Game of Thrones Season 6 Criticism

Game of Thrones Star Talks Season 6 Criticism: 'You Can't Hit Maximum Volume Each Episode'

Last Sunday’s Game of Thrones saw the return of the Brotherhood Without Banners, Jaime and Brienne’s first meet-up in two seasons and Arya Stark’s return to plucky form (courtesy of killing The Waif), as well as a girl’s declaration that she was heading home to Winterfell. The night is dark and full of anticipation for the next episode, right?

Not according to many of the show’s fans on social media and in TVLine’s own comments section, the latter of which contained sentiments like “God awful episode. All setup, very little payoff” and “More than one episode this season has been disappointing. I am worried that without books the show will continue to go downhill.”

When we spoke with Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau earlier this week, we asked for his take on the matter.

“It’s funny. I think a lot of things happen in every episode. But, I mean, I get it,” he said. “People are spoiled — in a good way! — and you expect some crazy stuff. But it’s been like that every year.”

Still, just like Bran learning at the Three-Eyed Raven’s feet, Coster-Waldau cautions, Thrones viewers have to have a little patience.

“You also know that there’s a reason why” the show parcels out the drama over the course of a season, he says. “You can’t hit the maximum volume each episode. Then you get numb to it. It has to build up. You have to tell a story, lay the seeds. Then hopefully — and I believe — the payoff is so much better and so much greater, instead of just getting everything at once.”

But if you’re jonesing for a fight, this week’s episode,  which is titled “The Battle of Bastards” and is expected to show the Jon-Ramsay face-off for which we’ve been waiting, “is the biggest they’ve made, in terms of scale,” he adds, chuckling as he declines saying more. “A lot of stunt guys were working on that episode.”

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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36 Comments
  1. Jake says:

    I agree…just an FYI, there is this lovely option called changing the channel…getting tired of these overly critical and whiny people.

  2. Murica! says:

    What payoff? There was no payoff at all. It was very disappointing.

    • peterwdawson says:

      Season needs to be over first.

    • Lynn says:

      You do realize there are still 2 episodes left right?

      • Murica! says:

        You do realize that he was referring to the comments about the last episode? You do realize that there was a lot of build up for several storylines and no payoff whatsoever? This season had a lot of very boring episodes. Tyrion is my favorite character, but most of his scenes have been cringe worthy this season.

        • Lynn says:

          Actually no, you do realize Coster Waldau is talking about you can’t expect a major payoff every single episode but the payoff will be in a future episode. The person was asking what payoff so I was saying it hasn’t happened yet and there are still 2 more episodes.

          • Murica! says:

            Who said anything about expecting a major payoff every single episode?

            Those storylines are done, how can there be any payoff? Arya is leaving and the riverrun siege is over.

        • Lynn says:

          Your the one who is talking about where’s the payoff of the last episode and my point is it’s not in that episode, the payoff will hopefully come in the next two episodes. The storylines are not over, the payoff will be when Arya gets to Winterfell and hopefully eventually reunited with her brother and sister. Maybe she’ll even arrive in time to help them. The Riverrun story had to be shown so we would know why John and Sansa don’t have their support and their men and we finally know the fate of the Blackfish and his nephew who hasn’t been seen for a couple of seasons.

          • Murica! says:

            Wrong. I’ve never stated that I expect a major payoff in every epsiode. Both storylines are done. All this build up about Arya joining the faceless men, only to have her abandon her training because she didn’t want to kill some random woman? She died regardless of her decision. Both the waif and the blackfish were killed offscreen. It was very disappointing.
            How is arya going to help them? Will she teleport to winterfell? Don’t be ridiculous. The riverrun siege was pathetic. The blackfish dying offscreen was pathetic. Jamie and brienne waiving at eachother was cringeworthy. It’s very clear that D&D can’t use the books to guide them anymore.

          • Marina says:

            Riverrun was there for Jaime’s character development, Jaime is a mayor character and Riverrun comes directly from the books to show how Jaime is able to take a castle without wasting human lives. Not every storyline has to lead to deaths.
            Riverrun was there to show Jaime what people think of him, how it can use it and to reconnect him with his oath to Catelyn Stark and Brienne,
            This was the pay-off,

          • Lynn says:

            “What payoff? There was no payoff at all.” That’s a quote from you. You say you don’t expect a payoff in every episode yet you’re claiming there is no payoff when you can’t possibly know that yet because you haven’t seen future episodes. Frankly I didn’t like Arya joining the Faceless men. I was waiting for her to remember who she is and tell them to shove it and she finally did. It wasn’t just that she didn’t want to kill some random woman, it’s That she’s not going to mindlessly take orders and kill people without even knowing why. I’m not sure why people are so upset about the waif and the Blackfish. The waif was killed in the dark! That’s the point, you couldn’t see it and neither could she because it was dark. Ayra’s blindness finally served some purpose. With all the gore we’ve seen on this show I’m not sure why people need to actually see the waif or Blackfish getting stabbed. We know they went down fighting, what else do we really need to see? I’m not saying this season is perfect. I agree with you about Terion. He’s also my favorite character and his storyline’s been lacking this season. Again, maybe they’ll finally be some payoff now that the queen of dragons has arrived. Overall though, I’ve liked this season and I think sometimes people are expecting a little too much and expecting every episode to be spectacular.

          • Mimi says:

            THANK YOU, Marina. Exactly. You can have huge payoffs–like Jaime’s obvious character development–without bloodshed. It was actually a refreshing change from the GoT norm. I loved it.

          • Murica! says:

            Jaime had an amazing arc. His redemption storyline was fantastic, but his latest storyline has been horrible. He’s being reduced to Cersei’s lackey. I have to admit that I quite liked his speech to Edmuir, but I was disappointed in the blackfish dying ofscreen. I would have preferred to see him die in an epic battle. He was a great character and deserved better.

  3. TraciWallacexo says:

    Seems as if the insufferable book readers who knew what was coming all the time have the issues since there are no more books to follow. Who cares. Great show. Great season as usual. Many of us, who never read the books, just get to enjoy the show as a TV show. Too bad for them.

    • Joey says:

      It’s actually not a great show (anymore) due to the fact that its not following the books. I can point to numerous points in every single episode where characters do things out of character simply to push the plot forward, even if it goes against established past characterization.

      • Matt says:

        From the very beginning they said that the series and the books would diverge, they are separate entities and so will not mirror one another in everything they do. There are many viewers who have not read the books and probably never will. With the tv show being ahead in the story arc now I could just as easily pick up the next book if GRRM ever finishes it and say it’s rubbish because he is not following the show. You can have a preference but it does not alter the fact that they are not and were never meant to be carbon copies and so any argument based on their differences is self defeating.

        • Joey says:

          I’ve always known that the television series would diverge from the book series. I hoped, however, that the showrunners would prove themselves to be competent enough writers that they could hold to characterizations that they themselves had established in the show’s history, which, no, they have not done that.

      • Mimi says:

        A “great show” DOES NOT HAVE TO FOLLOW THE BOOKS. They are two distinctly different entities. Shows and movies that too closely follow the books that are their source are very often boring failures. Visual media must move at a completely different pace than the written word.

        • Joey says:

          Okay, well, you obviously pay about as much attention to the quality of the show’s writing than you do the comments on this article as I stated above that if the show portrays a certain characterization, they then need to show the character acting as they should or include scenes that would explain why a character is acting differently than they normally would. That doesn’t happen on Game of Thrones (anymore).

    • Lala says:

      I agree book readers have always been pissy about it all…the show is great…This season is far better than season 5. And there’s nothing wrong with plot progression. There’s been 1 weak episode IMO, the one they focused on Sam & Gilly…other than that it’s been a strong season thus far.

  4. Thici Diniz says:

    This season is amazing. People are always complaining, even if the episode is amazing. This season is one of the best (is my favorite after season 3 and season 4). Can’t wait for episodes 9 and 10!

  5. Kevin K says:

    The last two episodes of the season will blow fans away. Now that next season is going to have just seven episodes, is there still a chance that the eighth and final season will run six?

  6. Lynn says:

    People are always complaining about something. I just started watching this season and am catching up (on season 4), while watching the current season. You have to have episodes that sets things up people. Everyone’s complaining nothing happened last episode but if Arya suddenly showed up in Winterfell or the Hound suddenly shows up with the Brotherhood people would be bitching about how did that happen and why didn’t we see it. When they do hurry things along a bit and don’t show it people still complain, like people complaining we didn’t actually get to see Blackfish’s death. I didn’t read the books and I am enjoying the show. Are some episodes better then others? Of course but even the other episodes are better then the majority of garbage on TV these days.

  7. Ian says:

    The only possibly great thing Weiss and Benioff have done themselves without Martin’s source material, is Dany’s burning of the Khals. Everything else has been a reveal that Martin’s given them. I was the one that wrote what a “god awful” episode last Sunday was. Arya should be way more skilled and smarter than she’s shown in this Bravos storyline, and for it to conclude with her killing the Waif offscreen was bad. Its ridiculous she survived being eviscerated! Its just bad writing.
    And this is a season that has Jon Snow brought back from the dead with no cost, direwolves being killed off in needless ways for budget reasons, etc. I resent Nikolaj claiming that its a call for huge stunts and big things every episode. All these problems could be solved with writing and storylines that aren’t so simplified that it’s insulting. It’s just sloppy and careless when there are plotholes a size you can fly a dragon through.

  8. Benm says:

    I guess I’m in the very small minority. I love this season.

    Origin of white walkers. Green men introduced. Hodor dead. Jon being away from the wall for the first time since s1. Jon coming back to life! Jon and sansa meeting. Bolton killing his dad and getting a lot of power. Reek getting back to theon. Littlefinger basically ruling the vale. The hound coming back. The mountain crushing people. The Sparrows making the two strongest houses from other seasons look weak. Introduction of the new big bad in Euron. Benjen freaking stark. More valerian steel popping up. Arya saying she is a stark. Seeing Rickon again. All the dead direwolves. Brans super powers and flashbacks. Dany owning the khals,showing up in Mereen, and Drogon looking huge. Jorah finally getting his redemption. Jorah setting off for old Valeria. Tyrion really messing up, politically, for the first time. Jamie being open about how he feels about Cercei. Whatever Cercei is up to. Tommen being the opposite of Geoffrey, but possibly worse for the kingdom. The little lady. The aspects of the red God – Melisandre doubting, High priestess in Mereen, & Berlin showing back up. The implications of Lady Stoneheart. And I’m sure I’m forgetting stuff.

    This season has done a lot, and answered a lot of questions. I’ve loved it, but like I said I know I’m in the minority. I can’t wait for the next 2 episodes. I’m glad it’s on HBO, that way they can do want they want and not worry about social media like broadcast shows.

  9. bosco66 says:

    If a person can’t separate the books from the show, maybe they should give one up. I personally think this season has been amazing, and I anxiously await the next book. And if anyone on here has ever had sex, they should know that the buildup can be pretty amazing before the payoff. Just sayin.

  10. Matt says:

    I think this season has been great, much better than Season 5 (which to me, was a bit lacking). Episode 8 was a bit of a letdown compared to the episodes of the last few weeks (Episode 7 was fantastic, for example), but I also see it as a bridge episode. My only real complaint is that the stuff that happened offscreen should have been shown, particularly the Blackfish’s last stand.

    My guess is that the last two episodes will make up for 8.

  11. Jared says:

    I absolutely adore Season 6. Through eight episodes, it’s either my favorite or second-favorite season of Game of Thrones, in close proximity to Season 4. It remains comfortably my favorite show on TV, and one of my favorite shows ever.

    I think that “Home”, “Book of the Stranger”, and “The Door” are some the best hours that the show has ever produced, and I’ve loved the past three episodes as well. Not to generalize too broadly, but I think Game of Thrones has spoiled its fanbase to an absurd extent. Only by the extraordinarily high standards that the show has set for itself during its run could the last three hours be considered “slow”. Even then, I would dispute the categorization. Episodes don’t need to be drenched in blood to be thrilling or consequential. Jaime’s scenes in “No One” with Brienne and with Edmure were some of my favorite scenes of the season, if not the series. I thought they were beautifully written, and an amazing showcase for Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (and for Gwendoline Christie as well).

    Even the resolution to the Arya storyline was enjoyable for me, mostly because I thought most of the circulating theories were utterly ridiculous and never bought into them. Was it a little clunkier than we’ve come to expect from the show? Sure. The stabbing was probably unnecessary – if the exact same sequence of events had played out without that complication, my reaction would have been unequivocally positive. But I don’t not in a way that devalued what came before. I’m glad Arya’s time in Braavos is over, but I enjoyed it while it lasted, and have no regrets. “Worst episode ever?” Give me a break. If that’s the case, I’d say we’re doing pretty well.

    As for the spectre of the books – I am thrilled that we are now past the novels, and that the showrunners are free to tell the story as they see fit – respectful of Martin’s vision, but not bound to it. I’m a book reader, but I certainly don’t see them as this unimpeachable gospel. Quite honestly, I think Game of Thrones is better than its source material, especially with respect to the current position of the story (I have some fairly substantial issues with AFFC and ADWD, to put it kindly).

    I’m quite happy to enjoy the show and the books as two separate entities that complement one another, but there are times when the lines blur. There is a small but vocal group of book readers whose protestations are so vitriolic that make me regret ever having read the novels, because I don’t want even that superficial level of association with them. It’s sad that their lack of perspective has sullied my appreciation of the novels and their hardcore fans, but that’s how I feel.

    Unfortunately, it’s their over-the-top reactions that tend to drive headlines and clickbait traffic. “Book readers are FURIOUS over this change!” Oh no. Not this book reader, I assure you. This book reader is VERY glad that the Griffs and Arianne were cut, that Sansa is in the North rather than the Vale, and that LS is never going to sully the show with her presence. Some things are better left on the page.

  12. RD says:

    I’m loving this season. I’ve not read the books,have no idea where it’s going,no expectations other than some of my favourite characters will survive. I think a lot of the fans of the books are upset because they can’t be knowingly smug about the storylines anymore. All I know is I can expect dragons,heroes,heroines,battles and quite a few deaths. I’m happy .Bring it on!

  13. ScottJ says:

    Funny thing is all the proper reviews that I’ve seen loved the episode. I choice to believe those over the inane ramblings of online commenters and tweeters.

  14. Nichole says:

    I always get to the end of an episode feeling “that wasn’t enough” or “give me more!!” or mostly “that went to quick” lol. As much as it feels at times like some characters or storylines are short changed each week, there are soooooo many characters and storylines that it is bound to feel like that with only 10 episodes in the season. After 5 fantastic seasons and 6 being just as good, I’m sure the payoff in the long run will be worth the wait and yes, sometimes frustration. Plus Martin is still part of the show and the direction it is taking, while some is going to be away from what the future books are going to have, I’m sure what is in the show will be in line with the story so far and just as good.