‘Game of Thrones’: Emilia Clarke’s Response to Fan Backlash Proves She Just Gets It

May 16 was a dark day for Game of Thrones fans. The season 8 finale finally made its debut on HBO. However, the series end left much to be desired. Many viewers called out showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss for rushed writing and frustrating unfulfilled prophecies. Since then, fans haven’t heard much from the show’s team. But on the night of the 2019 Primetime Emmy Awards, Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke responded to the fan backlash. And honestly, her comments are exactly what viewers needed to hear back in May.

What Clarke thinks of the fan backlash towards the ‘Game of Thrones’ finale

Emilia Clarke
Emilia Clarke | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Clarke may have been beaten out by Killing Eve‘s Jodie Comer for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Nevertheless, she’s still our Khaleesi, especially for what she told Variety on the red carpet. Although viewers didn’t fawn over the Game of Thrones series finale, Clarke revealed the backlash proves how much everyone loves the show.

“You know what?” Clarke told the publication. “It was profoundly flattering is what it was because when someone cares that much that they’re ready to make such a noise about how they believe the characters should’ve been finished and how the story should’ve gone. That’s just enormously flattering. That just shows how much everybody loved it.”

That being said, the actress also admitted the Game of Thrones team probably wouldn’t be up for more seasons of the HBO drama. “I honestly don’t think that you would have a crew or a cast alive to do another couple seasons,” she shared. “We put our absolute heart and soul, blood, sweat, and tears, muscle, brain energy, everything into this and I feel like everybody’s families are like, ‘Thank God, you’re done. We can get everyone back.'”

Fans respond to Clarke’s comments

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Following Clarke’s comments at the Emmy Awards, fans took to social media to show the actress they resonated with her. Many pointed out Clarke truly understood where fans were coming from and why the Game of Thrones finale backlash was so great.

“This is a perfect response,” a fan explained on Reddit. “I will never understand why is it SO hard for some actors to not take it so personal. Like stop, it’s not about you or your fellow cast and crew, it’s the writing. If fans didn’t care about a show there would be no outrage over it. It’s really not a hard concept to grasp.”

Meanwhile, other fans couldn’t help but compare Clarke’s statement with Sophie Turner’s interview with The New York Times, where the actress confronted fans about their “disrespectful” behavior. And while calling people out for creating petitions against the show is fair, dismissing the response as viewers being upset “because it’s not what they want to see” didn’t sit well with fans.

“No disrespect to the fans, fully understanding how audience can have their own opinions about the show and it’s ending,” one fan wrote on Twitter in response to Clarke’s statement. “Miss Emilia Clarke showing everyone how to take criticism.”

“Thank you so much Emilia for understanding the point of view of the fans and not insulting us as other members of the cast did,” another fan tweeted. “Love you, my dragon queen.”

What the ‘Game of Thrones’ cast and crew think of the controversy

Clarke may not have won Lead Actress at the Emmys, but Game of Thrones took home the award for Outstanding Drama Series. Following their win Benioff, Weiss, and Kit Harington addressed the fan response backstage.

“It’s not really up for us to decide what people feel about it. We hope that they watch it and like it in the future. There’s no way to tell,” Weiss said, per Variety. “The landscape of television changes so quickly; it’s changing right now as we’re standing here. It’s so gratifying to have reached this many people. We hope the people who are a little bit too young will grow up to watch it as well.”

Benioff also shared the ending was always meant to be. “It was always going to be Bran as the king at the end,” the showrunner said.

Harington then explained the backlash made no difference to him. “I haven’t seen the final season,” the actor revealed. “But I know what it took to shoot it. It was hard and everyone put all of their love and effort into it. We knew what we were doing was right, story-wise. We knew that it was right for the characters because we’d lived with them for 10 years. Controversy for us didn’t really affect us.”

No matter how you felt about the Game of Thrones finale, Clarke’s entire response proves she appreciates the fans just as much as the hard work put in by the show’s cast and crew. And of course, that appreciation is returned. Regardless, fans now await Clarke’s next project — and maybe even score that Emmy she so clearly deserves.

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