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Sandbox / Broken Base Game Of Thrones

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While the show is popular, some aspects of it have polarized the fanbase:

  • The show started to show signs of this in the second season, as it's basically low fantasy, but when actual magic and similar things showed up, people started to complain, especially when the shadow creature was born. Keep in mind that the series fanbase isn't all made up of fans of the books.
  • "The Rains of Castamere" episodes definitely broke the non-book reading fanbase in half, if not out right put them all off.
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  • There are a few viewers who claim the show is moving too slow or is going nowhere fast. While others say they like the slow burn. After 2 episodes of Season 6 an opposing group of fans started saying it's moving too fast.
  • The differing characterization of certain characters has been a major case. The Adaptational Villainy of Stannis Baratheon, one of the most popular characters, has been particularly controversial. The writers' criticism of him in the "Inside the Episode" features has fueled more controversy, especially when they showed inconsistencies with the actual show. Particularly as his ignominious defeat and death in Season 5 is basically the exact opposite of the books, where Stannis looks set to defeat the Boltons, especially as Martin has confirmed Stannis is still alive in the books.
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  • The treatment of the Tyrells. Some people like it, thinking it fleshes out Margaery Tyrell more and shows more of the political intrigue. Others think the added Tyrell scenes, especially in S4 and S5, aren't that important to the overall plot and are basically pandering to the base. Then the scenes of Margaery sexually manipulating Tommen are very contentious due to Tommen's unclear age (especially as he continues acting like a child) making Margaery seem like a sexual abuser, especially as their relationship in the books is non-sexual due to Tommen's age. And while the Tyrells are important to the plot, some people think their emphasis is annoying as it takes too much time away from other significant characters, such as Stannis. Then there's their Adaptational Heroism, taking away a lot of the moral ambiguity of the books.
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  • While he is one of the most popular book characters, Tyrion Lannister's Adaptational Heroism is also a source of contention, taking away many of his sleazier and dishonorable aspects and, like the Tyrells, removing the moral ambiguity.
  • The scene in Season 5 where Ramsay rapes Sansa is very controversial, partially as though happening in the books, it's to another character. Changing this character to Sansa is seen as wasting Sansa's Vale plot and introducing plot holes in regards to Littlefinger's plans. It's even been pointed out that the Northern storyline has had its direction completely changed by the S5 attempt at it, and Ramsay raping his wife is basically one of the only things that remains in.
  • The political intrigue of Westeros vs. the sword and sorcery stuff.
  • Season 5 is an incredibly polarizing season for a lot of reasons, the Stannis reason mentioned above being one. The only thing people can agree on is that "Hardhome" was an awesome episode.
  • There are some who believe the world outside of Westeros is far more interesting than what's going on at Kings Landing or anywhere in Westeros for that matter, like Valyria, Southeros, or the far East. Other fans seems to be more interested in Kingslanding because of all the political machinations are there. It might be related to the political intrigue vs. sword and sorcery stuff mentioned above.
  • There's also Blame Game hand-wringing over the choices certain characters made in the show. Nothing seems to bring out the armchair generals/strategists/politicians like characters making tough morally gray decisions. For instance:
    • Robb Stark. Was the way he handled the Lord Karstark situation the right move or not? Most believe Caitlyn put him in a no-win situation. There's a sizable contingent who also think the Freys would have betrayed Robb regardless of whom he married or not.
    • Then there's Lord Rickard Karstark himself. A understandably grieving father who has a right to be angry, or a selfish idiot who screwed over the north?
    • There's also some who believe Littlfinger's plan makes no sense. Another group believed it made first, then the writers screwed it up with Ramsay Bolton. Turning him into a Spanner in the Works.
    • Did Daenerys do the right thing freeing the slaves, or was she wasting time and hindering her own progress?
    • People see the Umbers betrayal as dumbfounding. Considering how they lost men at the Red Wedding why would they work with the Boltons? However others point out there's a new younger lord ruling house Umber (SmallJon Umber) who cares more about stopping wildlings, so his agenda might not matches GreatJon Umber (the previous lord). Even in that context that explanation is hard to swallow considering how much the north values honor and loyalty. It also probably throws water on the whole "northern conspiracy" storyline. Which in of itself upset some people.
    • Edmure Tully surrendering riverun is also polarizing. Some think of him as a coward. While others think he did the right thing and probably saved thousands of lives.
    • Sansa Stark's refusal of Littlefinger's help. Some say this was stupid, while others see it as understandable considering the type of person Littlefinger is.
    • Bryden Blackfish Tully his stubbornness was either righteous and admirable, Or he was a old soldier who was being a selfish old man who did not care who died in his army. Some take a third opition and believe he was a hero, but was too old fashion and from a different time.
  • Ramsay Snow/Bolton: Great villain or one step away from being a cartoon character, his Villain Sue status earning him the nickname from some fans of Ramsay Sue. It doesn't help that Ramsay keeps winning implausible victories, such as crippling the army of the brilliant military commander Stannis Baratheon with the infamous "20 good men", which is basically the opposite of the books, where Ramsay's utter evil and violent way of thinking is deconstructed and shown to make him actually a really incompetent figure. Finally when Ramsay is defeated it isn't due to any fault of his own, but a larger army suddenly showing up when Ramsay had almost defeated the opposing force.
  • So is Jaime Lannister redeemable or nah?
  • The whole handling of the Dorne story arc. Book fans thinking the sand snakes was screwed over by terrible writers. Completely destroying complex strong smart women. TV fans don't get their importance and think the characters are a waste of time that could be used to focus on better characters.
  • The omission of Arianne Martell really annoyed some fans and critics. Some thought that leaving her out wouldn't hurt the story. On the other hand her story was critical to the Dorne story arc.
    • People also thought the actors involved was criminally wasted. Others have a hard time caring likely cause the show didn't properly handle the characters, it doesn't help that TV fans are already unfamiliar with Dorne and it's importance.
  • For the first time ever people get to see the legendary Ser Auther Dayne in the Show. However reactions was surprisingly mixed. Some thought the dual wielding Dayne was bad ass, and the scene overall was the best swordplay out of the whole series. While others hated the fact he didn't have his Sole named ancestral sword called "Dawn" from the books, and thought him being a dual swordsman was stupid.
  • The omission of certain book characters are also a point of contention. Besides the aforementioned Arianne theres:
    • Patchface, a creepy jester that speaks in dark prophetic rhymes. Was kept by Stannis to keep his daughter company.
    • Lady Stoneheart A vengeful reanimated Catelyn Stark
    • Dacey Mormont, basically Robb Stark's bad ass right hand woman, of house Mormont. Whom perished along with Robb at the red wedding. But not before taking down two of her would be killers, in a elegant gown no less.
    • Penny, another little person that befriend Tyrion.
  • Whether or not Olly was a sympathetic character or not. Many hate Olly, while others say his haters don't get the character's nuance. There's middle ground with some people saying Alas, Poor Scrappy, thinking it was a case of They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character.
  • There's lots of debate over whether or not the children of the forest are really allies to man, or just simply pragmatic.
  • The origin of the White Walkers also causes debates. Especially in regards to the indentity of the Night's King.
  • So is the Telltale game canon or nah?
  • Theres also the issue of "Pay Off" vs. "Fanservice" in regards to The death of The High Sparrow, the Frey's, the Boltons etc. For example some feel that segments of the fanbase might be misinterpreting G.R.R. Martin's work. He's known for defying tropes. But he's not full on nihilistic and thats not what he's going for, more trying to perform a Reconstruction of the Fantasy genre. On the other hand there's also some out there wondering if Benioff & Weiss are just slipping up and betraying the show's founding principles to give viewers too much of what they want whatever that may be.
  • Whether Season 2 was just as good as the preceding one or even a case of Growing the Beard, or whether the show hit a bit of a Sophomore Slump in trying to fit too much material into just ten episodes and still had too many Trapped by Mountain Lions subplots.
  • 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 of "Walk Of Punishment" 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 before season 4 was similarly base breaking, with some thinking the new actor (Hafþór "Thor" Júlíus Björnsson) was too young and soft looking, and others thinking his imposing size was more important. After "The Mountain and the Viper," however, very few people had issue with the choice in actors.
  • "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.
  • When Hodor and Meera Reed's actors confirmed that they won't be in season five, there was a natural split between those okay with it and those not. The really interesting thing is that how you feel about it is probably strongly influenced by how much you know about the books.
  • Barristan's Death by Adaptation is very controversial. Depending on who you ask, it is either a realistic and suitably heroic Last Stand justified by the character's age and the number of attackers or a blatant Contrived Coincidence that feels like Dropped a Bridge on Him or Stuffed into the Fridge.
  • There's also much criticism for the many characters and stories Adapted Out - not because the stories were cut altogether, but because the show runners preferred to make existing characters into Composite Character rather than casting and writing new roles. This is especially evident in Season 5. Some fans support it because it streamlines the plot, while others argue that it makes for incoherent characterization.
  • The announcement that HBO was looking to add an eighth season to the show's contract. Some fans are wild about having more of the show, while others are worried that it will screw up the pacing after so much of the story was designed to fill exactly seven seasons, plus this meaning that if they'd been a little quicker to share the possibility, certain developments in Season 5 wouldn't have needed to be so rushed.
  • The Jossing of two major expectations of book fans in "No One" crossed the line for quite a few fans into feeling like the show's creators now had open contempt for them, going out of their way to tease developments and then pull the rug out. Especially harsh was a gratuitous shot of Sandor pissing into a river that Lady Stoneheart has just been revealed to have never come out of.
  • Fans of Rosabell Laurenti Sellars, who plays Tyene Sand, are rather annoyed about the lack of Character Focus for her and occasional Hatedom towards The Sand Snakes.


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