Melisandre and Daenerys were severely let down by their character arcstwitter/lavoixdunord

Game of Thrones has been one of the most iconic shows of the decade, if not our generation. I received the first two seasons for my 14th birthday, and I’ve been hooked ever since. We matured on this show, ageing with many of the younger protagonists. We were invested in it – I certainly was, in some of the key years of my growing up. Surely it isn’t outrageous to have expected better?

It was a harsh lesson of the disappointments of reality, and one with wider relevance. The betrayal of GoT by its creators, who sold it out for profit and opportunism, speaks to wider issues of artistic commitment.

Fans like myself are acutely aware that showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss rushed the project to hurry into Star Wars. Don’t get me wrong, I love Star Wars. But the showrunners racing from one project to another so suddenly, pre-emptively abandoning it to chase future profit, reeks of something sour and shallow. How can we be expected to believe that creators love their show if they can cast it aside so easily? How can we have faith in the creators of art when it becomes so obviously about profit?

A creator needn’t be chained to their work in order to prove their sincerity. Benioff and Weiss could have easily handed the reins to a trusted peer if they themselves didn’t wish to continue the project. They could have advised from afar and made sure their art was concluded properly, without the strain of full responsibility themselves.

Instead they decided to hastily conclude, keeping the franchise and its profits, while reaching out and transferring their energies to new, more lucrative projects at the expense of GoT. This seems less about moving to new art and more about moving to new profit.

I can’t call this justified. An author trusted his imagination in their hands. Actors contributed years of their career to characters, whose arcs were carelessly crushed. Viewers, many of whom invested since youth, were betrayed. What about justice to the art itself? Deliberation and care were gone. Fitting development curbed, endings rushed. Nuanced writing, loyalty to the logistics and truths of this gargantuan world of dreams, our warlike Westeros – abandoned.

“Your voice matters – do not be shamed from using it”

I can think of a handful of scenes, even mere lines of the show in its infancy, which had more depth and feeling than the entire concluding series. Think of Robert and Cersei discussing their marriage, conveying decades worth of depth in minutes. Brienne and Jaime in that bathtub, vulnerable and hauntingly revealing. Tyrion on the witness stand for Joffrey’s murder, a man against the world. This was art; this was a throne on which the game was played well, the kingdom ruled wisely. But the crown has fallen.

Are fans too demanding? If it is demanding to desire that art maintains its integrity, that a creator stays true to their creation, then let me be demanding. If I am entitled for wishing creators, as wealthy and secure as Weiss and Benioff, think of more than profit, then let me be entitled.

Should we let go? I say not. We should be able to criticise a lack of creative integrity, especially if we want to prevent this becoming acceptable. Let art be given the care it deserves, let creators stay faithful, and let fans be able to say: “this work was done well”.

It should not be considered a point of weakness to be unable to “move on”, to “get over it”, when art is mishandled like this. Diverting our criticisms to ‘over-demanding’ fans draws the focus away from the reason for their complaints: a very real betrayal of art, or a failure on the part of creators. This extends beyond GoT into wider media. It is patronising to dismiss the legitimate complaints of audiences on grounds of excess emotion, or too high expectations.


Mountain View

Surviving the 'male world' of Westeros

While it’s true that creators should look to their art above public opinion, well-done art generally elicits good public responses. Audiences don’t complain for the sake of it; they are responding to art delivered to a public sphere, which carries an inherent expectation of response and engagement.

No one will have a perfect analysis, but they do have a right to respond. It’s unfair to dismiss audience feedback as lacking in thought or value, nor is it fair that emotion should undermine a response. Your voice matters – do not be shamed from using it.