Despite having improved from last season, there were still many storylines and character moments that were a complete miss this season. Whether it was the filler episodes or the cartoonish villains, Season Six proved that Game of Thrones is far from overcoming some of their missteps in later seasons.
Ramsay’s characterisation this season was one of my least favourite things. Iwan Rheon plays him brilliantly, but his villainous nature was established way back in season 3. We didn’t need more reminders as to why we disliked the character this season, and all of his actions of violence felt far too gratuitous and unnecessary, and it was far too obvious that they were just there for shock value rather than part of any decent storyline. Even genuinely shocking moments such as Ramsay killing his father Roose were not properly expanded on, and it would have been far more interesting to have a scene in which Ramsay reflects on killing the man whose validation he’s craved for years, rather than setting his dogs on Walda and her child.Through Ramsay they wasted the character potential of Osha and Rickon, bringing them back only to kill them off without hearing about what they’ve been through since season 3 was a missed opportunity, Ramsay was simply a cartoon villain this season, and it feels like the writers wasted the last season they had with his character just for some shock value and cheers when he finally got killed off.
This plotline annoys me far too much to get it all down in a short paragraph, but I will never understand if the purpose of Dorne was for them to end up supporting Daenerys, like the characters do in the books, then there was no reason for the mess the writers created the past two seasons. They didn’t need to kill of Doran, and they could have incorporated at least parts of his plan from the books, and end the season in the same way, with Dorne’s army sailing towards Westeros with Daenerys. They simply ruined it. At least the writers understood the backlash towards Dorne, and only included the Dornish characters in two episodes this season. There are so many problems with Dorne, and I do plan on writing a whole post about it.
Moments like Rickon’s death in ‘Battle of the Bastards’ were sad, but even then it was hard to feel attached to a character they brought back and gave zero lines to this season. Rickon wasn’t a character, he was a plot device, simply a way to get Jon to charge first. They didn’t bother fleshing his character out at all, and it seemed a waste to kill off an unused character just for shock value. The reintroduction of his character was just another wasted opportunity.
Compared to Dorne, the focus on the Iron Islanders wasn’t as bad as it could have been. It wasn’t terrible, but it was certainly disappointing. It was great to see Yara again after the mess of the episode she appeared in in Season 4, and while diverging from the books I didn’t mind Theon being back home and it give him some character development after the hell he was put through. They only introduced one new character for this plotline, and it was just.. underwhelming. I’m not a massive fan of the new Greyjoy characters introduced in A Feast for Crows, but I know there are many fans who love Euron Greyjoy’s character and I can understand why. His entrance in the Kingsmoot is dramatic, and whether you like him or not he’s the character who captures your attention. Not including the Dragon Horn either was an odd choice for them to make, as not only does it cause him to gather more support, it makes for an incredibly dramatic entrance for this character. I can accept the change they made in directly showing Euron killing Balon as the first time the audience is introduced to him, but to me it didn’t make sense why Euron would admit to killing Balon so openly. It made far more sense for Balon’s death to be viewed as an accident by the rest of the Iron Islanders, and it was one of a number of decisions that didn’t make sense in that storyline. Yara and Theon escaping so quickly without anyone noticing and stopping them, as well as Euron’s plan to build a thousand ships with the few men he had left on the Iron Islands just didn’t make sense. Game of Thrones had a serious villain problem this year, and instead of a character that should have been interesting to watch, whether you liked him or not, we just got another cartoonish villain that no one took seriously.
With Daenerys away from Meereen for the majority of the season, the person left to carry the storyline was Tyrion. For me, it was one of the most dull parts of the season. Peter Dinklage is always consistently great in his role as Tyrion, but he got his worst material so far. His storyline this season just consisted of drinking and making awkward jokes with Missandei and Greyworm. Not even Varys could save it, and it just wasted all the storylines they could have done. Killing off Barristan Selmy last season proved to be a mistake, and I’m still bitter that we won’t get to see his character taking charge. Meereen is far from perfect in the books, but I was never counting the minutes until their chapters were over, unlike the scenes this season. There was a nice scene with Tyrion meeting Daenerys’s dragons, using a story from the books that was nicely incorporated and no doubt led to more people believing Tyrion is a secret Targaryen. Peter Dinklage receiving an Emmy nomination this season therefore felt a little undeserved, as they could have given another actor a nomination. Someone like Iwan Rheon, despite the issues I had with Ramsay this season made Ramsay terrifying and one of the most memorable characters on the show, deserved a nomination for his last season on the show.
I’ve already said that many parts of this season were just underwhelming ,and this storyline was definitely one of them. Since Arya has gone to Braavos it has highlighted how messy the writers make the show when adapting a trickier storyline from the books, such as this one. Arya spent these past two seasons training in a storyline that felt it wasn’t really going anywhere. Lady Crane was a nice character to be introduced, but it wasn’t enough to save the plot. The performance of the events at the Purple Wedding were a better part of Braavos, it was interesting to see how everyone else would view the events in King’s Landing. However, the scenes went on far too long and just appeared to be filler moments until they could do a dramatic event at the end of the season. Arya disobeying the orders of the Faceless Men was fine enough, but at the the end of ‘The Broken Man’ the show got ridiculous. Arya strolled around the streets, happily booking her passage home and stopped and admired the view in Braavos. It didn’t make sense that she wasn’t on the run or in hiding. Arya would know the Faceless Men would be after her, and could be anyone she spoke to. But it was the Waif stabbing Arya numerous times, Arya falling off a bridge, the Waif not checking if she was really dead that bothered me. Soon after the episode aired, theories began emerging that Arya planned it and it wasn’t really her and so when next week’s episode ‘No One’ aired everyone wondered what would be revealed. But, no. The plot was just that disappointing,and did nothing to contradict it in one of the season’s worst episodes. Arya somehow magically survived her stab wounds enough to run and jump around the streets of Braavos while being chased, then somehow still had enough energy to fight and kill the Waif. It was one of the show’s laughable moments, and I think that everyone is finally relieved to have Arya away from that storyline now.
I was pleasantly surprised that the show included the Siege at Riverrun, the storyline being one of my favourites from the books. It’s crucial to Jaime’s character development, his relationship with Cersei, as well as making clear of the effects of the Red Wedding and how the conflicts have affected Westeros. I expected to be disappointed, but this shouldn’t have made it on my worse moments of Season Six.First of all, many people who watch the show won’t remember any of the Tully characters like the Blackfish or Edmure. I can’t remember anyone mentioning them since the end of Season Three, and to have them shoved back in just so Jamie and Cersei could be apart for the tial wasn’t good enough. This would have worked a lot better last season, instead of sending Jaime off to the complete shit that was Dorne. The siege itself roughly followed the books, apart from one crucial moment. Killing the Blackfish offscreen. The Blackfish is still alive in the books, and I can understand why the show didn’t necessarily want him to escape in the same way. Even so, with Brienne turning up and trying to get the Blackfish and his army to join Sansa, it would have been better if the Blackfish realised his home was lost and joined Brienne and Pod back to Winterfell. They could have had him return for the Battle of the Bastards, and given him a good battle scene before killing him off if they wanted to. They cast the Blackfish so well, and Clive Russell is a fantastic actor, so this whole storyline just seemed like another wasted opportunity, that had potential for better character moments.
Episode rating lowest to highest:
The Red Woman
Blood of my blood
The Broken Man
Book of the Stranger
Battle of the Bastards
The Winds of Winter
(Also, WHY STILL NO LADY STONEHEART??)