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‘We Almost Couldn’t Win’: John Bradley Defends Controversial ‘Game of Thrones’ Ending

The actor says he hopes fans will re-evaluate the finale now that some time has passed.

John Bradley, "Game of Thrones"

John Bradley, “Game of Thrones”


It has been nearly three years since “Game of Thrones” wrapped its record breaking run on HBO with a series finale that was widely viewed as a disappointment. Even as hundreds of new television series are released every year, the “Game of Thrones” ending remains one of the most talked about TV episodes ever. Many fans are unwilling to move on from the polarizing episode, but some of the show’s cast members are sick of the criticism.

John Bradley, who played Samwell Tarly on the show, recently appeared on the “Just for Variety” podcast to promote his role in “Moonfall,” and the “Game of Thrones” finale inevitably came up. The actor said that the show’s popularity put the creators in an impossible situation, as there was no way any finale could satisfy the entire fanbase. “Chances are we were going to please a fraction of people,” he said. “There are so many different permutations to it and if we’d have gone with any one of these then everyone would have been unhappy about that one.” However, he hopes that enough time has passed for fans to view the ending in a new light. Once the pressure of sticking the perfect landing has faded, he believes fans of the show will find that “the wounds have healed a little bit” and re-evaluate the ending.

He went on to defend the work of showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, saying it was unfair to view the divisive finale as representative of everything they are capable of. “You feel like saying ‘they were still in charge when you loved it,'” he said. “All the way along and all the bits you remember, none of them would have happened if they hadn’t been in control. So maybe they’re due a bit of a break.”

But while the series finale remains as polarizing as ever, “Game of Thrones” is not going anywhere. “House of the Dragon,” a prequel series set 300 years before the show, is set to debut on HBO later this year. The network is also developing four other live action spinoff series as well as three animated ones.

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