After nearly two years, Game of Thrones returned on HBO for its eighth and final season on Sunday night. The episode, titled “Winterfell,” drew “massive” ratings with 11.8 million live viewers, per The Observer. This number beat the Season 7 premiere numbers, although it fell short of the Season 7 finale, which had drawn 12.1 million. That number, however, may have been hurt by the DISH Network carriage dispute, as well as further audience migration toward streaming use in the last two years.
While most opinions of the premiere appear to have been positive, not everyone loved it. And the actor who plays Jon Snow says he doesn’t care what TV critics think about premiere or the final season in general.
“How I feel about the show right now is quite defiant,” Kit Harington said in an interview with Esquire that was published Tuesday. “I think no matter what anyone thinks about this season—and I don’t mean to sound mean about critics here—but whatever critic spends half an hour writing about this season and makes their [negative] judgement on it, in my head they can go f*** themselves.”
Harington went on to talk about how hard he and the cast and crew worked on the show, especially in some of the elaborate battle scenes that took weeks to film.
The attitude is kind of an odd one for Harington to take. Not only is Game of Thrones one of the most popular shows in the world, but critics, over the course of its run, have mostly given the show and episodes positive reviews.
TV critics and other entertainment journalists have probably devoted more attention to Game of Thrones in the last decade than any other media property, with the possible exceptions of Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And a lot of the writers who have spent hours writing super-dense recaps of Game of Thrones episodes, it’s fair to say have worked very hard as well.
Let’s not forget, as well, that a whole lot of entertainment journalists spent a year playing along with the fiction that Jon Snow was “dead,” and that Harington was no longer on the show.
As for fans, in a huge fan base in which a massive group of people is passionate about a show, it’s practically impossible for some of them to not be disappointed.
Furthermore, it’s not clear to whom Harington is responding in expressing a hostile attitude toward the reaction to the show before that reaction has even happened.