Season 6 – Things that are Ruined
As season 6 goes ahead of the books, now we can only concentrate on things that it ruins.
- Roose Bolton, the Leech Lord
- The siege of Riverrun and Brynden the Blackfish randomly deciding to kill himself
- Mishandling the Three-eyed Raven (Three-eyed Crow)
- Tyrion Lannister forgets who he is and is rushed into the position of Hand of the Queen
- Fan servicing takes precendence over brutal storytelling for the first time
- Inconsistent timeline
The Leech Lord
Let’s start at the top. Here are some quotes about Roose Bolton from the books:
“That man scares me.” – Robb Stark
“Bolton’s silence was a hundred times more threatening than Vargo Hoat’s slobbering malevolence. Pale as morning mist, his eyes concealed more than they told.” – Thoughts of Jaime Lannister
“This is no man to jape with. You had only to look at Bolton to know that he had more cruelty in his pinky toe than all the Freys combined.” – Thoughts of Theon Greyjoy
I think the show got an appropriate actor for the part of Roose Bolton (give him a wig), they just didn’t put enough effort into his character. The show decided to make Ramsay’s youthful wild sadism the most evil thing in the North. The thing is, Ramsay is even MORE sadistic in the books (he rapes the women he hunts, then kills them and lets the real Reek rape their corpses), yet he is NOT the most evil or fearsome character in the North. Roose Bolton is.
Ramsay is young and predictable, poorly raised and won’t amount to much. Roose is not foolish enough to trust him the books, hence why he wasn’t stabbed by him. He also hasn’t legitimized Ramsay. Roose is so much more mysterious and frightening in the books. He looks considerably younger than he should, and the reason for this seems to be his “frequent leechings.” As he likes to put it, “Frequent leechings are the secret of a long life. A man must purge himself of bad blood.” He has servants apply home grown leeches all over his body to drain “bad blood”. His voice is unusually low and calm at all times, rage and joy look the same on his face.
Roose never lived up to his reputation much like Stannis, Mance Rayder, Barristan Selmy, and most of all Euron Greyjoy. Like so many others, Roose was just tossed aside by the writers for someone else.
An unfitting end to another legend
Next we have the siege of Riverrun, which includes another instance of a character being poorly handled and needlessly tossed aside. But hey, the show at least made Riverrun look magnificent.
Season 6 as a whole is just the most unremarkable season. It has zero memorable dialogue and very few memorable scenes, tons of filler content, and fan servicing starts to take the lead in favor of the brutal storytelling that got everyone hooked on the books and earlier seasons. So the siege of Riverrun wasn’t very engaging; the main highlight was supposed to be Jaime telling Edmure Tully that he’d fling his baby over the castle walls if need be, prompting Edmure to tell Brynden ‘Blackfish’ Tully to break the siege.
For some reason, ever since season 3 the show brought up way more tension between the Blackfish and Edmure Tully than there should have been. As if they were enemies. The show nerfed the dialogue between the Blackfish and Jaime Lannister when they parleyed, with Brynden’s words cutting much deeper in the book than the show. When Edmure entered the castle to surrender it, in the books he had a plan to let the Blackfish escape, and this is what happened. Living up to his reputation for being able to swim like a fish, they raised the portcullis just slightly, but it was enough for him to swim through it and down river. Edmure smirked when Jaime confronted him about it, because in the books there was no misplaced hostile tension between Edmure and Brynden.
But in the show, the Blackfish decided to… die fighting. Basically suicide as he knew it was going to be him alone vs the Lannister and Frey armies. The reason he gave was because he’d rather die in his home than see it fall to the Freys, but that is just unrealistic and unbelievable. The Blackfish also didn’t need Brienne of Tarth to come out of nowhere to fail to convince him to join Sansa; you see, the books are less about fan servicing and more about creating a believable world, so you don’t see your favorite characters in every scene. So Brienne never appears here in the books.
The Three-eyed… Crow or Raven?
Boy was this guy written off the screen too quickly! People who never read the book don’t even know who this guy is, and the show clearly didn’t know what to do with him or Bran. He is called The Three-eyed Raven in the show, but Three-eyed Crow in the books. He is half-Targaryen, named Brynden Rivers, formerly called Lord Bloodraven and was Hand of the King to two kings. He is well over 100 years old and was a devout Targaryen loyalist in his day, setting out to kill every Blackfyre who ever lived. So murderous in his lust for revenge that he got sentenced to the Night’s Watch, where he became Lord Commander and then disappeared north of the Wall.
His story ties into the first three Blackfyre Rebellions and is very interesting to read. Check it out on the ASOIAF wiki, which is where we have pulled most of the artwork from featured throughout this article.
Some loosely related fun facts: the Children of the Forest look almost nothing like the books. The White Walkers are also a bit… more rough looking in the show.
What happened to Tyrion Lannister?
His character does change a bit in the books after killing his father and making the voyage to Essos and being sold into slavery, but the changes are more believable. He drinks even more. His noteworthy humor is still there, but it is more dismal since he has no real purpose in life during most of this.
During season 6, he is badly rushed into the position of Hand of the Queen to Daenerys Targaryen, and this is just not believable. She has no reason to trust him this much, to make him her number one advisor yet, but she does it anyway due to TV show scheduling combined with bad writing. Throughout season 6, Tyrion’s sense of humor, which is the thing everyone loved about him, is on vacation, never to return to form again. This is because his lines are no longer written by George R.R. Martin, but instead much less talented people.
I thought anyone could die at any time?
This is another thing that drew people to the books and the show in the first place. Its brutality is unorthodox, it really gives the illusion of no plot armor. So when The Hound died in season 4 of the show, you figure he is just another casualty to the harsh world of A Song of Ice and Fire. That’s certainly how it played out in the books, where he received fatal wounds in the book’s version of this scene.
I don’t mind this deviation from the books. This scene is outstanding, and him dying from the fight with Brienne was fine. What I disapprove of is the predictable fan servicing of bringing The Hound back from the dead just to kill some clear cut evil guys in season 6, but ultimately for the predictable reason of fighting his brother, The Mountain, in the final season’s penultimate episode. Not only this, but during season 6 it was so easy to predict that the Clegane brothers would kill each other, a prediction I also made which turned out true. The fact that people were able to call this out and easily predict it more than 2 seasons ago is a problem, and it is most unlike Game of Thrones. This is the start of its horrible fan servicing.
Benjen Stark replacing Coldhands might be more fan servicing, or just a lifeline they used because they hadn’t introduced Coldhands earlier.
Are These People Teleporting?
I think the only instance of this in season 6 is Varys teleporting from Dorne back to Daenerys’ fleet as it sails to Westeros. The timing just doesn’t seem to add up, the season is so rushed towards the end that everything happens too quickly. This is how the entirety of seasons 7 and 8 are shot.
All in all, seasons 5 and 6 represent really poorly written versions of Game of Thrones, but they are still recognizable as Game of Thrones. Much like how Terminator 3 is still clearly a Terminator movie, just a lesser one, while Terminator: Salvation is something else entirely. Seasons 5 and 6 even have some excellent episodes, particularly Hardhome in season 5 (episode 8) and the last two episodes of season 6. Now onto season 7 on the next page!