Beginning in Season 5 (if not earlier) I've been noticing what I consider to be increasingly serious and extensive failures in the writing for GoT.

  • Some of it was not technically weak on the face of it, but plot-wise seemed to make no sense. Examples: LittleFinger's Shennanings which I asked about last year -

    Marrying Sansa off to Ramsey Bolton with no apparent benefit. Even now, near the end of Season 6, it is still unlikely it would be justified in retrospect.

  • Some of it is a whole branch of the plot going awry, namely Dorne:

    Doran essentially does nothing. Areo Hotah - essentially does nothing. There being no noble houses in Dorne to speak of, no politics, no nothing. The Mircella kiss-of-death scene which was incredibly obvious. The magic teleportation of two of the Sand Snakes from Dorne to King's Landing and their no less magical boarding of Tristane's ship. etc.

    and this gets a "gruesome fix" in the form of

    just suddenly killing everyone off in Season 6 Episode 1. I'm surprised they didn't all commit suicide afterwards to lay that story to rest for good.

  • And now in Season 6 we see ever more examples of central protagonists acting prima facie unreasonably:

    Faceless men draw attention to themselves by causing commotions in the middle of busy streets. Arya Stark, knowing she's likely to be chased by a face-changing assassin, not taking the least bit of precaution either in walking around, nor standing in conspicuous spots for a long time, nor suspecting strangers who approach her. Jaime Lannister, the Lord Commander of King's Guard, not bothering to have a clue where his king is at. The Lannisters and the Tyrels waiting for the High Septon's moment of choice rather than just subtly storming the place earlier (something they had already done on some occasion in previous seasions). Davos Seaworth somehow forgetting all about his life with Stannis and Shireen Barratheon and becoming a devotee of Jon Snow and buddies with Melisandre. Night's king not bothering to send a few of his million zombies around the Three-Eyed Crow's cave. Nobody caring about the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch abandoning his post and taking up his old house's politics.

  • And an increase in the prominence of Deus Ex-Machina scenes

    Like Brienne finding Sansa just in the nick of time. And Benjen saving Bran and Meera. Maybe Theon Grayjoy's magic jet-pack ride to Pyke also counts, and probably also the magical funhouse of the Dosh Khaleen which could really not have killed any of the Khals.

Now, this is not a rant, it's a question (I just had to give some basis for my factual claim):

  • Isn't there some kind of review process for the script writers? You would think dozens of people would look at script drafts before they're finalized, more than enough to mend larger holes and gloss over the smaller points.
  • What's GRRM's involvement in this? Obviously the show and the books have diverged a whole lot by now, but still, he is associated with the show.
  • Has there been some internal politics in play with the show's management which might account for some of this? Sometimes TV shows have a writing quality drop between seasons for these kinds of reasons.
  • Or maybe it's just me being to finicky about things? I don't know, it doesn't seem that incredibly hard to maintain better consistency.

I'm truly puzzled and dismayed.

  • 1
    I think this question risks being too broad and primarily opinion-based and too many questions, all at once. :-) Maybe it should be edited to focus on one of the more answerable part (GRRM's involvement, for example).
    – lfurini
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 19:23
  • 5
    Honestly even though you claim this isn't a rant, it sounds like one. I do agree with the frustration, just not sure if this is a good question for this site.
    – kuhl
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 19:24
  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because This is a "I'm thinking this, what do you think?" type question and is off-topic: scifi.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask
    – Möoz
    Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 1:20
  • 2
    You might like this: np.reddit.com/r/asoiaf/comments/4mqmd3/…
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 9:47
  • 1
    Sorry, this does read like a rant. It reads like "there is this bunch of things I don't like about the show, please tell me about problems with the writing".
    – Andres F.
    Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 2:58

1 Answer 1


If you look at your examples for when the show has 'deteriorated', there is a common denominator.

The show is not able to(or chooses not to) use the book source material and the author of the source material is less involved..

George RR Martin does still have a role in determining the direction of the show, but it is smaller since the show passed the books.

While GRRM is contractually a part of GoT and will not criticize it openly, it can be inferred that he is not necessarily happy with all of the changes by looking at the timing of his preview chapter releases.

  • Sansa chapter in the Vale released right after Sansa was married to Ramsey.
  • Arianne Martell chapter released right after the Dorne murders described in the question.
  • Aeron Damphair chapter read right after the Ironborn Kings Moot. (Thanks @Mooz for reminding me of this one.)

With these chapters, he seems to be saying, "Look, I didn't screw up these storylines". Here's a quote discussing the timing of the Dorne chapter release:

The timing of this chapter release is even more suspicious given that it isn’t technically new. Martin has been reading “Arianne II” aloud to fans at conventions since 2011. .... it also contains lines like, “Prince Trystane had remained safely back at Sunspear, after a tearful parting from Princess Myrcella.” Quite the contrast, no?

In addition to that, GRRM has backed away from the show as he commits more time to writing the next book.

(Interviewer) Which shooting location are you going to choose to visit this season? ....

(GRRM) I don’t know. I might make it over there early next year, but I’ve got to finish the book The Winds of Winter.... So I don’t think I’m going to do a set visit this year, sadly.

(Interviewer) You still going to write an episode?

(GRRM) Not this year, no — once again because I have this book to finish.

This interview was before Season Five, however it does apply to Season Six as well.

  • While this correlation probably has a lot to do with it, not having book material to go by should not result in the kind of major failings I describe. I mean, sure, they could have plots that meander, or developments which are less inspiring, but even with no GRRM to hold the writers' hands, they should still not be getting it that bad. But - the chapter release timings may be telling like you suggest
    – einpoklum
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 20:37
  • @einpoklum I'll probably do some more looking into it tonight, see if there's any more info. At the very least, the GRRM chapters seem to suggest that there's trouble in paradise.
    – kuhl
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 20:40
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    Also the Aeron chapter straight after the silly Kingsmoot.
    – Möoz
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 20:48
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    @Mooz oohh. Forgot about that one. If you don't mind, I'll add that to the list.
    – kuhl
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 20:52
  • @kuhl Go for it mate. Just FYI for future: my comments are "fair game".
    – Möoz
    Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 1:31

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