Now that Season 7 is over, “Game of Thrones’s” flaws have shaked out in a fascinating way — and we’re now fascinated by said issues. The below issues aren’t our ONLY complaints for the latest season, but we still have a lot of concerns.
Congratulations, citizens of Westeros, on your newfound ability to teleport!
Even though “Game of Thrones” takes place in a setting that is technologically equivalent to the Middle Ages, the Westerosi have apparently cracked the code on instantaneous travel. Perhaps we should pray to the God of the Seven ourselves.
But seriously, we’ve already gone on about the ridiculously fast travel time for many of these cross-country and maritime journeys on the show. What it comes down to is lazy writing. In the past, whole seasons were dedicated to following characters’ lives on the road, such as when Arya (Maisie Williams) was escaping from Winterfell or when she was traveling with The Hound. Not only has this season all but eliminated these character-illuminating opportunities, but the show also missed out on building more interesting things for the multiple other supporting characters to do.
Ed Sheeran. You remember Eddie? Of course you do. We don’t need to relive the whole thing — because who would want to (other than Maisie Williams)? — but we can’t leave him off the list. Eddie the singing soldier was a rough way to start Season 7.
Where was Lyanna Mormont?
Bella Ramsey has been a breakout star since her very first appearance on “Game of Thrones” — so why did Season 7 use her so little? The answer honestly ties into one of the show’s weakest overall threads, the poor development of any storyline related to the North. But the absence of Lyanna Mormont in particular stings.
Northern girls were going to be trained to fight, not that we saw any of it
Piggybacking off of the lament for more Lyanna Mormont is a regret for something amazing that she had spoken passionately about. When Jon Snow (Kit Harington) had insisted that both sexes learn to fight since the army of the dead was that much of a threat, Lady Mormont supported him despite Lord Glover’s doubts.
“I don’t plan on knitting by the fire while men fight for me,” she declared. “I might be small, Lord Glover, and I might be a girl, but I am every bit as much a Northerner as you. And I don’t need your permission to defend the North. We will begin training every man, woman, boy and girl on Bear Island.”
And then the show lost interest. It’s almost as if everyone at Winterfell ceased to exist after Jon left except for the Starks and Littlefinger. It’s such a waste of opportunity from a storytelling standpoint, not to mention that Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Arya (Maisie Williams) could’ve been the ones to help train the women, which would’ve been such a morale-boosting sight to behold.
Arya the Enforcer
Going beyond the problems with the Sansa/Arya storyline, is Arya now just the Winterfell executioner? Despite the trappings of a formal hearing, the trial/death of Lord Baelish was truly confusing, and has us wondering about the general legal set-up of Westeros.
The unremarkable life and death of the Sand Snakes
Frankly, the series never really knew how to handle the Sand Snakes, which reduced the badass women depicted in the novels as cartoonish ladies with a lust for killing. It didn’t help that they were also annoying. What happened to the charm and intelligence that their father Oberon Martell (Pedro Pascal) had displayed? It’s a shame because the deaths of all three of the Sand Snakes this season barely registered with fans, who were just relieved that it wasn’t their favorite characters who got the ax.
Macall B. Polay/HBO
The love scene overlaid with a confirmation of incest was kind of gross.
Even though everyone assumed that Jon Snow (Kit Harington) was the secret son of Rhaegar Targaryen, this information was finally confirmed… interwoven with the scene in which he made sweet, sweet love to his now confirmed aunt. Was the back and forth between father and son, mother and aunt supposed to be sexy? This is a menage a quatre that even the Dornish would find unappealing.
Jon’s new Targaryen name is so wrong
We admit having a chuckle thinking of good ol’ Ned Stark receiving baby Aegon and thinking, “What solid Northerner name can I give him as a disguise? Aegon. Ae-gon. Gon. Jon!”
But thinking about the name more, it just seems wrong. Aegon is a Targaryen family name, which is all well and good, but it also happens to be the name of Jon’s older half-sibling. This infant son Aegon was the product of Rhaegar and Elia Martell’s marriage. Also, Rhaegar was murdered before the Mountain kill Baby Aegon, so Rhaegar had no way of knowing that the name would be available. So either Rhaegar told Lyanna that he wanted a second son named Aegon, which is just bizarre (unless you’re the George Foreman of Westeros), or Lyanna decided on her own, which doesn’t fly either. Anyway, does that mean Samwell will call Jon “Egg” now?
Dragon Battle No. 2 was the Same as Dragon Battle No. 1
Listen, everyone wants to see dragons. Everyone wants to see dragons in battle. But do the dragon battles have to be damn near identical?
The first major battle sequence in Season 7 took place at the end of Episode 4, “The Spoils of War.” As the Lannister army moved on from Highgarden, Daenerys rides Drogon down on the unsuspecting forces and decimates them with blast after blast of dragon fire. Captured with impressive wide shots of Drogon swooping across the frame, breathing fire onto a line of soldiers like a line of napalm over the Vietnam jungle, the annihilation is impressive. Bronn tries to blast the dragon out of the sky with a fancy spear shooter, crafted just for that occasion, but he merely wounds the beast and nearly pays the price for trying. Then, at the battle’s end, a frustrated Jaime rides toward Drogon, lance in hand, in a valiant (read: stupid) attempt to neutralize the threat. Drogon sees him, though, and shoots fire at Jaime, who’s saved at the last second by a lunging Bronn.
The episode ends with Jaime drifting down to the bottom of the lake, helpless to swim to shore with just one hand, but don’t worry. He’s fine. Bronn pulls him to shore at the start of Episode 5… much like Jon Snow pulls himself out of a frozen lake after being pulled under in Episode 6, “Beyond the Wall.” That’s not the only commonality between fights.
As Jon and his raiding party fight off a flood of dead dudes, Drogon, with Daenerys in tow, flies in out of nowhere and starts blasting the icemen with fire. Wide shots are mixed with close ups as the army is mowed down by fire from the sky. It’s eerily similar to what came before, with one major change: When The Night King throws a spear at Drogon, he doesn’t miss.
While that’s a significant shift for what comes next, it doesn’t alter the fact that the spectacle of both battles — which is why they’re constructed to begin with — are far too alike. Beat by beat, fire for fire, the two massive dragon attacks illustrate why it’s not good enough to just bust out a dragon from time to time: You need to know what to do with it. Turning one is a good twist, but not when everything before it has been done before.
Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke Have Zero Chemistry
Say what you will about the actors on their own, but even the mother of dragons couldn’t find a spark in this lovey-dovey dud. Perhaps they were too grossed out by knowing their characters were cousins. Or perhaps it had been too long since either of them focused on a romantic arc. Or maybe it’s just that they instinctually knew this fan service storyline was a bad idea.
No matter the reason, these two had far too many scenes where they were… flirting? I guess? Can you flirt while talking about dragon-glass and dead dragon children? Hmm… maybe we just found another reason this coupledom didn’t work out — and why the scene in the finale was icky for more than just incestuous reasons.