So, it’s been over a week since the Game of Thrones season six finale, and I’m certain many of us are waiting in desperate anticipation for the new season to start up. While season six has been enjoyable, and arguably quite an improvement on season five, there were a few parts that gained the reactions of “what?” “uh…” and “oh come on!”
And so, allow me to present what I believe were the top five worst moments of season six. It should be noted that I won’t be including nitpicks (e.g. Rickon running in a straight line), I won’t be including characters making stupid but believable decisions that move the story in an intriguing direction (e.g. Tommen falling for the High Sparrow’s manipulation), and I certainly won’t include fan theories not happening (e.g. Cleganebowl)
So, bearing in mind that this is purely my subjective opinion, let us begin.
5. The sons of the harpy plot (goes nowhere)
Admittedly a good deal of this particular problem stems from season five, and how much focus was put onto the Sons of the Harpy. They, or at least that unknown figure who led them, were established as major villains of Daenerys’s storyline. Just who that leader was became quite a mystery to solve.
Season six at first seemed to continue this plot, with the Sons of the Harpy most likely behind the ship burning in Mereen. Later on, Varys makes a discovery that they’re being funded by the masters of other slave cities. Tyrion tries to work deals with the masters, which leads to the Siege of Mereen. Yet, we see nothing more of the harpies aside from a few of them getting attacked by the Dothraki horde. In the end, there was no real mystery to be solved. The plot was just shifted to the masters instead, and we can assume the head harpy just never really existed.
While this isn’t that egregious, one can’t help but wonder why so much screen time was dedicated to the harpies in season five, only for them to just be a non entity in season six.
4. The Blackfish dies off screen.
One strength that season six had over season five was that it brought back many characters we know and love (or in some cases love to hate) that hadn’t been seen for quite a while. One such character was Brynden Tully, aka the Blackfish, who had taken Riverrun from the Frey forces. Brienne shows up, asking him to take his forces to the North to fight for Jon, but he refuses. Okay, I suppose I can accept that, given that he and his men are mostly safe in Riverrun, and he has every reason not to trust the Freys and the Lannisters right now. But, when the castle is reclaimed, and Brienne offers to take him up north, he simply decides to stay and die for pride. Entirely off screen with no indication of how or who he fought. We don’t even get a suggestion of an epic fight, as we did with Grenn and fellow night’s watchmen versus Mag the Mighty. It just feels as though the character was more or less just cast aside.
3. Brother Ray is immediately killed off
One of the most memorable new characters introduced this season was Brother Ray, a man of the seven leading a small pacifistic community. This guy had a lot of potential. He makes an interesting contrast to the High Sparrow, given he’s another converted, respected man of faith, but is more open minded about religion, more concerned about community than faith, and chooses to help the poor rather than punish the rich. He has an intriguing backstory, he seems like a decent character, and, of course, he’s responsible for saving Sandor Clegane.
Yet, in the same episode he’s introduced, he’s then killed off at the end. Why? At first it seems like a reveal that the Brotherhood Without Banners has turned bad…but then it turns out the folks who killed him were brotherhood members who’ve gone rogue. And they’re killed as soon as Sandor finds them again. Sure, he then seems to join the brotherhood and that’s cool and all, but we barely got to see Brother Ray at all despite having potential as a character, and the reasons behind his murder seem murky and unimportant. I understand that GoT has a history of killing off its characters, but usually deaths have a bit more meaning to them.
2. The end to Arya’s assassin career
“No One” was undoubtedly my least favourite episode of season six, mostly due to Arya’s House of Black and White plotline coming to a close, in the most rushed and lazy way possible. After being stabbed repeatedly by The Waif, Arya immediately recovers thanks to Lady Crane. Okay, I realise The Waif is a master assassin who wanted Arya to suffer, thus would know how to stab her in places that would not cause instant death, but rather a slow suffering death. But the fact that Arya can still run and jump and fight after just a couple of days of healing seems a little odd. That’s just a nitpick, however, compared to the real problem.
Arya kills The Waif, and then Jaqen H’gar is fine with this and lets her leave. This is not nearly explained enough. If it was revealed that all along, Jaqen had given Arya a secret test to kill The Waif instead (given she’s too full of hateful desire to be “no one”, and killing her would need a lot more skill), I could accept that. Instead, we’re given little to no explanation as to why Jaqen is fine with this.
On top of that, this plot has gone on a little too long to just have Arya quit now and go back to the way things were.Arya hasn’t changed that much as a character. She has a lot more skill and power, but she still has the same thirst for vengeance. As a result, this has effectively been a season and a half long training montage and nothing more.
1. Ellaria killing Doran Martell for no goddamn reason
Yes, of course Dorne was going to make the number one spot. The Dorne plot is possibly the most disliked plot line in the entirety of the series. Though in season five, to me, the one shining spot of decency hidden inside it was Doran Martell. A genuinely likeable, good natured and intelligent ruler who was portrayed excellently by Alexander Siddig.
Then the first episode of season six, he gets killed off by Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes. Because…vengeance?
These women decide to kill him and his son for two deaths that were in no way his fault at all. And they do not seem to show any signs of regret. Even Ramsay Bolton looked shaky and taken aback when he engaged in the crime of kinslaying.
It’s one thing to kill off likeable characters, but when it happens for virtually no reason, in a contrived situation (all of the guards are simply okay with Doran being murdered?) and give us virtually nothing from it (Varys and Olenna probably could have united Dorne with the Targaryens with Doran still in control), it makes for one of, if not the absolute cheapest death in the entire series.