I’m talking only of the Game of Thrones television show which I’ve been binge-watching recently. As far as I can tell, these “problems” are liberties taken by the show (I read all the books a while ago, so I may be wrong).
1. Ser Dontos, an overweight drunk, wears armor that has a marked resemblance to the American flag.
That’s just mean. He’s called Ser Dontos the Red, not Ser Dontos the Red, White, and Blue.
Though I’ll admit it’s kind of funny that he looks like a really crappy Captain America.
2. Catelyn Stark says “stand down” which is a phrase thought to have originated in the early 1900’s, and the Bastard of Bolton says “phantom limb” which is a phrase coined in the 1870’s.
Yeah, yeah—I know the show is set in a fictional fantasy world, and it wouldn’t really work to have them speak Middle English (no one would understand except English majors, and even then it’ll only be the handful of people who paid attention during their Chaucer class). However, I personally prefer medieval fantasy to avoid modern-ish technical phrases as much as possible. I’m really not sure if these phrases were in the books or if they’re only in the show. I’ll have to pay attention if I ever read the novels again.
3. Casting for folks who appear on Daenerys’ journey seems off.
From what I gathered while reading the books, the countries right across the Narrow Sea from Westeros are intended by GRRM to be similar to Mediterranean and Eastern Europe, and then going southeast on Essos you hit the rough equivalent of the Middle East. Beyond that, you get the Dothraki (GRRM apparently based the Dothraki off various real-world people: Mongols, Huns, and Native Americans).
So, it was a bit odd to me that the Dothraki were portrayed by a mix of many real-world ethnic backgrounds. This was flipped around with the Yunkai slaves who were supposed to be from all over the world but were cast (at least in season 3) as what appeared to be a rather homogeneous group of dark-skinned people.
In regards to the recasting of Daario Naharis with Michiel Huisman for season 4, I find Huisman’s darker hair is much closer to my expectations of a Tyroshi (then again, Tyrosh is a major port town that probably has a considerably large mix of people—that, and the Tyroshi generally dye their hair all sorts of colors).
Side note that doesn’t have much to do with casting: I’m curious how the Scottish feel about the Wildings and the Wall being sort of based off of their ancestors and Hadrian’s Wall.
4. The show altered the plot of the books in ways that made it (more) arguably gratuitous.
Of course, the line between grit and gratuity is highly subjective. However, even GRRM has mentioned that though a certain scene was “always intended to be disturbing,” he “regret[s] if it has disturbed people for the wrong reasons.”
In the wise words of Chandler Bing, “See? That’s the thing—you gotta keep it smart, people!”
Well, despite any of these supposed problems, I’m still going to keep watching because the awesome outweighs the irksome.