Fandom-Wide Survey Ratings for Game of Thrones Revealed – Part 1!

Got Survey

By Chris Wright, aka James Rivers, with Petra

Results of the Game of Thrones survey posted in April here at Watchers on the Wall — and discussed Sunday at Con of Thrones — support the idea that A Song of Ice and Fire readers find the show’s more recent seasons less compelling than do non-book readers

However, respondents overall found book-based storylines more effective than those largely created for the show.

With help from Petra, I’ll look below at opinions on how the show handled 10 plotlines, including Jaime’s trip to Dorne and Sansa’s return to Winterfell. Viewers’ emotional reaction to certain events will be revealed, as well as the show’s most-missed book characters. We also reveal how respondents ranked the seven seasons. Do book readers rank them in the same order as show-only folks? Let’s find out!


Survey Basics

The survey was open April 16 to 29 and was mainly promoted via Watchers on the Wall; it was also linked to at Winter is Coming, r/gameofthrones, r/asoiaf and elsewhere. In all, 2,532 people completed at least the minimum required portion of the survey, which was structured so respondents could vary the time they spent on it. The results reflect their opinions alone, as this was not a random sampling (hence the vaguer “support the idea that” above, and not “show that”).

Among other demographic-style questions, respondents were asked which of these statements best described their experience with Game of Thrones:

  • I read at least one of the books before watching any of the show
  • I’ve read at least one book, but not until after I started watching the show
  • I haven’t read any of the books

For the record, Petra and I both fall into the middle category. And so did most others, since this is how things ended up:

  • Book First (BF), 23%, or 575 people.
  • Show, Then Book (STB), 55%, or 1,376 people.
  • Show Only (SO), 22%, or 559 people.

demo viewer type

This made for a nicely symmetrical sample. Of the 575 “BFs,” all but 31 said they had read at least three of the five books. Three quarters of “STBs” had read at least three books as well.

Other key demographics included:

  • Age: 34 and under, 49%; age 35 to 49, 32%; age 50 and up, 18%; prefer not to say, 1%.
  • Gender identity: Female, 53%; male, 43%; nonbinary/other, 1%; prefer not to say, 3%.
  • Location: North America, 58%; Europe, 30%; Asia, 4%; Australia, 3%; South America, 2%; Africa, under 1%; prefer not to say, 2%.

Petra: Considering that  fantasy and science fiction are generally thought of as male-dominated genres, it’s fascinating that most respondents were women. 


Judging Ten Plotlines

The differences among the three viewer groups were stark, as it were, when asked what they thought about 10 specific storylines. Here is the question, as written, from the survey, along with the 10 plots, which were randomly ordered.

“Below are 10 storylines from the show; for each, indicate how effective (i.e. entertaining, compelling, logical, well-executed, etc.) you think they were.”

  • Sansa returns to Winterfell and marries Ramsay Bolton, who rapes her; she later plays a significant role in his defeat.
  • Jaime and Bronn travel to Dorne, where they spar with the Sand Snakes. They retrieve Myrcella, but she is poisoned by Ellaria Sand as they depart.
  • Tyrion is kidnapped by Jorah and taken to Dany, who bonds with him and eventually makes him her hand.
  • Jon and others go north of the Wall in hopes of capturing a wight to prove their existence to Cersei; Dany and her dragons fly to their rescue.
  • Theon is tortured physically and psychologically by Ramsay, but eventually recovers his identity and aids Sansa in her escape.
  • Arya travels to Braavos, where she learns the ways of the Faceless Men, who later try to have her killed.
  • Littlefinger tries to play Sansa and Arya against each other, but with assistance from Bran they realize his ruse and kill him.
  • Tyrion is falsely accused of poisoning Joffrey, demands a trial by combat and is sentenced to death when his champion, Oberyn, is killed.
  • Jon is elected Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, but his charges grow uneasy with his decisions regarding Wildlings and several conspire to kill him.
  • A desperate Stannis, with encouragement by Melisandre, burns his daughter alive in hopes of victory at Winterfell, but he is defeated and later slain.

Respondents had five options: Very ineffective; Slightly to somewhat ineffective; Neutral; Slightly to somewhat effective; Very effective. These translated to a 1 to 5 scale, with 5 being “very effective.”

Let’s see how things shook out overall.

wotw chart eff

The chart probably speaks for itself, but two quick notes:

  • The Sansa/Ramsay plot had better marks than I anticipated. But that may be because I chose to mention her eventual role in his defeat.
  • The clear flow from book-adapted plots to show-only ones indicates that those rooted more directly in George R.R. Martin’s words were most effective on screen as well.

Petra: It’s interesting that Jon’s mission to capture a Wight and Littlefinger’s manipulation of Sansa and Arya were considered so disappointing when the payoffs to those plots were met with raucous cheering, in my experience. Similarly, I remember the listed Arya and Theon plots not being well-received, when they aired, but perhaps time has improved viewers’ feelings.


Viewer Types and Plots

Things get more interesting looking at these results broken out by viewer group. Half had statistically significant differences according to what’s called a Chi Square test. Here are the three plots with the biggest changes from group to group. Note this chart shows INeffectiveness:

wotw chart eff xtab 3

It’s apparent book readers found these often-maligned plots much less effective than show-only respondents. But the picture isn’t quite that simple. A scatterplot gives a more all-encompassing look at this plot-by-plot data.

This chart shows, left to right, how each of the 10 plots was rated by our three groups of respondents. Remember, the scale used was 1 to 5, with 5 being “Very Effective.” Check out how the plots near the top — the more effective ones — show small changes from book-firsts over to show-onlys, while those nearer the bottom swing upward.

wotw chart plots scatter

Note that the views of the middle group, Show-then-Book, tend to stick more closely to Book-Firsts than to Show-Onlys, and that for all three groups, the plots fell into a similar order, with near-direct adaptations up top and show creations at the bottom.


Emotional Impact of Plots and Events

Respondents were asked:

“Below is a list of major plot developments. For each, think back to when you *first* saw the event (or first read about it, if that occurred first for you). What was your initial *emotional* reaction to each outcome?”

The event were listed in a random order. There was again a five-point scale, ranging from “Very pleased” (5) to “Very displeased (1). Here were the overall results.

wotw chart emoreax

Again, kind of speaks for itself. I’m most fascinated by the sept explosion and Blackwater results being smack in the middle with essentially neutral scores.

The two most-pleasing events listed were also the two with the biggest difference among our three viewer types.

wotw chart emo xtab

Folks were pleased by these results, but show-onlys significantly more so. Interesting that both are from Season 6 — more below on that — and involve Jon.

These ratings and those above, while interesting, are still narrowly focused on the plots Petra and I selected. Looking at how our three viewer groups ranked seasons gives us a broader view.


Ranking the Seasons

Here’s how respondents ranked the seasons from “best to worst” (they could access a brief summary of each season). At left is how everyone did it. At right are the ranks split into our three viewer groups.

wotw charts seasons

So yes, the first was the best, respondents said overall — although interestingly, show-onlys ranked Season 6 in the top spot. Season 5 was in the basement, as may have been expected.

Here’s a scatterplot that reveals added detail, including a photo finish/eclipse for third place.

wotw seasons scatter

This exercise again reinforces the idea of Show-Onlys having less of a problem with the most recent three seasons (check out the arcs of Seasons 1-3 vs. Seasons 5-7).

Petra: I’ve gotten the impression anecdotally that book readers prefer Game of Thrones when it focuses on characters and politics and don’t mind slower pacing, while non-readers are willing to forgive inconsistencies for plot advancements and character interactions. The show has gradually shifted its emphasis from the former to the latter. Season 6 in particular is when years of buildup start to pay off, pleasing show-onlys, but with that comes plot holes and a loss of nuance, irking book readers.


The Things We Left Behind

Speaking of later seasons, that’s when it became apparent that certain book elements were definitely left out. Here’s the changes that most made book readers feel like they had hearts of…well, you know.

“Some book-to-show changes have generated criticism. What major changes, if any, most displeased you? Choose up to three below (you may also add your own)”

And the results:

  1. Lady Stoneheart does not appear – 825 votes
  2. Arianne does not appear; Doran’s revenge plot is left out; etc.  – 780
  3. Sansa returns to Winterfell and marries Ramsay – 643
  4. Bran is the only major character shown able to warg – 632
  5. Mance Rayder’s storyline ends at an earlier point than in the books – 367
  6. Young Griff and his entourage do not appear – 355
  7. Victarion Greyjoy does not appear – 182
  8. Yara/Asha’s storyline is substantially different – 140
  9. Missandei and Grey Worm fall in love – 130

In addition, 211 respondents added their own omission. Here are the top write-ins (similar ones, for obvious reasons, have been lumped together):

  1. Varied changes to Stannis’s story/characterization, in particular burning Shireen – 24 votes
  2. Varied changes to Jaime’s story/characterization, in particular the sept scene in 0403 and the length of time he is loyal to Cersei – 21 votes
  3. Relative lack of direwolves, and related – 14
  4. Ser Barristan’s death – 10
  5. Robb’s wife being changed, and related – 9
  6. Changes to Arya’s story in Braavos – 7

It’s fair to think any of these would have gotten more votes had I thought to include them in the initial list of nine changes. But not everyone thought this was a worthwhile query, with one person writing, “These are the changes you have to make with a tv show. Get over it. Dumb question.”

That one-two punch of Stoneheart and Arianne repeated when we asked book readers to write in their favorite character who hasn’t been on the show. These characters got at least 10 votes:

  1. Lady Stoneheart – 338
  2. Arianne Martell – 281
  3. Victarion Greyjoy – 74
  4. Young Griff – 64
  5. Strong Belwas – 58
  6. Jon Connington – 49
  7. Val – 35
  8. Patchface – 21
  9. Quentyn Martell – 13
  10. Garlan Tyrell – 10

An oddity: Wyman Manderly, who HAS been on the show, got 10 votes. Perhaps people used his character as a proxy for his well-known book speech? Yet Septon Meribald, who as a named character has NOT been on the show but also has a famed speech, only got one vote.

Petra: It’s noteworthy that the two characters people are most unhappy about being omitted from the show are two proactive female characters. As big of an impact as their absence has on the plot, I suspect a lot of the outrage stems from the fact that many have come to view LSH and Arianne as symbols of female agency (particularly as a point of comparison when criticizing the show).

That’s all for this installment. Stay tuned, as we’ll release results of other questions in three more parts, in the days ahead!

137 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. A.S.N.A.W.P. 😉

      Interesting stuff!

      Littlefinger’s manipulation of Sansa and Arya were considered so disappointing when the payoffs to those plots were met with raucous cheering, in my experience. … but perhaps time has improved viewers’ feelings.

      I have to be quick in my comment at the moment… My personal experience is that I did enjoy the “payoff scene” with Littlefinger’s ending, but getting there was disappointing/lacking. We’ve had many, many discussions about that. Lumping all of it together could make me rate it a better experience overall, but separating the plot up to the trial from the trial would provide very different responses.

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    2. Pretty sure GRRM has implied Stannis will eventually burn Shireen in the books as well… I’ll never get the worship over him, and this is coming from a book reader. He has his code but the dude is so rigid. Shireen’s burning didn’t surprise me.

      All this really makes me wonder how people will enjoy S8. It will obviously reveal end game plot points that may never make it to the page. I’m just along for the ride. S7 wasn’t my favorite but I did like the plot advancement after years of waiting for books that won’t ever be published.

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    3. I was also surprised that it was 53% women and 43% men. Way to represent, ladies.

      Surprised that season 1 was the favorite.

      Surprised the Theon/Reek subplot was as well received as it was compared to others.

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    4. I only watch the show and Season 3 is my favorite… so many awesome stories… many new strong important characters are introduced… Season 3 is outstanding!!! Season 6 and 2 are my least favorite seasons.

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    5. I think Im gonna stay out of these threads.

      Sure all this ranking and scoring is fun, but years from now, when I pick up my GOT box sets and binge the show from beginning to end, all these nitpicks won’t matter at all.
      it will be one epic story.

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    6. Mr Derp,

      Interesting that overall, S4 came in second and S5 finished last.

      S4 had my all-time favorite episode (S4e7, “Mockingbird”) and all-time favorite scene (from S4e1, “Two Chickens”, the last eight minutes with Sandor & Arya & Needle).

      S5 had my second-best all-time favorite episode, S5e8, “Hardhome.” The rest of S5 though….

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    7. Ten Bears:
      Mr Derp,

      Interesting that overall, S4 came in second and S5 finished last.

      S4 had my all-time favorite episode (S4e7, “Mockingbird”) and all-time favorite scene (from S4e1, “Two Chickens”, the last eight minutes with Sandor & Arya & Needle).

      S5 had my second-best all-time favorite episode, S5e8, “Hardhome.” The rest of S5 though….

      Ah, Hardhome. We did episode ratings as well; those will be in Part 4.

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    8. Over the past two or three months, I’ve been straw-polling my nurses and carers (min 2 of each a day, mostly female) on what they think of GoT. Without exception, the females loved it, with the appalling death of Shireen being one of the outstanding horrors of the series. Littlefinger’s death though, produced nothing but cheers from everyone, whatever the sex. Oddly (to me) hardly anyone seems to have read the books. Those who have seem to prefer the show. I know I do (though I’ll probably still read the last books in the series if they ever appear).

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    9. Never mind. I’ve just seen the ‘other’ and ‘prefer not to say’ categories.

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    10. Ten Bears,

      Yes, I’m with you on that one. It’s strange that season 5 is my least favorite season overall, yet it has arguably my favorite episode in the series, “Hardhome”.

      Season 4 is my favorite season as well because it has so many satisfying arcs. One of the reasons I was surprised that it didn’t win was because most of the commenters here tend to favor season 4 as well, but certainly not all.

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    11. One day people will look back on season seven and appreciate it more. It was also the first season with a condensed episode count so that must be taken into account too. But all things considering it did a great job at paying off some arcs and delivering justice to others. Although it left something to be desired for characters like Tyrion, Cersei, and Arya it was still pretty great.

      My favorite seasons are 4, 6, and 7. Which is probably odd for many but those were the seasons that I resonated with the most.

      That’s the thing though with GoT. Even the seasons that are “lacking” are still so far above average television.

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    12. The variance regarding the seasons particularly Season Six is interesting.

      I am not sure that can be explained as show only’s being more iwilling to overlook plot holes and a lack of nuance.

      Most tv critics also seemed to hold that season in high esteem and generally they as a group are not the type to wave away plot holes and nuance. They just thought it was better.

      This was an interesting article by Matt Zoller Seitz about it.

      http://www.vulture.com/2016/06/game-of-thrones-season-six-was-one-of-its-best.html

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    13. Edward,

      I dunno, average television is doing pretty great, in my opinion.

      Engaging tv shows are becoming the rule rather than the exception. Not saying there is no longer any crap out there, just that there are more quality tv shows than ever before.

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    14. Mr Derp: Surprised the Theon/Reek subplot was as well received as it was compared to others.

      I often find it frustrating to answer questions like these on account of the way that they are worded. In this particular instance, I was tempted to rank up based on my liking for the whole Theon/Reek arc, which is powerfully written in the books, and my admiration for Alfie Allen’s acting. I was simultaneously tempted to rank down because I didn’t like the explicitness of the torture scenes, which happen offscreen/in retrospect in the books, and because I thought Iwan Rheon was miscast and didn’t care for the goofiness added to the characterization of Ramsay. I no longer remember where I landed on the voting continuum.

      I could think of lots of other examples. Ranking a season (or even an episode) as a whole just flummoxes me, because even the ones containing favorite scenes of mine also include scenes I dislike. The process seems very arbitrary and doesn’t leave much room for nuance.

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    15. Who are these people whose reaction to things like Ned’s death and the Red Wedding was ‘Very Pleased’ and where can I contribute to a fund for their psychiatric treatment? 😉

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    16. I have read all the books, and here is my opinion… I feel that the show has done an outstanding job of editing and paying attention to what deserves it, while cutting all the extra blob that GRRM could not. One of the most useless characters that I have had the distaste to read about is Quentyn Martell. I remember the first time I was reading his chapters and asked my self what is the point of this dude this late in the story and come to find out that Martin’s only purpose for him was to let the Dragons out [and get toasted like a pop tart in the process] at the beginning of the Mereneese Knot. For me it was a total disappointment [more than any of the so called show changes] and it made me realize that the series will never get finished.

      I am glad and thankful that the show will bring an end to a story that I have been following for almost 20 yrs. Before I close this, let me provide some wisdom for all of the people that may not agree with my opinion: “it is not about how you start, it is about how you finish.”

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    17. Ten Bears: S4 had my all-time favorite episode (S4e7, “Mockingbird”) and all-time favorite scene (from S4e1, “Two Chickens”, the last eight minutes with Sandor & Arya & Needle).

      If pressed, I would have to say Season 4 is my favorite as well, mainly on account of Tyrion’s trial and the Arya/Hound roadshow. But it also had the crappy “don’t mess up the historic site” Sand Snakes fight and the annoying scene where Yara and her crew spend a whole five minutes trying to save Theon after sailing all the way around the continent. Seems to me that ‘best scenes’ or ‘best character arcs’ would be more meaningful parameters for polling than ‘best seasons’ or ‘best episodes.’

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    18. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man:
      Who are these people whose reaction to things like Ned’s death and the Red Wedding was ‘Very Pleased’ and where can I contribute to a fund for their psychiatric treatment?

      For readers particularly, ‘very pleased’ might mean ‘with how true it was to the book version’ or ‘with how well it was executed’ (no pun intended).

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    19. Edward,

      “That’s the thing though with GoT. Even the seasons that are “lacking” are still so far above average television.”
      ————-
      Along those lines, one thing I try to keep in mind is that for each “strikeout”, there are 49 home runs. It’s easy to nitpick the occasional misfire – and I’m as guilty of as anyone of doing so. I make an effort to praise the terrific aspects of the show, even if I come off like a deluded fanboy.

      Another thing: I can only imagine how difficult it must be for the showrunners to crank out 7-10 scripts a season and get them filmed and aired on time and under budget. With so many actors, special effects, production departments, and everything else that goes on “behind the scenes” that I don’t know about, it’s been pretty amazing that we’ve gotten 67 episodes of such consistent, unprecedented quality.

      Finally, I assume Benioff and Weiss embarked on this massive undertaking expecting to have source material from GRRM to draw from. I doubt anyone anticipated the show would pass the books and the show would have to create its own story lines and dialogue from scratch. And of course, the show doesn’t have the luxury of 7-8 years between seasons to re-write and polish drafts. Or watch Jets games and not write at all.

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    20. Clearly a ton of work went into this survey and compiling the results. Kudos to all involved!

      Bran is the only major character shown able to warg – 632

      This one kind of surprised me, as I think this was a good choice on the show’s part. Maybe it’s tied in with the show’s lack of dire wolves (that one I can agree on), but it’s not the most exciting thing to watch on screen. Warging comes across very differently on the page because you are in the mind of the character; it’s a very internal thing.

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    21. Edward:
      One day people will look back on season seven and appreciate it more. It was also the first season with a condensed episode count so that must be taken into account too. But all things considering it did a great job at paying off some arcs and delivering justice to others. Although it left something to be desired for characters like Tyrion, Cersei, and Arya it was still pretty great.

      My favorite seasons are 4, 6, and 7. Which is probably odd for many but those were the seasons that I resonated with the most.

      That’s the thing though with GoT. Even the seasons that are “lacking” are still so far above average television.

      The fact S7 is freshest in people’s minds (even if 9 months ago now) could affect responses, also. I think people tend to remember recent things they liked or disliked to more of an extreme. Kind of how if you go out to dinner and it sucks, you might write a bad review the next day, but after a month if you haven’t gotten to it, you probably won’t ever. Not the same thing of course, but along those lines.

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    22. Firannion: I was tempted to rank up based on my liking for the whole Theon/Reek arc, which is powerfully written in the books, and my admiration for Alfie Allen’s acting. I was simultaneously tempted to rank down because I didn’t like the explicitness of the torture scenes, which happen offscreen/in retrospect in the books, and because I thought Iwan Rheon was miscast and didn’t care for the goofiness added to the characterization of Ramsay.

      Well put. I’ve been routing for Theon to find some assemblance of redemption and peace, but that part of his arc has gone on for so long now that I’m kind of just ready for it to come to a conclusion and be done with it. Alfie’s acting is what keeps me invested at this point.

      Firannion: If pressed, I would have to say Season 4 is my favorite as well, mainly on account of Tyrion’s trial and the Arya/Hound roadshow. But it also had the crappy “don’t mess up the historic site” Sand Snakes fight

      The Sand Slugs fight was in season 5 I believe, so even more reason to look upon seasn 4 favorably 🙂

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    23. Enharmony1625,

      The ability to warg ties together threads from First Men history, Stark genes, characteristics of folk north of the wall, 3ER, greensight, access to weirnet, the CotF, and secrets hinted but not revealed that will explain the outcome of ASoIaF. I wanted to see more wargs and warging. Without more wargs, these underlying factors will not be shown in GoT.

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    24. James Rivers,

      I agree!!! Some people have even come to terms with season five after years of reflection. Me being one of them. I like it so much more than I did upon my first watch.

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    25. I’ve been looking forward to the results of this survey. Kudos to everyone who worked on it – I’m sure that collating and analyzing all of that data wasn’t easy. 🙂

      As someone who I feel fairly confident asserting is in the top 0.1% of people who love “Beyond the Wall” and the associated mission, I’m just pleased to see even that many people give it a highly positive response. While it was certainly polarizing and the numbers bear that out, I generally think that episode was better received than people often give it credit for (meaningless though IMDB can be, the episode does still have a 9.2 rating there). At the very least, data is more reasonable and reliable than heated comments sections and anecdotal arguments tend to be.

      I’m a bit surprised that Cersei destroying the Sept didn’t place higher. I remember the reaction to that development – my personal favorite sequence in the entire history of this great, great show – being borderline euphoric, as was the response to the entire episode (I expect it will top the list of favorite episodes in part 2 of this survey, or at least come very close). Perhaps there were reservations because it’s a massive, game-changing development that the books have yet to cover (and may never, for any number of reasons). Or perhaps people were just conflicted about Cersei’s methods, considering that in addition to wiping out the Faith, her actions also killed beloved characters like Margaery and led to the death of her son.

      Not one of the book-to-show related changes or character exclusions listed in this survey bothered me; on the contrary, I preferred the show’s approach in almost every case (I don’t remember if the survey allowed us to denote whether we viewed those changes positively, but if so, I undoubtedly marked them as such).

      Edward:
      One day people will look back on season seven and appreciate it more. It was also the first season with a condensed episode count so that must be taken into account too. But all things considering it did a great job at paying off some arcs and delivering justice to others. Although it left something to be desired for characters like Tyrion, Cersei, and Arya it was still pretty great.

      My favorite seasons are 4, 6, and 7. Which is probably odd for many but those were the seasons that I resonated with the most.

      That’s the thing though with GoT. Even the seasons that are “lacking” are still so far above average television.

      Agreed! I love Season 7 (I ranked it third in this survey, behind only Seasons 4 and 6, and I was tempted to put it higher). In general, even as a book reader, I’ve preferred the later seasons. That’s primarily because I feel like the creative team has gotten better at making television each and every year, even if that learning curve is inherently associated with the shift in focus that Petra outlined. They’ve also resolved some of the extensive issues I’ve had with the last two books in the series, but I’ve talked about that more than enough elsewhere.

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    26. S4 really is the best season of GoT overall. I’m a bit surprised people rated S1 over S4, even though the former was outstanding as well.

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    27. Jared,

      I tend to agree with everything you say honestly. I’m also in the minority of those who really enjoyed Beyond the Wall. It was a thrilling episode of television despite the lapses in logic. And the ending scene with Jon and Dany tugged at my heart most magnificently.

      Season 7 was a test trial season in a lot of regards so I think it deserves a lot of leniency just because of the rapidly condensed pacing and other aspects. Of course this doesn’t mean it’s above criticism, as there were jarring issues in regards to some character arcs and the execution of the Winterfell storyline. But all of that paled in comparison to the wonderful highs the season brought us with “Spoils of War”, “The Queen’s Justice”, and “The Dragon and the Wolf”.

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    28. I’m not surprised with the results, though I disagree with many of them. Season 1 was great, but due to the overuse of nudity and exposition, I could never rate it as my favorite. For me, it’s seasons 4,6,1,2,7,3,5. Season 7 may not have been my favorite season, but it’s not my least favorite either. In fact, every season has been a blast and has been of high quality. My only critique of 7 was the resolution to the Winterfell plot, though Littlefinger’s trial was great, and the execution of the wight hunt.

      I enjoyed books 1-3 more than the show, but AFFC/ADWD were huge disappointments. I didn’t mind a single change the show made with those books and believe that every season of the show is vastly superior. I can’t even remotely understand why people love Lady Stoneheart so much. She’s appeared in less than 5 pages and has absolutely zero impact on the plot.

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    29. Wow Petra, thanks for all the work you did with this! I did find the interesting in the break down between book first, book later and show only folk. Need to do some thinking on this, but did think it interesting that all three groups selected season 5 as the basement. Ok, need to go to the top and see other responses. Again, excellent job here!

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    30. Mr Derp,

      Surprised that season 1 was the favorite.

      Im not – I remember the excitement when it was announced that the book was going to be a show. And as excited as we all were, we were also dreading how awful it would be. I think everyone was pleasantly surprised by how well it did and after all, without the first doing so well, the rest would probably not have happened.

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    31. Jared,

      you’re back! You’ve been missed!

      Not one of the book-to-show related changes or character exclusions listed in this survey bothered me; on the contrary, I preferred the show’s approach in almost every case (I don’t remember if the survey allowed us to denote whether we viewed those changes positively, but if so, I undoubtedly marked them as such)

      I agree – those changes were rather overly picky to me (that being said, I wouldn’t have minded seeing more warging and more direwolves, but I could live with what there was) Also think the list of characters missed was not all that impt at least to me. I had more problems with character arcs, then anything

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    32. Firannion,

      I could think of lots of other examples. Ranking a season (or even an episode) as a whole just flummoxes me, because even the ones containing favorite scenes of mine also include scenes I dislike. The process seems very arbitrary and doesn’t leave much room for nuance.

      Yeah, I had lots of trouble with the way the survey was worded which is why I didn’t bother ranking seasons. I also had trouble with the whole ‘pleased’ ‘not pleased’ thing related to an event – was I pleased with the acting? (like you, Theon’s acting outshone any objection I might have had to any scenes) was I pleased with how close the scene matched my own image of it from the book, was I pleased with the outcome (Ned being executed? I think not) just way too difficult to differntiate.

      Id also be interested to know how people responded based on their age rather than book vs show. My responses to any show is reflected in my experiences as I have gotten older. So I am curious

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    33. The most interesting thing here is that season 6 is placed first for ‘Show Only’ viewers while book readers have placed it in the middle.

      My theory is that seasons 1,3, and 4 place really high for book readers b/c of the quality of the seasons and how they line up well with the books (which gives a better viewing / reflecting experience on those seasons. More depth!). Season 6 was still great and had awesome moments, but book readers had a more personal and engaging experience with the above mentioned seasons (and they likley noticed plot holes in s6 that some show onlys may have missed).

      Season 2 and book 2 were still great but lacked some of the great moments that higher ranking seasons had. Season 5 just failed in providing an engaging experience in line with other seasons and more importantly failed to adapt most of the book storylines coherently. Season 7 was season 7 and its plot holes and b grade storylines sticked out to almost every viewer.

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    34. As a book reader, I was thrilled they got rid of Arianne and LSH. Lol. Guess I’m the minority! 😂 I was annoyed with how they did Doran dirty, he was one of the only good parts about Dorne in the books, and I liked his thinking that is uncovered. Instead, they made Ellaria go whackadoo personality switch over her lover’s 100% voluntary death. The mistake was extending Dorne past Oberyn and wasting Alexander Sidig and Jessica Henwick.

      I think there was frustration with SOME changes from the books because some of those plots either ended up seeming kind of random, or meandering somewhere not that important. But some changes were great! And some were just…changes.

      Then again, I was never mad that LOTR left out Tom Bombadil even though that was one of my favourite bits, so…😛

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    35. Good job on the summation. Just a couple of things I noticed…

      “I’m most fascinated by the sept explosion and Blackwater results being smack in the middle with essentially neutral scores.” Considering the competition, this shouldn’t come at a surprise at all. Both were well executed, but the Emotional Reaction to Blackwater can’t really be compared with Jon’s resurrection. That was the category – Emotional Reaction.

      Then… “The Sansa/Ramsay plot had better marks than I anticipated. But that may be because I chose to mention her eventual role in his defeat.” No. It’s because everyone hated Ramsey. I don’t recall any particular mention of Sansa’s part. We are pleased she is finally free for the first time in her life – even those of us who don’t like her. The North remembers.

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    36. Good job on the summation. Just a couple of things I noticed…

      “I’m most fascinated by the sept explosion and Blackwater results being smack in the middle with essentially neutral scores.” Considering the competition, this shouldn’t come at a surprise at all. Both were well executed, but the Emotional Reaction to Blackwater can’t really be compared with Jon’s resurrection. That was the category – Emotional Reaction.

      Then… “The Sansa/Ramsay plot had better marks than I anticipated. But that may be because I chose to mention her eventual role in his defeat.” No. It’s because nearly everyone hated Ramsey. I don’t recall any particular mention of Sansa’s part. We are pleased she is finally free for the first time in her life – even those of us who don’t like her. The North remembers.

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    37. As a male, European, in my 50s, read the books first, glad they ditched LSH and Arianne – I’m very much in a minority group of GoT fans then.

      I enjoyed Season 1 a lot but I wouldn’t put it first, that honour belongs to Season 4.

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    38. More people were disappointed that Sansa agreed to marry Ramsay or that Oberyn was killed in combat than Jon being murdered by his own men? Huh. I’ll just say I knew Oberyn’s gruesome death was coming, thankfully, and looked away. *shivers* but yeah it was majorly frustrating after what looked like a win, and I liked his character, but we had spent way more time with Jon. I didn’t really start to appreciate Sansa as a character until last season. I did feel for her in season 1 after Ned’s beheading. She’s still a little cold for me (tbh so is Arya these days) but I’m actually invested in her fate now.

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    39. A very interesting read. Thanks for all the hours of hard work poured into this.

      I think I am an oddball for my group. I read all the books (in the space of a month – which when I was teaching full time and had a busy life at home with my kids was a pretty epic achievement for me!) after the finale to season 5 aired – in fact, I started reading that very night because I was hoping that the books would give me some hope about Jon’s fate (him being amongst my very favourite characters). I don’t align very well with a few of the choices for my group, but most notably, I tend to like everything a bit more it seems and don’t have an issue with a lot of the alterations D&D have made to the plot. On an aside, I always roll my eyes at D&D bashing (not that that’s what these figures represent, but when I come across it in forums – not so much this one). I find it pretty ungrateful that these two guys, without whom we would not have this show, are given so much flack for what must be a near-impossible task. To condense down the enormity that is ASOIAF into television format, and to have it become the global phenomenon that it is, is an amazing achievement. I always wonder whether the people who moan about them, or worse, are down-right rude and insulting, are so delusional that they think they can do better. Sure, they have made a few controversial decisions, but they had difficult challenges to overcome (such as how to make Sansa relevant and how to keep Jaime in the picture in season 5), but overall, they have tackled the challenge of having overtaken the books marvellously. Sorry for the mini-rant; it’s not aimed at anyone here, as thankfully, D&D bashing is a rare sight here.

      My only quibble is that they seem to be speeding up the pace as they get nearer the end, which is to be expected, but I do feel they could have kept the 10-episode norm and slowed down some scenes and added in some more to focus more on the character interactions that made the earlier seasons so gripping. I think in season 7, every episode had scenes (most of them multiple) that I wanted to see extended.

      I am also among the minority that I am glad Lady Stoneheart and Arianne haven’t made an appearance. I will be intrigued to see how the LS plot wraps up in the books. We have seen so little of her so far in the books that I don’t have enough to go on to evaluate how much I like it in the books, but I don’t feel it would have translated to the show well. And I am very much in the minority in disliking the Arianne character; I know, as I have discussed this with others a few times before. I just find her character quite irritating, short-sighted and spoilt, so I’m glad that she’s not in the show. I much prefer the strong female characters we have.

      Looking forward to the next analysis.

      Ten Bears and Enharmony – what, no Arya Super Ninja Princess Warrior thread derailing yet? 😊

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    40. Thanks for your work – it’s not an easy task to design and analyze a survey of this type. A couple of thoughts.

      When it comes to the book changes question I responded something like your write in (but nicer) in that while I guess some of those characters/plot lines were fine in the book I don’t miss them in the show at all. The survey might have benefitted from something along those lines to sample the full range of opinions which do indeed include book readers that agree with changes from the books.

      I’m honestly surprised season 1 got top marks. It’s my favorite but I thought I was a minority on that. No surprise s5 and s2 are at the bottom.

      What are “plot holes” in your view? I’m still confused by this. The closest ones I suppose would be the travel times between the wall and DS but you have to be pretty nit picky and have the map memorized for that to be an issue so I’d not call it a plot hole.

      I have thoughts about Jaime in Dorne – mostly it’s uniquein the series imo in that it was a good idea to do this change but it was poorly executed. But I still think it was a good idea – Think about how much whining there was about Jaime this season. If he had not gone to Dorne we would have had 2 more seasons of Jaime in KL struggling with loyalty to Cersei. Ick. Like with Dany getting to Westeros there is some waiting with Jaime going north. Would rather have him doing something rather than sitting in KL. And no, random river lands castle #45 would not work on screen for 2 seasons (it only kind of works in the book due to access to characters thoughts).

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    41. I don’t find it surprising that some people might like the payoff for a particular storyline, but not the storyline as a whole — the endpoint is only part of a plot line. And if the leadup wasn’t good, the payoff won’t satisfy people in the way it should. The post talks about this in relation to the Sansa/Arya/Littlefinger plotline, but I find that’s the case with many storylines in the show, where a scene might work divorced from its context, but when viewed in the context of the whole storyline it fails because of either poor buildup or inconsistencies.

      Though in that case, Littlefinger’s trial only partly satisfies in the moment. It’s satisfying to see Littlefinger defeated, but as the payoff to Sansa’s arc it’s quite poor, because she doesn’t actually outwit Littlefinger even in the moment. He just folds immediately and even confessed without the slightest defence.

      That’s also true of the end of the Sansa/Ramsay story, where the writers gave her scenes that would for all the world try to make you think she was the one who defeated him in the end, even though her entire storyline that season involves failing to contribute in any notable way.

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    42. Che,

      “Ten Bears and Enharmony – what, no Arya Super Ninja Princess Warrior thread derailing yet? 😊”
      ____________________

      Heaven forfend! Why on earth would I derail the thread with talk about “Arya Super Ninja Princess Warrior”?

      Now on the other hand, I can’t promise I won’t go off the rails with comments about Arya Super Ninja Assassin Warrior Princess™.

      ™ Talvikorppi 2018

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    43. ash:
      Firannion,

      Yeah, I had lots of trouble with the way the survey was worded which is why I didn’t bother ranking seasons.I also had trouble with the whole ‘pleased’ ‘not pleased’ thing related to an event – was I pleased with the acting? (like you, Theon’s acting outshone any objection I might have had to any scenes) was I pleased with how close the scene matched my own image of it from the book, was I pleased with the outcome (Ned being executed? I think not) just way too difficult to differntiate.

      Id also be interested to know how people responded based on their age rather than book vs show.My responses to any show is reflected in my experiences as I have gotten older.So I am curious

      In theory, respondents would have only taken into account their immediate emotional reaction upon reading about or seeing the event (whichever came first, though in some cases it only happened on TV), and ignored the acting and other things, not that this is easy to do necessarily:

      “Below is a list of major plot developments. For each, think back to when you *first* saw the event (or first read about it, if that occurred first for you). What was your initial *emotional* reaction to each outcome?”

      I haven’t looked at the age crosstabs yet, but will be including any notable results involving those (and gender identity, etc.) in a later posting.

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    44. Edward,

      Same here! And oddly enough although the 5th season was hard to watch, with everybody being at his/her lowest point, it was also the season, that really got me hooked on GoT. With all the cliffhangers I just NEEDED to know how it will go on. So Season 6 + 7 were great payoffs for me and I enjoyed every second. Oh, and yes: I read the books. The first one before the series started. I stopped when I learned, that the series is not finished (a lesson I learned with Harry Potter the hard way!) and then I started again after the first season. And while I’m here, I have two confessions: I think, Eddard Stark acted like a complete asshole by not telling a little white lie amidst the big one, neither to Jon nor to his wife. He could have prevented soooo much sadness and anger. And I was bored to death by the whole Dorne/F-Aegon-storyline in the books, still am, so I appreciated the changes of the show very much and I loved what Pedro Pascal and Indira Varma did with their parts. One last word before you rip me to pieces: GRRM told D&D major plot lines for the last two seasons, among them were Hodor and the burning of Shireen, just saying…

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    45. MeeraReed:
      Goodjob on the summation.Just a couple of things I noticed…

      “I’m most fascinated by the sept explosion and Blackwater results being smack in the middle with essentially neutral scores.”Considering the competition, this shouldn’t come at a surprise at all.Both were well executed, but the Emotional Reaction to Blackwater can’t really be compared with Jon’s resurrection.That was the category – Emotional Reaction.

      Oh, sorry, what I meant was I thought it was cool they placed with “neutral scores” instead of people being overall quite pleased or displeased with the result, given that both could be seen as examples of events where perhaps there wasn’t a clear side to root for. If you think *both* Cersei and the High Sparrow are evil, are you pleased when she blows him up? Etc. (But on the other hand, people were relatively pleased with the outcome of the Loot Train battle, another arguably without an obvious good vs evil angle)

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    46. Johanna van Locchum,

      “I have two confessions: I think, Eddard Stark acted like a complete asshole by not telling a little white lie amidst the big one, neither to Jon nor to his wife…”
      __________________

      Allow me to chime in briefly. I think Eddard acted like a complete idiot in failing to ensure that his own two children were far away and safe and sound, before confronting Cersei about her incest bastard kids, and before making his move in the throne room.

      What is it that Cersei told him? Something like: “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There’s no middle ground.”

      – End Mini-Ned Bashing –

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    47. ash:
      Mr Derp,

      Im not – I remember the excitement when it was announced that the book was going to be a show. And as excited as we all were, we were also dreading how awful it would be. I think everyone was pleasantly surprised by how well it did and after all, without the first doing so well, the rest would probably not have happened.

      I was specifically surprised that season 1 was at the top because most of the comments in these threads seem to favor season 4, but I can certainly see why season 1 is liked by many, particularly book readers. “A Golden Crown” is one of my favorite episodes in the entire series. I actually like it better than “Baelor”.

      For me, season 1 falls somewhere in the middle of the pack. The second half of the season is great, but the first half very much feels like a rough draft version of GoT to me.

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    48. Sean C.,

      In some respects, the show was a victim of its own success when it came to the wonkiness of the S5 Sansa-Jeyne Poole merger, the illogic of Sansa agreeing to LF’s dopey marriage plan, and Sansa’s regression back to crash test dummy/hostage.

      Towards the end of S4, there was that unforgettable image of Sansa silhouetted by sunlight as she alighted from the top of the staircase in her form-fitting new dress and Cat 2.0 hairdo, and announced to LF confidently: “Shall we go?”

      I really thought the Little Bird had finally spread her wings and would take flight in S5 – and maybe rip apart some worms along the way. I felt deflated when the Bolton-WF “plot” required Sansa to be gullible and victimized…again.

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    49. Mr Derp: The second half of the season is great, but the first half very much feels like a rough draft version of GoT to me.

      Yes – it’s quite fascinating now to go back to Season 1 with hindsight and see the way that the writers, cast and crew were feeling their way into one of the most ambitious and ground-breaking TV series of all time – and that season was really the easiest of all to adapt.

      This came after what was by all accounts a pretty disastrous pilot episode too. Just imagine if they’d decided to abort the whole thing at that point!

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    50. Well, I was one of the women who took the survey and I must say I’m surprised by some of the highly noted outcomes, but to each their own…pretty sure none of this will matter to any of us 10 years ago, but fun to see right now. Right now I feel like I’m stuck in the never ending long night waiting for S8!

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    51. Che,

      hat’s what these figures represent, but when I come across it in forums – not so much this one). I find it pretty ungrateful that these two guys, without whom we would not have this show, are given so much flack for what must be a near-impossible task. To condense down the enormity that is ASOIAF into television format, and to have it become the global phenomenon that it is, is an amazing achievement. I always wonder whether the people who moan about them, or worse, are down-right rude and insulting, are so delusional that they think they can do better. Sure, they have made a few controversial decisions, but they had difficult challenges to overcome (such as how to make Sansa relevant and how to keep Jaime in the picture in season 5), but overall, they have tackled the challenge of having overtaken the books marvellously. Sorry for the mini-rant; it’s not aimed at anyone here, as thankfully, D&D bashing is a rare sight here.

      Yes indeed – I understood there was no way that the book could be aired and still be successful. Changes had to be made, and for the most part I agreed with them. But there were times (Dorne, Arya in Braavos are two big ones)) where they really dropped the ball. I am also concerned about the speed of these last two seasons. I would have liked it if they made them with 10 episodes, so they could have added scenes that would have made many gaps (Sansa and Ara and LF) make more sense. But it is what it is, and given that the books were not finished, very glad that the show will complete the story.

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    52. James Rivers,

      “If you think *both* Cersei and the High Sparrow are evil, are you pleased when she blows him up? Etc.”
      ________________
      The variables in the equation are that Cersei as played by Lena Headey is deliciously wicked and fun to watch. The High Hypocrite was evil, but worst of all, he was boring. When he was vaporized, my immediate reaction was relief: “Thank goodness! No more bloviating speeches.”

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    53. I just can’t understand how majority of fans here think that S1 was the best. It is once again clear that those who read the books care the most about the faithfulness to the sorce material. Everything else feels secondary.

      I’m also negatively surprised that even show only fans liked S1 more than S4.

      I’m happy that S6 is in TOP 3.

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    54. Edward,

      Aww, thanks!
      Something else I should add in light of some of the comments:

      I doubt the showrunners have the time or the ability to go back for re-shoots if an episode or story line that looked good on paper came off as disjointed or underwhelming once filmed.

      It’s not uncommon that when a movie bombs with test audiences, the producers will push back its release date while portions of the script are rewritten and scenes are re-shot. (From what I’ve heard, that’s why Maisie’s “New Mutants” film originally set to be released this year won’t come out until April, 2019 ☹️.)

      GoT has to work with what’s been filmed. Judicious editing can only make incremental differences if there’s some latent “plot hole” or missing bits of connective information.* After S6 was filmed, I doubt they could go back and add a scene explaining why Sansa didn’t tell Jon she had turned down – then accepted – LF’s offer to have the Knights of the Vale join Jon’s undermanned forces.

      * I’m reminded of a story about the original unaired pilot. After a private screening, one of the showrunners’ colleagues observed that it was never made clear that Jaime and Cersei were brother and sister. That was fixed easily enough by adding a snippet of dialogue during the Stark family lineup scene (welcoming Robert’s entourage to WF), i.e., having one of the Stark kids whisper to another something like “that’s Jaime Lannister, the queen’s brother.”

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    55. In addition, 211 respondents added their own omission…in particular burning Shireen 24 votes

      Hmm, well until TWoW appears we don’t actually know if that is a change from the books or not; there have been several hints that this could be one of the key points that GRRM told D&D about albeit possibly arising in different circumstances.

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    56. Wolfish,

      Way to go George! Just what anxious book readers want to see: a promo for a new book -about events “300 years before Aegon’s Conquest.”

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    57. Elizabeth,

      What do you make of Petra’s comment (excerpted below)?

      Petra: “Considering that fantasy and science fiction are generally thought of as male-dominated genres, it’s fascinating that most respondents were women.”

      Assuming the demographics of the survey’s respondents by gender (53% F – 43% M) are representative of the fan base, I’d be interested to know why the show has appealed to women in particular.

      Any theories?

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    58. Ten Bears,

      I asked my wife this very question last night, and she was surprised by the sentiment that sci-fi and fantasy are supposedly male-dominated genres. She understood the sentiment, and it’s not really wrong, but she said that a lot more women enjoy that genre than many people think.

      In other words, perception is not reality in this case.

      GoT takes its fair share of criticism for not involving enough females in various capacities, but it still features a number of women that are not relegated to traditionally stereotypical or submissive roles. There are many strong representations of female characters who survive and thrive without needing to depend on a man, despite the fact that the GoT world is still a male-dominated world.

      Of course, maybe the guys were just lazier and didn’t feel like filling out the survey? I don’t know.

      Having said that, I think this question would be better answered by a woman rather than a man, so I’ll gracefully bow out now and let others answer.

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    59. Che,

      I agree with pretty much all of this (although I remain fairly neutral in regards to Arianne in the books — I don’t dislike her, but I don’t like her enough to care that she was cut from the show). Similarly to you, I read the books after season 6 and am now slowly making my way through a second time.

      D&D definitely don’t get enough credit for what they’ve been able to achieve with this incredibly complex material. George himself considered ASoIaF un-filmable at one point, and referred to D&D as “mad men and brave men” for taking this on. Sure, I am critical of some of the choices they’ve made, and how certain things have been executed on the show, but I think it really speaks to how passionately we all care about the story and the characters!

      Regarding LSH, I’m also in the minority of being glad she was cut from the show. I just think that keeping resurrections to a minimum was a good move on the show’s part, and part of LSH’s role has been transplanted onto Arya anyway.

      Che:
      Ten Bears and Enharmony – what, no Arya Super Ninja Princess Warrior thread derailing yet? 😊

      Oops.. 🙂

      I, too, am curious to see where the LSH plot is headed in the books, particularly as it may relate to the development of Jon and Arya, and how the show will handle it in comparison (though we may not know this for sure for some time).

      On another note, I’m a bit curious as to why season 2 consistently ranks among people’s least favorite season. Season 5 is more obvious, but season 2 had some wonderful Tyrion moments, and of course the amazing Arya/Tywin scenes. It perhaps lacked big moments in comparison with other seasons, but the writing for the most part was pretty solid, and we got the first major battle of the series.

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    60. Mr Derp,

      “A Golden Crown” is one of my favorite episodes in the entire series

      A golden Crown was absolutely my favorite ep as well… until the perfection that was S7e4.

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    61. Ten Bears,

      While I couldn’t agree more with your statements about the high sparrow and Cersei (I was aching for her to destroy him) I can’t say the same about Margarey and Loras (and Mace the poor dear). My emotional reaction was equal parts YESSSSS and NOOOOOOO so what do i put in that survey??? It wasn’t neutral as in “I don’t care” it was neutral as in “I am deeply conflicted”!

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    62. mau,

      Season 1 has obvious limitations from a production standpoint, but on a story level it’s adapting the slimmest, most narratively concise book in the series, so it’s by far the most TV-friendly story of the bunch. All of the plots interconnect, something that wouldn’t be the case again until Season 7, and there’s no noticeably weak plotline in the first season, so it’s the most consistent in quality.

      Now, on the other hand, Season 1 also features what I think is still the the single-worst scene in the entire show.

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    63. L,

      You have read the books and Shireen’s burning did not surprise you?
      Coming from the guy who denied his fanatic religious followers by saying “Half my army is made of unbelievers. I will have no burnings. Pray harder”?

      Yes, Shireen will almost certainly burns in the books, but it will be at the command of Melisandre and Selyse, NOT Stannis. First of all Stannis isn’t even with Shireen, he’s hundreds of leagues away from her and his army isn’t even moving anymore. Shireen is with Melisandre and Selyse. Who are both R’hllor followers. Selyse is INSANE about the lord of light, she’ll do anything Melisandre tells her to do.

      But on the show they changed that to make Stannis do it, and Selyse feel remorseful about it… Because they hate Stannis. They always hated him, and it shows. Every single positive thing about Stannis in the books, didn’t make it to the show.
      Book Stannis is an excellent commander, on the show he’s terrible(can’t guard his camp, doesn’t have outriders – bolton’s cavalry was 500 feets away and he didn’t know), etc…
      Book Stannis inspires undying loyalty from many of his soldiers/officers. Show Stannis forces desert him all the time, and Davos forget about him like 5 minutes after his death to give in to Jon Snow. (Davos character is almost as ruined as Stnanis in the later seasons).

      One of book stannis greatest moment is the rout of Mance Rayder’s army, with 3k against 60000, and Mance rode to fight against him.
      On the show, it looks like there are 50 starving wildlings opposing stannis, and Mance command them to throw down their weapon as soon as he shows up. Makes him look like a butcher, while the same scene in the books made him look a hero.

      And of course the billions of strong moments/powerful quotes from stannis that didn’t make the show. And sure they cut stuff, but that doesn’t stop them from having Daenerys make a “rawr rarw I’m powerful” speech every 5 minutes.

      Oh and the funny quotes as well. Yes, FUNNY! As rigid and serious as stannis is, he actually has funny lines in the books (his comparison to robert, the one about praying harder, etc..). Oh, and touching ones as well. The story about Proudwing, etc..

      The only touching moment they’ve add with Stannis was the Shireen “fatherly” scene, which was obviously put in just to make the burning hit harder, make us hate stannis more.

      Stannis is the most ruined character adaptation I’ve seen in recent television history. They just didn’T like him.

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    64. Ten Bears:
      James Rivers,

      “If you think *both* Cersei and the High Sparrow are evil, are you pleased when she blows him up? Etc.”
      ________________ The variables in the equation are that Cersei as played by Lena Headey is deliciously wicked and fun to watch. The High Hypocrite was evil, but worst of all, he was boring. When he was vaporized, my immediate reaction was relief: “Thank goodness! No more bloviating speeches.”

      I for one love Jonathan Pryce and could watch his High Sparrow scenes over and over. And the character is hardly purely evil. Granted, his Puritanical purges – dumping wine, closing down brothels, jailing homosexuals etc. – are pretty awful, and my tolerance for fundamentalists of any stripe is minimal. He’s also clearly pursuing power in a methodical way, which makes him somewhat hypocritical. But the HS doesn’t come across to me as cynical at all. I think he believes in the righteousness of what he’s doing. That makes him dangerous, of course, but not what I’d call evil. I didn’t think for a moment that he was insincere about trying to achieve some degree of leveling of the social hierarchy. The show did a pretty good job of using him as a mouthpiece to remind us of the suffering of the smallfolk, which mostly gets short shrift elsewhere in the TV version, since it cuts out Brienne’s book function as a witness to Westeros’ social misery at the tail end of the War of Five Kings.

      Maybe I’m in the minority here, Ten Bears, but I think it’s high time that the Sparrow-bashing got some pushback.

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    65. Mr Derp: Sexposition anyone?

      I want to tell myself that there must have been others I disliked more but when the question of least favorite scene comes up it’s ALWAYS the one that I think of first. I guess that means it must be the worst for me.

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    66. Enharmony1625: On another note, I’m a bit curious as to why season 2 consistently ranks among people’s least favorite season. Season 5 is more obvious, but season 2 had some wonderful Tyrion moments, and of course the amazing Arya/Tywin scenes. It perhaps lacked big moments in comparison with other seasons, but the writing for the most part was pretty solid, and we got the first major battle of the series.

      I agree with you on that. I’ve always enjoyed season 2, but I don’t get the same impression from too many others. IMO, some of the most underrated episodes of the entire series are in the second half of season 2. Perhaps you’re right that there aren’t as many “epic” moments, but we had the Battle of Blackwater, the beginnings of the Brienne/Jaime roadshow, Arya/Tywin conversations, the political scheming of the Tyrells to replace Sansa with Margaery as Queen-to-be, the “two quick deaths” scene with Brienne, Dany’s first dracarys moment, Dany discovering that XX Daxos was full of shit, Theon’s speech before being betrayed by the Ironborn, Luwin’s last scene with the Starks, etc…

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    67. Firannion: Maybe I’m in the minority here, Ten Bears

      I’m on Ten Beers side on the High & Mighty Sparrow.
      I’m going to go ahead and turn the subject into something about Arya… If they cut some of his redundant and lengthy rhetoric maybe we could have gotten some more HoBaW training. 😛

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    68. Clob: I want to tell myself that there must have been others I disliked more but when the question of least favorite scene comes up it’s ALWAYS the one that I think of first.I guess that means it must be the worst for me.

      In all honesty, I dislike the scene, but not because it offends my delicate sensibilities or anything like that. It’s just a really dumb scene. Poorly executed and I’ve never really been sold on Baelish being the pimp type. I don’t think he pulled it off that well, at least not in season 1. I thought he was more convincing in later seasons.

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    69. Enharmony1625:
      Che,

      I’m a bit curious as to why season 2 consistently ranks among people’s least favorite season. Season 5 is more obvious, but season 2 had some wonderful Tyrion moments, and of course the amazing Arya/Tywin scenes. It perhaps lacked big moments in comparison with other seasons, but the writing for the most part was pretty solid, and we got the first major battle of the series.

      Agreed that S2 is underappreciated. It gives Peter Dinklage his best material aside from Tyrion’s trial sequence. They did a fantastic job of translating to the screen his meticulous and crafty setup of Pycelle, Varys and Baelish to determine which was Cersei’s mole. And his takedown of Slynt over dinner and drinks was more epic and satisfying to me than Jon lopping his head off.

      Blackwater is also still my favorite battle in the series, despite its budgetary limitations – because it simultaneously integrates all the drama going on behind the battlelines, instead of just showing us dozens or hundreds of random combatants whacking away at each other.

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    70. Firannion,

      High Sparrow: Selectively arresting and torturing people so he could take the throne by proxy. (Easily malleable Tommen + pressuring Marg to produce an heir to control.)

      I didn’t see how the show used him as a “mouthpiece to remind us of the suffering of the smallfolk.” All I saw were mobs of fanatics and terrorists with those stupid forehead carvings. High Sparrow had a good PR campaign – with the soup kitchens and bare feet – but I thought he just exploited the “common” people.

      [Warning to Che: Derailment Ahead❗️]

      I didn’t think “the suffering of the smallfolk, …mostly [got] short shrift elsewhere in the TV version.” That suffering was shown throughout Arya’s S2 – S4 journeys, e.g., as a NW “gutter rat” in S1-2; as an inmate in Harrenhal prison camp, and especially in S4 as a witness to farmers and innkeepers robbed, terrorized and killed. That suffering is on full display as Arya and Sandor ride through a village of corpses and overturned carts before coming upon that mortally wounded farmer sitting outside his burned hut. (S4e7, I think.)

      I’d even suggest that the plight of conscripts forced to leave home and fight and die in “someone else’s war”, a theme of the books’ Broken Man” speech, resonated in the words of the kind young Lannister soldiers Arya encountered in S7e1.

      (I’ll stop here before I launch into my “20 reasons why Arya should be queen.”)

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    71. Firannion: TV version, since it cuts out Brienne’s book function as a witness to Westeros’ social misery at the tail end of the War of Five Kings.

      Cutting and rewriting the itinerant clergyman’s speech about how a peasant gets involved in fighting a war and develops into a cynical survivor is the omission I miss the most. The evils of war is a main message of ASoIaF and GoT downplays that theme.

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    72. Ten Bears,

      I agree with you on the High Sparrow. I think he cared for the smallfolk, but he definitely used that to his advantage to gain more power. He used them as pawns to gain an advantage, not too differently than what the nobles have been doing for a long time. He just used a different hustle to make it work. I was glad to see him blow to pieces.

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    73. Ten Bears: I didn’t see how the show used him as a “mouthpiece to remind us of the suffering of the smallfolk.” All I saw were mobs of fanatics and terrorists with those stupid forehead carvings.

      That’s because, as Syrio Forel would say, ‘You saw with your eyes, but you did not listen with your ears’ (having nodded out mid-sermon). The High Sparrow repeatedly made the point to Tommen that the poor were not merely suffering from famine and other effects of war; they were suffering because aristocrats were continually fighting amongst themselves for worldly power. Under the HS’ influence (and that of Margaery before him), Tommen was developing a social conscience – potentially more than any of his predecessors since Baelor the Blessed. Had he outlived Cersei, he would very likely have been an enlightened and progressive king. Closing the brothels might’ve been a price worth paying for that.

      Ten Bears: I didn’t think “the suffering of the smallfolk, …mostly [got] short shrift elsewhere in the TV version.” That suffering was shown throughout Arya’s S2 – S4 journeys, e.g., as a NW “gutter rat” in S1-2; as an inmate in Harrenhal prison camp, and especially in S4 as a witness to farmers and innkeepers robbed, terrorized and killed. That suffering is on full display as Arya and Sandor ride through a village of corpses and overturned carts before coming upon that mortally wounded farmer sitting outside his burned hut. (S4e7, I think.)

      I’d even suggest that the plight of conscripts forced to leave home and fight and die in “someone else’s war”, a theme of the books’ Broken Man” speech, resonated in the words of the kind young Lannister soldiers Arya encountered in S7e1.

      Full display? Because you have not read the books, you are not aware what a Cliff’s Notes version that is of what was happening to the commons in the wake of the war. When Brienne makes her way north in search of Sansa, she is swimming against a tide of people fleeing south: thousands upon thousands of refugees swarming the Kingsroad. She pauses long enough to hear some of their horrific stories (which make the rise of the Sparrows much more understandable, by the way). The TV show does not capture a hundredth of the horror of war in the books, or do enough to make the point that this is the inevitable result of nobles quibbling over who’s the true heir to whom. So I appreciate that they at least gave Jonathan Pryce a few things to say on that subject.

      But hey, different strokes…

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    74. aiad,

      I couldn’t disagree more. I’m in the minority that preferred Show Stannis to his book counterpart and liked how the show made his story tragic . I felt I could connect with him more on an emotional level and thought he had much more touching scenes than the one you mentioned. There was his scene with Shireen at the Wall, his first scene with her on Dragonstone, his scene with Melisandre in the season 2 finale where he expresses guilt for murdering Renly, his scene with Davos when he visits him in his cell, and his final scene with Brienne. I felt like his character evolved/devolved throughout the series and liked how he believed himself to be the messiah that was meant to lead the armies of the living against the dead. He came to learn that the title of king was meaningless when humanity was on the verge of the apocalypse. I thought Book Stannis was on the same path when he went North and saved the Night’s Watch, but afterwards he continued his campaign to take the Iron Throne and carry on his lineage. I feel like Book Stannis hasn’t changed at all since when we first meet him, and that makes him a very boring character to me.

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    75. Firannion,

      “Tommen was developing a social conscience – potentially more than any of his predecessors since Baelor the Blessed. Had he outlived Cersei, he would very likely have been an enlightened and progressive king.”
      ___________
      Spineless Tommen sold out his own mother. She would’ve been tried and convicted by HS’s stooges and probably executed.

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    76. Firannion,

      Fair enough. I have not read the books, so I cannot compare the treatment of the smallfolk’s suffering. I guess in condensing and adapting thousands of pages of book material, some of the socioeconomic background detail will be lost.

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    77. Ten Bears: Spineless Tommen sold out his own mother. She would’ve been tried and convicted by HS’s stooges and probably executed.

      And rightly so. Tommen was beginning to see her for what she is. I would’ve laughed, knowing that Cersei was being hung from her own petard after enabling the Sparrows, thinking they would be under her control.

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    78. Ten Bears: some of the socioeconomic background detail will be lost.

      Not ‘socioeconomic background detail.’ The author’s primary overarching theme about the quest for power and its consequences.

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    79. Ten Bears:
      Spineless Tommen sold out his own mother. She would’ve been tried and convicted by HS’s stooges and probably executed.

      His mother who was trying to get his wife killed and who, more broadly, is emblematic of everything wrong with the Westerosi nobility?

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    80. Firannion,

      I misspoke out of ignorance. Someday I may* read the books and I’ll see how GRRM portrayed the consequences on the “common people” of the bigshots’ quest for power.

      * I’ve been kind of hoping he’ll at least finish TWOW by the end of S8… but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

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    81. Firannion: And rightly so. Tommen was beginning to see her for what she is. I would’ve laughed, knowing that Cersei was being hung from her own petard after enabling the Sparrows, thinking they would be under her control.

      This. 100%.

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    82. Firannion,


      The High Sparrow repeatedly made the point to Tommen that the poor were not merely suffering from famine and other effects of war; they were suffering because aristocrats were continually fighting amongst themselves for worldly power. Under the HS’ influence (and that of Margaery before him), Tommen was developing a social conscience – potentially more than any of his predecessors since Baelor the Blessed. Had he outlived Cersei, he would very likely have been an enlightened and progressive king. Closing the brothels might’ve been a price worth paying for that.

      I actually agreed with the economic centered portions of the High Sparrow’s dialogue as well as the emphasis on moral parity between the rich and poor. However, he was too rigid and him coming into power (via controlling Tommen) would have been another form of authoritarianism. It would definitely have been more beneficial for the poor of King’s Landing than Cersei ruling or Cersei controlling Tommen, but it would have been tyrannical in other ways

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    83. mau:
      I just can’t understand how majority of fans here think that S1 was the best. It is once again clear that those who read the books care the most about the faithfulness to the sorce material. Everything else feels secondary.

      I’m also negatively surprised that even show only fans liked S1 more than S4.

      I’m happy that S6 is in TOP 3.

      Note that it wasn’t just WOTW folks doing this, though I don’t know the proportion of overall survey-takers who are from this site as opposed to not. One of the other crosstabs will look at views of those who spend a lot of time reading/talking/interacting with others about the show, vs. those who do not. I’ll be interested to see if there are many differences; if there are, it might mean reading a lot online can pull people into a groupthink sort of thing. Respondents who spend little to no time with GoT other than when they watch it, and who also haven’t read the books, might be a control group of sorts (not the right term but…), but I dunno if many survey-takers fell into that double subset.

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    84. Pigeon,

      I still get angry when I think about her creating the Sparrow mess then getting away with all the collateral lives lost when she blew up the Sept of Baelor to get rid of them. (Also besides Dany and Jon, Margaery was one of my favorite characters). I didn’t like the Sparrows, but to me, Cersei was absolutely a worse alternative to them. I still think about her telling the small council to close the doors of the city to the peasants in S2orS3 and in S4 when she made sure the wedding feast leftovers went to the dogs(?) after Margaery announced they would go to the poor.

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    85. Che,

      I 100% agree with all of this, from the D&D bashing to Lady Stoneheart. I read the books first, reread my favourite chapters and characters (Jon is among my favourites too!) and then watched the show. While I really dislike some of the adaptations, translating this story from book to screen – two completely different mediums – is a tremendously, tremendously difficult task to do. Just like you said. And I have really enjoyed the television series – I’m so happy to have the televisions series! It’s something I can watch with my friends, my mum, we have our finale parties, we have our theory sessions, we talk about it when we’re going out for drinks & ramen. I love the books, I love the show, I love meeting people through both, and I love the experiences they provide!

      I was just in the Netherlands and I found this Dutch Watchover Voodoll keychain – “Moeder der Draken” – which was such a cool moment. That these characters have now become icons in so many parts of the world. And also – perfect souvenir opportunity! ;D And I think the show has helped so much get this story out there.

      I am also in the minority of those who didn’t like Lady Stoneheart. I am really intrigued by how she’ll figure into future plots, especially if the Northern Conspiracy theory turns out to be true, but she’s unCat. Personally, I dislike the concept and idea of unCharacters. While I respect the love fans have for her and I see the intrigue in Lady Stoneheart/what she may do for the plot, I’m not aboard the Lady Stoneheart hype train. Emotionally, the character makes me feel disconnected and frustrated.

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    86. Cersei is a hero where I live, and it’s because she blew up the sept (people like the high sparrow hold the power where I live, so the results in that section wasn’t really shocking to me)

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    87. krupke,

      Yeah, it’s a shame about Margaery. She showed that a ruler can be ambitious, politically savvy – and benevolent. She would’ve been a good Queen.

      PS Is it true that Natalie Dormer’s role as Marg on the show was expanded from that of Marg in the books?

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    88. krupke:
      Pigeon,

      I still get angry when I think about her creating the Sparrow mess then getting away with all the collateral lives lost when she blew up the Sept of Baelor to get rid of them.(Also besides Dany and Jon, Margaery was one of my favorite characters). I didn’t like the Sparrows, but to me, Cersei was absolutely a worse alternative to them. I still think about her telling the small council to close the doors of the city to the peasants in S2orS3 and in S4 when she made sure the wedding feast leftovers went to the dogs(?) after Margaery announced they would go to the poor.

      One of my favourite moments from the show is when Cersei realizes she’s been completely outplayed by the HS. As well as Margaery getting her digs in, or basically anytime Cersei has to face the uncomfortable fact that perhaps she isn’t as smart as she thinks she is. The blowing up of the Sept didn’t get a cheer from me, I saw it coming, but Margaery was one of the characters that I felt truly WAS a ‘strong female character’, savvy, intelligent, and able to think ahead and at least attempt to control what she could despite her situations. And I just live Natalie Dormer. I think at that point I was just over Cersei’s 675th smirk. Tommen was naive and gullible, but at least he lacked malice and with good guidance would have been good for the people. Cersei essentially killed that, and him.

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    89. Johanna van Locchum,

      Glad you agree!! ASoIAF is a huge series that wasn’t initially thought to be unadaptable in a television format. So the fact that such a phenomenal series exists is a testament to the brilliant showrunners and the great source material.

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    90. krupke,
      That’s what I would say as well. It’s been a while since I’ve read the books but I’d say we got a lot more out of the show version. Not being a pov character (as of yet) has kept her a bit less… personal to the reader I reckon. Her inclusions have all been from another character’s perspective and quite a bit of it has involved Cersei’s pov so that throws things in another direction.

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    91. mau:
      Sean C.,

      I didn’t say that S1 wasn’t good, but this is the only survey where its’ the best one.

      Curious, can you point me to other ones? I’d seen mainly the post-S7 one on Reddit, and of course news sites or blogs that rank them themselves.

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    92. Ten Bears:
      Firannion,

      “I for one love Jonathan Pryce…”
      __________________Then on your behalf….

      Happy 71st Birthday, Jonathan Pryce! 🎂🎉

      Nice! I first encountered him as the voice of Zarniwoop in the original BBC Hitchhiker’s Guide radio series. But it was starring in Terry Gilliam’s ‘Brazil’ that cemented my admiration.

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    93. Adrianacandle:
      Che,

      While I respect the love fans have for her and I see the intrigue in Lady Stoneheart/what she may do for the plot, I’m not aboard the Lady Stoneheart hype train. Emotionally, the character makes me feel disconnected and frustrated.

      LSH unbelievers all owe me a beer when I turn out to be right about her ultimate narrative function: to be mercy-killed by Arya, thereby putting an end to Arya’s vengeance arc.

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    94. Ten Bears:
      krupke,

      Yeah, it’s a shame about Margaery. She showed that a ruler can be ambitious, politically savvy – and benevolent. She would’ve been a good Queen.

      PS Is it true that Natalie Dormer’s role as Marg on the show was expanded from that of Marg in the books?

      I would say that is true. She’s fleshed out more on the show. In the books it’s not yet quite as clear that Margaery’s sense of noblesse oblige has a hidden agenda; Olenna seems to be more the one pulling the strings, to the best of my recollection. I also came away with some sense that in a kindly climate favoring abundant harvests, like the Reach, lords have the luxury of caring more generously for their poor folk than, say, in the harsh North. She does come across as politically savvy, though. Perhaps Granny’s influence.

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    95. Firannion: LSH unbelievers all owe me a beer when I turn out to be right about her ultimate narrative function: to be mercy-killed by Arya, thereby putting an end to Arya’s vengeance arc.

      Ooooooh, that would be (I’m so sorry for using this word!!!) b!ttersweet… ;D

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    96. Firannion,

      If you haven’t seen “Hysteria”, Jonathan Pryce was good in that too. He plays a doctor specializing in administering “paroxysms” to women diagnosed with the (non-existent) malady of hysteria. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Felicity Jones play his daughters. High Dancy plays a young doctor he takes on as an associate, and Rupert Everett is the young doctor’s witty socialite friend. Tobias Menzies (GoT’s Edmure Tully) plays a prosecutor (solicitor?).

      Anyway, didn’t mean to veer off-topic. I like J. Pryce. I just didn’t like the High Sparrow.

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    97. Firannion,

      There’s no doubt that LSH will have some sort of role to play. The question is whether the role is big enough to justify Catelyn’s resurrection. If she was brought back simply to advance someone else’s character development and doesn’t advance the story in any way, then I will continue to believe that her existence is a mistake.

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    98. James Rivers,

      Interesting that in both categories of book readers, S6 came in 4th, yet among show-only respondents, S6 came in 1st. That’s quite a disparity.

      I wonder if it’s as simple as “the good guys” finally winning a few rounds after taking it on the chin for so long -something that might appeal to a casual TV show watcher. Hell, I don’t know…

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    99. Firannion: LSH unbelievers all owe me a beer when I turn out to be right about her ultimate narrative function: to be mercy-killed by Arya, thereby putting an end to Arya’s vengeance arc.

      That well-debated scenario is plausible indeed. However, I’m going to support the idea that LSH is but a link in the chain of Thoros-guided resurrections. Thoros willingly reanimated Beric 7 times, but each rez took something from Beric. Thoros never wanted to bring back Cat, upon Beric’s final request, he did…and we now know what being rezzed after 3 days dead does to the individual. In this alternate scenario, LSH will have a moment of clarity with a former loved one (Arya or Sansa or ??) who is recently dead and Thoros will once-again enable another undead link.

      Then again, given Thoros’ show fate and the oft-criticized “are they really dead?” debates in ASoI&F, maybe LSH is the last link in the chain of Thoros-initiated undead and LSH’s only purpose will be vile retribution until she is put to rest.

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    100. Mr Derp,

      I asked my wife this very question last night, and she was surprised by the sentiment that sci-fi and fantasy are supposedly male-dominated genres. She understood the sentiment, and it’s not really wrong, but she said that a lot more women enjoy that genre than many people think.

      totally agree with your wife. I remember the first time I heard that, after I’d been reading sci fi/fan all my teen and adult life. I looked at my best friend who shared my tastes and we just laughted. Like any generalization, it has to be taken with a grand of salt.

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    101. Ten Bears:
      James Rivers,

      Interesting that in both categories of book readers, S6 came in 4th, yet among show-only respondents, S6 came in 1st. That’s quite a disparity.

      I wonder if it’s as simple as “the good guys” finally winning a few rounds after taking it on the chin for so long -something that might appeal to a casual TV show watcher. Hell, I don’t know…

      Could well be. My own personal order has 4 and 6 ahead of 1 so it is hard for me to say. One interesting thing I left out for length but will flesh out in part 4 (episode ratings) is that the season rankings are the same order, including among viewer groups (with one small exception for book-firsts), even if you instead use the average rating for all the episodes in each season as your metric. If that makes sense how I said it. My brain is tired.

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    102. Mr Derp,

      Of course, maybe the guys were just lazier and didn’t feel like filling out the survey? I don’t know.

      Ive often wondered, when looking at survey or polling results, how much the are skewed by the types of people who complete them. I wonder if there is research showing who completes surveys, if gender, age, socio economic status, political leanings, have anything to do with it.

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    103. Sean C.,

      Now, on the other hand, Season 1 also features what I think is still the the single-worst scene in the entire show.

      Anything having to do with LF’s 15 minute exposition in his Cat crush while instructing his new hired whores?

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    104. Ten Bears,

      PS Is it true that Natalie Dormer’s role as Marg on the show was expanded from that of Marg in the books?

      Yes, in fact one of the more successful expansions D&D made.

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    105. Firannion,

      You’re not alone. I did not like the High Sparrow, but recognized him as the most dangerous sort of religious figurehead—a true believer. Given how much influence people like him have wielded throughout human history, a story like ASoIaF would have been remiss had it *not* included something like the Sparrow and his followers.

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    106. Ten Bears,

      True 😉 But I am willing to cut him some slack on that one. Ned was always a soldier, not a polititian. He didn’t really know how to play the game of thrones and was no real competition for someone like Cersei. In his defense , he tried to send Arya and Sansa away, but it was too late. As in every world, timing is crucial. And in the end he paid the highest price for his mistake, so….

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    107. Wolfish:
      Firannion,

      You’re not alone. I did not like the High Sparrow, but recognized him as the most dangerous sort of religious figurehead—a true believer. Given how much influence people like him have wielded throughout human history, a story like ASoIaF would have been remiss had it *not* included something like the Sparrow and his followers.

      One possible inspiration from real life for the High Sparrow has been named as Girolamo Savonarola , but mixed up a bit with The Spanish Inquisition. (“Nobody expects The Sparrow Inquisition!”)

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    108. ash:
      Mr Derp,

      Ive often wondered, when looking at survey or polling results, how much the are skewed by the types of people who complete them.I wonder if there is research showing who completes surveys, if gender, age, socio economic status, political leanings, have anything to do with it.

      For things like political polls, they will re-weight raw data to reflect the actual population and go from there (like if the response is 60/40 female they’d do some magic to make it closer to 50/50), so that is taken into account. Not the case, of course, with my own survey

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    109. Aaargh, so much data and information it’s doing my head in! 😀

      Thank you for this, and all the hard work you’ve put in. I remember how much fun it was taking the survey and now it’s really interesting seeing the results come in. Really looking forward to the next installments.

      I’m a show first, then books person (binge S3, binge S1-S3, read all the books, watch S4 onwards realtime, also have read some of the related books/novellas GRRM keeps churning out instead of finishing TWOW). I seem to be fairly typical of this demographic. Except I do not miss Lady Stoneheart at all! I’m very happy she was cut from the show. She’s one of my least favourite things in the books – that could, of course, change when (if) the next books come out and there’s a good reason, a point, to this awful “character”.

      As to Arianne… I’m easy. The show didn’t handle the Dorne storyline very well but then again, it’s tied in with Young Griff in the books, so it was going to be difficult. With hindsight, the show’s decision to send Jaime to Dorne was OK, even good, because what else could Jaime do for a whole season? Plus it gave us someone we knew among all these new characters.

      That said, the Dorne storyline has been one of the weaker parts of this amazing TV show but I don’t think it’s quite as bad as is common to rant about on interwebby boards. It’s almost like, a great show needs some weakness, and Dorne not being particularly good becomes the whipping boy, the scapegoat, that allows other parts to be praised more. Am I making any sense?

      Oh, and the question about which book character you would’ve wanted to see on the show… I didn’t put down Lady Stoneheart or Arianne, I put down SEPTA LEMORE!!! 😀

      A bit tongue in cheek, I admit, but she would’ve implied the whole Young Griff storyline. I understand the show doesn’t really have time for that distraction, and I don’t really miss that storyline, it’ll hardly be crucial for the end game. But contrary to many readers, I enjoyed Tyrion’s chapters on the Rhoyne and especially the skinny dipping septa. Griff was a miserable so-and-so, Young Griff a brat, the halfmaester a bit superscilious and sly, Ysilla and Yandry just background… But our mysterious, attractive septa! I want to know all about her! 😀 (And no, I don’t think she’s Ashara Dayne.)

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    110. Ten Bears,

      Kind of. Basically Marg doesn’t have a POV in the books so we really only see her through the eyes of people who underestimate her (particularly Cersei who is, to put a point on it, shown repeatedly to be Ill informed, spiteful, and mostly wrong).

      So Marg is a bit of a mystery. Depending on whch book reader you ask, she’s a mastermind and player on the level of the Queen of Thorns (her co-conspirator) or she’s an innocent puppet barely more involved in plotting than eg Sansa when she was in KL.

      I lean towards the former, and that’s obviously what the show runners were doing with her.

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    111. Adrianacandle,

      “I was just in the Netherlands and I found this Dutch Watchover Voodoll keychain – “Moeder der Draken” – which was such a cool moment. That these characters have now become icons in so many parts of the world. And also – perfect souvenir opportunity!”
      ___________
      If you don’t mind me asking….. What does this mean?

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    112. Ten Bears:
      Adrianacandle,

      “I was just in the Netherlands and I found this Dutch Watchover Voodoll keychain – “Moeder der Draken” – which was such a cool moment. That these characters have now become icons in so many parts of the world. And also – perfect souvenir opportunity!”
      ___________If you don’t mind me asking….. What does this mean?

      Watchover Voodoo/Voodoll is a company that makes cute little voodoo dolls referring to pop culture (kind of like Funko but voodoo?). It sounds like they have a Mother of Dragons one which is cool, I haven’t seen that!

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    113. Interesting results. Thanks for putting this together!

      Yeah, the likert scale for “pleased” could be confusing. For instance, with Dany attacking Jaime’s army: were people pleased with the technical aspects of a successful action scene, pleased with the outcome of the battle, or pleased watching Dany burning people? Perhaps you could target a specific emotion that you want to measure with a question about that particular character’s actions. Are you measuring fear for Jaime in X scene? Use horror, alarm, terror, or fear. Are you measuring contempt for Cersei in X scene? Use disgust, or revulsion. Maybe you want to measure distress felt for Jon in X scene? Use distress, anxiety, nervousness, or tenseness. Since more characters are coming in conflict with each other and audience sympathies will be divided, you could also measure level of support for a certain character’s/POV’s perspective. For instance, “What is your level of X emotion for Y character in Z scene (Cersei vs High Sparrow for ex). Still might not get exactly what you want – surveying is an imperfect art, so there’s always going to be problems!

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    114. In my opinion I think Season 7 was the worst. I took into consideration that it was the first shortened season, but I couldn’t overlook all the plot holes. The one thing that I love about Thrones is the predictability. I felt like most of the season you could pretty much tell what was going to happen. Also think that following the show for so many season we have built up such a high standard for each episode and season that we find ourselves nitpicking everything. I think this shows how great this show really is. As far as best seasons I would have to say 4 and 6. I was completely blown away by the Hold the Door episode and Winds of Winter was the most satisfying episode to date (mostly me cheering for Cersei since her Walk of Atonement). I am looking forward to ending this great show, but can’t help but be a little big nervous for how Season 7 went.

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    115. Even though it did diverge from the books, I’m glad Sansa got put right back in the middle of the Northern storyline. I still don’t get the hate for season 5, it gave us great moments like Hardhome, Cersei’s arrest and walk, Stannis in the North, The Wall, Sansa in Winterfell and Dany finally using Drogon.

      The Sansa rape though really stuck in people’s minds, I hated it at first and it sucks that it happened to my favorite character, but as an overall story it made season 6 even better. I remember the showrunners said that season 5 and 6 were kind of one long season. Season 2 was the one that was the worst except for episode 6 and 9 which were brilliant.

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