Article contains spoilers.
Kit Harington, who played Jon Snow, and Sophie Turner, who played Sansa Stark, both commented on the finale, which left some fans displeased. Emilia Clarke, who played Daenerys Targaryen, also shared her thoughts.
Clarke said that she was stunned when reading the script for the final season, particularly the twist that saw Snow fatally stab her.
“I cried,” Clarke told Entertainment Weekly. “And I went for a walk. I walked out of the house and took my keys and phone and walked back with blisters on my feet. I didn’t come back for five hours. I’m like, ‘How am I going to do this?’”
While some criticized the arc for Targaryen, which saw her become increasingly mad until she decimated Kings Landing, killing a slew of innocent people, Clarke said she understood.
“She genuinely starts with the best intentions and truly hopes there isn’t going to be something scuttling her greatest plans,” Clarke said. “The problem is [the Starks] don’t like her and she sees it. She goes, ‘Okay, one chance.’ She gives them that chance and it doesn’t work and she’s too far to turn around. She’s made her bed, she’s laying in it. It’s done. And that’s the thing. I don’t think she realizes until it happens—the real effect of their reactions on her is: ‘I don’t give a [expletive].'”
“It’s a very beautiful and touching ending. Hopefully, what you’ll see in that last moment as she’s dying is: There’s the vulnerability—there’s the little girl you met in season 1. See? She’s right there. And now, she’s not there anymore…” she added.
Speaking prior to the finale airing, Harington expected his on-screen lover’s death would be divisive.
“I think it’s going to divide,” Harington told Entertainment Weekly. “But if you track her story all the way back, she does some terrible things. She crucifies people. She burns people alive. This has been building. So, we have to say to the audience: ‘You’re in denial about this woman as well. You knew something was wrong. You’re culpable, you cheered her on.’”
He also said the deaths of Targaryen and Cersei Lannister, the two most powerful women in the land, was not sexist.
“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?” he said.
Turner, arguably the most powerful woman left alive in the finale, was upset about a petition to redo the final season that has garnered over 1.5 million signatures.
“All of these petitions and things like that—I think it’s disrespectful to the crew and the writers and the filmmakers who have worked tirelessly over 10 years and for 11 months shooting the last season. Like 50-something night shoots,” she told the New York Times. “So many people worked so, so hard on it, and for people to just rubbish it because it’s not what they want to see is just disrespectful.”
Turner noted that the show always had shock twists.
“People always have an idea in their heads of how they want a show to finish, so when it doesn’t go to their liking, they start to speak up about it and rebel,” she added. “The thing about Game of Thrones that’s always been amazing is the fact that there’s always been crazy twists and turns, right from season 1 with Ned’s beheading. So Daenerys becoming something of the Mad Queen—it shouldn’t be such a negative thing for fans. It’s a shock for sure, but I think it’s just because it hasn’t gone their way.”