
With the proper reveal that Jon Snow is Aegon Targaryen—the true heir to the Iron Throne—things are really looking pretty great for ol’ Ned Stark’s (fake) bastard. That he’s in love with his aunt and also technically dead means that things might still take a bad turn for the King in the North, especially after Sansa’s effortless power moves at Winterfell.
He spent most of the season being a total odd ball and keeping every secret except for those about his sister’s sexual assault (so chill, Bran). We were starting to wonder what the point of ol’ Brandon Stark was, but in this final episode he took part in two of the biggest reveals the show had to offer, dropping receipts on a terrified Littlefinger and doing a very creepy voiceover about Jon’s true lineage as Jon slept with his aunt. If fan theories are true and Bran is really the Night King, he’s also the most powerful player in the game! Go you, Bran!
After escaping King’s Landing and becoming a totally badass assassin/Faceless Man, Arya climbed many fan ladders to become a firm favorite over the course of the past seven seasons. However, after deciding to return to Winterfell, things seemed to take a decisively frustrating turn due to her constant friction with Sansa. But as many of you eagle-eyed Thrones-fans spotted, all was not as it seemed. When Arya slit Littlefinger’s throat at the behest of her sister, the world breathed a sigh of relief. As it now stands, it looks like Arya could be standing by her sister’s side in the inevitable war to come—possibly as her Hand after Jon takes his rightful place? Sisters are doing it for themselves in Westeros at last, y’all.
Over seven seasons we’ve seen her go from petulant kid to traumatized survivor to arguably one of the best players of the Great Game that Westeros has ever seen. Alas, this season she was mostly wasted in superfluous sibling drama, one that many fans found to be incredibly contrived. Well guess what? It was! Yes, this season’s finale had one of the most satisfying moments of all as it was revealed that the sisters were working together to rid the North of Lord Baelish in absolute fire fashion. Now that the Stark siblings are firmly reunited as a pack, Sansa’s in strong stead for the wars to come.
1. The Night King
This guy has an Ice Dragon and just knocked down the wall, so the real winner of this season is clearly the Night King, who may or may not be Brandon Stark. As his army of the dead marched south following Viserion’s takedown of part of the Wall at Eastwatch, there’s no question in anyone’s mind just who, exactly, is the most powerful player in Westeros.
So who are you rooting for next season? Ride your badass ice dragon into our comments and let us know!
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