This Sunday's Game of Thrones will, according to previews, feature the wedding of the year as King Joffrey is finally joined to his reluctant fiancée, the wary but power-hungry Margaery Tyrell. The union represents the final piece of the puzzle for Tywin Lannister, who will complete his re-unification of the Seven Kingdoms under his nutty grandson, even if no one else is too happy about it. But since this is episode 2 of season 4, one can make the safe assumption that the throne is hardly guaranteed. As a preview of this weekend's episode, here is our weekly rankings of who's the real King of Westeros.
#1: Margaery Tyrell
Yes, Joffrey is the King, and yes, what the king says goes. And yes, Tywin Lannister is the real boss of Westeros. But there's one thing he hasn't really accounted for, and that's Margaery, who presents herself as the People's Princess but is as shrewd as any King's Landing politico (and is advised by next-level diva of deviousness Olenna, who presents as a catty grandmother). Tywin might run the show now, but Margaery is one step away from being the lady who bosses the army around, and so far she has Joffrey wrapped around her finger.
#2: Tywin Lannister/King Joffrey Baratheon
If the season four premiere proved anything at all, it's that Tywin Lannister has staked his empire on an extremely dangerous foundation, that of his grandson Joffrey (and at this point, even he knows for sure that Joffrey was born of incest). The Lannister lord was running things as smoothly as usual, while Joffrey remained as…impolitic as ever. Joffrey, and by extension his grandfather, is king for now. But once Margaery is on the throne, will Tywin's influence begin to slip?
#3: Oberyn Martell
The Dornish prince is the big Game of Thrones wild card. Every other lord marries some noble lady? He totes around a low-born bastard woman and calls her his "paramour!" Homosexual behavior is generally frowned upon in King's Landing? Not when Oberyn comes to town! Everyone would rather not mention the rape and murder of Elia Martell and her Targaryen children by the Mountain? Well, Oberyn's here to talk about it! In the first episode, he assured Tyrion he was just there as an invited guest. He also put a giant knife in a Lannister underling's wrist. Who knows what he'll try at the wedding.
#4: Melisandre/Stannis Baratheon
The preview also offered our first glimpse at Stannis Baratheon on Dragonstone, and while he's the claimant to the throne who commands the army, Melisandre continues to pull the strings over there. This season will likely continue her war of wills with Davos Seaworth, Stannis' loyal Hand. Will Melisandre's religious fervor win out? Stannis may be beaten, but he's not dead. And as long as he survives, he and Melisandre represent a significant threat to Joffrey's hold on the Iron Throne, particularly if conditions in Westeros continue to suck. Life is pretty revolting out there, after all.
#5: Cersei Lannister
Cersei still has one thing going for her: her son still listens to her, sort of. Plus, she's probably the Lannister-spawn Tywin hates the least, although that's almost by default at this point. But Cersei is staring down the barrel of a long gun with the wedding of Joffrey to her hated rival Margaery. She'll go from Queen Regent to…Queen Mother, I suppose. From actual influence-holder to purely ceremonial figure. Gotta figure out something fast, Cersei.
Must try harder: Tyrion Lannister, Bran Stark, Varys
Tyrion, at least, still gets under Joffrey's skin like no other. How he can use that to his advantage, at this point, remains to be seen. The previews also offer a glimpse of Bran Stark saying he knows where they should go. Maybe somewhere interesting for a change? I'm sick of that kid talking about his dreams to his swamp buddies. Finally, Varys is supposed to be the king spymaster of the land, but recently he's just been sitting in the background acting portentous. Exert some real influence, baldie! He once claimed to serve the realm itself because someone had to—show some evidence of this, please.