Spoilers ahead! Yesterday I wrote about disappointed progressive fans of Game of Thrones who were upset that Daenerys had devolved from a forward-thinking heroine to a murderous monster burning women and children alive with her dragon. I sort of thought that would be the end of it. After all, it’s just a TV show and one that will be officially over in four more days when the final episode airs. But it seems the fans aren’t quite ready to let it go. In fact, this looks a lot like the “toxic fandom” the media loves to talk about.
A week ago someone started a petition on Change.org demanding that the entire season be rewritten and remade. “David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have proven themselves to be woefully incompetent writers when they have no source material (i.e. the books) to fall back on,” the petition reads. It continues, “This series deserves a final season that makes sense. Subvert my expectations and make it happen, HBO!”
And that’s it. There’s not much there in the way of argument, just a raw demand for a do-over. A few hours ago it hadn’t reached 50,000 signatures but now it is being reported by several outlets and it’s already up to 112,000. The new goal is 150,000 signatures and at the rate it’s going they’ll have that in a couple more hours. [Updated below. We’re now up to 425,000 signatures.]
This can’t be the way the showrunners hoped the final season would go. This is the television equivalent of a vote of no confidence. It was announced yesterday that Benioff and Weiss would be making Disney’s next Star Wars movie, the first in a planned trilogy that will follow the release of Episode IX. Given the petition, I wonder if Disney is having second thoughts about handing one of its flagship properties to these guys.
Each person who signs the petition has a space to explain why. Here’s some of what people are saying:
- Season 8 is a real mess
- I think many characters, but especially Danaerys, were very under-served. The issue with season 8 is that it does not feel narratively satisfying. It also feels rushed, and poorly thought out.
- I’m signing because… They botched it!
- It needs to be rewritten. Arya should have never killed the whitewalker that was Jons kill. Arya’s kill should be Cersi with Jaime”s face.
- This season has been shit and we deserve better
- Daenerys entire character arc was completely ruined. She could of easily flown the Red Keep and killed Cersei without harming any innocents, and would be feared and loved. If the intention was to make her the villain there needs to be more foreshadowing than executing two military officers, and hearing “bells”.
- I need it changed – it’s just waste of 7 years of my life.
- Hodor had better lines than dialogues in season 8
- Daenerys would never kill innocent people.
- I WANT A BETTER VERSION
- Yes, I understand that Dany is a Targaryen, but murdering innocent children, women and men is NOT who she is and I seriously doubt that this George RR Martin’s plan for her. Granted I know we can’t say that for sure as we’re still waiting for him to finish the novels, but seriously though… We watched Dany PROVE since season 1 that she is NOT her father or her Targaryen ancestors before her. Does she have traces/elements of her father within her? Of course! But since season 1, she has shown us that she is a good, just, yet firm ruler. For her to “go crazy and completely unhinged” like that is NOT WHO SHE IS! This is the same woman who locked 2 of her dragons in a cave for killing ONE child! For her to go from that, to freeing slaves to murdering innocent people is once again… NOT WHO SHE IS!
- Make it less stereotypical and tropish. And maybe hire at least one woman to help you rewrite that sexist mess.
There’s lots more like this. I’m barely scratching the surface of the outrage and disappointment. In fact, about a quarter or more of the statements are in Spanish but the sentiments appear to be the same. And it’s not just the fans who are apparently disappointed. Someone put together this montage of cast members of the show telling interviewers how they feel about season 8 and all of them seem aware it’s not very good:
I’ve watched every episode this season (except the last one that gets released this Sunday). The fans are correct about it seeming a bit rushed. The Daenerys thing had been telegraphed by the show for a long time but she went from crossing the line on a couple of occasions to murdering an entire city with not much of anything in the way of immediate motivation. I was making fun of the disappointed progressives blaming this on the patriarchy but to be fair, if the writing was more comprehensible people wouldn’t be grasping at feminist straws.
It sort of reminds me of the awful, terrible, no-good Star Wars sequels in which it was a foregone conclusion that Anakin Skywalker would go bad and yet when he did it felt a bit random and not very convincing. I mean, I get he’s upset about terrible things happening to his mom but killing little kids with a lightsaber? It’s the same here. Daenerys went from a 4 on the unhinged scale to an 11 and it really doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Anyway, it’s just a TV show and even the shows I really love (GOT isn’t one of them) don’t owe anyone anything beyond a bit of entertainment. For those looking for something good to watch, I highly recommend the HBO mini-series that just started called Chernobyl. It’s a dramatization of real events. I’ve seen the first two episodes and so far it’s both riveting and chilling like a good horror movie. Here’s a trailer:
Update: The petition passed the 150,000 goal (I updated the headline). They are now going for 200,000.
Update 5/16: The petition is now at 425,000 and climbing toward half a million. That’s a lot of angry fans.