My biggest problem with the show is how black/white D&D present everything compared to the books. The show clearly has favorites and views and imposes that on the show when the book was so great for its nuance and perspective.
Now it’s not completely black/white like other shows I’m watching. However, it’s pretty bad. They’ve white-washed Tyrion and Dany and got rid of many of their flaws. Tyrion murdered Shae and Tywin. Most show watchers sympathize with him. Same with Dany and her treatment of the Meereenese nobles she butchered. Stannis and the Ironborn got the short end of D&Ds treatment. Look at how Stannis’ advisers get treated when both are valuable. Jon is considered the hero of the wall by show-watchers when book-readers know Stannis as the hero. Littlefinger and Varys seem very black/white with LF basically being a mustache twirling villain and Varys is the Yin to his Yang helping out Tyrion and being oh so reasonable (despite plotting to bring MORE war via Targaryen fire). Even speculation about the incorporation of The Faith this season seems to further the argument. I’m not religious, but religion hasn’t been given a fair shake in the show considered Mel’s treatment and even how Renly was treated by his brothers. I’m also not sure how things are setting up, but it seems the ultimate battle of good and evil (ice versus fire) will have a hero and villain rather than just a battle. Who knows how things shake out in the books, but to me Dany looks like a villain. That hasn’t been glimpsed in the show.
The lack of nuance in the show really drives me nuts. The show is doing a good job, I’m enjoying it and I look forward to it more than nearly any other show. I get things are going to be changed or cut from the show. But what made the series so great was the diversity and nuance of everything. Was Jaime good or evil? Which houses would make the best ruler? Who was just? All of the countless arguments we’ve had on this board. Most of that is gone from the show. The show has it’s favorites (Jon, Dany, Tyrion) and that is that. The shame is I don’t think that a true lack of a protagonist would change the popularity either. Maybe things will change this season and we’ll see more ‘gray’ with Dany and Meereen, and Tyrion’s self-loathing or Stannis’ rejuvenation in the North, but I won’t be holding my breathe.