Season six of “Game of Thrones” is the best its been in years, bringing together long-diverging storylines in exciting, unexpected ways and finally answering questions about the histories of the Starks, the White Walkers and, of course, poor Hodor.
The show’s certainly come a long way in its six year run, but there are some very memorable misses in its past.
Here are the biggest missteps in the show’s history.
7. Gendry's escape from Dragonstone in season three hasn't been addressed in years and is one of the longest running (rowing?) memes on the show.
Gendry grew up in Flea Bottom, the poorest slum of King's Landing. He always thought of himself as a luckless nobody until Melisandre appeared and revealed that he's the only living heir to King Robert Baratheon.
That was the good news. The bad news was that she needed his royal blood for a magic ritual to kill her enemies. Tough break, kid. Davos, also born and raised in Flea Bottom, offered Gendry a row boat so he could escape the Isle of Dragonstone and return to King's Landing's port.
That was three years ago. Gendry's whereabouts have been referenced once and actor Joe Dempsie regularly tweets jokes about the completely unaddressed storyline. Following the deaths of both Stannis and Shireen, ending the Baratheon line, will Gendry (the only living Baratheon we know of) return? The show has also referenced the Brotherhood Without Banners recently, will Gendry connect with them, as he did in the novels?
6. A prostitute from Winterfell, Ros was the embodiment of season one and two's tendency for 'sexposition.' Even the writers admit she wasn't a fully-fledged character.
The term 'sexposition' was coined by writer Myles McNutt when discussing Ros' sex scene with another prostitute in season one. Essentially, she acted as tantalising eye candy while Littlefinger provided the audience with background knowledge about Westeros.
For the next two seasons, Ros was either naked, having something explained to her, or both. Writer and producer Bryan Cogman specifically said the character was created as an 'exposition tool' for the audience. Once her purpose as a sexposition tool was served, she was killed off. She's revealed as a spy for Varys in season three, and Littlefinger gives her to Joffrey, who murders her with a crossbow.
It's unnecessary -- we already knew Joffrey was a monster and that Varys and Littlefinger are at opposite ends of a chessboard -- and the graphic final shot of her corpse functioned only as shock value.
5. Before freeing the slaves in Meereen, Dany kept us all chained to a very long, very dull storyline in season two where her dragons were kidnapped by a warlock.
After the birth of her dragons in the season one finale, Dany wanders the deserts known as the Red Wastes, eventually coming to Qarth. As she petitions the city's nobles for ships to take the Dothraki army to Westeros, she meets a warlock from the House of the Undying.
While Dany eventually becomes a feared conqueror throughout Essos, in season two she did nothing but quarrel with the warlocks and get wrapped up in their coup against the Qartheen elite. They kidnap her dragons and then kidnap her before she escapes.
While Dany's season one arc with the Dothraki and her liberation efforts from seasons three onward all have a major effect on what's happening now, there's little to no reference to her time in Qarth. It lasted one season, but didn't really seem to matter.
In the books, you can feel the echoes of Dany's time in Qarth through the visions she had at the House of the Undying. Season two, by contrast, is almost entirely self-contained. The enemies and allies she makes in Qarth are never referenced again. One interesting exception is the masked sorceress, Quaithe of the Shadow. She was able to create some sort of protection for a soldier going to Valyria. It's not clear whether that was for greyscale, but maybe she could be a source of help for Jorah in seeking a cure to the disease.
4. Unlike her book counterpart, Shae was hopelessly devoted to Tyrion, even turning down countless riches to be with him. Then, in season four, she sleeps with his father and the two try to kill each other.
In the season three finale, 'Mhysa,' Lord Varys offers Shae a pouch full of diamonds and the chance to start her life over in another city -- if she leaves Tyrion. She tosses the jewels aside and chooses to stay in King's Landing, not leaving the city until Tyrion orders Bronn to force her onto a departing ship.
It's a huge departure from the books. There, Shae is self-interested, distant, and has no genuine love for Tyrion.
With that in mind, her eventual betrayal -- both testifying against Tyrion in court and sleeping with his father, Tywin -- makes a lot more sense if Shae was as deceptive and avaricious as her character in the novels.
Instead, choosing to make Shae devoted entirely to Tyrion makes her betrayal a confusing and unexplained heel-face turn.
3. Loras was introduced in season one as a talented knight dedicated to Prince Renly. Since season three, unfortunately, his only role in the show is being mocked and tormented because of his sexuality.
First introduced in season one as the famous 'Knight of the Flowers,' Loras Tyrell was a talented warrior and secret lover to Prince Renly Baratheon. Loras inspired Renly to gather an army and fight to become king, was the commander of Renly's Kingsguard, and finally, wore Renly's armour to fight against Stannis during the Battle of Blackwater.
Since then, however, Loras' character development has been null and void. In seasons three and four, he existed mostly as a running joke. When he was promised to Sansa, we see him ignore her to daydream about fashion and Olenna dismisses him as 'a sword swallower through and through.'
This is all before he's arrested and jailed by the Faith Militant for 'buggery' or sleeping with men. It's a break from the book's canon and again reduces the character simply to his sexuality.
2. The Sand Snakes plot from seasons five and six made the vengeful women of Dorne seem like small-minded and juvenile caricatures of their book counterparts.
It's never easy to translate the many, many characters and storylines from the novels into easy-to-follow plotlines for the show, but the Dorne arc is among the show's least successful attempts.
After the death of Oberyn Martell in a trial by combat, his lover and his daughters set off on a quest of vengeance against the Lannister family. What results is a 'roaring rampage of revenge' straight out of 'Kill Bill,' as Ellaria and her daughters kill Myrcella Lannister, Doran Martell, and his son, Trystane Martell.
It's quick and bloody, but lacks all of the finesse and political complexity of the novels. There, Doran is still alive and has a daughter named Arianne Martell. He reveals to her a long-standing plot to join the Targaryen and Martell houses through marriage. Arianne herself wants Myrcella to claim the Iron Throne and establish women as equal inheritors for the crown, as they are in Dorne.
It may have been too unmanageable to bring to screen easily, but that doesn't excuse the rushed writing and that horrible clunker of a goodbye scene.
1. Sansa's rape in season five was the most critically reviled storyline in the show's history, and even received a mention from a US senator.
'Would you like to hear about our wedding night?' When Sansa confronts Littlefinger in season six, she demands to know why he rescued her from the Lannisters in King's Landing only to leave her with Ramsay in Bolton-occupied Winterfell.
As show watchers know, Sansa was brutally raped on her wedding night as well as horribly abused by her new husband afterwards. Watching Sansa finally escape the wrath of the Lannisters, it was frustrating (and horrifying) to see her in this predicament.
By season six, Sansa has been engaged to Joffrey, Tyrion, and Ramsay. She was engaged to Joffrey at the behest of Ned and Robert. She was the promised to Loras Tyrell because of Margaery and Olenna's plots, but before that could take place she was swiftly engaged to Tyrion at the behest of Tywin. Afterwards, Sansa was wed to Ramsay because of Littlefinger's calculations.
The disempowering back-and-forth had been very disappointing to Sansa fans, and her 'wedding' to Ramsay proved the lowest point. That it came so soon after this proclamation: 'I'm Sansa Stark of Winterfell. This is my home. And you can't frighten me' was unnecessarily cruel.
'Game of Thrones' has been controversial for its treatment of women and depiction of rape since the pilot, but the lowest moment for many fans was in season five's 'Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken,' when Sansa was raped on her wedding night by Ramsay Bolton. It is IMDB's lowest-rated episode to date and was branded 'disgusting and unacceptable' by Sen. Claire McCaskill.
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