HBO’s Game of Thrones was close to becoming one of the most successful series in television history – until the final season was broadcast. The series finale not only garnered dismay from the fans but the critics too found it lacking. Not to mention over one million signs on a petition seeking a do-over for the eighth season – the show’s conclusion received a mixed bag of reaction.
"There's no doubt this season has been a rushed business. It has wasted opportunities, squandered goodwill and failed to do justice to its characters or its actors," wrote Lucy Mangan in The Guardian. "But," she continued, "the finale just about delivered. When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die. Overall, I think, it won."
Erik Kain of Forbes thought the finale’s flaws were mainly born out of rush. He added that Khaleesi’s storyline in the final season was "far too hurried to work properly, but given the right amount of time and TLC, it could have been one of TV's most incredible character arcs."
"No matter the flaws in this season and last, no matter the various bad decisions over the years... it's still one of the best TV shows ever made,” he concluded. Writing in The Sun, Nicola Agius expressed his disappointment. “What an absolute anticlimax!” he wrote. "HBO, didn't you watch this series before agreeing to air it? I mean, you had two years! 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.”
"On a brighter note, at least I'm not sad Game of Thrones is over any more. Thank you season eight for making this goodbye so much easier than it should have been,” he added. The Independent’s Nick Holton wasn’t far behind. "For fans who have devoted themselves to the preceding 72 episodes with a fervour that rivals the biggest franchises in cinema and literary history, it doesn't deliver that crucial coup de grâce of making you feel, making you care.”
"A few years ago, it would've been hard to imagine watching the final shot of Game of Thrones without the twinkle of a tear in the eye, but, tonight, that was the reality,” he wrote. But the Game of Thrones makers found a friend in Stephen King. "There's been a lot of negativity about the windup, but I think it's just because people don't want ANY ending," he wrote. "But you know what they say: All good things..."