Game of Thrones finale reactions

After eight seasons, almost 75 episodes, and generating enough passion to fuel every fire in the realm, HBO’s Game of Thrones has come to an end. You know how we’ve responded, but what do the stars of the show think about the way the series concluded? Read on for several of their Game of Thrones finale reactions, including comments from Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, and more.

(This should go without saying, but there will be spoilers ahead.)

Dany GOT

Emilia Clarke

Clarke, who played Daenerys Targaryen, reacted strongly when she first read the scripts for the final season. “It was a fucking struggle reading the scripts,” she told Entertainment Weekly, and those scripts took Dany into new territory as she burned King’s Landing to the ground and murdered thousands of innocent civilians in last week’s episode. She said she “stands by Daenerys” in the end, but it was a hell of a journey to get there:

“It comes out of fucking nowhere. I’m flabbergasted. Absolutely never saw that coming…I cried. And I went for a walk. I walked out of the house and took my keys and phone and walked back with blisters on my feet. I didn’t come back for five hours…

After 10 years of working on this show, it’s logical. Where else can [Dany] go? I tried to think what the ending will be. It’s not like she’s suddenly going to go, ‘Okay, I’m gonna put a kettle on and put cookies in the oven and we’ll just sit down and have a lovely time and pop a few kids out.’ That was never going to happen. She’s a Targaryen.

I thought she was going to die, I feel very taken care of as a character in that sense. It’s a very beautiful and touching ending. Hopefully, what you’ll see in that last moment as she’s dying is: There’s the vulnerability — there’s the little girl you met in season 1. See? She’s right there. And now, she’s not there anymore.”

Kit Harington

Harington purposefully didn’t read the scripts until he arrived in Belfast for a table read with the entire cast. Cameras were rolling in that room for a documentary called Game of Thrones: The Last Watch which will air on HBO this coming Sunday, so we’ll be able to see his reaction play out in real time as he learns what happens during the show’s finale. After he found out, he also spoke with EW about Dany’s big turn and how he was dreading the show receiving claims of sexism because both Cersei and Dany die by the end:

“I think it’s going to divide. But if you track her story all the way back, she does some terrible things. She crucifies people. She burns people alive. This has been building. So, we have to say to the audience: ‘You’re in denial about this woman as well. You knew something was wrong. You’re culpable, you cheered her on.’

One of my worries with this is we have Cersei and Dany, two leading women, who fall. The justification is: Just because they’re women, why should they be the goodies? They’re the most interesting characters in the show. And that’s what Thrones has always done. You can’t just say the strong women are going to end up the good people. Dany is not a good person. It’s going to open up discussion but there’s nothing done in this show that isn’t truthful to the characters. And when have you ever seen a woman play a dictator?”

As for Jon killing Dany in the finale, Harington was reminded of another major death in the show involving Jon’s character:

“This is the second woman he’s fallen in love with who dies in his arms and he cradles her in the same way. In some ways, Jon did the same thing to Ygritte by training the boy who kills her. This destroys Jon to do this.”

Sophie Turner

Turner, whose Sansa Stark ended up as the new Queen in the North, shared a reaction on Instagram:

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Sansa, Thank you for teaching me resilience, bravery and what true strength really is. Thank you teaching me to be kind and patient and to lead with love. I grew up with you. I fell in love with you at 13 and now 10 years on.. at 23 I leave you behind, but I will never leave behind what you’ve taught me. To the show and the incredible people who make it, thank you for giving me the best life and drama lessons I could have ever asked for. Without you I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Thank you for giving me this chance all those years ago. And finally to the fans. Thank you for falling in love with these characters and supporting this show right through till the end. I’ll miss this more than anything.

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Isaac Hempstead-Wright

One of the finale’s big surprises is that Bran the Broken becomes the newly-elected King of Westeros. Turns out that took Hempstead-Wright by surprise as well. In a separate interview, he told EW:

“When I got to the [Dragonpit scene] in the last episode and they’re like, ‘What about Bran?’ I had to get up and pace around the room. I genuinely thought it was a joke script and that [showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] sent to everyone a script with their own character ends up on the Iron Throne. ‘Yeah, good one guys. Oh s—, it’s actually real?’

“I think [Bran will] be a really good king actually. Perhaps there will be something missing in having real emotive leader, which is a useful quality in a king or queen as well. At the same time, you can’t really argue with Bran. He’s like, ‘No, I know everything.'”

Maisie Williams

As for Williams, whose Arya Stark character sailed off into the distance to explore past the edges of the known world in the finale’s closing shots, she has one simple thing on her mind:

Bryan Cogman

Bryan Cogman

Cogman isn’t an actor, but a longtime writer/ producer on the show. I enjoyed his explanation of these last few episodes from that same EW piece, so I figured I’d share that here too as a way to close out this round-up:

“I still don’t know how I feel about a lot of what happens this season and I helped write it. It’s emotionally very challenging. It’s designed to not feel good. That said, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. The best drama is the type you have to think about. There’s a dangerous tendency right now to make art and popular culture to feel safe for everybody and make everybody feel okay when watching and I don’t believe in that. The show is messy and grey and that’s where it’s always lived — from Jaime pushing a little boy out the window to Ned Stark’s death to the Red Wedding. This is the kind of story that’s meant to unsettle you and challenge you and make you think and question. I think that was George’s intent and what David and Dan wanted to do. However you feel about the final episodes of this show I don’t think anybody will ever accuse us of taking the easy way out.”

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