Game of Thrones Ending - David Benioff and D.B. Weiss

Game of Thrones is coming to an end this year. The first of the final six episodes airs this weekend, and just five weeks after tha,t HBO’s hit fantasy series will be over on May 19. While fans have been itching to see how this epic series will come to an end (especially since author George R.R. Martin isn’t finishing his books anytime soon), showrunners David Benioff and D.B Weiss have known how the series was going to end for five years. Well, at least they’ve known the key points of the Game of Thrones ending.

Entertainment Weekly recently sat down with Benioff and Weiss (who will soon be busy on their own Star Wars trilogy) about the Game of Thrones ending. The idea for how they would leave the world of Westeros came about somewhere around the third season, but it wasn’t a definitive ending at the time. The duo allowed for changes along the way or better ideas to come through if they came along. Weiss explained:

“It wasn’t like something where five years ago one of us said, ‘I think this has to happen and I know this is right.’ [The storyline was] something that gradually unfolded with neither of us wanting to plant a flag in the ground right out of the gate. Because what if you’re wrong? What if there’s a better idea out there and you planted a flag on the second- or third-best idea? So it was always more a ‘What if…’ conversation than an ‘I think that…’ So by the time we got to the place where we were outlining we already knew most of the big things.”

Keep in mind that this is all based on the details that George R.R. Martin told them about his planned ending for the book series A Song of Ice and Fire. But since the books aren’t finished, they were only privy to the general idea of how the story will come to an end. That might upset some fans of the book series, especially since the direction of the series since the source material ran out has been panned by some of the more dedicated readers and watchers. But at the very least, they can take solace in knowing that Benioff and Weiss won’t reveal how the series ending differs from what Martin has planned for the books.

Despite some fan backlash in recent year, Benioff and Weiss very much want to please as many people as they can. That doesn’t mean they’re trying to please everybody. Weiss said:

“We want people to love it. It matters a lot to us. We’ve spent 11 years doing this. We also know no matter what we do, even if it’s the optimal version, that a certain number of people will hate the best of all possible versions. There is no version where everybody says, ‘I have to admit, I agree with every other person on the planet that this is the perfect way to do this’ — that’s an impossible reality that doesn’t exist. You hope you’re doing the best job you can, the version that works better than any other version, but you know somebody is not going to like it.”

Benioff made a comparison to the controversial series finale to The Sopranos:

“From the beginning, we’ve talked about how the show would end. A good story isn’t a good story if you have a bad ending. Of course we worry. It’s also part of the fun of any show that people love arguing about it. I loved the way David Chase ended The Sopranos [with its surprising cut to black]. I was one of those people who thought my TV had gone out. I got up and was checking the wires, unable to believe my cable had gone out in the most important moment of my favorite TV series. I think that was the best of all possible endings for that show. But a lot of people hated it. I’ve gotten into a lot of arguments with people about why that was a great ending, but people felt legitimately cheated and that’s their right to feel that way, just as it’s my right to feel like they’re idiots. I’ll always remember being on the subway headed to Yankees Stadium a couple days after the Sopranos ending aired. And there were like three different conversations in the subway and they were all about the exact same thing.”

Does that mean the ending of Game of Thrones will be just as incendiary? Depending on who comes away as the winner of the Game of Thrones, it’s certainly possible, especially when some fan favorite characters (presumably) don’t make it to the end. After all, this is a bloody series that has killed endless characters over the years. Anything can and will happen.

The final season of Game of Thrones begins on April 14 at 9pm ET.

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