Looking for work right now? Want to rule a kingdom? If you happen to be reading this in Westeros, then apparently you can take your pick. But you’d better hurry.
For the first time since the show or the book series started, Game of Thrones has presented us with a Westeros where all but two of the leaders of the various kingdoms are absent, dead or captured. And no one on the show has acknowledged the fact.
What does that mean? It almost certainly means Westeros is closer to collapse and to being overrun by the Night King and his armies than anybody in the country yet knows. They’re living in a world that doesn’t fully comprehend how close to the precipice it is. Imagine that.
Let’s take a quick tour.
The Reach (House Tyrell)
In Sunday night’s episode, we saw Jaime Lannister leaving Highgarden and the entire Reach with no actual ruler, in the wake of killing the late lamented Queen of Thorns Olenna Tyrell.
That’s not nothing. As you can see on this map, the Tyrells controlled the largest kingdom in the south of Westeros not to mention the richest and most fertile. Now the Lannister Queen Cersei and her commanders in the field, interested only in shoring up King’s Landing, are leaving the Reach entirely ungoverned.
King’s Landing, by the way, sits in what are historically Targaryen lands which are especially vulnerable to Daenerys Targaryen in the wake of her Dothraki-and-dragon massacre of Lannister forces.
Combine that with the fact that no one has (so far as we know) replaced Dorne’s usurping leader Ellaria Sand who will rot in a King’s Landing dungeon. the actor confirmed. Dorne is famously rebellious, and it’s hard to imagine there are any strong leaders left who can unite the place in the wake of Ellaria’s coup.
That leaves two kingdoms in a state of effective anarchy.
But wait, there’s more! Casterly Rock now has no one but the Unsullied left to govern the entirety of House Lannister lands, and they have their hands full being bombarded from the sea by Euron Greyjoy.
We love Grey Worm too, but you can’t imagine him as much of a multi-tasking economy-managing administrator. Chalk up another kingdom to effective anarchy.
The Iron Islands
Speaking of Greyjoy, his ongoing absence effectively leaves the Iron Islands in a precarious state as winter approaches to freeze the ice (which the White Walkers can cross with ease once they find a way past the Wall).
Not to mention the recent civil war with Yara Greyjoy, which has left the islanders in a depleted and disunited state. The effort to build Euron’s thousand ships must have denuded the place of vital resources too, though once again the show is scant on details.
We don’t hear much from the home of House Baratheon these days. But look at what just happened in King’s Landing: a Lannister, Cersei, took the throne in the wake of a Baratheon, Tommen. Yes, King Tommen was a Baratheon in name only; still, it was the basis of his legitimacy, and you can’t imagine too many Baratheon lords are particularly happy about the whole affair right now.
Jaime told Cersei that she was ruler of “Three Kingdoms at best”; the Stormlands are one of those iffy three. The other is Riverrun, and it’s even more iffy.
Who was left in charge of Riverrun after all of House Tully has been killed or compromised, including the notorious Blackfish? Answer: House Frey, whose leader Walder was made Lord Paramount of the Trident.
And what happened to Walder Frey? What happened to the leader of the one House who could maybe have organized the buffer zone that blocks North from South, that could have been the last line of defense for a White Walker attack?
Yeah, so, funny story …
Littlefinger is its effective ruler, and he’s in Winterfell. So, as far as we know, are most of the Lords of the Vale, who swooped in to win the Battle of the Bastards late last season.
So who’s babysitting that insane little attachment parenting victim Robin Arryn back at the Eyrie? The show is silent on this question. We have to assume, though, that the defenses and the very coherence of the Vale itself are at historically low levels.
It’s official: for the first time in seven seasons, the Starks are the only house with their sh*t together.
Yes, The King in the North King Snow, no, King Jon (thank you Ser Davos) is technically another absentee landlord who abandoned his homeland in Winter. Queen Cersei is the only current leader content to rule from her seat of power, apparently.
But Jon is also the only ruler in the Seven Kingdoms to have left his in capable hands. Thanks to Sansa, Jon might be better off mining and mooning over Daenerys in Dragonstone for the duration.
Still, the Wall is a problem: Castle Black’s population is dwindling as the Wildlings head for Eastwatch. Jon and Ser Davos estimated they have 10,000 soldiers under arms in the North. That may sound like a lot, but considering the population of Westeros is roughly 70 million the sparsely populated North contains a mere third of a million people in all, less than King’s Landing it ain’t much to defend the entire realm.
Every damn kingdom in Westeros could not possibly be more screwed than it currently is.
And on the other side, as we estimated in our army counts last year, the White Walker army potentially contains every man, woman and child who ever died in the North and beyond the wall. Plus giants. Lots of giants.
Bottom line: the state of the union of the Seven Kingdoms is horribly, unprecedentedly weak. If the Wall should fall or the White Walkers should find a way around it, every damn kingdom in Westeros could not possibly be more screwed than it currently is. The fire of Sunday’s dragon attack will be nothing compared to the ice that is to come.
So, you still want the job?
Read more: http://mashable.com/