'Game of Thrones' Star Joe Dempsie Responds to Backlash of Series Finale

If anything has been made clear in the two weeks since Game of Thrones ended, it's that the cast was prepared for backlash. Joe Dempsie is the latest actor to say he saw the criticism coming a mile away.

"When I read the finale, I remember saying at the time, ‘I don’t know how well this is going to go down,'" Dempsie, who played Gendry, told BBC Radio 5 Live Wednesday. “It might be the kind of ending that might need to percolate and that maybe, with the passing of time, people might appreciate it a little more.”

Dempsie was not alone in realizing not all fans were going to be happy about the ending, although he was a little kinder than what Kit Harington said.

The actor, who played Jon Snow, knew Daernerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) becoming a villain in the last two episodes would be a hard pill to swallow.

“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," Harington told Entertainment Weekly. "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.'"

Dempsie, whose interview happened the day after news of Harington checking into a mental health retreat in Connecticut broke, went on to say he felt lucky to not be a member of the "core group of actors" because they were under "a lot of pressure."

"One of the things that struck me when I returned in season seven, was how life had profoundly changed for quite a few people in that cast, in terms of fame and recognition," Dempsie explained, notes Digital Spy. "And it made me really thankful that I wasn't one of the core group of actors, that really has to carry the weight of this show on their shoulders, and whose faces sell it because it is a hell of a lot of pressure."

Dempsie added, "For a lot of the others, for whom it's all they've known for the best part of a decade, it's a really hard thing to deal with – that being taken away all of a sudden."

The season finale divided fans so much that a petition to convince HBO to remake all of Season 8 without showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss earned over 1 million signatures. The petition angered series star, Sophie Turner, who called it "disrespectful."

"All of these petitions and things like that — I think it’s disrespectful to the crew, and the writers, and the filmmakers who have worked tirelessly over 10 years, and for 11 months shooting the last season," the actress, who played Sansa Stark, told The New York Times. "Like 50-something night shoots. So many people worked so, so hard on it, and for people to just rubbish it because it’s not what they want to see is just disrespectful."

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Game of Thrones Season 8 wrapped on May 19.

Photo credit: HBO

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