What was once unabashed hype for the final season of Game of Thrones has slowly trickled into lashes of criticism at showrunners Benioff and Weiss. Inconsistencies of plot development and an inability to contend seriously with the story’s fantasy elements have unnerved book readers and audience members alike. Consequences don’t matter like they once did on the show, and characters act out of pocket with little explanation or build-up as to why.
So we wonder: How does the story’s architect, George R.R. Martin, feel about all this? In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Martin opined that he has “mixed feelings” about the show concluding his fantasy epic before he can with his books.
“It’s been an incredible ride,” he said back in March. “And almost all of it has been great. Obviously, I wished I finished these books sooner so the show hadn’t gotten ahead of me. I never anticipated that.”
Other public comments from the author has also hinted at some struggle internally between what has happened with the show as of late. When discussing collaboration in an April interview with Fast Company, Martin said working with a team can be “very exhilarating, but it can also be traumatic. Sometimes their creative vision and your creative vision don’t match. Then you get the famous ‘creative differences’ thing that leads to a lot of conflict.”
But perhaps the clearest suggestion of Martin’s feelings regarding Game of Thrones’ conclusion involves earlier comments he made about the endings of Lost and Battlestar Galactica. When Game of Thrones first debuted back in 2011, Martin did a heavy press tour to promote the show. And a reoccurring topic of conversation for Martin at this time was how much he loathed Lost’s finale.
“We watched [Lost] every week trying to figure it out, and as it got deeper and deeper I kept saying, ‘They better have something good in mind for the end. This better pay off here.’ And then I felt so cheated when we got to the conclusion,” he told The New Yorker.
“I want to give them something terrific,” Martin said of finishing his books. “What if I fuck it up at the end? What if I do a Lost? Then they’ll come after me with pitchforks and torches.”
But Martin was even more upset about how Battlestar Galactica ended.
At the risk of starting another ‘feud,’ let me say that I was a huge fan of Ron Moore’s revival of Battlestar Galactica (though not of the original, which most of us in the SF community still call Battlestar Ponderosa), but I hated the ending of that series even more than I hated the ending of Lost,” he said.
“But I still think Battlestar Galactica (the new one) was a superior achievement. Yes, the ending was terrible (though, as a caveat, I am not sure that there is ANY way to resolve that premise in a way that I’d like, and god knows the way the new show ended was infinitely preferable to what happened with the original Battlestar Ponderosa) … but those great early episodes don’t become any less great because later episodes sucked,” he added.
We’ll let you read between the lines of how Martin might feel about Game of Thrones as it ends its epic run.