No plot spoilers for the Game of Thrones finale
The final episode of Game of Thrones has been broadcast, drawing to a close one of the most successful series in television history.
But the season eight finale, broadcast in the US on Sunday, has received a mixed reaction from fans and critics.
More than a million viewers signed a petition to have the eighth season remade with more competent writers.
And, if the early reactions to the finale are anything to go by, the critics aren’t far behind them.
“There’s no doubt this season has been a rushed business,” wrote Lucy Mangan in The Guardian.
“It has wasted opportunities, squandered goodwill and failed to do justice to its characters or its actors.
“But,” she added, “the finale just about delivered.”
She concluded: “When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die. Overall, I think, it won.”
Mangan wasn’t the only critic to pick up on the feeling of haste in the production, with Erik Kain of Forbes writing: “I think the finale’s flaws were mainly born out of rush.
“All of this could have been earned; very little of it was.” He said Daenerys Targaryen’s storyline this season was “far too hurried to work properly, but given the right amount of time and TLC, it could have been one of TV’s most incredible character arcs”.
He continued: “No matter the flaws in this season and last, no matter the various bad decisions over the years… it’s still one of the best TV shows ever made.”
Some critics were slightly more forthcoming in their disapproval.
“What an absolute anticlimax,” wrote Nicola Agius in The Sun.
“HBO, didn’t you watch this series before agreeing to air it? I mean, you had two years! I want to find the writers, grab a bell, ring it at them repeatedly while chanting ‘shame’ over and over again. Perhaps then they’ll get the message.
“On a brighter note, at least I’m not sad Game of Thrones is over any more. Thank you season eight for making this goodbye so much easier than it should have been.”
Author Stephen King was among those defending the show on Twitter. “There’s been a lot of negativity about the windup, but I think it’s just because people don’t want ANY ending,” he wrote. “But you know what they say: All good things…”
Several cast members posted tributes to the show and its crew on social media after the finale.
“Thank you for supporting this show right through till the end,” wrote Sophie Turner – someone who clearly hadn’t read any of the reaction to the final episode.
“Game of Thrones has shaped me as a woman, as an actor and as a human being,” said Emilia Clarke.