Game of Thrones’ final season received a pretty intense backlash, with one of the major controversies surrounding that last season being Daenerys unleashing doomsday on King’s Landing. Despite the citizens ringing the bells of surrender, Daenerys went on a rampage, murdering scores of adults and children. Some fans went to bat in defending the character's actions, but Peter Dinklage has some words for Daenerys' defenders.
Many felt that the deadly twist came out of nowhere for Daenerys. However, Peter Dinklage points out that Game of Thrones' creative team had sent out some signals beforehand. Tyrion Lannister’s portrayer has also weighed in on fans’ reaction to the final season, which some of his co-stars have previously responded too. Asked if he followed the fan response, Dinklage told The New Yorker:
No. Well, everybody’s always going to have an opinion, and that means an ownership. It’s like breaking up with somebody. They get upset. I can’t speak for everybody, but my feeling is they didn’t want it to end, so a lot of people got angry. I feel like what [the showrunners] Dave [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] did was extraordinary. This happens. Monsters are created. And you don’t see it coming. We vote them into office. You look the other way. So for everybody to get upset because they loved a character so much and they had so much faith in that person—there were signposts all along the way for that character.
The first part of Peter Dinklage’s point of view is reminiscent of Stephen King’s thoughts on the backlash to Game of Thrones’ final season. They have both indicated that a lot of the complaining had to with fans not wanting the show to end. Can you be open to an ending that you never wanted in the first place?
Then there is the Daenerys angle. Game of Thrones fans had believed, like so many characters, that Daenerys was the true heroine of this story. The controversy over whether it was in-character or not for her to commit mass murder will probably be debated for years to come. For Peter Dinklage, it would seem that the twist did not come out of the blue. He points to foreshadowing “signposts” that should have clued
Peter Dinklage did correctly guess how Tyrion’s story would end on Game of Thrones, so his skills of perception are well-documented. As for other reasons why fans are so upset about Daenerys’ dark twist, Dinklage has some thoughts. He also has some advice for fans who decide to make a gesture of support for their favorite character before their story has ended. Continuing about Daenerys, Dinklage said:
Yeah. But that’s because of what was happening all along. It added up to something. There are people who’ve named their children Khaleesi. You’ve just got to maybe wait till the series finale before you get that tattoo or name your golden retriever Daenerys! I can’t help you! I’m sorry. She went mad. She was driven to that, and she’s a victim as well in terms of how she was treated. She went through it, and she came out angry, as a lot of us do.
As a viewer that thinks the conclusion of Daenerys’ story was years in the making, I have to agree with Peter Dinklage that the signs were all there. And after Game of Thrones ended, a deleted scene helped further elucidate Daenerys’ mindset before she decided to murder thousands of people. Hint: It involved a lot of anger over what she felt had been taken from her.
Daenerys never really thought that anyone was right to take House Targaryen off the throne, at least in my opinion, even despite her father going mad and planning to kill thousands of people. (Jaime Lannister ended up killing him to keep that from happening.) In another bit of foreshadowing, Daenerys did not even blink over her entitlement to the throne when Jon Snow told her about his true heritage.
For some, the writing was on the wall for a long time. The disappointment over Game of Thrones’ final season has different sticking points for everyone. However, it is difficult to argue against the backlash against Game of Thrones’ last season kicking into high gear when “The Bells” aired.
While there has been a lot made about the backlash against the final season, an Emmys poll indicated that more fans were satisfied than previously believed. Take from that what you will. Cast your vote on whether Daenerys' actions in the penultimate episode were in character via the poll below!