In each major collegiate sport, success is not determined by something as trivial as a win-loss record—it’s given by the journalists who watch the games. The same formula can apply to every geek’s favorite game: The Game of Thrones. Here are Mindhut’s rankings of Westeros’ movers and shakers at the start of the third season.
1. Tywin Lannister The sole reason Joffrey still sits on the throne. After Tyrion’s spirited defense of King’s Landing during the Battle of Blackwater, Tywin swept in and took credit for the entire thing. He has taken the title of the Hand and created a Lannister dynasty.
2. Robb Stark After being named King in the North by his bannermen, Robb earned his title on the battlefield during the second season. Still, his youth and headstrong diplomatic moves such as marrying for love instead of politics cost him points.
3. Joffrey Baratheon Despite his title, Joffrey is by no means the means the most powerful man in Westeros. He can’t fight and he usually follows the orders of his mother and his grandfather. Still, he technically has the ability to choose to do any sadistic thing he pleases, something gruesomely demonstrated again and again.
4. Daenerys Targaryen DRAGON TIME. Dany’s dragons finally woke up at the end of the second season and made her a force to be reckoned with. Now we hope for a season with fewer meme-worthy cries of “Where are my dragons?”
5. Jeor Mormont The Old Bear leads the only force between Westeros and the White Walkers. Beyond that, he actually runs The Wall. However, the end of last season finds Mormont’s group about to be attacked by a group of wights led by the mascot of Iron Maiden.
6. Cersei Lannister Despite the potential incest scandals and regicide that got her to the top, she maintained power and even expanded upon it in the second season. Still, she hit a nadir during Blackwater, as she drunkenly almost commits a murder-suicide.
7. Mance Rayder Even though we have yet to see him, Rayder’s power is quite evident. He’s the King Beyond the Wall, and has united the Wildlings to his cause. He would be ranked higher, but he still has a pesky Wall in the way.
8. Stannis Baratheon Stannis spent the entire second season building his power, with all of it leading to a siege of King’s Landing in the Battle of the Blackwater. Then he lost. Within one episode, he tumbled from being the most powerful person in Westeros to an afterthought. Still, it’s difficult to count out this ruggedly persistent king.
9. Balon Greyjoy With Robb Stark fighting further south, Balon Greyjoy’s Iron Islanders have made considerable gains in the North. Balon and his pillagers have smartly spent most of the last season letting the other sides kill each other (save for Theon’s ill-advised adventures).
10. Petyr Baelish Always one to affect the game from the sidelines, Littlefinger was a significant part of the Battle of the Blackwater, as he secured the help of the Tyrell forces that turned the tide. By the end of the season, Littlefinger became the lord of Harrenhal. Just another step in his steady rise from minor lord to one of the most powerful officials in the Seven Kingdoms.
Also receiving votes: Varys, Catelyn Stark, Iron Maiden Other, Melisandre, Margaery Tyrell
Greatest Fall: Tyrion Lannister Removed from a successful tenure as Hand with his father’s arrival, this fan favorite has a long road ahead of him in the next season to rejoin the game.
Who do you think will come out on top by the end of season 3?