Peter Dinklage Is Wrong Again About Why Fans Hated Game Of Thrones’ Ending

Peter Dinklage must be in some kind of denial. He’s a great actor. I loved his portrayal of Tyrion Lannister, the Imp, in HBO’s Game Of Thrones. He was the perfect choice.

But when it comes to why fans were (and still are) upset with how the show ended, Dinklage has a blind spot. That’s understandable, of course. You don’t want to hear negative things about something that you had a major part creating, that occupies such an important piece of your life and work and art.

Still, being attached to something can also mean you’re too close to it to see the flaws and blemishes. And Season 8 of Game Of Thrones was filled with unforced errors—a massively rushed conclusion to an intricate story of politics, intrigue, warring Houses and prophecies gone terribly awry. The real problem with Season 8 of Game Of Thrones was that it shouldn’t have been the final season. We needed two more at the very least. Two season-long conflicts should have played out.

First, the war against the White Walkers and a deeper examination of who the Night King was and how he related to Bran Stark and the Three-Eyed Raven (not to mention the Children of the Forest and the First Men).

Second, the war against Daenerys Targaryen, whose forces were far more powerful than all the rest of the combined Seven Kingdoms once she took power with her dragons. An entire season devoted to these two enormous conflicts—two “Long Nights” in a row, as it were—would have been enough time to resolve these stories, at the bare minimum. The final season would also need at least an extra-long episode for denouement and resolution, which was also incredibly rushed in the version we got.

We might have avoided rushed resolutions to conflicts, like Aria appearing out of the blue to kill the Night King, Jaime loving-and-leaving Brienne of Tarth, and those damnably accurate dragon-killing trebuchets—just to name a few of the annoying pieces of Season 8 (and Season 7 was nearly as contrived and rushed).


Peter Dinklage Is Wrong . . . Again

But Dinklage has written off the very legitimate concerns of fans and critics at least twice now. I wrote about his comments back in 2019, when he said:

“Well, everybody’s always going to have an opinion, and that means an ownership,” he said. “It’s like breaking up with somebody. They get upset. I can’t speak for everybody, but my feeling is they didn’t want it to end, so a lot of people got angry. I feel like what [showrunners] Dave [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] did was extraordinary.”

Yes, people didn’t want it to end. But not in some vague, abstract way.

They didn’t want it to go on forever. Most fans wanted it to end in a satisfying way that didn’t feel massively rushed, filled with teleportation and inexplicable character changes.

I think a lot of people would have been okay with Dany breaking bad, but while they spent several seasons hinting vaguely that she might, it was so vague a lot of people missed the clues. Her final shift toward evil was sudden and caused a lot of whiplash. It should have been dragged out over the course of Season 8 and 9, coming to a crescendo in the Season 9 finale, before the final Season 10 showdown.

In any case, Dinklage is back at it with some theories that really don’t make a whole lot of sense. Here, while doing some promotional stuff for his new movie, Cyrano, Dinklage tells the New York Times:

“We had to end when we did, because what the show was really good at was breaking preconceived notions: Villains became heroes, and heroes became villains. If you know your history, when you track the progress of tyrants, they don’t start off as tyrants. I’m talking about, spoiler alert, what happened at the end of “Game of Thrones” with that character change. It’s gradual, and I loved how power corrupted these people. What happens to your moral compass when you get a taste of power? Human beings are complicated characters, you know?”

Breaking preconceived notions doesn’t mean the show “had to end” when it did. Those preconceived notions could still have been broken over the course of two more seasons—and the break would have been much more earth-shattering I suspect.

Dinklage is suggesting that Dany’s change to villain was “gradual” but that’s only half-true. It was gradual—a snail’s pace, really—for almost every season and then wildly rushed in the end. That’s not nuanced or interesting.

In fact, all the nuance and subtlety of earlier seasons was lost by Season 8. Even Tyrion felt like a shadow of his former, clever self—an advisor to Dany and nothing more, and not even a very good one at that.

The Beautiful People

It gets worse. Quoth Dinklage:

“They wanted the pretty white people to ride off into the sunset together. No, but the show subverts what you think, and that’s what I love about it. Yeah, it was called Game of Thrones, but at the end, the whole dialogue when people would approach me on the street was, ‘Who’s going to be on the throne?’ I don’t know why that was their takeaway because the show really was more than that.”

This is pretty ridiculous, frankly. To suggest that fans merely wanted a happy ending—and to suggest that it has anything at all to do with “pretty white people” (I can only assume he’s referring to Dany (Emilia Clarke) and Jon Snow (Kit Harrington)—is insulting to fans. Fans just wanted a satisfying resolution. It didn’t need to be a happy one. It just shouldn’t have been so rushed.

As fast as Dany went evil, the way Jon took her down was even more jarring. What could have been a fascinating struggle of arms and will was cleaved into a single over-stuffed episode.

And in the end, the victors—including Dinklage—were largely white anyways. Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) became king. A bunch of Westerosi lords kept their keeps and lands. A lot of bad guys were vanquished. Sucks about Dany and Jon, but by and large this was a happy—and very unearned—ending. The unearned part is what fans chafe at most, not the lack of “white people riding off into the sunset.”

Perhaps Dinklage should take a page from Witcher star Henry Cavill, and listen to fans instead of just writing them off as grotesque stereotypes. Just a thought.

Merry Christmas everyone! What do you make of Dinklage’s comments?

And can you imagine how great this show could have been if HBO had handed it off to new showrunners who actually wanted to do it justice? We’d still have a season to look forward to thanks to the pandemic, and then House of the Dragon could swoop in on all the hype—rather than shuffle into this desert of apathy. Alas! Shame, shame, shame!

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The Tycoon Herald