Emilia Clarke Says She Understands Why Fans Hated Game Of Thrones’ Ending

Game of Thrones Jon Snow
Image via HBO

In the now over two years since Game of Thrones came to its hemorrhage-inducingly unsatisfying conclusion, it’s still a sore point for many people who spent the best part of a decade emotionally invested in the journey that completely fell apart at the last hurdle. One of those at the epicenter of the discourse, Emilia Clarke, has expressed understanding with those who felt let down by the ending.

Clarke, of course, portrayed Daenerys Targaryen throughout the show’s eight seasons, and the character’s 11th-hour transformation from noble and well-meaning hero trying to right the world’s wrongs, to an unhinged dictator ruling with fear and subjugation was a major factor in people’s dissatisfaction. While appearing on the Happy Sad Confused podcast to promote her comic book MOM: Mother of Madness, she was asked about the reaction, and had this to say.

“I get why people were pissed. I totally get it. But me being the actor, you can’t do justice to the character that you’ve poured your blood, sweat and tears into for a decade without getting on the same page. Do you know what I mean? So like, I’m not going to be there being like, ‘Fine, I’ll do the scene, whatever. So pissed.’

“You have to turn up. You have to turn up and you have to… because why? Because you’re doing it for you and you’re doing it for her and you’re doing it for the show and you’re doing it for the storytelling. So, I’m an actor. I get given a story and I need to tell that story. Yes, I have a certain amount of autonomy over what flavor that might take, but the editor decides what it looks like, and the writer decides what I’m saying, so you’ve just got to go in and try and give it as much truth and honesty and of yourself as you possibly can.”

Despite the well-documented issues that the final episodes of the show had, Clarke has evidently chosen to remain diplomatic about the situation. While some comments she made prior to the season’s airing made it clear in retrospect she was well aware of its narrative shortcomings long before the general public unleashed the full force of the internet at them, she’s decided that taking the high road is the best option.

As she says, as an actor she has only so much control of how her performance is perceived, and to treat her time in front of the camera with anything other than professionalism and instead play her part with the contempt she may well feel would be a betrayal of just how much of herself she put into it.

The subject of the ending of Game of Thrones will always make people mad whenever it’s brought up, but at the very least one person involved has made her peace with it.