The show lasted for eight seasons before wrapping up in 2019 with a finale that mostly upset fans. Many felt the ultimate payoff to the question of who would sit on the throne didn’t make much sense and that characters’ stories were either wrapped up or changed completely too quickly.
However, Dinklage, who played fan-favorite character Tyrion Lannister for the show’s entire run, recently opened up in an interview with the New York Times in which he defended the finale and noted that he believes there was no way to adequately satisfy fans.
"They wanted the pretty white people to ride off into the sunset together. By the way, it's fiction. There's dragons in it. Move on," the actor joked.
He went on to note that he believes that the writers who came up with the finale, based on George R.R. Martin’s incomplete fantasy novel series, should be commended for executing an ending that no one saw coming.
"No, but the show subverts what you think, and that's what I love about it," Dinklage explained. "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."
In fact, the actor, 52, noted that there was one moment in the final episode that should have acted as a pretty big signal to the audience that the person who ultimately sits on the throne wasn’t the point of the show.
"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,'" he told the outlet. "They constantly did that, where you thought one thing and they delivered another. Everybody had their own stories going on while watching that show, but nobody's was as good as what the show delivered, I think."
Dinklage noted that he believes the backlash was inevitable for a cultural phenomenon like "Game of Thrones" ending. He said that people didn’t know what to do with their Sunday nights without the show to plan around and that the reaction to the finale was largely a result of that.
He even defended some of the more specific plot points in the episode, such as a main character’s abrupt turn toward villainy.
"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," he said. "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?"
Dinklage was awarded four Emmy Awards for his time on the show. Although fans will no longer be able to see him as Tyrion Lannister, HBO is hard at work producing a "Game of Thrones" prequel series called "House of Dragons" set 300 years before the events of the flagship show. The new prequel is due out in 2022.