The Worst Episodes of 'Game of Thrones' Did a Disservice to the Show's Compelling Characters
The television adaptation of George R.R. Martin's epic fantasy Game of Thrones was a peak viewing experience ... most of the time. Fans of the series tended to cringe when the television adaptation strayed from George's story in the novels. (Looking at you Season 8.)
We've rounded up some of the worst episodes of Game of Thrones. It's not that everything in each of the episodes was bad, but certain plot points stuck out.
Fans were genuinely rooting for the heroes of Game of Thrones, so when a bad episode did them an injustice, it was hard to watch!
Season 5, Episode 6: Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken
There's a major reason fans and critics alike loathe this episode. In a completely unnecessary deviation from the books, Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) is raped by the vile Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon).
To add insult to injury, Ramsay orders Reek (Alfie Allen) to watch. Reek is obviously horrified. The episode ends with Reek sobbing as Sansa can be heard crying out in pain.
Game of Thrones had a plethora of incredibly compelling female characters, including Sansa. The thing is, we already knew that Ramsay was a terrible person at this point. There was absolutely no need for a scene.
Season 7, Episode 7: The Dragon and the Wolf
We didn't hate this whole episode. There were some great moments, like karma finally catching up Petyr Baelish (Aiden Gillen). The one aspect of this episode that made it earn a spot on this list is the fact that it was the start of the terrible relationship between Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington).
The big reveal that Jon is actually Aegon Targaryen, and therefore, the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, is juxtaposed with a scene of Jon sleeping with Dany.
Not only was there the ick factor of Dany technically being Jon's aunt, but the two characters completely lacked a tangible sense of chemistry beforehand. Jon and Dany were incredibly fascinating in their own right, but they were not believable as a couple whatsoever.
In hindsight, it made sense that the two were brought together for that shocking scene in the series finale, but given the fact that their love was never believable, it undermined what should've been a painful, gut-wrenching end for the Khaleesi.
Season 8, Episode 4: The Last of the Starks
We get it. No character was ever completely safe on Game of Thrones. It was a violent world, where happy endings simply didn't exist.
However, we have to draw a line with Missandei's (Nathalie Emmanuel) horrible death. Her lover Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) had promised Missandei that he'd take her back to her home of Naath.
However, he was forced to watch in horror with Dany as Cersei (Lena Headey) ordered Ser Gregor Clegane (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) to behead Missandei.
It felt like Missandei, after seasons of character development, was utilized as cannon fodder to strengthen Dany's rushed Mad Queen story arc in Season 8. And as this USA Today article pointed out, it was downright insulting to see Missandei, a freed slave, die so horribly in chains.
The only good thing about this scene was Missandei's last act of bravery. Her final word was dracarys.
Season 8, Episode 5: The Bells
Dany's entire Mad Queen story arc in Season 8 felt completely rushed, especially with her actions during The Battle of Kings Landing. Yes, the Lannisters did terrible things. But, Dany had been set up as a woman who wanted to help the vulnerable, the innocent, and the enslaved.
And yet, in 'The Bells,' Dany continues to attack Kings Landing, even after Cersei's men surrender. She has Drogon unleash his deadly dragon fire on innocent civilians, without a shred of remorse.
Season 8, Episode 6: The Iron Throne
Dany's descent into darkness could've been compelling, but it just felt rushed. It was an insult to the character who had fought so hard her entire life to be someone better, not just for herself but for the citizens of the Seven Kingdoms. Sure, Dany was incredibly flawed, but she was a fighter.
The scene where Jon stabbed Dany to death was clearly supposed to be tragic, but ultimately, it just felt insulting. Game of Thrones deserved a better final season.
Worst episodes aside, the legacy of Game of Thrones is undeniable. The show was a true experience, even when an episode was bad or good. It will be interesting to see where George takes the characters in his next Game of Thrones book, The Winds of Winter.