If you Google “worst finale,” the current top search results include “Game of Thrones: Worst Finale Ever?” and “Game of Thrones Fans Call Series Finale the ‘Worst’ Episode Ever” and “5 Reasons Game of Thrones Finale Was the Worst Letdown In TV History” and… you get the idea. They say any publicity is good publicity, and that applies here: “The Iron Throne” wasn’t what a lot of fans expected (that last word is key, but even I, a half-hearted season eight defender, was bummed by the finale), but it’s also the highest-rated episode of the show. But those Google results also show a recency bias: before Thrones came along, “worst finale” might have belonged to Battlestar Galactica.
Here’s what io9 asked about the final episode of the then-Sci-Fi Channel series a few months after it aired: “Did Battlestar Galactica Have The Worst Ending In Science Fiction History?” So, yeah, people didn’t love how Ronald D. Moore wrapped up his equally-adored, but less-watched show, either, and with the Thrones wounds still fresh, Slate reached out to the Battlestar showrunner for advice he might have for David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (besides get drunk):
“Just keep your head up. I think they created and produced one of the greatest TV shows of all time. And that will be the hallmark of the achievement. I think grousing about the finale will fade, and as time goes on, people will go back and see the show for the first time, years from now who have never experienced it, and I don’t think they’re going to think, ‘Oh my God that’s not the ending I wanted.’ I think they’ll go, ‘Oh, well, that makes sense.” I think it will satisfy people. As a writer and a creator, that’s really all that you want. You just want to satisfy the audience, and you want to feel like we did our very best and we stuck the landing, as they say. And I think they did. I think they did a really good job.” (Via)
Moore makes a good point here: “I think grousing about the finale will fade, and as time goes on, people will go back and see the show for the first time.” The anger over the much-derided Battlestar Galactica and Lost finales has declined over the years; viewers are allowing themselves to enjoy these great shows (with a small asterisk) again. The same thing will happen with Game of Thrones. And if it doesn’t, Benioff and Weiss are already working on a new Star Wars trilogy, so they can move on to delighting/infuriating another fanbase.