Sunday's episode of Game of Thrones will open on yet another re-ordering of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. The fragile alliance between Houses Tyrell and Lannister that propped up the reign of King Joffrey has been…tested, shall we say, by the events of his wedding to Margaery Tyrell. Now we have a new king, and a new list of influence in the Thrones world to prime you for this weekend.
1. King Tommen Baratheon
We all knew and hated Joffrey—he was a sadistic little boy, a spoiled brat, and the chief tormentor of his uncle Tyrion and poor Sansa Stark. Now he's dead, poisoned at his own nuptials in front of everyone, likely to be mourned by few. His replacement is younger brother Tommen, who was recast this year with the older Dean-Charles Chaplin, a hat-tip to how much more material the character will have to work with this year. So far our impression of this boy king is limited: he's quiet and more polite than his brother, for sure. When he was laughing at Joffrey's nasty play with the cast of dwarves, all it took was one little glance from his uncle to shut it down.
2. Tywin Lannister
Whether or not Tywin was behind Joffrey's death (we have no shortage of people with motive), he's definitely in a better position now. Joffrey was difficult to control; Tommen is an unknown quantity but nothing suggests he'll be as sadistic or imperious as his older brother. So far, Tywin's main problem has been the instability of his heirs. For him, Tommen represents a blank slate.
3. Olenna Tyrell
So far, Olenna has represented Tywin's biggest challenge as a world-class champion schemer. Yes, Margaery is the Queen and unlike Joffrey, she actually has a head on her shoulders. But Olenna is the power behind the throne and whatever Tywin may think, the Lannister/Tyrell alliance is pretty equally balanced. What will Olenna's reaction be to the loss of Joffrey? Once again, it could represent a marked improvement in circumstances, depending on her and Margaery's next move.
4. Petyr Baelish
Who from the Small Council was at the wedding? Varys the spymaster, yes. Pycelle the Grand Maester, indeed (though Cersei kicked him out). Tywin, Tyrion, Jaime and so on, of course. But where was Littlefinger? Where the hell has Littlefinger been all season? While Varys has been sticking his fingers in plenty of intrigue pies so far, Petyr has been off the grid since he growled about chaos being a ladder last season. It's high time he showed his face in King's Landing given the new world order.
5. Daenerys Targaryen
After taking a week off, Daenerys will be back to work, catapulting something or other at the city of Meereen, per the previews. Good. Enough dilly-dallying in the desert chatting with her council of crushes. Time to get the show on the road again. Westeros is in more chaos than ever, and those dragons are getting big.