Game of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is speaking out in defense of showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss as fans continue to rage against the writers' ending. Game of Thrones was a media sensation of rare proportions, but the ending was met with mixed reviews. Coster-Waldau, at least, was a fan.
Coster-Waldau played Jamie Lannister in the acclaimed HBO series. This weekend, he was one of many stars to attend Con of Thrones, a Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire convention held in Nashville, Tennessee. In one Q&A style event, he defended criticisms of the show's pacing, plot holes and other problems.
"We're so lucky to be part of a show where people love the show so much that they care so much about it that you also get upset it doesn't go the way you wanted it," he said.
Coster-Waldau was so good-natured on the backlash to Season 8, he even laughed off the fan petition to have the season re-written, which got over 1.6 million signatures on Change.org. However, he did not seem to think it would do much good. More importantly, he asked fans to consider how much the mockery and backlash might have hurt Benioff, Weiss and the rest of the cast and crew.
"Know that they too read the comments, and it is — even though you're sitting on your own and going, 'F—ing stupid writers, assholes!' They really, like everyone on Game of Thrones — every single person, and there are thousands — we worked our asses off to make the best show we could for the ending," he said.
Coster-Waldau divulged that some of the actors from the show still keep in touch through a WhatsApp group chat. He said that a few are taking the angry reactions to Season 8 harder than others.
"Every season has been intense in terms of the attention and discussion, but it was extraordinarily intense for a final season," he said. "We have this WhatsApp group, the actors, and I saw some people getting a little upset because some of the stuff is vicious. [...] There was that kind of weird feeling of, 'What the hell? We worked so hard.'"
Coster-Waldau has been one of the most outspoken voices in defense of the writers specifically, as they have taken the most flack for Season 8. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in May, he stood by their ending.
"I don't think they could have done it any better. It makes sense. There's a logic to it without it being obvious at all," he said.
For many fans, the main thing Benioff and Weiss have to answer for is the decision to cut the show short. The two writers opted to end the show after eight seasons, and to shorten the last two down to fewer episodes. Fans speculate that this was done to free up the writers to work on other projects, such as their Star Wars trilogy. Benioff and Weiss never hired a full writing staff on Game of Thrones, and fans argue that they should have been willing to hand the work off to someone else if they did not want to do it themselves.
Game of Thrones is streaming in its entirety on HBO Go and HBO Now.