So the Game of Thrones finale has come and gone. The dead have destroyed what most of us thought could never be destroyed, and the humans—the ones who are alive—are trying to rally together and fight back, because they can’t make war with each other if there is no each other.
But because humans are humans, they’re terrible to each other before the undead can be. Westeros is set to enter season eight with a loose alliance between the biggest houses in the country—and one of them’s already decided to turn against that pact. However, just how much can each great house contribute to the Great War, especially considering all the losses they’ve taken?
So before we leave the ashes and dust of season seven all the way behind us, (let’s hope HBO learned an important lesson here) let’s take a look at how each of the big families of Westeros stack up.
6. House Tyrell
Most of the great house ruling Highgarden had been wiped out by the majestic Sept of Baelor wildfire explosion in last season’s finale, but until a few weeks ago the house was still repped by grand matriarch Olenna Tyrell. Not that she had any hopes or chances to restore the house to its former glory with all her heirs dead, but the Queen of Thorns still standing after everything was quite badass.
Unfortunately, with Olenna dead at the hands of Jaime Lannister (or is it her own hands?) House Tyrell is pretty much done, and from the show’s perspective, extinct. Let’s hear it for one of the show’s strongest female characters—one of its strongest characters, period.
Possible contributions to the war effort: Nothing, except lessons on how not to play the game of thrones
5. House Martell
I’m going to be cheating a little bit here, as House Martell pretty much died with Prince Doran last season, but the Sand Snakes are every bit part of the royal family of Dorne one way or another.
They ended that dominance after the Greyjoy navy raided them and killed all the Sand Snakes, but what’s left of House Martell is still hanging on by a thread—assuming, of course, Euron Greyjoy or Cersei Lannister still hasn’t killed Ellaria Sand. Right now, Martell is pretty much Schrodinger’s House; we don’t know whether it’s dead or alive until we see what happens when Theon rescues his sister Yara. Shame that the TV show never wanted anything to do with Quentyn or Arianne. Oh, Arianne.
Possible contributions to the war effort: If Ellaria Sand makes it out alive, there’s something to be said about her being cunning.
4. House Lannister
Yes, despite the fact that Cersei is still the Queen of Westeros and she’s carrying an heir to her throne, House Lannister is on the ropes. It’s just not the power it once was. Casterly Rock is gone, Tyrion is, as we all know, on Daenerys’ side, and Jaime has left King’s Landing, presumably to help fight the White Walkers in the North (just a hunch).
It should be clear to everyone by now that Cersei’s psychosis and immaturity will be her downfall sooner than later, and I don’t expect neither Jaime nor Tyrion to survive the war, so she better hope her child grows up to rule. If there’s anything still left to rule, really.
Possible contributions to the war effort: Whatever’s left of the Lannister armies, should Cersei decide to play ball; either way, if the dead reach King’s Landing the Lannisters will fight them there.
3. House Greyjoy
The ruling house of the Iron Islands may be royally messed up, but surprisingly, it’s still got a better chance to pull itself together through two ways: either Euron is successful in taking control of Westeros (with the help of the Golden Company, an important plot point in the books only brought up now), or Theon manages to save Yara from Euron and restore Greyjoy’s power.
Either scenario would actually help in the Great War, because it’s a Greyjoy contribution to the effort against the dead regardless. This would also have been a lot easier if the show had other Greyjoy uncle Victarion, but it likes to cut out characters like that.
Possible contributions to the war effort: If Theon and Yara win, loyal Greyjoys; if Euron wins, loyal Greyjoys and the Golden Company
2. House Stark
Winterfell doesn’t know it yet, but Sansa is the true Lady of Winterfell now that we know who Jon really really is. If there’s one thing I absolutely love about season seven, it’s that the North has completely managed to reconsolidate its power (but there also wasn’t enough of the badass Lyanna Mormont).
They’re going to need all the lords and bannermen they’ve got, as they’ll be the first line of defense against the dead—and even though their chances don’t look good at all, House Stark is back in high regard, and rightfully so. Actually, they would’ve been at the very top of this list if it weren’t for…
Possible contributions to the war effort: The entire North
1. House Targaryen
Yes, after spending almost the entire run of the show with only one Targaryen in the story, the almost-extinct OG ruling house is back on top—and it only took revealing Jon Snow as Aegon Targaryen (which the show brutishly stole from an actual, still-living Aegon Targaryen in the books, which tells you that the series is really just winging it).
Really, there’s no way House Targaryen doesn’t make it back to the top of the chaos ladder when you’ve got two of the most powerful forces in Westeros. One of them controls two dragons, while the other survived death like twice up in the frozen wastes of the North. They’re the only chance Westeros has against the White Walkers, whether you like it or not, and they’re also the most favored to actually rule the entire kingdom when—or—if all of this blows over.
Possible contributions to the war effort: The Dothraki, the Unsullied, dragons, Jon and Dany
Of course, the real force on top of the rankings is the Night King and his army of the dead. It definitely remains to be seen whether the Westerosi can actually get together and pull this off. Let’s hope they get 10 episodes to get it done.