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Arc Fatigue / Game of Thrones

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  • Jon and Ygritte spend an inordinate amount of the second half of Season 2 wandering around in the snow bitching at each other.
  • Rather than let Theon disappear for Season 3 and later insinuate what happened to him during that time, the show portrays his Cold-Blooded Torture and stretches it over the entire season. This was done mostly to keep the character and actor on-screen, but since several scenes focused on just the torture itself, many people simply got bored and then agonized by the requisite "What horrible thing is happening to Theon this episode?" scenes. Notably, George R.R. Martin himself made a point to distance himself from the storyline in his DVD commentary, making clear that the torture scene in his credited episode ("The Bear and the Maiden Fair") was actually imported from another episode's script and that he didn't write a word of the whole thing.
    • This also applies to Season 6, where the drawn-out depictions of Ramsay's repeated atrocities like killing Walda and Osha don't really add anything to the story; they just flaunt Ramsay's long-established villainy.
  • Stannis just hangs around Dragonstone for a season and a half after he loses the Battle of Blackwater, and even after resolving to aid the Night's Watch he still spends all of Season 4 gathering funds and doesn't show up until the Season 4 finale.
  • Arya spends all of Season 4 just walking to the Vale with the Hound, doing nothing plot relevant. Then she spends the majority of Season 5 either sweeping floors, washing corpses, getting smacked, or yelling, "Oysters, clams, and cockles!" Then the first half of her Season 6 story is filled by basically an extended Training Montage and watching the same Braavosi play several times before she decides she doesn't want to be a Faceless Man after all.
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    • She gets a few neat character moments through all of this, but her overall Character Development just makes a big loop back around to "I want to go home" and except for the Training Montage in Season 6, every cool skill she learns (especially how to change faces) is learned off-screen to make room for Filler, which hardly justifies three seasons away from any central story arc, especially compared to the first three seasons when she was often on a tangent but was at least still connected with a variety of other characters (serving Tywin, meeting the Brotherhood, searching for Cat and Robb, befriending Gendry, etc.).
  • Many found the Dorne plot in Season 5 totally pointless, a sentiment made worse by its scripting of the Sand Snakes, an utterly underutilized Alexander Siddig as Prince Doran, and a plot that ran purely on illogical choices, capped off by a Shoot the Shaggy Dog ending in which the whole thing amounts to Myrcella's Back for the Dead with zero progression for any of the characters involved.
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  • Brienne and Pod spend the majority of Season 5 completely Out of Focus waiting around outside Winterfell thanks to the whole point of their story from the books having been removed.

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