Tiers Four, Five, and Six
It's been a while since we've visited our old pal, Jorah Mormont. When it comes everyone's third-favorite Mormont, I have good and bad news.
Without further ado,
Jorah Mormont will be holding down the fort, as usual. But this time around, he was a teensy bit more impressive than usual. I really, truly wanted to give him bonus points for immediately putting away his sword and pulling out dragonglass daggers in preparation for the wight horde. Upon first glance, I thought he just pulled out daggers and was impressed by how he was killing wights with as little effort as was necessary — he sort of just punched them away. But then later I realized that it was more to switch from steel to dragonglass. It was still a good move, but more pragmatic than strategic.
Still, whatever points I wanted to give him get plucked right away when we see him nearly get taken out by a single undead during the Fellowship of the Wight's ambush.
Quite frankly, I want to put everyone who traveled north of the wall, along with Tyrion for coming up with the dumbass plan and The Night King for not throwing a spear at a sitting dragon, into tier six for that whole mess of a plotline. When an undead bear attacks, they all just sort of watch and let Thoros die.
Jon, Tormund, and everyone else should have died out there, but instead the show abandoned its brutal, killing-your-fav reputation for a more Hollywood approach where the least-important characters (read: Thoros and a just enough unnamed, spear-wielding extras) die for the sake of introducing drama. No thanks.
But I've rambled enough about that whole ordeal (and, more importantly, found a place for the many reddit essays that I've had open in chrome tabs for the last two years.) Let's get back to the tiers.
Joining Jorah in tier six will be Yara and Theon Greyjoy. And look, I'm not happy about it either.
I really wanted to rank Yara in tier two after she cut through Ramsay's guards. She moved well, her tempo was shorter than most characters' and I was genuinely impressed. She seemed to repeat all of that — and Theon joined her in doing so — against Euron's soldiers. Things were looking up for the brother-sister duo.
Then they saw Euron and totally forgot how to fight. Yara turned into a bumbling professional wrestler, and Theon literally jumped ship.
While we don't know if the two of them will ever reunite on screen, we can all take comfort in knowing that they're together forever at the absolute bottom of the list.
Who would win in a tier six deathmatch? It's hard to say. Jorah technically hasn't lost a fight, but that's due to a lot of technicalities as well as other characters bailing him out. Theon sort of redeemed himself at the end of the season when he took and returned a solid beating. But we don't know if that was a one-time thing — he might freeze up during combat again, especially if he's charged with fighting his own sister.
So here's my guess — Theon freezes up and refuses to fight. Maybe he snivels a little. Jorah, seeing the weakness, runs over to claim the kill. But he trips along the way and skewers both of them with his sword. Yara, who spent the whole time doing pro wrestling poses and hyping up the crowd, wins by default.
Tier five will remain unchanged, which is probably a relief since everyone in it is dead. I was tempted to add some new faces in there, but all of our new additions belong higher or lower. For example, the Sand Snakes ended up in…
It was genuinely difficult to decide whether Nymeria and Obara Sand belonged in tier five, which is full of skilled fighters who failed to claim victory, or tier four, which is full of well-trained but inexperienced fighters.
The argument for tier five emerged during their respective fights against Euron. Nymeria repeatedly got her whip around Euron's neck and Obara managed to knock Euron over. But Nymeria didn't do anything after getting her whip in place and Obara stood around twirling her spear in the air instead of stabbing Euron good and dead.
Both are pretty damning errors, but their saving grace was their fight against Bronn. Just like I can evaluate Jaime at his prime even though he's since lost his dominant hand, I'm happy to rank the Sand Snakes based on their more impressive display.
Sure, they still lost a three-on-two battle, so I can't really say that they were impressive. But both of them got to showcase their unique fighting style and demonstrate that they were adept, dare I say skilled with their particular weapons. Nymeria stayed off in the distance, trying to incapacitate Bronn while Obara and Tyene applied more direct pressure — the ideal arrangement given their respective effective distances.
I never once thought that Tyene belonged in tier five, though. She is the quickest, most deadly of the three Sand Snakes, and we see how well she outmaneuvers Euron's soldiers in tight quarters. She also lands a (coincidentally) lethal blow on Bronn.
Tyene is sort of like Arya-lite in my mind. She's agile and sticks to the effective distance for her daggers. She uses her strengths well and evades bulkier opponents instead of trying to out-muscle them And we see her take out a soldier by straight up whipping a dagger into his chest.
Her big flaw comes from how she chooses to waste time. When she's protecting her mother, she kills a number of Greyjoy soldiers. But instead of getting the job done, she revels in each kill. She literally takes the time to stab a guy in the dick and smile about it.
Ultimately, that extra flourish makes for great TV but makes for a glaring weakness that prevents me from ranking her any higher than tier four.
But it does mean that the tier four deathmatch is a bit stacked. Odds are the three Sand Snakes would team up against Grey Worm who, by the way, is still in tier four. But he's learned quite a bit, and I think he could manage to block and counter the various whip and spear strikes.
Nymeria would die first, by virtue of bringing a whip against a shield and spear, and Obara's extra flourishes would put her out of luck shortly thereafter. When down to Tyene and Grey Worm, I think Tyene would pull it off. Grey Worm is moving better and more fluidly in season seven than any other point in the series, but he still shows signs of his mechanical training and uniform tempo.
Grey Worm might land a shield strike or two against Tyene, but I think she would be able to outpace him and cut away at him bit by bit, not unlike how Grey Worm and Barristan Selmy fell to the Sons of the Harpy.