I think it's probably pretty fair to say that the final season of HBO's hit fantasy series Game of Thrones will always be controversial among fans. Just as people still debate the merits of finales from shows like The Sopranos and Lost, I don't think there will come a time where everyone who was there watching Season 8 as it happened, or those who came to it much later, will universally say, "You know what? That was pretty good overall." Now, another former GOT star has spoken out about his thoughts on the ending, and said he felt it was actually 'brave.'
It's only been a little over a year since Season 8 completed the Game of Thrones story as told on the small screen (ahem...we're still waiting on you, George R.R. Martin...), but it's hard to forget the near constant backlash from fans regarding the contents of the last season. People picked at everything, and managed to find a lot to hate about the last installments, to the point where a completely unrealistic petition was started to try having the whole thing remade. When asked about the less than well-received final season by NME, Iwan Rheon said:
I felt that they made a very strong decision to where they thought the season would go and I think they went with it and told the story really well. I thought the Battle of Winterfell was absolute genius, the best television I’ve ever seen. I thought it was really brave and they went for it.
I know a lot of you are probably rolling your eyes at Iwan Rheon's comments, but if you can step back from your personal feelings on the final season of Game of Thrones, you might see that he does have a point.
Even if you hated the entirety of the final episodes with a passion that could fuel a million suns, you know that there was almost no way that your exact vision for how the series should have ended would come to fruition. Maybe Jon Snow should have been the one to kill the Night King, but that's not what showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss wanted, so Arya got the all-important gig instead.
My point, and Iwan Rheon's point, I believe, is that with absolutely no source material to work from anymore, they had to come up with a total vision for the last season and make sure it was carried out to the best of everyone's ability. And, they did, at least, try to do that. Did you enjoy watching your (really sorta flawed) heroine, Dany, burn a shit load of innocents alive and then be murdered by her lover / nephew? Of course not, but the showrunners carried that vision to the end fearlessly.
Are you still rewatching the Battle of Winterfell because you can't pick out all of the details due to the overall darkness of every shot? Well, you really should stop now, unless you truly love the episode, but also, let's not pretend that because you and some others had trouble making out some of the action, that others weren't just fine with it.
And, that leads us to Iwan Rheon's other point, which really can't be denied for its sheer clear-headedness:
It was always gonna be divisive. I don’t think it was gonna be any other way, to be honest. Obviously, you can’t please everyone.
Truer words may have been spoken, but not when it comes to the final season of long-running, popular television shows like Game of Thrones. If you'd like to revisit any of GOT's eight seasons, you can stream it on HBO Max. For more to watch, check out our fall premiere guide and winter / spring premiere list!