Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: GoT actors are ‘upset’ about the criticism of the last season

Kendall Jenner so happy with flowers

I think most Game of Thrones fans – fans of the TV series – can say openly that the last season was utter trash. The storylines were bad, but how we got there was even worse. The lack of character development, particularly for the female characters, was awful. Instead of showing us Daenerys’ descent into madness, they just showed her looking depressed or upset a few times, then had Tyrion and Varys and even Jon mansplain how she was unhinged and hysterical. We were supposed to be devastated by the burning of Kings Landing – I thought it was a horrifying yet logical political move to ensure that no one f–ked with her. I could go on and on about what was wrong, honestly, and I still haven’t fully processed Jon’s actions, his assassination of Dany, his imprisonment and his banishment. It made no sense.

But here’s the thing: I don’t blame the ACTORS for that sh-t. I blame David Benioff and Dan Weiss, I blame producers who didn’t stop them from ruining the final acts, and I blame HBO too. But mostly Weiss and Benioff. Still, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau says that the now-former castmates are stressed out about all of the criticism:

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has revealed that some of the Game Of Thrones cast were left ‘upset’ by the backlash the final season received. The Danish actor, 48 – who played Jaime Lannister on the popular HBO fantasy series – confessed that a series of ‘vicious’ comments over the ending of the eighth and final series left certain cast members devastated. Speaking at the Game of Thrones convention in Nashville, Nikolaj was candid about the reaction to the show’s finale.

He revealed: ‘Every season has been intense in terms of the attention and discussion, but it was extraordinarily intense for a final season. And we have this WhatsApp group, the actors, and I saw some people getting a little upset because some of the stuff is vicious, and if you make the mistake of start reading all that sh-t, because if you guys get really angry about something – I’m sure you did, some of you – so you write to each other and go, ‘F***ing a**holes. This is so not what would happen! They ruined, they butchered George’s (R.R. Martin’s) world!’ It’s just fun for you, but of course some got a little upset.’

He explained further: ‘There was that weird feeling of, “What the hell? We worked so hard.” I’m not asking anyone to feel sorry, by the way. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m just saying how it was to get through that whole thing.’

However, Nikolaj looked on the positive side of the situation by declaring he ‘loved’ how intense the response was.

‘We’re so lucky to be part of a show where people love the show so much, that they care so much about it that you also get upset when it doesn’t go the way you want it to. That’s fantastic, and I love it, and I love that there was an online petition to have it rewritten,’ he concluded.

[From The Daily Mail]

What was sort of interesting about The Last Watch – the behind-the-scenes documentary about the last season – was that it was clear from the table reads that many of the actors were not happy at all. Even in the promotional interviews done by Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, Conleth Hill, Nathalie Emmanuel and more, it’s clear that many of the actors were legitimately torn up about how the last season was handled. It’s not their fault! I think most fans know that too. But it’s possible that it all gets mixed up when fans actually meet one of the actors, and the fans vent their frustrations. Honestly, if I met Emilia Clarke, I would want to vent about how Dan and David did Dany dirty.

Britney Spears announces her new Las Vegas residency

Photos courtesy of HBO/GoT.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

41 Responses to “Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: GoT actors are ‘upset’ about the criticism of the last season”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. runcmc says:

    I read elsewhere that he was actually booed for saying he liked Jamie and Cersei’s death (which yeah, boo!) I think some of them liked their character development, so maybe those were the actors torn up about it. Like they know we don’t blame them, but they liked it.

    • Kit says:

      Maybe he was just angling for a Star Wars role

      • maya8 says:

        Or a confederate role. He looks the type. Honestly i’m fed up with both him and that asshole who plays Sam. Stop defending that dumpster fire of a season and attacking the fans. I mean i understand not wanting to say bad things about your series for obvious reasons, but don’t defend that trash. Take a seat, just like Emilia, Kit, Peter, and almost every other actor on the show.

    • Eliza says:

      He’s in a tough spot. He can either say “it was a shock but in the end or made sense” (aka i hated it but I’m not a writer), or tell the truth. The first irritates 10 fanboys, the second irritates a lot of powerful people who would see it as biting the hand that feeds you and effect job offers. He’s not the writer, they all were just acting scenes they were given and doing the best they could.

    • Slimi says:

      He’s in a tough spot. He can either say “it was a shock but in the end or made sense” (aka i hated it but I’m not a writer), or tell the truth. The first irritates 10 fanboys, the second irritates a lot of powerful people who would see it as biting the hand that feeds you and effect job offers. He’s not the writer, they all were just acting scenes they were given and doing the best they could.

    • Bren says:

      I was there and people did start booing. I felt bad for him. I think all the actors put their hearts and souls into the characters. Years of their lives and for people to just boo is totally uncalled for. I wasn’t happy with how GOT ended but we owe the actors more respect then to just start booing when they start to defend their characters fate. I mean, at least they showed face!

    • A says:

      I think it’s his right, as the embodiment of the character, to say what was or wasn’t a good direction or end for his character.

      But he’s in an entirely different perspective from that of the viewer. From our point of view, his whole character development and regression was a poorly conceived sh-tshow. I’m sure he’s seeing in from the perspective of, “Hey I worked hard on this, and I know this character, so I feel this is best.” But we never saw that with Jaime on the screen. And I feel like that’s up for valid criticism.

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      He’s nominated for an Emmy. Maybe he’s worried that backlash against the show could affect his Emmy chances. It shouldn’t, but you never know.

  2. grabbyhands says:

    That’s a fair cop – too many times people are unable to differentiate between actors and the roles they play and actors and the people who do the writing and producing, as in, the ones making all the lousy choices.

    But if I were him, I’d also be pissed that D&D sent their actors to Comic Con to take the inevitable heat while they ran and hid somewhere because they were too chickenshit and fragile to hear legitimate criticism. I’m glad that people were taking shots at them in different panels (them being D&D, not the actors).

    • broodytrudy says:

      I still cannot believe they backed out of SDCC the day before the panel. What cowards.

    • FHMom says:

      It’s admirable that any of the actors showed up. They did their best with what they were given. D&D had completely moved on by that last season. This disappearance act reminds me of how David Chase went into hiding after the Sopranos ending.

  3. In hindsight I am not that upset about their deaths, Jaime that is. Yes, I wanted a more painful spectacular end for Cersei, but Jaime was like watching an addict on the road to recovery. He did the work, it was painful, disfiguring and grueling and he found real love…and then succumbed to his demons that ultimately killed him.

  4. Lauren says:

    I really hope that at some point the actors acknowledge that the criticism wasn’t directed at them, but squarely at D&D. It’s getting irritating hearing them complain about angry fans when that anger is not directed at them. I get that they have defend the trash of the last season, but there are other ways to go about it than to bitch about the fans who have been very supported of the actors. Hell, most of the fans are angry on behalf of the actors.

  5. IlsaLund says:

    Hopefully, after enough time has passed and the actors won’t be adversely affected by being honest and truthful, the actors will say how they really felt about the ending. Right now, everyone’s looking for work and to say anything negative may adversely affect them. I’m sure D&D and HBO would make things difficult for them. I hated the last season and the blame lies solely on D&D. Just hoping they don’t receive an Emmy for that bad writing. I do hope the actors and technical crew get recognized and receive an Emmy.

  6. liriel says:

    I agree with every single point (I still stand by Dany)Are actor oblivious? Because I saw no comment that any actor (ok, beside Kit) can’t act, we praised them constantly but hated on D&D. Do they read censured comment? Btw, I’m petty and I’m so happy that Emilia knows how much fans hate the ending.
    And let’s be honest, we thought that maybe the ending would be considered after some time are only “blah” because almost everyone lived, most were kind of happy and only Dany died. But this ending will be considered one of the worst ever and LOVE LOVE LOVE it. It’s not going to be undone. And George, you’re old and don’t care but see, Bran as a king etc – didn’t work, your idea was bad.

    • Meganbot2000 says:

      I’m 100% certain the actors would have received nasty comments. I bet anything if you searched their Twitter @ replies, people were sending them abusive comments. I’ve worked in the industry a long time and there are a hell of a lot of people out there who really can’t differentiate between character and actor, or who hold actors personally responsible (and there are a surprising amount of people who think actors just make up their own storylines and dialogue, like writers don’t exist). Every single actor I’ve ever worked with, and I’ve worked with hundreds over the years, at some point has had to deal with nasty comments from fans angry at the material, and for the most part these are not well-known actors at all. Honestly, people would be shocked if they saw the kind of crap and insanity even pretty obscure actors get. There’s no way super famous actors with mad passionate fanbases like GOT stars haven’t had abuse. I’ve certainly seen comments online saying the actors should have refused to film and insisted the scripts were re-written.

      • Emilia says:

        Absolutely @meganbot2000, you only have to spend 10 minutes on GoT stan twitter to find people attacking the actors. I’ve seen Targ stans attacking Nikolai, Sophie and Isaac anytime they say anything remotely positive about their own characters. After episode 1 they were making awful fat jokes about John Bradley simply because they didn’t like the way Sam told Jon about his parentage. It’s really disconcerting the amount of people who can’t seem to separate the actors from their characters and if I were them I would probably get defensive too.

  7. Stacy Dresden says:

    I am still pissed about this!

  8. Sayrah says:

    I feel the same about Dany burning King’s landing to purge any rivals, but when I’ve told some people in real life they are horrified.

    • DiegoInSF says:

      I feel the same, she was pushed to do that. Burn, KL, burn!

    • terra says:

      So, you’re cool with the bombings of civilians in real life, then?

      • Sayrah says:

        Well no but I can see why at that moment she felt like it was the best course of action. I would have only burned down Cersei in the red keep. WW2 was ended with a lot of civilian deaths too.

  9. Loretta says:

    I’m still pissed abou Dany, I want the Emmy for Emilia Clarke so much

  10. Gigi says:

    Dany absolutely didn’t have to purge all of KL, it was an act of tyranny!

    • Meganbot2000 says:

      The purge pissed me off because it was so unnecessary. All they needed to do was have Dany attack the Red Keep directly (to kill Cersei), the Red Keep collapses causing civilian deaths – collateral damage – and that is what causes the fragile peace following the surrender to disintegrate. The end result is the same but without the bonkers “Dany just randomly goes insane and starts murdering zillions of innocent people while Cersei is literally right there” thing. It would be completely in character for Dany to want to kill Cersei and to ignore the surrender to do it – after all, Cersei didn’t surrender, the regular people did, and Dany knew Cersei would never surrender and that things wouldn’t be over until Cersei was dead.

      Attacking the Red Keep to kill Cersei without caring that she might accidentally kill civilians in the process would be reckless and careless, but still in keeping with Dany’s characterisation.

  11. Sof says:

    Don’t forget about the crew! That’s all I could think while watching The Last Watch: those poor people spent months away from their families, sometimes in horrible weather conditions, all the time repeating to themselves that the end result was going to be amazing… and it wasn’t.

    Also, I will never get the scene of Arya in the library, what was the point of that scene???

    • Steff says:

      Kudos to costume designers, set designers, CGI department, etc. They continuously knock it out of the park despite the writing of the show. The actors did their best to elevate the scripts but again, it isn’t their fault.

      And yeah, there are so many pointless filler scenes like that library scene going back through the seasons. Lazy writing. The show runners should have gotten help if they couldn’t take the load.

    • enya says:

      Oh, man, I am RIGHT there with you. That was the kind of thing D&D did that just made me livid with anger. In one scene, Arya is kicking ass with her new weapon, slaying the dead left and right with a hint of a smile on her face. Then a few scenes later, she’s creeping in terror through the library to hide from like 10 dead soldiers?? What?? That makes no sense!

      And Sandor refusing to fight, mewling and crying to Beric that there’s no hope? Bullshit! Sandor IS killing; he is a fighter, a master at dealing death. But we’re supposed to believe that he would just give up and cower against a wall?? No way. And then in the fight with Gregor–Sandor gets thrown down the steps once, and for the next five minutes, he doesn’t raise his sword at all, just lets himself get pummeled?? No. Just no. And he doesn’t pull out his dagger until he’s nearly beaten? That’s ludicrous. Sandor should have just been riddling Gregor with holes, using both dagger and sword. And that all comes down to TERRIBLE direction. Bad writing and terrible direction. Those actions simply did. not. fit. with those characters’ mythology. Ugh.

      And why the hell did Sandor have to die??? No. That’s just one more directorial decision in three dozen that mean I will never rewatch this show the way I would have if D & D had given us storylines to love. I just can’t understand what the hell they were thinking. At every turn, D & D made choices that RUINED this saga. I just can’t get over it.

  12. Susan says:

    I’m sure people work really hard on the worst crap movies and shows too, Nikolaj. Just because you worked hard, doesn’t make the show immune from criticism or entitle you to guilt viewers for having poor opinions of the season.

  13. sommolierlady says:

    Good grief. It’s over. Move on. It’s all pretend.

  14. Veronica S says:

    Oh my God, shut up already dude. The ending was a shit show to anybody with a basic understanding of media or story literacy. Every time he opens his mouth to defend the direction of the Daenerys storyline, he just sounds more misogynistic with each dumbass argument he comes up with. I get that he’s in a tough position as an actor wanting his work respected, but nobody was satisfied by that ridiculously sexist, frankly horrifying ending.

    • Annabel says:

      I don’t know, I feel like I have a decent grasp of media and narrative arc (I make my living writing books) and actually my only real problem with the final season was that it felt rushed. It needed more episodes. To me, the Mad Queen storyline was infinitely more interesting than that “brave Dany triumphs against impossible odds to ascend to the Iron Throne” conclusion that I thought we were marching toward.

      I’m aware I’m the only person on earth who liked the last season, but whatever. Honestly, at this point I look back at the whole series with a sense of awe. I think that series was just an incredible human and artistic achievement.

      • Jane'sWastedTalent says:

        I’m sorry, but I don’t believe you.

        I don’t know of a single person who’s studied narrative and storytelling who found this in any way acceptable.

      • Veronica S. says:

        There is absolutely nothing interesting about writing a story in which a female character is murdered by her lover because she’s ~emotionally unstable~ and cannot be trusted with power. That’s just misogynistic and clichè storytelling. Literally, open any classical book. It’s been done to death. There are a thousand ways this story could have gone down without Dany taking the throne or succeeding above all odds, and they ignored every single one of them to go for the more reductive, sexist, and downright repulsive track.

        Even ignoring the repulsive ableism, sexism, and racism in the final season, the story just doesn’t make any goddamn sense. Arya killing the Night King doesn’t make any sense after building up Jon as the one to do it in S7. The Night King being killed in one episode doesn’t make any sense after multiple seasons of building them as a threat. (LOLOLOL isn’t it interesting that a human woman pursuing throne is treated as a nastier antagonist than a literal zombie king? No awful implications there.) The entire conversation about Dany’s fertility between her and Jon now has absolutely no purpose in the narrative now and is a waste of scenery. The breaking of the wheel theme no longer makes any sense. Drogon destroying the throne instead of Jon doesn’t make any sense. Cersei and Jaime dying together crying doesn’t make any sense for either of their characters. They literally ignored all of their previous storytelling to give us shock endings, and that’s garbage storytelling. It’s a waste of your viewers and readers’ time.

  15. Alyse says:

    Every one I know thought the actors (& crew) were amazing, just that the material let the series down… so I hope they don’t take it too personally. It’s hard to stick the finale landing anyway.

    So glad Alfie A has an Emmy nom!

  16. Shannon Brown says:

    I blame George RR Martin more than anyone. As he has said in many interviews, he expected to be done with the last two books before the show ended. It was clear that once Weiss and Benioff passed the books, they were lost and just wanted to wrap it up.

    George should have taken a page from JK Rowling. She finished her books and even though the last two HP movies weren’t great. You didn’t hear complaints because she finished!

  17. JanetDR says:

    I don’t think it would be asking too much for it to have made some sense. Fulfill a prophecy or two, maybe let us know what the deal was with the White Walkers and wights, etc, etc. I have no fault to find with the acting or production crews, but jeez-a-loo!

  18. crummycake says:

    Game of Thrones had the potential to be in my top 5 favorite shows of all times, and the last season just blew it so badly I don’t even think I can even watch it again. I don’t blame the actors AT ALL, in fact I feel sorry for them and all the other people on the crew who worked so hard. If you are handed piece-o-crap script, you do the the best you can do even if it means you are basically polishing a turd. I don’t think most people are critical of the actors. I squarely blame D&D and to some degree George RR Martin for the ending he chose (which really was not so great. Bran. . . really?). I was seething furious about the way Jaime Lannister’s character was treated – he respected no one more than Brienne of Tarth and they reduced their epic story to a horny college hook up that ended with him treating the person he admired most in the world in a very cruel way. How dare they do that??!!! (Okay, guess I am still mad – LOL). Cersei’s death was so disappointing and they made Tyrion a brainless version of his former self. . . I could go on and on. D&D didn’t appear to give a flying eff about the final season & the character development, but I am sure the actors and crew really did care immensely. I feel awful for them. Maybe with time and space Nikolaj will eventually realize that our anger is not directed at him or any of the actors/crew, but at the two jerks who were in such a hurry to end the series that they no longer cared if any of it made damn sense.

  19. Mrs.Krabapple says:

    I hated the way the show ended, and could write an essay about it. But the single worst criticism I can think of is that after ALL Game of Thrones put its characters through, all the drama and fighting for the very survival of humanity, I didn’t care when any of the characters died. Not just Cersie or Jaime, who were villains, but Dany who didn’t start out as a villain, or Varys, or any of them. BUT, I was devastated by the ending of VEEP. Now THAT is how you show a villain’s rise to power and willingness to sacrifice everyone around them. GOT couldn’t even make me care about their characters as much as a comedy did. Maybe GOT should be nominated as a comedy due to its ridiculous writing, and Veep can take the dramatic acting awards based on the way they out-acted every other show in that final episode.

  20. Valerie says:

    I guess I’m the lone voice…I actually liked the last season. (Hold your FIRE!) Yes, it felt a bit like falling off a cliff suddenly, but it also made sense from both a story and plot perspective. I think it rolled out the way it did because George Martin hasn’t written the series ending yet, and he owns the story. D&D didn’t have the depth of story to work with because it doesn’t yet exist, and Martin wouldn’t have revealed more than a basic outline because as a writer you can’t know it down to the bones until you’ve written it. So the last season was compressed, more like a screenplay than a book adaptation because it was written from scratch as a screenplay. It robbed them of the chance to explore things like Dany’s growing megalomania in depth because they didn’t have the depth to work with. But that is absolutely not the actor’s fault, so hurling abuse at them is ridiculous. And D&D are probably under contract not to reveal much about their choices until Martin is done with the series because who is going to buy his last book if it has nothing new to add? So hurling abuse at them is also pointless.

    Looking back on the series as a whole, there was no way that it was going to end tied up with a nice neat bow. From episode one it was screaming bloody murder that the morale of the story was that when you play the game of thrones no one wins. And in the end, nobody did.

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      The last season was compressed, not out of necessity because the “book hadn’t been written yet,” but because the showrunners (1) wanted to cut the series short so they could commit to Star Wars, and (2) wanted to surprise people to the extreme extent that avoiding “spoilers” became more important than setting up Dany’s madness (after all, if they showed seeds of madness coming, then we might guess the ending – which apparently is even worse than having that ending come out of nowhere and leaving people saying wtf?). Avoiding having people guess the ending should not be more important than telling a good story.