Varys actor Conleth Hill blames the press for the Game of Thrones season 8 backlash, speaking during a recent panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2019. It's not far-fetched to say that the return of Game of Thrones' final season was one of the most anticipated entertainment events of the year, if not of the past few years. Adapting George R.R. Martin's epic A Song of Ice and Fire novel series for television must not have been an easy task, especially once the series overtook the books themselves, but series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, along with HBO, managed to capture audiences' attention worldwide.
So when it finally came time to wrap up the series and bring everything around full circle, anticipation was high and there were a lot of expectations. Of course, while many people were satisfied with how Game of Thrones season 8 played out - from the Night King's death during the Battle of Winterfell to Daenerys Targaryen becoming the Mad Queen and burning King's Landing to the ground, to Jaime Lannister dying in the arms of Cersei Lannister - there were also many, many people who were dissatisfied with the story's conclusion. This led to an impressive anti Game of Thrones season 8 campaign.
Interestingly, while the petition to remake Game of Thrones season 8 is now sitting at almost 1.7 million signatures (and is still climbing), Varys actor Conleth Hill seemed to suggest that it was the media/press' fault for the backlash, saying during a retrospective panel inside Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, "You look at the amount of people that are here, and we’re here to thank you for watching us all these years. We’re very grateful for your fandom over the years and I think this is the reality, rather than a media-led hate campaign."
It's certainly fair to say that portions of the media weren't happy with Game of Thrones season 8, which was expressed in the reviews that ultimately led to the final season earning a "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But the fact that Hill blames the press for the backlash itself is disingenuous and shows how the cast and crew of the once-critically acclaimed series may have become detached from their fans over the years.
One of the biggest, and perhaps most universal, complaints of Game of Thrones season 8 - and there are quite a few - is that it was rushed. While most seasons were 10 episodes in length, season 8 aired only six episodes, and it featured characters hopping around the continent in what seemed to be a matter of days. So while the final season did accomplish what it set out to do, it's unfair to audiences (and to the press, for that matter) to disregard complaints because they don't fall in line with comments from earlier seasons. Perhaps that's because Game of Thrones season 8 wasn't like the previous seasons?