I missed out on a TV review last week, which is especially criminal seeing as I promised this very article for that date. Work piled on top of me and I had to abandon that particular deadline. Yet I promised to get out a list of the top five worst couples in Game of Thrones and I am never one to back out of a promise. So let’s plough right on ahead. As ever, there will be a handful of spoilers in this article, so make sure you are up to date with your Game of Thrones before reading ahead. A funny note before I dive into it. I struggled to come up with a top five list last time, because only a few couples in Game of Thrones achieved true happiness. However, when it came to selecting five couples that just don’t work, I was stuck for choice. There are countless amounts of relationships that have horrifically failed, far more than the successful ones, or even ones that could be classified as romantic. Hopefully, I have come up with the five worst ones. If there are any that deserve a comment, leave it in the comment section for discussion.
5 – SANSA AND TYRION
The horrible thing about this relationship is that no one won from it. The Starks and the Lannisters are sworn enemies, especially at this stage in the show, when the Lannisters had murdered Sansa’s father and were working hard to slaughter the remaining forces (the Red Wedding was being planned at the same time as this one). However, the irony is that on the Stark side, Sansa is completely innocent, being punished for the treason of her siblings and father, even though she never once aided her family (in fact, she worked hard to oppose them, back when she thought it could help bring peace to the realm). Tyrion is also the innocent one of the Lannisters, refusing to participate in the slaughter of the Northerners. However, in order to solidiy their claim to the throne, Tyrion’s father, Tywin, marries the two of them together. It looks like Tyrion is the abusive husband, marrying the poor victim for his own gain, but deep down, he is just as horrified at the betrothal as Sansa is. They just sit there, quietly hating each other (or at least Sansa hates Tyrion, while Tyrion pities, yey does not love her), and feeling wretched.
4 – SANSA AND JOFFREY
But compared to Joffrey, Tyrion was Prince Charming. We all know Joffrey as the despicable villain of the show, King of the Iron Throne and the worst spoiled brat to ever appear on the small screen. There is no motive or wider meaning to his cruelty – he was merely the King and everyone and everything was his toy. One of my favourite lines in the show is Joffrey proclaiming that ‘Everyone is mine to torment!’ While we never see the full extent of his cruelty, it is always there, tucked away in the shadows. As soon as his proposed wedding with Sansa finally happens, he threatens to rape her. He is turned on by violence, as shown when he orders two prostitutes to beat each other to a pulp. As the show goes on, we are watching through our fingers, breath held, wondering what horrible act Joffrey has in store for Sansa next week, as each Joffrey-Sansa moment gets worse and worse. It was almost as if every episode would find time to have a moment dedicated to this relationship, where we would see Sansa get trodden all over. While we could argue that their time together was more comprised of threats than actual harm to her person, no one would call Joffrey a suitable role model for any boy hoping to impress a girl out there.
And while I am talking about these two characters, allow me to digress from the show and discuss the books. Sansa, while many people find her irritating, as she is pretty much the only character who lets the world beat her up, rather than standing up for herself (although Sansa fans would argue her submissive nature is one of the key factors that has led to her lasting this long, which in itself deserves praise, seeing as her arc is one of the most life-threatening), is actually very important to the books. While Game of Thrones is set in the fantasy genre, fantasy is one word we would never use to describe it. It is dark, depressing and gritty. However, in a chapter in the novel, where Sansa acts as the narrator, the world of Game of Thrones comes across as a fairy tale. Jon Snow is the handsome knight, Prince Loras is the perfect hero and Joffrey is that dashing foreign prince who rides into her bitter homeland and promises to wed her. He is almost the perfect lover for her. And when we jump into any other character’s narration, we learn the truth about the character of Joffrey, how he is pure evil and the nastiest little shite to walk on the show. It is one of those little things the show can’t quite convey yet an important part of understanding Sansa and how she would allow herself to get thrown into this nightmarish coupling.
3 – SANSA AND RAMSAY
Who is worse for Sansa? Joffrey or Ramsay? It is hard to tell if Ramsay seems nastier, because he is the current threat to Sansa, but it must be said that his treatment of Sansa is appalling. A few episodes ago marked the one time that I felt the show was a little too much (we know what I am talking about), and when a show like Game of Thrones pushes horror too far, you know it has gone pretty horrible. Ramsay was always an evil wanker, but his malice has always been directed at someone we don’t truly mind being subjected to it. He was introduced torturing Theon, who, arguably, was in our bad books at that point in the show. In a way, we kind of liked the character, because he was so honest about his cruelty that it was a refreshing change of pace from the anti-heroes and bad guys with a softer side. Character development is good and all, but sometimes we just a guy we can all just root against without any moral implications.
However, then Ramsay got his hands on Sansa. When that plot point was revealed, our stomachs all turned a little bit. However, I don’t think we were quite prepared for what was going to happen. For a start, it looked like Sansa was in fairly safe hands for a moment. Brienne was watching from afar, waiting for the right moment. Littlefinger put her there, and even if his motives are always dubious, he seemed to be on the good guy’s side for the moment, and there were Northern allies sneaking around under Ramsay’s nose. However, when Sansa needed them, they failed her and while it is a little early to tell if Sansa will manage to free herself from Ramsay by the time Season Five comes to a close, for the moment, she is trapped in her worst relationship to date. Girl cannot catch a break.
2 – TYRION AND SHAE
I have never really rated Shae as a character, but I appreciated her addition, simply for bringing out an interesting side of Tyrion. Part of me disliked that she causes him so many problems while they are together with her lack of understanding of the politics of King’s Landing or the fact that he seemed shackled and unable to pull himself out of the dangerous situation he was in, because of his love for Shae. However, Shae was hardly a nasty character and I wanted her to be that light at the end of the tunnel for Tyrion. However, rarely do the heroic characters get rewarded true happiness on this show, so of course, the pairing went from the cutest couple to one of the worst. And it is all because of Shae.
Well, almost. Deep down, we all know that Cersei and Tywin are behind the separating of Tyrion and Shae. Needing a witness that could pin her son’s death on her imp brother, Cersei took advantage of Tyrion’s plight to win Shae over to her side. Tyrion, realising that it was too dangerous to be in love with Shae, sends her away. Shae, who has been refusing to leave him behind out of her love for him, needs to be dumped, before she will abandon him. So Tyrion breaks her heart, pretending to be the monster, a common theme on the show for him. But it backfires horribly, as his break-up ends up corrupting Shae and making her seek revenge. Yes, I understand why Shae does the things she does, but when we see Tyrion’s heart break – and that facial expression in the court room scene, as he realises Shae is about to sentence him to death, is gut-wrenching upsetting – we no longer care. Shae is scum. Shae deserves a foul death. Maybe, one day, we will look back and pity the character for being trapped in a world of politics, she couldn’t escape, but for the time being, she is going to be listed as the second worst girlfriend in the show. First, of course, being…
1 – DAENARYS AND JORAH
This is one of those awkward moments, when me delaying my article by a week, has kind of ruined this entry. Last episode saw things begin to mend between the Khaleesi and Captain Friendzone. However, it remains to be seen how the relationship shall develop in the last episode of the season. I can’t imagine the show breaking the theme that Jorah is trapped in an unrequited love. Daenarys has never really gotten over Khal Drogo, even Daario being a simple pleasure rather than a love interest (don’t feel sorry for Daario – he is loving it!) This leaves Jorah in this poor space, where he is devoted to his Queen, yet she will never love him back. Before it was a little running joke in Game of Thrones, as he hung around her, like a depressed puppy, but Season Four ramped up the stakes and gave actor Iain Glen, a storyline worthy of his talents.
Daenarys found out that Jorah is actually one of Varys’ spies. It was him that let Robert Baratheon know about her unborn son, putting his life in danger. Sure, when he fell in love with Khaleesi, he betrayed Robert and Varys, saving Daenarys from the assassin he sent after him himself. But, three seasons later, and the scars still felt like yesterday, when Daenarys realised her most trusted advisor used to be the enemy. Jorah’s heart breaks every time his worst fear is confirmed: Daenarys is revolted by him. This made last episode so uplifting, when finally their friendship rekindled. That small holding of the hands, an entire fight scene slowing down to allow the briefest flicker of a smile to pass between them, was incredibly satisfying. Which probably means Jorah is next to die, but hey ho!