'Game of Thrones': Who's Ahead Going in to Episode 7?

Stannis surges, Tywin sinks and Tyrion has a shot at keeping his head.
Helen Sloan/HBO

Game of Thrones continues to shake up its balance of power.

Stannis is on the rise thanks to a major bank loan, while Tywin's best laid plans are in ruins thanks to Tyrion's bold trial speech.

Here we break down where they and the other major players stand going into episode seven.

1. Stannis (+6 from previous rank)

This is why having a good right-hand man can go a long way. Stannis (Stephen Dillane) was essentially out for the count -- Dragonstone produces no food and he has far fewer men than his rivals. But Davos (Liam Cunningham) has changed all that, convincing the Iron Bank of Braavos to loan Stannis some gold. Way to go, Davos.

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 2. Littlefinger (-1 from previous rank)

Lord Baelish (Aidan Gillen) wasn't in the most recent episode, so who knows what he'll do to parry Stannis' big move. Littlefinger is possibly the smartest player in the game and poised for bigger things to come. Stannis isn't super bright and it's unlikely he'll stay No. 1 for long, so Littlefinger could very well be at the top of this chart next week.

3. Daenerys (-1 from previous rank)

Dany (Emilia Clarke) is ruling in the East, and she's learning being queen isn't all it's cracked up to be. (It involves a lot of sitting around and listening to supplicants.) She's also learning the world isn't as black and white as it seems — which could be a blessing or a curse for her ambitions of conquest.

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4. Lady Olenna / Margaery (-1 from previous rank)

Sure, Olenna helped kill Joffrey, but what's she done lately? The Tyrell pair haven't made any big moves in a few episodes, but the aggressive social climbers are quite adaptable when it comes to their alliances. As the Lannisters fall, they should have no problem allying themselves with whomever is on the rise.

5. Oberyn (+1 from previous rank)

Oberyn (Pedro Pascal) is enjoying his time in the capital — especially as he listened to Shae's racy testimony during Tyrion's trial. He still hasn't gotten his revenge on The Mountain — his reason for being in King's Landing — though that could be coming. The trailer for the upcoming episode gives us our first look at The Mountain this season.

6. Tywin (-2 from previous rank)

Tywin (Charles Dance), how far you have fallen from the preseason rankings. His plan to get Jaime to carry on the family line has been dashed thanks to Tyrion's demand of trial by combat. Perhaps even worse, the Iron Bank has decided to fund Stannis. This Lannister may not be able to pay his debts, and that is a big problem.

7. Cersei (-2 from previous rank)

Cersei's (Lena Headey) fate is tied closely to Tywin's, and the possibility that Tyrion may go free is an unacceptable outcome to his trial, as she is convinced he murdered her son. Her goals are slipping further and further away.

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8. Tyrion (+1 from previous rank)

Tyrion may be near the bottom, but he's moving up in the world. Depending on whom his champion is, he has a real shot at winning his freedom, though we're not sure what his life as an exonerated kingslayer would be like, considering the late king's family is still in power.

9. Sansa (-1 from previous rank)

Like Littlefinger, Sansa (Sophie Turner) did not make an appearance in the last episode. We're cheating a bit, but we'll count the trailer for Sunday's episode as evidence things are going downhill for her.

What do you think? Who's up or down in your rankings? And for more ways to look ahead, check out our interview with director Alik Sakharov and our guesses based on the latest preview.

Email: Aaron.Couch@THR.com