“Game of Thrones” won the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series despite overwhelmingly mixed-to-negative press reactions for its final season. It was inevitable the cast would be asked about Season 8 backlash in the Emmys press room, so when the time came to address the divisive final season reviews it was Kit Harington who stepped forward to address the “Thrones” backlash. The actor behind Jon Snow defended the show, which was heavily criticized for storytelling that betrayed its characters (see Daenerys Targaryen and Jaime Lannister’s arcs for example), although Harington also admitted to not watching the final season.
“I still haven’t seen the show,” Harington said when asked about backlash (via The Wrap) “So that’s how I dealt with that controversy — I haven’t seen the final season but I know what it took to shoot it. It was hard and all of them put their love and effort into it. Controversy, I think for us, we knew what we were doing was right, storywise, and we knew that it was right for the characters because we lived with them for 10 years. Controversy for us didn’t really affect us.”
“Game of Thrones” showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss did not answer the question, although Weiss did allude to the controversy when answering what he wanted the show’s legacy to be with viewers. “It’s not really up for us to decide what people feel about it,” Weiss said. “I hope people watch and like it in the future. There’s no way to tell how things are going to be perceived in 10, 20, even five years. These things change so fast. The landscape of television changes so quickly, it’s changing as we’re standing here right now. It’s so gratifying to have reached this many people. I hope people a little too young to watch now will grow up to learn about it and watch it as well.”
Asked about the final season backlash by Variety, “Thrones” star Emilia Clarke took an optimistic approach. “You know what? It was profoundly flattering is what it was because when someone cares that much that they’re ready to make such a noise about how they believe the characters should’ve been finished and how the story should’ve gone,” she said. “That’s just enormously flattering. That just shows how much everybody loved it.”
Harington and Clarke were both Emmy nominated this year for their performances in the final “Game of Thrones” season.