A Game of Thrones petition went viral on Change.org during the final season, asking HBO to remake Game of Thrones Season 8 with “competent writers,” raking in more than 925,000 signees in a very short period of time. So naturally, we had to get the inside scoop.
I spoke with the author of the petition, Dylan D., about his frustrations with Season 8, his surprise at how quickly the petition went viral, and what his friends and family have had to say about the whole thing. (This post will have spoilers for Game of Thrones through Season 8 Episode 5.)
Dylan asked me not to share his real name out of concern that some fans might not appreciate his lighthearted petition. (And I certainly understand that concern. Let’s just say I got some interesting emails when I reported on the presidential election in 2016.) Dylan’s an analyst for a health system, and he feels especially strongly about Ghost’s treatment on Game of Thrones because he has two pets that mean the world to him: a dog named Boba and a cat named Korra. So Jon’s abrupt departure from Ghost really rubbed him the wrong way.
But it was the overall events of Episode 3 and Episode 4 that really brought him to the point of writing his petition.
If you haven’t seen his petition, it’s here on Change.org. Right now it has more than 930,000 signatures and it’s growing by the minute. Dylan never guessed the petition would become so popular. “I had no idea my little vent session would blow up to something of this scale,” he shared.
His petition started out simple. It just reads: “David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have proven themselves to be woefully incompetent writers when they have no source material (i.e. the books) to fall back on. This series deserves a final season that makes sense. Subvert my expectations and make it happen, HBO!”
He wrote in an update that he made the petition right after Episode 4, “The Last of the Starks.” A week later, it had caught on and had 500,000 signatures. He never expected that kind of attention. He wrote in his update: “I don’t think people can reasonably expect HBO to completely remake the season, or any part of this particular series (keep in mind the prequel spinoffs). It costs a fortune to shoot one episode, and I think most signers understand that. Will HBO lose gobs of money over this? Eh probably not. As Heath Ledger’s Joker once said, ‘It’s not about the money, it’s about sending a message.’ And I think this message is one of frustration and disappointment at its core.”
Dylan shared more details with Heavy about the behind-the-scenes story to the petition and what bothers him the most about Season 8. I’m sharing this in a Q&A format so you can read Dylan’s responses in full.
Q: I saw your post about making the petition after Episode 4. What was it especially about Episode 4 that left you wanting to vent?
Dylan: Really it was a combination of Episode 3 and 4’s failures that brought me to the point of writing the petition. There were many, many qualms I had with the episodes, but I’ll mention a couple. The Battle of Winterfell was a strategic disgrace. I mentioned in my long update that the show suffered from “everyone is stupid” syndrome. I’m sure there is a better term for it, but when the plot is intense and dramatic simply because every character involved is an idiot, that is not great writing. You had some of the wisest, most experienced individuals in Westeros all in one room, and THAT was the defense strategy?
As for Episode 4, I had many lamentations, but the specific one that made me facepalm the hardest was how Rhaegal died. Easily one of the cheapest deaths of the whole series. I could probably go on for a long time about it, but that’ll do for now.
Q: How did you feel about Dany going crazy when the bells rang? (Full disclosure: I’m very bitter about that scene, lol.)
Dylan: It was comically bad. I knew what the writers were trying to get at with the whole thing, but it just felt so fake. If Emilia Clarke was a worse actress, it would have looked fake too. I knew she was going to go mad. But watching her completely ignore the Red Keep for so long while she torches random peasants for 30 minutes was just ridiculous.
Q: How do you think they could have done Dany’s descent into madness better?
Dylan: One of the main issues with Season 7 and 8 has been pacing. The reason why so many of these outcomes feel unnatural and poorly written is because it all happened too quickly. Dany’s descent was inevitable, but having her go from “wants to save the world” to “nevermind I hate all of you” in effectively two episodes was unbelievable.
Q: What do you think about GRRM saying he wanted 10 to 12 seasons but D&D only wanted 7, and he had to push them to even get eight? (This blows my mind.)
Dylan: Put extremely simply, GRRM would know better than anyone on the planet how long it would take to effectively and respectfully tell his story, and he was ignored. It shows the unfortunate Hollywood habits for their treatment of source material on an unprecedented stage.
Q: What do you think about all the attention the petition has gotten? What do your friends, family, and coworkers have to say?
Dylan: Well in my long update I talked about how I started it and how surprised I was by the response when I checked back in after a week. I was mostly just chuckling at it, taking it lightly, then I learned my parents had contacted news institutions and reporters and I was taken aback. This petition isn’t about me. Any passionate nerd could have written it. Heck I clearly put like the minimum effort into the original post! As for my friends, we’ve mostly just been memeing about it in a group text.
Q: Do your friends agree with how you feel about Game of Thrones? In my house, for example, I am hating on it (the latest episode) but my husband doesn’t think last week’s episode was that bad, so we have some pretty interesting discussions! [Note to readers: My husband Derek gave me his OK to share his opinion about the season. He thinks Episode 5 was one of the best episodes in the series.]
Dylan: I think one or two of my friends believe the season has been fine and there is no reason for all of this. But for the most part, I think we agree that the writing is lackluster. Granted none of us are usually the type to do something like I did with the petition so this is perhaps new territory.
Q: Do you have any parting thoughts about Jaime and how his story ended, or the characterization of Jon this season?
Dylan: As for Jaime: well the show didn’t push the Valonqar prophecy from the books too hard. I always thought that Jaime would kill Cersei — completing his redemption arc, stopping a mad Queen, and fulfilling the prophecy. And maybe that’s what GRRM will do, but the showrunners decided he should ditch his entire arc, pretend like he no longer cared about innocents (despite earning the name Kingslayer to save countless lives in King’s Landing), and go hug Cersei until rocks fall on them.
As for Jon: He has felt like an NPC this whole season. I’m sure he’ll play a pivotal role in the finale, but what has he really done this season? “I don’t want it.” “You’re my queen.” “I love you and hate my wolf.” Okay, maybe I’m just extremely bitter about the treatment of Ghost. I might be more bitter about that than most of these other issues haha. But I love my dog to bits so… biases I guess. Jon is the Ice in a song of Ice and Fire. Or maybe he’s both the Ice and the Fire. Either way, he’s far too important to do so little this season.
Q: Do you have any other parting thoughts?
Dylan: I can’t think of other parting thoughts for now other than to sign the petition and make sure to read the ‘About the petition’ update for clarification.
Note: Many thanks to Dylan D. for taking the time to talk to Heavy and share his thoughts about Game of Thrones. As Dylan noted in his petition update, he’s not expecting the season to be remade, but wanted to provide an avenue to share some fans’ disappointment. How do you feel about the season? Tweet your thoughts to me here. My cat provided his rating below: