Emilia Clarke Feels 'Heartbreak' Over Negative Fan Reception to 'Game of Thrones' Finale

Six months and an armful of Emmy wins later, the Game of Thrones finale is still a hot-button issue for fans. The last episodes earned a mostly negative response from people who have been following the Westeros saga for more than eight years. Emilia Clarke, who starred in every season as Daenerys Targaryen became the latest star to comment on the response, calling it "heartbreaking."

In a new interview with Australia's Stellar Magazine, Clarke said she did not pay attention to the response when the show originally aired. However, she feels sad because of her first-hand knowledge of the work showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss put into the last six episodes.

"I was too busy focusing on my own reactions to really pay too much attention, if any at all," Clarke told the magazine. "The only thing I felt truthfully sad about was that [executive producers] David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] are my really good friends, and so it's for them that I feel heartbreak, because it's theirs."
Clarke went on to defend fans' rights to have a negative opinion on the finale.

"It's art and it's to be dissected and taken on in whatever individual way you wish," the Last Christmas star said. "And if you're sad that the show is done and you're sad because you enjoyed watching it, then that's sad. It sucks this wasn't the perfect ending that people were hoping for, but I truly believe we would never have made everyone happy."

One of the biggest criticisms of the finale was Danys' seemingly sudden switch from the Breaker of Chains to someone bringing careless destruction to King's Landing. Clarke did not pay attention to any of that criticism.

"I don't Google myself; I don't read reviews," she said. "Which makes it sounds like I've got my s— together, but it doesn't help me to hear someone say, 'You're great,' and it doesn't help me to hear someone say, 'Hey, you piece of s—, why are you so fat?' Those are the extremes you deal with when you read about yourself on the internet, so I simply don't."

Despite the negative response from fans and critics, the Television Academy loved Game of Thrones' final season, awarding it the Outstanding Drama Series Emmy. Peter Dinklage won another Emmy for playing Tyrion Lannister, while Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Gwendoline Christie, Sophie Turner, Lena Headey, Maisie Williams, Carice van Houten, Kit Harington and Alfie Allen were all nominated for their performances.

Clarke's next project is a complete departure from Game of Thrones. She stars in Paul Feig's new holiday romantic comedy Last Christmas, which co-stars Crazy Rich Asians breakout Henry Golding and was co-written by Emma Thompson.

"It was pitched to me like, 'Emma Thompson has written a movie.' And I was like, 'I don't even need to read it. Yes, I'm in, I'm 100 percent in,'" Clarke told Stellar. "I think she is the greatest human and with the double combo of Paul Fieg directing, it was an absolute no-brainer. Worst-case scenario, we were at least going to have a wonderful time."

Last Christmas opens on Nov. 8.


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