11 Game Of Thrones Characters That Turned Out To Be Totally Pointless
Say what you want about the divisive eighth season of HBO’s Game of Thrones, but there’s no denying the sordid swansong of the Seven Kingdoms still has everyone talking.
As the various heroes and villains prepare to raise their swords, or fall on them, for the final time, a casting cull of epic proportions has hit the realm.
However, for every glorious demise, there’s been another character who faded into the background without so much as a whimper. Here are 11 Game of Thrones characters that arrived with great fanfare... then went nowhere.
1| Harry Strickland
The Golden Company’s Harry Strickland may well take the gold medal for most pointless Game of Thrones character of all time. Fans were promised so much from the Golden Company — Cersei’s private army, sure to bolster the Lannister ranks.
But actor Marc Rissmann was resigned to a mere handful of scenes and was mainly shot from behind. Where villains like Euron Greyjoy grew into lovable rogues, it would be a struggle to recall any memorable qualities about Strickland.
Instead of being a formidable fighter, Strickland was seen running from the King’s Landing battlefield, only to be impaled from behind. It seems that in the abridged season 8, there just wasn’t room for this newcomer and his shiny army.
After introducing the fiery Melisandre, Game of Thrones revealed that Carice van Houten's character wasn't the only Red Woman in the Seven Kingdoms. Given a fleeting appearance in season 6, Kinvara (Ania Bukstein) could’ve added so much, but delivered so little.
The later reemergence of Melisandre, and her brief place by Daenerys’ side, saw her take over where Kinvara left off. While the Battle of Winterfell would’ve been the perfect time to see Mel and her own army of Red Priests ride into action, instead everyone is left wondering what in Seven Hells she was doing for all that time in Volantis.
As for Kinvara... she’s become one of the show's many question marks. Welcome to the Hot Pie club.
3| Salladhor Saan
Game of Thrones has never done its seafaring characters much justice, and Salladhor Saan (played by BAFTA nominee Lucian Msamati) is no exception.
Crossing paths with Ser Davos, Saan was revealed as a shady acquaintance of the Onion Knight. Msamati added some much-needed diversity to the show... but didn't stick around long, unfortunately.
After (somehow) surviving the Battle of Blackwater, Saan was later bought back into the company of Stannis thanks to a hefty loan from the Iron Bank. Last seen pledging his allegiance to Stannis the Mannis, it’s presumed Salladhor sailed to Castle Black.
Saan hasn’t been heard from since season 4, presumably sailing into some Westerosi version of the Bermuda Triangle.
4| Rickon Stark
Rickon was one of those characters that the show just didn’t know how to utilise after overtaking George RR Martin’s books.
MIA for three entire seasons, Rickon’s return was the most lacklustre part of the otherwise stellar Battle of the Bastards.
With Stark ranks dwindling thanks to beheadings and Red Weddings, Game of Thrones was overdue another shock departure from one of those wily wolves. Unfortunately, the only memorable part of Art Parkinson’s return was that zig-zag debacle.
Mowed down by the despicable Ramsay Bolton, Rickon was just another notch on the sadistic psycho’s kill list.
An annoying niggle from the show’s early days is Dany’s entire trip to Qarth. Aside from giving audiences the meme-worthy "Where are my dragons?" quote and the prophetic House of the Undying vision, Khaleesi’s journey left plenty of dangling plot threads and prophecies. The most famous was the identity of Quaithe (Laura Pradelska).
The masked woman had some solemn words for Dany and Jorah Mormont, with many guessing she would be part of a bigger arc. Sadly, Quaithe hasn’t been heard from since and was simply a plot device to get Jorah to admit his real feelings for the Mother of Dragons.
There were theories that Quaithe could be Daenerys from the future, but it’s best to stick these on the bonfire will all other madcap musings.
6| Daario Naharis
If recasting Deadpool’s Ed Skrein with Michiel Huisman wasn’t confusing enough for viewers, things went from bad to worse for Daario Naharis. The smooth-talking sellsword soon found himself on Team Dany and adding a little 'fire' to the Mother of Dragon’s life.
Daario and his fighting skills could’ve come in handy saving Jorah Mormont from death by wight, but instead, he's now resigned to twiddling his thumbs in Meereenand holding Westeros’s most boring city for his ferocious queen.
Basically, Daario was just keeping Dany’s sheets warm until Jon Snow came along.
7| Benjen Stark
Poor Joseph Mawle had a pretty bum ride on Game of Thrones. Appearing in the first few episodes, Uncle Benjen was then unceremoniously 'lost' beyond the Wall.
Fans suspected that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were saving Benjen for some sort of heroic return. The character revealed himself to be alive(-ish) in season 6, before promptly vanishing again until a final convenient cameo in season seven.
As Jon bobbed around in the ice with his prospects looking pretty grim, Game of Thrones tossed Uncle B to one side with a not-so-emotional sacrifice. Now that's cold.
8| Doran Martell
Alexander Siddig was a pretty big name to cast in season 5 – it’s just a shame that his character Doran Martell didn’t match up to his acting credentials. The whole Dorne plot was almost universally hated by fans, meaning Doran was an easy target to be swept under the rug.
Ellaria Sand put it pretty well herself, reminding Doran that he was a shadow of his former self and left rolling around his palatial gardens. (Siddig was reportedly signed on to appear in four episodes of season 6, leaving a few raised eyebrows when his was killed off after just a single scene).
Another major part of the books that has failed to make much of a positive impression on the show are the direwolves.
The four-legged friends of the Stark brood have been resigned to nothingness. Apart from appearing alongside the corpse of the Lord Commander after the Night’s Watch turned on him, Jon Snow's pet Ghost was missing right up until the second episode of season 8 – even skipping the Battle of the Bastards.
Despite his long-awaited reprieve, Ghost wasn’t rewarded for being the Battle of Winterfell’s true hero. (Who else could take on a horde of wights and return missing only an ear?)
There was uproar among fans, with even director David Nutter having to clear up why Jon didn’t pet Ghost before they said goodbye forever. Apparently, budget constraints were to blame. But we'd have sacrificed a few dragon shots for Ghost to get a good nuzzle.
10| and 11| Jojen and Meera Reed
It’s a case of ‘Reed’ it and weep for Jojen and Meera. Despite House Reed being one of the great powers in the books, the people from the marshy land known as the Neck are all but absent from Game of Thrones.
The siblings were introduced in season 3 before being phased into the background. Sure, Jojen wasn’t much of a loss, but all those theories that Meera could be a secret twin of Jon Snow faded into nothingness.
Elsewhere, their father Howland Reed was one of the few people who knew the true heritage of Jon and was there at the Tower of Joy, played as a young man by Leo Woodruff. A major name like Howland was perfect fodder for an A-list cameo, but it’s now left to everyone’s imagination on who could’ve played the character as an older man.
As for Meera, she left the new and creepy Bran Stark and headed home to her father – never to be heard from again.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.