Damon Lindelof, the executive producer behind Lost and the writer of Promethues and World War Z, is currently busy doing press for Season 2 of The Leftovers, his HBO show. As part of its Fall Preview, Entertainment Weekly sat down with the Lindelof to talk about The Leftovers, but it ended up that he also had a lot of passionate opinions on Game of Thrones, too.
Lindelof was a fan of the books before the show ever aired, but he only got through the first three—A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, and A Storm of Swords—before stopping, because he wanted the chance to experience the show’s many surprises unspoiled.
"I felt that rush of book reader’s superiority— “I knew that it was going to happen and nobody else did.” But it was also intermingled with jealousy for the people who did experience it first onscreen. That’s where I stopped reading the books."
But now, that “reader’s superiority” is all but gone, even for people like me who have read the books multiples times over. Things really reached a point of no return in “Hardhome,” a Season 5 episode that Lindelof had a lot of praise for.
"I just sat there with my mouth hanging open. I’m literally watching five minutes of silence—that whole moment where Jon Snow is going off into the water and looking at The Night’s King and he’s doing his “Come at me, bro” moment. And I was just like: “There’s nothing better on television, right now, than this.”"
Lindelof also said that, in order to have excellent episodes like “Hardhome,” it may be necessary to have episodes that are mainly setup, or even ones that “make [the viewer] go, “I don’t know, I don’t know about this…”” It’s no surprise that “Hardhome” was Lindelof’s favorite episode of Season 5, but I disagree with him that one superb episode makes a great season. In my opinion, Game of Thrones took a bit of a nosedive in Season 5, but not for the same reasons generally discussed on social media.
Some bloggers vowed not to watch the show after a couple of the season’s more controversial scenes, like Sansa’s rape or Shireen’s death. Lindelof, who quit Twitter last year, had some very harsh words for people who vowed to stop tuning in.
"“No, you’re not. Don’t be an ass.” That’s like my 8-year-old saying, “We’re not best friends anymore.” When I see a blogger—thank God I’m not on Twitter anymore, because I get into all sorts of trouble—or a critic, or a recapper say, “I’m done with your show,” if I were running that show I would call them up and say, “You are not allowed to watch my show anymore. I’m going to f–king alert everybody in your life to watch you. I’m going to hire a private eye to tap your media consumption, and you better not ever watch it again. Are you sure you want to do this?“"
Remind me never to say a bad word about The Leftovers. In all seriousness, his analysis of the trend of bloggers vowing to swear off a show built on controversial scenes because it got too controversial is pretty spot on.
Lindelof also had some things to say about what he calls “a clickbait-y media culture.” The former Lost showrunner is of the opinion that today’s entertainment media exists almost solely to gripe and pick shows apart. My concern is that Lindelof may be too quick to claim that an article is clickbait—just because a blog or website is critical of a show or particular book doesn’t mean that the analysis is “clickbait-y.”
Finally, Lindelof discussed his relationship with George R.R. Martin, who had previously aired some disgruntled comments about the Lost finale.
"There is a schadenfreude aspect of me saying, “Well, I kind of hope Game of Thrones sucks at the end, too, so they’ll know it feels to have somebody say that to you.” But I don’t think the Lost finale sucks. And I want Game of Thrones to end awesome, because I’m a huge fan, and I have every reason to believe that it is going to end awesomely."
I was a huge Lost fan, but if Game of Thrones ends with Jon Snow laying in the snow looking up at the sky, ala Jack at the end of Lost, then…oh crap, it’s already happening isn’t it?