game of thrones aired from 2011 to 2019 on HBO under the direction of showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss. Adapted from the award-winning fantasy series by George RR Martin A song of ice and firethe show was critically acclaimed and won numerous awards and nominations for its production, including sound, acting, visuals and costumes.
However, the show was criticized for its inconsistent and subpar quality mid-run when it topped the books. Some complaints included gratuitous shock value, character arc assassinations, plot holes, inconsistencies, and anticlimactic resolutions. This led to many episodes in the second half of the series, disappointing loyal fans who wished the story had gone a different route or had better writing.
ten Unnecessary violence and poorly written female characters dominate rebellious, adamant, unbroken (S5E6)
For season five’s “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken,” viewers were disappointed with its treatment of female characters. Sand snakes are popular in the books for their combat skills and diverse personalities. Unfortunately, in the series, they are neither competent nor interesting and are written as bickering children to the detriment of their original counterparts.
The show’s versions also want to kill Myrcella in revenge, which does them no favors, especially since the characters in the book don’t want any such thing. Worse, the episode simultaneously features Sansa’s marriage to Ramsay and her subsequent abuse. Given that Sansa already suffered abuse in Kings’ Landing, this led to opinions that the writers once again reduced Sansa’s character to victimization for shock value.
9 Mother’s Mercy delivers an unsatisfactory ending to Stannis and his army (S5E10)
For many fans, Stannis’ plot has an unsatisfying conclusion in “Mother’s Mercy.” Stannis was a longtime fan favorite with his adherence to duty. But his show version received adaptation tweaks making him less heroic than Renly. This escalates until Stannis’ northern campaign fails miserably.
His army is decimated, he sacrifices Shireen for nothing, Melisandre abandons him, and Stannis himself suffers an embarrassing, off-screen death by Brienne, who declares Renly the true king before doing so. It doesn’t help that this Season 5 finale gives abrupt and ambiguous sendoffs to other tales, such as Sansa and Theon leaping off the walls of Winterfell and Myrcella collapsing from poison.
8 Dorne gets surprisingly worse treatment in Red Woman (S6E1)
Dorne was poorly received by the TV show’s audience despite Oberyn Martell’s warm reception in Season 4 and Ellaria’s positive characterization before Season 5. One of the redeeming aspects of Dorne was seen as Doran Martell, played with dignity by Alexander Siddig.
However, the Season 6 premiere shows Ellaria and the Sand Snakes murdering Doran, Areo Hotah, and Trystane for failing to avenge Oberyn. Viewers were appalled by the disappearance of Dorne’s remaining good points and lack of internal logic. Ellaria and the Sand Snakes are bastards, but then they speak for Dorne as legitimate representatives who make military decisions. Moreover, it seems the rest of Dorne doesn’t care that their royalty has been murdered and usurped.
seven Arya improbably heals fast enough not to run into anyone (S6E8)
During her training with the Faceless Men in Braavos, Arya fails on a mission to kill Lady Crane. Afterwards, Arya is stabbed by the Waif and throws herself into the river to escape. Viewers have theorized that Arya really was Jaqen H’ghar in disguise or hoped there would be realistic consequences for such injuries.
But viewers weren’t happy with the episode “No One”, where Arya is stitched up by Lady Crane and immediately leads the Waif on an intense chase around Braavos with no adverse side effects other than her wound re-opening. This is especially notable for a series where characters like Khal Drogo and Ned have been much less incapacitated.
6 Beyond the Wall Makes a Mess of Timelines and Logic (S7E6)
In an effort to win Cersei’s support for the long night, already a useless hope in itself, Jon Snow leads a team far north to catch a wight in “Beyond the Wall” in season 7. The show had already started to play fast and free with deadlines and tense suspension of disbelief in previous seasons.
But this episode takes the cake. In a single episode, the group passes the Wall, encounters the White Walkers and their army, engages them in battle, and sends Gendry to contact Daenerys. They are then quickly rescued by Daenerys, who apparently receives Gendry’s message and flies out of Dragonstone in record time.
5 Littlefinger’s disappearance is seen as contrived and disappointing in The Dragon and the Wolf (S7E7)
Littlefinger is one of the most evil characters in game of thrones. It plants the seeds leading to the War of the Five Kings and wreaks havoc on Westeros’ economy while ensuring its rise in prestige. He does all of this out of resentment that his inferior birth keeps him from being suitable for Catelyn.
After Season 4, Littlefinger makes questionable decisions like marrying Sansa to Ramsay. His intellect plummets until he hangs out with Sansa at Winterfell in season 8, giving her useless advice. Littlefinger then finds himself at the mercy of Sansa and Arya’s half-baked game of sibling rivalry and is quickly executed in Season 7’s “The Dragon and the Wolf.” more to offer.
4 The titular event of the long night lasts one episode (S8E3)
One of the show’s controversial moments was its downplaying of the long night. Since the show’s inception, impending winter and the threat of the White Walkers have been building up with the Starks’ motto “Winter is Coming” recurring frequently. Everything seems to lead to a fight between the living and the dead.
This flies out the window in Season 8’s “The Long Night.” Arya annihilates the Night King and the invasion disperses, not even making it past Winterfell. Arya somehow fulfills the prophecy of the Prince That Was Promised, the Night King gets no deep insight into her motives, and the living make foolish decisions defending Winterfell in bad light. All of this led to a highly anticipated episode that became hugely controversial.
3 Rhaegal and Missandei die to infuriate Daenerys even more in The Last Of The Starks (S8E4)
In Season 8 Episode 4, “The Last of the Starks,” viewers witnessed an event that sparked rage due to the way it happened: Rhaegal’s death. It’s bad enough that Viserion is killed and becomes a servant of the Night King. But Rhaegal’s demise is worse because it happens so quickly and with flimsy justification.
According to the showrunners, Daenerys “forgot” about the Iron Fleet, which leads to Euron improbably incapacitating another dragon when she approaches King’s Landing. Cersei then executes Missandei to anger Daenerys. Issues with flippant handling of a prominent colored character aside, Missandei hadn’t shared significant scenes with Daenerys in some time, which lessened the emotional impact.
2 Daenerys’ characterization makes a strong deflection in the bells (S8E5)
Daenery’s quick deflection in the Season 8 Episode 5 characterization, “The Bells,” is a much hated choice for her mishandling. Although King’s Landing is ringing the bells to signal its surrender to Daenerys, it now chooses revenge and begins raining fire on the city.
Many viewers didn’t necessarily care about the concept of Daenerys losing her sanity, but wished it was established sooner and better. They also thought the showrunners’ attempts to point out the foreshadowing were unconvincing. Additionally, Arya’s continued avoidance of death in life-threatening situations makes the episode hard to take seriously.
1 The Iron Throne caps off the series with plot holes and frustrating conclusions (S8E6)
The show’s Season 8 finale “The Iron Throne” should have been a worthy send-off to the popular show that helped redefine the modern television landscape and became a cultural touchstone. Instead, he drew derision from fans over details and decisions that were seen as nonsensical.
Memorable highlights include Bran becoming king for supposedly having the most interesting history, the North seceding without further issue, Jon killing Daenerys with no apparent reaction from his allies, the Starks splitting up and going their separate ways, and Bronn from all people becoming Coin master.
NEXT: 10 Signs Bran Stark Would Become King In Game Of Thrones