After a season of ups and downs, the HBO fantasy series ended for good with yet another controversial episode.
Warning: Spoilers for Sunday's series finale of Game of Thrones, titled "The Iron Throne."
Game of Thrones concluded its eight-season run on Sunday, and with the epic ending came a massive wave of public opinion, both good and bad.
Unsurprisingly, most of the controversy from fans came over who ultimately ended up on the Iron Throne. The technical answer is no one -- Drogon used his powerful flames to melt down the seat of swords after Jon betrayed Daenerys and murdered her in the throne room at King's Landing -- but ultimately, it was Bran Stark, dubbed "Bran the Broken," who was elected to rule the six kingdoms by a council of Westeros' most prominent lords and ladies.
The ire over this twist came first from Dany fans, many of whom were still upset about her descent into madness and destruction of King's Landing, as well as some viewers who were disappointed to see another of Game of Thrones' powerful female characters added to the body count -- following Cersei Lannister's death in the penultimate episode. Star Kit Harington addressed criticisms of the show as sexist in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
“One of my worries with this is we have Cersei and Dany, two leading women, who fall,” he noted. “The justification is: Just because they’re women, why should they be the goodies? They’re the most interesting characters in the show. And that’s what Thrones has always done. You can’t just say the strong women are going to end up the good people. Dany is not a good person. It’s going to open up discussion but there’s nothing done in this show that isn’t truthful to the characters. And when have you ever seen a woman play a dictator?”
Harington also defended Jon's actions in killing Dany, noting that his character struggled with the decision to take Westeros' fate in his own hands and murder the woman he once claimed to love. “This is the second woman he’s fallen in love with who dies in his arms and he cradles her in the same way,” he added. “That’s an awful thing. In some ways, Jon did the same thing to Ygritte by training the boy who kills her. This destroys Jon to do this.”
There was also continued ire over the show's decision to ignore some of its more supernatural elements in its final episodes -- Arya never wore someone else's face, Bran's warging served no strategic purpose, and the White Walker threat stayed eliminated after the Night King's defeat in episode three. However, there was at least one person taking up arms as the protector of public opinion: former GoT star Pedro Pascal, who tweeted simply, "Shut up, it was perfect."
The finale is far from the only time the Game of Thrones faithful have taken to the internet to voice their opinions over the final season. From concerns about the lighting to continuity issues -- never forget that coffee cup -- enough gripes about the popular series have been raised in recent months that fans even started a petition to ask HBO to remake the final seasons to address their concerns over things like Daenerys' characterization, Ghost's goodbye and Jaime and Cersei's less-than-satisfying death scene.
And it seems the cast may have seen some of the uproar coming. Series star Liam Cunningham, aka Ser Davos, warned fans at the Game of Thrones press day in April that the final season would be a bumpy ride.
"Listen -- not everybody's gonna be happy, not everybody's gonna be sad," he couched. "You have to remember we're a bit like real life. We're not gonna put a pink pretty ribbon on this show -- it's probably not gonna happen."
See more on how the cast felt about the Game of Thrones finale in the video below!