Spoilers ahead from Game of Thrones Season 8, including the May 12 Episode 5.
My, my, it has been quite a toxic month for Game of Thrones. The big series finale airs this Sunday, May 19, and the mood going into the final episode is far from celebratory. The first five episodes of the short six-episode final season have been met with very mixed feedback. First, some fans felt bored by the build-up before the Battle of Winterfell. Then some fans had complaints about how the Night King battle played out. Then there was the coffee cup debacle. Complaints really revved up for Episode 5, with Daenerys Targaryen burning innocent people alive in King's Landing.
So many fans are angry that a petition to remake Game of Thrones Season 8 with "competent writers" went viral, with nearly 900,000 signatures just two days before the series finale.
Author Stephen King -- no stranger to bloody mayhem or controversial plot twists -- has been watching the fan riots with interest. He shared his take on why there's been such "negativity" about the final Season 8:
It's a take. His replies are filled with people saying versions of "that ain't it," pointing out all the ways they feel Game of Thrones Season 8 has botched the job. Many have pointed to the storylines feeling rushed. The showrunners could've had more episodes -- HBO would've given them anything -- but they chose to have seven episodes for Season 7 and just six for Season 8. This is the story they wanted to tell.
Game of Thrones fans already know not to expect a classic "happy ending." No one who watched Ned Stark in Season 1 really came away thinking this would end with a bow on it. In case there was confusion, Ramsay Bolton even dropped this hint...
Yeah, that was a line to Theon Greyjoy, but it became a mantra for the show. The Red Wedding, Jon Snow dying (however briefly). This is not a show that cares about fan service or fan-fiction theories. (In my opinion, most of the fan theories about Game of Thrones' final season have been better than what the showrunners picked, but that doesn't make them canon it just makes me disappointed.)
Stephen King's point even matched one thing that Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) had said a few months ago:
Arya Stark has had one of the better showcases this season, so if I'm Maisie Williams, I'm proud of this season too. Other actors -- not just Emilia Clarke, but also Conleth Hill and Lena Headey -- have had more "mixed" reactions to the final season.
No matter how Game of Thrones ends, some fans will be disappointed. We were warned about that. This can't go a million different ways to please us all. But some fans may have thought that just meant the final episode itself, who sits on the Iron Throne, if there even is someone to do that. Instead, fans have a list of complaints from the entirety of Season 8, with some carrying over from Season 7. Hence the petition wishing for a do-over -- which isn't really a genuine expectation that HBO will reshoot the final season, it's just trying to make a point. You dropped the ball for a lot of us.
You know who's probably ignoring this fan debate? The Game of Thrones showrunners themselves. David Benioff and Dan Weiss already said they planned to go into hiding finale night until "it's safe" to come out. Now we know why they said that. It's already not safe and we don't even know yet exactly how this puppy will end.
Expect fireworks this Sunday, May 19 at 9 p.m. on HBO. After you watch the drama on-screen, head to Twitter to watch the drama off-screen. It's possible the angry fans will be pleasantly surprised by how things turn out ... but I doubt it.
Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.
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