Rick and Morty creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon have come out in defense of the much maligned final season of Game of Thrones. Despite record breaking ratings for HBO, Game of Thrones season 8 left many fans with a bad taste in their mouths as the beloved series rushed to conclude all the storylines it had set up over the previous seven seasons. The mad dash to the finish left too many loose ends in many people's eyes, and resulted in some characters receiving unsatisfying resolutions.
Among all season 8's many issues, none caused more controversy than the villain turn by Daenerys Targaryen, who after seven seasons as a fan favorite suddenly went mad and unleashed her dragon on King's Landing in a display of fiery carnage. Ultimately, Daenerys would not reach her dream of sitting on the Iron Throne, as Jon Snow decided to kill her for the good of the Seven Kingdoms. Daenerys' demise left a power vacuum that was later filled by Bran Stark, in another development that many fans found less than convincing. Most of the fan ire about how things played out has been directed at showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss, who have been accused of veering too far from the spirit of George R.R. Martin's novels and turning the show into mindless spectacle.
However, not everyone is onboard with the idea that Game of Thrones failed to stick the landing. Speaking to EW, Rick and Morty creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon went to bat for Game of Thrones season 8 and offered their reasons why folks should lighten up on the bashing. Harmon confessed that he initially had fears about diving into the last season, as he loves the show and didn't want it to end. Having seen how things played out, he offered not criticism but praise for Game of Thrones showrunners Benioff and Weiss:
“As a showrunner, I was amazed at the amount they were able to accomplish — especially given the meta-reality of having run out of books to adapt. Watching The Hound fight The Mountain on the stairs, I was like, ‘This is all great, man.’ I was aware of the disappointment factor with [Daenerys Targaryen’s] dark turn. I’m not going to say fans are too cynical and ungrateful, but I guess I did just say that.”
Harmon's Rick and Morty cohort Roiland seconded those sentiments, while offering his own sober analysis on what might have gone somewhat wrong for the show as it concluded:
“Structurally, I think it was great. I just selfishly wanted more episodes. I wanted to get to those plot points at a slower pace. I didn’t want it to end either. I wished it was stepped out over three more seasons, or three of four more episodes."
Roiland's remarks echo a frequent complaint about the Game of Thrones season 8, which is that the pacing was all out-of-whack what with the limited number of episodes the show had to work with. The need to wrap things up seemingly caused the story to proceed at light speed, though the show still managed to slow down at times and deliver some satisfying character moments.
Harmon and Roiland certainly seem willing to forgive Game of Thrones season 8 its faults much more than other fans. Some of this is no doubt due to their own experience with having to deliver a show that people tend to obsess over, and frequently finding themselves on the wrong end of fan negativity. Some of it too could be them returning the favor to Benioff and Weiss, who previously offered gushing praise for Rick and Morty while doing the DVD commentary for the infamous "Pickle Rick" episode. Ultimately, Harmon and Roiland's defense of Game of Thrones likely won't change the minds of fans who felt let down, but at least they have offered a little positive perspective after all the Game of Thrones bashing that has gone on the last few weeks.