The problem with any series that uses an ensemble story structure is that some storylines are just not be as exciting as others. Not only this, but the storyline that you love — that you can’t wait to return to — might be the same one that makes another viewer groan once it comes back onscreen. Game of Thrones, with its sprawling story across multiple continents, is certainly one of those series despite its ability to sustain interest in so many simultaneous events. But even a show as popular and critically acclaimed as Game of Thrones can sometimes stumble in areas where George R. R. Martin’s novels excel with more time and more story. Here are five boring Game of Thrones storylines that are currently in need of a shot in the arm.
1. Arya in Braavos
No one wants to see Arya Stark’s story end, but it’s hard not to feel like her storyline is stuck in the mud. Part of it is not knowing just yet how her training will eventually impact the story at large, but there’s also a sense that we’re seeing an origin story we’re not so invested in when there are important things happening back in Westeros. It’s also unfortunate that Arya’s training seems like a lead up to a Daredevil-like hero we’ve seen very recently in Netflix’s Daredevil series making the entire process somehow less exciting than it could have been. Depending on how long Game of Thrones‘s writers take to bring her to the next step in her journey, this could be a storyline that starts to feel needlessly repetitive.
2. Tyrion in Meereen
Tyrion Lannister is always watchable, but this is where we really start to run into the problem of distance — a problem that most of the storylines on this list fall into. With so much chaos and conflict occurring in Westeros, it’s hard not to feel a disconnect between events at times. It’s clear that as Game of Thrones reaches its conclusion we’ll be seeing all these characters smash together in epic fashion, but for now it feels like Mereen is a purgatory for Tyrion. And with the entire naval fleet now destroyed, a return to Westeros again seems to have been pushed further into the future rather than an imminent event. The Sons of the Harpy plot is still something to be completed, but it’s hard to feel like it will have a lasting impact on the coming events across the Narrow Sea. Luckily, Tyrion’s presence adds a much-needed punch and maybe some dragon action will soon have this storyline pumping on all cylinders.
3. Daenerys with the Dothrakis
Daenerys’s current storyline has many of the same problems as Tyrion’s in the sense that distance and isolation detract from a sense of importance. With Daenerys’s rise to power happening in a location where it simply doesn’t affect Westeros, at least not yet, it’s been a long time for fans to wait for the two worlds to converge. If her naval fleet being completely destroyed wasn’t enough to make us feel as though Westeros was further than ever, Daenerys is now in the hands of the Dothraki while Daario and Jorah pursue her in what might be a season-long rescue mission. While it’s easy to see how the Dothraki could eventually be important to Daenerys in her eventual return to Westeros, it seems like a letdown compared to how last season ended.
4. Ellaria and the Sandsnakes
For two seasons, the Dorne storyline has caused Game of Thrones fans to shake their heads. On paper, the southernmost region of the Seven Kingdoms should be a fascinating place for the show to play out — and in the novels, it is. After all, George R. R. Martin’s conception of Dorne was inspired partly by Spain’s history of war, including its guerrilla tactics against Napoleon and the French. But for Game of Thrones’s writers, something went terribly wrong. Bad dialogue, bad acting, silly fight scenes — everything that happens in Dorne just feels off compared to the rest of the show. This is all on top of the fact that we have so little connection or insight into Ellaria, the Sandsnakes, or Dorne that the murder of Doran Martell and Trystane Martell was probably more likely to get a yawn then a gasp.
5. The Iron Islands
With Theon on his way home to the Iron Islands we might finally have some dramatic weight to the House Greyjoy storyline, but it doesn’t excuse several seasons worth of story that simply didn’t mean all that much to viewers. Case in point, last week’s episode when Balon Greyjoy is murdered by Euron Greyjoy. If you Google Euron Greyjoy, you’ll find various articles answering the question of who this character is and why we should care moving forward. But for such a seemingly dramatic moment, the response shouldn’t be head scratching and a quick run to the computer to do some research when the writers should have made it clear. Maybe this storyline doesn’t need to end, but it deserves a mention for being something that is not currently hitting viewers as much as it should.
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