Game of Thrones Cast Addresses the 'Surprising Level' of Backlash the Final Season Received
Two months after the series finale of Game of Thrones aired, the cast reunited to finally answer questions regarding the divisive ending, which some viewers have dubbed “the worst episode of the entire series.”
Fans of the HBO show packed Hall H at the San Diego Comic-Con on Friday to hear what Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran Stark), Conleth Hill (Varys), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Maisie Williams (Arya Stark), John Bradley (Samwell Tarly), Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm), and Liam Cunningham (Ser Davos)had to say.
Despite being previously scheduled to appear at the panel, show creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, as well as director Miguel Sapochnik and actors Iain Glen (Jorah Mormont) and Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei of Naath) were notably absent.
“It was a surprising level… the absurdity of the online petition,” said Coster-Waldau, citing important plot points from previous seasons that also enraged fans.
“Every season we had huge controversies. From Ned Stark being killed and then there was the Red Wedding,” he went on. “So obviously when it comes to the end it’s gonna piss you off no matter what, because it’s the end.”
Hill, whose character Varys died in the fifth episode of the final season, addressed previous comments he had made to Entertainment Weekly about being disappointed about the way the Master of Whisperers was killed off, saying he took it “very personally.”
“For the record, I loved all my years on Game of Thrones,” he clarified on Friday, joking, “I started when I was 15.”
“It was a life-changing experience,” he added. “The one thing it was about was the futility of conflict and pointlessness of war.”
After tackling those topics, the cast reflected on what they’ll miss most about working in Westeros.
“The people,” Coster-Waldau said. “That’s what this is. Human interaction, that’s what we carry with us.”
Both Cunningham and Williams said that they believe working on Game of Thrones to be a once-in-a-career experience.
“There’s very few jobs you go on to,” said Cunningham, who called the job “magical.”
“Everybody on set was incredible at their jobs,” he added. “There was a magical sense of it. I’ll miss the elegance of it and working with people who are just at the top of their game. I’ll be lucky if I ever come across that ever again.”
Williams answered similarly, saying “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to play a character that picks up a dagger without people going like ‘you were Arya.’ I’ll really miss that. I don’t think I’ll ever do that again for fear of repeating myself. So I’ll miss that, I loved it.”
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As for the newly crowned King of the (now) Six Kingdoms?
“In terms of playing Bran, it was so fun in staying still and so calm,” said Hempstead Wright. “It was almost sort of meditative.”
He then added that he’ll also miss “being part of a show that people absolutely love and theorize about and draw pictures about.”
“It’s been such a special unique experience to be part of something that’s brought people together, as Nikolaj said,” he concluded. “Thank you for supporting us for 10 years.”
That decade of work has paid off, with the show’s history-making 32 Emmy nominations on Tuesday, including for best actor (Kit Harington), best actress (Emilia Clarke), four best-supporting actress nods (Gwendoline Christie, Lena Headey, Sophie Turner and Williams).
That’s a new record for the most nominations for a series; GoT already boasts 260 Emmys and had been nominated over 700 times since it premiered in 2011.
“Many thanks to the Academy,” Harington told PEOPLE in a statement. “It’s been an amazing journey with ol’ Jon Snow. I’m thrilled he’s been nominated.”
The 71st Primetime Emmy Awards will air Sept. 22 on Fox.