The eighth and final season of Game of Thrones may have included epic battles in both Winterfell and King's Landing, but in the real world a much bigger war was raging among fans, many of whom disagreed with the direction the show had taken. Some fans even signed a petition, asking HBO for a do-over of the final season. However, not everyone is ready to take this criticism lying down. In fact, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau defended the Game of Thrones final season during a recent appearance at Con of Thrones in Nashville on Saturday, July 13, and assured fans that showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss did everything they could to make those last six episodes the best they could be.
“For anyone to imagine or to think that the two creators of the show are not the most passionate, the greatest, the most invested of all, and to for a second think that they didn’t spend the last 10 years thinking about how they were going to end it is kind of silly,” Coster-Waldau stated to fans, as reported by Huffington Post. He added that the creators are more than aware of what's been said about the show over the course of these last few months.
“Know that they too read the comments," the actor pointed out. "And it is, even though you sit on your own and go, ‘F*cking stupid writers. Assh*les.’ They really ― like everyone on Game of Thrones, every single person and there are thousands ― we worked our asses off to make the best show we could for the ending.”
This prompted one fan to remark on how much the series has meant to him over the past decade, which Coster-Waldau found refreshing to hear. “I just wish Dan and David could be here to hear this, to understand that people really love the show, that suddenly they’re not the most hated people in the world," he told the crowd. "I mean, because that’s how they might ― I know how they feel.”
The fate of Coster-Waldau's character, Jaime Lannister, was definitely part of the ongoing controversy. Many viewers were disappointed with his arc when he chose to return to Cersei and end right back where he started, despite all of the character growth he had gone through. But he wasn't the only one by far who caught wind of the negative comments and criticisms being shared on the internet. The entire cast felt the "vicious" blowback, which they ended up discussing together in their private WhatsApp chat group.
“Every season has been intense in terms of the attention and discussion, but it was extraordinarily intense for a final season,” Coster-Waldau explained, adding:
“And we have this WhatsApp group, the actors, and I saw some people getting a little upset because some of the stuff is vicious, and if you make the mistake of start reading all that shit, because if you guys get really angry about something ― I’m sure you did, some of you ― so you write to each other and go, ‘F*cking assholes. This is so not what would happen! They ruined, they butchered George’s world!’ It’s just fun for you, but of course some got a little upset … There was that kind of weird feeling of, ‘What the hell? We worked so hard. I’m not asking anyone to feel sorry, by the way. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m just saying how it was to get through that whole thing.”
Regardless of how you feel about the show's ending, there's no denying the amount of talent and dedication that these actors put into their roles, so it's a shame that the backlash has impacted them in such a way. Let's just hope that their group chat has moved onto happier topics — like which Hogwarts house their characters would belong to — so that a small part of the series can live on, even if it's just in text form.