Like clockwork, a Game of Thrones cast member has publicly expressed their frustration with the final season immediately after a major turning point for their character. Conleth Hill, who played Lord Varys in the hit HBO show, has said that ‘the last couple seasons weren’t my favourite’.
Hill joins the likes of Lena Headey, Gwendoline Christie and several other actors who have, to varying degrees, agreed with fans that the final season of the show hasn’t lived up to expectations. Although season eight has received the highest ratings in the show’s history, it is also the worst-reviewed of the lot, with an aggregate score of 75% on Rotten Tomatoes. Episode five, The Bells, achieved the unenviable distinction of being the worst reviewed chapter in the show’s history.
Varys and Euron Greyjoy were killed in The Bells, and although Hill and Pilou Asbaek (who played Euron in the show) have said that their overall takeaway has been positive, they can’t help but feel that the final season has been a missed opportunity. Asked if he feels his character has been reduced to the sidelines in recent seasons, Hill told Entertainment Weekly, “That’s been my feeling the last couple seasons, that my character became more peripheral, that they concentrated on others more. That’s fine. It’s the nature of a multi-character show. It was kind of frustrating. As a whole, it’s been overwhelmingly positive and brilliant, but I suppose the last couple seasons weren’t my favourite.”
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He said he felt Varys was ‘losing his knowledge’ in the last few seasons. “If he was such an intelligent man and he had such resources, how come he didn’t know about things? That added to my dismay. It’s now being rectified with getting a great and noble ending. But that was frustrating for a couple seasons.”
Euron, who dies at the hands of Jaime Lannister in episode five, had killed Daenerys Targaryen’s dragon Rhaegal in the previous episode. Asbaek told IndieWire that fans could have seen another side to Euron. “I wish we could’ve seen — not the seducing side, not the ‘I want to f--k the queen’ side — but something different. Maybe something [darker], more mysterious. It would have been fun to see that side because it’s closer to the books.”
Gwendoline Christie, who plays Brienne in GoT, expressed similar concerns after episode two, in which Brienne was knighted. Christie had said she was so dismayed by showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss’ decision to send Brienne down a romantic road with Jaime, that she had to take a walk after she read it. “I know it’s just a character and I’m an actor who’s lucky to do her job. It’s so heartbreaking. But it’s life isn’t it? Life is heartbreaking. I never assumed they would be together. I didn’t think that would happen. And now I can feel a million hearts breaking,” she told EW.
Christie wasn’t the only one not on the same page with David and Dan (or D&D as they’re now being called online). Lena Headey has said that she wasn’t at all in favour of Cersei Lannister agreeing to sleep with Euron in episode one. “I kept saying, ‘She wouldn’t, she wouldn’t, that she would keep fighting,’ but (David and Dan) obviously know what they’re doing and were adamant Cersei would do what she had to do.”
Headey also told EW that her reaction to Cersei’s final scene ‘was mixed at first’. “I wanted her to have some big piece or fight with somebody,” she said.
Reacting to how her character was killed off, Nathalie Emmanuel, who played Missandei in the show, told EW, “The one thing I would say is I really had wished that I had more time or scenes this season maybe with Daenerys or even with Cersei, scenes where we get to see her being brilliant before she dies.”
Emilia Clarke, who plays Daenerys, the character who has perhaps witnessed the most drastic change in the final season, told Vanity Fair in an interview that the ending ‘f**cked me up.” She said that “Knowing that is going to be a lasting flavour in someone’s mouth of what Daenerys is...” she couldn’t finish her thought. Episode five confirmed many fans were expecting, and showed Daenerys’ transformation into the Mad Queen.
Jon Snow actor Kit Harington called the season “disappointing” only to backtrack, half-heartedly calling it, “Epic, I dunno.”
Game of Thrones will return for its series finale on Monday, May 20, amid intense fan expectations and scrutiny.
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First Published: May 15, 2019 15:03 IST