Unlike 90% of the shows currently on TV, Game of Thrones is an extremely intelligent and intricate series that trusts its audience can follow along without ever needing to dumb anything down. This is thanks largely to George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, which sets up an ingenious scenario where every character has a valid point for wanting to rule the Seven Kingdoms.
For instance, Joffrey believes inheriting the throne it is his birthright, while Ned and Stannis know that the king’s children are illegitimate. Meanwhile, Daenerys believes that the whole lot of them usurped the throne from her father before the series even began.
It’s a rare thing when you find a story where all of the characters are “right” in their own way and the audience isn’t uniformly united behind the same archetypal hero. But even with its ingenious plotline, Game of Thrones isn’t exactly flawless.
Even the best series can contain their fair share of inconsistency, nonsensical character decisions, and glossed-over details. Just because Game of Thrones is a fantasy, doesn’t mean that it gets a pass when it comes to these illogical moments — especially when the show goes to such great lengths to create realistic and complex characters.
We’ll gladly suspend our disbelief for an hour every Sunday night, but if we’re going to get nitpicky, these are the 15 Things Don’t Make Sense About Game Of Thrones.
15. The teleporting Sand Snakes
Easily the most criticized storyline on Game of Thrones revolves around the Sand Snakes and the events in Dorne. Understandably, the show needs to consolidate the events in the book to fit into the confines of a series, but instead of simply trimming the fat, they downright changed the motives and fates of almost all the characters.
This seismic shift in the storyline happens when the Sand Snakes go on an old out murder spree; killing Prince Doran, Trystane, and even Myrcella (who they actually want to crown as their queen in the novels).
What makes matters even worse is the huge plot hole that occurs between these two episodes. In the season five finale, the Sand Snakes remain in Dorne while Myrcella, Jaime, and Trystane set sail for King’s Landing. But in the season six opener, Nym and Obara magically appear on the boat after it arrives in the capital to kill Trystane.
Even if we assume that the Snakes followed the boat the whole way there, it’s a pretty ridiculous plan to poison Myrcella as soon as she departs Dorne, and then travel to the very place where they’re wanted dead.
14. Why Jon sends Sam away when he needs him most
In light of recent events, sending Sam to the Citadel seems like it will work out to Jon’s advantage. After all, Sam has already discovered that Dragonstone is replete with obsidian, and there’s even the possibility that Sam could stop Jorah from being consumed by Greyscale.
But at the time, Jon really sends Sam away when he needs him the most; he’s just been elected Lord Commander, Maester Aemon has passed away, and he’s surrounded by many who consider him a traitor. Not to mention, the White Walkers could literally attack the Wall before Sam even reaches Oldtown, let alone before he becomes a maester — a process which takes years of study.
In the books, Jon has a much better reason to send Sam away, as he orders Sam to take Maester Aemon and Mance Rayder’s son with him, fearing that Melisandre will sacrifice them to the Lord of Light for their “king’s blood.” In this scenario, Jon is trying to save lives.
13. How Jaime and Cersei’s children are surprisingly… normal
In the novels, the Targaryens are almost described as an otherworldly race, with their silver hair, purple eyes, and the blood of Old Valyria coursing through their veins. Their tolerance for heat, along with their ability to control dragons, is yet another reason they kept their bloodline pure, often by marrying brother and sister. But even for the Targaryens this has backfired, producing offspring that have a tendency to go mad.
Then there’s Jaime and Cersei Lannister, who have no reason to keep their bloodline pure other than their super creepy love for one another. The reason that it’s illegal to have a child with your sibling in the real world isn’t just because it’s creepy, but because it’s also extremely unsafe for the child.
The chance of passing on a recessive gene to a child born of sibling-incest is extremely high, which results in a weaker genetic makeup. For example, King Tut was notoriously born from sibling parents, and he suffered from malaria, a bone disorder, and an early death. Yet, somehow Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen all seem remarkably healthy throughout the series. Aside from the fact that they’re all currently dead…
12. Why Tywin sleeps with his son’s lover
It’s amazing how different the plot of Game of Thrones would be if many of the characters just didn’t give a damn about what their fathers thought of them. In that regard, Cersei, Jaime and Tyrion’s lives have all taken drastic turns following their father’s death.
Tywin Lannister is one of the shrewdest characters in the entire series, whose unwavering personality casts a long shadow over the lives of his children. What Tywin lacks in morals, he certainly makes up for in principals, as he does everything for the legacy of House Lannister and isn’t shy about chastising Tyrion about his weakness for prostitutes. This makes for an extremely bizarre turn of events when Shae is revealed to be sleeping with Tywin.
Even if we accept the fact that Tywin — a man who never expressed any interest in succumbing to his carnal urges — decided that he needed a prostitute for one night, isn’t it a little weird to have sex with your son’s former lover? Even though this made for an extremely gut-wrenching twist where Tyrion kills both Shae and his father, it feels extremely disingenuous after everything we’ve come to learn about the head of House Lannister.
11. Why Cersei gives the High Sparrow so much power
Nothing pleases Cersei more than punishing those who have rubbed her the wrong way. So when the Queen Regent wants to punish Margery Tyrell for stealing her son away from her, she enlists the High Sparrow to act as her proxy. Cersei allows the religious leader to reinstate the Faith Militant, which results in the incarceration of both Loras and Margery for their sins against the Seven.
While this seems like a pretty solid plan at the start, there’s one fatal flaw: Cersei is far from innocent in the eyes of the gods.
By giving the High Sparrow so much power, Cersei effectively shines a spotlight on her own corruption. She should realize that if the acting Queen of the Seven Kingdoms can be locked up, then she certainly isn’t safe either. After all, Cersei is suspected of having an incestuous relationship with her brother. Not to mention that Lancel — the very person who helped her murder her husband — is now working alongside the High Sparrow!
Though Cersei is often blinded by contempt, we find it hard to believe that she wouldn’t be at least a little concerned that this latest scheme could come back to haunt her.
10. Sansa’s totally unnecessary poison necklace
Although Tyrion is ultimately found guilty of Joffrey’s death, it’s actually Littlefinger and Lady Olenna who conspire together to assassinate the king. Olenna’s objectives are quite clear: she doesn’t want her beloved granddaughter marrying a monster. Meanwhile, Littlefinger claims that Joffrey was an unreliable ally, so he gives Ser Dontos a necklace to gift to Sansa with the hope that she will wear it to the wedding. If you watch closely, you can even see Olenna snatch one of the gems from Sansa’s necklace during the wedding ceremony.
Why even take this extra step? If Olenna was always going to be the one to poison Joffrey’s chalice, why didn’t she just sneak in the poison herself? Why take the extra risk of Sansa not wearing the necklace or not being able to nick the gem without being discovered?
You could speculate that they planned to frame Sansa, but that’s highly unlikely considering both Olenna and Littlefinger proposed using her for a marriage alliance. The fact that Tyrion is blamed is totally coincidental.
9. How Joffrey becomes a ruthless killer overnight
Joffrey was always a brat. But plenty of kids who grow up rich and entitled have a tendency to lack empathy for those less fortunate from them, and that doesn’t mean they suddenly become cold-hearted killers.
As we see in season one of the show, Joffrey is still very much a coward, crying after being attacked by Arya’s direwolf and becoming too embarrassed to even talk to Sansa after the incident. Though becoming king certainly doesn’t help Joffrey’s narcissism, at first he still doesn’t carry out any violence himself; ordering his guards to dole out the punishment instead. Then, all of a sudden, Joffrey is brutally killing prostitutes without even batting an eye.
In the books, there’s a much more believable progression to Joffrey’s psychopathy. He starts by killing small animals — a common precursor to becoming a serial killer — and is said to have once killed a pregnant cat and cut out the kittens to show his father. This depth to the character is severely lacking in the show, making Joffrey Baratheon easily the most one-dimensional character in the series.
8. How Jaqen H’ghar ever became imprisoned
When we first meet Jaqen H’ghar, he’s been taken out of the dungeon’s of the Red Keep and is traveling north with Yoren to join the Night’s Watch. He meets Arya on the road, and if not for the young Stark, Jaquen would have burned to death after the Lannister soldiers stage an attack on Yoren’s troop.
Once he’s freed, we begin to learn just how powerful this mysterious man is. Jaquen promises Arya that he will kill three people for her, and he’s able to knock off a number of Lannister soldiers in a moment’s notice. Not to mention that he’s able to change his appearance instantaneously! Which really begs the question: how did Jaqen H’ghar come to be imprisoned in the first place?
For a master assassin who can easily swap faces, Jaqen spends an awfully long time being imprisoned, the point that he’s almost burned alive. Of course, there’s always the chance that Jaqen was on a mission to serve the Many-Faced God, but now that Arya is back in Westeros, it seems like this inexplicable scenario will remain a mystery.
7. Why Dany agreed to marry Hizdahr zo Loraq
Though Dany only entertains the prospect of marrying Hizdahr in the show, the two actually tie the knot in the books. In fact, Dany’s husband was still alive at the end of A Dance with Dragons, having survived the attack at Daznak’s Pit only to seize more power for himself in Dany’s absence. Last we left him, Hizdahr was imprisoned by Barristan Selmy, who suspects the former slave trader of being the one secretly funding the Sons of the Harpy.
This match was originally proposed by Daenerys as a means bring peace to the city of Meereen, which has been on the brink of civil war following her conquest of Slaver’s Bay. However, Dany knows full-well that she will need a marriage alliance when she leaves to take the Seven Kingdoms, which is actually her main argument for leaving Daario behind at the end of last season.
6. The never-changing hair color
“The seed is strong.” These are the mysterious last words uttered by Jon Arryn that leads Ned Stark to the truth — that Cersei’s children are not actually Roberts.
While conducting his investigation into Jon’s death, Ned begins to read The Lineages and Histories of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms, which confirms that every child born to a Baratheon will have black hair and blue eyes. While this works out conveniently for the sake of the story, we know it’s far from how genealogy actually works.
In the real world, even if two parents have dark hair there’s still the chance that their offspring could come out a blond. Of course, you could always argue that this is a fantasy and that literally anything is possible. But outside of the Targaryens, who are described as an otherworldly race, we’ve been given no reason to believe that the humans in Game of Thrones should be any different than the humans in the real world. Why should their genealogy be any different?
5. Why Dany leaves her dragons unguarded in Qarth
Qarth is undoubtedly filled with merchants and nobles who are interested in one thing, and one thing alone: riches. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why the Thirteen would allow Daenerys — the owner of the only three dragons in existence — to stay in their beloved city.
While Xaro Xhoan Daxos tries to win the Mother of Dragons over with a marriage proposal, he’s secretly going behind her back with the warlock Pyat Pree to overthrow Qarth and steal the invaluable creatures for themselves. At first, the two traitors are successful, and the three dragons are kidnapped and taken to the House of the Undying before Dany is able to break them free.
Why Dany would ever trust Xaro enough to leave her dragons at his house? What’s more, she doesn’t even leave her best soldiers, including Jorah, to stand guard over the hatchlings in her absence.
If your only weapon for one day conquering the Seven Kingdoms was your three dragons, you wouldn’t start slacking on their security as soon as you’re surrounded by a bunch of greedy strangers. Right?
4. The messaging ravens
We don’t proclaim to be bird experts, but all it takes to put this fantasy trope to rest are a few simple Google searches. While ravens can indeed be taught to repeat certain phrases — much like a parrot — they are far from the ideal candidate to deliver a message over extremely long (or even moderate) distances. Yet in Game of Thrones, ravens are the go-to when a top-secret message needs to reach a far corner of the world in a matter of days.
However, the only bird that can consistently pull of this task in the real world is the homing pigeon, which is wired to always return to the same place. The reason ravens can’t be trained to do the same things is not because they’re unintelligent, but actually, because they’re too intelligent and they simply choose not to obey commands.
While ravens may ultimately not be the ideal animal of choice for sending a medieval text message, we do have to admit that using pigeons would look rather out of place in the middle of a fantasy epic.
3. Arya’s super speedy recovery
We get it. Arya’s extremely tough, even by Stark standards. Even if we believe that Arya could have survived these injuries in the first place, there’s no way that she could have recovered from her wounds as quickly as she does in the show.
This moment comes after Arya betrays the Many-Faced God and decides that she will finally return to Westeros. Of course, the Waif couldn’t let her leave unscathed, and instead, she slashes opened Arya’s stomach, before stabbing her repeatedly and twisting the knife in her gut.
Arya barely escapes with her life and somehow manages to not bleed to death, which is fine — after all, we definitely did not want her to die before at least making it back to Westeros. But then she gets caught up in another intense chase throughout Braavos before she barely has a chance to heal!
We may have loved that Arya finally gets the better of the Waif, but there’s a huge difference between having a high tolerance for pain and sustaining an injury that would prevent you from literally moving for weeks.
2. The amazingly accurate record keeping
Though many of the maesters questions the earlier accounts of the Long Night and the Age of Heroes, the known-history of Westeros stretches back some 12,000 years. In a world devoid of modern technology, where everything has to be hand-written, re-written, and preserved, is it really possible to have an accurate account of the world over 10,000 years in the past?
To put that in perspective, we still don’t even know if King Arthur was a real person, and that was only some 1,500 years ago! Yet Jon Snow claims with 100% assurance that he is a descendant of the First Men, and somehow many of the Great Houses can trace their lineage back thousands upon thousands of years.
If we’ve learned anything from the actual Middle Ages, it’s that books can easily be destroyed and knowledge can become lost for centuries. In fact, the very idea that the people of Westeros and Essos have been perpetually living in an antiquated world for over 10,000 years suggests that they’re actually terrible at keeping records, or they wouldn’t still be riding around on horses and using leeches to “cure” the sick.
1. The origin of the White Walkers
When Bran takes a trip into the past with the Three-Eyed Raven, we finally learn that the White Walkers were created to fight against the First Men, who were destroying the lands of Westeros and cutting down the sacred weirwood tries. While it’s an interesting turn of events that the Children of the Forest created the White Walkers to help them, the method by which they’re created remains a bit puzzling.
We watch Leaf plunge a dagger of dragonglass into the heart of a man, who doesn’t die but instead turns into the Night King. However, we know that dragonglass, along with Valyrian Steel, is one of the few objects that can actually kill a White Walker. So how dragonglass also gave them their staggering powers remains to be seen.
Now that the White Walkers will be at the forefront of the story for the last few seasons, we only hope that there will be a deeper dive into their origin story outside of this one minute, dialogue-free sequence.
So what do you think is the biggest plot hole in Game of Thrones? Sound off in the comments!
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