Game of Thrones was one of the best TV shows out there. It was a hit with fans and at the Emmys, winning more than any other drama series. That’s why it was a real when shame the series finale ended up being so polarizing series fans and even the franchise’s author George R.R. Martin wouldn’t pick it as the best finale in TV history. Now, Martin is opening up about how “toxicity is growing” among TV and movie fandoms, and I’m flashing back to that rather disappointing season eight finale.
On social media, it’s apparently more fun for some to send hate toward a movie or TV show online instead of creating glowing posts about it. Game of Thrones’ George R.R. Martin mentioned in his blog post that when he’s felt bogged down by the world’s problems, he tends to find more solace in books than movies or television as fan culture is toxic and “growing.” The author explained why he thinks this, writing:
In films and television shows… though even there, toxicity is growing. It used to be fun talking about our favorite books and films, and having spirited debates with fans who saw things different… but somehow in this age of social media, it is no longer enough to say 'I did not like book X or film Y, and here’s why.' Now social media is ruled by anti-fans who would rather talk about the stuff they hate than the stuff they love, and delight in dancing on the graves of anyone whose film has flopped.
George R.R. Martin’s reflections on social media make me think about when fans were enraged by the Game of Thrones series finale. An angry fan petition reached one million signatures for HBO to re-do the final season. Of course, realistically, that wasn’t going to happen as a whole season of an epic fantasy series takes a lot of time and work. People also went as far as to google how to “cancel HBO” which led to a drop in subscribers. Just like in the wars in Westeros, the power of the internet really could rally a whole army to hate something.
If you need a refresher about what happened in the final episode of Game of Thrones, brace yourselves. The one who ultimately rules The Seven Kingdoms is Bran Stark after Jon Snow killed Daenerys for her destructive nature. Sansa was named Queen in the North, Arya went on a voyage towards the unknown parts of Westeros, and Jon Snow was sent back to where he started on the Night's Watch. Tyrion became hand to Bran the Broken.
As a Game of Thrones fan myself, the most disappointing parts of the finale came from Bran ultimately being the ruler of The Seven Kingdoms. I was sure (and hoping) that Jon Snow would have sat on the throne. It would have been a great character transition to see him go from being ridiculed as Ned Stark’s “bastard” to rising on top and being the ruler the people of Westeros needed.
I, along with many fans, was disappointed by the ending, and as I mentioned, things got aggressive online. So, the author of the GOT series' comments about toxic fandom makes sense, because he's witnessed it firsthand.
As George R.R. Martin said, it’s sad that we live in a world where people love to take their hatred for a show or movie out online. It’s understandable not wanting to get involved in that type of toxicity. With the possibility of Kit Harington coming back as Jon Snow for an HBO spinoff series, hopefully, this show will get more love than its predecessor. To relive classic episodes of Game of Thrones, they’re available to watch on your Max subscription.