Casey Bloys, the programming president of HBO, has said that it would have been impossible to please all fans with the finale of Game of Thrones.
The show aired its last ever episode on Sunday night in the US, and as a culmination of eight seasons, it left many viewers angry.
Spoilers for the season finale of Game of Thrones follow...
It found Emilia Clarke's Daenerys Targaryen, a heroic and inspirational figure throughout the show, murdering thousands of innocent people in a murderous rampage, a plot not given the delicate touch it deserved.
It also found Brandon Stark being handed the leadership of Westeros in a painfully flippant manner, leaving many feeling betrayed by a series they once loved.
Speaking to Deadline about the backlash, Bloys said: “To tell you the truth, for a show this big and this sprawling and for a show that has this passionate a fan base, I don’t think there is any way that all fans would’ve been happy.
“I think based on online reaction, which you do have to take with a grain of salt, it does seem split and I think that’s about right — some people are going to love it, some people are going to hate it. But the point is, everybody is feeling really passionate about it.”
Passionate is one way to describe it.
“I think everybody had hopes for where the characters might go or should go,” he went on.
“But [showrunners] Dan [Weiss] and David [Benioff] have had a plan for how they wanted the show to go for a long time, and they did it the way they thought fit as creators.
“I think they did a spectacular job. They landed a big plane, which was not easy. You are never going to keep everybody happy, but I don’t think that’s what they were trying to do.
“The fascination with that, the divisive reaction to the finale, all of it is a testament to how much people were invested and engaged with the show.
“Some people have very strong negative options and obviously some have positive opinions. But I take all of this as a really great sign of what the show has been able to do to stay in the cultural conversation to have people passionately debate the characters and the storylines. That’s what you want a show to do.”
He also spoke about the Game of Thrones prequel, penned by British writer Jane Goldman, which will start filming in Belfast in two weeks' time.
“I think Game of Thrones is a fantastic property but I don’t want to just be the home of prequels and sequels and all that stuff. I think you want to be really careful about how you do it,” he said.
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“That’s why we’ve been working on the Jane pilot for a long time, because we want to do it right. I think the last thing fans would want is something that was rushed out just to make it to air.”
But as far as dumbfounding viewers with series finales goes, HBO has previous in this regard.
Back in 2007, viewers were incensed at the series finale of The Sopranos – many actually checking the back of their TVs to see if something had gone wrong with their technology.
Had it been aired today, it would perhaps have been similarly pilloried online.
In hindsight, however, some have called the way the show went out 'a masterstroke'.
Whether history will be as kind to Game of Thrones remains to be seen.