Wednesday, July 06, 2016

The (New) "Game Of Thrones" Comeuppance List

Say what you will about Game Of Thrones, but it (eventually) pays off its audience.  Of the 18 entries on my last GoT Comeuppance list a year ago, eight of them shuffled off this mortal coil last season, including a whopping seven of the top ten.  It’s gotten to the point now where, with two seasons and roughly 15-16 episodes to go, we’re kind of running short on big villains.  It’s somewhat easy to predict the arc of the next two seasons, though obviously there will be a lot of twists along the way.  That said, I still have a pretty long list here, so…it’s killin’ time!

One notable omission from my list: Qyburn.  I can’t seem to hate this guy.  He’s just so competent and business-like!  It’s kind of silly that I’m giving him a totally free pass while Cersei and the Mountain are so high up on the list but nope, Qyburn is okay for now!

16. Ilyn Payne
Even though the show has, I haven’t forgotten about you, Payne!  Get well soon Wilko Johnson, so Arya can kill you! 

15. The entire Brotherhood Without Banners
I’ve softened on these guys since they’re not capital-E evil, as evidenced by the way they thoroughly punished those rogue members for killing Ian McShane.  As deluded as they may be about the fire god, these guys (unlike, say, Melisandre) seem like they would hesitate before, oh, burning a child at the stake while her parents watched.  I’m interested in this new partnership with the Hound, as…

14. The Hound
…oh yeah, the Hound!  A rare re-entry onto the list for a guy who isn’t actually dead!  The Hound seems remorseful of his past crimes and it looks like he’s about to make a total face turn by fighting the White Walker army.  The Hound turning into a total vigilante to right the wrongs of his past would be delightful but….you just know he and Arya (and probably he and Brienne) will meet again, and he’s still on her list.  AND he still has stuff to atone for. 

13. Theon Greyjoy
Except for Payne, this section of the list really is just “former villains who are trying to redeem themselves.”  Theon seems to be almost all the way back now, if perhaps not quite the sprightly, seemingly noble lad he was at the beginning of the series.  My pal Dave is waiting on Theon’s fate with bated breath, as he is (perhaps literally) the only person in the world who cites Theon as his favourite character.  I don’t understand it either.

12. Jaqen H’ghar
This guy’s Mr. Miyagi routine got pretty old.  Worst of all, since Arya now actually seems to be a well-trained killing machine, he can retroactively take credit for all of his nonsense as “all part of the preparation” when he really just let things get out of hand.  I’ve always considered old Johnny Pronoun to be one of the more overrated badasses on GoT — remember that when we first met him, he was in a cage on his way to the Wall.  What kind of a master assassin gets caught?  It’s quite possible we’ll never see the Faceless Man again, but really, maybe one final showdown with Arya is in the cards.

11. Euron Greyjoy
I should probably hate this guy more since it’s pretty clear he’s lined up as one of the last remaining Big Bads for the final two seasons.  (For book readers, Euron is *very* clearly a force to be reckoned with.)  Still, Euron was only in two episodes, and in one of them, he killed the hated Balon Greyjoy.  In the second, he used a bunch of crazy promises to win the Iron Islands sanitation commissioner job away from Yara “Ray Patterson” Greyjoy, which isn’t the worst thing in the world.  Methinks I’ll hate this guy a lot more come Season Seven.

10. The Night’s King
Speaking of “major villains who I should hate more,” here’s the final boss of the entire series.  Here’s the thing about the White Walkers — while they’re conscious beings, I see their invasion more as a force of nature.  The Night’s King only ends up here because he finally did something unlikable by leading his forces to kill Hodor.  Not Hodor! 

9. Lord Randyll Tarly
Westeros is pretty short on respectable fathers, and Sam’s dad is no exception.  The whole thing about him being ashamed that his firstborn son is a brainiac rather than a fighter is pretty dumb unto itself, but it gets even dumber since now we’ve met the whole Tarly family…and there’s another Tarly son!  The hilariously named Dickon Tarly seems to be a cut off the old block, huntin’ and sword-swingin’ and being just like his dad except minus the seething resentment towards Sam.  Hey Randyll, would it have killed you to adjust the local traditions *just* a little bit so Dickon could’ve been the new lord of House Tarly and Sam could’ve (as he openly desired) just gone off to study and become a maester?  How sick must Dickon be of hearing his father complain about Sam, when it’s like “uh, hey Dad, I’m RIGHT HERE.”  Lady Tarly seems way, way, way too good for this clown. 

8. Ser Robert Strong/Ser Gregor Clegane/Zombie Mountain
By this point you can slot Zombie Mountain into the ‘force of nature’ bin along with the ice zombies since it’s pretty clear there’s nothing mentally left of Gregor Clegane.  So, with that horrific personality out of the way….Zombie Mountain is actually kind of fun as a pure failsafe.  It didn’t hurt that he directed all of his ire this season towards other unlikable characters, as I’d probably feel differently if he was brutalizing someone I cared about.

7. Ellaria & The Sand Snakes
Let’s pause for a big LOL at how much Game of Thrones regretted the half-assed Dorne storyline in the fifth season.  Ellaria and her gang of poor actresses appeared in the S6 premiere and then vanished until a brief cameo in the finale, when they existed only to be mocked by the Queen of Thorns.  It’s probably a sign of how poorly-cast and written these characters are when they clearly have the moral high ground on the Mountain, and yet I actually dislike them more than what’s left of the old Ser Gregor.  If that insult scene leads to the Sand Snakes turning on Lady Tyrell, that will NOT go over well.

6. Robin Arryn
In a way, I should feel sorry for this kid since his crazy mother never gave him a chance.  In another, more accurate, way….I will be happy when and if someone chucks Robin out the moondoor.  What a sorry little punk.

5. Edmure Tully
Speaking of Chief Punk, what is Edmure’s endgame here?  To get back with his wife and infant son?  Hey Edmure, THEY’RE FREYS.  It was all a trap.  Remember the Red Wedding that wiped out half your family?  Instead of standing his ground or using Jamie’s plan against him, Edmure then sells out the Blackfish and essentially completely caves in.  Ironically, this clown may have fallen upwards since Arya took care of old Walder Frey, since now the Riverlands will fall into disarray and what’s left of House Tully could pick up the pieces.  If Jon ends up being King In The North lording over Winterfell, could we get Sansa or Arya capitalizing on their Tully bloodline to step in and get House Tully back on track?  Anything to get Edmure dumped on again.

4. Jamie Lannister
There is a lot of mounting evidence that Jamie will make the ultimate face turn by being the one to take down Cersei, just as he stopped another crazy monarch to earn the Kingslayer nickname.  A final turn towards good in the end, however, shouldn’t erase all that Jamie has done in this series.  Remember…pushed Bran out a window in the very first episode!  That started this whole mess.  If Bran wants to warg into, say, an angry cat to scratch Jamie’s eyes out in the series finale, nobody would blame him.  All of the work the series has done to try and make Jamie more sympathetic has, ironically, just made me hate him more.

3. Melisandre
The ol’ Red Woman was basically a broken woman this season, realizing that her past belief in Stannis was completely false.  It took resurrecting Jon Snow to get her back on the messiah train, and her visions of Snow standing triumphant in Winterfell was indeed correct….until Davos called her out for murdering Shireen.  “Oh right, all that stuff I did,” in the words of Sideshow Bob.  Now Melisandre is just riding aimlessly south, where she could possibly interact with any number of characters.  Who will be the one to finally defeat her by…well, apparently all it’ll take is removing her necklace, as pretty much anyone in the series could beat up a 700-year-old woman.  Maybe even Sam.

2. Cersei Lannister
Or, should I say, Queen Cersei, first of her name, yadda yadda yadda.  It was a fascinating season for Cersei, as the show seemingly spent much of the year making you feel rather sorry for this mess she’d gotten herself, her royal son and by extension much of the kingdom into by empowering the Sparrows.  And then, by the finale, it’s whoops, nope, Cersei is still the big bad, and she not only killed the other King’s Landing villains, she also killed a bunch of those nice Tyrells we all liked.  (My pal Eric, a big Natalie Dormer supporter, was not pleased at this turn of events and now needs a new show crush.)  GoT clearly is heading in a direction of Daenerys and company facing Queen Cersei and probably Euron Greyjoy’s navy in S7, which leads to so many fascinating character interactions that the mind boggles at the possibilities.  Will Jamie side with his sister or his brother?  How many of Team Daenerys will the Zombie Mountain take out?  How does Jorah’s search for a cure play into all of this?  Will Cersei and Daenerys ever actually meet face to face?  Find out next time, on SOAP.

1. Littlefinger
It’s a shame that we never got any extended scenes between Baelish and the High Sparrow, since Aiden Gillen and Jonathan Pryce would’ve had quite a battle trying to out-smug each other.  The Sparrow had the edge in the smug rankings all season long, and yet the look on Littlefinger’s face when the Vale armies swooped in during the Battle of the Bastards almost vaulted him to the top in one fell swoop.  I’ve read a lot of interpretations of the glances between Sansa and Littlefinger during Jon Snow’s “King in the North” scene, and for the sake of my patience, I really hope Sansa’s expression read as “told you Jon would be accepted” rather than “hmm, I’m losing power here…”  If it’s the latter and Sansa is truly dumb enough to put faith in Littlefinger again, she’ll find herself on this list next year.

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