Warning: “Game of Thrones” spoilers ahead.
Last week, we ranked the “Game of Thrones” characters based on their leadership abilities.
About a third of the characters from that list died in season six’s brutal finale, and others showed more of their leadership skills during some significant plot developments.
A few notes: This list only counts characters who are still alive on the show (not in the books). Also, it only takes into consideration individuals who could be counted as “leaders” – so more solitary characters who aren’t currently in leadership roles aren’t on here, like Arya Stark, Sandor Clegane, or Samwell Tarly. Lastly, it heavily favors things that happened this season. This list examines leadership ability, not overall power or importance.
Now, here are the leaders on “Game of Thrones” that survived last night’s finale, ranked from worst to best:
22. Edmure Tully
Wow. Even after selling out his much-cooler uncle and helping Jaime retake Riverrun, Edmure’s apparently still rotting in the dungeon at the Twins. His only hope is that Arya Stark released him because she needed a sous chef for her Sweeny Todd-esque pie-making escapade.
Yeah. Edmure’s got nothing going on right now.
21. Robin Arryn
- Daryl Dixon / Youtube
Robin Arryn, the nominal leader of the Vale, is presumably celebrating Littlefinger’s victory at Winterfell doing anything but leading – namely, flying falcons, ruining snow castles, and throwing people out the Moon Door.
Sweetrobin’sstilla mess, but at least he’s probably pretty happy at the moment.
20. Benjen Stark
That was fast. Looks like Uncle Benjen got bored of Bran and Meera and peaced out after five minutes.
I get that he didn’t want to set off any of the weird rune symbol alarms that are supposedly embedded in The Wall. Still, I honestly thought he’d mentor Bran a bit more before bolting. Looks like Benjen’s more of a lone direwolf than a leader after all.
Melisandre had a significant setback in the finale. Davos’s detective work turned up one of the Red Priestess’s worst crimes – burning Princess Shireen, basically the nicest character in the entire show.
Banished by the very man she resurrected, Mel’s hightailing it South. I have a feeling she’ll be back, though. After all, the night is dark and full of terrors – and it’s only going to get worse now that winter’s officially here.
18. Bran Stark
Bran just got his first major vision since that disastrous fiasco that ended up killing everyone (RIP Hodor, Summer, Leaf, and the Three-Eyed Raven). His glimpse into a tragic scene from Ned Stark’s past pretty much confirmed R+L = J.
Still, Bran’s clearly new to this mystic crystal revelations game. Can he replace the old Three-Eyed Raven and help the living during the wars to come? Probably, but he’s got a ways to go.
17. Euron Greyjoy
Euron Greyjoy got off to a decent start. He came out of nowhere, threw his brother off a bridge, seized control of the Iron Islands from his niece and nephew, and established a great agenda – murder his remaining family and then assist (and wed) the Mother of Dragons.
Well, maybe decent is the wrong word here. He certainly seemed dynamic, though.
But Euron lost his mojo pretty quickly. Yara and Theon escaped and ripped off his brilliant plan. They’re the ones sailing to Westeros with Dany, while Euron scrambles to build a fleet.
I’m sure he’ll be back to start trouble. Still, sharing an inspired game plan with the very people you’re plotting to betray and kill probably wasn’t such a great move.
16. Theon Greyjoy
Theon didn’t have much to do during the finale, but he’s still making progress. Dany’s invasion of Westeros may give him an opportunity for redemption and a chance to cultivate his leadership skills.
15. Ellaria Sand
Sorry, all you Martell fans. I still don’t really care about what’s going on in Dorne.
Still, Ellaria’s pretty savvy for allying with the Queen of Thorns and Varys. Along with her Sand Snakes, she’s in a good position to wreak vengeance on the people who killed her Red Viper.
14. Olenna Tyrell
Olenna Tyrell is one tough lady. She just lost her whole family – her future (RIP Margaery, you deserved better). But is this feisty lady at home crying? No. She’s going to make Cersei pay, even if it means unlocking the gates for the Targaryen forces. Love it.
The Queen of Thorns is a bit wilted, but she’s still as spiky as ever.
13. Jaime Lannister
- Lann the Trickster/Youtube
Oh Jaime. He was riding high after his triumph over the Blackfish, but things went downhill this week. After a terse talk with Walder “He’s Finally Dead” Frey, Jaime Lannister rides back to King’s Landing to find a smoking ruin where the Great Sept used to be.
He arrived back in time to watch Cersei crowned in the wake of Tommen’s death and ended the episode looking sad and kind of lost. His love for his sister may have motivated him to achieve success at Riverrun, but now it seems to be relegating him to a less powerful role.
Now that he’s back with his twin, his leadership abilities will likely continue to decline.
- Helen Sloan/HBO
It’s unclear what Missandei’s role will be now that Dany’s squad is headed across the water. Most likely, she will be using her translation abilities to coordinate the various forces. Missandei’s smart and talented and will likely be a crucial ally for Dany in the coming seasons.
11. Grey Worm
- Doran Martell/Youtube
Unlike his brother-in-arms Daario Naharis, Grey Worm’s been selected to accompany Dany to Westeros. He’ll likely be overseeing a lot of the military maneuvering. All in all, Grey Worm is in a great position to showcase his command skills.
10. Tormund Giantsbane
- Helen Sloan/HBO
Tormund finished strong this season. He’s essentially one of the main figures representing the Free Folk in Jon Snow’s new court. He strikes a nice balance between supporting his new king and furthering the best interests of his frequently marginalized people.
9. Petyr Baelish
- Daryl Dixon/Youtube
Oh great. Littlefinger’s creeping on Sansa again.
When Baelish revealed that his dream was to sit on the Iron Throne with Sansa by his side, it’s possible that he was lying or playing games.
If he’s being real though, his motivation is questionable. Sansa won’t easily forget how he betrayed her trust in the past. Also, at this point, there’re bigger concerns in Westeros than some pointy sword chair and who’s sitting on it.
All in all, though, this has been a decent season for Baelish. He’s not really a leader, but he basically functions as one as a result of his mad (and often creepy) quest for power.
8. Davos Seaworth
- Helen Sloan/HBO
Davos made a serious power move in the season six finale. He exposed the Red Witch’s evildoing and demanded that Jon Snow hold her accountable. Good guy, that Onion Knight.
Now he’s poised as one of the King in the North’s top advisors. Having (partially) avenged poor Shireen, Davos can continue his quiet, behind-the-scenes leadership going forward.
7. Sansa Stark
Sansa’s had quite a turnaround this season, going from a pawn in the game to a jaded player herself. What’s next for Sansa, now that she’s retaken Winterfell? That’s still pretty unclear.
Hopefully Littlefinger’s ominous stare at the bannermen meeting doesn’t foretell any ill tidings.
6. Yara Greyjoy
Just when she’d been deposed by her scheming uncle, Yara swooped in and got an exclusive invasion contract with Dany. Nice. Now she’s leading her fleet toward Westeros, ready to serve her new Queen and reestablish the Ironborn as conquerors.
Things are looking up for Yara, and she’s got the command experience and charisma to see this fight out.
5. Lyanna Mormont
- Daryl Dixon/Flickr
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Lyanna Mormont’s one of the best things about this season. Seriously, after a slew of terrible child leaders – looking at you, Joffrey, Tommen, and Robert Arryn – the Lady of Bear Island is a nice change of pace.
She’s set herself up pretty well in this finale. Mormont now has the support of the newly resurgent Starks, which will be crucial now that winter’s here.
She was also tough enough to call out the other Northern houses on their failure to answer the call of the Starks in their time of need.
4. Cersei Lannister
Listen, I’m really mad that she killed my Tyrell squad. But you’ve got to hand it to her; that plan was as masterful as it was insane. There were so many moving parts – creepy children, stores of wildfire, the High Sparrow being an idiot and refusing to reschedule the trial. But she had the confidence to pull it all off and destroy her enemies.
I don’t see Cersei’s winning streak lasting. Now that all her golden-haired Lannister babies are dead, she’s going to get even more paranoid and ruthless.
3. Tyrion Lannister
After a season that saw his abilities constantly tested (and occasionally proven somewhat shaky), Tyrion’s regained his Queen’s confidence. He’s a great counselor because he’s probably one of the smartest people in the show and he doesn’t sugarcoat the facts – leading to Dany’s sad but inevitable breakup with poor Daario.
He’s now ready to help Dany conquer Westeros – as her new Hand of the Queen.
2. Jon Snow
“The King in the North! The King in the North!”
After successfully retaking Winterfell, Jon Snow finds himself in a familiar room and a familiar position – reluctantly accepting the mantel of leadership.
Jon Snow, despite his allegedly illegitimate birth, is seemingly following in Robb’s footsteps as the new King in the North. He doesn’t look too happy about it, but he’ll probably do pretty well nonetheless.
He may not want the spotlight, but Jon Snow’s the perfect leader for the North to rally around if they want to survive the winter and the wars to come.
1. Daenerys Targaryen
- Compilation Control/Youtube
I, for one, welcome our new Targaryen overlords.
Dany’s come a long way from struggling to manage the deteriorating situation in Meereen.
She’s assembled a powerful squad – Tyrion, Missandei, Grey Worm, Varys, Yara, and Theon. She’s got allies on the ground in Westeros, in the form of Dorne and the Queen of Thorns. She’s got a fleet. She’s got dragons.
Clearly, that’s not all her doing. Daenerys is where she is today because she has a great team. But effective delegation and cultivating talent is a hallmark of a great leader.
Look out, Westeros.