Game of Thrones’ Isaac Hempstead Wright and Liam Cunningham Respond to Finale Backlash: ‘They’re Entitled’

What can you do? Game of Thrones actors Isaac Hempstead Wright and Liam Cunningham aren’t surprised by the backlash to the HBO series’ finale. 

“We were expecting there to be backlash,” Wright, 20, told Us Weekly exclusively at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday, September 22. “It’s so, so difficult to end something as divisive and as popular and as huge as Game of Thrones. The moment we got those scripts we knew … well, the moment we knew it was ending, we knew not everyone would be pleased.”  

Game of Thrones ended in May after eight seasons. The finale saw Bran Stark (Wright) become the King of Westeros after Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) was crushed to death by a crumbling building in King’s Landing and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) was killed by Jon Snow (Kit Harington). The finale proved to be controversial for fans who expected the throne to go to someone more involved in Westeros’ politics, such as Bran’s sister Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner). 

Game of Thrones Isaac Hempstead Wright and Liam Cunningham Respond to Finale Backlash Emmys 2019
(L-R) Liam Cunningham and Isaac Hempstead Wright arrive at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

For Cunningham, who played Davos Seaworth in the series, backlash was inevitable regardless of how the show ended.

“You have to remember human nature and that people had a relationship with this show,” the actor, 58, told Us. “It didn’t become a cultural phenomenon for no reason. When people are in love with something and you turn around and go, ‘We’re going now,’ they get upset and quite rightly.” 

Though most of Cunnigham’s post-Game of Thrones fan interactions have been positive, he admits that there have been some viewers who expressed their criticism of the finale to his face. 

“Nine out of ten people come up and say. ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.’ We return with, ‘Thank you for watching us and thank you for allowing us into your homes,’” he said. “And then you’ll get one who stamps their feet.”

In the end, neither actor is upset by the negative fan reaction to the Game of Thrones finale. 

“They’re entitled. Everybody’s entitled to their opinion,” Cunningham said. Wright added, “I think you’ve got to kind of look into the positives of that, which is the fact that people are so passionate about it. They’re so invested in it, they’re coming up and telling you why you ruined it or whatever.” 

Game of Thrones was nominated for 14 awards at the Primetime Emmys on Sunday. The show took home two Emmys for Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister). The series won 10 Emmys at the 71st Creative Arts Emmy Awards on September 24 for categories including Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes and Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series. In total, Game of Thrones had 32 nominations at both Emmys. 

“We did nothing but sweat. We did nothing but laugh,” Dinklage, 50, said in his acceptance speech before thanking creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. “Dave and Dan, we literally walked through fire and ice for you. Literally. And I would do it all again in a heartbeat.”

For more with Wright and Cunningham, watch the video above.

With reporting by Carita Rizzo

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