‘Game of Thrones’ mystery: Did it debut with an Emmy-winning episode? (Vote now)

So with a new season of intrigue, conflict and political machinations kicking off “Game of Thrones,” it’s time for me to crown both the best and dumbest moves of each episode. After reading my recap of last week’s premiere, “The Wars to Come,” be sure to cast your vote as to whether this four-time nominee for Best Drama Series at the Emmys will finally win this year.  Currently, this HBO powerhouse has odds of 9/2 and sits in second place on our Best Drama Series chart behind only “House of Cards” at 4/1.

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Best moves

1. Varys opens an Imp in a Box
In the massive gamechanger that ended last season, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) killed his father Tywin, Lannister patriarch and Hand of the Kind . His accomplice, Varys, realized it would be a good time to get the next boat out of King’s Landing as well and accompanied Tyrion across the narrow sea to Pentos where he revealed his master plan: team up with Daenerys Targarian to assert her claim to the throne. Varys’ ability to respond to the changing dynamic coupled with his secret alliance with one of the game heavy-hitters makes him one of the players to watch this season.

2. Stannis Baratheon fires up the opposition
Stannis realizes loyalty is a valuable commodity in the game of thrones and turns to Mance Rayder for supprt. Unfortunately, this king beyond the wall failed to bend the knee and Stannis resorted to plan B: inspiring loyalty through fear by sacrificing Rayder to the god of fire. While this was cruel, it shows Stannis is a threat and if you come against him you are likley to get burnt.

3. Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish keeps a closed hand
Last season’s MVP is still playing a good game, He keeps the location of his key asset, Sansa Stark, on a need-to-know basis. He told Lord Yohn Royce that they were travelling to the Fingers, then headed West.

Dumbest move

Jon Snow shoots a dying man
To put Rayder out of his misery by shooting him with an arrow was a kind gesture but revealed compassion that led to fatal moves by Jon’s brother and father. These could ruffle the feathers of Stannis Baratheon, a man with power over Jon and an unforgiving player (see above).

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Emmy move

There were no show-stealing performances as the episode was largly setting the board for the season. However,  it opened with the show’s first-ever flashback portraying a young Cersei Lanniser. That may signal a strong season for Lena Headey who broke through with her first Drama Supporting Actress nomination last year. She currently is in 4th with 8/1 odds

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