“There’s been a lot of talk about [the backlash],” Coster-Waldau told The Hollywood Reporter after the 2019 Emmy nominations were announced. “I think it was a mix of many things. For one, it’s the basic idea of not wanting the show to end, and any ending would have been very upsetting. But the only thing I can say is you don’t get this many actors nominated [for Emmys] with bad writing. It just does not happen. This validates the writing on Game of Thrones, for sure.”
Kit Harington (Jon Snow)
“How I feel about the show right now is quite defiant,” Harington said in Esquire’s May cover story. “I think no matter what anyone thinks about this season — and I don’t mean to sound mean about critics here — but whatever critic spends half an hour writing about this season and makes their [negative] judgment on it, in my head they can go f—k themselves. ‘Cause I know how much work was put into this. I know how much people cared about this. I know how much pressure people put on themselves and I know how many sleepless nights working or otherwise people had on this show. Because they cared about it so much. Because they cared about the characters. Because they cared about the story. Because they cared about not letting people down.”
Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark)
“Honestly, I’m not surprised,” Turner said of the backlash in a New York Times interview on the day after the finale. “People always have an idea in their heads of how they want a show to finish, and so when it doesn’t go to their liking, they start to speak up about it and rebel. The thing about Game of Thrones that’s always been amazing is the fact that there’s always been crazy twists and turns, right from Season 1 with Ned’s beheading. So Daenerys becoming something of the Mad Queen — it shouldn’t be such a negative thing for fans. It’s a shock for sure, but I think it’s just because it hasn’t gone their way. All of these petitions and things like that — I think it’s disrespectful to the crew, and the writers, and the filmmakers who have worked tirelessly over 10 years, and for 11 months shooting the last season. Like 50-something night shoots. So many people worked so, so hard on it, and for people to just rubbish it because it’s not what they want to see is just disrespectful.”
Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran Stark)
“The fact that characters are not doing what people want them to do? It’s a good thing,” Hempstead Wright told The Hollywood Reporter just before the finale. “The fact that people are getting pissed off and having a big emotional response? That’s the reason why Game of Thrones is successful. It doesn’t do what everyone wants them to do. I saw today there’s a petition to redo the ending … It’s just absurd. I can’t even fathom it. It’s just ridiculous. [Laughs.] It’s ridiculous that people think they can just demand a different ending because they don’t like it. I have stupidly taken it quite personally, which obviously I shouldn’t. In my opinion, it’s a great ending.”
Pilou Asbæk (Euron Greyjoy)
“I’m rooting for [showrunners] Dan [Weiss] and David [Benioff],” Asbæk told INSIDER in the week before the series finale. “For them to be happy with what they have created […] because right now, people are very angry. Some people are very angry and some people are very happy. I think, guys, just … please. Everyone has done the best work they could, under the circumstances they could, and I think it will stand the test of time. Honestly, I swear to God I think that. So I hope Dan and David are going to end up on the throne.”
Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm)
“I think it’s rude,” Anderson said of the petition while on Strahan and Sara in May. “Obviously, the show feels to people like it belongs to them. That’s really good — I think it’s really important when people take something into their heart and it means something to them. However, it doesn’t. I just mean that in the sense that I was there and the crew, in particular, are like the hardest working people I’ve ever met. I think to trivialize their work in that way — I find it quite sad.”
Pedro Pascal (Oberyn Martell)
“Shut up, it was perfect,” Pascal, an alum of the show, tweeted in the minutes after the finale.
As fans complained about illogical plot twists and frustrating character developments, one even started a petition to “remake Game of Thrones Season 8 with competent writers,” which has so far been signed nearly 1.7 million times.
From initial script impressions to their characters' fates.
Amid all the backlash during and after the HBO drama’s swan song, which ended with a divisive series finale on May 19, the stars of the show have written and spoken impassioned defenses of the eighth season. Click through the gallery above for several of those arguments…