Game of Thrones viewership numbers drop a tad on Mother’s Day

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The title of the post notwithstanding, I have no idea what effect the fact that Sunday was Mother’s Day had on the numbers. Nielsen has measured that the first airing of Game of Thrones S5 episode five was seen by 6.56 million viewers, which is the lowest number this season. Nevertheless, the show comfortably won the night once more.

The performance has been largely steady this season – with the notable exception of the premiere with its almost 8 million viewers, which is particularly impressive. Was that a fluke? A perfect storm? Let’s see what the rest of the season will bring: there is room for growth when it comes to this favourite pet metrics of ours, as long as the viewers are motivated enough to see the latest episode as soon as possible.

What do you think will happen next week, then? No holiday and no leaks this time, and the preceding episode was a doozy (if you belong to that particular school of prognosticators). Discuss below, as always.

173 responses

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    1. Oh no… such a shame for this wonderful episode and bryan cogman.
      Still good ratings nevertheless

      I dont think Mothers day had any impact on that, maybe most viewers don’t like a slow burn season, and are not perseverant with the watching..

      And I think that first episode ratings were due to the excitement around the return of “Thrones”

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    2. No UK figures for weeks 4 & 5 here yet, but week 3 was 1.98m which was +0.05m on week 2.

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    3. Not to worry, the numbers that were a bit off were those from the first episode, the rest are on par with last season. I guess the ratings will be around 7M the next few episodes, with the finale getting closer to, but not reaching, the premiere ones

      Edit: Clearly the effect of the leaks was MUCH LESS than most of the people predicted. We won’t see an increase to 8M next week

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    4. I sorta knew this was gonna happen . This season has felt weird . Specially for me . I’m not a book reader but I’ve read the entire plot line on wiki so I’m somewhere between a sullied and unsullied viewer (sorta like I lost the stones but am still happy with the pillar ) I don’t know why but this season just comes off as weird so far . And the reason I think is because they are changing story lines from the books but at the same time throwing in way too much info from the books . It’s hard to describe really . It like if u read the potter series but suddenly in the 5th movie u see aunt petunia and uncle vernon go to howarts and talk about the boy who lived . They’re throwing in references to the past and for show watchers only it all seems like a bore cuz half of them can’t remember who the farukhistan all these people are ( thankfully I don’t have that issue )

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    5. Honestly, I think they’ve made a mess of the season, as a book reader. But I don’t think that’s why the ratings have fallen. I think it’s probably because the season has just been really boring. With huge dumps of exposition just fisted right in to every episode in an almost formulaic manner (likely because they’ve gotten so tired and just want the whole thing over with, thus deciding on 7 seasons which has resulted not only in said exposition dumps but over simplification of, now, everything).

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    6. Oh for the love of god, the ratings to not correlate to freaking book changes. I wish some book readers would just get past this notion.

      I am at a loss to explain the premier numbers, though. Perhaps the hype of the show attracted some first time viewers who felt that they just couldn’t get into it?

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    7. John M W:
      Oh for the love of god, the ratings to not correlate to freaking book changes. I wish some book readers would just get past this notion.

      I am at a loss to explain the premier numbers, though. Perhaps the hype of the show attracted some first time viewers who felt that they just couldn’t get into it?

      The premiere was underwhelming, yes. Noone who tuned in for the first time would get hooked

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    8. Gd75:
      I dont think Mothers day had any impact on that

      Initial-airing ratings on Mother’s Day have been lower than the previous week’s ratings in every season except Season 1. The complete list:

      Season 1: 2.44 million (pre-Mother’s Day), 2.45 million (Mother’s Day). Change: +0.4%
      Season 2: 3.88 / 3.69 / -4.9%
      Season 3: 5.50 / 4.84 / -12.0%
      Season 4: 7.16 / 6.40 / -10.6%
      Season 5: 6.82 / 6.56 / -3.8%

      So, this not only was the highest initial-airing viewership on any Mother’s Day in the history of the show, this also was the smallest week-over-week drop of any Mother’s Day episode since Season 1.

      Seems like the leaks had an impact, but the Mother’s Day impact was just slightly bigger. Expect at least 7 million for Episode 6.

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    9. In my opinion, these subpar ratings are due to the awful promotional campaign and the lack of buzz for this year.
      Also when you compare the views online for trailers etc…it’s not even close to last year.

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    10. The viewership is massive. Absolutely massive. And that’s not including the piracy and non-US viewers. Maybe we’re spoiled by years of increasing viewerships. But the numbers had to settle at some point. Kind of sad to see fans resorting to demeaning the show as an explanation; did people expect the ratings to climb by the millions every season?

      Personally I think season 5 is leaps better than the two books it was based on. Book readers seem disconcerted (understandably, some have been living with these storylines for decades) and judge the show on completely different merits (fidelity to the books/living up to their imagination) than unsullied viewers (who by and large seem to continue loving it.)

      Fanbases seem to have two operative modes: adulation and panic stations.

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    11. Pau:

      Edit: Clearly the effect of the leaks was MUCH LESS than most of the people predicted.

      A reasonable position, one easily reached by a careful examination of download statistics for the leaked episodes. Back then I contended that the leaks took away 250,000-350,000 US viewers AT MOST, and that was already quite generous on my part. I think these new numbers more or less confirm that.

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    12. My state had its fishing season opener as well as Mother’s Day this weekend. I was on the interstate a couple hours before the episode and traffic was crazy. We may not know how events such as those really effect viewership, but there’s no doubt that a lot of people were not at home in my area on Sunday evening. Nielsen people shouldn’t be too much different than the rest of us. 😛

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    13. What a shame, because this episode was the best of the season so far — though, no offense to Cogman, that hasn’t exactly been a difficult thing to accomplish with this season. It’s definitely dragging.

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    14. It’s only a small drop compared to previous ones. The first four episodes have been leaked and there were hockey games starting at the same time as the show aired. And now the fifth episode was on Mother’s day.

      I wonder if those events and holidays affect the viewerships or if it’s the show itself. Nonetheless, it’s still a very large amount of viewers and we can potentially expect more despite those holidays or unfortunate events that keep watchers busy.

      Every season had episodes where viewer ratings went up and down, and it’s normally by the later parts of every season that we see a heightened result.

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    15. Ozymandias,

      The trailers mostly premiered on Facebook and places that aren’t as easy to track viewer-wise as if they had premiered on Youtube.

      But I don’t think the promotion is the problem, as much as I hated the campaigns this year. The episode this week was downloaded in record amounts. People are still massively into this show. They just aren’t going to HBO to watch it as much as HBO would like.

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    16. Sansa’s Knight,

      I’m not a book reader but I’ve read the entire plot line on wiki

      An irrelevant curiosity, but I gotta ask, why would you do that to yourself?! Were people spoiling things for you, and you just thought “screw it, if anyone’s going to spoil it, it might as well be me”?

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    17. I think this season is gonna have more major events than any of the previous seasons.Unsullied who say that this five episodes where dull or boring are gonna be shocked by what’s coming in the second part of the season.Some parts will shock the book readers too.

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    18. Ozymandias:
      In my opinion, these sub-par ratings (for this monster of a show) are due to the awful promotional campaign and the lack of buzz for this year.
      Also when you compare the views online for trailers etc…it’s not even close to last year.

      Yeah well, someone made the absurd correlation between trailer views on youtube and ratings on the HBO first pass while calling other people idiots…wish I could remember who it was.

      The ratings are great, they were great last year and so they are still great this year. This season has been a bit boring though, but that’s just in my opinion. I think the new writer was not up to the task, and the new directors have been underwhelming.

      Regarding this last statement, any post has addressed the directors work? I haven’t been checking the site as much due to the leaks.

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    19. Mr Fixit: A reasonable position, one easily reached by a careful examination of download statistics for the leaked episodes. Back then I contended that the leaks took away 250,000-350,000 US viewers AT MOST, and that was already quite generous on my part. I think these new numbers more or less confirm that.

      I remember you did, and I remember some people called you a fool 😉

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    20. Valaquen,

      Finally, a man or woman who speaks sense. There haven’t been any major red wedding, blackwater, mountain and viper, Ned’s execution, etc. moments yet this season. I’m sure some are coming, but at this point in the narrative, the show is exactly what I want. It has been given tremendous room to breathe, and it is exactly the breath of fresh air the show needed after the whooshing of season 4 (don’t get me wrong, season 4 was my favorite so far). But this season has been incredible throughout, even if episode 5 itself was a verryyyyyyy slowwwwww episode. This doesn’t mean bad. Do you notice how Bryan Cogman is able to derive an enormous amount of tension from an episode as slowly paced as this? I was holding my breath in numerous scenes. The ratings are impacted by a number of things:

      1. Piracy and HBO now and GO needing to sort its shit out.
      2. Mother’s Day
      3. 4 episode leaks leading people to get used to downloading the episode (which was made available via torrents at pretty much 10:15ish PM.
      4. People watching the NBA playoffs
      5. The number of people watching just sort of plateauing. We’ve had 4 seasons of upward viewership, and now it’s sort of reaching a midpoint.

      All I have to say, is the last 2-3 episodes will likely upswing with the chance that the finale exceeds all viewership expectations. Just my guesses, but wait and see, guys, jeez.

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    21. Chriss,

      Valaquen,

      It always makes me smile when some book readers who don’t think that books 4 & 5 were weaker and slower than the first 3, and then claim that Season 5 is slow. Well, I hate to break it to you, but this season has been considerably faster than the books it is based on. That’s not to say this is the best ever season, because it probably isn’t (although it’s my third favourite season so far). Thank God they cut do many storyline, because if they hadn’t imagine how slow it would have been!

      There’s really nothing to worry about with the ratings. When shows reach a certain level of popularity, premieres and finales finale always rate higher than anything else.

      Book purists will use these ratings to bash the show, but unless they start falling considerably, it actually just shows that the show has reached a ceiling ratings-wise (which all shows do).

      The pirating figures certainly seem to suggest that the show has a massive following, because those people are desperate to see it now, rather than when the DVDs come out.

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    22. Alexandre:
      It is kind of a shame. The first four episodes have been leaked and there were hockey games starting at the same time as the show aired. And now the fifth episode was on Mother’s day.

      I wonder if those events and holidays affect the viewerships or if it’s the show itself. Nonetheless, it’s still a very large amount of viewers and we can potentially expect more, despite those holidays or unfortunate events that keep watchers busy. Every season had episodes where viewers went up and down, and it’s normally by the end that we see a heightened result.

      Hockey gets terrible ratings in the US. It’s not an issue. The effects of the leak is overstated — most of the downloaders were not in the US and were not people who normally watch HBO. The mother’s day effect is real, but not a big deal.

      The reality very much seems to be that the premiere was very much “appointment viewing” — the start of a new season, etc. The bump was bigger than it normally is for most premieres and I’m not sure we’ll ever get a great reason why.

      I think there’s a decent chance the premiere is the highest initial viewing of the season. And a decent chance episode 8 or 9 or 10 beats it. (Seven is Memorial Day, 10 may be Father’s Day? Or are they skipping Memorial Day weekend again this year?)

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    23. Pau,

      In my opinion it has been the strongest first half yet and the directors especially Podeswa have all been fantastic. But it’s definitely a slow season as of now.

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    24. People do realize that these numbers don’t mean anything to HBO, right? They care about the overall numbers from the premiere, repeats, DVR, HBO Go, and HBO Now. Not to mention how much money it can bring in from international viewers.

      Stop using old ways to continue to calculate viewership.

      Besides… it is still the most popular show on the network. Nothing is going to happen to it. So why make a big deal of the numbers? People just want to complain and websites like this just want page hits. These are non stories.

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    25. Valaquen:
      The viewership is massive. Absolutely massive. And that’s not including the piracy and non-US viewers. Maybe we’re spoiled by years of increasing viewerships. But the numbers had to settle at some point. Kind of sad to see fans resorting to demeaning the show as an explanation; did people expect the ratings to climb by the millions every season?

      Personally I think season 5 is leaps better than the two books it was based on. Book readers seem disconcerted (understandably, some have been living with these storylines for decades) and judge the show on completely different merits (fidelity to the books/living up to their imagination) than unsullied viewers (who by and large seem to continue loving it.)

      Fanbases seem to have two operative modes: adulation and panic stations.

      Honestly, just the ones on message boards. Most of my friends watch Game of Thrones and a decent portion have read the books.

      Most of my friends really enjoy it. None of my book-reading friends are nearly as angry over it as people who go to ASIOF/GoT message boards. And my book-reading friends are enjoying the season.

      In fact, the only person who has expressed discontent with the show is someone who really hasn’t recovered from the Red Wedding — he was rooting for the Starks and has never been much excited about the show since. But he still watches. And my dad is still angry about Ned, but he watches, too.

      In my scientific study, none of my 20 or so friends who watch have quit. But a ton started watching after season 2 and I’ve added few since. And frankly, nearly all of us have lives that really push us to watch on HBO Go or DVR or whatever.

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    26. Jeb,


      It always makes me smile when some book readers who don’t think that books 4 & 5 were weaker and slower than the first 3, and then claim that Season 5 is slow. Well, I hate to break it to you, but this season has been considerably faster than the books it is based on. That’s not to say this is the best ever season, because it probably isn’t (although it’s my third favourite season so far). Thank God they cut do many storyline, because if they hadn’t imagine how slow it would have been!”

      So my position is clear: I was a show watcher years before I was a book reader. But yes, books 4 and 5 are my favourites.

      I can see why you would think it contradictory to prefer the two slowest books and then complain about the slowest season. However! As the show apologists are always so swift to proclaim when demanding D&D cut anything that isn’t an action sequence – sorry, I mean cut ‘filler’ – what works on the page won’t necessarily work on the screen.

      That aside! My problem isn’t that it’s slow. It’s that it’s boring. The storylines are so simplistic, the pacing is messy, I had some serious problems with the direction for episode 4, for the first time with the show, I have serious issues with the tone and some of the acting, and the writing has continued to become more and more theatrical – which has dragged us away from any sense of grittiness.

      I mean I say all of that, and storm over you all like a dark cloud, but what I don’t share is that I’ve actually really enjoyed this season as well. One just doesn’t tend to share the positives so much. Like in episode three (I know, same director as episode 4) I thought the scenes between Cersei and Margery were expertly crafted. As well as the Margery/Tommen scenes.

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    27. Jeb:
      Chriss,

      Valaquen,

      Book purists will use these ratings to bash the show

      And show-jihadists will use any excuse to bash book purists, even if the book-purists have said nothing of the sort 😉

      That’s the main difference between the 2, book purists are obsessed with the books and hence attack the show, and show-jihadists just don’t like other people expressing opinions and attack them just for doing so.

      I like both and I find both last installments boring. Make no mistake here guys, here the true genius is (was?) Martin, that’s why the first 3 books/4 seasons were so great and that’s why the last book (book 4 and 5 is 1 book in my mind) and current season was/is underwhelming.

      D&D are great at translating Martin genius, but not so much as creating genius work of their own.

      You can argue that the last book was so bad that no amount of genius can amend it, but that’s just not the case. First, it wasn’t that bad, second, true genius(es) can amend anything 😉

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    28. The Sopranos ratings for the US peaked in season 4 and the only real spike after that was for the series finale with the season 6 part 2 premiere the lowest for years.

      I wouldn’t say that marked a decline in quality, just that maybe a certain amount of viewer fatigue sets in after a certain amount of time. I thought season 5 of The Sopranos was just as good as 2 or 3 yet the ratings dropped…

      And another example is Mad Men where ratings dropped away after season 5 while the critics still drool over it.

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    29. Sue the Fury:
      Ozymandias,

      The trailers mostly premiered on Facebook and places that aren’t as easy to track viewer-wise as if they had premiered on Youtube.

      But I don’t think the promotion is the problem, as much as I hated the campaigns this year. The episode this week was downloaded in record amounts. People are still massively into this show. They just aren’t going to HBO to watch it as much as HBO would like.

      I completely agree. Blu ray sales were through the roof. Illegal downloads are at an all time high. This show gains tons of interest. Just not as much on the first showing on HBO itself. The world is changing. Look at how low network tv ratings are.

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    30. Jeb:
      Chriss,

      Valaquen,

      It always makes me smile when some book readers who don’t think that books 4 & 5 were weaker and slower than the first 3, and then claim that Season 5 is slow.Well,I hate to break it to you,but this season has been considerably faster than the books it is based on. That’s not to say this is the best ever season,because it probably isn’t (although it’s my third favourite season so far). Thank God they cut do many storyline, because if they hadn’t imagine how slow it would have been!

      There’s really nothing to worry about with the ratings.When shows reach a certain level of popularity,premieres and finales finale always rate higher than anything else.

      Book purists will use these ratings to bash the show, but unless they start falling considerably, it actually just shows that the show has reached a ceiling ratings-wise (which all shows do).

      The pirating figures certainly seem to suggest that the show has a massive following,because those people are desperate to see it now,rather than when the DVDs come out.

      As a book reader who loves books 4 & 5, they are absolutely slower than book 3. Still great, but if you are looking for non-stop plot, it’s one book stretched across two.

      I can also say this season hasn’t been slow at all — look back, aside from Season 1 where they made a strong effort to close every episode with a bang, every season has been a slow burn. And every season people have complained that through episode 6 or so that it has been “slow”. If anything, it has had more happen than several seasons.

      Small, short term ratings movements aren’t indicative of quality changes here. People are silly when they use that excuse.

      I think it’s also worth noting that we’re probably pretty close to the peak of the first time ratings. Fewer and fewer people are watching on first run, or even on tv. HBO Now, Go will rule the day and DVRs already do. So there’s a natural trend dragging that down.

      Add in that GoT is now fully exposed — I doubt there’s a huge untapped market that hasn’t opted in yet. If you are going to watch, you probably are. You’ll lose people for various reasons even without considering quality.

      The net result is we may see some more spikes, but I really doubt we’ll see a significantly higher permanent waterline in first run US ratings.

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    31. Pau: The premiere was underwhelming, yes. Noone who tuned in for the first time would get hooked

      Oh no no no, don’t put me in with the group that says that the premiere (or any part of this season) was underwhelming.

      On the contrary, it was fantastic. But if you’re a new viewer who hasn’t seen the rest of the series, it was likely to leave you a bit confounded and out-of-the-loop.

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    32. I hope this means 70 episodes, not 75 or 80.

      They cut 50% of the books, and the show is stil slow.

      That shows just how bad AFFC and ADWD are.

      GRRM destroyed the story.

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    33. Arya havin’ a larf?:
      The Sopranos ratings for the US peaked in season 4 and the only real spike after that was for the series finale with the season 6 part 2 premiere the lowest for years.

      I wouldn’t say that marked a decline in quality, just that maybe a certain amount of viewer fatigue sets in after a certain amount of time. I thought season 5 of The Sopranos was just as good as 2 or 3 yet the ratings dropped…

      I have found even with high level, amazing quality, the casual fans just can’t stick it out. They need to be entertained from day one or they are out the door as soon as things slow down. I blame it on the cell phone attention spans of people these days.

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    34. mau:
      I hope this means 70 episodes, not 75or 80.

      They cut 50% of the books, and the show is stil slow.

      That shows just how bad AFFC and ADWD are.

      GRRM destroyed the story.

      Then no doubt The Winds of Winters’ sales and critical reception will be awful. Won’t they?

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    35. mau:
      I hope this means 70 episodes, not 75or 80.

      They cut 50% of the books, and the show is stil slow.

      That shows just how bad AFFC and ADWD are.

      GRRM destroyed the story.

      I completely agree. Typically show are only good for 5 seasons. Anything more and it suffers. Game of Thrones can probably make it a little longer just because of its cast if characters. But anything beyond 7 seasons won’t be good.

      The story needs to end within a reasonable time. Even for books, the series goes on and on into pointless topics. 5 books in and the story barely felt like it moved. Not good.

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    36. Chriss:
      Jeb,

      That aside! My problem isn’t that it’s slow. It’s that it’s boring. The storylines are so simplistic, the pacing is messy,

      Says the person who likes ADWD and AFFC….

      hypocrisy – level 1000000

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    37. More excuses! The leaks! Mother’s Day! Nope. The show isn’t as good as it used to be. And that doesn’t mean it’s bad by any means because the show used to be great. Now it is just really good. And I know I am not the only one who does not consider it “appointment television” anymore. But here is to hoping it gets better in the second half.

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    38. And another example of ratings declining on a non episodic show which surely challenged viewers is ‘Lost’ which never regained the highs of season 2.

      Anyone have examples of non episodic long running shows which grew ratings year on year?

      It’ll be a miracle if GoT maintains high rating throughout – but you can expect a spike for the series finale.

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    39. Ozymandias:
      Pau,

      In my opinion it has been the strongest first half yet and the directors especially Podeswa have all been fantastic. But it’s definitely a slow season as of now.

      Really? Maybe I’m just not as good judging directors because I don’t work on the field. But I can’t remember any shot of the first 4 episodes (haven’t seen the 5th) that made say “wow”! like those shots from Michelle MacLaren, Alik Sakharov, Alan Taylor, David Nutter and yes, even Alex Graves. .

      Edit: just checked and Podeswa was the director of episodes 5 and 6. I’ll pay special attention tonite.

      Edit 2: Regarding slow I don’t mind slow if slow is good. I love True Detective and Outlander precisely because of their pace. Episode 4 was just…underwhelming

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    40. While this has been a drag of a season, with nothing really memorable and some mind boggling departures from the book (most of which ive dealt with, including Jaime going to Dorne, but Sansa in Winterfell? Really) Anyway, i dont think that has anything to do with ratings either.

      I doubt Mothers day had anything to do with it either, unless you people seriously underestimate the mothers that adore Game of Thrones. People need to just admit they were wrong, this is gonna be the average for the season.

      Every single show on television sees a spike in the premiere ratings, Look it up. Some shows never see past 2 million views and are considered hits. Look at another HBO great Boardwalk Empire. or tons of television classics, some of which never had ratings as high as their first season ever again. Game of Thrones had its peak in its 4th season which is a great thing for the show, it has its fanbase, unless the shows quality drops significantly, ratings shouldnt drop much further for the rest of the series. But we have probably already seen the all time high for this series and as others have pointed out, thats okay. And lets take into account that HBONow is also available in the U.S. now which is where these ratings come from.

      This season has to pick up the pace though, its the worst first 5 episodes of any season thus far. I just see so many wrong choices with this season, but these last 5 episodes have the chance to redeem itself, sundays episode was fantastic.

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    41. Greg,

      Attention spans are gone in America.

      I can’t go to a movie without somebody checking their phone next to me. How can you expect people to stay for serious character driven stories if there isn’t a shock or surprise ever 2 episodes.

      This is why us television viewers can’t have nice things.

      At least the show makes enough money that we will get a proper ending.

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    42. Pau: Really? Maybe I’m just not as good judging directors because I don’t work on the field. But I can’t remember any shot of the first 4 episodes (haven’t seen the 5th) that made say “wow”! like those shots from Michelle MacLaren, Alik Sakharov, Alan Taylor, David Nutter and yes, even Alex Graves. .

      Edit: just checked and Podeswa was the director of episodes 5 and 6. I’ll pay special attention tonite.

      Edit 2: Regarding slow I don’t mind slow if slow is good. I love True Detective and Outlander precisely because of their pace. Episode 4 was just…underwhelming

      It was an exposition dump.

      But speaking of direction. The fight scenes in episode 4 were shockingly bad. At one point during the Bronn fight, the horse rears for no reason so Bronn can cut it, and it was still obvious he never. And the Harpy fight, Jesus. As someone else said, it was like a bad Kung Fu movie – with people falling all over the place for no reason.

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    43. tl;dr: numbers are dropping because the show isn’t meeting expectations, but it will turn around in the second half of the season.

      To the collective comment section:

      What pirating numbers? Is anyone referencing actual numbers or just pulling it out of the ether?

      HBO Go is too expensive. People were accustomed to cable prices being what they are since the 70s/80s. The consumer has been “Trained” so to speak. The internet has trained people to expect rock bottom or even free content. I can watch four 1 hour shows or play a month of Warcraft or buy a couple games on Steam. That’s how people think. If they really want to grow a market for HBO Go, they need to hook them with low prices: 1 dollar a show, or a a couple bucks a month.

      Finally, I think the show will pick up when the buzz picks up; with the season opener, you just had the IMAX showing which was amazing, and featured a plot line reaching a crescendo.

      For this season, they chose to put all the good stuff at the end and tease people along with mini “reveals”? I find it incredibly boring. Also, the reworked plots are Rube Goldberg devices: Littlefinger giving Sansa away, then leaving her? Barristan the Bold taking a stroll through the city alone? Danny just up and marrying Hizdar? These are all moments that leave people confused as they do not match the themeing and style of the previous seasons.

      The buzz will start picking up as the action heats up. I think we will see 7 million plus by the end, and if the coordinate the release of the next book with an even better IMAX showing, then we can see better numbers from next season.

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    44. mau: Says the person who likes ADWD and AFFC….

      hypocrisy – level 1000000

      Or maybe he has a different opinion than you do? Gasp!! Is that even allowed here??

      John M W: Oh no no no, don’t put me in with the group that says that the premiere (or any part of this season) was underwhelming.

      On the contrary, it was fantastic. But if you’re a new viewer who hasn’t seen the rest of the series, it was likely to leave you a bit confounded and out-of-the-loop.

      Ok then, the premier was underwhelming for new viewers 😉

      I actually quite liked it. My main issue is with episode 4. I’m eagerly awaiting episode 5 tonite

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    45. I watch the show with six other people. I am the only one who has read a single page of any of the books. They couldn’t even tell you what the covers look like. And although it’s only my own small sample size, all six of them hate the season. They are bored, disinterested, and keep asking me for hints when it’s going to “pick up”. I tell them I can’t say because it’s majority show creation now and I don’t know what’s going to happen either. They check their phones, get up and leave the room, have conversations during the episode. They are bored and don’t like it. Who knows why, it’s all subjective.

      I can’t speak for anyone else, and again, it’s only my own small sample size, but their attitude towards the first 5 episodes of season 5 isn’t even close to anything they’ve ever had in the previous 4. They’re completely disengaged with the season 5 stories.

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    46. Chriss: It was an exposition dump.

      But speaking of direction. The fight scenes in episode 4 were shockingly bad. At one point during the Bronn fight, the horse rears for no reason so Bronn can cut it, and it was still obvious he never. And the Harpy fight, Jesus. As someone else said, it was like a bad Kung Fu movie – with people falling all over the place for no reason.

      Don’t tell me about fights!!! I used to train as a stage fighter and now I’m a HEMA practitioner. Fights in GoT have been universaly below par, barring some exceptions like the Hound and Brienne one and Kit’s fights. But as you say, this season has been even worse

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    47. Chriss,

      Pau,

      Show jihadist. I like it! Looking back over my comment, I was perhaps didn’t make it clear that I actually quite like books 4 and 5, and it’s actually good that they were different, and expanded the world. Having said that, I really believe that it was in desperate need for a better editor. Brienne hasn’t really done anything this season, but it was no better in AFFC, until the very end.

      I rewatched episode 4 during the week, and do agree that it was a slightly odd episode. Dave Hill is inexperienced, and this may be explains it, because when Cogman does exposition it works. It too perhaps needed stronger editing from D&D. Despite this, I didn’t think we have got anywhere near as bad as the Dreadfort calamity last season. I also think the last few episodes have enormous potential.

      Ratings don’t really matter though, and everyone will try to spin them to fit their opinions. If you personally like it, great!

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    48. doug:
      I watch the show with six other people. I am the only one who has read a single page of any of the books. They couldn’t even tell you what the covers look like. And although it’s only my own small sample size, all six of them hate the season. They are bored, disinterested, and keep asking me for hints when it’s going to “pick up”. I tell them I can’t say because it’s majority show creation now and I don’t know what’s going to happen either. They check their phones, get up and leave the room, have conversations during the episode. They are bored and don’t like it. Who knows why, it’s all subjective.

      I can’t speak for anyone else, and again, it’s only my own small sample size, but their attitude towards the first 5 episodes of season 5 isn’t even close to anything they’ve ever had in the previous 4. They’re completely disengaged with the season 5 stories.

      And anybody who can’t keep their phone in their pocket to watch something for an hour don’t have the attention spans for a show like this. It makes their opinion invalid.

      You might need a better set of friends.

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    49. Jeb:
      Chriss,

      Pau,

      Show jihadist. I like it! Looking back over my comment,I was perhaps didn’t make it clear that I actually quite like books 4 and 5,and it’s actually good that they were different,and expanded the world.Having said that,I really believe that it was in desperate need for a better editor.Brienne hasn’t really done anything this season,but it was no better in AFFC, until the very end.

      I rewatched episode 4 during the week,and do agree that it was a slightly odd episode.Dave Hill is inexperienced,and this may be explains it,because when Cogman does exposition it works.It too perhaps needed stronger editing from D&D.Despite this,I didn’t think we have got anywhere near as bad as the Dreadfort calamity last season.I also think the last few episodes have enormous potential.

      Ratings don’t really matter though,and everyone will try to spin them to fit their opinions.If you personally like it,great!

      Agree with all you said 😉

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    50. The Bastard:
      People do realize that these numbers don’t mean anything to HBO, right?They care about the overall numbers from the premiere, repeats, DVR, HBO Go, and HBO Now.Not to mention how much money it can bring in from international viewers.

      Stop using old ways to continue to calculate viewership.

      So much THIS. People are throwing around phrases like “the viewership has declined” when we have absolutely no proof of this. All we can say is that the number of viewers watching the show live during its first airing has declined. HBO doesn’t care about that number – they care about total number of viewers (and, of course, how that translates into actual subscriptions), a count which takes a while longer to be tabulated and never seems to get as much press. I’ll be interested to know whether the actual viewership has declined when those numbers are released.

      For example, the premiere was actually watched by 18.1 million, not just 8 million. What are these numbers for the other episodes? We don’t know yet.

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    51. Season has been way too slow. I thought this last episode was slow but very well written and directed–best so far of the Season.

      My biggest issue with the writing is the overused formula of introducing a scene, then having a person MONOLOGUE the scene to death.

      Show, don’t tell. It’s one of the rules of live drama.

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    52. Pau: Or maybe he has a different opinion than you do? Gasp!! Is that even allowed here??

      It is not opinion it is hypocrisy.

      You can like or hate anything, but if someone says that this season is slow and then says that he or she likes ADWD and AFFC it is hypocrisy and nothing else.

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    53. Let’s throw a nugget of positivity in there: I read all the books, I loved all the books and I’m still loving this season so far.

      The divergences and them catching up with Martin’s books reminds me of how exiting season 1 was, back when I didn’t know what would happen next.

      (I swear it feels like some fans don’t even enjoy watching this show anymore.)

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    54. The problem I had on Sunday right before the episode Kill the Boy premiered was that I could not login to HBO Now due to “technical issues”. Truth was, my free month trial had expired literally hours before the episode, and my stepmom did not have a credit card on her Itunes account so they could not renew the subscription. Since I signed up using her Ipad and Itunes account, and I wasn’t at her home, I wasn’t able to watch it using HBO Now. Perhaps many others had a similar problem. HBO was letting people sign up for the free month trial without having to have a credit card, that seems awfully trusting of them, most places would not do that.

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    55. As I said before,none of the previous seasons compares at the number of major events with this one.The Red Wedding,Mountain vs Viper,Blackwater,all in different seasons.This year we get major events like this,some bigger,ALL in in the SAME season.When this season will end it can verry well be the best yet.

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    56. Sansa’s Knight:
      I sorta knew this was gonna happen . This season has felt weird . Specially for me . I’m not a book reader but I’ve read the entire plot line on wiki so I’m somewhere between a sullied and unsullied viewer (sorta like I lost the stones but am still happy with the pillar ) I don’t know why but this season just comes off as weird so far . And the reason I think is because they are changing story lines from the books but at the same time throwing in way too much info from the books . It’s hard to describe really . It like if u read the potter series but suddenly in the 5th movie u see aunt petunia and uncle vernon go tohowarts and talk about the boy who lived . They’re throwing in references to the past and for show watchers only it all seems like a bore cuz half of them can’t remember who the farukhistan all these people are ( thankfully I don’t have that issue )

      I had the impression in past seasons, and i’ve had it even more this season, that one of the main problems of the show is that D&D love the books too much. They are probably hardcore fans, like some people at westeros.org. And this can be good for the series, but I think that, for the most part, it has caused a lot of problems. D&D have included a lot of scenes (Sept scene, Shae’s death, sort-of-Queenmaker scene, etc), a lot of backstory (Harrenhall tournament, Brienne and Podrick stories, Iron Islands rebellion) and a lot of characters (Mance, Beric, Cassel, Viserys, Barristan) that probably wouldn’t have been included if they haven’t wanted an extremely faithful adaptation. That side characters and that backstory will probably mean nothing to the most casual viewers (that is, the majority of the viewers) when the show ends. They will answer: “What was the point of including him? Why they told the story of the burning of Harrenhall?” I know, I know, the Unsullied are not retards, and I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that the majority of them are just not-hardcore-fans people, and watch the series only to have fun and enjoy an entertaining and engaging one-hour episode. The other day I asked an Unsullied friend how many brothers Daenerys have had. He had just seen 5×04, and he answered: “One, the guy that died with the molten gold crown in his head“. I assure you this guy is not a retard, he’s just an average casual fan that don’t pay attention to the backstory because HE’S NOT INTERESTED IN THAT, HE DOESN’T SEE GAME OF THRONES TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE WHOLE WORLD.

      I think that, when you see a tv series, you want a story, with his protagonists, his principal plot and his important side characters. You don’t want a whole world with his backstory and his one-page characters that exist only to make the world richer. Don’t get me wrong, I love the books and I love the show, they are my favorites stories of each medium by far. But now that I can see the TV series with more perspective, I think that D&D failed sometimes in the process of converting a whole world into a tight story. Sometimes Game Of Thrones feels too much “made for the book readers”, and more than one Unsullied told me that. I know this can be difficult to understand for us show&book-fans, because we have a different perspective of the whole story. But i think that, if you put yourself in the place of an Unsullied while watching and episode, and try to forget all that you already know, you will probably understand the point of many show-only watchers.

      With that said, I must make clear that I freaking love the show and I thing it’s the best TV show ever made. And the ones that have made that possible are D&D, who I think have been proved to be the correct choices for the job. They even made me enjoy more the show than the books, and it wasn’t an easy task. This is the only bit of the TV series that I can slightly complain of.

      Book purists calling me a troll in 3, 2, 1…

      Edit: sorry for the long post and sorry for the grammar mistakes, this is not my language.

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    57. Ignoring the illegal downloads for a minute, do these ratings account for the legal downloads and streaming? After the season opener, I switched over completely to HBO Now, for example. Not sure if there are many others like me, but that could account for some of the “fall-off” from watching live on cable.

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    58. Again, everyone, this was the best-rated Mother’s Day episode in the history of the show. We’re still in Peak Thrones.

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    59. these numbers mean two things imho – no effect from the leak (predictable as people who are truefans and got the leaked episodes but also have HBO, will obviously have watched both the leaked episode and the live episode…) and the soundness of D & D decision to stick with 7 seasons

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    60. High Sparrow,

      I somewhat agree, but I don’t think GRRM would have let a show that was less loyal to the books get off the ground. Not that I’m complaining – it’s his prerogative.

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    61. M:
      Ignoring the illegal downloads for a minute, do these ratings account for the legal downloads and streaming?After the season opener, I switched over completely to HBO Now, for example.Not sure if there are many others like me, but that could account for some of the “fall-off” from watching live on cable.

      I’m pretty sure these numbers do not include HBO Now. The total number of viewers is actually much higher than this number, which only reflects live viewership of the first showing on HBO.

        Quote  Reply

    62. Dnis,

      Dnis: Initial-airing ratings on Mother’s Day have been lower than the previous week’s ratings in every season except Season 1.The complete list:

      Season 1: 2.44 million (pre-Mother’s Day), 2.45 million (Mother’s Day). Change: +0.4%
      Season 2: 3.88 / 3.69 / -4.9%
      Season 3: 5.50 / 4.84 / -12.0%
      Season 4: 7.16 / 6.40 / -10.6%
      Season 5: 6.82 / 6.56 / -3.8%

      So, this not only was the highest initial-airing viewership on any Mother’s Day in the history of the show, this also was the smallest week-over-week drop of any Mother’s Day episode since Season 1.

      Seems like the leaks had an impact, but the Mother’s Day impact was just slightly bigger.Expect at least 7 million for Episode 6.

      Could you post the comparison with post-Mother’s Day, please? I would appreciate it.

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    63. The Bastard: And anybody who can’t keep their phone in their pocket to watch something for an hour don’t have the attention spans for a show like this. It makes their opinion invalid.

      You might need a better set of friends.

      Again, resorting to personal attacks when someone doesn’t agree with your opinion…thanks for proving my point 😉

      mau: It is not opinion it is hypocrisy.

      You can like or hate anything, but if someone says that this season is slow and then says that he or she likes ADWD and AFFC it is hypocrisy and nothing else.

      No it’s not. It would be if Chriss though that the books were boring (he said he didn’t mind slow, but he doesn’t like boring. Maybe learn to read before criticizing) but, oh surprise!, he doesn’t.

      People CAN HAVE a different opinion than you do. People CAN THINK that this season is boring and STILL LIKE the books. Just because YOU THINK the books are boring DOESN’T MEAN that they are, or THAT EVERYONE ELSE thinks that they are.

      Actually, it would be an statistical impossibility that EVERYONE ELSE thinks the same think about anything 😉

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    64. Sansa’s Knight: I’m not a book reader but I’ve read the entire plot line on wiki so I’m somewhere between a sullied and unsullied viewer

      This describes me too! 🙂 Well, I haven’t read Wiki for plot points thoroughly, but thanks to many book readers, I have become pretty thoroughly spoiled as to book content on the internet. Not that I mind. That said, this season has actually felt fine to me, except gasp….. unlike most book readers on the internet, I found Episode 5 to be the weakest of the season, except for a couple of show pieces. Overall I am liking Season 5 better than Season 4. But it’s springtime, it was Mother’s Day, people can catch up on their DVR, perhaps it’s not must-see TV for everyone. Also given that most book readers absolutely adored this episode, at least all book readers will be massively into the next episode too, and hopefully will elevate the ratings!

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    65. High Sparrow,

      You made some good points in there.

      Im fully unsullied and cant wait for the show to end so I can read the books.
      With that said, I want more than 7 seasons. LOL!
      I love this show, and never want it to end hahaah!

      Back to your comment, I think that I would not be one of those unsullied that doesn’t care about the small things. I am overly analytical and love when the show includes things that may not necessarily be major events, but are an important part of the book.
      I love everything about this show. this season has been slower, but only slower for GOT standards… I mean come on people… give it a break
      so much important information and set up for whats to come has been happening. and knowing game of thrones, we know $hit is gonna hit the fan in the rest of the season.

      and id also like to add, based on some comments, that this type of show needs a viewer’s utmost attention… If you don’t pay attention to the details and the dialogue, viewers (especially – well mostly unsullieds) are going to be confused and the more confused you are, the more you lose interest. Especially when there are no hated kings being poisoned and battles occurring that usually capture the attention of viewers more than a dinner table discussion or something. I know this for a fact because my brother watches GOT but he always messages me after saying… I am confused. blabla… and likely he was distracted during the show or previous episodes… and it definitely will affect the viewer’s interest.

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    66. James:
      Sansa’s Knight,

      An irrelevant curiosity, but I gotta ask, why would you do that to yourself?! Were people spoiling things for you, and you just thought “screw it, if anyone’s going to spoil it, it might as well be me”?

      I’m not Sansa’s Knight, but there’s been a number of psychological studies that show that many (or most) people enjoy watching or reading something more when spoiler than when not.

      The sense of anticipation or fear is not always a welcome emotion and can interfere with actually appreciating everything.

      It of course isn’t true for everyone, but there’s a lot of reasons to spoil yourself.

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    67. Dnis,

      Yes, that’s absolutely true. Makes me wonder if D&D made Martin some sort of promise of faithfulness or something was included in the contract.

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    68. Dnis:
      High Sparrow,

      I somewhat agree, but I don’t think GRRM would have let a show that was less loyal to the books get off the ground.Not that I’m complaining – it’s his prerogative.

      Don’t blame Martin. Once the deal was made, Martin had little to say on how D&D made the show. The show is (has been) very loyal to the books and not only great, but very successful thanks to that. Anyone who thinks the first 4 seasons would have been better or more successful if they had been less loyal to the books is speaking with no grounds whatsoever.

      Edit: The ratings ARE great. The show is great! The books are great!! Why the fuck are we panicking here lol

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    69. Viewers may have been higher if they had left Barry’s death as a cliffhanger and not immediately obvious in their Ep5 trailer.

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    70. It was obvious for me that Ser Barristan is dead when I first watched ep 4.I don’t see how people missed that and had a surprise later.

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    71. Sometimes when I read these comments of the show being so slow or worst season ever….I am thinking….are we watching the same show?

      Episode 5 was epic! There were no surprise deaths, but the stuff at the wall? “Fewer”. Epic. Dany and the dragon supper? I may not agree with what Dany did, but epic scene. Tyrion and Jorah and the stone men? Really? Wasn’t that enough to give ya a stiffie?

      It was a long episode and yet, like EVERY episode, I can’t believe it is over already when the credits run and I have to remember to breathe. Reading some of these comments is depressing as hell. Reminds me of that comic Stephen Wright, “yeah, another Game of Thrones. Someone was burned by a dragon. I forgot my marshmallows”.

      For HBO this is an epic show. Even if the viewership dropped further, they would still be rolling around, kicking up their feet and laughing at all the money they have made. But that isn’t going to happen. Like Tolkien and his fan base, GRRM’s fan base would show up to watch D & D make stick men episodes. (I think someone is already doing that).

      I love the shows and guess what? I am unashamed, proud to be such a supportive fan, even with the things I may not agree with. I LOVE THIS SHOW!!

      Now that my intelligence quotient for “most rabid poster” has been marked on my forehead and will be there through Armageddon, I am going to slip off and re-watch the program. And enjoy it even more than the first two airings.

      Ta!! (oh and just in case someone else calls me “Dude” or “Bro”. I sit down to pee!!)

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    72. Pau,

      That wasn’t an attack. I just wouldn’t put up with people taking out their phones while I am trying to watch something I really enjoy. It is downright rude.

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    73. The Bastard: And anybody who can’t keep their phone in their pocket to watch something for an hour don’t have the attention spans for a show like this. It makes their opinion invalid.

      You might need a better set of friends.

      I don’t believe their opinion is “invalid” simply because they have a different one than you or because they check their phones during the episode and you don’t like that.

      And I’m fine with my friends. But thank you for telling me I should get “better” ones. I’m sure it was a completely logical and coherent decision you reached on these six random strangers upon reading another random stranger’s two paragraph posting on a fan website. Perfect example of how the anonymity of the internet allows for foolish and embarrassing statements that would otherwise never be made in public.

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    74. JCDavis,

      I agree. The show is still amazing. The internet is a crazy place. The show gets its best Mother’s Day ratings ever and people are talking like it is the end of the world.

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    75. doug: I don’t believe their opinion is “invalid” simply because they have a different one than you or because they check their phones during the episode and you don’t like that.

      And I’m fine with my friends. But thank you for telling me I should get “better” ones. I’m sure it was a completely logical and coherent decision you reached on these six random strangers upon reading another random stranger’s two paragraph posting on a fan website. Perfect example of how the anonymity of the internet allows for foolish and embarrassing statements that would otherwise never be made in public.

      Pulling out your phone while somebody else is trying to watch something is rude. There is no other way to say it.

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    76. Deesensfan:
      another question, do those ratings apply only to the US?

      US only. That s the other point. This has international appeal which isn’t factored in here. Just like movies that barely break even in the US but make a lot overseas…. Those numbers do matter.

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    77. Pau,

      Hey, I’m here, you can reply me if you want to say something about my comment. Your response is what I knew I would get: absolute negation of my point, zero arguments and zero examples to prove me wrong.

      So no worries. One thing more, I didn’t said that the show would have been better if it had been less loyal to the books, my point was more complex. But maybe you are one of these that think “books are great, so more faithfulness = greater show”. These people of course couldn’t ever put themselves in the position of Unsullied while watching the show.

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    78. JCDavis,

      Great comment,couldn’t have said it better.
      I am so excited before,during and after episodes but when I go after on the internet some people talk about it like someone close to them died.Yet all this people will next week watch it again because the books are great,the story is great and the show is great.
      Sometimes I feel bad that they don’t just let themselvs enjoy it.

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    79. Chriss:
      Honestly, I think they’ve made a mess of the season, as a book reader. But I don’t think that’s why the ratings have fallen. I think it’s probably because the season has just been really boring. With huge dumps of exposition just fisted right in to every episode in an almost formulaic manner (likely because they’ve gotten so tired and just want the whole thing over with, thus deciding on 7 seasons which has resulted not only in said exposition dumps but over simplification of, now, everything).

      But you want it like the book we are on. Now that’s boring!!

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    80. The Bastard: Pulling out your phone while somebody else is trying to watch something is rude.There is no other way to say it.

      Using a mobile telephone during any sort of entertainment is rude. Movies, shows on TV, dining out or in. Unless you have someone on critical care watch or imminent baby watch, that phone can be turned off for an hour. Only polite and the right thing to do. That said, I do know people who would suffer from acute angina to have their phone off for an hour. I keep a crash cart at the ready. 😉

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    81. Ser Gerold Dayne:
      JCDavis,

      Great comment,couldn’t have said it better.
      I am so excited before,during and after episodes but when I go after on the internet some people talk about it like someone close to them died.Yet all this people will next week watch it again because the books are great,the story is great and the show is great.
      Sometimes I feel bad that they don’t just let themselfs enjoy it.

      I don’t feel bad. No one is forcing anyone to watch (that I know of, anyway). There are thousands of shows out there that I don’t like. Thing is, I don’t watch them! If someone doesn’t like GoT, they’ve got plenty of other options. And if they profess to dislike it, but still faithfully tune in every week… well… perhaps they don’t dislike it quite as much as they claim.

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    82. The Bastard,

      I live in Canada… and I watch the show at 9PM on sundays… I have PVRED it when my Ottawa Senators were still in the NHL playoffs. but other than that GOT supersedes everything!

      I wonder what our ratings would be. Man 6.5 million in the US ONLY??
      That is insane.

      And makes me so happy! I am like a few that posted here today. I still love this show, I am not at all disappointed (only when people I like die lol) and I am sooo excited before, during and after the show. Its crazy LOL

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    83. JCDavis: Using a mobile telephone during any sort of entertainment is rude.Movies, shows on TV, dining out or in.Unless you have someone on critical care watch or imminent baby watch, that phone can be turned off for an hour.Only polite and the right thing to do.That said, I do know people who would suffer from acute angina to have their phone off for an hour.I keep a crash cart at the ready.

      This, mobiles and especially smart phones are killing etiquette. Now I’m talking to you but there goes my phone so you can stand there like a lemon for 10 minutes while I talk to someone else who is more important/interesting. [/OT rant]

      [ON TOPIC] you know what this season really needs is a 10 minute scene of Jon Snow counting sacks of oats while Edd drones on about the good old days.

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    84. Kay and Sansa’s Knight
      Me three, semi-sullied FTW! (and no that is not a reference to anything other than winning)

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    85. The show is rating off its tits – immensely beyond the wildest dreams of anyone going into this thing (which didn’t include me, because I don’t think I even found out about it until season two). And people are troubled because it’s merely plateaued in season five? The Sopranos’ ratings were off 10% in season five.

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    86. Very pleased with this season so far, still very very intrigued with the off-book material.

      The only thing that I’ve disagreed with on the show is the way they handled the Mountain in season 2, good god! Incredibely dull and flat, so dull that I forgot that the ordinary looking tall guy was supposed to be The Mountain.

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    87. Pigeon:
      Rygritte,

      I just blew coffee out of my nose which was painful but that was hilarious.

      Same! XDDDD

      mau:
      Pau,

      Nevermind…

      hypocrisy will always hide behind the right of opinion….

      No it won’t. People DO HAVE different opinions, they don’t say they do just to contradict you. That’s only in your mind 😉

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    88. Season 4 – Episodes 2-5 Average: 6.75 Million
      Season 5 – Episodes 2-5 Average: 6.73 Million

      And that is with leaked episodes and mothers day going against season 5. The mother’s day episode wasn’t until the next episode for season 4.

      Not to mention some people who had it on cable last year now have it on HBO Go.

      And where is the problem?

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    89. Pau,

      I’m not blaming anyone. It’s my (uncorroborated) sense that Martin wanted a loyal adaptation (TV realities considered), and that factored into his decision to give D&D the reigns.

      And I think the show is great, the ratings are great, it’s a global phenomenon that’s made HBO oodles of money, and yes, there’s absolutely no reason to panic.

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    90. High Sparrow: I had the impression in past seasons, and i’ve had it even more this season, that one of the main problems of the show is that D&D love the books too much. They are probably hardcore fans, like some people at westeros.org. And this can be good for the series, but I think that, for the most part, it has caused a lot of problems. D&D have included a lot of scenes (Sept scene, Shae’s death, sort-of-Queenmaker scene, etc), a lot of backstory (Harrenhall tournament, Brienne and Podrick stories, Iron Islands rebellion) and a lot of characters (Mance, Beric, Cassel, Viserys, Barristan) that probably wouldn’t have been included if they haven’t wanted an extremely faithful adaptation. That side characters and that backstory will probably mean nothing to the most casual viewers (that is, the majority of the viewers) when the show ends. They will answer: “What was the point of including him? Why they told the story of the burning of Harrenhall?” I know, I know, the Unsullied are not retards, and I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that the majority of them are just not-hardcore-fans people, and watch the series only to have fun and enjoy an entertaining and engaging one-hour episode. The other day I asked an Unsullied friend how many brothers Daenerys have had. He had just seen 5×04, and he answered: “One, the guy that died with the molten gold crown in his head“. I assure you this guy is not a retard, he’s just an average casual fan that don’t pay attention to the backstory because HE’S NOT INTERESTED IN THAT, HE DOESN’T SEE GAME OF THRONES TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE WHOLE WORLD.

      Well, that’s sort of a sample size of one.

      There’s no doubt that unsullied have a hard time following – in fact, I think the ideal way to watch might just be unsullied with a sullied nearby for Q&A.

      But there’s a ton of different ways to enjoy GoT, and the show should strive to find a happy medium. Anywhere from total book geek to dude who just wants T&A and violence.

      Most of my unsullied friends aren’t really daunted by not knowing who people are. They appreciate the depth even if they don’t understand it all. It’s a part of the setting, just like the costumes or set design or whatever. Yes, they like the dragons more but it’s not inconsequential.

      More importantly, though, you have a portion of the viewing base that loves it. Everybody gets something — they don’t delve too deep and they cut left and right.

      But there’s a very good reason the show isn’t made to exactly your specifications. Different strokes for different folks. The mix of violence, sex, backstory, character development, humor, strong themes, twists and turns, little moments, etc., has driven the viewership to 20M very loyal viewers.

      They’ve done a tremendous job walking this tightrope – and I don’t even know if they are doing it intentionally. Very often when someone tries to please large subsections of people, they screw up and displease ALL of the groups. This happens so often that you have a lot of support for auteur TV — a single creative element rules such shows as Breaking Bad or The Wire or Mad Men. But those are very targeted and particular shows, and they rarely garnered strong ratings. Because not everyone likes the super slow repetitive burn of Mad Men, for example.

      It’s also the brilliance of Martin and particularly his first three books — he grabbed both the shock value-people and the character driven-people and the action-driven people, etc. Books 4 and 5 lost the action-driven people (obviously) but people that focus on world-building or character arcs generally still loved them.

      Either way, despite what you read on message boards, D&D have balanced this line incredibly well. I am sure they discussing the balance of character moments versus action and debating how much backstory is too much. I don’t know if it is in the context of “what makes this better” or if it is a more cynical “what do our viewers want” but either way, it’s been an amazing balance.

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    91. doug:
      I watch the show with six other people. I am the only one who has read a single page of any of the books. They couldn’t even tell you what the covers look like. And although it’s only my own small sample size, all six of them hate the season. They are bored, disinterested, and keep asking me for hints when it’s going to “pick up”. I tell them I can’t say because it’s majority show creation now and I don’t know what’s going to happen either. They check their phones, get up and leave the room, have conversations during the episode. They are bored and don’t like it. Who knows why, it’s all subjective.

      I can’t speak for anyone else, and again, it’s only my own small sample size, but their attitude towards the first 5 episodes of season 5 isn’t even close to anything they’ve ever had in the previous 4. They’re completely disengaged with the season 5 stories.

      The plural of “anecdote” is not “data.”

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    92. High Sparrow,

      The Mother’s Day effect:

      Season / Pre-MD / MD / Post-MD (in millions of viewers; source: Wikipedia)
      Season 1: 2.44 / 2.45 / 2.58
      Season 2: 3.88 / 3.69 / 3.86
      Season 3: 5.50 / 4.84 / 5.13
      Season 4: 7.16 / 6.40 / 7.20
      Season 5: 6.82 / 6.56 / TBD

      In every case, initial-airing ratings for the post-Mother’s Day episode went up. Except for Season 3, the post-Mother’s Day episode recovered to about the same viewership as the pre-Mother’s Day episode. In predicting this coming Sunday’s viewership to exceed 7 million, I’m assuming that the leaks had a minor negative impact on the Episode 4 ratings.

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    93. James
      I’m sure people’s reasons for their semi-sullied status vary but these are mine if you’re interested. The reason I haven’t read the books, but look at all the spoilers on here, is because I’m a very visual person. Tried the books after first getting into the show and they really did nothing for me at all, despite just being the same thing written down. EDIT No that is not an invitation to anyone to start yet another argument about the differences between the show and book, thank you! ;O)

      Haven’t heard about the studies Alan referred to but that’s very true for me too. I hate horror films precisely because of the oh-bloody-hell-what-might-happen-next sensation. I always read the detailed episode synopsis on wikipedia before watching to be mentally prepared for anything upsetting, rather than having it sprung on me. There are people I’m very attached to and want to know in advance if they die, particularly quite suddenly – which most of the deaths in the show are. Yuck-wise I dislike anything to do with eyes so am eternally grateful to myself for knowing what was going to happen to Oberyn beforehand and taking evasive action at the right moment! :O( Having said that, there are things to look forward to as well. Once I discovered Joffery was toast I spent the whole of series 3 shouting “just hurry up and DIE. Preferably in absolute agony!” at the tv. I wouldn’t bother doing it with a show I wasn’t emotionally invested in tho’, or anything with just one central who dunnit type question.

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    94. D&D in charge of fixing GRRM’s errors. 😉

      Oh the ratings dropped? Better blame GRRM, amirite guise?

      This reaction is the new level of depressing. I did so love the 5th episode, I knew Bryan Cogman wrote it. Well, that’s too bad cause my unsullied friends aren’t thinking highly of the show anymore. Me? I will continue to be loyal, the show is the reason I’ve read the books.

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    95. Non book reader, just wishing to chime in a more fresh view on the series as a whole and the direction of season 5;

      personally, quality wise, my favourite season is still the first one. The tone of the writing, direction etc felt gritty – the writing less emphasis on theatricals. it was a gritty straight forward plot driven drama emphasised by great carved out characters.

      Season 2 and 3 didn’t stray too far from the nest, Season 4 however felt like the first time the show was changing its heart to a slightly less grim/gritty feel to a more “lets be witty and fun everywhere we can”. The action in season 4 was great, and i enjoyed it.. but i missed the moments between characters that seemed to be sacrificed for moving the plot along and getting to the next shock/action it could.

      Season 5 is the first season that feels more reminiscent of season 1.. the room for plot and characters to breathe.. its setting it up very well for the moments where the story will climax with action or shock. i personally love the slow burning, and i had this expectation going into this season based on what book readers complained about the books.. i love the politics of season 5, the exploration of themes, and how were getting closer to characters again rather than just action/shock and more shock. season 3 and 1 were more balanced this way for me.

      i feel people complaining about this season being too slow/boring are just suckers for action/shock, and should probably try breaking bad instead (if they already haven’t come from that show). theres more to shows than action/shock/plot twist. i mean seriously.. have any of you tried The Wire? that one is slow. (but brilliant show).

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    96. Ratings: who cares?

      This is still HBO’s flagship series, an international success, and it’s still pulling better ratings now than just about at any time in its history except perhaps part of last season. It’s THE selling point for HBO Now in the US and likely will be when it goes international.

      People can mourn or cheer over ratings all they want, but at the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is whether the powers that be at HBO decide if the show should have a seventh/final season or not. Unless the ratings drop by half in the next five episodes, there isn’t a prayer of that happening.

      Ratings. Don’t. Matter. (much, anyway)

      (and incidentally, anybody who thinks the ratings have ANYTHING WHATSOEVER to do with whether or not the material is from the books or not from the books, has absolutely no idea how TV viewership works; source material does not matter at all in the long run, and viewers will tune in whether they are happy with the adaptation or not. Anyone who thinks book readers do not watch when things aren’t matching the books, is deluding themselves. Just saying.)

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    97. HBOsWail:
      i feel people complaining about this season being too slow/boring are just suckers for action/shock, and should probably try breaking bad instead (if they already haven’t come from that show). theres more to shows than action/shock/plot twist. i mean seriously.. have any of you tried The Wire? that one is slow. (but brilliant show).

      Season 3 of GoT was absolutely incredible, and yet we still got “Kissed By Fire,” “The Climb” and “Bear and the Maiden Fair” that year – three episodes in sequence that were just moving chess pieces around the board.

      This year we’ve lost Mance and Ser Barristan, Jorah and Tyrion met up and got attacked by greyscaled savages, Sansa is in Winterfell, Theon is starting to remember his past, Jon is commanding the Night’s Watch and slew Janos Slynt, Jaime and Bronn partnered up, Arya met up with Jaqen, Cersei has made a deal with the devil, and Sam Tarly is *still* *freakin* *awesome*. And that’s only in five episodes.

      Sometimes I think people look back at past seasons and think they’re a lot more action packed than they really are.

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    98. Cameryn:

      Sometimes I think people look back at past seasons and think they’re a lot more action packed than they really are.

      People only remember big moments…

      Next year they will say how S5 was so much faster than S6…. Because they will remeber Hardhome, Daznak, Dany and Tyrion, WoS, FTW….

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    99. High Sparrow: I had the impression in past seasons, and i’ve had it even more this season, that one of the main problems of the show is that D&D love the books too much. They are probably hardcore fans, like some people at westeros.org. And this can be good for the series, but I think that, for the most part, it has caused a lot of problems. D&D have included a lot of scenes (Sept scene, Shae’s death, sort-of-Queenmaker scene, etc), a lot of backstory (Harrenhall tournament, Brienne and Podrick stories, Iron Islands rebellion) and a lot of characters (Mance, Beric, Cassel, Viserys, Barristan) that probably wouldn’t have been included if they haven’t wanted an extremely faithful adaptation. That side characters and that backstory will probably mean nothing to the most casual viewers (that is, the majority of the viewers) when the show ends. They will answer: “What was the point of including him? Why they told the story of the burning of Harrenhall?” I know, I know, the Unsullied are not retards, and I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that the majority of them are just not-hardcore-fans people, and watch the series only to have fun and enjoy an entertaining and engaging one-hour episode. The other day I asked an Unsullied friend how many brothers Daenerys have had. He had just seen 5×04, and he answered: “One, the guy that died with the molten gold crown in his head“. I assure you this guy is not a retard, he’s just an average casual fan that don’t pay attention to the backstory because HE’S NOT INTERESTED IN THAT, HE DOESN’T SEE GAME OF THRONES TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE WHOLE WORLD.

      I think that, when you see a tv series, you want a story, with his protagonists, his principal plot and his important side characters. You don’t want a whole world with his backstory and his one-page characters that exist only to make the world richer.

      But this is exactly why I have always argued that D&D’s policy of “no flashbacks” is silly and self limiting. You are right that the viewer wants a story, and the way to tell a story on TV is to “show”, and not “tell”, flashbacks accomplishes this. The viewer who gets told about Rhaegar doesn’t care about Rhaegar, the viewer who gets shown Rhaeger does.

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    100. Of the Night,

      Brotherhood Without Sprinklage?

      (you know, since guys sometimes sprinkle when they tinkle 😉 )

      I’m not worried about the ratings in the slightest.
      I remember some predicting the numbers would go down a bit because of Mother’s Day, and it looks like that’s what they did.
      I’ll be interested to see, once HBO Go and HBO Now are factored into it, what the numbers will be. Given Now didn’t even exist last season, I’m guessing some of the views which would have counted toward regular views are being “taken” by HBO Now.

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    101. I don’t get how the Walking Dead can hold it’s massive ratings year after year no matter how many boring or mediocre episodes they have yet GoT viewers go down because of a slow start.

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    102. One of Roose Bolton’s leeches:
      Is Sansa holding a dagger or a key?

      It’s the end part of her (very long) necklace – Tormund’s Woman and I were trying to figure out exactly what it is the other day. TW thought it might be a key for something in Winterfell but I looked at ep 4.08 afterwards, when we first see her wearing it just before leaving the Eyrie, and the pointy bit is already attached. Certainly looks like it ought to have some practical, rather than just decorative, use and as others have already mentioned would probably come in useful if she needed to get a bit stabby with her new relatives.

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    103. Dnis,

      Literally. I don’t know why people aren’t picking up on this fact more.

      So sad that a contingent are hiding behind ratings and trying to undermine the show as a result.

      To me the first half of the season has felt like a overhaul of sorts, realigning characters and plots, whilst it’s been ‘slow’ at times, it’ll pay off in the end. To me it’s been coherent, and I’m loving the character development as well.

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    104. JamesL,

      TWD dropped hugely in ratings. More than GOT dropped. The difference is that this is premium and more expensive. Most people have found a way to watch in many forms.
      I watch it on my XBoX Sling TV. I finally gave cable a big fuck you 🙂

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    105. If you read AFFC/ADWD what did you expect this season? It is ridiculous that people want to blame D&D for this season not getting the same reaction from some viewers as previous seasons. The show has actually been more entertaining than it has any right to be so far this season.

      The book readers complaining that the show is boring, slow, not enough happening are often the same ones complaining that the show is not following the books. If you think this season has been boring fine but if you think following the books would improve it and and make it more exciting you are delusional. You think unsullied viewers are bored now, well imagine their reaction to an accurate adaption of AFFC/ADWD.

      There are no big or shocking moments so far this season because there are none in the books. There is nothing the show can really do about this, nothing climatic is going to happen until the end of the season because that’s how GRRM wrote it.

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    106. I actually like the slow burn of this season, the feeling that a lot of pieces have been gradually being moved into place, and that Things are going to happen. “Slow” in that there has been relatively little physical action does not mean a lack of drama, and all the storylines have been moved along.

      My main criticism of the season so far is the poor lighting. Some of the scenes at Winterfell and Castle Black are so badly lit that I might as well just be listening to the episode rather than watching it, even though I am watching in HD. No wonder some people think the season is slow – they just can’t SEE half the scenes!! I know that Castle Black is a bleak and freezing cold place, but characters wearing dark clothing do not show up well against dark backgrounds, and more attention needs to be paid to subtle but effective lighting. Example: the S3 dinner scene in Harrenhal with Roose, Jaime and Brienne was much more cleverly and clearly lit than the Bolton family dinner scene in this latest episode – and if Roose can find plenty of candles in Harrenhal, he could surely find a few more for a nice cosy dinner at Winterfell. In fact, a ‘cheerful’ well-lit dinner might have been a subtle and effective contrast to what was actually happening between the characters.

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    107. Chriss:
      Honestly, I think they’ve made a mess of the season, as a book reader. But I don’t think that’s why the ratings have fallen. I think it’s probably because the season has just been really boring. With huge dumps of exposition just fisted right in to every episode in an almost formulaic manner (likely because they’ve gotten so tired and just want the whole thing over with, thus deciding on 7 seasons which has resulted not only in said exposition dumps but over simplification of, now, everything).

      Wow. This is how I stereotype all book readers. I thought it was just a stereotype but apparently it’s true. I’m not a book reader, the majority of the audience are not book readers, and this show has been more streamlined and forward moving than ever. Apparently “boring” equals “non-canon.”

      Huge dumps of exposition? What the fuck was the entire first season of the show? Or any of the seasons? This show is like 50% exposition, and it has to be, otherwise non-book readers would have no idea what the hell was going on. The only dump is what’s coming out of your mouth, and you are an idiot. I am thankful as always that people like yourself are nowhere near the creative process or direction of this show, I would bet everything on the planet that you would royally fuck it up.

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    108. I expected their to be an increase since this was the first episode that wasn’t part of the leaks.

      Like I said before, I feel like GOT has peaked. It’s still going to be a juggernaut but the mainstream momentum and buzz is beginning to dissipate. The show is five years old now.

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    109. Minty,

      I’ve felt the opposite. The lighting in the last two seasons has been really exquisite. The light has contributed to the drama as if it is a character. Very cinematic, rather than tv-ish. Scenes that stick in my mind are: the cell scenes with Tyrion, Mance and Jon in Mance’s tent and then again at Castle Black, Dany in the dragon’s lair, Qyburn examining the Mountain after the trial, Sansa in the kennels, the Bolton dinner scene. Anette Haellmigk in particular has been awesome.

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    110. Kappa,

      Just know there are plenty of book-readers out there who don’t think like that, at all. I’m a book reader and I’ve been enjoying this season immensely, and I know others have, too. A lot of us had hesitation about certain story lines (since you’re not a book reader, I won’t be specific, ’cause I don’t want to spoil anything for you), but I, for one, have been surprisingly won over,

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    111. James,

      Actually this was after season 2 . It’s inky then I realised books existed but I cudnt find them back in India . At least not back then . And then with season 3 coming up there was a lot of buzz and hints about the red wedding (shhh spoiler) and my curiosity heightened I cudnt wait an entire year to find out what happened next … Now I wish I had . Specially since they started deviating from the books I wish I didn’t know those plot lines but at the same time I keep thinking if it weren’t for the wikia I wudnt be able to understand the show the way I do which most unsullied are still clueless to … Yes the changes are 1 thing and then unsullied need never know about that but knowing the history the backstory the wars and their outcomes make watching the show so much sweeter … In short I’d suggest unsullied should seriously pick up the history and lores of westeros … Or whatever that book was that released last October … It’s amazing

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    112. Ozymandias:
      Pau,

      In my opinion it has been the strongest first half yet and the directors especially Podeswa have all been fantastic. But it’s definitely a slow season as of now.

      You were right, I saw episode 5 yesterday and Podeswa was fantastic. Looking forward to episode 6, also directed by him!!

      I think the episode was the best of the season. Watching Theon I somehow wish they would’ve gone for a Greyjoys streamlined story-line instead of Dorne. It would have linked better with Dany, would have been more spectacular (77 viking ships!) and also linked aesthetically better with the north, which is the part of the story that is working better this season. I guess they thought Dorne would be “sexier” and cheaper. For me Dorne is not working…yet

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    113. Cameryn:

      (and incidentally, anybody who thinks the ratings have ANYTHING WHATSOEVER to do with whether or not the material is from the books or not from the books, has absolutely no idea how TV viewership works; source material does not matter at all in the long run, and viewers will tune in whether they are happy with the adaptation or not.Anyone who thinks book readers do not watch when things aren’t matching the books, is deluding themselves.Just saying.)

      The purists are not saying that. Their logic is that the show is worse when is not matching the books, because Martin material is better. So the show is getting worse, hence people is watching less. That is the logic. I’m not saying I agree, but the logic is there. What you were saying of course could be the case of some people, but could not in any way affect the ratings significantly

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    114. Al Swearengen:
      I expected their to be an increase since this was the first episode that wasn’t part of the leaks.

      Like I said before, I feel like GOT has peaked. It’s still going to be a juggernaut but the mainstream momentum and buzz is beginning to dissipate. The show is five years old now.

      Like someone said before Sons of Anarchy lasted 7 seasons and the ratings kept on increasing until the end, and didn’t have as much momentum or buzz. Doesn’t matter if it’s 5 years old

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    115. Kappa: The only dump is what’s coming out of your mouth, and you are an idiot.

      Again, a show-jihadist showing us that they didn’t get a proper education…thanks for proving my point over and over guys!! 😉

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    116. Pau: Again, a show-jihadist showing us that they didn’t get a proper education…thanks for proving my point over and over guys!!

      It is sad how many invective-laden, unprompted straw-man attacks on “purists” appear on these threads. Someone says the read the books, and thinks this is a little slow so far (a perfectly defensible position that has nothing to do with being a “purist”)? Someone else lays into him with personal insults and sweeping generalizations about book readers.

      I really don’t think this issue should be divisive at all. Some people would rather have Great TV that happens to generally resemble ASOIAF. Other people would rather have Mediocre TV that sticks as close to the books as the medium, time budget and money budget allow. Arguing as to which is “better” is about as relevant as arguing over whether chocolate is better than vanilla.

      Personally, I don’t watch TV at all other than to study the foreign language I am learning, with three exceptions – movies when I am stuck on long-haul flights, stuff I see accidently while at other peoples’ homes, and Game of Thrones. It is literally the only show I have intentionally watched in many years. I don’t need or want more Great TV, as there is more out there already than I will ever watch. I do, however, want to see one of my favorite books on the screen. When the show delves into Official Fan Fiction territory, which as of late it has been doing with increasing frequency, it is no longer what I am interested in watching even if it is Great TV by some metrics. I used to love this series. Now I merely like it. HBO will still get my money, though, which is precisely why they don’t cater to folks like me. It’s great that millions of people have come to like something I have loved for years. But is also painful to watch it be transformed from something more custom-designed for people like me to something more mass-market oriented.

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    117. Chad Brick: It’s great that millions of people have come to like something I have loved for years. But is also painful to watch it be transformed from something more custom-designed for people like me to something more mass-market oriented.

      GoT was “mass-market oriented” from the very start, at least as much as a fantasy series can be, which, let’s be honest, can go pretty far these days, movies like LoTR and Harry Potter, have seen to that.
      The show was never intendet to be “custom-designed” for book readers in any way. This isn’t a little show like let’s say “In Treatment” which is fine when being a niche product.

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    118. Nymeria Warrior Queen:
      Kappa,

      Just know there are plenty of book-readers out there who don’t think like that, at all.I’m a book reader and I’ve been enjoying this season immensely, and I know others have, too.A lot of us had hesitation about certain story lines (since you’re not a book reader, I won’t be specific, ’cause I don’t want to spoil anything for you), but I, for one, have been surprisingly won over,

      Kappa

      ….what Nymeria said. I am also a Sullied and I don’t agree with anything that Chriss said. To me it was a really strong four seasons that pretty neatly tied up at the end of last year. This year has sort of started over and there is much to “explain” about where and when we are as the viewer to the show. It makes me laugh….let me see, Sir Selmy just died, a person got roasted and eaten by a dragon, another several huge dragon scenes, a river captain got speared in the head by a Sand Snake, Jorah gets Grey Stoned, Sansa is literally in mortal danger in WF, Janos got beheaded at the Wall, Mance Rader burned at the stake and I am forgetting a dozen other eye poppers that have happened in just the first five episodes. I guess unless someone has their wedding spoiled or the show is word for word and scene for scene the books….people are going to complain and be unhappy and say that the show is boring and slow. Pfffffft. I would recommend them to read Jane Austen for some perspective!! 😀 (and I happen to love Jane Austen unapologetically)

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    119. JCDavis,

      I absolutly agree. This season is not slow (not that that would be inherently a bad thing). People who think that, maybe need to watch “The Wire” (pretty slow) or something that really is slow like “The Bletchley Circle”.

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    120. Nancy:
      Arya havin’ a larf?,
      Sons of Anarchy.It was improving in ratings year by year until the end.

      So good that I’d never heard of it 😉

      I checked it out ( the average actually dropped a little after season 6 from 4.6 to 4.45m but that’s quibbling ) and it was shown here on a minor channel but dropped by the network after season 6. It’s now back on an even more minor channel!

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    121. Abyss:
      JCDavis,

      I absolutly agree. This season is not slow (not that that would be inherently a bad thing). People who think that, maybe need to watch “The Wire” (pretty slow) or something that really is slow like “The Bletchley Circle”.

      If you want slow then watch the original BBC series Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy from the 70s, that was glacial – it was also brilliantly gripping from beginning to end. I agree slow pace is not equal to definitively bad/boring TV

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    122. Pau: The purists are not saying that. Their logic is that the show is worse when is not matching the books, because Martin material is better. So the show is getting worse, hence people is watching less. That is the logic. I’m not saying I agree, but the logic is there. What you were saying of course could be the case of some people, but could not in any way affect the ratings significantly

      Oh I totally get it. I just do not believe book readers who are turned off by the changes are tuning out. If they care that much about the books (and I’m not saying there is anything wrong with caring about the story in the books at all) then I firmly believe they are tuning in to see what changes have been made.

      (I put that part up above in bold because I want to be clear: I have no issue with being a book purist. Or a show purist. None at all. I just don’t believe that and ratings correlate with each other.)

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    123. Don’t know why some people say that this season is slow. I think it’s very well paced and almost every scene has some forward momentum. IMO the worst paced season was season2 which suffered from them trying to cramm as much storylines as possible into one episode.

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    124. Chad Brick: I do, however, want to see one of my favorite books on the screen. When the show delves into Official Fan Fiction territory, which as of late it has been doing with increasing frequency, it is no longer what I am interested in watching even if it is Great TV by some metrics.

      As much as I agree with you on a number of things you say, I cannot fathom how someone could type the words “show delves into Official Fan Fiction territory” and keep a straight face. 😉 This is not A Song of Ice and Fire. It’s an adaptation of that, and adaptations quite frequently diverge from the books. Does anyone actually refer to “True Blood” as fan fiction of the Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries? Was the most successful fantasy film series of all time, the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, fan fiction of the books?

      Anyway, yes I know, it’s just a message board, but ‘fan fiction’ carries a stigma and you might actually be holding some of that stigma with you as a filter when you watch the show. Just saying.

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    125. Squirrel:
      Don’t know why some people say that this season is slow. I think it’s very well paced and almost every scene has some forward momentum. IMO the worst paced season was season2 which suffered from them trying to cramm as much storylines as possible into one episode.

      Almost nothing that would get the heart racing (except maybe Jaime losing his hand) happened in Season Three until Dany went off on the Masters of Astapor at the end of episode four (“And Now His Watch is Ended”). And season three is still badass.

      When so many of us are so used to being on the edge of our seats binge-watching shows on Netflix, it’s sometimes hard to remember that GoT, like other shows, takes its time building every single year to its concluding episodes.

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    126. Cameryn: As much as I agree with you on a number of things you say, I cannot fathom how someone could type the words “show delves into Official Fan Fiction territory” and keep a straight face. This is not A Song of Ice and Fire.It’s an adaptation of that, and adaptations quite frequently diverge from the books.Does anyone actually refer to “True Blood” as fan fiction of the Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries?Was the most successful fantasy film series of all time, the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, fan fiction of the books?

      Anyway, yes I know, it’s just a message board, but ‘fan fiction’ carries a stigma and you might actually be holding some of that stigma with you as a filter when you watch the show.Just saying.

      I think Official Fan Fiction captures the differences between this season and the previous four about as well as any three words could. We’ve gone from an amazingly faithful adaptation to one that is far more disconnected in the source and yes, one that reads a hell of a lot like typical fan fiction you’d find floating around those circles. If you have a better, simpler phrase to express this concept, let me know.

      Some of us just aren’t interested in watching fan fiction adaptations, even if they are adaptations of really good “dramatic” fan fiction.

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    127. Arya havin’ a larf?: So good that I’d never heard of it

      I checked it out ( the average actually dropped a little after season 6 from 4.6 to 4.45m but that’s quibbling ) and it was shown here on a minor channel but dropped by the network after season 6.It’s now back on an even more minor channel!

      So what, it can’t be good if you haven’t hear of it??

      Well, it was fucking good, mate

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    128. Cameryn: Oh I totally get it.I just do not believe book readers who are turned off by the changes are tuning out.If they care that much about the books (and I’m not saying there is anything wrong with caring about the story in the books at all) then I firmly believe they are tuning in to see what changes have been made.

      (I put that part up above in bold because I want to be clear: I have no issue with being a book purist.Or a show purist.None at all.I just don’t believe that and ratings correlate with each other.)

      Well, be certain, there is people like that. In my circle, even. Ratings can’t correlate though because 7M is a lot of people, so even if 50.000 hbo watchers do it is less than 1%. There is people for everything 😉

      Also, I don’t agree with Chad definition of Fan Fiction but I see his point and respect his opinion.

      What I despise is people insulting him or Martin to defend the show.

      PS: Also, episode 5 was much better than 4.

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    129. Chad Brick,

      If you want to call an adaptation “Official Fan Fiction” fine, when it come down two it, that’s what every adaptation is (assuming the creators are actually fans of the source material), but don’t act like GoT is a bad adaptation. It is not, at least not in any objective sense. If you feel the show isn’t to your liking anymore, then that’s okay and a perfectly fine position to have. There is no need to degrade thousands of hours of work by several hundreds of people by using a term like “Official Fan Fiction”, which, while essentially accurate, has negative associations coming with it.

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    130. Chad Brick,

      I think calling HBO’s adaptation fanfiction is really a grey area. Not saying it isn’t, not saying it is. But, given that you see GOT as such, what is your view of The World of Ice and Fire? The concordance written by Mr. Martin and his fact-checkers?

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    131. Chad Brick: I think Official Fan Fiction captures the differences between this season and the previous four about as well as any three words could.

      Game of Thrones is not fan fiction.

      Fan fiction is unauthorized, non-professional work. Game of Thrones is a fully authorized, licensed television production that even GRRM has written four scripts for. Just because it doesn’t adapt the fourth and fifth books faithfully (the books that so many fans agree are meandering and straying from the point) doesn’t make it fan fiction, any moreso than True Blood was fan fiction from its starting point, or the LOTR films from their books, or frankly any time any adaptation of a novel makes it to film or television.

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    132. pau: What I despise is people insulting him or Martin to defend the show.

      Not sure why this was put into this particular email because I haven’t insulted anyone defending the books or defending the show. My points throughout this thread have been simple: that there is no proof whatsoever that a leveling out of this season’s ratings have anything to do with whether the show is sticking close to the books or not, but there is certainly plenty of circumstantial evidence that it has nothing to do with it whatsoever.

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    133. Cumsprite, I take calling it fanfic as a joke and every joke has a bit of truth. It’s humorous to me in a lighthearted way. TWOIAF pissed me off. I haven’t read it, only bits. I didn’t like how his editor & co. pressured him to reveal things that he was waiting to reveal just because the book needed new material. However, we’re all desperate for new material, so I can’t hate on that too much. Also, I hated how it was by his account very time consuming and took away from his ability to write Winds.

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    134. Cumsprite,

      Worth reading for any serious fan, beautiful to look at, and canon because GRRM had the final say on anything in it and he meant it to be such. However, there were times the writing was uneven and it rarely had the flares of brilliance that GRRM has.

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    135. Cameryn: Not sure why this was put into this particular email because I haven’t insulted anyone defending the books or defending the show.My points throughout this thread have been simple: that there is no proof whatsoever that a leveling out of this season’s ratings have anything to do with whether the show is sticking close to the books or not, but there is certainly plenty of circumstantial evidence that it has nothing to do with it whatsoever.

      I don’t recall you doing such, but there is a group of people here who are very defensive about the show and who personally insult people, or make huge and often entirely unprompted generalizations about “purists” with alarming frequency. Except for a couple very rare instances of obvious trolls, I haven’t seen the opposite here.

      I agree, the departures from the books are not the reason for the ratings decline. If anything, they are supporting the ratings. Hardcore fans like me aren’t going to stop watching even if the ever-mounting changes are diminishing our enjoyment of the show. Yet the dumbing-down, added “drama”, and simplification of the story helps expand the show into the mass market and attracts more casual watchers than hardcore fans could ever be lost.

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    136. pau: So what, it can’t be good if you haven’t hear of it??

      Well, it was fucking good, mate

      Don’t put words into my mouth please – I’m going to check it out as it happens.

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    137. Arya havin’ a larf?: Don’t put words into my mouth please –I’m going to check it out as it happens.

      You put your own word in your own mouth, mate…you said, and I’m quoting exactly:

      “So good that I’d never heard of it ;)”

      Do you think we don’t understand English? Please, don’t insult us.

      Cameryn: Not sure why this was put into this particular email because I haven’t insulted anyone defending the books or defending the show.My points throughout this thread have been simple: that there is no proof whatsoever that a leveling out of this season’s ratings have anything to do with whether the show is sticking close to the books or not, but there is certainly plenty of circumstantial evidence that it has nothing to do with it whatsoever.

      I’m really sorry if you thought it was aimed to you, it wasn’t, in any way. If you followed the strings of emails (wich you didn’t have to) you’ll see it was aimed to other people that has been insulting chriss and chad repeateadly, just for disagreeing with their opinion.

      I agree whith what you said. There’s no evidence that the ratings are levelling because the show is diverging from the books. Just a lot of theories. I was just pointing out that the purist one, with which one I don’t agree, is that the show has less quality than the books because the plot lines are not those that Martin set up, not because they are different. There are some cases that want to see they book they read exactly adapted, even if that show would have less quality (which is not a given, because they obviously think the show would be better if was exactly adapted) than the show they’re doing now…but those people don’t affect the ratings.

      My personal opinion is that this 5 season (books 4-5), is the first book of the second trilogy, so it’s down in the valley of the roller-coaster, and it’s normal that people is not as excited. But they will be, I’m sure of it.

      PS: Even if I don’t agree with them, and I understand that changes have to be made and the show is better by doing so, part of me is also slightly disconnected by this fact, so I can understand their position.

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    138. Pau: You put your own word in your own mouth, mate…you said, and I’m quoting exactly:

      “So good that I’d never heard of it ;)”

      With a jokey smiley – obviously too subtle for you! Next time I’ll mark it [IRONY] … [/IRONY]

      I’d never heard of The Wire or Breaking Bad while they were debuting in the USA but I have the box sets after I finally heard of them, I just don’t follow anything about TV which I know I’m not going to be able to see because I don’t have access to the channels they are on. With the proliferation of free to view and pay to view TV it’s hard to keep up with new and good quality shows.

      Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead are now being shown on a channel called Spike which I guess most people here have never even heard of as it only started in April. The main channel is called 5 and for reasons only known to themselves they show at peak time endless runs/repeats of the various Law & Order / CSI + spin offs, NCIS, Body of Proof and currently some total “reality TV” dren called Big Brother.

      As for GoT I had to wait for the first 3 seasons to come out in box set before I could watch them – I had read all the books in 2011, and I am a book fan.

      This is why I suggest that certain highly acclaimed programmes are scarcely known here because of very peculiar or conservative programming practice. It is a shame that shows like True Detective don’t get the wider audience they deserve here but that’s what happens when a corporation like Sky put a premium price on the top shows and have an exclusive deal with HBO (and why piracy is relatively high here too). The viewing figures for GoT on Sky Atlantic far exceed those of any other show on any other non pay to watch TV BTW.

      I also said I will check out Sons of Anarchy and if I like it may well buy the box set. So you can wind your neck in ( I assume your understanding of English idioms is A+) 😀

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    139. Chad Brick,

      You know what’s fan fiction? The idea that AFFC/ADWD could possibly be adapted for television without major cuts, changes and consolidations…

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    140. Arya havin’ a larf?: With a jokey smiley – obviously too subtle for you! Next time I’ll mark it [IRONY] … [/IRONY]

      Precisely the jokey smiley is (should be) there to imply the fact that you meant the OPPOSITE of that, i.e. that if the series was so good you would’ve heard of it!! Now you say that we should’ve read your comment verbatim, WITHOUT the irony, yet yo say the irony has escaped me!!!! Really?? 😛

      But you know what, who fucking cares, I believe you!! We just qualified for the champions league final, Real is out, La Liga is almost ours and I’m going to see the Cup final live…Life is Good 😀

      PS: Seeing that you’re british (english?) you have to know that Sons is an adaptation of Hamlet 😉

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    141. Pau: Precisely the jokey smileyis (should be) there to imply the fact that you meant the OPPOSITE of that, i.e. that if the series was so good you would’ve heard of it!! Now you say that we should’ve read your comment verbatim, WITHOUT the irony, yet yo say the irony has escaped me!!!! Really??

      But you know what, who fucking cares, I believe you!! We just qualified for the champions league final, Real is out, La Liga is almost ours and I’m going to see the Cup final live…Life is Good

      PS: Seeing that you’re british (english?) you have to know that Sons is an adaptation of Hamlet

      Double irony gets ’em every time… 🙂

      Sons is based on Hamlet? Really? Damned Fan Fiction! [joking]

      To put it in context I am very late to most TV shows and only find out about them halfway through or after they’ve finished! I can name Battlestar Galactica Remake too which I thought was just a rerun of the original 1980s programme until I learned better – doh!

      With GoT the show got good press reviews in S1 so I thought I’d try the books as I couldn’t get the channel, finshed AFFC just in time for the publication of ADWD and the first season blu-ray release. Now I get GoT online (legally and paid for) and it’s one rare time I can talk about a show with others when it is actually shown and not years everyone else watched it…

      I dont follow football [ not joking ] I guess you are talking about Barca? Well good luck!
      No worries – peace out

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    142. Cameryn: Game of Thrones is not fan fiction.

      Fan fiction is unauthorized, non-professional work.

      Unauthorized? Not always. There are many degrees of fanfiction; including work that is authorized and approved by its originator.

      Here’s George Martin on the subject:

      “When Howard Keltner, one of the editors and publishers of STAR-STUDDED COMICS, the leading fanzine of its day, invited me to write about two of his creations, Powerman and Dr. Weird, I leapt at the chance… but only with Howard’s express invitation and permission. So that’s the sort of fan fiction I wrote.”

      The “non-professional” qualification gets a little wonky. What constitutes a professional? Are there tiers of fan/amateur/professional based on how much someone is paid for their labor or how much experience they have in the field?

      I would argue that HBO’s adaptation of ASOIAF is not fanfiction precisely because the HBO team are established professionals even though GOT meets some of the criteria for fanfiction.

      I find the discussion interesting because Mr. Martin called those who consider The World of Ice and Fire fanfiction “moronic”. Yet one of the people who helped write TWOIAF has labeled HBO’s adaptation as such on more than one occasion.

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    143. Pau and in general

      I just read backwards for the last half hour and I don’t see anyone being rude to either Chriss or Chad. Also, they made their own beds, they posted how they felt….are people not allowed to disagree? I sure disagree with both of them. Ser Chad’s use of “fanfic” to depict how GoT’s is currently being written is a slam in the face of the writers to me. It is negative and in my opinion not a well chosen term to use. Their right in every sense to feel that way, but anyone else’s right to not agree. Wouldn’t you agree on that?

      In general. I have read on many occasions that D & D gave an outline to GRRM which GRRM made notes on and gave back to them. They then ran with that to make the shows we are now seeing. Is that incorrect? (if someone has this information, I would like to know where to find it) Either way, I have read my share of fanfic for Tolkien and it is horrid usually. “Some damsel in distress is rescued by Legolas and they live happily ever after”. Excuse me while I wretch. THAT is fanfic to me. I sincerely believe with all my heart that D & D are doing their best with what they have to complete their obligation to the viewers, HBO and themselves. GRRM has not given them further to use. So they are going forward with what most likely could or would happen IN THE BOOKS, not in their minds, to bring it all to conclusion at the end of season 7.

      I think we will be lucky to even have a published book 6 by the time that happens. IF that is so, then GRRM could change his text before publishing if he chose to bring the book in line with the show (not saying he should) or do organically whatever is in his creative mind to write. Again, I read that GRRM writes organically, he takes a long time to develop a part of the storyline and it goes through many changes before he gets to where he wants to be if it even gets there. Sometimes he scraps the whole plotline.

      So I am not going to second guess the writers, both GRRM and GoT’s writers and call them basically hacking the show. I can’t debase the work they are putting out to that level. Even if I were to go down the last one standing to say that D & D have the rights to the books (HBO) and that they LOVE the work (have said it repeatedly) and want to give the truest product possible.

      *sorry for the length

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    144. Arya havin’ a larf?: I dont follow football [ not joking ] I guess you are talking about Barca? Well good luck!
      No worries – peace out

      Barça, yes!! (actually pronounced Barsa…Barca means boat and is pronounced Barka 😉 )

      Very lose adaptation but adaptation nonetheless…I liked all seasons except the one based in Northern Ireland, which was totally unbelievable for me. But the rest is quite good and the ending satisfying, which is always hard

      Deesensfan:
      Pau,

      Off topic.

      Hala Madrid!
      hahaha
      Good luck! should be a good match. You are goin to watch it live?? So jelly…

      Hahaha, no, I meant the Cup final, which we also qualified for and it’s in 2 weeks vs Athletic Bilbao. Tickets for the Champions League final are not on sale yet, and will be distributed among the members of the club that sign to have the chance to buy one.

      But I was lucky to get one the last time we reached the final, 4 years ago in Wembley vs ManU, which was fucking fantastic, and I remember people on this forum (including Phil and Marko) wishing me luck for the match, so I keep my fingers crossed 😉

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    145. JCDavis:
      Pau and in general

      I just read backwards for the last half hour and I don’t see anyone being rude to either Chriss or Chad.Also, they made their own beds, they posted how they felt….are people not allowed to disagree?I sure disagree with both of them.Ser Chad’s use of “fanfic” to depict how GoT’s is currently being written is a slam in the face of the writers to me.It is negative and in my opinion not a well chosen term to use.Their right in every sense to feel that way, but anyone else’s right to not agree.Wouldn’t you agree on that?

      In general.I have read on many occasions that D & D gave an outline to GRRM which GRRM made notes on and gave back to them.They then ran with that to make the shows we are now seeing.Is that incorrect?(if someone has this information, I would like to know where to find it) Either way, I have read my share of fanfic for Tolkien and it is horrid usually.“Some damsel in distress is rescued by Legolas and they live happily ever after”.Excuse me while I wretch.THAT is fanfic to me.I sincerely believe with all my heart that D & D are doing their best with what they have to complete their obligation to the viewers, HBO and themselves.GRRM has not given them further to use.So they are going forward with what most likely could or would happen IN THE BOOKS, not in their minds, to bring it all to conclusion at the end of season 7.

      I think we will be lucky to even have a published book 6 by the time that happens.IF that is so, then GRRM could change his text before publishing if he chose to bring the book in line with the show (not saying he should) or do organically whatever is in his creative mind to write.Again, I read that GRRM writes organically, he takes a long time to develop a part of the storyline and it goes through many changes before he gets to where he wants to be if it even gets there.Sometimes he scraps the whole plotline.

      So I am not going to second guess the writers, both GRRM and GoT’s writers and call them basically hacking the show.I can’t debase the work they are putting out to that level.Even if I were to go down the last one standing to say that D & D have the rights to the books (HBO) and that they LOVE the work (have said it repeatedly) and want to give the truest product possible.

      *sorry for the length

      Check Kappa’s post a bit back…I’ll quote him for you:

      “Kappa: The only dump is what’s coming out of your mouth, and you are an idiot.”

      Referring to Chriss. And Chad has been insulted repeatedly by quite a lot of people in other posts.

      And yes, I agree that the term Fan Fiction is not applicable here, I don’t like it and I would never use it. Furthermore, I feel Martin feels the same, as he stated in his blog a while back. I also agree with the rest of your post.

      I love the books and the show. But of course, not all of it. And, in my opinion, the first 4 episodes of this season have been, as a whole, pretty week, specially considering episode 4 was the worst of the series for me. Probably because of the inexperience of the writer, and the director. But episode 5 was the total opposite, best scripted and directed of the season, by far. So now my opinion of the first 5 episodes is that they are quite ok, and that they can only improve

      What I’m fucking tired off is that every time me or any other person criticizes some aspect of the show the same people come saying “but in the books is much worse, and Martin is a fat blob, and Linda is a cunt, and you are an idiot”.

      For the love of god, leave Martin and the books alone, I was criticizing the show, can’t we debate about that? 😉

      Edit: And I’m not talking about 99% of people, you included!! But that vocal minority is quite rude and tiresome…in my opinion

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    146. Chad Brick: Hardcore fans like me aren’t going to stop watching even if the ever-mounting changes are diminishing our enjoyment of the show. Yet the dumbing-down, added “drama”, and simplification of the story helps expand the show into the mass market and attracts more casual watchers than hardcore fans could ever be lost.

      See, and here I am thinking there’s absolutely no ‘dumbing-down,’ whereas what you call ‘simplification’ of the story from the novels I call ‘getting rid of the waste’.

      Tolkien’s “Return of the King” was pretty much unfilmable as-is. Peter Jackson made the decision to basically cut the second half of the book out. When you tell a story, you have a beginning, a middle, then the climax, and then you end it. What Tolkien did was all of that up to the climax for the first 2 1/2 books… and then he tacked on yet another story at the end. You cannot take that into another medium. Can you imagine the filmed ROTK with 30 more minutes at the end, after the Mount Doom climax? It would have been dreadful.

      What the GoT producers did here was look at things rationally:

      * We have a collection of characters our viewers love
      * We have actors who play those characters who want to work
      * We have a three great novels with all of these characters
      * We have two additional novels that sideline most of them

      Making the decision to cut out the waste was a critical decision in filmmaking. It does not make it fan fiction; that’s the way TV works. Like bringing Jaqen back in Arya’s storyline; why go with a brand new character, when you can work with the actor again?

      GRRM doesn’t need to worry about both sides of the equation: the story vs. the production. He tells his story in his book and that’s that. Game of Thrones MUST look at the story *and* the production, and make production choices that make sense.

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    147. Ser Chad

      LOL that was the most around the corner, under the house and in the back door insult I may have ever read. From one of the dumb, over dramatizing, simpletons…..I thank you. Pfffffft.

      Pau

      See above, sometimes they ask for it. But I do appreciate your reply and I do believe it was thoughtful and sincere. I never believe there is any reason for rudeness on these sorts of sites, but general debate should be welcomed. *bows* (I never curtsey)

      Cameryn

      Hey…are we sisters from another mister? (or maybe that is brother sister from another mister?) Either way, I agree 100% with your post and want to add that if you recall, PJ took a ton of criticism for straying from the original RotK text. For me it was the weakest of the three movies, all of which I still watch at least two times a year. What PJ did for LotR’s I can’t imagine that anyone, including The Professor, could have done better. It was a massive missive and the attention and money spent on detail and scenery was amazing.

      GoT is very similar to me. With what they have to spend, they are doing some pretty incredible filming. I, for one, am going to continue to put my trust in D & D as storytellers on behalf of GRRM.

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    148. Tibatonk:
      Chad Brick,

      You know what’s fan fiction? The idea that AFFC/ADWD could possibly be adapted for television without major cuts, changes and consolidations…

      Good thing no one…literally no one, not even idiots like Linda, believe such a thing. Please get this straw-man argument out of your mind.

      The problem is not that AFFC/ADWD were unadaptable to TV. The problem is that their adaptation did not fit into the 10 x 60min format required by HBO seasons and other practical realities. The more I watch this season, the more I realize that the big problem D&D faced is that they had about 1.5 season’s of material left in these two books. So they were either forced to add filler, or make ham-handed cuts and combinations while rushing through what remained. They chose the latter, and we got S5.

      What would be in those five extra episodes? Manderly-Davos would be one episode’s worth, the Ironborn another, and about two more scenes for each of the principle POVs we are currently following (Arya, Jon, Sansa, Cersei, Dany, Tyrion, Jaime), plus a couple random others perhaps.

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    149. Chad Brick,

      So what’s your solution then? Have them do something which is impossible for them to do, namely a 15 episode season? Or do two seasons and have a S5 without any natural cut-off points to the story arcs and with many plots only featuring in three or four out of ten episodes (similary to Stannis, Bran, the Boltons, & the Wildlings in S4)?

      And I certainly never said the books were unadaptable for television. In fact I’m watching an adaptation of them right now.

        Quote  Reply

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