HBO chief defends final season of ‘Game of Thrones’

Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) walks in the ashes of King's Landing in 'Game of Thrones'
The final season of “Game of Thrones” disappointed many fans, but HBO programming chief Casey Bloys isn’t one of them.

More than a million outraged fans have signed a petition urging HBO to remake the final season of “Game of Thrones” without showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, but HBO programming president Casey Bloys considers that a compliment, of sorts.

“I think the petition shows a lot of enthusiasm and passion for the show,” the executive said Wednesday at the Television Critics Assn. summer press tour, “but it wasn’t something we seriously considered.”

The subject of the divisive final season of “Game of Thrones” came up throughout his Q&A session with reporters.

“There are very, very few downsides to having a hugely popular show,” he said, “but one I can think of is, when you try to end it, many people have big opinions on how it should end... I think that just comes with the territory.”


Bloys acknowledged that the show’s record-breaking haul of 32 Emmy nominations was “certainly nice validation.”

The fantasy’s epic final season adds an Emmy feather to its cap with a record-breaking 32 nominations. And deservedly so.

While the development of “Game of Thrones” was famously painstaking — the original pilot was recast and extensively reshot — HBO provided less creative feedback as time went on and as the showrunners moved beyond George R.R. Martin’s books. But this is typical for a show with such a long run, said Bloys.

“By that point, there’s usually a rhythm between the showrunners and the network,” he said. “It was minimal back and forth here and there. That’s not just ‘Game of Thrones.’ ‘Silicon Valley’ is doing its final season right now... It’s not like we’re all over them.”