With season seven of Game of Thrones finally wrapped up, we have some time to digest all the good, the bad, and the ugly that happened in the latest season of HBO’s mega hit. And there were, unfortunately, some bad moments in the latest season of Game of Thrones. (Calm down, fan boys.) The largest issue the show seems to be facing is that it has surpassed the source material, thus leaving David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (the showrunners) to, um, figure it all out themselves, which is no small feat. Benioff and Weiss are obviously very talented writers, but they no longer have the advantage of harvesting George R.R. Martin’s thick novels for the best events, situations, characters, and dialogue. Instead, they must create all these things on their own, which has led to some ridiculous plot holes, flat dialogue, and moments that seemingly don't belong in Game of Thrones.
That said, season seven was also full of some of the most epic and most entertaining scenes we’ve seen on Game of Thrones. I mean, an ice dragon. AN ICE DRAGON! It’s just too good. Season seven was also full of long-awaited moments, like Daenerys and Jon meeting, Ned Stark's death finally being avenged, and all the Stark reunions. These were all pretty perfect aspects of season seven.
Because even one of the best shows on television can produce some lackluster and problematic scenes, below are the eight WORST things and eight BEST things about Game of Thrones season seven. Again, calm down, fan boys. It's still one of the best shows on television, even if it's not as sharp as previous seasons.
16 Worst: The Dialogue Keeps Getting Worse And Worse
When Game of Thrones first began, you had to watch every episode three or four times to really know what was going on. This was for several reasons. The first was because there was a grotesque amount of characters introduced all at once. It was impossible to keep track of everyone. By the time the audience finally had gotten down Ned Stark’s name, which was the easiest name on the show to pronounce and remember, he was off getting beheaded. And who is that Khaleesi person who is also named Daenerys? It was all so confusing!
Another reason the episodes had to be viewed several times was because the dialogue was both quick and thick. None of the characters took the time to explain things or spell things out to the audience. You had to follow along the best you could. Also, every sentence meant five different things at once. The characters were saying one thing, but it also involved foreshadowing, theme, character development, backstory, and irony. Yes, all in once sentence.
This sophisticated level of dialogue is, unfortunately, gone. Throughout season seven, the dialogue was noticeably less laden with foreshadowing, irony, and theme. Instead, most characters just… said things. Like for example, Euron Greyjoy, who asked if Cersei likes a finger in her bum. YES, A FINGER IN THE BUM. Guys, someone actually uttered this line on Game of Thrones. While watching this scene, you just couldn’t help but think about how Euron may have said this in a much more clever way if it were season two.
Though, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss aren’t fully to blame for the sub par dialogue this season. Unfortunately, the show has surpassed the books. This means the writers can no longer harvest the greatest lines from George R.R. Martin’s source material. They are on their own. While they do come up with some incredible dialogue, like Olenna’s drop-the-mic death, they’re also unable to generate the same complex dialogue that was once present in every single scene of Game of Thrones.
Well, here’s hoping no one blatantly asks about butt play in season eight.
15 Best: The Opening Scene
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss may fail to produce the same level of great dialogue which was once present in Game of Thrones, but these two can sure write some pretty jaw-dropping scenes. In particular, the opening scene of season seven was everything.
Season seven opened with Walder Frey, who we had seen die in season six. So um, what? For a moment, an audience member may think this scene is a flashback, as season five had actually opened with a flashback. That is until one realizes it’s totally Arya Stark wearing the face of Walder Frey. ALL THE YES! Arya Stark proceeded to take out the whole Frey family, proving she is every bit the badass we all always believed she could be. This opening scene also served as a sign that maybe, just maybe, House Stark was now a force with which to be reckoned.
Also, THANK GOD we at least had this one scene, as the premiere episode seemed to be a lot of catching up with characters and other boring things like Daenerys putting her hand on some sand. Also, Tyrion didn’t even have a single line in this episode. Tyrion didn't speak, guys! He's the best talker!
14 Worst: Under-Utilizing Littlefinger
Littlefinger, also known as Petyr Baelish, was low-key one of the show’s biggest villains. Sure, he’s never been as flashy as Joffrey, Ramsay, or even Cersei, but Littlefinger was a world-class villain nonetheless. In fact, Littlefinger's villainy was perhaps even worse than that of Joffrey or Ramsay, because everything Littlefinger did was sneaky and behind your backs. At least Joffrey and Ramsay would kill you to your face.
Also worth noting in terms of Littlefinger's villainy is the fact that he had been involved in nearly every major plot point on the show, from Jon Arryn’s death to Joffrey’s death. Littlefinger was pulling the strings for one purpose and one purpose only: To win the Iron Throne and the heart of Catelyn Stark’s daughter. Gross.
That said, Littlefinger has pretty much been sidelined in season seven. Sure, we saw him in Winterfell the entire season, but he more or less just followed Sansa around as she gave orders. He was no longer thinking big picture. It was very un-Littlefinger of him. Likewise, even the manipulation and deceit he tried to pull off in Winterfell was lackluster, missing the true subtleties of his earlier plotting. It was all just so obvious, even to the Starks.
Of course, Littlefinger met his end in the season seven finale, but his character had been dead long before that. Season seven's Littlefinger was not the Littlefinger we have all come to know, which is unfortunate. Old school Littlefinger's plotting would have been a welcomed addition to a season that felt like it has lost its political core.
13 Best: Littlefinger’s Death At The Hands Of The Stark Siblings
Yes, it was a damn shame that they under-utilized Littlefinger in season seven. However, the scene in which Littlefinger died was EPIC. And yes, there were some loose ends, some plot holes, and some sub-par parts to the Winterfell plot as a whole. Yes, this storyline likely could have benefited from a 10-episode season, instead of being jammed into seven episodes. Those shortcomings, however, don't take away from the dramatic showdown between the Stark siblings and Littlefinger, which was AH-MAZING!
Littlefinger's death scene was practically satisfying because we finally saw all of the Starks’ journeys being paid off. Sansa Stark is now politically acute and commanding. She’s a leader through and through. Arya Stark is an assassin, ruthlessly able to take down anyone. Bran Stark is…um…he’s the Three-Eyed Raven or whatever, which did actually help in this scene. It was all of the skills these three characters gained through their suffering that gave them the position of power in this scene. Further more, it was extremely satisfying that Ned’s last living children were able to avenge his death.
Oh, and watching Littlefinger grovel? That was just the cherry on top.
12 Worst: They Stopped Killing The Heroes
Game of Thrones became famous for its brutal disposal of characters who seemed like the heroes. In season one, Ned Stark seemed like he would be the hero. He was moral to his core. In fact, his moral center is something still talked about on the show, as Cersei Lannister said she’d trust Jon Snow’s word given he’s the son of Ned Stark. But no, Ned was not the hero of the story. He lost his head in season one. Literally.
In season three, the Red Wedding happened, killing off Robb Stark, who looked and battled like a hero. There was also Oberyn Martell, whose only goal in life was to avenge his sister’s rape and murder. After being SO CLOSE to completing his goal, Oberyn Martell failed and ultimately got his skull crushed much like his sister’s.
These were all easy characters to root for and love, and yet we had to watch them die in awful fashions. Luckily for us, Game of Thrones has lost their balls and no longer kills our heroes. Instead, our heroes come back from the dead and survive impossible odds. Yes, I’m talking about you, Jon Snow.
It's true that we saw a few characters die this season, though nothing seriously hard-hitting. Olenna Tyrell’s death was amazing, but you didn’t lose your sh*t when she died. I mean, you could even just chalk up that death to old age, as Olenna had lived longer than pretty much everyone on the show. Littlefinger finally got his, which was amazing. The only "hero" who died this season was, I guess, Daenerys’ dragon Viserion. This, though, was not as powerful as Ned Stark's or Oberyn Martell's death. Hell, Viserion dying isn't even as powerful as if Drogon, the largest and Daenery's favorite dragon, died.
Game of Thrones used to subvert our expectations and surprise us, but now it seems to lack the courage to do so. Game of Thrones needs its balls back. That's all I'm sayin'.
11 Best: Olenna Tyrell Won Her Death
Speaking of death scenes, Olenna Tyrell had one of the most memorable death scenes in the history of the show. While many of the other memorable death scenes included much gore and blood shed, Olenna’s death had no blood at all. Her death scene is memorable simply because of the words she said.
In the scene, Jaime had given Olenna a gentle poison that was to basically put her to sleep for forever. It seems like the hands down best way to go out on Game of Thrones, a show in which people are flayed, have their skulls crushed in, or are eaten by their own dogs. Olenna downed the poison, but she's not the type of person to just quietly fade off. She took her last moment to tell Jaime that it was, in fact, her who poisoned Joffrey. This was a very Olenna thing to do, y’know to be literally dying but still have the upper hand in the scene. The shift in power was as entertaining as it was heartbreaking. Jaime Lannister has to win one, guys.
10 Worst: All The Plot Holes Ever
I know the argument already. When critics pointed out the plot holes of this season, many people are like, “Why do I care if there are plot holes? There are friggin’ dragons! None of this is real anyway.”
I get it. It’s an epic fantasy world in which dragons exist, people come back from the dead, and there are ice zombies. However, I would also argue that plot holes poking away at the believability of the show takes away from the fantasy elements. Previously, you could buy into the dragons, White Walkers, and resurrections because the show was so realistic in every single other aspect. Everything made sense, so sure why not have dragons existing? That is no longer the case, as ravens fly at light speed whenever the plot of the episode needs them to do so.
That said, I do feel for poor David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who are now writing the show without any source material. But like, we can all still agree that Bronn should have totally been lit up by the dragon fire? And also Jaime and Bronn would have sank to the bottom of that river. You saw the amount of armor on those dudes. They would drown, especially considering the fact that Jaime has a GOLD HAND. And yet, they survived?
9 Best: Everything Ice Dragon
In season seven, everything involving the dragons was amazing, especially the ice dragon. Because holy hell, there is now an ice dragon in play. Everything has changed.
I’ll start with everything about the dragons, as this season has finally made them integral to the show. Sure, the dragons were always a part of the show, in that they were there on the show sometimes doing things. However, season seven finally brought to the screen the full power of a dragon in battle and it was terrifying. Being that the "The Spoils of War" scene was first viewed through the lens of Bronn and Jaime, it was the first time audiences saw the dragons from the other perspective. Instead of viewing the dragons from Daenerys' perspective, we saw what it's like to be running from dragon fire while watching other people be roasted. It was not pretty, but it did make the dragon scenes much more complex.
Moving on to the ice dragon, there’s just so many things to talk about. Viserion dying, only to be turned into a zombie ice dragon seemed like the culmination of so many things that had been on the board for so long. We knew that there were dragons, that there were ways to kill dragons, and that the Night King could raise the dead. Seeing it all come together, though? Yeah, that was incredible. Also, watching Viserion bring down the Wall was terrifying. In fact, it may have been the single most terrifying White Walker scene as of yet.
Sure, it was sad when Viserion died, but I am also so here for an ice dragon that breathes some kind of a blue-ice-fire-laser beam.
8 Worst: Even More Plot Holes
Um…but…yes, even more plot holes, guys. This was a big, big issue this season. Again, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are now writing the show without the guidance of the books, which makes it 1000% more difficult. With that in mind, some things can be forgiven, but unfortunately "Beyond the Wall" is not one of the forgivable things.
The season's second to last episode, "Beyond the Wall," was both awesome and both full of plot holes. Did I love watching Game of Thrones’ version of Suicide Squad? Yes. Was Viserion becoming an ice dragon a game changer? Yes. However, the episode’s many plot holes kept it from achieving the praise and notoriety of other penultimate episodes like season one’s “The Baelor” or season six’s “The Battle of the Bastards.” I wanted it to be just as good as season three's "The Rains of Castamere," but the plot holes got in the way.
What plot holes am I talking about? Well, I didn’t have an issue with the Night King’s throwing skills like other people. That, I believe, one could chalk up to magic. However, the Night King throwing an ice spear at Viserion seems odd when Drogon was literally sitting on the ground. Why would the Night King aim for the moving target over the larger, grounded dragon? Um, he wouldn't.
There’s also the moment in which Jon Snow tells Gendry he’s the fastest, with absolutely no way of knowing that whatsoever. It’s like Jon just randomly decided on that fact, even though Gendry took three seasons to row to King’s Landing. (I know he had been there all along. I'm trying to make a joke, people.)
That’s also the fact that Jon Snow survives at all. The Night King even thinks Jon died, as he fell into that icy body of water while wearing 700 pounds of fur. Somehow, Jon lifts himself out of the water, only to be surrounded by White Walkers. Oh, but Jon gets out of this predicament as well thanks to the help of his half-dead Uncle Benjen. Insisting there's not time for both of them to escape, Uncle Benjen sacrifices himself. I would have felt bad about Uncle Benjen's death, but I was too busy trying to figure out why they both couldn't escape since his logic was unclear.
Lastly, there is the issue of a raven flying from the Wall to Dragonstone and then Daenerys flying from Dragonstone to beyond the Wall all before nightfall. This led many fans to question the speed of ravens, which took their good ol’ time in the previous seasons but apparently upgraded to propriety shipping this season.
7 Best: All The Reunions
Season seven finally gave us some of the reunions for which we had all been waiting. Most obviously, there’s the Stark siblings reuniting in Winterfell. Well, really there was just the Arya/Sansa reunion in Winterfell, since Bran is a total weirdo these days. But hey, the Arya/Sansa reunion was so good it filled that Stark-shaped hole in all our hearts.
In the season seven finale, so many major characters reunited, it was completely overwhelming. I was happy, and surprised, and pretty much just trying to keep up with all the reunions. There was Brienne and the Hound, who bonded over their little murder baby Arya. There was Brienne and Jaime, who need to get it on ASAP. Also, I love that everyone has a thing for Brienne. The Hound, Jaime, Tormund, all these men become weak at the sight of Brienne of Tarth.
There was the reunion of the Hound and the Mountain. Fans have been hoping for Cleganebowl, in which the two brother battle to the death, but that sadly didn't pan out this season. Hey, there's still one more season for Cleganbowl, though!
Speaking of brothers, there was Tyrion’s cold reunion with Jaime, followed by his warmer reunion with Jaime. The coldest reunion of all had to be that of Tyrion and Cersei. By the way, that Tyrion and Cersei scene really made me miss the days of those two butting heads in King’s Landing. Ah, to be young and watching season two again.
There was also Bronn and Tyrion, Bronn and Podrick, and Podrick and Tyrion. Oh, and Jorah and Daenerys. Did I cover all the reunions? Probably not. There were so many!
On top of the reunion thing, there was also the long awaited meeting of Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. All in all, finally seeing characters interacting with each other was awesome.
6 Worst: The Re-Reveal Scene
In season six, it was revealed that Jon Snow was not the son of Ned Stark at all. Rather, Jon Snow is actually the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. This reveal had long been theorized by fans, so it was fun to see it finally pan out. However, this new information didn’t necessarily make him the heir to the throne, since he'd be the bastard son of Rhaegar Targaryen.
Oh, but hold on. In season seven, Gilly read that Rhaegar Targaryen and Elia Martell’s marriage had been annulled by a maester, who then married Rhaegar and Lyanna. This was MAJOR information, as it means Jon Snow is actually the heir to the Iron Throne. (So sit down and go home, Daenerys!) However, it was revealed in what felt like a throwaway scene, which was weird.
It wasn’t until Bran and Samwell Tarly – arguably the two most knowledgeable and boring characters on the series – sat down in the finale that this information was totally processed. Now, Bran and Samwell know Jon Snow is, in fact, the heir to the Iron Throne. This should have felt like a huge moment, but instead it felt beaten down. If perhaps one of the previous reveal scenes had been eliminated or these scenes had taken place closer together, the knowledge of Jon Snow’s parentage could still feel like it has weight to it. At this point, it just feels like a lot of talking about it and not much action.
Yes, it’s the most game-changing revelation maybe ever in the course of the show, but this information deserved to be portrayed in such a cooler way. You deserved more, R + L = J!
5 Best: Gendry’s Back!!!
Do people care about this character coming back? Is it insignificant in the scheme of things? I don’t care! Gendry is back, y’all!
In case you forgot about the long-gone character, Gendry is the last living bastard of Robert Baratheon, as Joffrey savagely ordered all the bastards, even the babies, be slaughtered. Gendry and his sweet, sweet abs escaped the slaughter, and went on to share some adorable scenes with Arya Stark. Also, are we all hoping for an Arya and Gendry reunion next season? I sure am. These two had the most chemistry.
Because Gendry had king’s blood in him and Melisandre had blood lust for king’s blood, Davos sent Gendry rowing back to King’s Landing and that’s the last we saw of him. Until this season!
In his return, Gendry was better than ever, especially in his scenes with Jon Snow. Also, are Jon Snow and Gendry automatic best friends? It sure seemed that way. Of course, it was odd that Gendry didn’t bring up the fact that he was very well acquainted with Arya Stark, but there probably just wasn’t enough time in the episode for this conversation between Gendry and Jon Snow. In fact, this seemed to be the case across the board, as many characters should have had certain conversation but never did. I’m nitpicking and I’ll stop. Let’s all just be happy Gendry is back and pray he makes it till the end.
Will Gendry play into the endgame in some huge way? Probably not, but Gendry is back, baby!
4 Worst: The Romantic Comedy Plot Points
The audience loves to love Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen, both as individuals and as a couple. It doesn’t even matter that Daenerys is actually Jon's aunt. Nope, people still wanted Jon Snow to bone down his Aunt Dany, which he totally did.
That said, the development of the relationship between Jon and Daenerys felt a little bit like a Kate Hudson rom-com, in that it was just too obvious and traditional. In going beat by beat, first the pair meets and hates each other, which we’ve all seen in many, many romantic comedies. Like, they hate each other but they also totally want to get it on. It's typical romantic comedy stuff, guys.
In their first meeting, Daenerys hears that Jon Snow was stabbed in the heart. This is the bit of information that she clings to, as it makes him human. It's very much like when a girl will find out the guy character is a jerk because he's actually just had his heart broken, a la Bridget Jones' Diary.
Ah, but they make some progress. Daenerys and Jon finally find common ground in the dragonglass and the White Walkers. There’s even a scene in much Drogon cuddles up to Jon, which is the Game of Thrones version of a girl’s mean dog or mean friend or mean dad actually liking the guy she brought home. Then in the season seven finale, they banged. Long story short, it played out much like a romantic comedy and Game of Thrones owes us so much more than that.
Of course, this romance is unlike most other romantic comedies, as there is still the fact that Daenerys is Jon’s aunt. This knowledge may also be what tears the duo apart, so that's a cool and sick twist. However, it was a let down that Game of Thrones spent a lot of precious time with these romantic comedy-esque plot points instead of focusing on the politics, which used to be the core of the show.
In a show that used to kill its heroes and present interesting relationships, Game of Thrones has unfortunately embraced more and more traditional storytelling.
3 Best: Everything Jaime
Speaking of nontraditional storytelling methods, we can still cling to the beauty that is Jaime Lannister. Sure, one could argue that Jaime Lannister's arc almost mirrors the storytelling structure of the bad boy who turns good guy, but it’s much, much deeper and more complicated.
When we first meet Jaime, he’s the type of guy who bangs his twin sister and throws a 10-year-old boy out a window to cover it up. It’s not that he just seems like a bad guy, he truly is a bad guy through and through, but also a good guy. Yes, the same guy who threw Bran from that window is the guy who killed the Mad King to save the kingdom. The complicated nature of Jaime Lannister is that he’s both a good guy and a bad guy, and he’ll probably always be both. Jaime lost his hand and saved Brienne of Tarth, but then went on to rape his twin sister in front of their dead son’s body, but then he saved Tyrion from death. Good, bad, good, bad.
Jaime Lannister remains one of the most complex and complicated characters on the show, which is some truly epic storytelling. Also, Nikolaj Coster Waldau’s performance has never been better. He can officially go head to head with Lena Headey and Peter Dinklage, which is saying a lot.
2 Worst: Basically, It Felt Like Fan Fiction
What many of the issues with this season of Game of Thrones come down to is that it really just feels like fan fiction. Really, it did. It felt like us fans wrote it for ourselves. And while it may not have been fan fiction, it certainly did feel like the season was written with the audience in mind. The whole Daenerys and Jon storyline felt like it was 100% playing into the desires of the audience. Furthermore, the time spent developing this relationship over the actual game of thrones was likely because that’s what the audience wanted to see. Yes, we’d all rather see two sexy actors have eye sex for six episodes then actual sex in the finale, however the core of the show is about master manipulators like Varys and Littlefinger, who had much less screen time than previous seasons. On that note, there wasn’t one major death that just made you feel empty inside in the way that Ned's, Hodor's, Oberyn's or the Red Wedding did. Perhaps, they’re saving all those major deaths for season eight...?
It just seems like Game of Thrones is now a world in which the fans get what they want in terms of storytelling, which is not the show we all started watching.
1 Best: It Set Up A Complicated Last Season
Admittedly, season seven was a hard season to pull off. As the second to last season, this season was actually more about setting up the final season than it was actually being good in its own right. And it still was really good in its own right, despite all those plot holes.
What season seven definitely succeeded in was setting up a very complicated final season of the show. Cersei Lannister is still seated on the Iron Throne, something I didn’t necessarily think would be true by the end of season seven. On that note, pregnant Cersei may be without her twin-brother-lover, but she is awaiting her new bae Euron Greyjoy with her 20,000 paid assassins. In the North, we saw the Wall come tumbling down for the first time ever, which… well, everyone is in trouble. When the dust settles from the threat in the North, Daenerys and Jon will likely have to deal with the fact that they are related and totally hot for each other. Daenerys will also have to deal with that the fact that Jon is entitled to the one thing she wanted the whole series: the Iron Throne.
Many complicated events and relationships are set to unfold in season eight, which may be the single best part about season seven, as we’re that much closer to seeing the end of the series.