As Game of Thrones comes to an end, Mike and Matt have been rewatching the whole show as we all get ready to say goodbye. As the final episodes air, The Reel World will post several articles reflecting on the experience of being invested in this world for close to a decade.
7. Mance Rayder
The King Beyond The Wall had one of the most interesting stories in the whole show yet he was reduced to a mere five episodes for reasons that are not entirely clear. The core issue was probably that the show itself never saw much use in The Wildlings as an actual group of humans with a legitimate point-of-view in the larger world. They were merely fodder in the grand scheme of things and no Wildling character was harmed more by this mindset that the character who was to lead them through the Long Night.
6. Renly Baratheon
From a certain perspective, Renly was done justice in the show in comparison to his treatment in the books. In the books, Renly is not a POV character (which is the biggest factor that determines how prominent a character is in them), and we get no insight into how his mind works. The show improves upon that greatly as we get some valuable time with Renly away from the main cast, and he gets a handful of great scenes with his lover, Loras Tyrell. It still feels like it was not enough though, as Renly really comes across as unique in the world. There should have either been increased focus on him in the first 15 episodes of the show, or they should have plotted out a different fate for his character given that he was sacrificed for a poorly utilized Stannis.
5. Yara Greyjoy
Yara was a character that really got lost in the shuffle between seasons 3 & 5. The show as a whole really invested no meaningful time in the Iron Islands during that time. While that made viewers naturally less invested in that whole corner of the world overall, no character suffered more than Yara given how interesting she was and how much she stood out on the show. She really could have been a major character on the show and would have been a far more reliable anchor than Theon to represent the Iron Islands out and about on the show.
Similar to Yara, Osha really stood out as a unique character with a distinct worldview that was not shared by many others. The show’s decision to push her aside was disappointing and left a lot of room for a more fitting conclusion to her story than she got.
3. Stannis Baratheon
In comparison to his brothers Robert and Renly, Stannis really was infinitely less interesting as presented on screen. They really struggled with how to portray him on the show, and every time it seemed like they figured it out, they went back to auto-pilot with him until the next big event. They finally got it right in his final season (Stephen Dillane gave one of the show’s best performances that season), but until then they made it nearly impossible to care about the man.
2. Barristan Selmy
No POV character from the books got dismissed from the show as unceremoniously and needlessly as Ser Barristan Selmy. The showrunners admitted the decision was done essentially for the sake of having a death in a key point in the season. Death for the sake of death is boring, and the total lack of fallout or narrative repercussions from this were embarrassing. The only silver lining one might take from this was that the show never properly invested in Barristan as a three-dimensional character and instead just relied on the charm and charisma of Ian McElhinney.
1. Margaery Tyrell
Once Cersei descended into madness in season 5, it was time for a more nuanced leader to sit atop Kings Landing as the show prepared for the Endgame. One of the crucial elements of Game of Thrones is there for their to be rooting interests on both sides of whatever conflict is taking place. Margaery being dispatched of in favor of Cersei was a critical error in the showrunner’s calculus for the home stretch of the show.
Having conquered the medium of film, Mike & Matt return to podcasting about television with the cultural juggernaut that is Game of Thrones one season at a time.
*Enormous spoilers* Obviously.
Each episode covers one season of the show leading up to April 14th and the final season. We have yet to decide what we’re going to do in terms of covering Season 8. Stay tuned?