No one expected “Game of Thrones” to have a happy ending, but the divisive final season is shaping up to be the worst in the HBO hit’s eight-year history, according to viewers.
IMDB has tracked the audience rating of all 69 episodes to date, and last Sunday’s “The Last of the Starks” was the lowest-ranked in the show’s history with a score of just 6.9 out of 10, counting more than 58,000 viewer reviews. (Compare that to the infamous Red Wedding episode “The Rains of Castamere” in Season 3, which drew a near-perfect 9.9 from more than 75,000 reviewers.)
In fact, the data storytellers at Chartr charted the viewer ratings of every episode and season of “Thrones” so far, and it’s clear that the eighth and final season has been the least favorite by far, with not a single episode rating higher than an 8.7 yet.
Indeed, many fans of the bloody Medieval drama drawn from George R.R. Martin’s still unfinished “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels have questioned many of the showrunners’ choices since the show moved beyond Martin’s source material — from Mother of Dragons Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) being increasingly painted as a Mad Queen, to mythical elements of the books (like certain prophesies or the direwolves) being phased out of the show.
Most recently, fans have complained about how dark the screen was during the Battle of Winterfell in “The Long Night” episode two weeks ago, which made it hard to see the climactic moment when the evil Night King was finally defeated, as well as the sloppy production mistake that left what appeared to be a Starbucks cup in the middle of a scene last weekend.
And last weekend’s “The Last of the Starks” episode was panned by critics at sites such as The Atlantic, IndieWire and Vox for how many of the major players, including Dany, Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) and Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) made rash and uncharacteristic decisions for the sake of plot. (Also unforgivable: Jon Snow sending off his faithful direwolf, Ghost, without even giving him a pat on the head.)
Still, this much-hyped final season has drawn record audience numbers. “The Long Night” two weeks ago hit an all-time series and HBO viewership high of 17.8 million views when factoring in traditional live viewing, replays and streams. That just edges out the 17.4 million who tuned in for the eighth and final season’s premiere on April 14.
And it’s too late in the “Game” for most viewers to tune out now, even if they aren’t happy with the direction the series is heading in with its final two episodes, which will each clock in at a feature-length 80 minutes or so. Some industry insiders are even questioning whether the series finale on May 19 could even crack 20 million (when factoring in views across all platforms) when the world finally finds out who ultimately sits on the Iron Throne.
This post was originally posted at http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story.asp?guid=%7B22BFA274-71BE-11E9-998E-C731A052E180%7D&siteid=rss&rss=1.