Not since the Red Wedding have we heard such an outcry from Game of Thrones fans.
Since the HBO series’ debut in 2011, we’ve endured bloody, tragic loss and joyous (mostly short-lived) victories as characters have battled for the Iron Throne. But the penultimate episode last Sunday received mixed reactions, with some defending Daenerys’ choices and others try to.
Spoiler warning: If you haven’t watched the most recent episode of Game of Thrones, turn back now.
Daenerys’ fiery attack on Kings Landing in episode 5, The Bells, left many fans shocked. A petition began circulating online a few days after the episode aired, demanding the replacement of writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and a complete overhaul of season 8.
But what about the actors? A three-minute interview compilation posted on YouTube shows they might be just as concerned about the series finale as you.
Jon Snow, aka Aegon Targaryen
Kit Harrington plays the raised-from-the-dead savior in the North, who’s now a handsome obstacle in Daenerys’ path to the throne. During an interview with Popbuzz, Harrington was asked to describe the show’s finale in one word. He pauses for a minute before saying it was “disappointing.” Harrington laughed at the interviewer’s shocked face and quickly recovered with “epic.”
Emilia Clarke, the Mother of Dragons, posted on Instagram earlier this week in her wig cap clutching a bottle of wine. “This is what it took not only to shoot ep5…but to watch it too!” she wrote.
Clarke also had a bit of trouble keeping a poker face during an Emmy red carpet interview last year alongside Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei) and Jacob Anderson (Grey Worn). When the Entertainment Tonight correspondent asked if the actors were happy with how the season concluded, Emmanuel quietly answered yes, while Clarke giggled nervously. The group laughed as Clarke said, “Best season ever!”
Her smile contrasts to her comments in Vanity Fair last year, TV Guide reported. Clarke said that the Game of Thrones finale “f—ed me up,” and “Knowing that is going to be a lasting flavor in someone’s mouth of what Daenerys is…” She trailed off with that.
Peter Dinklage, who isn’t an avid social media user, was asked his thoughts about the show’s finale by Entertainment Tonight’s Laura Zima.
“There are no better writers in television than Dan Weiss and David Benioff,” Dinklage said. “They ended it brilliantly, better than I could’ve imagined. And, uh, you people are in for it.”
Dinklage also questioned his character’s intelligence in the final season, wondering why Tyrion would choose to hide civilians in a crypt when the Night King has the power to raise the dead.
When Lena Heady, who plays everyone’s favorite brother-loving villain, talked about her character’s final moments on the show, she said she had mixed feelings. Initially, Heady told Entertainment Weekly that she wanted her character to have a bigger ending. She said later she talked the scene over with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jamie Lannister) and it made more sense for Cersei to go out with Jamie.
Heady posted a photo on Instagram with a bundled up Emmanuel and commended her performance as Missandei. “I didn’t like that day up there,” Heady wrote, alluding to Missandei’s execution.
Emmanuel’s journey at Daenerys’ side came to an end in episode 4 at the hands of the Mountain. TV Guide noted that Missandei was the only woman of color with a significant role on Game of Thrones and her death was more than a bit upsetting for fans.
“The one thing I would say is I really had wished that I had more time or scenes this season maybe with Daenerys or even with Cersei, scenes where we get to see her being brilliant before she dies,” Emmanuel told Entertainment Weekly.
Emmanuel wrote a goodbye to her character and the show’s cast and crew on Instagram on May 7.
“I know last night was pretty intense for some of you so I invite you to participate in my fantasy where I like to think that, right now… Missandei is sipping a rum on a beach somewhere in the sky,” she said.
Ser Brienne of Tarth
Gwendoline Christie’s character took a turn as well in the final season of the show. Brienne has been a fierce protector and trailblazer for women since her season 2 debut. As quickly as Brienne achieved her dream of being a knight, she and Jaimie made love and then he rode off to die with Cersei, leaving Brienne sobbing in the cold.
“I was so upset for [Brienne],” Christie told Entertainment Weekly. “I know it’s just a character and I’m an actor who’s lucky to do her job. It’s so heartbreaking. But it’s life, isn’t it? Life is heartbreaking. I never assumed they would be together. I didn’t think that would happen. And now I can feel a million hearts breaking.”
Secrets finally caught up to the Master of Whisperers and he met a fiery demise at the beginning of episode 5. Conleth Hill, who plays Varys, told Entertainment Weekly he took the character’s exit “very personally.”
“I took it as a person, not as an actor or an artist. I understood the reactions of previous actors who had been in the same position a lot more than I did at the time. You can’t help feeling that you failed in some way, that you haven’t lived up to some expectation that you didn’t know about,” Hill said.