This article originally appeared on VICE US
There was so much hype leading up to the final season of Game of Thrones that it was probably doomed to disappoint at least a few people, regardless of who wound up on the Iron Throne. But even with more reasonable expectations, season eight would've been a disappointment. Sure, there were more than a few brilliant moments—"A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms" was one of the best episodes of the series, and Peter Dinklage's masterclass in acting elevated even the weaker scenes—but ultimately, they were too few and far between to save the season. The whole thing felt rushed and overstuffed, racing through narrative beats like an adaptation of a Wikipedia synopsis, before it came to its disappointing conclusion.
Fans were reasonably bummed, but many took to the internet to show it in, uh, an unreasonable way. First there were the angry tweets, then the bizarre petition to shoot the whole season again, and then everyone got so angry at GoT creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss that the duo became the top search result for "bad writers" on Google. Of course, Benioff and Weiss were also the people responsible for all the good episodes of Game of Thrones, too, but, you know, whatever!
And now, GoT star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has come forward to stand up for Benioff and Weiss and remind all the angry fans that the entire cast and crew "worked [their] asses off" to make the show and everyone should seriously chill out, HuffPost reports.
"For anyone to imagine or to think that the two creators of the show are not the most passionate, the greatest, the most invested of all, and to for a second think that they didn't spend the last 10 years thinking about how they were going to end it is kind of silly," Coster-Waldau said during the annual Con the Thrones event last weekend. "And also know that they too read the comments. And it is, even though you sit on your own and go, 'Fucking stupid writers. Assholes.' They really—like everyone on Game of Thrones, every single person and there are thousands―we worked our asses off to make the best show we could for the ending."
Coster-Waldau also said his co-stars got "a little upset" by the torrent of hate online, too. "We have this WhatsApp group, the actors, and I saw some people getting a little upset because some of the stuff is vicious," he told the crowd at a fan Q&A. "There was that kind of 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."
The actor, who played Jaime Lannister, didn't specify who, exactly, got into their feelings in the group chat, but this isn't the first time Game of Thrones cast members have spoken out against the show's backlash. Sophie Turner called some of the fan reactions "disrespectful" and Isaac Hempstead Wright said that the Change.org petition to remake the last season a "weird, juvenile gesture."
It should go without saying, but it apparently needs to be said again: Real human people read the terrible stuff you write about them online, everybody. Be aware. When you get supremely butthurt that the folks who made your favorite TV show for you didn't make it as well as you want and decide to spread some vitriol, they see it! And then they vent about it in a text chat! Stars—they're just like us!