Five years after the end of Season 8, Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have officially responded to the backlash and fan reactions.
Game of Thrones‘ final episode, “The Iron Throne,” easily ranks as the most controversial television finale ever aired, eclipsing the controversy of The Sopranos‘ and Lost‘s infamous endings. The fan reaction was so excessively negative that Benioff and Weiss reportedly canceled their appearance at 2019’s San Diego Comic-Con and over a million reported fans signed a petition “to remake Season 8 with competent writers.” The showrunners broke their silence on the backlash, with Benioff stating that it would have been great if 100% of audience members had loved the ending, but he had accepted that was simply not the case. Benioff described the mental effects of the backlash, stating that creators can get bogged down in public opinion and spend their lives googling responses to figure out how and why the audience feels a certain way.
Rotten Tomatoes scores are in for the last two episodes of Game of Thrones, and the backlash appears to continue.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Benioff said, “You always hope everyone’s going to love anything you do and it would’ve been great if 100 percent of people loved it, but they didn’t. You can get so bogged down in public opinion that you spend your whole life googling things and trying to find people who felt one way or the other way.”
Weiss added, “Even super positive feedback makes you feel weird and teeth-grindy and on edge. There’s a drug quality to the feedback, and as soon as we went cold turkey — the last time I googled myself was in 2013 — the ambient stress level in our lives dropped by about 50 percent overnight.”
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Weiss also described encounters with fans in real life after the show ended as being respectful and more pleasant than the online response. “There’s an underlying decency when people acknowledge you as a person and vice versa,” Weiss says. “There’s something that happens in the transition from human interaction to online that pushes things in a specifically aggro direction.”
Was Everybody Dissatisfied with The Ending of Game of Thrones?
Season 8’s reception fared better with some critics and award ceremonies, such as the 2019 Emmys, which included 32 nominations for Game of Thrones. Benioff and Weiss received a nomination for Writing for a Drama Series for their work on “The Iron Throne.”
The Game of Thrones franchise continued to live on with several spin-offs announced, including 2022’s House of the Dragon, which was widely considered a return to form for the series. Benioff and Weiss revealed that they turned down contractually guaranteed producer credits on all GOT spinoffs which would have resulted in potential million dollar franchise royalties for the pair. Weiss stated, “For us, if our name is on it, especially that, while being completely detached and uninvolved, it felt like the strain that would come with that hands-off approach — with its success or failure or anything in between — was not worth it.” The pair moved on from Game of Thrones with development of a canceled Star Wars film and their upcoming Netflix series 3 Body Problem.
3 Body Problem premieres on March 24, 2024, on Netflix.
Nine noble families fight for control over the lands of Westeros, while an ancient enemy returns after being dormant for a millennia.
- Release Date
- April 17, 2011
- David Benioff, D.B. Weiss
- Production Company
- Home Box Office (HBO), Television 360Grok! Studio
- Number of Episodes
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