What the 'Game of Thrones' Cast Didn't Like About The Show's Ending

From Emilia Clarke on Daenerys to Lena Headey on Cersei.

WARNING: This story contains spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8.

Many Game of Thrones fans don't seem to be happy with the show's eighth and final season, especially following the penultimate episode, "The Bells." After the show's latest chapter hit TV screens last Sunday, viewers poured out their complaints on social media, clamoring over a rushed plot and unsatisfying character decisions.

Now, looking back at the cast's pre-Season 8 interviews in this dissatisfied light, fans have noticed that the actors had their qualms about the final episodes as well. Many examples surfaced in a viral thread tweeted by @purple_dwagon, who posted snippets from a recent TV Guide article detailing how the actors were "conflicted" about GoT's last season.

For example, Gwendoline Christie, who plays Brienne of Tarth, told Entertainment Weekly she was "so upset" over the fact that after sleeping with Brienne, Jaime goes back to King's Landing to reunite with his evil twin sister and lover, Cersei. "I have no judgment of Cersei but their relationship is dysfunctional. That’s when I went very red. I was very upset and I had to go for a walk," she said.

Christie did, however, praise Jaime and Brienne's getting together, saying "the writing is very good here" in the same interview.

After the episode aired, a red carpet interview with Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) got a lot of traction, as it showed her uncomfortably answering a question about whether she was happy with her final scene. "Best season ever!" she said with a nervous laugh.

Plus, in an interview with Vanity Fair last year, Clarke said of Dany's final moments, "It fucked me up. Knowing that is going to be a lasting flavor in someone’s mouth of what Daenerys is ..."

Human, Screenshot, Movie, Photography, Fictional character, Smoke, Portrait,

'Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 5, "The Bells.

(Image credit: HBO)

When asked to describe the finale in one word, Jon Snow star Kit Harington said, "Disappointing." Then, after a laugh he added, "Epic. I don't know, one of those ones." (Scroll to about 2:50 in his interview with Pop Buzz below.)

Conleth Hill, who plays the recently-perished Lord Varys, also had a few concerns about his character's trajectory in the final seasons. He was "very bummed" that he didn't get a final scene with Littlefinger (played by Aiden Gillen) or even a reaction to his death.

"That’s been my feeling the last couple seasons, that my character became more peripheral, that they concentrated on others more," Hill told Entertainment Weekly. "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 favorite."

The actor added that he loved his scenes with Peter Dinklage's Tyrion Lannister where they discussed being freaks and outsiders so "precisely." Hill lamented that the show had lost some of those moments after breaking off from George R. R. Martin's source material.

"Last season and this season there were great scenes and then I’d come in and kind of give a weather report at the end of them — 'film at 11,'" he continued. "So I thought he was losing his knowledge. 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."

Looking back at his time as Varys, Hill also clarified in the interview, "I’m not dissatisfied on the whole. It sounds like I am. But it’s been brilliant."

Action-adventure game, Screenshot, Darkness, Human, Pc game, Movie, Adventure game, Digital compositing, Fictional character, Games,

(Image credit: HBO)

Lena Headey was expecting more from the death of her character, longstanding villain Cersei Lannister. She told Entertainment Weekly that her initial reaction to the script was "mixed" and that she "wanted her to have some big piece or fight with somebody." (In the show, Cersei and Jaime are crushed under the falling rubble in the Red Keep during Daenerys's attack on King's Landing.)

However, after discussing the scene with co-star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Headey realized that was "the perfect end" for her character. "They came into the world together and now they leave together," she said.

Romance, Interaction, Human, Photography, Screenshot, Scene, Darkness, Love, Gesture, Flash photography,

'Cersei (Lena Headey) and Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) in Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 5, "The Bells.

(Image credit: HBO)

Nathalie Emmanuel, whose lovable Missandei was executed in Episode 4, also wished her character had more time with Daenerys or even Cersei. She told Entertainment Weekly that she and Emilia Clarke enjoyed the "lovely friendship scenes" between their characters in seasons 3 through 5, "though we haven’t had ones lately."

She elaborated to the outlet in another interview:

"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, I think that might have eased the pain a bit more for people, and reinforcing a friendship that she and Dany had because we haven’t really seen anything for a few seasons but I think she’s so fiercely loyal Dany and I think she was until the bitter end, and it’s almost fitting for Missandei really, in a way."

Joe Dempsie, known as Gendry Baratheon, also spoke his mind about the previous season. "That's totally what Season 7 was about, wasn't it?" he said in an interview with Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm). "Character development? Nah. Story!"

Tyrion Lannister star Peter Dinklage had nothing but praise for showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and the show's ending. However, a tweet from BuzzFeed reporter Ellie Hall went viral, pointing out that Dinklage looks like he's in a hostage video.

And because the Internet is too quick with these things, here's a supercut of all the reactions:

The season finale for Game of Thrones airs tonight, May 19, at 9 P.M. ET on HBO.

For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter.


Erica Gonzales

Erica Gonzales is the Senior Culture Editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage on TV, movies, music, books, and more. She was previously an editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com. There is a 75 percent chance she's listening to Lorde right now.