Game of Thrones stumbles (for the first time in ages)

[Spoiler warning.]

It is amazing that I have been enjoying Game of Thrones with scarcely a quibble for so long now. I can’t imagine a more difficult conversion from book to screen. I’m sure if I tried to pull it off, the result would be the equivalent of a toddler’s crayon scribbles.

Which is why it’s so disappointing to be disappointed in the last two episodes (S5, 5 & 6).

Going off book in itself is perfectly fine with me, as long as the dramatic quality stays high. There’s been plenty of artful abridgement already, and I don’t mind more. The problem here is that the series is veering way off book and it’s dramatically dubious in few different ways. There are (at least) three scenes in the last two episodes that seem like major storytelling bloopers to me:

  1. The stilted, boring, silly attempted rescue of Myrcella Lannister (which so brutally abridged events in the book that there was nothing meaningful left worth watching). You could almost here the Benny Hill theme playing during that fight scene! *facepalm*
  2. The gratuitous sexual perversion of Ramsay Bolton, which seemed absurd last week, but in retrospect it was “necessary” setup for...
  3. The gratuitous rape of Sansa Stark.

We saw a lot of pointlessly sexually edgy scenes in the first year of this series — because HBO! — and if they hadn’t knocked it off I probably wouldn’t be a huge fan today. If the series is headed back to that style, while also leaving the books behind, I am going to have a problem. They haven’t lost me yet, but these are not small mistakes, and it does not bode.