Game of Thrones writer Bryan Cogman broke his silence on the series' controversial ending on Wednesday, and the way fans have discussed it online. Cogman has been tweeting about the "Iron Anniversary" virtual event that HBO and HBO Max are hosting for all of April. By Wednesday, his commentary had drawn so many unwanted insults from fans that he had to address it.
"Hey all. There have been several (mostly well-intentioned) compliments thrown at me the past few days about my work on GoT, at the expense of my old bosses (who also happen to be my dear friends)," Cogman wrote, referencing showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. "So, I'll just say this and this is all I'll say: Yep, the showrunners are ultimately responsible for the stuff you hated... But the showrunners (and I PROMISE you this is true, cuz I was there) are ultimately responsible for the stuff you loved."
So, I'll just say this and this is all I'll say:
Yep, the showrunners are ultimately responsible for the the stuff you hated...
But the showrunners (and I PROMISE you this is true, cuz I was there) are ultimately responsible for the stuff you loved.— Bryan Cogman (@cogman_bryan) April 14, 2021
Cogman went from Benioff's personal assistant to a credited writer on Game of Thrones in the first season and is considered by many the saving grace of the series' writing staff. He wrote some of the most beloved episodes and was revered for his attention to detail when it came to the source material. However, he didn't want to hear fans' opinions on how he and his colleagues did on the last few seasons on Wednesday.
"That performance you loved? The showrunner ultimately shaped it in the editing room," Cogman went on. "That brilliant stroke of casting? The showrunner makes the final call. The amazing artisans and dept. heads that made the show look and sound and feel amazing? All hired by, empowered by and in constant creative collaboration WITH the showrunner. That amazing moment from the book you loved? Every last second of that moment from adaptation to execution painstakingly supervised by the showrunner."
the show look and sound and feel amazing? All hired by, empowered by and in constant creative collaboration WITH the showrunner. That amazing moment from the book you loved? Every last second of that moment from adaptation to execution painstakingly supervised by the showrunner..— Bryan Cogman (@cogman_bryan) April 14, 2021
"And that episode credited to another writer?" Cogman continued, indirectly answering the snark he was receiving online. "Conceived with, edited by, often with entire scenes re-written by... the showrunner. Okay. Now I'm done."
Game of Thrones changed the TV landscape in its first five or six years on the air, but now it can't be mentioned with a torrent of fan outrage over the last two, three or four seasons, and the way it ended. It is unique in this regard, however, as fan bitterness is almost always directed at the showrunners, not at actors or even at "the writers" in general.
Mm. Responding by listing the stuff you hated? Completely missing the point.— Bryan Cogman (@cogman_bryan) April 14, 2021
That's because fans are fairly confident that Benioff and Weiss made the decision to cut the last two seasons short and to end the show prematurely themselves. In 2018, author George R.R. Martin told Entertainment Tonight that both he and HBO wanted the show to go on for more seasons, but that Benioff and Weiss had chosen their ending point. Fans feel that this time crunch did not leave sufficient time to finish the story and do all of its characters justice.
Die-hard fans are still holding out hope for a more satisfying ending in Martin's books, A Song of Ice and Fire. They are also looking forward to the prequel series, House of the Dragon, which is expected to premiere in 2022. Whether Game of Thrones itself can ever extricate its legacy from its reviled ending remains to be seen, but so far the commentary around the "Iron Anniversary" has not cooled off. The whole show is streaming now on HBO Max.