Game of Thrones is one of the most popular shows on television and us here at The Richest love it almost as much as anyone, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t felt let down by it at times. If you haven’t seen the show and are planning on watching it then you may not want to continue reading as there are certain to be spoilers flying around, but we’ll leave that decision to you. For those of us who have seen every episode of the show, sometimes more than once, this list will include some of the things we’ve felt most left down by. Don’t worry, though, we’ll be there, with the rest of you, salivating as we anticipate each episode’s initial airing.
The criteria for possible inclusion here was pretty simple. We didn’t consider anything from the source material in any fashion, including comparing the show to the books or missing scenes, as that isn’t the point of this list. Otherwise, our only concern was coming up with a ranking of some of the series’ most disappointing moments, even though they are few and far between. So, without any further ado, let’s get to the list.
15. The Sand Snakes Untapped Potential
Three of The Sand Snakes, the daughters of Oberyn Martell, appeared in part of Season 5 of the series and gave us a hint of what appears to be oodles of bada** potential. All adept at different tactics of battle, the one thing that is absolutely obvious from the moment they debuted was that they shouldn’t be trifled with. The problem comes in the way the characters are written on the show. Setting out to gain revenge on the Lannisters, a family that has a long history of killing their kin, they ultimately take the life of a single member, a defenceless princess and disappear. People who seem so capable and are bent on vengeance should have had a much larger effect on the series. Furthermore, the idea that they are content to live in a world where there are lands in which women are perceived as inferiors, despite their obvious ability to overthrow governments, seems difficult to swallow. The only reason the lack of progression these warriors have received didn’t rank higher on this list is that the show could use them more effectively in the future.
14. Lack of Grey Worm and Missandei Chemistry
Jacob Anderson is a good looking young man who looks awesome in battle and has found consistent work in various genres since the year 2007. Nathalie Emmanuel is a gorgeous young woman who developed a following with her work on the show Hollyoaks and managed to bring a captivating energy to the film Furious 7. In fact, her role was so successful that she is poised to see her character return in the upcoming sequel Fast 8. Yet somehow when these two talented performers were put together in a budding romance on later episodes of Game of Thrones, it is a snooze fest.
Starting out with some potential when Missandei caught Grey Worm gawking at her nude body as she bathed, that moment is the steamiest scene they’ve ever shared. We suppose it makes sense as both characters have been forced to restrain themselves from emoting from a young age but that doesn’t make their scenes any less mundane. If they’d never progressed past knowing glances and we hadn’t been forced to witness them converse in the most robotic way possible, we may have enjoyed this pairing a great deal more.
13. Unconvincing Special Effects
There are certainly some pretty amazing moments in the history of Game of Thrones and we unrepentantly loved a lot of what we saw in the recent Battle of the Bastards, but things aren’t always rosy. In fact, there are some moments that are brutal to behold, for instance, a lot of the establishing shots of the series’ incredible locales are pretty poorly rendered. Another glaring moment that fell far below the standard we’d hope to see in a big budget show was the recent scene where a naked Daenerys stands in front of a burning building. Sure, the naked beauty before our eyes could have pulled our glance from the unconvincing effect that surrounded her but we took note. Don’t get us wrong, there are a whole lot of sequences that come off fantastically and we understand the limitations of budget. That said, the series is one of the most popular entities on television today, so adding the necessary dollars to the budget to make these moments better seems entirely doable.
12. Far Too Much Recasting
There is a long history in television and movies of recasting a character in cases where producers come to the conclusion that they’d misstepped in the casting process or if personalities clash on set. That said, it really is something that you should avoid if at all possible, as it can cause confusion and disappointment in your fanbase. It seems as though those behind the scenes of this show have very few worries about ushering in a new actor for a familiar role on a regular basis. None of the principal actors have suffered this fate, as of yet, but there are a lot of supporting actors who’ve been shown the door.
We like to believe that we are pretty on the ball but we were certainly perplexed when Daario Naharis first appeared in the fourth season premiere looking utterly different. A short Google search later, we were up to speed but it left us wondering if there are still some out there that are unaware the character is the same dude who walked on Dany’s bath the previous season. The current Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, Tommen Baratheon, has been recast, a fate his on-screen sister suffered as well, on top of which another supposed royal, Selyse Baratheon, once looked different. Heck, The Mountain has been played by three massive men over the years, which we suppose is a tad more forgivable as his head is often covered.
11. Quaithe Disappearing
When Daenerys spent part of the second season in Qarth, it was a pretty boring period for the character aside from the scene where she gained vengeance on those who crossed her and a mysterious figure. Quaithe, a hooded woman who initially seemed like she may pose a threat to Khaleesi, provided her ally, Ser Jorah Mormon, with information that helped to save her from losing her dragons. Appearing in a measly two episodes of the series, she left far more questions in her wake than answers. Seeming to possess more wisdom than all those that surround her, we were left wondering how she gained that knowledge and would’ve loved to see her put her skills to greater use. Plus, we feel ripped off that we were never given any kind of idea why her face was obscured or what her motivations were for coming to the aid of a foreign, would-be queen.
10. S*xual Savagery
A show that has its fair share of s*x and violence, the two have met far too many times for our tastes. We understand that George R.R. Martin has defended the inclusion of these scenes by saying “R*pe, unfortunately, is still a part of war today. It’s not a strong testament to the human race, but I don’t think we should pretend it doesn’t exist.” Even still, we understand his position but that doesn’t mean we enjoy seeing scenes of r*pe in the slightest on our fantasy show. Of course, the intent of the scene where Ramsay forced himself on Sansa was to disgust viewers and although it made us hate him, even more, it also made us want to change the channel. Even worse, we can’t even begin to fathom what the purpose of the scene where Jamie took Cersei against her will over the casket of their son Joffrey.
9. Underdeveloped Characters
For viewers of Game of Thrones, it pays to be able to track a lot of characters in a series of seemingly unrelated storylines and comprehend their place in the overarching story of the series. Considering the show has a massive cast and only so many hours of television, it, therefore, stands to reason that some characters would fall by the wayside and receive a fraction of the attention that should’ve. That doesn’t make the practice of giving important figures in the story so little time, and letting us understand them so little, is a good move. We love seeing our favourite characters every week but if you cut a scene or two of Jon Snow, the various Lannisters or the Khaleesi so others could share the spotlight a little, several big moments would’ve packed more of a punch.
When Renly met his maker at the hand of a weird smoke creature it should have been a massive moment but we’d seen so little of him on the show that it was just another scene. Recently when Renly’s former lover, Loras Tyrell, was taken by the Faith Militants we’d have cared if he’d ever been given a moment that wasn’t entirely based around his romances. Possibly the most egregious example is the entirety of the party that has surrounded Bran in his adventures, with the possible exception of Hodor, they mean absolutely nothing to us.
8. Daenerys Is Far Too Perfect
A benevolent ruler who wants to free those who live under the thumbs of others while also imposing her will on the world, Dany seems to be straddling a razor thin line. Of course, you’d never know it from the fact that everything works out perfectly for her in the end. In this season, she took a massive land under her control, suffered attacks that killed many of her followers, fled on the back of one of her dragons and was almost forced to live amongst widowed women for the rest of her life. Sounds like things went pretty awry for her but really all that turmoil did nothing but earn her the allegiance of a massive new army of Dothraki warriors.
We understand that she is clearly meant for big things and we don’t want to see her hurt or killed, but the fact that she almost never seems to break a sweat is pretty ridiculous. Aside from a few moments where she pleads for the life of her dragons and way back when she first debuted as a frightened young woman, she seems pretty much invulnerable. As a result, whenever she is put in danger we don’t feel much of the tension we’ve come accustomed to when other characters we enjoy are on shaky grounds. In a show, where we’ve learned that anyone could die at any moment, there is this one character that we’ve come to expect will never be harmed and it isn’t very interesting.
7. The Red Viper’s Untapped Potential
When Oberyn Martell, The Red Viper, debuted, the way the men he interacted with seemed to fear him left us excited to see what this great warrior was capable of. Rumoured to place poison on his weapons in order to dispatch his foes more effectively, he comes to King’s Landing intent on making the people who ordered and carried out the murder of his beloved sister and her kids pay. All we wanted to see was how he would go about setting his plans in motion and then the resulting bloodbath.
When he then volunteered to face The Mountain, the man who carried out the killings, in combat on behalf of Tyrion, we believed we were finally set to see him start to avenge his family. Instead, in an admittedly awesome scene, he spent too much time trying to get his foe to admit his wrongdoing and had his head literally crushed for his hubris. Oberyn was not the first character who was set up for great things to fall prematurely, but he was the one we were most disappointed to see go unceremoniously by a far measure.
6. Season Two Finale Follow Up
When the season two finale ended and we saw Samwell Tarly surrounded by the much vaunted White Walker and wight army, we couldn’t wait to see what came next. Of course, we had to wait a long time for the season three premiere but when that day finally came we were as excited as we’d ever been to watch an hour of television. Then the episode began and just over two minutes in, after we see a single wight have his clothing lit on fire and perishes because of it, the show’s theme starts and the danger was over. What in the hell!?!?!
We could hear shouts and swords in the background of the scene and it seems like we were meant to assume that there was a battle off-screen but how crappy is that. In the previous finale, it looked like there were lots and lots of these creatures coming for them and the force of Night’s Watch men that we see is pretty paltry in comparison, making their easy defeat hardly believable. That aside, had there been a lot of men there and the implied outcome made a lot more sense we still would have felt ripped off that we didn’t see any of the mayhem. It may have been a lack of budget that made this choice necessary but if you couldn’t provide us with the visual of the battle, you definitely shouldn’t have whetted our appetites.
5. Lack of Interesting Characters Lately
As season 6 comes to an end, we sit here, reflecting on the stories and characters we’ve seen this season and although there was certainly some great stuff, we find ourselves underwhelmed. Many of the show’s best characters have either died in the past or been given uninteresting story arcs this season, with very few exceptions. Aside from the possibly one-sided romance between Brienne and Tormund and the newfound alliance between Jon Snow and Sansa, we can’t think of anybody that excited us.
Tyrion, the show’s earliest breakout character spent the season discussing politics, playing politics, awaiting the return of his queen, making deals, and sharing scenes with humourless people. He barely even drank at all and we don’t recall him carousing at all. The Khaleesi was held against her will, was threatened with becoming a s*x slave, and was forced to travel to a land where she was meant to be held against her will before finally receiving a few cool moments. Arya spent a good portion of the season blind, attending plays, watching people, getting beat up and almost killed and her only cool moment, killing her would-be trainer, was cut away from. Need we say more? You created great characters, give them something interesting to do.
4. The Wall Was Tedious
Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly are both characters that we absolutely love, and several others we enjoyed spent a great deal of time with the Night’s Watch at The Wall. Yet, the majority of the times when episodes cut to The Wall we sighed, as in all likelihood very little was about to happen. If you look back at this location with fond memories, we challenge you to think of your favorite moments that take place there, which we believe will be a small list of moments from the last few seasons. We’re very happy to say that most scenes that happened after they fought off The Wildlings were pretty interesting but we can’t think of any enthralling scene that took place there before that point. Hell, it wasn’t until Jon left and met the likes of Ygritte and Tormund that we started to care all that much about him even.
3. Lack of Diversity
A show that has a number of fantastic female characters, it is really a shame that the cast lacks the type of racial diversity it easily could have. We’re not saying there are no characters of note that aren’t Caucasian but the biggest problem is that everyone who has been given a long run on the series and used effectively is white. The Sand Snakes and The Red Viper were not given the type of spotlight their captivating personalities demanded. Khal Drogo was beloved by many at the time of his demise, but he died before the first season was through and his people were portrayed as bloodthirsty. Grey Worm, Missandei (who is the only African-American woman to receive a speaking role in the show’s history) and The Unsullied were all slaves with little personality who needed to be saved by a blonde-haired white woman. You can do a lot better than that.
2. Stories That Move Far Too Slow
As season six comes to an end, Bran seems like he is about to become an important figure in the battles to come and we can’t wait to see how his abilities will become important. It should hit you, though if you haven’t thought about it already, it has taken long for his character to matter in any way. Yet we’ve seen him and his merry band of misfits, ever so slowly, make their way across the country in scene after scene. The youngest surviving member of the Stark clan is probably the most noteworthy example of how slowly things progress in the Game of Thrones world, but he is far from the only one whose story moves at a glacial pace.
Dany’s time in Qarth went nowhere slowly, Jon’s time at The Wall, as we already covered, bored us to tears, Littlefinger talks slow and his stories move similarly. If you reflect on the show’s history, more arcs will probably occur to you that would have been a lot more interesting if they took place in a much shorter time period.
1. Length Between Seasons
As you read this list, it may have seemed like we don’t like Game of Thrones all that much, but we assure you that couldn’t be further from the truth. Like its most ardent fans, we anticipate the release of every new episode and find ourselves laughing, shedding a tear, mourning the deaths of characters we’ve grown to love and sitting in complete shock. In short, the show has provided us with almost every emotion under the sun and some of the best scenes we’ve witnessed in television history have taken place in the fictional universe.
Our love for the show is what makes the act that we have to wait so long for each season’s premiere oh, so painful. Every season so far has come to an end in June and then we’re forced to wait all the way until March or April for the show to return. If only the periods of time that took place in between one season’s end and the next season’s beginning was a fraction as long. Of course, we realize that rushing the show’s production like that could sacrifice the quality we’ve come to expect and we could never make that sacrifice. That realization doesn’t mean that we can’t dream of a day where we could have our Game of Thrones quality cake and eat it more often, too.