It’s been nearly a year since HBO’s monumentally popular series Game of Thrones ended its eighth and final season. But time and space away from the show have apparently not helped cool GoT alum Emilia Clarke‘s mixed feelings about how the show resolved itself.
Instead, Clarke, who played lead character Daenerys Targaryen for all eight seasons, is now ready to open up about the series finale which aired back in May 2019. At the time, the series finale was not well-received by fans after sitting through an already shaky final season. With Daenerys ultimately murdered mere moments before reclaiming the Iron Throne by her nephew-lover Jon Snow (Kit Harington), fans — myself included — felt like Dany had been done so, so dirty by series showrunners and finale writer/director duo David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Complaints of mishandling Dany’s character, making her do things that felt out of character, or betraying what the show had portrayed her to be by so casually offing her with the biggest backstab in recent TV history were lobbed at Benioff and Weiss after the finale aired.
Now, speaking with UK news outlet The Sunday Times, it sure sounds like Clarke has very similar feelings as the fans’ — and even felt some type of way about it before she filmed the final episode. First hitting on Jon Snow’s moment of betrayal to Dany, Clarke shared, “Yeah, I felt for her. I really felt for her. And yeah, was I annoyed that Jon Snow didn’t have to deal with something? He got away with murder — literally.”
She went on to tell The Sunday Times, “I knew how I felt [about the ending] when I first read it, and I tried, at every turn, not to consider too much what other people might say. But I did always consider what the fans might think — because we did it for them, and they were the ones who made us successful, so it’s just polite, isn’t it?” and continued later, saying, “It was all about the set pieces. I think the sensational nature of the show was, possibly, given a huge amount of airtime because that’s what makes sense.”
Clarke also admitted she was sad Dany didn’t get a “happy ending” and shared the she thought the final season of Game of Thrones might have been more satisfying if it had lasted more than six episodes: “We could have spun it out for a little longer.”
This interview marks a rare moment of candor from Clarke, who has publicly maintained a pragmatic position on the goodness or badness of the Game of Thrones series finale. Meanwhile, her Game of Thrones co-star, Kit Harington, defended the show’s decision to off Dany, in an interview with EW. At the time, Harington remarked, “I think [the finale is] going to divide. But if you track her story all the way back, [Daenerys] 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.'”