1. Yara Fails To Rescue Theon
For as much as everyone praises the series’ direction, there have been many instances of jarringly shoddy cinematography. The scene where Yara failed to rescue Theon from Ramsay’s kennel was one of them.
Now, there was nothing wrong with Yara choosing to leave Theon behind as it would have been foolish and suicidal of her to continue trying to save an annoying worm who persistently resisted her. But the way the scene played out was just dumb: Benioff and Weiss’ focus on making Ramsay a badass who can murder people without even wearing a shirt made the Ironborn look pathetic.
In the show and books, they’re described as some of the toughest killers in Westeros, but the show portrayed them as soft morons who could be easily bested in combat by the Boltons.
It also didn’t help that you couldn’t see the fight thanks to the cramped space and dark lighting, but what’s worse is that the showrunners didn’t care as all they wanted you to see was Ramsay’s pecs and scars.
This scene – along with others – is why the Ironborn are regarded by fans of the show as jokes, rather than the Westeros equivalent to Vikings.
2. The Return Of The Hound
Yes, The Hound was a great, funny character. But that “was” is the key word here.
Since he returned in season six, however, he has been a victim of ‘Flanderisation’ – degraded to nothing more than the comic one-liners that were once an amusing – but minor – trait of his when venturing across Westeros with Arya.
Now, instead of being a glorified bodyguard with layers beneath his hard exterior, he is an imbecile made to provide nothing but comic relief.
It’s a prime example of how the show’s quality in writing has deteriorated since passing the events of the books, with it being hard to believe that the character would receive the same treatment in the Winds Of Winter if it was ever to be released.
Him joining the Brotherhood Without Banners because of the abrupt deaths of unfamiliar innocents was also subpar and it would have been far better to have him just appear with them in the first place.
Then again, with how the show has made him nothing but a Neanderthal, it would have been even better to just leave him dead.
3. Theon Gets Kicked In The Groin And Feels Nothing
It’s scenes like this that make you wonder in annoyance why Theon is still alive. Suffice to say, it was not a worthy follow-up to the compelling pep-talk from Jon Snow about Theon being both Stark and Ironborn.
The cinematography was atrocious with the constant cuts and the camera being controlled by a bobblehead, and the fight choreography was poor and embarrassing.
Theon may no longer have balls, but three knees to the groin would still hurt – he doesn’t have a metal plate down there, and he would still have a likely infected wound.
If you wanted to leap to the defence of the showrunners, you could argue that him not feeling any pain was symbolic of him becoming a man again and moving past that horrific part of his life.
But, even if that feeble rebuttal were true, it was still an eye-rolling scene that should not have been in Game Of Thrones.
It’s another example of why the Ironborn cannot be taken seriously in the show, and – if it’s symbolic of anything – it’s a personification of the show’s writers struggling without George R.R Martin.
4. Jaime Doesn’t Drown
Season seven was just horrible, and the primary reason was that every major character became invincible thanks to the padding of their plot armour.
Jaime charging towards Daenerys and Drogon was a stupid – but admirable – feat of bravery to end the war with a single move, but the way Bronn rescued him from being burned alive was insulting to everyone’s intelligence.
It was bad enough that Jaime’s body fell into an abyss after being knocked off only the shore, but the show required way too much suspension of disbelief in additionally asking you to accept him being able to swim or be carried to the surface with all his heavy armour on.
While it would have been equally inconceivable for any of Jaime’s armour to be removed, the showrunners would have at least demonstrated an awareness of weight if Bronn had taken off the shoulder pads or something equally as minimal.
Just anything would have been better than what we got.
Still, regardless of the implausible and ill-considered circumstances, Jaime’s survival was mostly frustrating thanks to being an encapsulation of the show’s sudden reliance on death fake-outs.
5. Sansa And Arya Trick Littlefinger
The execution of Littlefinger was a perfect embodiment of how pathetic and cartoony the showrunners had made him. Even the most uninterested viewer watching at home could tell that Sansa and Arya were secretly in cahoots, so why couldn’t the supposed-to-be smartest man in Westeros?
Well, the answer is simply that the showrunners no longer knew what to do with him, so they decided to make him a second-tier character designed solely to make a main protagonist look good.
Littlefinger’s demise was always going to surface from a rare error in calculations, but the long-awaited payoff was hardly satisfying considering the twist was predictable, and his execution was confirmed by judge Bran’s magic ability to see things.
And then there’s the way he died.
Not only was it embarrassing to see him get down on his knees and plead like a clingy boyfriend not wanting to be dumped, but the way he had absolutely nothing planned to get out of such a situation was inconsistent with his constant scheming.
It was a humiliating, unbefitting end for the man most responsible for the war of the five kings.
6. Jon Snow Charges At Ramsay’s Army And Survives
Remember when the heroes in Game Of Thrones were punished for acting with their heart and not their head?
Apparently, the showrunners don’t as season six and seven were fantasy clichés with an entirely different tone to the series’ and George R.R Martin’s trademark for breaking genre conventions.
While Eddard Stark was punished for ineptitude and Robb was betrayed for falling in love and breaking his promise to the Freys, Jon Snow escaped his moment of idiocy in The Battle Of The Bastards like a common fantasy hero from another book.
The personification of him as a lone warrior certified him as an undefeatable God amongst men, robbing the battle of the unpredictability and tension that once made Game Of Thrones the must-see show.
True, the slow-motion image of him drawing his sword at Ramsay’s galloping army was admittedly badass, but the contrived way every charging horse avoided squashing him conflicted with the battle’s and show’s realism.
It was an over-the-top shot that would’ve been epic in any other medieval war movie or television show, but for Game Of Thrones it was a stupid, eye-rolling moment that embodied the show’s sudden reliance on Hollywood tropes.
7. Littlefinger Pushes Lysa Out The Moon Door
For every character the showrunners have adapted well, there are several more they have severely butchered, and Littlefinger was amongst the worst.
Not only was Aidan Gillen’s ‘patriarchal’ voice distracting with his accent constantly shifting from English to Irish, but he was inadvertently written as an idiot.
Sure, in the first three seasons he was largely handled well, but from season four onwards he became an aimless waste-of-time who seemed to constantly be improvising in his unclear plan to win the Iron Throne.
Nowhere was this more apparent than when he pushed his wife – Lysa Arryn – out the Moon Door.
Marrying and killing her to take control of the Vale was smart, but the way he did it in the open without thinking of the consequences was moronic and it resulted in him being out of control of his own fate and at the mercy of Sansa.
Moreover, the image of Lysa falling to her death was just silly, and the only way it could have been made more stupid was if someone appropriately added the ‘aaah hoo hoo hoey’ yell of Goofy.
Then again, at least that would have been funny for the right reasons…
8. All Of Dorne
Season five’s portrayal of Dorne was so disappointing considering the fine job the series did with Oberyn Martell. The only positives to come out of it were Jaime and Bronn’s banter and the luscious cinematography that Seville, Spain, naturally provided. Other than that, everything else was a disaster.
The Sand Snakes – Oberyn’s bastard daughters – were played by three horrible actors at the mercy of immature dialogue like “you want the good girl, but you need the bad pussy”, and their motivation for killing Myrcella as revenge for the Mountain crushing Oberyn’s head was weak and contrived.
It’s still baffling as to why the showrunners completely altered the far more logical narrative of the Snakes trying to make a claim to the Iron Throne through having Myrcella become queen of Dorne by marrying Trystane.
However, even if you completely ignore the nonsensical changes from the book, there’s still the major issue with how the showrunners essentially gave up on Dorne by quickly having Trystane and Doran Martell murdered so the Snakes could go away and rarely appear again.
Overall, the showrunners’ handling of Dorne was an embarrassing mistake, and they know it.
9. Jon Snow And Daenerys Have Sex
A blatant moment of fan-service for the casual viewers, the dreaded sex scene between Jon Snow and Daenerys was infuriatingly stupid.
First off, it was not Ice and Fire coming together. Jon Snow had already been confirmed as half Targaryen and half Stark, so them becoming romantically attached was already redundant.
Secondly, the romance was contrived, and it felt as if it had been manufactured by George Lucas, rather than George R.R Martin. Then again, it didn’t help that the supposedly overwhelming feelings of love were portrayed by the show’s least credible actors.
Third – and finally – it was completely inconsistent with the honourable character of Jon Snow.
It was appropriate for Daenerys to become hot-and-heavy over the brooding loner seeing as sex had already been demonstrated as a casual activity for her, but for Jon Snow the prospect of being with another woman should have been unthinkable after murdering the love of his life, Ygritte.
After all, it did result in him passing up sex with Melisandre. Yet, for whatever reason, Ygritte never once lingered on his mind with Daenerys. Maybe Benioff’s and Weiss’ excuse is that Daenerys is all blonde…
10. Deus Ex Machinas Beyond The Wall
The stupidest episode in all of Game Of Thrones, Beyond The Wall was a terrible hour of fan-fiction. Although there were horrible examples of dialogue and pacing that deserve to be lamented, the biggest issue was the showrunners’ disregard for logistics and embrace of deus ex machinas.
Gendry running off and sending a raven to Daenerys at Dragonstone was bad enough, but she received the message and then travelled all the way from one end of the massive world to the other in less than a day.
Not only that, but she conveniently arrived beyond the wall just as the wights were overcoming Jon Snow and his magnificent seven, allowing her to swoop in like Superman and save her damsel-in-distress.
And, if that wasn’t bad enough, Uncle Benjen – Coldhands – then came out of nowhere to similarly rescue Jon Snow from certain death.
There were plenty of other idiotic moments like the wights hooking chains around Daenerys’ drowned dragon despite not being able to swim, but it’s the fast travel and impromptu rescues that hurt the most:
They removed all excitement for season eight by embodying the show’s decline from an unpredictable, anti-Hollywood series, to another fantasy cliche.