These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Many avid Renly Baratheon/Loras Tyrell fans ship Gethin Anthony and Finn Jones together. Both actors fuel the Ho Yay with public displays◊ of affection◊, by jokingly admitting that they're gay for each other in this interview clip, and Finn had some... interesting comments in the Feb. 2013 issue Gay Times magazine which make some people strongly suspect that he has a seriousman crush on his co-star.
GT: Did you have to go a few times for that scene [in Season 2]?
Finn Jones: "Oh all the time, I remember," he howls with laughter. "One point in the scene we were really getting into it, and I just turned around to him and I went 'Gethin in the next take,' dead seriously,' really grab my dick this time, really go for it. ' And then just out of the corner of my eye, I saw the camera guys going..." he pulls a concerned face. "I realised 'Oh shit, maybe we're going for it a bit too much.' " He cracks up laughing again. "But it's good, it's good to be on that level to be able to really get into the moment."
Shipping Natalie Dormer and Sophie Turner is quite popular as well.
Adaptation Displacement: Sort of - although the television series is more well-known than the book series that it is based upon, many people recognize that it is a book series. However, more people that watch the show refer to the books as "the Game Of Thrones series" instead of A Song Of Ice And Fire. Crossover promotion right on new books' covers helps this along.
Renly, is he the Only Sane Man among the Baratheon brothers who won't let the fact that he's a younger brother stop him from doing what he believes is best for the realm, or just a weak and self-serving man who has being manipulated by the Tyrells into trying to take the throne from the rightful heir despite being too weak to hold it? The books portray him as somewhere in between.
Stannis, a tyrant who made a Deal with the Devil to murder his own brother for his own greed, or a rightful king who was forced to resort to pragmatic means to do his duty and defeat a traitor with no claim to the throne?
Craster, is he a Complete Monster who practices incest with his daughter-wives and sacrifices his male offspring to the White Walkers in exchange for leniency, or merely a ruthlessly pragmatic jerkass, who recognises that without these regular sacrifices, him and his ilk would otherwise be shambling through the Haunted Forest as Wights by now? Consider that with his death, those of his daughters who weren't murdered by the mutinous Night's Watch members are now alone in hundreds of miles of White Walker-infested forest; it's pretty much a Downer Ending for them either way. Lampshaded in "Breaker of Chains", which reveals that the Night's Watch mutineers set up shop in Craster's Keep and had taken his daughters for their own, leading Edd to darkly quip, "Bet those girls never thought they'd miss their daddy?"
The end of "Mhysa". Considering that she's currently on a conquering spree across Essos and has just taken their city, do the newly liberated slaves really worship her as their savior, or are they merely savvy enough to realize that free or not, this benevolent conquering woman with the large army and dragons at her command, is still going to be the new "master" at the end of the day? Considering what she did to their old masters, isn't it better to get in good with the new boss by sucking up to her as soon as possible?
Shae. She doesn't get any lines in her death scene beyond "Tywin, my lion," leaving it completely up in the air how she got into Tywin's bed, and how long it had been going on.
Is there some grandfatherly affection below his kind mentorship of Tommen or is he merely shaping the boy to be another pawn? When Tywin rushes to cover Tommen's eyes while Joffrey chokes, in his mind, is he sparing the trauma to a little boy or to the next ruler?
Was that speech to Tyrion true? Or was it just an attempt to escape a death he knew was coming? Probably the latter, but his utter contempt toward Tyrion's threatening him was just so complete that he might have really believed he was in no danger. And there's just barely enough support in Tywin's overriding concern for Family Honor (and Charles Dance's towering performance) to believe that the speech might, just might, have been true.
Bronn's comment that if someone told him to kill a baby, he'd ask "how much"; does he mean that they'd need to pay him a lot to do something that low, or does he mean that he'd do it readily as long as he got paid? Is he emphasizing even sellswords have standards or emphasizing he's willing to compromise them for the right price?
Anticlimax Boss: Locke is all set up to be a major problem for Jon and Bran, being in a perfect position to backstab the former at a crucial moment and kill the latter — and then Bran easily wargs into Hodor and kills him.
Jon and Ygritte spend a rather inordinate amount of time in the second half of Season 2 walking around the snow bitching at each other.
Theon's story in Season 3. Rather than let the character disappear for a while and insinuate what happened to him in the intervening time, the show portrays the events and stretches them over an entire season. This was a pragmatic decision so that the actor and character don't disappear for a season.
Stannis hangs around Dragonstone for a season and a half. Even after resolving to come to the aid of the Night's Watch at the end of Season 3, he spends all of Season 4 getting the necessary funds and doesn't show up until the Season 4 finale.
Arya and the Hound spend entire season 4 traveling to the Vale and doing nothing plot relevant.
Author's Saving Throw: In an apparent response to the criticism that the Season 3 finale took for the scene in which slaves played by local Moroccans hoist the white Daenerys into their arms and declare her "mother," a Season 4 scene featuring a nearly identical scenario includes many more white extras among the slaves. The slaves also take a much more proactive role in overthrowing Mereen's rulers.
A lot of fans wanted Lena Headey to get an Emmy nomination for Season 2. A lot of fans also preferred Nikolaj Coster Waldau and Michelle Fairley over Peter Dinklage and Emilia Clarke for Season 3.
Some also see Clarke's Season 3 nomination as a way of making up for her failure to get recognition for Season 1.
Sean Bean also had some people in his corner for Season 1 (likely due to those knowing it would be the only chance to recognize him).
"Blackwater", due to some odd campaigning on HBO's part, failed to receive nominations for either Writing or Directing. That makes Season 2 the only one so far not to have a writing nom to its credit.
Charles Dance wasn't nominated for season 4, commonly agreed to feature the best of his always great work on the show. Also, Pedro Pascal went un-nominated for his arresting work as Oberyn Martell. And this was the last time it could have happened for both of them, too.
More than a few fans believe that Alfie Allen should have received a nod for Season 4, many were shocked when they heard he wasn't even suggested.
Tyrion, after losing his position as Hand of the King. He's demoted, disgraced, and disfigured. Unlike Season 2, where he was almost always in control of the situation, he's now pushed around by his father and the Queen of Thorns. He's aware of this decay, and isn't happy about it.
Theon, to such an extent that you would forget that he was ever a badass in the first place. He was skilled as an archer, skills he put to good use intercepting ravens. As adviser to Robb and essentially his deputy, he led men in several victories against the Lannister forces. Once he went to the Iron Islands...
Jaime's return to King's Landing is riddled with a show of embarrassments, to the point that he essentially becomes a Failure Hero.
Tywin Lannister. In the novels, he never gives an impression of being afraid to anyone or showing, let alone admitting, weakness. In Season 4, he admits to Cersei that their gold mines are dry and that they are living on borrowed money from the Iron Bank, admitting that they pose a real threat to them. He also admits that they have to accommodate the Tyrells as their alliance is of great necessity to them, conceding a power shift.
Carice Van Houten's performance as Melisandre has been divisive, particularly in her native Netherlands, where she's a much more prominent celebrity.
Ros's status as a Canon Foreigner who takes screen time away from characters in the books makes her the The Scrappy to a lot of people (being the main participant in most of the sexposition scenes doesn't help), but plenty of critics and viewers find her snarky, charismatic and sexy.
Talisa Maegyr and Robb. Some viewers enjoy the expanded role that Robb's romantic relationship gets, while others dislike the new material for various reasons, including Talisa's Canon Foreigner status, viewing it all as a Romantic Plot Tumor, and seeing the changes as making Robb less sympathetic.
This occurs nearly every time a major character is cast with someone who isn't a universal fan favourite, but the casting of Pedro Pascal as Oberyn Martell stands out. Many fans were displeased with his ethnicity which they considered unfitting. (Let's just leave it at that...). Also, naturally for such a popular character, there were the general discussions whether he has the right looks, age, etc. Others had trust in the casting department which usually chose well in the past and preferred to wait until we actually see him in the show. By the end of the season, however, Pascal's performance as Oberyn had won over most of the fanbase.
Podrick the Memetic Sex God, for not being remotely based on anything from the books, not having any apparent point, and eating up screentime even as the producers continue to plead that they don't have enough time each season for everything the fans want.
Shae, largely due to her characterization being vastly different from in the book. While in the book she's a manipulative opportunist, in the show she's unreasonably jealous and vindictive. Fans are divided on whether the change works.
Karl Tanner, leader of the mutineers of the Night's Watch. While Burn Gorman's performance was generally well received, the character is unique to the show, which upset some of the book readers. Some viewers also prematurely judged him to be a Small Name, Big Ego and were upset when he outclasses Jon Snow in a fight.
Tyrion Lannister. In spite of being the most popular character on the show overall, some book readers object to his Adaptational Heroism, which removes some of the moral complexity of his book counterpart.
Some fans have expressed disapproval with the show's portrayal of Stannis compared to the books, specifically his frequent acts of Adaptational Villainy.
Catelyn's monologue concerning her treatment of Jon Snow as a child got some criticism from book fans who thought it's too out of character from her book version, though everyone seems to appreciate Michelle Fairley's delivery.
The Hold Steady's cover of "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" being played over the end credits immediately after the gruesome shot of Jaime's hand being cut off. Fans differ on whether it's a good use of Mood Whiplash.
Loras's characterization in Season 3, including his fling with Olyvar and his discussion of his dream wedding.
Whether or not the direction was effective in the Red Wedding. Given that it is one of the most emblematic moments of the entire series, this is to be expected. Some felt it was undramatic and even narmy, while others felt it was appropriately horrifying given the event.
The recasting of Gregor Clegane (after Conan Stevens left to do the Hobbit films). Gregor went from this◊ to this◊, and fans are split on whether or not Stevens' replacement is adequately threatening.
The recast of Daario Naharis. Ed Skrein wasn't considered a good fit for the role among many book readers, who are now hopeful that Michiel Huisman will do a better job. Others don't like the idea of recasting in general or expressed worries that the recast might confuse casual viewers.
"Breaker of Chains" caused arguments in the fanbase over whether Jaime and Cersei's sex scene could be considered consensual or whether it's rape, and whether Jaime's behavior is in-character or not. Notably, this particular scene crossed the line for many viewers from "things we can kind of squabble over" to "not watching this show anymore" territory. For the love of god, PLEASE let's leave it there.
"The Watchers on the Wall" is a quite divisive episode. Its supporters say it's ten kinds of epic and does a great job doling out big scenes for all the major characters, while its detractors were less impressed by the battle sequence and were angry that it took up the entire episode, leaving less time for additional details in the finale.
Fourth season finale "The Children." While many viewers were impressed by the emotional impact of the episode, most of its detractors criticized it for the many deviations from the books, including Jojen's death, Jaime and Cersei having sex again, Jaime and Tyrion's amicable farewell, Tysha not getting mentioned, and the absence of Lady Stoneheart. Some fans also disliked the changes in the appearance of the Three-Eyed Raven; from the sinister, practically half-weirwood red-eyed albino, to a Wizard Classic whom other fans have confused with Gandalf.
Cargo Ship: Thanks to the Season 4 premiere, Sandor Clegane is often paired with chickens.
Jaime has a moment in Season 3; what else could you call jumping into a bear pit with one hand, no weapons, armour, or allies, and only the hope that the various enemy soldiers are sufficiently scared of Lord Bolton and Jaime's father to get them out in time?
Jaqen's idiosyncratic speech patterns, including his use of third person, contribute a lot to his memorable character.
The supposed Night's King of the White Walkers for his Darth Maul get up.
Crosses the Line Twice: Ramsay cuts off Theon's cock. A few episodes later, Ramsay eats a sausage in front of Theon, culminating in Ramsay using it as a prop to make jokes about the latter's dismembered manhood.
Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Like the book series it's based on, the show is getting this reaction, especially after the violent penultimate episode of Season 3, where the side that is closest to being 'the good guys' has their army destroyed and many in their family murdered.
Granted it plays the moment after Jaime gets his hand cut off in a chilling manner, but after high anticipation and long wait, "The Bear and The Maiden Fair FINALLY is played during the credits of "Walk of Punishment".
"Chaos Is A Ladder", the creepy and eerie music that plays while Littlefinger confirms Varys' suspicions in "The Climb" that he'd burn the entire world if it meant he could be King of the Ashes.
Evil Is Cool: Several of the villains have committed fanbases. The Lannister and Bolton patriarchs (Tywin and Roose) in particular are widely considered to be among the best acted and coolest characters around.
The Lannisters are renowned for their physical attractiveness as well as ruthlessness.
While Sansa isn't really evil yet, she makes an Evil Costume Switch in an attempt to take charge of her life and embraces this trope to its fullest.
Fan Nickname: People who watch the show with full knowledge of the books are called Bookwalkers, while those who watch it without having read the books (or at least don't go beyond where the show has currently reached) are Unsullied. Amusingly enough, the Unsullied themselves had no idea what this meant until Season 3.
Fanon Discontinuity: Many fans and critics note that the only way that Jaime's characterization in the episode "Oathbreaker" makes sense is to disregard the infamous sept scene of "Breaker of Chains" as a failure on the part of the director to convey the proper intent.
Combine this with fetish fuel. The second review linked above, by Gina Bellafante, claims that all fantasy is boy-oriented, and the sex was added to draw in a female audience (despite much of the sex also being in the source material). The same review claims that "we are in the universe of dwarfs, braids, wenches, loincloth," which seems to indicate that the reviewer didn't watch the show in the first place — or perhaps thinks Tyrion Lannister is supposed to be a Tolkien-style dwarf rather than a human with dwarfism, which goes well beyond research failure and really swings for the fences.
In the third episode of the second season, Lord Varys tells Tyrion a riddle. Anyone with a background in political science (especially in international relations) will recognize Varys' answer as a down-and-dirty explanation of the constructivist school of thought. Xaro Xhoan Daxos' empty vault is a second example of the illusory nature of power.
There's a funny one in a Get Thee to a Nunnery kind of way when Ygritte says "You know nothing, Jon Sno-oh-oh!" as he eats her out. Yes, he does know "nothing" — in the Shakespearean sense. "Nothing" was Elizabethan-era slang for female genitalia.
Tyrion forcing Joffrey to kiss up to the Starks after Bran gets put into a coma. While the scene itself was both awesome and funny, it probably gave Joffrey reason to hate the Starks from that point onwards. And when he gets Sansa as a prisoner, it's not nice at all for her.
Theon's Male Frontal Nudity scene in Season 1 almost looks like sinister foreshadowing about him being castrated in Season 3.
Tyrion's verbally brutal break-up with Shae, in which he repeatedly calls her a whore, brings up the number of her sexual partners etc. can remind one of how in 2004 parts of the German media treated Sibel Kekili after discovering her past in pornography.
The final scene in "The Laws of Gods and Men" renders romance between Tyrion and Shae into an example. During Shae's betrayal, she actively picks out the sweetest moments from their romance to twist into mockery.
In Season 3, Loras talks about his boyhood dream of marrying a bride cloaked in beautiful green and gold brocade. Way back in Season 1, Renly attended the Tournament of the Hand wearing a green and gold brocade cloak. Loras is apparently visualizing Renly when he talks about his "bride."
Gwendoline Christie shows way more range in four episodes of Season 3 than in the whole of Season 2, proving that any perceived "woodness" back then wasn't a fault on the actress' acting, but part of how Brienne really was supposed to be as a character.
After getting notoriously little to do for almost three full seasons, Art Parkinson (Rickon Stark) finally gets to show his stuff in "The Rains of Castamere," fully proving he's able to handle more dramatic material.
While nobody really doubted Kristain Nairn (Hodor's) acting ability, the character was largely used as comic relief. Then came his performance in "First of His Name," where he shows some serious dramatic acting ability, especially after Bran wargs into him to kill Locke.
Once Jon Snow began his transition into a confident and badass action hero, Kit Harington has been able to display more of his acting range. It also helps that he doesn't have to contend with the cold climate and short shooting schedules of Winter Iceland.
Despite being a sportsman with no acting resume to speak of, Haf■ˇr Bj÷rnsson proves himself to be more than Conan Stevens' equal as Gregor Clegane in "The Mountain and the Viper", turning in an absolutely terrifying performance. He even manages to completely bury his native Icelandic accent, which was a common uncertainty among fans.
He's Just Hiding: If a character isn't killed on screen, then fans will believe this.
Syrio Forel. His scene gets a Bolivian Army Ending where he engages the fully armored Meryn Trant. Trant is later shown alive and well, and Arya later says that Syrio's dead, but since the audience never sees him die, they don't believe it.
Benjen Stark. His riderless horse came back, but there's no word about him.
King Robert being completely ignorant of Renly's homosexuality during their hunting scene ("Have you ever fucked a Riverlands girl?") is quite amusing after you finish watching Season 3. The show now portrays Renly and Loras' romance as the worst kept secret in all of Westeros; virtually everyone besides Brienne and Sansa seem to know about it, so how the heck is it that Robert didn't have a clue?
If Lady Olenna Tyrell knew the song "Betcha By Golly Wow" by The Stylistics, she'd have even more reason to hate the Tyrell motto, "Growing Strong".
One has to wonder what the Lannisters would make of Katy Perry's song "Roar", which repeats their motto "Hear Me Roar" several times.
Michelle Fairley went on to play another mother of a red-haired girl in 24: Live Another Day...and this time she also happens to be the Big Bad, whose motivation is her husband's death.
One of the reasons Talisia was such an unpopular character (besides the changes made from her book counterpart) was the sense that she didn't quite fit into the tone of the show, with more than one reviewer describing her as a field nurse that had stepped out of WWII. Actress Oona Chaplin now stars in The Crimson Field — in which she plays a WWII field nurse.
In the season four episode "Breaker of Chains," Princess Shireen Baratheon is trying to teach Ser Davos to read. He's missed lessons because "the hand of the king doesn't have much leisure time." Shireen shoots back: "You won't be a very good hand if you see the word knight and say Ka-nighet."
The porn parody of Game Of Thrones has a seen between Ygritte and Jon Snow, where she seduces him by convincing him his vows prevent him from owning a land and title, or taking a wife... but this leaves a bit of wiggle room which they exploit. Then come season 4, where Sam gives a similar argument to Jon Snow, though about he and Gilly.
The season 4 finale, in which Tywin is directly confronted with the fact that two of his children are incestuous lovers and his grandchildren are the product of it, and is then killed by his other son, happened to air on Father's Day.
Brienne of Tarth is called Brienne the Beauty as an Ironic Nickname because she's supposed to be ugly. Gwendoline◊ Christie isn't uglied up much beyond a few facial scratches and men's clothing/armor. It's apparently a case of Adaptational Attractiveness, and the nickname has more to do with her being a woman.
Plenty of Walder Frey's (grand-)daughters, especially those who don't get put forward by his snarky comments, are mostly uglied up with unflattering clothing and greased hair.
The producers point out in a commentary track that Roose Bolton has quite a few scenes of competing for Robb's attention with Talisa.
With the start of Season 3, Stannis x Davos has become a thing in the fandom. "Stannis is married to Selyse, but we all know who his true queen is... it's Davos." Which is really just a tradition being continued from the books. Invoked by Salladhor Saan in Season 2, who jokes that Stannis cut of Davos' fingers and he responded by "falling in love with him". Note that he didn't deny it, either.
Davos' rivalry with Melisandre can be viewed as Betty and Veronica fighting over who gets to win Stannis' affections.
Robb reacts very personally to Theon's betrayal. They were even more bromantic in the book, but the point remains in adaptation.
Margaery and Sansa. For whatever reason, Margaery is incapable of staying out of Sansa's personal space or not touching her. In "Bear and the Maiden Fair", she talks with Sansa about her future marriage and all the different things that different women want in their beds. She randomly throws "pretty girls" in the middle and even gives Sansa a flower.
Margaery is also quite flirty and touchy-feely with Brienne.
It's been noted that Varys and Littlefinger have an ongoing manipulator feud that kinda comes off as two gay high school students attacking each other's clothes.
Beric and Thoros speak in very fond tones to one another after Thoros revives Beric. They also look at each other a lot and bringing Beric back to life is the only reason Thoros even believes in god...
Squicky version between Theon and Ramsay Snow. It builds throughout Season 3, culminating in the Season Finale, where he gets all up in Theon's grill as he forces him to take "Reek" as his new name. The entire scene is definitely meant to invoke a dominance ritual, and it's not hard to imagine him making Theon his bitch in other ways...This gets even more disturbing in "The Laws of Gods and Men" in which Ramsay, suddenly speaking very tenderly, "rewards" Reek for not taking the opportunity to escape with Yara by making him strip and giving him a bath.
Shae and Sansa. "I love that girl, I'd kill for her!"
The book series upon which the show is based is called A Song of Ice and Fire. The title of the show is taken from the title of the first novel in the series, A Game of Thrones. New printings of the book series have "Game of Thrones, The Hit Original Series From HBO" stamped on them now, anyway.
A lot of show-only fans seem to be under the impression that "Khaleesi" is Daenerys Targaryen's actual name instead of her title.
Tyrion, until the abuse and humiliation in "The Laws of Gods and Men" finally causes him to snap with Shae's betrayal, at which point he makes an enraged speech about how he wishes he let the ungrateful citizens of Kings Landing be slaughtered by Stannis and how he wishes he could watch them all die.
Brienne. She's practically shit on by every character she meets (with the exception of Renly and Catelyn) and is still one of the deadliest fighters in Westeros.
It Gets Better: Season 1 can be aptly described as Prolonged Prologue in TV form. Most of what goes on establishes the many protagonists and significant locales that will be heavily involved later in the plot. With the exception of some key moments, most of what unfolds is exposition layered on top of more exposition, with not much plot inertia going on (similar to how The Wire started). This all changes once the big Wham Episode hits in episode nine, which throws the semi-stable equilibrium of the previous episodes into outright chaos, which defines the following episodes, and never relents from that point onward.
Viserys is a complete dick to everyone around him, including his sister. However, the reason he's such a jerk is because he's lived his life as "The Beggar King," a royal outcast forced to mooch off of others and beg for helping in winning a throne he's been told is his birthright. It doesn't help when his sister acquires a position of prestige and authority, yet he remains a useless beggar.
It is hard not to feel a little bit sorry for Lancel Lannister after all the abuse Robert gives him.
Theon, who's a bit of an asshole, but also takes hideous amounts of shit from all sides. By the third season, he's a helpless torture victim and no longer has any ability to be a jerkass.
Lord Rickard Karstark, he is very rude and disrespectful towards Robb (who's his king) and his mother (his liege lord's widow). However, it's all because he's a father in deep mourning for his dead son, who was killed by Jaime Lannister in his unsuccessful escape from the North's detainment. He's a grieving father who simply wants vengeance for his murdered son and it's plainly clear he loved his son dearly.
The fans that dislike Daenerys tend to see her as this. It's undeniable that her childhood and teenage years have not been nice, at all.
Cersei Lannister. Okay, so she's an incestuous, arrogant bitch who's responsible for at least half the shit that happens in the story. But between Lena Headey's amazing acting, a more Sympathetic P.O.V. overall and the fact that she really DOES suffer for her actions, it's hard not to feel sorry for her at times. Her Heel Realization scene where she acknowledges that Joffrey is a Complete Monster and that it'sall herfault is especially powerful; even Tyrion, smug as he is, tries to comfort her in his own way. And then Joffrey dies in her arms choking on his own blood and vomit, her father shows her precisely no sympathy whatsoever, and Jaime forces her to have sex beside Joffrey's corpse.
Jaime Lannister, after losing his sword hand. The Bolton soldiers make him wear the hand around his neck, deprive him of food and drink, and trick him into drinking horse piss just for a good laugh.
They're pretty hard to come by, but there are some fan circles who feel some sympathy for Joffrey, at the very least because he is very much a product of his environment. Joffrey's actor, Jack Gleeson, even supported this interpretation to an extent. Between Robert's neglect of him, combined with Cersei'sownadmission of spoiling him and enabling his psychosis, and being the result of an incestuous affair, it's not hard to see why he behaves the way he does.
Possibly Lysa Arryn, as well. Despite all her Ax-Crazy and dangerous behaviour, and trying to kill her own niece, in the end she is just a pathetic and emotionally broken woman, desperate for a bit of affection, and being played like a fiddle by Littlefinger.
Sandor Clegane becomes this, especially when he confesses to Arya his painful memory of Gregor scarring him, telling her that the worst part of it was the fact that it was his own brother and his father covered it up simply because of his family ambitions and the fact that he literally has no one. Arya feels genuine sympathetic to him on hearing this.
Jack Gleeson's performance as Joffrey perfectly encapsulates every smug, stupid and cruel element of his book counterpart so well that the fandom often heaps praise on how well the character is portrayed.
Same can be said to a lesser extent to Charles Dances' performance as Tywin Lannister. If his first scene in Season 3 is any indication, then it looks like we'll be seeing Tywin's more extreme jerkass qualities flesh out in this season, but some fans are still mesmerized with how great he plays his character and refuse to cast aside his badass qualities that were seen in the previous season.
Petyr Baelish, a.k.a. Littlefinger. The man manages to turn on Eddard Stark successfully and undermine him, then breaks up a marriage alliance between two powerful houses. He tops this all off in Season 4 by helping Olenna Tyrell plot Joffrey's death, then revealing that he is the reason the War of the Five Kings started - he had Jon Arryn poisoned.
Varys qualifies as well.
As does Lord Roose Bolton.
Tywin Lannister served as Hand of the King for twenty years under King Aerys II. Given that this is the man named "the Mad King", and that he was able to not only placate him but maintain the position for twenty years this is pretty impressive. He really shows his brilliance in Season 3 with the orchestration of the Red Wedding, defeating Robb Stark and wiping out the majority of his forces in a single stroke. He spends the entire season sitting around waiting for everything to come together because he's already won and nobody else knows it.
Mirri Maz Duur, the witch, who got her revenge on Khal Drogo for his men sacking her village and raping her. Unfortunately for her, she pulled her scheme a little too well, and Dany learned a bit about Equivalent Exchange in the process.
Tyrion Lannister. The little guy can bend almost anyone to his will.
Xaro Xhoan Daxos, as of "A Man Without Honor". The man played everyone else in his entire storyline for chumps right from the start. Possible subversion in how all his plans amounted to next to nothing in the end, but he gets points for effort.
Margaery Tyrell is quite skilled at manipulating others and has been intelligently maneuvering herself into positions of power while gaining the favor of the smallfolk in the process.
Her grandmother Olenna Tyrell has become this trope and more. She and Littlefinger orchestrate Joffrey's assassination in broad daylight in front of a large crowd and not only get away scott-free but are not even on the list of suspects. Olenna defeated Tywin Lannister right under his very nose and he doesn't even know it. You almost forgive her for making Tyrion her Fall Guy and Sansa, Littlefinger's hostage and implied payment.
Daenerys Targaryen reaches this point in Season 3 with the Sack of Astapor. Knowing her dragons wouldn't obey Kraznys, she willingly traded one away, and used the Undying Loyalty of the Unsullied to overthrow the slave masters, and subsequently frees them. Now she has a loyal army, three dragons, and a reputation as a liberator of slaves, rather than a slaver.
In another surprising change from the books reminiscent of Margarey above, Sansa Stark eventually decides to embrace her inner MB, joining Littlefinger in playing all the lords of the Vale, possibly including Littlefinger himself.
Khal Drogo. Jason himself is of the opinion that Drogo would win in a fight with Conan the Barbarian, one of literature's most famous memetic badasses, whom he has also portrayed.
Stannis. A man of short words and seemingly dry, he's blunt, to the point, and will fight for his right. He's the first man to touch down upon King's Landing in the Battle of Blackwater and proceeds to lay waste Lannister soldiers and had to be dragged out by his own men after the fight was lost, and he was still determined to fight.
Robb Stark's a boy of probably no more than 18 and yet he's won three battles straight and captured in universe memetic badass Jaime "Kingslayer" Lannister in his first victory. A title like "King in the North" certainly should be enough to strike fear and if not his badass pet Grey Wind sure will.
It is said that there really aren't Seven Kingdoms, just people that Ser Barristan Selmy allows to live.
Tommen's pet cat Ser Pounce. After it was revealed that he will not be in any further episodes in Season 4, reasons for his departure include theories that he's playing the game of thrones against Littlefinger or getting the hell out of town after poisoning Joffrey for threatening to kill him and put his guts in Tommen's food.
Moral Event Horizon: Due to the moral greyness of the series, many characters avoid this trope in spite of performing some pretty terrible deeds, but there are still a few irredeemable bastards:
Viserys putting a sword to his pregnant sister's belly. No coming back from that.
If Janos' betrayal of Ned didn't put him over the edge (he was only doing what he was paid for, after all), then leading a massacre of Robert's bastards, including personally killing a baby certainly did.
Dagmer killing Maester Luwin entirely for the hell of it.
Locke confirms what sort of person he is pretty quickly when he prepares to rape Brienne (only stopping because Jaime bullshits him about her value as a hostage) and then cutting off the chained and helpless Jaime's sword hand, even after he'd made his point quite effectively, apparently just because he resented Jaime's aristocratic overconfidence in his own authority and the reputation of his father, and enjoyed the role reversal.
Rast crosses it the moment he stabs Lord Commander Mormont in the back. The fact Mormont fought till his very last breath and then Rast the asshole stabs him over and over again when he's down demonstrates what a low-down coward he really is.
The entirety of Theon's torture scene serves as one long, horrifically drawn-out crossing point for Ramsay Snow, who tortures him sadistically and purely for his own enjoyment.
Littlefinger threatens Ros by revealing that he serves up disobedient and nonperforming prostitutes to thrill-killers who torture them to death. From this point, it's clear that Littlefinger isn't just another schemer, he's evil to the core. As the show progresses, it turns out that this is only one horrible crime of many up his sleeve.
The Red Wedding is one long crossing for Walder Frey and Roose Bolton. Walder had Robb Stark and all of his bannermen massacred just because he didn't marry Walder's daughter, and Roose turned on his fellow northemen and personally killed his own king. One could argue that Tywin Lannister's organising the whole thing might itself make him applicable for this, though he at least has pragmatism as an excuse.
Balon Greyjoy chooses to abandon his own son after he receives his genitals and a ransom demand, saying that "he isn't a man anymore," despite Theon's entire predicament being due to a desperate wish to win love and acceptance from his father. Even scumbags like Walder Frey treat their kids better than this guy. His refusal to save Theon and his snide little insults at his lack of manhood angers Yara so much that she calls him out on his behavior and begins preparations for a rescue mission.
The overlords of Meereen fly far over the moral event horizon before they even appear by crucifying over 163 slave children to mile-posts on the way to Meereen, just to piss Dany off. Made worse as the first girl sacrificed visibly resembles Dany herself, making this slight at her seem even more intentional.
Believe it or not, this show isn't wall-to-wall nudity from start to finish. The "sexposition" scenes have decreased since the first season, and several episodes feature little to no nudity at all.
Despite its overwhelming pop culture reputation, the series does not actually kill off all of its main characters. Arguably, only three main heroic characters have been killed so far: Eddard, Catelyn and Robb, while universal fan favorites like Tyrion, Arya, Jon, Dany and Jaime are still very much alive. Other shows, including HBO shows like Oz, The Sopranos and The Wire, kill off lots of their prominent characters as well.
Balon and Yara Greyjoy both have one scene the third season, during which the former sinks to new levels of dog-kickery, and the latter calls out him out on it, openly defies him and pledges a Roaring Rampage of Rescue for her brother.
Walder Frey appears in three episodes during the first three seasons. It's safe to say his actions during his second appearance will be forever ingrained in the minds of the characters and of the viewers alike.
Sadly, Word of God says that Ser Pounce will not make any future appearances on the show.
"Bart the Bear", the real bear used in Episode 7 of Season 3 is one affectionately with the fans of the series.
Syrio Forel appeared in three scenes in the first season, and is still a fan favorite.
Salladhor Saan has also only appeared in three scenes, but his were spaced across three seasons. He still gets some of the show's funniest lines.
Karl Tanner, the Night's Watch renegade and self-proclaimed "fooking legend" of Gin Alley, appeared in all of four episodes across Seasons 3 and 4, and his performance is, well, fooking legendary.
Tycho Nestoris, the Iron Bank representative who meets with Stannis and Davos in Season 4 and offers them a loan, memorably played by Mark Gatiss.
Padding: Spreading one book between seasons 3 and 4 resulted in some obvious cases of it, like everyone concerning Podrick as a Memetic Sex God.
Sansa, who begins to give Joffrey spirited answers that are often masked as innocent observations. She also tries her hand at manipulating him, once managing to get him to spare a man, and once attempting to goad him into fighting in the Battle of the Blackwater.
Ros's severe Break the Cutie in Season 2 is getting her a lot more sympathy.
Some viewers disliked Shae in the beginning and considered her a Satellite Love Interest to Tyrion. After witnessing her new-found badassery in Season 2 and taking on a protective role over Sansa, the critics disappeared. Sadly, she begins to slide back into it with Season 3 by becoming a Clingy Jealous Girl once Tyrion is forced to marry Sansa and betraying both of them later on before dying at Tyrion's hand because she tries to kill him.
As bad as Ros had it in Season 2, Theon goes through far worse in Season 3, with a similar response.
The recast of Daario Naharis, with Michiel Huisman able to give the perfect vibe of an arrogant mercenary without taking it over the top into silliness like Ed Skrein did, as many fans rejected his initial surfer-boy appearance and smirking sex-god personality. The number of fans willing to overlook Daario abruptly looking completely different speaks for itself.
Prior to "The Watchers on the Wall", Ser Alliser Thorne was seen as a fairly one-note Jerkass focused solely on antagonizing Jon Snow. But that episode succeeded in adding depth to the character by giving him a sympathetic scene with Jon and a few heroic moments during the battle.
Rewatch Bonus: The Season 4 episode "The Lion and the Rose" gains this in light of the revelations of following episode, "Oathkeeper". In terms of the arc of Olenna Tyrell and Littlefinger, it also casts nearly all their scenes in Season 3 in a new light, hinting that even minor setbacks such as Tyrion marrying Sansa was All According to Plan.
Scapegoat Creator: When director Alex Graves commented that including Lady Stoneheart in the season finale would have been "a waste," fans blamed him for the decision in spite of the fact that he's a director, not a writer or showrunner, so the decision wasn't up to him.
The golden crown for some. And the end result looks more like wax than metal.
The full-grown direwolves look less real than the dragons. CGI dragons are easy. CGI fur isn't, so they filmed real wolves in front of green screens, and insert (bigger versions of) them in the filmed shots. It shows.
When Ser Barristan is being relieved of his place on the Kingsguard, if you look closely you can see his helmet bending as he holds it, almost like it's made out of rubber or plastic.
Difficult to see unless you're specifically looking for it (and hidden by the lighting) but when Tyrion chops off the Baratheon captain's leg in "Blackwater", the blood that splatters his armor is obviously being thrown at him from offscreen.
The Clean Cuts in "Blackwater" reach an interesting medium between this and Squick.
In the premiere of the second season, Shae looks out at King's Landing from the Tower of the Hand. It's glaringly obvious that the city is a green screen.
In "Oathkeeper", the White Walker's horse looks more decayed in close-up shots. In far shots, its decay appears limited to its skull head.
Lysa Arryn breastfeeding her son Robin. In the book, he was about six when this scene happened, while in the show he's eight when we first see him - and it's implied to be still going on for the next several years before her death.
Daenerys having to eat and keep down the entire raw heart of a horse. By the time she barely finishes it, her mouth and both her hands are soaked with blood. Still, that she does — while pregnant, no less — is something of a Moment of Awesome.
The description of what's going to happen to the man who tried to poison Dany. We only get to see the beginning of it, but it's still pretty gruesome.
The description of what Littlefinger's more demanding clientele want from his brothels, including young boys, amputees, and fresh corpses (of beautiful women). It can also put the opening scene of episode 7 to new, unpleasant light, since the children being bathed outside his brothel may be his prostitutes as well.
"Garden of Bones". Just about half of the episode in one form or another. Within the first five minutes, we have a man getting his leg amputated, and we can hear the bone being sawed through, and him screaming through the gag as Robb holds the poor bastard down.
The Tickler's dead body, with his head twisted completely around.
A priest getting literally torn apart by an angry mob, especially when it's implied that cannibalism ensues. The commoners of King's Landing are already going insane from hunger, and the Winter hasn't even started yet.
The Big Badass Battle Sequence in "Blackwater" is riddled with gruesome deaths, one of which includes a soldier's head getting smashed in by a large falling rock.
Tywin's horse taking a shit on the floor in the Season 2 finale. With a close-up view of the dung.
Kraznys cutting off one of the Unsullied's nipples is quite painful to watch, to say the least...
When he's being tortured in "Dark Wings, Dark Words", Theon gets a hole drilled through his foot and a blade shoved under his fingernail.
After Locke delivers a glaring "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Jaime Lannister, he chops off Jaime's hand in one swipe. It takes but three seconds for Jaime to realize what just happened and he screams in horror as he pulls back his arm and shows the freshly opened wound complete with exposed bones.
When Jaime is nearly crazed with thirst and begs for water, his captors give him a cup of liquid that he hastily drinks — and then they tell him that it's horse piss. Uuuuuuugh.
Varys' rather graphic description of how he was castrated.
It turns out that Selyse Baratheon keeps her stillborn sons in jars. Huh.
Sansa is forced to marry Tyrion, a man in his later 30s, in spite of just barely having started menstrating.
Dammit, Melisandre, did you really need to put that leech there? After getting Gendry all worked up, too?
Talisa getting repeatedly stabbed in her belly and left to bleed out is pretty gruesome.
The sight of Robb's decapitated corpse with Grey Wind's head in place of his own, being paraded around in the aftermath of the Red Wedding, while the Frey soldiers mockingly chant "Here comes the King in the North!"
Ramsay Snow mailing Theon's severed penis to Balon Greyjoy in a box.
Jaime forcing himself on Cersei in front of their own son's dead body.
Margaery going into Tommen's room at night and attempting to seduce him. Tommen was recast with an older actor, but is still 12. Thankfully, Margaery goes no further than a kiss on the forehead.
Littlefinger going on how he loved Catelyn and how in a better world when the Power of Love would triumph, Sansa would be his daughter. And then proceeding to kiss Sansa. Thankfully, Sansa is not twelve anymore and her actress is actually as tall as him, but it's still unpleasant to watch.
Stop Helping Me!: Variant: Jaime loves fighting, and he didn't appreciate a guardsman stepping in during his duel with Ned Stark. Related: The Mook doesn't understand the Duel to the Death trope and averts it. Jaime, being Genre Savvy, is so incensed he punches the Mook in the face. In fairness, the mook was just obeying Jaime's orders (to kill Ned's guards but only wound him) which he hadn't rescinded.
Strangled by the Red String: Viewers who complain about Robb's romance with Talisa and don't see it as a Romantic Plot Tumor will go the opposite route, saying that not enough time is spent showing how Robb could fall so deeply in love that he'd break his marriage pact.
They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Inevitable when you're dealing with such a nerd-loved property. Though interestingly enough, George R.R. Martin himself denounces this view on the DVD commentary, saying that things like Syrio having hair and Ghost making noise just work better for the new medium.
Too Cool to Live: This seems to define Game of Thrones, as the list of people fitting this trope could go on forever. For the sake of brevity, only the coolest will be listed here:
NedStark, a man known for his integrity, honor and bravery, whose death triggers an all-out civil war.
Khal Drogo, who planned to conquer Westeros for Danaerys and could actually pull it off.
Robb Stark, the King in the North who was undefeated in every battle he ever fought, but lost the war.
Oberyn Martell, a charming, highly educated man and a deadly warrior, nicknamed the Red Viper for his habit of using poisoned weapons. Killed off less than a season after his introduction. Many fans didn't want to get attached to him because they feared this trope.
Tough Act to Follow: Although Conan Stevens barely appears in Season 1, the fandom in general seems to prefer him over his replacement Ian Whyte in the role of Gregor Clegane. However, Haf■ˇr Bj÷rnsson, the third Gregor, is widely considered to be just as good or even better than Stevens.
Some viewers criticized the final shot of Season 3, in which the white, blonde Daenerys is hoisted onto the shoulders of a city's worth of liberated Ambiguously Brown people, all of whom are calling her "mother."  George R. R. Martin himself defended the scene, saying that the extras were locals from Morocco, but that Daenerys "frees slaves of all colors, races, creeds, and nationalities". Which is very true in the books, but not so much in the series, since it take the parallels between HBO's fictional world and ours much more explicitly.
The show has been accused of sexualizing violence by online critics. In particular, Jaime and Cersei's sex scene in "Breaker Of Chains" was changed from the source material to appear to many viewers to be rape. The fact that the director has stated that it is a consensual sex scene in spite of Cersei's protests has added fuel to the fire.
Unintentionally Unsympathetic/Unintentionally Sympathetic: The sex scene between Jaime and Cersei in "Breaker of Chains". According to the director, it's Jaime who's been abused in this relationship, and audience sympathies should be with him. However, because the scene appears to be a rape in the eyes of many viewers (Cersei repeatedly begs Jaime to stop, right up to the time the camera cuts away), Cersei becomes unintentionally sympathetic as a rape victim, and Jaime unintentionally unsympathetic as a rapist.
The number of people in-universe who like Tyrion can be counted on one hand. The number of people in real life who don't like Tyrion can also be counted on one hand.
The Hound is reviled as a terrifying and brutal man (which he is), but fans love him for his brooding persona, badassery, and Pet the Dog moments.
Jaime is slowly working his way into this category as well. The notorious Kingslayer is hated by everyone but his own family, but his Character Development has him emerging as a fan favorite. The rape of his sister in the Season 4's third episode has been a setback in the eyes of many fans, though.
Stannis Baratheon is considered deeply unpopular within Westeros and is submitted to quite a bit of Adaptational Villainy; but Stephen Dillane's performance, as well as the constant support of fan-favorite Davos Seaworth means that he has a far bigger fan following out of the show (and more vocal), than within it.
Lancel. There is this gem in the Season 2 DVD commentary:
Carice Van Houten: Oh, listeners and viewers, you might think: why is he so cruel to this girl?note Referring to Liam's constant playful mockery of her
Liam Cunningham: That's a boy.note Referring to Tyrion berating Lancel
The little assassin sent after Daenerys by the Warlocks of Qarth. Is it a boy? Is it a girl? Whatever it is, it's quite creepy.
Visual Effects of Awesome: Despite the limitations of a television budget, Game Of Thrones has some notably impressive visual effects.
The reveal of the dragons in 'Fire and Blood' is fantastic.
In 'Blackwater' the wildfire explosion is quite simply awe inspiring.
That White Walker at the end of Season 2? It's not CGI.
The giant that shows up in the first episode of Season 3 is brilliant.
In the final scene of "Walk of Punishment", you may catch yourself wondering "Did they actually cut the actor's hand off?"
The closing aerial shot in "And Now His Watch Is Ended" of Dany's army of Unsullied leaving following the Sack of Astapor, her three dragons flying in the foreground.
The closing shot of "The Climb": Jon and Ygritte making out on top of the amazingly rendered top of the world.
In the final scene of "Second Sons" (noticing a pattern here?): Sam stabs a White Walker with an obsidian dagger, causing it to turn to ice and shatter.
And Season 3 finishes off with a rapid zoom out into the sky, showing Daenerys surrounded by hundreds of recently freed slaves paying homage to her, finishing with a dragon flying into the camera.
In Season 4, the dragons are more impressive than ever. You can practically feel the texture of their scales.
The makeup work for Joffrey's death. You'll probably feel some sympathetic pain no matter how much you hated him.
If you thought The Eyrie looked amazing in Season 1, wait till you see it in Season 4.
The giants and mammoth in "The Watchers on the Wall".
Wangst: Jon Snow's angst about being a noble bastard in the first season comes across as this to some viewers. Although he is an outsider in his own home and has a Wicked Stepmother, he also enjoys the comfort and privileges of a noble upbringing. This is partially deliberate, as various characters point it out to him, and he eventually grows out of it.
Vocal Minority: Viewers who have read the books are particularly vocal online, so that a large percentage of the online reactions, at least in certain circles, are regarding changes from the source material.
Viserys rashly breaks Vaes Dothrak's laws and threatens the wife and unborn son of the barbarian horde on which he relies. It goes about as well as you'd expect.
Robb chooses to break his marriage contract with the Freys and marry Talisa, alienating a vital and already reluctant ally.
After breaking his marriage contract, Robb then thinks it's a great idea to bring Talisa to Edmure's wedding! This gives Walder Frey ample opportunity to insult and belittle her, and gives the Freys equally ample opportunity to kill her by stabbing her repeatedly in the stomach. What makes it worse is that he doesn't bring his wife to the wedding in the book series.
Apparently Pyat Pree forgot that dragons can breathe fire. He did remember that putting the mother close to the dragons made them stronger, but collating these two facts didn't occur to him until Dany uttered the "Dracarys" command.
Kraznys mo Nakloz decided it was a good idea to give an army of thousands to a foreigner inside his walls in return for an animal he doesn't know how to control. It doesn't end well for him.
Loras thinks it's perfectly acceptable to tell Olyvar about his possible marriage to Sansa. Naturally, Olyvar is one of Littlefinger's spies.
What The Hell, Casting Agency?: The numerous recasts for Season 4 led to this. Daario Naharis, Tommen Baratheon and Gregor Clegane were all recast with different actors. In the case of Clegane, it was the second recast. Whether the new actors are better suited for their roles, and whether they were worth the recast, are a matter of individual opinion.
The 5'6" Keisha Castle-Hughes is casted as Obara Sand, an Action Girl who is described to be big-boned and long-legged.
Mycella being recast for season 5. Unlike Tommen, the new actress is the same age as the first one, and Aimee was still very enthusiastic about the show and wanted to come back, leaving fans utterly confused about why it even happened.
What The Hell, Costuming Department?: In Season 2, Margaery Tyrell is inexplicably dressed in what looks like a giant brown burrito. Mercifully the costuming department wised up and put her in more flattering dresses for the Season 2 finale and beyond.
Daenerys in the first season. The crap her brother puts her through just makes you want to hug her.
Bran Stark goes from being a cheerful kid full of adventurous ideas to being crippled and wanting to die for simply seeing something he shouldn't have.
Poor fat Sam. He doesn't even get the benefit of nerd rage.
Tyrion. He is certainly introduced as someone discriminated against and put upon, but seems to triumph over it with little emotional fallout. Then you meet Tywin. Then you learn some backstory. Then you want to hug him forever.
Jon never knew his mother, grew up with a stepmother who hated him and despite having siblings and a father that loved him, never felt like he belonged in his family. He then goes off to the Wall to live a life of celibacy and freezing cold. Then his brother goes to war, his father is killed and his sisters are taken captive, and he can do nothing but sit by as everything goes to hell around him.
Sansa Stark, who spends a full season being tormented by Joffrey. And even when things get better for her in the third season, life still sucks for her.
Arya Stark, forced to run without knowing what's going on, spending several days without food, watching how her father is dragged and booed and hear how he's beheaded. Then, forced to forsake her identity. And then, unlike her father, actually witnessing the desecration of her eldest brother's corpse.
Even though some may consider her The Scrappy, Ros has a Trauma Conga Line through Seasons 2 and 3, ultimately leading to being fatally pin-cushioned by Joffrey.
By Season 3, Catelyn Stark has lost her husband and her father, her youngest sons are missing and presumed dead, her daughters are presumed captive and in danger of dying at any moment and the only son that is with her is in the middle of a war and could die at any moment. And all throughout this she can do nothing but watch and blame herself in her impossible assumption that this may be divine retribution. And then she dies, right after watching Robb die. In one of the commentaries, Vanessa Taylor is a bit amused by how the end result of this is that she seems to spend the entire third season crying.