The final season of Game of Thrones was its most-watched ever and the fantasy drama took home the Outstanding Drama Series award at the Emmys and set other records. At the same time, the reaction to the final season was mixed to say the least. Actress Emilia Clarke, who plays Daenerys on the HBO show, has now responded to the controversy surrounding Season 8.

At the Emmys, she told Variety that the mixed response to Season 8 was “flattering.” People passionately sharing their thoughts and opinions about Game of Thrones–whatever they might be–shows that people care, and that’s a good thing, Clarke says.

“It was profoundly flattering,” she said of the response to Season 8. “Because when someone cares that much, that they’re ready to make such a noise about how they believe how the characters should have been finished, and how the story should have gone, that’s just enormously flattering. That just shows how much everybody loved it.”


In the final season of Game of Thrones, Daenerys becomes the Mad Queen, attacking King’s Landing and killing thousands of innocent people. Jon Snow then kills her.

When Clarke initially read the script and learned the fate of Daenerys, she was taken aback. “What, what, what, WHAT!?” she told Entertainment Weekly about her thoughts upon learning the story. “Because it comes out of f**king nowhere. I’m flabbergasted. Absolutely never saw that coming.”

Kit Harington, meanwhile, said at the Emmys that he hasn’t seen any of Season 8. However, he said he’s proud of the show’s final season, which was incredibly ambitious. He also spoke about how he believed in the final season’s story arc and what happened to the characters.

“I know what it took to shoot it, and it was hard; everyone put all of their love and effort into it,” he said. “Controversy, I think for us, we knew what we were doing was right story-wise. And we knew it was right for the characters because we lived with them for 10 years. Controversy didn’t really affect us.”

Game of Thrones won a record-tying 12 Emmy Awards this year, including Outstanding Drama Series. Tyrion Lannister actor Peter Dinklage won his fourth Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor, surpassing Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul for a new record.

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