I get it. Fans are angry. They're not okay with Game of Thrones ending the way it did. Critics are also unhappy. Lucy Mangan from The Guardian wrote that the season "has been a rushed business." Another critic in The Sun wrote, “I want to find the writers, grab a bell, ring it at them repeatedly while chanting 'shame' over and over again. Perhaps then they'll get the message.” The fans didn't want a hastened end to many of their favourite characters, storylines they had invested in. There was even a petition that garnered over 1 million signatures that asked for the showrunners to remake the show. Spinoffs then? Historically that hasn't fared well for most shows and has more often than not backfire. The real truth behind the anger and the intense reactions from fans about the show's end was more to do with how invested they have been in Game of Thrones for almost a decade.
According to The Hollywood Reporter's piece on how it became one of the most watched episodes in HBO's history, HBO drew "13.6 million viewers for its initial airing of the series finale Sunday night. Adding in replays and early streaming, that figure climbs to 19.3 million. Both figures are records not just for Game of Thrones, but for HBO's entire history".
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau said, "For people that love the show, there is no ending that’s a good ending because it’s the ending and you don’t want it to end". Coster-Waldau was speaking to The Hollywood Reporter when he made that remark and he couldn't have been more right about this. For years fans have invested in their characters, in their plot arcs, hoping for Dany to rise as the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms only to realize that she hasn't fallen far from the fire-breathing tree. Was it hastened? Perhaps. Would there have been another end that would have befitted more? I don't think so.
The very idea that the rise and the ascension to power can corrupt even the kindest of hearts is a reality, a decided political reality that the show had always been very loyal to. Daenerys Targaryen's disarming charm was like a sleight of hand, and I've always seen something deeply sinister in the way she conducted her governing matters. In some ways, her rise to power was more dangerous than Cersei's. Though both women died at the end failing to fulfil their ambitions as leaders, ultimately killing a lot of people in the process, this is what blind ambition and a thirst for power do. It kills The moment Jon drives a dagger through Dany's heart is when you truly realize what the price of power is. Dany's speech was beginning to sound more and more like a fascist's. As Tyrion had reasoned to Jon, her ascension to power was their own doing - what would happen if she became more powerful than she already was? Jon was always struggling internally perhaps.
And as the many critics have rightly pointed out, here is what the showrunners have missed out on - had there been another season in 2018 that could have explored the pitfalls of loving the Mother of Dragons, Jon's decision may not have been as out of the blue. But the end would have been what it was. Dany's madness for power was only growing. Defeating the Night King was something Dany would have used more to her benefit than, say, Arya, who had no use for the Iron Throne. The episode had some stunning imagery: Tyrion looking at the dead bodies of his siblings, Jon walking out of the wildlings into the forest, Drogon's disappearance into the wintery skies and Sansa's coronation as the Queen in the North. The only legitimate criticism for the finale is how it was hurried. The rest is merely fans reacting in grief.