As complaints about the fast pace of Game of Thrones' final season grow louder, many fans are revisiting an interview where the showrunners confirmed that the show could have been longer.
Warning! Spoilers for Game of Thrones through Season 8, Episode 5 lie ahead!
The final season of Game of Thrones premieres on April 14, and it will end next week. The show was cut to seven episodes last season and just six this time, and many fans wondered why that was, or how the conclusion would fit into so little time. The creators and showrunners of the TV adaptation, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, actually gave an answer to that in an April interview with Entertainment Weekly.
"HBO would have been happy for the show to keep going, to have more episodes in the final season," Benioff said. "We always believed it was about 73 hours, and it will be roughly that. As much as they wanted more, they understood that this is where the story ends."
Some fans are outraged over the statement, feeling that the plot lines of the last two seasons could have used more time to be fleshed out. This sentiment has grown in the final season, especially after Daenerys' heel turn into insanity in "The Bells. Making it worse, Weiss made it perfectly clear that there were no limiting factors from a production standpoint.
"To their credit, they [HBO] put their money where their mouths are — literally stuffed their mouth full of million-dollar bills which don’t exist anymore," he joked. "They said, 'We’ll give you the resources to make this what it needs to be, and if what it needs to be is a summer tentpole-size spectacle in places, then that’s what it will be.'”
Big shoutout to David Benioff and D.B. Weiss for ruining seven and a half seasons of character development in a single episode!— ashlee | #1 eddard stark stan (@starksnow_) May 6, 2019
The outrage at Benioff and Weiss specifically has risen to a fever pitch. The two writers do not employ a full writing staff and pen most of the scripts themselves, with original author George R.R. Martin not even contributing after Season 4. After this week's episodes, Reddit users organized a "Google bombing" of Benioff and Weiss, making it so that their names came up at the top of the search engine if one searched for "bad writers."
There are even half-joking conspiracy theories circulating that Benioff and Weiss tanked the final seasons on purpose. Some guessed that it was retribution for Confederate, their alternate historical drama that was in development at HBO until outrage flared up online. Others suggested Game of Thrones was sped up so that they could make time to write a Star Wars trilogy for Lucasfilm.
Knowing that there could have been so much more has many fans disappointed and outraged. For some, Episode 5 of the final season was the last straw, as Daenerys seemed to take a sudden turn from a hero in a perceptible moral gray area to an outright war criminal. The twist had no emotional resonance and only served to confuse fans.
And it’s annoying because you can tell that they’ve BEEN done (rumor is HBO offered them more money and episodes to properly finish & they were like “nah we can do it in 6, yolo”) and my other theory is that this is just a big “fuck you” for not getting to do Confederate 🤷🏾♀️— Clarkisha Kent: It Should Have Been Yeehaw Barton (@IWriteAllDay_) May 13, 2019
As countless critics pointed out, it wasn't a matter of where the story ended up, but how rushed it was to get there, without spending time making its character development believable.
Regardless, the debate will undoubtedly rage on for years to come. Game of Thrones is the television event of the decade, and a cultural touchstone of this scale always incites strong feelings. Many fans are already comparing this season to the endings of shows like Lost, The Sopranos or Dexter.