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‘Game of Thrones’ Mortality Pool Update: Kingdoms Are Falling

A busy week leaves a couple of more characters behind


The Dornish destruction continues; another Sunday, another Sand Snake death. One week after Euron killed Obara and Nymeria, bringing first blood — and points — to The Ringer’s Game of Thrones Mortality Pool, Cersei dispatched Tyene in "The Queen’s Justice," adding plenty more tallies to the scoreboard. But this episode also provided the first death of a named, non-Dornish character in the seventh season; goodbye, Olenna, and goodbye, House Tyrell.

Please, no "we didn’t see them die" discussions, either. Remember, Mortality Pool rules say that The Ringer has the authority to determine what constitutes a death, and after swallowing poison and being kissed with it, respectively, Olenna and Tyene are goners. Frankly, it’d be a narrative disappointment for their final scenes to be mere fakeouts. No show watcher is disappointed not to have to endure another Tyene scene, and Olenna’s legendary final moments would lose much of their potency if she returns.

And Now Their Watch Has Ended

Let’s not remember Tyene in terms of her own character — there isn’t much to go on there — but rather in terms of her interactions with others. Three representative moments stand out.

1. This exchange with Bronn in neighboring Dornish prison cells:

Tyene: "I am not the most beautiful woman you have ever seen?"

Bronn: "I’ve seen quite a few women in all the Seven Kingdoms."

Tyene: "Name one more beautiful than I am."

Bronn: "Well now, in King’s Landing, there was an absolutely gorgeous —

Tyene: [Begins stripping]

2. This line, also to Bronn, which is the worst, cringiest, most nonsensical bit of dialogue in the entire series:

3. This barb from Olenna in the Season 6 finale:

Olenna: "Anything from you?"

Tyene: [Opens her mouth, says nothing]

Olenna: "No? Good. Let the grown women speak."

That last one leads us to Olenna, this episode’s other death. The Queen of Thorns and Tyrell matriarch was a nonpareil conversational jouster, supplying the most vicious verbal beatdowns in the Seven Kingdoms. She went toe-to-toe with Tywin, insulted everything from the Sand Snake monotony to her own house motto, and took special delight in pecking at various Lannister egos.

Her final monologue — mocking Jaime, then revealing that she had killed his firstborn son — epitomized why we loved her so. We shall never see her thorny, acerbic like again.

The Hall of Faces

In the first two weeks of Season 7, Mortality Pool selections were spread out, as there were 11 instances of a character selected by between 20 and 50 percent of players, but no character exceeded that 50 percent mark. This week, no character resided in that middle area, and four placed in more than half of players’ pools.

That uniformity yielded mixed results. Nearly three-quarters of participants earned points this week, compared to just 35 percent in Episode 2, but a majority of players also didn’t gain anything for picking Ellaria, Yara, and Grey Worm — and because characters can be picked just twice all season, whiffing on those who seem slated to die could prove a costly missed opportunity. Elsewhere, a healthy chunk of players accurately foresaw the Lannisters’ military feint and subsequent attack on Highgarden, and 2.4 percent of players received the maximum nine points for two character deaths in an episode.

Here are the top Mortality Pool picks from "The Queen’s Justice":

1. Ellaria Sand (72.9 percent)
2. Tyene Sand, RIP (71.2 percent)
3. Yara Greyjoy (63.4 percent)
4. Grey Worm (59.0 percent)
5. Septa Unella (17.8 percent)
6. Randyll Tarly (13.1 percent)
7. Melisandre (13.0 percent)
8. Dickon Tarly (12.5 percent)
9. Olenna Tyrell, RIP (11.3 percent)
10. Euron Greyjoy (11.1 percent)

Meanwhile, the roundup of least-selected characters continues to look the same: Six characters have placed in the bottom 10 each week thus far. Cersei and Brienne start that list, and Lyanna, Sam, Tyrion, and the Night King have never escaped the bottom five. The leader of the Walkers has received the fewest selections every week, and it doesn’t seem like that trend will abate any Sunday soon.

52. Cersei Lannister (1.2 percent)
53. Qyburn (1.2 percent)
54. Brienne of Tarth (1.1 percent)
55. Cley Cerwyn (1.0 percent)
56. Gendry (0.9 percent)
57. Lyanna Mormont (0.7 percent)
58 (tie). Daenerys Targaryen (0.6 percent)
58 (tie). Sam Tarly (0.6 percent)
60. Tyrion Lannister (0.6 percent)
61. Night King (0.4 percent)

The Wars to Come

At this point in the shortened, seven-episode seventh season, the pace is accelerating such that any character who could die this season could do so in any episode. "The Queen’s Justice" might have been the most plot-heavy entry in the series thus far, and given the amount of material still left from the season’s trailers, there could be a battle or skirmish in each of the remaining four episodes.

For next week, the still-living, popularly selected characters are still likely deaths: Ellaria might not be long for this world with Tyene gone; Yara is in a dangerous position as Euron’s prisoner; and Grey Worm is stranded without any support in Casterly Rock. In the preview clips for Episode 4, Winterfell appears to host flashes of action — Arya’s back, Brienne swings a sword, and someone unsheathes a Valyrian dagger. On Sunday, Littlefinger talked about watching for enemies on all sides. Could they finally be closing in on him?

Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.