We're coming down the home stretch of the third season of Game of Thrones, with two hopefully-climactic episodes to go. And while it remains to be seen who will be left at the top of the heap, given that the last two seasons ended in the rebirth of dragons and a very firey defense of King's Landing, here's where the Lady Power Rankings stand as of this week:
1. Daenerys Targaryen: There's skill, like knowing how to keep your temper when gross dude-bro sellswords treat you like a prostitute, or building up a daunting army with your wits. And then there's luck, like having a romance novel cover model kill your enemies, tell you that your beauty means everything to him, and offer up 2,000 highly trained soldiers to join your forces. If I were Dany, I'd head for Vegas instead of Westeros right now, because everything's coming up Targaryen.
2. Melisandre: If Dany's getting lucky outside of Yunkai, Melisandre appears to have wrangled herself the best job in the seven kingdoms: having sex with cute guys and using their blood to cast whammies on her enemies. And not only is Stannis Baratheon firmly in her camp ("I never believed,” he explains to Davos Seaworth, “but when you see the truth when it’s right there in front of you, as real as these iron bars, how can you deny her God is real?”) but Davos has made peace. With internal obstacles to her power resolved, Melisandre seems positioned to become a major player.
3. Cersei Lannister: She may be stuck trying to make conversation with her super-gay husband-to-be, Loras Tyrell, and trying to restrain her total monster of a son from sexually harassing his new aunt at her wedding. But at least Cersei gets to have a lot of fun threatening her future sister-in-law with stories of Lord Reyne of Castamere, who "built a castle as grand as Casterly Rock. He gave his wife diamonds larger than any my mother ever wore. And finally, he rebelled against my father. Do you know where House Reyne is now?...Slaughtered.”* And unlike the Tyrells, her plans haven't taken a major hit.
4. Lady Olenna Redwyne: When you're stuck trying to figure out the screwed-up genealogy of your new relatives rather than putting plots into place, you're having a bad week. But at least, unlike her grandchildren, Lady Olenna doesn't have to marry into the Lannister family, so that's something.
5. Margaery Tyrell: Margaery's charm reaches its limits this week when, after trying to flatter Cersei Lannister, the older woman tells her “If you ever call me sister again, I’ll have you strangled in your sleep.” Her total beast of a future husband, Joffrey Baratheon, would rather threaten Sansa Stark with rape at her own wedding than talk to Margaery. And her beloved brother is depressed. None of this takes away from Margaery's skill set. But she's playing a cold hand right now.
6. Arya Stark: Running away from the Brotherhood Without Banners proved to be a bad call for Arya last week when she wound up in custody of the Hound. But after she considers bashing his head in with a rock, it turns out that Arya may have hit some serious good luck. "There’s plenty worse than me," Sandor Clegane tells her when she pouts at him. "There’s men who like to beat little girls. Men who like to rape them. I saved your sister from some of them.” And it's not just the Hound's remaining decency that's on Arya's side. Having quit the Lannisters' service, he needs an alternative income source, and his best chance at that is ransoming Arya back to her family.
7. Sansa Stark: When the best thing to happen to you at your horribly depressing wedding is that your husband makes a joke while telling you he won't maritally rape you, you are not doing well. Let's hope Sansa doesn't start hitting the flagon regularly.
8. Gilly: Gilly's luck actually proves better than Sansa's this week, as Samwell Tarly turns out to be better with an obsidian dagger than he is with, well, anything else. But she's still beyond the wall, Winter is still coming, and ice zombies are still coming for her baby.
Correction, May 21, 2013: This post originally misspelled the name of House Reyne.