It’s the episode that fans loved to hate. Game of Thrones‘ series finale episode, The Iron Throne, is up for the Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series Emmy for David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. The same episode is also nominated for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series (along with The Long Night.) This episode may be the most-watched episode in the show’s history, and it’s also among the most-hated.
The Iron Throne Has 4.2 out of 10 Stars on IMDb
Season 8 Episode 6, the finale for the series, was called “The Iron Throne.” Right after it aired, it had a 5 out 10 star rating on IMDb. Fans were disappointed in how characters’ stories were wrapped up, in how the Bran situation unfolded at the end, and how it felt like some plotlines were just completely forgotten or motivations were thrown away.
The cinematography was extraordinarily beautiful and the acting was great. But fans had problems with the writing.
10 hours after the episode aired, the finale had a 5.0 rating on IMDb, with 51,111 reviewers. The majority of votes at that time were rated with only one star (nearly 40 percent of the votes), with a small 20.7 percent giving the episode 10 stars. When Heavy reported on the ratings right after it aired, they noted that it was down to 4.4 with 151,671 ratings at 8:53 a.m. CST on Tuesday, May 21.
All these months later, not much has improved. The episode is still rated 4.2 out of 10 stars, now with 212,974 reviews.
One IMDb reviewer wrote: “The show became a meme.”
Another viewer wrote: “HBO wanted 10 seasons. GRRM wanted 12. D&D wanted Star Wars. Its sad that one of the best TV shows of all time concluded the way it did. The ending wasn’t bad, but the 7 season buildup only to have this mad dash to the end is awful. Nothing was explained, nothing was written well, terrible pacing! Absolutely disrespectful to fans! This last season makes it really hard to recommend the show to new viewers or repeat viewings. If the writers didn’t care why should we?”
On July 6 a viewer wrote a review titled: “Still sad after 7 weeks. Season 8 broke my heart. Years and years of build-up, of laughter, tears, despair and happiness, after falling in love with many characters and their arcs and passionately hating some others, my favourite show ever got ruined completely… And I’m still mourning and lovesick. It will take a while longer I guess…”
On Rotten Tomatoes, the show has a 48 percent rating for the season finale from critics.
The Iron Throne Broke Viewing Records for HBO
Low ratings aside, the episode also broke viewing records for HBO. According to The Wall Street Journal, 13.6 million viewers watching live on the HBO, and the number rose to 19.3 million viewers with replays. The finale set a new record-high for HBO as of the day after it aired. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the final season topped the show’s other seasons in terms of viewers.
So despite the low ratings, the show got really high views for HBO, breaking the network’s records and setting a bar that other shows are going to struggle to meet.