“The more people you love, the weaker you are…Love no one but your children” Cersei Lannister.
Shirt: Well, here we are folks. Draft fever has well and truly taken hold. In a few hours time we’ll be watching very well paid men read out the names of soon to be extremely well paid men, alongside the name of the team that will be doing the paying. Riveting stuff. My objection to the whole “draft as an entire season in itself” phenomenon is well documented (see my thought provoking previous post here), but I’m pleased to say that a throw away line in a footnote of said post has led to something infinitely more interesting (after several hours of hard, and probably mostly unread work). And as sure as winter is coming (unless I have grossly misjudged our readership, and the weather), I think it will be a huge hit. Possibly even an internet sensation. So, without further ado, sheath your Valerian steel sword, put your feet up on your direwolf fur covered footstool, and…
The rules are (relatively) simple. I have identified the 12 families that I consider the most central to the Game of Thrones universe*. I have ranked these families in order of their current level of fortune, based on the most recent episode of the TV series, with those high up the order in need of the most help. As you will see, to keep things interesting, I have taken some poetic license with the definition of “family”. Sue me. The ranking will determine their order in the draft. Next, in keeping with the notion that NFL draftees are young college players, each house is required to put forth their youngest (living) member as a draftee. Each draftee will then potentially end up in another family. Or something. We take the draftees as we find them – just as with an NFL draftee who must make it on his own without the players and coaching staff he had at his disposal in college, so too will our draftees leave any titles or achievements behind them. They may take with them what they can carry, and any ancillary pets and such like (Direwolfs, Dragons…). If they are currently king, king will they be no more. They must forge their own lives in the furnace of their new families, letting their actions speak for themselves.
THE FAMILIES (in draft order)
Pick 1. House Tully. A controversial selection for the number 1 pick perhaps (“what about the Starks” I hear the nerds cry) but I’m sorry, last year’s Houston Texans would give these guys a touch up. Their patriarch, dead. His tough-as-old-boots daughter**, dead. His brother, the Blackfish, missing, presumed dead. His son, imprisoned, probably better off dead. To see one of the great houses of the Seven Kingdoms reduced to this is as a sad as watching one of my picks for last season’s Superbowl implode into irrelevance . Pick 1 with a bullet.
Pick 2. House Stark. See, settle down, they get in at pick 2. And the Lord of Light knows they could use a break. After riding high in the first season, with a trip to the capital to be Hand of the King, and a veritable keep full of fit and healthy children, things could hardly have looked better. But, as everyone will tell you as soon as you so much as mention GOT, Winter Is Coming, and in the case of the Starks, it has well and truly arrived.
Pick 3. The Night’s Watch. Ok, not technically a family, I’ll grant you, but they may as well be – once you join up, you’re a member for life, whether you like it or not. And they call each other Brother. And they are the only thing standing between the Seven Kingdoms and a very very cold couple of millennia. They deserve their spot in the draft, and being a rag tag bunch of cutthroats, rapists and assorted detritus, they could sure use some help.
Pick 4. House Greyjoy. The proud salty Greyjoys, all frowns and uprisings against the throne, and boats and stuff. But they’ve had a rough go of it of late. Routed by the Boltons, bereft of an heir, their most competent member a…gulp…woman (which, lets face it, doesn’t get you far in Westeros) the Ironborn have seen better days. Could a canny selection in this year’s draft see their fortunes restored? Time will tell.
Pick 5. House Baratheon (Stannis). Poor old Stannis looks more and more like an impetuous child who is being denied his favorite toy. I want the Iron Throne and I want it NOW! Has been relying on some questionable advice for some time, and his decision making has not been a strong point of late. Could do anything.
Pick 6. House Arryn. The Lords of the Eyrie and keepers of the Vale. Not to mention completely bonkers. They have a potential new play caller in town in the form of Littlefinger, who you’d have to think will be handed the reins for draft selection and will no doubt choose wisely.
Pick 7. House Targareyen. If there was one family in this list dependent on one individual for their get up and go, it has to be the once mighty Targarayens. And now she’s in the draft. What can the dragons do to make up for the loss of their most valuable member? Hang around and hope she has gone unpicked in the first 6 rounds (fat chance).
Pick 8. House Bolton. The Boltons – second only to the Freys in their lack of honor and ability to put personal gain ahead of all else. Roose is no goose – a strong leader who has built a game plan around stabbing people in the back, you can’t help but think he has ambitions for the big prize, and the sooner the better.
Pick 9. House Frey. Ah Walder Frey. What a knob. As if breaking the guest code and killing Rob Stark, his wife, his unborn child and his mother wasn’t enough, he has also almost single handedly secured the North for the Lannisters. A man without honour is no man at all. Said someone in the show at some point I’m pretty sure. And if they didn’t, they should have. However, for all the fact that the Freys are hated in the Seven Kingdoms only slightly less than the New York Jets, they find themselves in a considerably better position than the Jets in terms of their fortunes.
Pick 10. House Tyrell. What can you say about the Tyrells – opportunistic, sure. But, credit where credit’s due (and credit is due almost entirely to Olenna Redwyne, Margaery’s Grandmother) they know what they want and they know how to get it. And despite horse trading their children at every opportunity, they are also fiercely protective of them, even prepared to commit a bit of regicide to keep them safe. Hugely wealthy and in bed with the Lannisters, they are currently flying high.
Pick 11. House Baratheon (Robert). Look, I know, other than the handful of black haired bastards not killed off by the Goldcloaks, there technically isn’t anything of Robert’s line left. But according to the laws of the kingdom, a Baratheon, and a son of Robert, currently sits astride the throne. And his Sister is in Dorne. Or somewhere. So we are going to ignore their (obviously) Lannister blood, and say welcome to the draft to the Baratheons.
Pick 12. House Lannister. What needs to be said about the Lannisters. They are they New England Patriots of Westeros (except in the coaching staff - Tywin wouldn’t be caught dead in a hoody). And they certainly don’t need any help from the draft to improve their fortunes (but you just know they are going to get something out of it, right…)
(with their current houses in brackets)
Edmure Tully (House Tully). Poor old Edmure. He wasn’t much of a man when he had a sword in his hand. A bit of a bungler, with none of the vision and spirit of his uncle or sister. Now that he’s been married off to a Frey (admittedly an attractive one) and imprisoned only the gods know where, its fair to say his draft stocks aren’t exactly soaring.
Rickon Stark (House Stark). I know that plenty of people wanted Bran to make himself available for the draft, but frankly, the 3 eyed crow needs him, and besides, according to the rules (which I literally made up) it’s the youngest member who goes in. So Rickon it is. I’m sure he’s got something going for him? Maybe we’ll throw in Osha, his adopted Wildling mother-aunt, who kicks ass, to sweeten the deal.
Jon Snow (Night’s Watch). Ok, so he probably isn’t, technically speaking, their youngest member, but he’s Jon Freaking Snow FFS. Screw the rules. If I can put the Night’s Watch in as a family, I can sure as shit make Jon Snow a draftee. He has Longclaw, a Direwolf, a bag full of honor and a whole lot of attitude. Can’t see him slipping outside the top few picks.
Theon “Reek” Greyjoy (House Greyjoy). Oh dear Theon. He was a proud lad once, arrogant and full of himself, until the harsh realities of life (a series of flayings and having his cock chopped off and sent to his Dad) brought him crashing back to earth. For all of his faults, I didn’t mind him when he was…all there (cough cough) but the poor benighted creature he has become is a terrible thing to behold. I suspect he has about as much chance as Tim Tebow of making it in the big leagues.
Shireen Baratheon (House Baratheon – Stannis). A bit of n unknown quantity, this one – the first of our ladies, and a young one at that, but I can’t help but think she is a girl of hidden depths and strength. She’s certainly clever, if a tad naive, having taught Sir Davos to read (although she’s done nothing to rid him of his ridiculous accent). She’s a girl who knows her own mind with a big future in front of her, and would be a solid addition to any family.
Robert Arryn (House Arryn). Ugh. One of the creepiest characters on the whole show, the breast suckling, flight obsessed little Arryn brat is anything but noble. Oh sure, it’s not his fault his mother has spoilt him rotten, and living up there in the Vale has got to get to you after a while, but man, I would push the kid out the moon door as soon as look at him.
Danaerys Targareyan (House Targareyan). Royal blood, check. Good looks, check. Experience in war, check. Ability to birth dragons and survive fire, check, check, check. This girl has got it going on. Her dragons go with her (of course) and she will no doubt set whatever family she joins on fire. Shut up.
Ramsay Snow (House Bolton). Ah Ramsay. Technically not a Bolton (yet), but 110% a bastard. In the creepy stakes, this bloke makes Robert Arryn look like Aaron Rodgers**. Off the charts weirdo with a penchant for skinning people alive, cutting off their private parts and turning them into, well, whatever Reek is. Having said all of that, every team needs it’s bad guy, and you can’t help but think, in the right family, he could make a big impact.
A Frey (House Frey). I don’t even care who the Frey’s send to the draft to be honest. It may be the youngest kid, but who’d know. The bloke has more wives and children than Craster, and less decorum. It’s unlikely Walder would send in the right kid anyway, so we’ll just take whichever one he decides to get rid of. No one trusts the Lord of the (Double) Crossing.
Margaery Tyrell (House Tyrell). Ooh lala. Oh sure, her eyes are a bit too far apart*** but Margaery Tyrell is one hot widow queen. Without giving anything away, like most of the child characters, she is much younger in the book, so just be grateful the show’s creators had the common sense to up her age in the name of decency, so she could wear less clothing, and we could feel less guilty and weird.
Tommin Baratheon (House Baratheon – Robert). I like Tommin. For a child of incest sitting astride a throne he does not deserve, he’s actually seems pretty cool. He has none of the homicidal tendencies of his brother, he seems willing to listen to his advisers. Hell, he even likes cats. What does that make him without the Iron Throne? A cat loving bloke with a bowl haircut and a snowflakes chance in hell of surviving 5 minutes in the big, bad world. He is potentially the Johnny Manzial of the GOT Draft.
Tyrion Lannister (House Lannister). Ha! You see what I did there. By going with the “official” story that Tommen is a Baratheon (rather than the ill begotten spawn of his Father-Uncle and Mother-Aunt), I was able to throw everyone’s favorite four foot joke machine into the mix as the youngest Lannister. An insatiable appetite for booze and sex, a foul mouth and a tendency to get himself locked up, Tyrion is perhaps more like a typical NFL Draftee than anyone else on our list. To top it off, his name is Tyrion Lannister. Can you seriously tell me that you can’t imagine the draft announcer going “With the 5th pick of the 2014 draft, the Oakland Raiders select Tyrion Lannister”. And no one would bat an eyelid.
With Pick 1, House Tully selects…Tommin Baratheon! This is massive – an upset with the first pick. The obvious early money was on Danaerys and her Dragons. There was even some talk that they might opt for Rob Arryn out of family loyalty, or even pick Edmure under the misconception that he was not a complete git. But no! The Tully’s have once more proven why they, of all the Great Houses, have fallen so low. They’ve failed to read the rules, thinking that by picking up Tommin they would also get the Iron Throne. Sorry Fishface, you only get the draftee and what they can carry. Bzzzt.
With Pick 2, House Stark selects…Jon Snow. And well they should. This is a great selection from a family with a proud history that, but for losing their QB to a nasty neck injury early in the season, wouldn’t be anywhere near this high in the draft order. Snow is a very sensible pick – he knows how the Starks play, and he should slot right in. He is just the man to recapture Winterfell, and get the family back on its feet.
With Pick 3, the Night’s Watch selects…Danaerys Targaryen. Very solid pick, and you can’t help but think there was perhaps some collusion here between the Starks and the Watch, with the Starks passing on the chance to pick up a strong leader and the Mother of Dragons. But the Stark family know how important defending the Wall is (without the Wall, there is no Iron Throne to play for) and they know the Men in Black will need all the help they can get. What better way to deal with some ice demons than with a bit of dragon’s fire, bitches! I can’t imagine Danaerys is going to be over the moon about a move to the Wall, particularly after lazing about in the tropics for the last few years, but it couldn’t be any worse than getting picked up by Green Bay.
With Pick 4, the Greyjoys select….Ramsay Bolton. Here’s a turn up for the books. The Greyjoy’s have ignored the opportunity to trade up for a quality leader, and have instead gone the revenge option. You can’t help but think that Ramsay is in for a rough trot in the new family, particularly from Yara. You get the feeling he is likely to be benched from day one and will be lucky to see any game time (and by benched, I mean literally strapped to a bench, and by lucky to see any game time, I mean drowned. Repeatedly.)
With Pick 5, Stannis Baratheon selects…Theon Greyjoy. Oh wow, the surprises just keep coming. Stannis seems to be thinking strategically, as usual – but as usual, he’s a bit behind the 8 ball. He has no doubt ignored some very sensible advice from his Hand and gone it alone, possibly with the fire woman whispering in his ear. The plan seems to have been to try and make use of Greyjoy’s strong sailing game, hoping that the young man would bring his father’s much feared navy to his cause. But alas, he didn’t bank on Theon being such a (literally) cockless mess. I can’t see him getting much out of the new look Reek this season or beyond. A terrible miscalculation from an administration infamous for its poor decision making.
With Pick 6, House Arryn selects…Rob Arryn. Well, no surprises here. At first blush, pundits may be surprised that the family would pick back up their own inept progeny to carry on the family name, but when you realise that Lysa is still calling the shots, it makes perfect sense. Clearly Littlefinger would have made a different decision (you get the feeling he would join me in pushing the kid, and his mother, out the moon door if given half the chance) but what with Rob still…partial to the maternal teat…Lysa was never going to let the kid out of her sight for more than a day, two tops.
With Pick 7, House Targareyen selects…Margaery Tyrrell. Hmm. Poor selection here I think, given who is left on the table. I think the Tagareyen’s have reverted to type here and gone for form over substance, assuming they could replace one flaxen haired beauty with another. But alas, while Margaery knows her way around court, and has been know to stroke the odd pussy, she ain’t no mother of dragons. I just can’t see the Targareyen resurgence of recent times continuing with her under centre.
With Pick 8, House Bolton selects…Tyrion Lannister. Oh you devious bastard Roose. Probably the only family selecting in the draft capable of seeing past Tyrion’s faults to his brilliance, Bolton has in one fell swoop removed his biggest liability (his bastard) and installed a man capable of contributing more than man parts and bits of other people’s skin to the family cause. Tyrion won’t necessarily like it, but if Bolton can get him to stay sober and commit, you can see them being champions in the North for a long time to come.
With Pick 9, House Fr….no wait. News just in that House Frey has traded away its pick to the Lannisters! Frey will be picking at 12. Sneaky, double crossing bastards… With Pick 9, House Lanniser selects…Rickon Stark. Now, I don’t hate this. Well, I do for Rickon’s sake, obviously, but I can see where they are coming from. They have lost Sansa Stark, who still had some value to them in helping to subdue the North. They now have a legitimate heir (albeit second in line) to House Stark, and a descendant of the last true King in the North. You could even see a marriage here to what’s her name who is currently hanging out in Dorne. Although, technically, she’s a Baratheon.
With Pick 10, House Tyrrell selects…Shireen Baratheon. Interesting selection, and pleased to see that she has not gone last as she has plenty of raw potential. I suspect Olenna sees this, and hopes to take her under her wing. Certainly not a first year player, but she will hopefully flourish in the picturesque and wholly unfamiliar surrounds of the Reach, which, I’m told, is lovely this time of year. Got to love a good news story!
With Pick 11, House Baratheon selects…Edmure Tully. Oh well, there were limited options here for the Baratheons. It is an uninspiring selection from a tough position. And I may be underestimating Tully – with a new wife in tow (he can carry her), out of the shadow of his father and in some fresh surrounds (i.e. not a dungeon) he may do well. I’m warming to this selection more and more. And as a bonus, he now gets to be King. I think.
With Pick 12, House Frey selects….The Frey kid. Which, for all we know, is exactly what the old git was planning all along.
So there you have it, that’s it from the Minstrel Alley Music Hall in beautiful Kings Landing – the GOT Draft done and dusted for another year. Lots of drama, a couple of real surprises, and plenty to look forward to in the season ahead. We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments (assuming they are all positive). Thank you and goodnight!
* I am deliberately sticking to the TV series here – no book related spoilers, and the importance of families/characters is based solely upon their expositions in the show. On the subject of reading the books vs watching the TV show, it saddens me that we have become so intellectually challenged that it is considered perfectly legitimate, even culturally superior, to ignore a written version of a story in favor of the televised one. By all means, don’t read a book, but don’t make out like choosing to ignore the book in favor of watching it on TV is a form intellectualism.
** Am I the only person who finds Catelyn Stark sexy
*** I actually feel really bad for saying that. Who am I to say her eye’s are too far apart. Apparently mine are sunken. But I’m not the only one who thinks so – there is an entire webpage dedicated to identifying actresses who’s eyes are too far apart (Natalie Dormer, who plays Margaery, is #22). And if that don’t convince you that this world is as least as fucked up as Westeros, nothing will.
**** He’s the least creepy NFL player I could think of. To be honest, I have a bit of a man crush on Aaron Rodgers. He’s just got his shit going on – smart, funny, kick ass pocket passer capable of running when necessary. He’s a dreamboat.