Through the six seasons of HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones, there have been some twists, cliff-hangers, and shocks throughout. Part of the show’s success stems from its ability to drop a fantastic reveal on its fans. Viewers tune in week after week to find out what groundbreaking revelation the show-runners have in store, and are eagerly anticipating the release of season seven.
Another market in which Game of Thrones plays is the cringe-worthy. There are some moments that are so uncomfortable we’d rather turn off the TV than spend another moment watching the screen. These moments serve their purpose (at least most of them do), but they’re still some of the hardest scenes to sit through in all of television. George R.R. Martin may be responsible for the original text, but Daniel Weiss and David Benioff are responsible for the on-screen cringe.
These are not the most shocking scenes or the biggest twists in Game of Thrones, but they are some of the hardest to sit through. Especially when re-watching some of these scenes, they make the viewer want to fast-forward to spare themselves the cringe. Most touch on important plot points that would have otherwise been missed, but many of them still contain excessive and gratuitous cringe. You have been warned.
Here are Game of Thrones: 15 Most Cringe-Worthy Moments.
15. Daenerys Eats the Heart
The Dothraki have some strange customs. It’s noted when they’re introduced to the show that the Dothraki don’t consider a party a success unless there are at least three deaths. The line between dancing and a full-blown orgy in the Dothraki is a thin one, and is often crossed when the khalasar starts to let loose.
The belief system of the Dothraki is flirted with in the show, but never fully revealed. They are an extremely superstitious people; believing that sea water is poison because their horses can’t drink it. It’s no surprise, then that there are some serious superstitions when it comes to reproduction in Dothraki culture.
We get a glimpse into the barbaric rituals of the Dothraki multiple times in the show, but the most striking is when Daenerys is made to eat the heart of a horse in order to give her baby strength. What results is a disgusting scene that shows Daenerys’ innocent face covered in blood, scarfing down a horse’s heart to the core. It’s one of those scenes in which the viewer understands the significance, but just wants the thought of munching on a heart to be out of their mind.
14. The Red Woman Gives Birth
Melisandre is one of the most powerful characters in Game of Thrones, and she knows it. Up until Stannis was killed, The Red Woman was walking around as if nothing could touch her. Her confidence wasn’t unfounded; she can see the future and had survived a poisoning in front of everyone. Up until this point, though, the true powers of the Red God and Melisandre weren’t revealed to the viewer. In this scene, Melisandre showed Davos and the rest of us what she was capable of.
The scene, unlike the literary counterpart, gives no mystery as to how Renly was killed. It serves the purpose of keeping the viewers informed, but it’s another that’s uncomfortable to watch. As soon as Melisandre’s pregnant belly is revealed, things start getting weird.
As she lays down to birth the shadow, Melisandre’s belly writhes and pulses, making it obvious that there is no human baby inside of her. She grunts and screams as the shadow monster escapes from between her legs, leaving the viewer cringing and waiting for the scene to be over.
13. Littlefinger Creeps on Sansa
Littlefinger is one of the most twisted characters in the series – even when he’s not talking to a member of the opposite sex. He always seems as though he has an ulterior motive, and it wouldn’t be surprising to learn he’s never told the truth on camera. Aidan Gillen is a talented actor, which is the reason Petyr Baelish owns so many of the cringe-worthy moments in Game of Thrones.
Any time Baelish and Sansa are together is a cringe-fest; especially when they’re alone. It’s obvious that Littlefinger has more than a fatherly affection toward Sansa. This tension is made explicit when he tries to kiss her in the godswood. This could be the only time we hear Baelish being honest. He wants the iron throne and Sansa. The only problem is that Sansa doesn’t want him back.
At this point in the show, Sansa is still naive and innocent. She doesn’t know how to react to the advance, though it’s clear she didn’t want it. All of Littlefinger’s creepiness culminates in this scene, and provides a harsh cringe when Sansa rejects him.
12. Jamie Rapes Cerci
Jamie is supposed to love Cerci and their children more than anything in the world. He doesn’t ever seem to care what she’s done, and loves her unconditionally. Jamie, although he’s positioned as an antagonist at the start of the show, is one of the more likable characters. He seems to be loyal and honorable despite his “Kingslayer” moniker, which is why this scene with Cerci seems completely out-of-character for him.
When Cerci and Jamie are alone with Joffrey’s body, things get heated and Jamie makes an aggressive move, calling her “a hateful woman.” Cerci accepts his advance initially, but goes on to repeatedly tell him “no.” Jamie continues, saying he doesn’t care when Cerci tells him “it’s not right.”
The whole scene is hard to watch, as we see one of our favorite characters rape the woman he’s supposed to love next to the corpse of his dead son. It seems to have been a mistake by the showrunners, as this is the opposite of the characterization we’ve seen of Jamie. He’s actually quiet honorable in most circumstances, and there is nothing honorable about raping a grieving mother in front of her dead son.
11. Introducing Walder Frey
There are a lot of strange and disgusting family lines in Game of Thrones, but Walder Frey’s ranks near the top. He’s supposed to be 95 years old while all of this is taking place, with a wife who’s only fifteen.
Frey has had countless wives in his lifetime, and even more children. The line of succession in the Frey house is so convoluted that it’s a punchline in the book as well as the show. Frey has sons, grandsons and great-grandsons that are all waiting for him to die so that they can have their shot as the Lord of the Crossing.
When we’re first introduced to Lord Frey, he can be seen stroking the butt of his young bride in front of his visitors. He plants a wet kiss on the hand of Lady Stark that makes her eyes roll, and he finishes by sending his wife off with a slap on the ass. Especially when you know The Red Wedding is coming, Walder Frey is one of the most disgusting men in the Seven Kingdoms.
10. Bran Catches Jamie and Cerci
It may seem insignificant at this point in the series, but Bran’s accidental exposure of Lannister incest remains one of the most pivotal moments in the show. This was the catalyst that started all of the events we’re seeing unfold, and it was the first time Game of Thrones truly shocked their audience.
Bran caught Jamie and Cerci having sex in the very first episode of the show. At this point, no one knew the extent of the relationship between the twins, but it was the first time Game of Thrones made us cringe, shout, and count the days until the next week’s episode.
When the viewer realized that the Lannister twins were having sex, the national cringe-meter went off-the-charts. Screams of “ewwwwww” could be heard across the country as we all experienced the first of many disgusting revelations in Game of Thrones.
9. Daenerys’ Wedding Night
Daenerys’ first night with her new husband was uncomfortable to witness, though it was somewhat true to the text. Daenerys was an innocent virgin before she was thrust into the life of a woman, and her first night with Drogo was closer to rape than to anything consensual.
Though Daenerys eventually loves Drogo and wants to please him, the first time he took her was forceful. He takes her clothes off as she cries. She tries to cover-up but he prevents her, finally pushing her down – the rest is implied.
This isn’t an unrealistic scene, as a man in Drogo’s position would have expected sex – consensual or not – the day of his wedding. Still, it’s not fun to see one of the main characters raped by her new husband. This is one of those moments that Daenerys and fans alike often forget when they remember Drogo.
8. Sansa’s Punishment
Although Sansa is blind to it for too long, it becomes clear that Joffrey is a monster. If there was ever a poster-boy for the anti-incest crowd, Joffrey would be the man. His treatment of Sansa is cruel and it becomes clear that he loves to watch people suffer.
There are multiple scenes in which Joffrey is terrible to Sansa. When he brings her up to show Sansa her father’s head on a spike, it made everyone groan. His torture of the girl didn’t end there, though, as he seemed to hold her responsible for the victory of her brother.
After news of Robb’s victory reached the capital, Joffrey took Sansa into the throne room and began to torture her in front of a crowd. He had her beaten and stripped in front of him, expressing clear enjoyment as he watched his knights do his bidding. Thankfully, this scene didn’t go on for too long as the intervention of Tyrion brought a stop to the show.
7. Margaery and Tommen
The scene between Margaery and Tommen is one of the most cringe-worthy moments in the entire season. It was meant to feel that way, and according to Charles Capman, the actor who plays Tommen, it was equally unsettling to film.
Although many of the characters in the show are older than in A Song of Ice and Fire, the age difference between the actors in the scene was still 17 years. Chapman was only 16 at the time of the shoot, and Natalie Dormer (Margaery) was 33. It’s not hard to understand why Chapman may have felt uncomfortable with this sexual tension.
This uncomfortable feeling is exactly what the showrunners wanted the audience to feel. After all, we know Margaery is more than formidable and Tommen is still an innocent child. In this scene, it’s heavily suggested that Margaery will do whatever it takes to become queen, even if that involves having sex with a young boy.
6. Melisandre Takes Off Her Ruby
Melisandre is one of – if not the – most mysterious character in Game of Thrones. The power of The Red God is of unknown strength, as she herself doesn’t even seem to know the limits. We do learn one thing in the first episode of season six; it has kept her alive for hundreds of years.
When Melisandre finally takes off her ruby it serves as a reveal to viewers of the show. This is the first time we’ve really seen Melisandre while she’s alone, and it’s revealed that she is actually hundreds of years old, and that her image is only a mask that helps to manipulate men.
Apart from the sloppy continuity that leads to the plot hole in this scene – we’ve seen Melisandre in a tub without her ruby before – no one wants to see a 300-year-old lady naked. It was a cool surprise, but the full-body shot of a centuries-old woman isn’t the most welcome sight in the world. After a few seconds, even the oldest in the audience were thinking, “Alright, we get it.”
5. Theon Puts The Moves On His Sister
For those who hadn’t read the books and didn’t already know that this girl was Theon’s sister, this scene wasn’t too cringe-inducing. At first.
Theon is a notorious ladies-man, and he’s just making some moves on a girl he just met. It’s only after you know they’re related that you start to cringe.
This scene is cringey for a few reasons. Fist of all, Asha knew who Theon was and that she was her brother. It’s one thing to lead him on to see what he’s made of as she does in the book, it’s another thing to make pleasure sounds as her brother is feeling around in her pants.
In the book Asha teases Theon but repeatedly denies his advances. She says that she’s “new with child” and the wife of Theon’s father’s best shipwright. This gives her the ability to deny him and judge his response. In the show there’s no real reason for her ploy, so it comes off as if she somehow enjoys being felt-up by her brother.
4. Sansa’s Second Wedding Night
Sansa’s wedding to Ramsay Bolton was one of the most infuriating moments in Game of Thrones, especially for those who enjoyed the books that came before them. As all Game of Thrones fans have undoubtedly heard from their book-loving friends, Sansa was never wed to Ramsay Bolton in the books, and remains a virgin in the Eyrie.
First and foremost, the wedding makes no sense. Everyone knows how much of a monster Ramsay is, and Littlefinger would never give Sansa away like that. The rape that followed Sansa’s wedding didn’t need to happen, and it shocked readers even more than fans of the show.
Regardless of the implications of this deviation, this is one of the hardest scenes in the show to watch. Sansa, the innocent girl that we’ve followed since the beginning, is raped in front of a quivering Theon. As soon as she enters the room we want the scene to be over. This is the true perversion of innocence, and Sansa’s character is drastically different after the scene.
3. Craster’s Daughter-Wives
The wildlings are up to some strange behavior beyond the wall, but it’s doubtful any of them approve of the setup Craster has going on. He’s positioned as an outcast from the beginning. All of the wildlings came together under Mance Rayder, but Craster stayed behind with his daughter/wives.
In a world full of bad people with interbred family lines, Craster takes the cake. He weds his daughters and gives his son to “the gods” – who are later explicitly revealed as the White Walkers.
The whole time The Night’s Watch is at Craster’s Keep, the viewer share in the discomfort of the brothers. Craster talks about his daughters one second, and his wives the next. He even brags to Mormont that he has all of these women to warm his bed while Mormont has none. The scene is meant to convey discomfort, and it hits that mark perfectly.
2. Ramsay Takes Theon’s Most Prized Possession
There are some terrible people in the Game of Thrones universe, but Ramsay Snow is in contention for the worst. Every scene that involves Ramsay is chilling, none more so than when he cut off Theon’s penis.
As soon as the girls entered the room and began to play with Theon, everyone knew it would be a trap. Ramsay had already created a much cleverer trap to introduce himself, but this one had much darker ramifications.
The scene where Ramsay cuts Theon’s penis off is hard to watch, but the following scene is downright cringe-worthy. Ramsay taunts Theon by eating a sausage in front of him and making jokes about the size of his former penis. As far as torture goes, this is one of the worst imaginable outcomes. The whole scene is nauseating.
1. Lysa Breastfeeding Robin
There have been some terrible scenes in Game of Thrones, but the by-the-book number one cringe-worthy scene has to be when Lysa and Robin Arryn are first introduced. Lysa is not happy that Tyrion was brought to her doorstep, which is understandable, but when the camera pans-out, we get a full picture of what’s happening.
There’s something about an adolescent breastfeeding that’s inherently creepy. There are so many deep-seated issues that go along with breast feeding at an older age, and Robin Arryn displays all of them.
The scene in which we’re introduced to the Arryn family is as uncomfortable as it gets. Sure, all of these other moments were bad, but watching an adolescent boy suck milk from his mother’s breast just makes you cringe.
Which scene from Game of Thrones made you cringe the most? Let us know in the comments!
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