(SPOILERS BIGGER THAN DROGON BELOW. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED)
What a season finale — holy crap, so much happened, so much was revealed, so much changed. We started the reason with a dead Jon, humiliated Cersei, and kidnapped Daenerys, but ended it with The King in the North, Queen Cersei, and Daenerys sailing in full force against Westeros. It was an epic season to say the least, with the deaths of hated characters — Ramsay, Roose, Walder — as well as beloved characters — Margaery, Hodor, Wun Wun. There is so much to talk about and I haven't even mention frickin' R+L = J! Ugh, just too much to take in. From Dothraki screamers to the Children of the Forest, from suffocating battles to explosive attack, from revivals to horrific murders, this season had it all. It has everything we love about Game of Thrones and more.
I'm so glad they got over last year's underwhelming season.
One thing that drastically changed in this season's finale was the House power rankings. The season started with House Stark scattered and butchered, House Lannister rapidly falling from grace, House Tyrell growing in influence, House "Baratheon" still holding the Iron Throne, and House Bolton cruelly ruling the North. Over the last 10 episodes, all of that has changed. Not a single major house remained where they were at the beginning of the season (well, except House Arryn, because no one cares about them). So where is everyone ranked? How do the Houses match up?
Extinct (or Nearly Extinct) Houses
House Martell was the first to go this season, all getting wiped out in a single episode. With the death of Oberyn in Season 4, the Martells weren't doing very well. They still had control over Dorne and were a strong, noble house. However, that all ended when the Sand Snakes, lead by Ellaria Sand, assassinated Prince Doran and Trystane in a matter of minutes.
With all the true-born Martells killed, the bastards of Oberyn now rule Dorne (a storyline which, if I'm being honest, I couldn't care less about). It's not a good sign when Olenna is the most interesting part of your story and she's only in one scene.
The next house to suffer greatly was the former Lords of the Riverrun, House Tully. Now, they're not completely extinct because Edmure still lives with his heir in the dungeons of the Twins, but their house has severely fallen from grace. With the deaths of Hoster, Catelyn and Lysa all happening back to back, the house was struggling as it is. The Red Wedding knocked them from power, but with the arrival of the Blackfish, we all hoped they would finally get back on the map. Unfortunately, that didn't happen and the once great house has completely fallen to shambles. Hopefully Arya's little piefest will signal a return to strength for the Tully name.
In one ruthless day, both House Karstark and House Umber fell further from power than thought imaginable. Fueled by vengeance for their Lord Father (y'know, after Robb decapitated him), House Karstark sided immediately with the Boltons. Uncharacteristically, the thought-to-be staunchly loyal Umbers also joined the traitors. Personally, I felt that was really out of left field, but whatever. Due to their idiocy, disloyalty and sheer dumb luck, both houses were stripped of their patriarchs, influence, and position after the Battle for Winterfell ended. Poor, dumb traitors. They should have known that the North remembers.
The most satisfying end to a house imaginable, House Bolton also fell prey to the wrath of wolves. After murdering the only true Boltons left — his father, step-mother, and baby brother — Ramsay proceeded to piss away his chance at sustaining the North and got smashed to pieces during the Battle for Winterfell.
Though a bastard, Ramsay was naturalized as a Bolton to carry on the name. None of that mattered once Sansa Stark got to him. Cruelly, justly, and satisfyingly, House Stark chewed out the Boltons and erased their family name from the future of Westeros.
Poor, poor House Baratheon. Once the righteous rebels of Westeros and the most revered, terrifying house of all Seven Kingdoms. Now? You can never catch a break, can you? First Robert by his wife. Then Renly by his brother. Then Joffrey by his mother-in-law. Then Shireen by her dad. Then Selyse by her own hand. Then Stannis by his pride. Then Myrcella by her adopted family. Then finally Tommen by his own hand.
The ever-so-noble House Baratheon, who started with all the power in the world, has now gone completely extinct. With the death of Stannis all real Baratheons died; though Myrcella and Tommen both carried the Baratheon name, if not the blood. Thanks to misfortune and loss, this entire great house is gone. Wiped out. One after another. It is really quite tragic. We go on about how many Starks have been killed but we rarely focus on the death covered trail of House Baratheon. Long row Gendry.
The last of the Red Wedding traitors to be punished, House Frey, was soundly and righteously dispatched in this final episode.
Though there are many heirs left because Walder had numerous descendants, the leadership and heart of the house is gone — baked out of existence. They have very little power, even less influence, and have been justly vanquished by the hands of Arya Stark of Winterfell. They may still be technically the Lords of the Twins and Wardens of the Riverlands, but no one is going to be threatened by them anytime soon.
Honorable Mention: House Mormont
No, they're not a large house, but they're a proud house. With barely over 60 men, they are not one the most powerful, richest, or even largest houses, but the sass of Lyanna Mormont is worth 10 dragons, 100 lordships and the entirety of the Seven Kingdoms. She is my new favorite character and she's only been in like three scenes. Plus, it's always been my favorite house — House Mormont: Here We Stand!
Once one of the noble and great houses of Westeros, the Greyjoys have suffered over the last few decades. Under Eddard and Rickard Stark, the Greyjoy raids were cut down and they were a powerless house. Once Robert took the throne, Balon felt it was the perfect opportunity to revolt against the new king and started the Greyjoy Rebellion. As we all know, that did not go well for the seafaring house and it nearly led the Iron Islands to ruin. Ever since then, the Ironborn have been trying to reclaim their status, but to little avail.
It seemed the house was doomed after the Boltons decisively exterminated them from the North; Theon lost his identity and Balon was assassinated. However, thanks to Euron's idea and Yara's quick thinking, the majority of the Iron Fleet are pledged to Daenerys Targaryen, sailing in to reclaim the power that was once theirs. Everything seems on track for success, but with little money and even less influence, the Greyjoys barely make it onto the list.
This season started with House Tyrell in danger but still greatly in power. They are the richest family in Westeros, they have the largest army, and control the majority of food chains for the entire Seven Kingdoms. With Margaery as Queen, Mace on the small council, and Olenna calling the shots behind the curtain, House Tyrell was the strongest House in Westeros going into this season. Now, obviously that has greatly changed. In one single moment, Loras, Margaery, and Mace were wiped out. All future heirs of House Tyrell are now gone; well, unless Olenna has a child anytime soon.
This is a massive blow to their house, but doesn't knock them down too many rungs of the ladder. With an alliance between Dorne and the Targaryen horde, House Tyrell has maintained its influence on Westeros. Even with its first family burned, the Reach is still the richest region and still boasts the largest army. Because of such, the Tyrell house remains in power. Growing strong, surely.
The Lannister house has been struggling for a while now. Even with Cersei as Robert's queen and Tywin as the crown's primary benefactor, the Lannisters were never as strong as they were under King Aerys. Still, after squashing the Starks and winning out the War of the Five Kings, the Lannisters were set to control all of Westeros. All of that fell to pieces when Jaime was crippled, Tyrion was tried for killing his nephew, Cersei lost her queenship to Margaery, and then finally when Tywin was bolted down by Tyrion. Because of the death of its patriarch and the drying up of their gold mines, House Lannister rapidly fell from grace. Cersei was determined to gain all her power back and more after her walk of atonement, and in this last episode we saw her do just that.
Once again the Lannisters have bounced back from desolation and are now the ruling family in King's Landing. They may not be able to pay their debts anymore but they have one of the largest standing armies, Cersei reigns as queen, and Jaime solidified their reputation as a military force to be reckoned with. House Lannister will most certainly keep on roaring.
Definitely the most rapid and largest leap in power this season was House Stark. Ever since the Red Wedding — and even before that with the beheading of Ned — this house has been struggling to keep its feet under it. Starting as a sex prisoner, a blind beggar, a crippled tween, a lost boy, and a dead body, the Stark kids finally came back in full this season. Winter truly came, and for this pack of wolves, strength and home came with it. With the resounding defeat of the Bolton army, the Starks got back power of Winterfell, their ancestral seat, as well as full control of all the Northern houses.
Now that the Umbers and the Karstarks are near extinct, House Stark has the undivided support of all the major houses including the North's richest house, House Manderly. They aren't the wealthiest house nor the largest, but with the control of the North and the spreading reputation of their military might, the Starks finally have the leg up on the Lannisters once again. Not to mention the fact that Arya is an expert assassin, Bran is a green seer, they have the Vale in their corner, and are claiming kingship over their entire kingdom. Hail King in the North!
After six long seasons, multiple battles, a few wars and far too many political discussions, Daenerys is finally coming to Westeros. Not only is she coming, but she's coming in full force. With the entirety of the Dothraki people behind her, the full force of the Unsullied, a massive Slavers and Greyjoy fleet and three massive, city-destroying dragons behind her, Daenerys easily takes the top spot for most powerful house.
The three, fully-grown dragons alone would put her on top of the rest. She has secured alliances with the Sand Snakes of Dorne and the richest region in Westeros (the Reach), and is now ready to crush anything that comes in her way. The lowly girl who was once a pawn to be sold to the highest bidder has now become the strongest force in both Essos and Westeros. Nothing will stand in her way as she unleashed fire and blood across the plains of the Seven Kingdoms. Long live Daenerys the Conqueror.
There you have it, the top five most powerful houses in Westeros! A lot of political maneuvering and strategizing has gone on in this season, all with varied outcomes. The great game is truly underfoot and the wheel of power spins on. As Daenerys sails to the break the wheel, the Starks hold onto the North, the Lannisters secure the crown, the Tyrells fortify their corner, and the Greyjoys hook their ship to a larger power. We'll see who is left standing in the end and who can withstand the winter because its here. It isn't coming anymore, it's here. The War for the Dawn is soon to be upon Westeros and I cannot wait for the next season.
Favorite House Words?
If you enjoyed this, be sure to follow me here on Movie Pilot and check out my other fun-filled articles. Do you agree with me? What are your power rankings? Let me know in the comments and tell me, what house would you personally be a part of? I'd love to hear.
Check Out Next:
You can look at 5 Living Game of Thrones Characters We Want to See Back in Season 6 to see who I wanted to come back and ultimately, to see who actually came back from my list. Spoiler Alert: almost everybody on the list because we had SO many returning characters.
'Til next time!