Game of Thrones isn’t just a show that contains a lot of shocking moments, they’re the very foundations that the entire show is built upon, a refreshing change from some sterilised productions that have made it onto our screens. The fact that anything can happen to any character, at almost any moment, is one of the biggest draws of the show, something that keeps viewers hooked even in the quietest moments of the series.
The scenes have helped catapult the show into the television stratosphere, reaching dizzying heights that few others can, but that doesn’t spare it from criticism. In fact, few shows are subjected to the same level of scrutiny, whether it be in terms of controversial scenes or book readers outraged by changes to the show.
Mostly, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff keep a handle on things as well as can be expected, especially in a show with as much sex, violence, sexy violence and violent sex as Game of Thrones.
Sometimes though, things can get out of hand, go a little too far, or changes made to the original text that are almost unforgivable. Until the next awesome episode, anyway.
Here’s a look at 15 moments that caused controversy and pissed a lot of people off.
15. Ned Loses His Head
Nowadays fans wouldn’t so much as bat an eyelid at the beheading of such a key and well-liked character, but back in Season 1 it was a pretty big deal. In fact, this was the moment that really established one of the central rules of Game of Thrones: no-one is safe.
The season had slowly built up to the moment, but even as the episode arrived, viewers were convinced that Lord Stark would somehow escape. Someone would intervene. After all, Ned had been the closest thing to a main character on the show, and he was played by Sean Bean, perhaps the biggest name in the cast (although that should have been a clue).
When Eddard did actually lose his head it was a truly shocking moment, one that left a lot of people feeling aggrieved at the death of a central character, and it didn’t even arrive in the season finale. This established the precedent and paved the way for the show’s rise since then.
14. Theon Loses His…Y’Know
The show devoted far more time than the book to Ramsay Snow’s torture of Theon back in Season 3, when the Greyjoy was on his way to becoming Reek.
We reached peak Reek in one of the most brutal and unconfortable scenes to witness (obviously it wasn’t actually seen, but we knew what was happening). The Ironborn is naked and tied up, when two women are brought in for no reason other than to arouse him. This allows Ramsay to cut off a particular part of his anatomy, a moment that even by this stage in Game of Thrones was rather horrific, and was one of the many moments that left some fans and critics wondering whether it had gone too far.
13. Killing The Baby
It’s established that death is a huge part of Game of Thrones, and most characters have no problem killing one another. But surely they wouldn’t go so far as to kill a baby, right?
Wrong. As Joffrey orders all of Robert Baratheon’s bastards to be rounded up and killed by the Gold Cloaks, we see Janos Slynt arrive at one of Littlefinger’s brothels, and off-camera he uses a knife to kill the infant bastard of Robert and the prostitute Mhaegen. Fans couldn’t believe that they would actually kill a baby, but it happened and showed there was nowhere they wouldn’t go.