With just one episode to go in its eighth and final season, many Game of Thrones fans at this point are so dissatisfied with the direction this season has taken — with the gripes mostly focused on the writing that’s now moved beyond the scope of George R.R. Martin’s source material — that well over half of a million of those fans have taken a pretty dramatic step.
As of the early morning hours on Thursday, those fans had helped a Change.org petition begging HBO to remake Game of Thrones’ final season with new writers surpass its goal of 300,000 signatures (As of late Thursday, the signatures have surpassed 830,000 on the way to a new goal of 1 million).
“David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have proven themselves to be woefully incompetent writers when they have no source material (i.e. the books) to fall back on,” the petition begins, pulling no punches. There’s not much explanation for the petition beyond that intro, with the purpose being right there in its title: “Remake Game of Thrones Season 8 with competent writers.”
“I don’t want these two anywhere near Star Wars either,” one signer notes on the petition, a reference to the recent news that Weiss and Benioff will write and produce the next Star Wars movie coming in 2022. “This was abysmal.”
The petition doesn’t single out any specific beef with the plot, acting or writing, but the fan gripes certainly intensified in a big way after the most recent episode, titled The Bells. It depicted, among other unexpected and divisive plot choices, Daenerys Targaryen’s near-complete transformation into the Mad Queen who uses her remaining dragon to scorch King’s Landing and kill countless innocent civilians — even after the ringing of bells that were supposed to signal a capitulation.
Of course, it’s all but certain this petition has absolutely no chance of bringing about the goal it seeks. One thing to keep in mind is that Martin himself has given Weiss and Benioff — who wrote and directed this coming Sunday’s final-ever episode — the high-level plot points detailing how the whole story is going to end up, once the final two books in the series are done and published. As for the show’s talent, meanwhile, they seem to be taking the intense fan reaction in stride.
Pilou Asbæk, the actor who played Euron Greyjoy before Jamie Lannister got the better of him in a swordfight in Episode 5, said he welcomes the reaction — all of it, from one extreme to the other. “The diversity of the fans and the passion they bring to the table is admirable, and you want to have all of it,” he said in an interview with TheWrap.
“You want to have the ones that go, ‘This is the greatest show ever made,’ and you want to have the people that go, ‘I hate this show. I’ve always hated it. I want the books now.’