Promoting his new film, Cyrano, Peter Dinklage is, once again, forced to reckon with the last time he played a character with a very specific nose (though, he avoided the prosthetics both times0, Tyrion Lannister of Game Of Thrones. It’s been more than two years since one of the most popular shows of the 2010s ended with a backlash so loud that the show’s creators opted not to make a Star Wars trilogy.
Fan backlash is nothing new, especially on a show that prided itself on side-stepping expectations or easy answers. But Game Of Thrones’ final season is still a sore spot for many fans, some of whom still want a re-do of the finale.
This doesn’t surprise Dinklage, who tells The New York Times that the backlash comes from a lack of more Game Of Thrones. But Dinklage, for his part, is at peace with it because “it was the right time,” and he didn’t “want to wear out your welcome” before conceding that he’s “not sure that show could have.” After all, he described, “Game Of Thrones wasn’t really a TV show — it was like my life.”
Ultimately, saying goodbye isn’t easy, and Dinklage believes that at least some of the backlash owes itself to fans being angry that the show was over. “They wanted more,” he said, “so they backlashed about that.”
Dinklage also concedes that some of the criticism may come from the show’s surprise heel turn, which he notes was a theme George R.R. Martin baked into the text:
We had to end when we did, because what the show was really good at was breaking preconceived notions: Villains became heroes, and heroes became villains. If you know your history, when you track the progress of tyrants, they don’t start off as tyrants. I’m talking about, spoiler alert, what happened at the end of “Game of Thrones” with that character change. It’s gradual, and I loved how power corrupted these people. What happens to your moral compass when you get a taste of power? Human beings are complicated characters, you know?
It’s hard not to see his point, even if the final season tended to rush the outcome, taking some last-minute shortcuts to hammer home its themes. Nevertheless, there is no shortage of maligned pop culture properties that became the object of fan hate simply for digging their heels into their artistic vision, denying viewers a clear-cut happy ending.
“They wanted the pretty white people to ride off into the sunset together,” he said. “No, but the show subverts what you think, and that’s what I love about it. Yeah, it was called Game of Thrones, but at the end, the whole dialogue when people would approach me on the street was, ‘Who’s going to be on the throne?’ I don’t know why that was their takeaway because the show really was more than that.”
Despite Martin’s pleading with HBO for more seasons of the hit series based on his works, Dinklage seems content with the finale, insisting the creators crafted a show “where you thought one thing and they delivered another.”
“One of my favorite moments was when the dragon burned the throne because it sort of just killed that whole conversation, which is really irreverent and kind of brilliant on behalf of the show’s creators: ‘Shut up, it’s not about that.’”