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Final Standings in the ‘Game of Thrones’ After Season Two

game of thrones

Helen Sloan/Home Box Office

They call it the War of the Five Kings, but there are far more players involved in the great game that gives 'Game of Thrones' its title than you can count on one hand. By the time Season Two's finale finished airing this past Sunday, at least one more king, three queens, and two lords were firmly in play, the Iron Throne beckoning them all to get crowned or die trying. Where do the 12 most major players rank in the quest for the crown at this stage of the game? Take a look at our post-Season Two standings and see where your favorite contender ended up when the buzzer (or White Walker warning signal) blew.

By Sean T. Collins

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game of thrones

Helen Sloan

12

Stannis Baratheon: The King in the Narrow Sea

His fleet destroyed, his followers routed, his friend Ser Davos Seaworth blasted right out of the finale by the wildfire explosion at the heart of the previous episode, the man with the best claim to the Iron Throne in all of Westeros is the farthest from sitting in the thing. But don't count him out: He still has the sorceress Melisandre on his side, as well as his own unshakeable, implacable drive to win.

game of thrones

Helen Sloan

11

Tyrion Lannister: The Fallen Hand of the King

Tyrion Lannister saved King's Landing from Stannis Baratheon, and all he got was this lousy facial scar. Despite outplaying his rivals all season long, Tyrion damn near ended up dead at the hands of one of his sister Cersei's minions, and was robbed of the credit for his battle plan by the showy last-minute save from his father Tywin Lannister and their newfound ally Loras Tyrell. However, Tyrion's got one thing going for him no one else does: sheer love of the game. Between that and his unlikely alliance with the spymaster Varys, he could mount a comeback.

game of thrones

Home Box Office

10

Robb Stark: The King in the North

Undefeated on the battlefield; a mess everywhere else. The Young Wolf just torpedoed a crucial alliance by breaking his promise to marry the daughter of a key nobleman. He's estranged from his mother Catelyn because she freed his captive Jaime Lannister from prison, leaving his bannermen furious; learning he's an oathbreaker won't make them any happier. And whatever went down at Winterfell between Theon Greyjoy's Ironmen and the army Lord Bolton's bastard son brought to recapture it, it destroyed the place in its wake, leaving Robb without a home base, and without his kid brothers. He'd better hope his warrior win streak remains unbroken.

game of thrones

Home Box Office

9

Balon Greyjoy: The King of the Iron Islands

Robb Stark left an opening, and Balon Greyjoy exploited it. It's pretty much as simple as that, and that's how the recidivist rebel king of the seafaring Ironborn conquered the North and became a major player after years on the sidelines. Scratch the surface of the victory and you'll see how shallow it runs, though: His family is more fractious than even the Starks or Lannisters at this point, with both him and his daughter Yara leaving his estranged son Theon to take the fall when the Northmen reconquer Winterfell. Again, it's unclear what happened there, or what became of Theon when it happened, so Balon's plans for the future had best be able to survive losing both the capital of the North and the son who briefly ruled it.

game of thrones

Paul Schiraldi

8

Daenerys Targaryen: The Queen Across the Water

She lost quite a few of her closest friends over the course of the season, but in the place of her slain bloodriders and handmaidens, the Mother of Dragons has as much gold as her Dothraki can carry, as well as a trio of dragons who are more than capable of burning people to a crisp. Still, while she may now be able to buy a ship, it's still a hell of a long voyage back to Westeros, and there's no guarantee she's got the forces necessary to do much if and when she arrives.

game of thrones

Home Box Office

7

Varys: The Master of Whisperers

It's hard to tell how good someone is at the game when you're not even sure what game he's playing. That's certainly the case with the Spider as he spins his webs. Is he the man of peace he portrayed himself as to Ned Stark? The friend to Tyrion Lannister who loathes the court's nastier members as much as the Imp does? The victim of abuse who would rather die than see someone in league with sorcery on the Iron Throne? The double agent skulking around the Red Keep's basement with the rich merchant who funded Daenerys's marriage to Drogo and gave her the dragon eggs that are the key to her future? Tywin Lannister no doubt has little patience for a guy like Varys, but to stop him, he'll have to figure out what it is exactly that he's doing in the first place.

game of thrones

Home Box Office

6

Mance Rayder: The King Beyond the Wall

 

A player who has yet to enter the game. We've never seen him, and only heard his awesomely Star Warsian name from the wildlings who follow him and the Night's Watchmen who fear him. However, Jon's glimpse of his sprawling camp shows he has manpower to match any other contender. Meanwhile, something tells me that the White Walkers and their zombie hordes are about to ensure there won't be too many Watchmen left to stop Mance's advance. Of course, there are enough dead wildlings in that horde to prove that the Walkers are equal opportunity exterminators, meaning Mance and his forces could get caught between a Wall and a hard place before they have a chance to break through and storm the south.

game of thrones

Helen Sloan

5

Margaery Tyrell: The Once and Future Queen

 

I know what you're thinking: If the struggle for power is a game, volunteering to marry psychotic boy kings is like scoring on your own goal. But remember, until a few weeks ago Margaery was married to a man who'd declared war on the Iron Throne. To seamlessly segue from rebel leader to queen-to-be proves Margaery's a master of the game. Plus, she has her brother Loras, the dangerous Knight of the Flowers, on her side. From Tyrion and Bronn to Joffrey and the Hound to Arya and Jaqen H'ghar to Dany and her dragons, we've learned it pays to keep a killer in your corner.

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Home Box Office

4

Cersei Lannister: The Queen Regent

The power behind the throne for two kings and counting, Cersei successfully ended her drunken husband Robert's rule, then fought like hell against her brother Tyrion to protect her incest-born son Joffrey. (Of course, Tyrion was the one with her shitty kid's best interests at heart, but don't tell her that.) Now Tyrion's been sidelined just as effectively, and nearly as permanently, as Ned Stark in Season One, leaving Cersei to rule the roost. Even if her father Tywin proves just as uncooperative as his dwarf son, Cersei's still perhaps the only person her son the King still listens to, and in an absolute monarchy, a little goes a long way.

game of thrones

Nick Briggs

3

Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish: The Master of Coin

The Pimp outplayed the Imp. Littlefinger brokered the military and marriage alliance between the Lannisters and the Tyrells, earning the gratitude of Westeros' two richest families and getting rewarded with the high-profile lordship of Harrenhal in the process. His intelligence network rivals Varys's, backed up with both a savagery and access to the royal coffers that the eunuch can't match. He's even made an overture to Sansa Stark; sincere or not, it opens up the North to his tentacles as well. It's only Varys's recruitment of Ros the red-headed whore to be a mole against her master that keeps Littlefinger from ranking even higher.

game of thrones

Home Box Office

2

Tywin Lannister: The Hand of the King

Savior of the City, father of a queen, grandfather of a king, strategic genius, the richest man in Westeros: Lord Tywin has done it all, and now he has it all. Of course, to keep it, he'll have to keep his children and grandchildren from tearing each other's throats out, and that's a tall order. But making the move to King's Landing instead of ruling from afar signals a new, more hands-on approach from the new Hand, and there's little doubt that he's a commanding enough presence to pull it off, if anyone can.

game of thrones

Helen Sloan

1

Joffrey Baratheon: The King on the Iron Throne

 

I hate to say it, but this little blond bastard is sitting on top of the world right now. The two biggest threats to his reign, his uncles Renly and Stannis, are either dead or defeated. His hated uncle Tyrion has been sidelined, leaving his doting mother Cersei more powerful than ever. His arch-enemies the Starks are at their weakest point yet. Margaery Tyrell, a rich, beautiful older woman, has just thrown herself at him. His domineering grandfather Tywin is a wild card, and his loyal dog Sandor Clegane is gone, but Joffrey's proven that he's no great respecter of seniority or authority, and that he's plenty dangerous even without his chief thug. "The King can do as he likes" – and we know what Joffrey likes. For now, the game is his to lose.

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