Here we are, seven games deep into the new season, and it feels like we're already hitting the panic button on a failure of epic proportions. Okay, that's a lot of hyperbole, but bear with me for a moment.
The season is still young and The Pragmatist says to keep a cool head because things aren't that bad at all. It's still early. A slow start doesn't imply a slow finish. One only needs to look as far back as last season's Portland Timbers for an example of the contrary.
However, we're only a portion of our way through the season and The Absolute Nutter wants to scream things like:
"Why are we THE ONLY TEAM getting so many suspensions??"
"Why can't our forwards score ANY GOALS???!?!"
"WHY AREN'T WE GETTING THE RESULTS WE SO CLEARLY DESERVE??!?!?"
...but that kind of attitude clearly isn't healthy, as the only guaranteed result is an aneurysm.
Ultimately, I thought it best to find a middle ground, and in doing so came up with the following: a scathing-yet-lighthearted "One-Fifth Season Review", comparing each player's performance to that of a character from Game of Thrones.
Sure, it's opportunistic, seeing as how the new season of the TV show starts this coming Sunday, but at the very least it's a (somewhat) reasonable way to analyze the progress of the season rather than uttering "Winter is coming!" repeatedly, like a deranged soothsayer.
So, in alphabetic order, away we go!
Sam Adekugbe as Podrick Payne - Being a squire, Podrick will always be following someone in a support capacity. For Adekugbe, it means being the depth behind the in-form Jordan Harvey. Sam will get his chance, but for now he'll be stuck in a support role.
Fraser Aird as Samwell Tarly - For the first few games/episodes, both did NOT look good. For Aird, he's done nothing but improve and familiarize himself with the MLS since that first game against the Montreal Impact (meanwhile, Sam has killed a zombie-wraith, became a chivalrous step-babydaddy, and is off to become a scholar). Positive Growth is the name of the game.
Christian Bolanos as Oberyn Martell - Stylish and quick, carrying a monster resume with his World Cup experience, but quickly erred and disappea
Marco Bustos as Ghost the Direwolf - We haven't seen much of Bustos, and it perennially feels like he's waiting in the wings. Simply stay in the background, bide your time, and wait for an opportunity. I have a feeling that the game against D.C. United won't just be a one-off cameo this season.
Marco Carducci as Lord Varys - Everything he does happens "off-screen." Carducci seems to have all his successes away from the First Team, whether its on WFC 2 or for the Canadian U-20 Team.
Christian Dean as Bran Stark - Injured, and we're left wondering if we'll ever see him again.
Deybi Flores as Sansa Stark - Gets himself thrown into the middle of who-knows-what and is seemingly left with only a vague sense of what's going on. Could turn out for the good; could turn out really, really bad.
Kianz Froese as The Hound - Unglamorous and raw, will unflinchingly do whatever is asked of him. Perhaps overshadowed by those around him (as The Hound is to The Mountain), but that doesn't detract from his skill set.
Jordan Harvey as Daario Naharis - In my opinion, he's been the most consistent, reliable player on the pitch throughout each game, so how isn't he the guy who's been infallible and invaluable to the Khaleesi?
Erik Hurtado as Gendry - Had a seemingly significant role to the "plot" (for Hurtado, that being 2014; for Gendry, Season 2), but both had disappeared by the end of the following season (be it loaned to Norway, or adrift on a boat). Now, we're left to see how significant a role each will play.
Andrew Jacobson as Doran Martell - Seasoned vet, well-respected, but still relatively new to the scene. Like Doran, Jacobson is still relatively new to the "show," so only time will tell how significant of a role he'll play in the season.
Pa Modou Kah as Ser Davos Seaworth - Always in support, may not have the legs he used to, and possibly not the mightiest in battle, but will always be the smartest guy in the fight.
Masato Kudo as Randyll Tarly - Someone with a dominating reputation and yet we're still waiting to see how it was earned. Supposedly, Randyll will show up somewhere during Season 6, but hopefully Kudo will long before then.
Kekuta Manneh as Daenerys Targaryen - Had a fast, early rise to prominence and gained a number of believers, but now is completely lost: Daenerys is face down in Dothraki mud and Kekuta keeps finding his way to the corners of the pitch, but not the back of the net.
Ben McKendry as Jaqen H'ghar - It's been a year and a half: still have no idea what to make of this guy (and no idea if that's a good or bad thing).
Nicolás Mezquida as Beric Dondarrion - Joined the team, made an impact, and then inexplicably disappeared. He's made a recent return and we're now waiting to see how big of role he'll play going forward.
Pedro Morales as Jamie Lannister - Pedro matches up with "The Kingslayer" not only because of the immense skill each carries but also because they're both recovering from injuries. Sure, Morales, didn't get his hand chopped off, but because of all the knocks he picks up we're left waiting for the return of the DP we signed.
David Ousted as Ned Stark - Will always be the leader on the pitch and, as a goalie, may have to fall on his sword whether he likes it or not. Also, as someone pointed out to me recently, he's also "from the cold North," so that counts for something.
Tim Parker as Brienne of Tarth - The guy is a beast still looking to prove himself. He's had a fast start to his professional career. May need to improve on his decision-making, but that really just comes with experience.
Blas Perez as Ser Bronn - Talented, confident sell-sword. Only thing that's missing so far is the finishing, but that may have more to do with him having stayed in the background thus far.
Octavio Rivero as Jon Snow - Since Jon Snow "died" and at this point no one truly knows whether or not he'll be back. With that in mind, we're left wondering if we'll ever see a Rivero goal again.
Cole Seiler as Benjen Stark - Only because we have NO IDEA what to make of him: Benjen disappeared after the first episode of the first season, and we haven't really seen Seiler since the Super Draft, so who knows what to think until we see each again.
Jordan Smith as Joffrey Baratheon - I'm sorry, I'm always going to think back to that crazy horrortackle in Kansas City.
Cristian Techera as Arya Stark - Yes, originally I had him pegged as Tyrion Lannister: they're both really, really short and, in spite of this, are dependable in battle more often than you'd think. But of the two of them, which is doing all the "scoring"?
So, for that last reason alone, Techera is Arya: frequently and unreasonably underestimated due to size, but, for this season anyway, will still need to go above and beyond to impress.
Russell Teibert as Margaery Tyrell - Well-renowned around the club, but now finds himself in a tough, prison-like position: was only beyond one other on the depth chart (in this case, Gershon Koffie is Cersei Lannister to Teibert's Margaery), but now finds himself stuck behind Laba AND a change in formation that's resulted in higher sitting midfielders positioned deeper on the pitch.
Paolo Tornaghi as Tormund Giantsbane - No one's ever going to question whether or not he can hold his own, but seems like he'll forever be stuck behind a "wall" (in this case, David Ousted).
Kendall Waston as The Mountain - Both of them have an immense preceding reputation, and for Watson it stems from being last year's runner up Defender of the Year. He'll always be a beast crossed with unpredictability, whether its heading home one of the Whitecaps (only) goals this season or having his hand in one of the goofiest goals of the year.
And a few more, just for fun...
Carl Robinson as Petyr Bealish - Even when things aren't going his way, always says the right thing to the right people, and looks dapper as hell when he does it.
Bob Lenarduzzi as Hodor - In all fairness, the GM is always going to have to say nondescript generalizations when things are going wrong, but at this point, he may as well be saying "Hodor" over and over as a means to placate everyone.
Peter Schaad as Tommen Baratheon - Will say exactly what everyone thinks they want him to say, but really has no idea whether or not it's correct.
Carl Valentine as Drogon - Why not? They're both easily excitable and pretty bad ass.
I'm sure everyone out there has better analogies than what I came up with, so let's hear 'em!