Monday, June 15, 2015

The "Game Of Thrones" Comeuppance List

Needless to say, SPOILERS AHEAD

Back when Bill Simmons was still part of ESPN, he sat in on a Hollywood Prospectus podcast and complained that ‘Game Of Thrones’ was lacking in truly memorable villains with Joffrey gone.  Um, seriously?  Look at this list of loathsome people!  With five seasons of Game Of Thrones now in the books (though not in ‘The Books,’ a.k.a. the spoileriffic bane of anyone like me who just watches the show and didn’t read George R.R. Martin’s novels), it’s time for me to run down everyone left who is sorely overdue for some serious comeuppance.  Arya “Matt Murdoch of Westeros” Stark isn’t the only one who can make a revenge list!  

18. Ilyn Payne
Despite his prominent place on Arya’s list, we haven’t seen much of Ilyn Payne on the show lately since Wilko Johnson (the actor who portrays him) has been battling cancer.  Hopefully Johnson gets back to full health so he can make a triumphant return to the show and….uh, get brutally killed?  Payne is basically just a thug, so it’s hard to hate him “too” much, yet still, he sucks.

17. Everyone in Meereen besides the seven characters we give a damn about
I’m hoping the S6 premiere has a scene of Daario and Jorah out tracking Daenerys when suddenly Tyrion, Varys, Missandei and Greyworm suddenly show up with the other two dragons.  “What are you all doing here?”  “Yeah, we decided Meereen wasn’t worth the effort, so we just left it to ruin.  Let’s head for Westeros, team!”

16. The Mountain
I almost feel like “Gregor Clegane” and “The Mountain” are two different characters.  Clegane is an awful human being; The Mountain is a physical powerhouse so impressive that you can’t help but be impressed by him.  In theory, Zombie Mountain may essentially mark the end of Clegane the man, if all that’s left is just a dead-eyed, order-taking killing machine.

15. The Entire Brotherhood Without Banners
I dunno if the show is going to forget about these guys entirely or what, though you’d figure characters who can resurrect the dead are a bit of a Chekhov’s Gun in a story like this.  But anyway, they seemed like jerks.

14. Balon Greyjoy
Theon’s brute of a father.  The fact that this guy has barely appeared on the show and hasn’t shown up in two whole seasons yet STILL ranks at #14 is a sign of just how unlikable he is.  Also, remember when Melisandre leeched Gendry and used his, um, various bodily fluids to put blood curses on Robb Stark, Joffrey and Balon?  Why did Balon get off scot-free?  Does the curse only kick in if the victim gets married?

13. Jamie Lannister
Here’s the thing about pushing a kid out of a tower window — not even four+ seasons of attempted character rehabilitation can make up for it.  The Kingslayer is still long overdue for some comeuppance, maybe in the form of his other hand.

12. Ellaria & The Sand Snakes
First of all, this is a great name for a rock band.  Secondly, I don’t really have anything against the characters per se except they commit two cardinal sins of TV — their storyline went nowhere and the acting is terrible.  While my book-reading friends are loath to spoil anything for me, I get the sense that the overall lameness of the Sand Snakes (and the Dorne folk in general) is one of the big letdowns of the entire series.

11. Cersei Lannister
Prior to yesterday, she would’ve been at least a half-dozen slots higher on this list, yet it’s hard to say she didn’t eat a giant slice of humble pie in the season finale.  That walk of shame was so degrading that it almost made me feel sorry for Cersei….except oh wait, she totally brought it on herself by arming the Faith Militant and she’s been responsible for about a thousand awful things in the story.

10. The One Nun Who Kept Saying “Confess” And “Shame” At Cersei
Kudos to this actress for bringing to life such a horrible character in literally two words of dialogue.  When Zombie Mountain starts running amok in the Faith Militant’s church, she is going to be the first one on his list.

9. The High Sparrow
Jonathan Pryce must truly be an excellent actor, since he is setting a record for the maximum amount of smugness that can be packed into a character while still having it be a good performance. 

8. Lancel Lannister
Honestly, being named ‘Lancel Lannister’ gets him on the list straight away.  I don’t know if Jamie will be happy at not being the only Kingslayer in the family or if he’ll be annoyed that the nickname didn’t pass onto his cousin. 

7. Walder Frey
Here’s the thing about Walder Frey, who is clearly a rotter and deserves to die.  If you look past the whole “killed a bunch of beloved characters” and “broke the sacred rule of hospitality in a horrific massacre,” the Red Wedding was actually kind of a brilliant tactical move.  He and the Boltons have been laughing all the way to the bank on that one…so far.  Also, I find it hard to truly hate actor David Bradley.

6. Theon “Reek” Greyjoy
My friend Dave is literally the only person in the world (including even Alfie Adams’ own friends and family) who has Theon as his favourite character.  This is another case where it could and probably should easily be argued that Theon has more than suffered enough for his misdeeds, yet I dunno, he’s still a gigantic weasel.  If he and Sansa are going to be running buddies next season, I hope it’s a situation like Arya and the Hound, where it’s an uneasy partnership for much of the time and yet once Sansa gets what she wants, she leaves this jackanape dying in a field somewhere.

5. Alliser Thorne
This was more or less “everyone in the Night’s Watch” except I didn’t want to lump Jon Snow’s buddy (I can never remember his name, but it’s the guy who’s also a good fighter, he was with Jon and company at Hardhome, looks kind of like a gerbil) in with the rest of these traitors.  Snow’ death astounded me, since between him dying and Sam/Gilly leaving, the entire Wall storyline is almost totally superfluous.  I love Davos but it would be an odd turn to have him suddenly join the Watch in the wake of Stannis’ defeat.  Is it possible that since now the entire Watch has been essentially set up as villains, they’re going to be summarily dispatched en masse once the White Walkers storm the Wall?  If there’s a way to get Davos, Sam, Gilly, Gerbil Face Guy, Breanne, Podrick and Sansa all out of harm’s way, I say just let the White Walkers take the entire North and clean out some of the other scum. 

4. Littlefinger
For instance, does the Vale count as “the North”?  Of all the rotters on this show, I never say “this fuckin’ guy…” more often than I do when Baelish is on the screen.  Aiden Gillan’s weird performance doesn’t help matters — on a show almost uniformly full of tremendous acting, Gillan’s strangely mannered, stagey line readings don’t stand out for the better.  He sounded way more natural in his fake American accent on ‘The Wire’ than he does trying to smother his native Irish accent under Baelish’s dialect.

3. Melisandre
While she deserves a harsh fate, I do have to laugh at how Melisandre’s entire arc in the season finale was just “ah crap, I was wrong about everything.  Welp, time to run away!”  Her character has always walked a fine line between manipulative and somewhat fraudulent, though it might be an interesting direction to have her be legitimately shocked that her prophecies didn’t come to pass and now she’s doubting her own powers.  Oh well, just as long as she eventually meets a brutal death, since y’know, character development pales in comparison to HAD A DELIGHTFUL CHILD BURNED AT THE STAKE.

2. Roose Bolton
Maybe the worst father in Westeros, which is really really really saying something.  The worst thing about Roose is that he’s both evil and competent.  Unlike Cersei and her children, Ramsey and his impetuousness, Melisandre and her reliance on his magic, Roose doesn’t have any obvious weaknesses that you can point to as a clear hint at his eventual downfall.  This is a guy who openly stated that his strategy was just to hole up in Winterfell and let his enemies freeze to death, and it was a pretty good one.  (Though, “having your enemy kill his daughter and lose half his army, then just swarming them as the approach the city” is also not a bad tactic.)

1. Ramsey Bolton
The.  Worst.  Just kill this guy already in a particularly humiliating and (ironically) torturous fashion and be done with it.  By the way, in case you’re wondering where the Night’s King is on this list….he’s a villain?  As stated, by this point I’m rooting for the White Walkers to just obliterate all the horrible characters up north, so go Night’s King!

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