Skip to main content

Arya starts off ‘Game of Thrones’ season 7 in fine fashion, but who’s this week’s real winner?

'Game of Thrones' power rankings: 'Dragonstone'
Image used with permission by copyright holder
As the title suggests, politics in Game of Thrones is treated like a, well, game. And whether you’re talking about basketball or the struggle to control shipping routes in the Riverlands, there are always winners and losers. As each episode plays out, we’ll be ranking the players from best to worst So who takes the crown, and who gets fed to the wolves in Game of Thrones season 7, episode 1? Follow below to find out.

1. Daenerys

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Like the Golden State Warriors coasting to a 16-1 playoff record, Daenerys seems to throw off the entire competitive balance of Westeros. She has a fleet of ships (including those belonging to Yara and Theon Greyjoy), a peerless cavalry in the form of a Dothraki horde, elite foot soldiers in the Unsullied, and, lest we forget, three grown dragons. Best of all, she took her first inch of Westerosi soil unopposed. Stannis Baratheon apparently left his former base, the island fortress of Dragonstone, completely uninhabited, and thus Daenerys’ for the taking.

2. Jon

Image used with permission by copyright holder

At first, Jon’s position may seem tenuous. He has only just vanquished Ramsay Bolton in a civil war that pitted the great houses of the North against each other, and he’s caught between the White Walkers to the north and the Lannisters to the south. But, Jon’s position is actually quite strong, all things considered. The onset of winter means the Lannister forces can’t march north, the Wall is still standing in the Walkers’ way for the time being, and Jon has seemingly secured the loyalty of the Northern houses (even those who sided with Ramsay) and the Wildlings. He even asserts his noble stance on rulership after Sansa tries to steer him in a more cutthroat direction. Plus, he is the most likely to be Azor Ahai, legendary hero of light. Not too shabby for a bastard.

3. Arya

Jon isn’t the only Stark on a winning streak. After assassinating Walder Frey in The Winds of Winter, Arya kicked off this season in ruthless fashion, impersonating the very man she recently killed during a feast, and poisoning all of his family members. Capable of impersonating anyone whose face she can get her hands on, Arya seems likely to keep checking names off her murder list. Plus, she ate rabbit and wine with a group of pleasant soldiers. Unfortunately, one of them was Ed Sheeran — you win some, you lose some.

4. Sansa

Sansa has learned a lot from power players like Cersei and Littlefinger, and she’s trying to put her realpolitik to work up north, asking Jon to distribute the lands of Stark betrayers amongst his loyal subjects. Jon refuses, but Sansa’s willingness to publicly challenge a king establishes her as one of the most assertive women in Westeros. She even delivers some venomous barbs to would-be suitor Littlefinger, with a hairstyle fit to bring the words home in dramatic fashion. Unfortunately, her power lies solely (for now) in her family ties, but if she continues to flex her political muscles she may be the second most powerful person in one of the more secure regions of Westeros.

5. Cersei

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Cersei fans may be shocked to see her so low on the list — after all, she sits on the Iron Throne — but despite the glamor of her title, Cersei has a host of problems, and one of the worst strategic positions on the map. As she herself points out, the Lannisters have enemies to the west (the Tyrells), south (Dorne), North (the Starks), and east (Daenerys). Moreover, they are severely lacking in allies (punk rock pirate Euron Greyjoy isn’t the most trustworthy friend) and infrastructure; with winter having come, the Tyrell breadbasket is going to be essential for any army that wants to survive. Cersei’s in a bad spot, and her megalomania may finally outdo her cunning.

6. Littlefinger

On the one hand, Littlefinger has the forces of the Vale under his command, and the new King in the North owes him for coming to his rescue against the Boltons. At the same time, all he seems to want is Sansa, and all she will give him are fierce insults.

7. The Hound and the Brotherhood Without Banners

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Hound and the Brotherhood are marching north to fight the White Walkers, which is noble, but also seems like a suicide mission. They have few supplies, and while they do seem to have a god on their side, R’hllor has been a fickle master in the past. Still, if you plan to fight an army of undead ice wizards, an unkillable man with a flaming sword seems like the right guy to have leading your party.

8. Samwell Tarly

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Sam got one of the more memorable scenes in the premiere. Unfortunately, it involved a whole lot of bedpans. Not only does he have to scrape human waste into a drain every day, the Maesters won’t even let him access the forbidden tomes of knowledge that Jon needs to fight the White Walkers. He steals the keys to the secret texts and finds some useful information about Dragonstone, but he is also almost guaranteed to get caught, and will probably be cleaning the latrines for the foreseeable future.

Editors' Recommendations

Will Nicol
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Will Nicol is a Senior Writer at Digital Trends. He covers a variety of subjects, particularly emerging technologies, movies…
How House of the Dragon saved Game of Thrones’ tarnished legacy
Alicent and Rhaenyra clutch each other in House of the Dragon.

May 19, 2019, is a date branded on the pop culture lexicon. The finale to Game of Thrones, the television phenomenon that single-handedly revitalized the fantasy genre and redefined what "event television" meant, aired to the collective disappointment of millions of fans. The show's decline in quality had begun in season 7, with some questionable choices happening as far back as season 5, but the train wreck that was season 8 was beyond words. Consistency went out the window in favor of spectacle, resulting in a rushed season that reduced the world's greatest TV show into a sad shadow of its former self.

The controversial finale put a seemingly permanent stain on Game of Thrones. In the years leading up to its conclusion, HBO expressed interest in creating a franchise based around George R. R. Martin's World of Ice and Fire. However, the episode's terrible reception put the network's plan in doubt, with many wondering if the Game of Thrones brand was in a healthy enough place to support a franchise. Things got worse when the first spinoff, starring Naomi Watts, got unceremoniously axed -- even after shooting a $30 million pilot -- spelling doom for the would-be franchise. Alas, not all was lost; GoT still had an ace up its sleeve, and it was called House Targaryen.
Mother of Dragons

Read more
Game of Thrones deserves to be a great video game like Elden Ring
Tyrion and Daenerys on Dragonstone with Rhaegal and Drogon on either side.

After the generational success that Game of Thrones brought the overall HBO brand, the face of original premium TV has begun a broader expansion of the dark fantasy world of author George R. R. Martin with House of the Dragon. The prequel has reinvigorated the strengths of the flagship show, with more projects underway -- including the Jon Snow-led sequel series. But aside from more TV prequels and a sequel, as ambitious as that all sounds, the video game medium should be something else that's at least on HBO and Martin's radar.

Given the tumultuous merger between Warner Bros. and Discovery, it's hard to say what the likes of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment will look like in the near or distant future, but the world of A Song of Ice and Fire is teeming with a mythology that would lend itself well to gaming. Whether it's through the roleplaying or real-time strategy genres, there are plenty of avenues developers can take this IP.
The Elden Ring factor

Read more
The 10 most powerful Game of Thrones characters ever, ranked
Daenerys and Jon meeting together in her room.

House of the Dragon ended its hugely successful first season with an episode that included everything, from plots to steal the Iron Throne to dragon battles and a violent death. In short, it was just another day in Westeros. Yes, House of the Dragon was a resounding success, but it owes much of it to Game of Thrones. The show that single-handedly revived the fantasy genre and redefined what the word "spectacle" meant in television, GoT was a game-changer.

The show conquered fans' and critics' hearts with a successful mix of political intrigue and good, old-fashioned drama; there was nothing like it on television or film. Game of Thrones featured a seemingly endless parade of morally-dubious characters vying to seat on a pointy chair, and we couldn't get enough of them. Indeed, the pursuit of power was at the heart of GoT, with every major player wanting to get their share of the glory. But what is power in Westeros? Varys said it best: it's an illusion, a shadow on the wall. And these characters certainly cast a very large shadow. Whether because of their resources, armies, gold, or charm, these figures were the most powerful in Westeros and the beating heart of the game of thrones.
10. Jon Snow

Read more