That Game Of Thrones Conclusion Backlash Hasn't Affected House Of The Dragon

It's fair to say that the "Game of Thrones" fandom is a little shaky right now. HBO has a lot of quality shows, but none are capturing the pop culture discussion the way "GoT" did. The die-hards want more stories set in and around Westeros, but many of these same fans were disappointed in the series finale.

There's a debate to be had about the merits of that eighth season, but setting aside the question of whether or not they screwed the pooch or stuck the landing, a big question that has been hanging over the upcoming prequel series "House of the Dragon" is whether or not the showrunners were going to acknowledge the vocal negativity or largely ignore it and just tell their story. 

In a recent interview with EW, co-showrunner Ryan Condal ("Rampage") answered that question:

"People are always going to have something to say about the way a beloved thing comes to an end. What they say doesn't really affect the way we approach this. We have this huge legacy to carry forward. [And we want to] do that in the best way that honors what came before, but also doesn't do the thing that I think a lot of sequels do: Here's [what] you love wrapped up in a different packaging."

Basically, he said they're ignoring the backlash.

Wisdom in going your own way

That might be a red flag for a lot of folks, but it sounds like wisdom to me. When creators get too caught up in trying to guess what their audience wants out of fear of the most vocal Negative Nancys out there, you end up with "The Rise of Skywalker." Yes, it's always smart to have a feel for what audiences respond to, but at the end of the day, it's the writers' and showrunners' job to give the audience something that keeps them engaged, and that usually means you gotta surprise them a little.

Many of the fans most peeved about the "Game of Thrones" finale didn't like how it made them feel, which was a very deliberate move by that team. But a storyline or character that makes you feel bad or uncomfortable doesn't mean the choices or execution are bad. The complexity of "Game of Thrones" is its greatest strength. The good guys do bad things, the bad guys do good things, and sometimes the line between great evil and heroism is microscopic. 

So, hearing the showrunners on "House of the Dragon" not shying away from that kind of thing is good news, at least to me.

"House of the Dragon" takes place two centuries before the events of "Game of Thrones" and will focus on the Targaryen family. The prequel series was created by author George R.R. Martin and showrunner duties are split between Miguel Sapochnik and Ryan Condal. It has a release date set for August 21, 2022, on HBO and HBO Max.