Game of Thrones star Conleth Hill has responded to the backlash levelled at the show’s final season, calling it a “media-led hate campaign”.
The actor, who portrayed Lord Varys on the HBO fantasy series, took part in a panel at Comic-Con 2019 on Friday (July 19). He was joined by Thrones‘ Jacob Anderson, Liam Cunningham, John Bradley and more to tackle fans’ “burning questions” surrounding season 8.
Having revealed in an interview this year that “the last couple of seasons weren’t my favourite”, Hill seized the opportunity to clear things up during the San Diego event.
“I did an interview with EW way after we’d finished the show,” said Conleth. “The question was, ‘How did you feel at the time?’ I was very honest that I was gutted to get so close and not make the end. So I thought I gave a very honest answer to how I felt but I put that in the context of, that was one of the risks of being in a multi-character show.”
Hill went on to describe the initial chat as “very balanced”, but claimed it was scrutinised by the press and “picked over like a whale on a beach”.
“[The media] took all the negative out of it and none of the positive,” he continued. “For the record, I loved all my ten years on Game of Thrones.” Hill hailed his experience on GoT as “life-changing”, mentioning the “wonderful people” he met on the show.
“The thing the last season was about was the futility of conflict and the pointlessness of war,” he said of the final run of episodes. “If you get one thing from that whole show, take that.”
Speaking directly about fans being left disappointed by season 8 and calls for the last chapter to be remade via an online petition, Hill argued that the popularity of the Comic-Con panel is testament to Game Of Thrones‘ success.
“You look at the amount of people who are here. We are here to thank you for watching us all those years,” he said. “This is the reality rather than a media-led hate campaign.”
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who played Jamie Lannister, also hit out at the petition – calling it a “surprising level of absurdity”. “Of course HBO’s s going to change the whole thing. Because that’s the power of the internet!” he said.
“I feel so lucky to have met so many fans of the show and to realize this show has brought so many people together. Watching it, loving it. So obviously, It comes to an end, it’s going to piss you off no matter what. It’s the end! But at the end of the day, it’s absolutely fine.
“If you hated the ending, if you loved it, that’s great. Just don’t call people names.”
Hill later joked to the crowd: “I don’t regret starting the petition.”
Shortly before Comic-Con was due to kick-off, Game of Thrones‘ showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss dropped out of the panel without explanation. Miguel Sapochnik, director of the episode ‘The Long Night’, also pulled out of his scheduled appearance.