George R.R. Martin “doesn’t understand” hatred for Game of Thrones end

Image: HBO/Game of Thrones
Image: HBO/Game of Thrones /

It’s been three years since Game of Thrones wrapped up with quite possibly the most controversial ending in the history of TV. Daenerys Targaryen burning down King’s Landing, Bran Stark becoming king…many fans were deeply displeased with how the show wrapped up, and they wanted you to know it.

A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin has mostly kept silent on the matter, but he recently weighted in to The Independent, which talked to him at Beastly Books, the bookstore he owns in his home city of Santa Fe. “I don’t understand how people can come to hate so much something that they once loved,” Martin said. “If you don’t like a show, don’t watch it! How has everything become so toxic?”

It’s important to note that Martin doesn’t seem to be objecting to people disliking the final season — if it wasn’t your thing, cool — but to the vitriol spread online, which I get. I mean, if you don’t like something, you don’t like it, but there was a lot of anger and hate mixed in with the online reaction to Game of Thrones season 8. There were conspiracy theories and personal attacks directed at the showrunners. All of that is hot nonsense, and while it’s to be expected by anybody who’s spent a lot of time on the internet and understands that it often functions as a release valve for people’s worst unfiltered impulses, I can understand how an older school guy like Martin might be flummoxed by it.

George R.R. Martin starts to get it: “I’ve got to think social media has something to do with it”

And it sounds like Martin has been flummoxed more and more lately. “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power isn’t even on yet, but if you follow what’s going on online, the controversy about it is like World War II. They’re dropping atomic bombs on each other,” he continued. “You hear controversies about some of the Marvel shows and the Marvel movies, certainly about the DC characters. It used to be if you were a fan of Star Trek, you liked Star Trek. Now it seems like half the people who call themselves Star Trek fans hate Star Trek, and the Star Wars fans hate Star Wars, and the Tolkien fans hate Rings of Power. What the hell? Now maybe it’s because it’s changing, but as a writer you’d go crazy if you didn’t change it somehow. You want to tell new stories, not tell the same stories over and over again.

"I was a big Marvel fan, and I tried some of those Marvel shows that were on in the Seventies, The [Incredible] Hulk with Bill Bixby and [TV movies about] Captain America. I tried them once and I didn’t watch them again because I didn’t like them very much, but I didn’t go crazy and start writing hate mail. I’ve got to think social media has something to do with it."

File that last bit under the column marked “duh.” I think it’s kinda fun to watch Martin catch up on the nature of the internet. Where will he go from here?

George R.R. Martin optimistic about House of the Dragon

We may find out after HBO airs its upcoming Game of Thrones prequel show House of the Dragon, which is set some 200 years before the original series. Martin is nominally involved with the new show and has seen some advance episodes, which puts him in the mind of watching Game of Thrones for the first time years ago. “It was magical,” the author said. “It was like: here are my characters, they’ve come to life. They’re saying the things they said. The scene is pretty much as I imagined it when I wrote it. There’s nothing like that.”

"We’ll see if they accept House of the Dragon as they did Game of Thrones. It’s different characters. It’s a different time. It’s the same world. It’s a different story. This profession is a gambler’s profession. You tell your story, and then you see whether they’re standing up and applauding or whether they’ve brought some rotten fruit to the theatre that they’re going to now pelt you with. If it is rotten fruit, you’ve just got to duck and run backstage and invent another story to tell the next time. That’s what I do. I’m a storyteller."

House of the Dragon premieres on HBO and HBO Max on August 21.

Next. Every episode of Stranger Things season 4, reviewed and explained. dark

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