The Game of Thrones finale is the worst rated episode in the show’s entire history, and season 8 is was the success HBO dreamed it would be. The ending works for the show, although many fans were unhappy with what happened to their favorite characters. Emilia Clarke, who played Daenerys Targaryen on the show for so many years, already went on record to say what she’d love to see in a Game of Thrones reshoot, upon finding out about that Game of Thrones petition that some of her colleagues criticized with rather harsh words. But she wasn’t the only one. It turns out that other actors who worked on the show were displeased with where the show was heading, at least initially.
Both Maisie Williams (Arya) and Lena Headey (Cersei), wanted different endings for their characters at first, and that included a potential scene between the two where Arya ends up killing Cersei.
“I just wanted to be on set with Lena again, she’s good fun,” Williams told Entertainment Weekly. “And I wanted Arya to kill Cersei even if it means [Arya] dies too. Even up to the point when Cersei’s with Jaime I thought [while reading the script], ‘He’s going to whip off his face [and reveal its Arya],’ and they’re both going to die. I thought that’s what Arya’s drive has been.”
But the actress also acknowledged that the more she thought of it, the more her ending made sense, with her character having discovered “all these human emotions that Arya hasn’t felt for a long time” that are worth living for.
Headey also said she hoped she would have a scene with Arya in the final season. “I lived that fantasy until I read the script,” the actress said. “There were chunky scenes, and it was nothing that I had dreamt about. It was a bit of come down, and you have to accept that it wasn’t to be. There is something poetic about the way it all happens in the end with her and Jaime.”
In a different EW interview, she explained how dying in Jaime’s arms does make sense for her character. Her reaction was “mixed” at first, as she wanted Cersei “to have some big piece or fight with somebody.”
“The more we [Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau] talked about it, the more it seemed like the perfect end for her,” Headey said. “They came into the world together, and now they leave together.”
It was probably clear that not everybody would be happy about the Game of Thrones ending even before the final season aired. It’s impossible to meet every fan’s needs and write the perfect ending for a show of this magnitude. And the actors themselves are among the biggest Game of Thrones fans out there, the kind of fans who have a lot of inside knowledge about their characters, as well as a lot of love for them.
Back then, there was hope the finale would be satisfying, no matter what would happen, and no matter how divisive it might turn out to be. Great writing, even lacking any new material from George R.R. Martin, could have delivered an epic end to this story.
Sadly, that never happened and season 8 turned out to be a huge letdown. The showrunners rushed through scenes to get to the finale, making several indisputable mistakes along the way. While we can forgive some minor things, there are just too many continuity errors and plot choices that don’t do the story any justice. We have no time to appreciate what these characters have just had to deal with and to explore what the new events mean for their development. The meaningful dialogue that made the audience turn both heroes and villains into fan favorites was completely gone. Nothing — not the actors, the cinematography, the visual effects, or the music — can make up for the glaring problems with the script.