Last night HBO graced viewers with the first hour of the final season of Game of Thrones, and the premiere saw a multitude of storylines complicated by new alliances, old rivalries, and a common enemy. The final Thrones arc is confronted with the overwhelming task of wrapping up such a multifaceted universe, which may leave some questions largely unanswered, likely to the dismay of viewers.
In his May cover story for Esquire, Kit Harington has a curt message for anyone bent on criticizing Season 8: "They can go fuck themselves."
When asked about the creative pressures the Game of Thrones actors and showrunners are subject to, given the unprecedented expectations of the masses, Harington noted that he has no time for critics because he knows how much work went into creating the final installment. "I think no matter what anyone thinks about this season—and I don’t mean to sound mean about critics here—but whatever critic spends half an hour writing about this season and makes their [negative] judgment on it, in my head they can go fuck themselves. 'Cause I know how much work was put into this. I know how much people cared about this. I know how much pressure people put on themselves and I know how many sleepless nights working or otherwise people had on this show."
Harington then added that rather than spotlighting one particular main character, what's distinctive about Game of Thrones is that the fantasy universe the characters are navigating is the show's protagonist. Instead of creating one male or female lead, all the storylines woven together take a front seat when it comes to importance. "And what’s amazing about Thrones is you’re not following any one person. You’re following who you want to follow. But really, this world you’re in—Westeros, Dorne, Narrow Sea, this fantasy world—that’s the main character," Harington said. "Which is very hard to do. In a way, the art department is the main character."
The interviewer draws a comparison between the timeline of Thrones and Star Wars, as both stories begin after the conclusion of a monumental event—leaving viewers to explore the relevant backstories by being brought into another universe. "This world has a history too. In Thrones, you’re entering when Jon Arryn’s been killed by someone," Harington explains. "You’re like, 'Well, what was that story? Oh, too late! We’re on.' And I think that’s why it might have grabbed people’s imagination like Star Wars did. It took them completely away from their universe into another universe."
Although his portrayal of Jon Snow has captivated audiences across the globe, the series heartthrob remembers reading the pilot script for the first time and being so confused that he referred to the series as a "crock of shit." Obviously after delving into the character and the broader Thrones landscape, his confusion subsided.
"To me, looking back, when I read the pilot way back in 2009, I remember thinking, 'What is this crock of shit? I don’t understand this. I’m going to have to read this again.' And I read it again. And I’m like, 'I still don’t get this shit at all. I think it’s kind of weird, but it’s HBO and alright, let’s do it. I would love to get this.' And I think that’s what people feel when they start watching it."
The first episode of Game of Thrones Season 8 is available on HBO.