Conleth Hill of ‘Game of Thrones’ says reaction to Season 8 was a ‘media-led hate campaign’

NOTE: Major spoilers ahead. Do not read if you haven’t seen the entirety of the final season of Game of Thrones.

During the well-attended Game of Thrones panel at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con, some of the cast members of the recently concluded HBO fantasy series took the time to discuss the show’s final season and some of the controversy surrounding it.

Conleth Hill, who portrayed Lord Varys, was present, and was asked about the in-depth interview he conducted with Entertainment Weekly earlier in the year.

Initially, the EW interview drew a lot of media attention after the 54-year-old star revealed he was frustrated with the direction of not only his character, but the show in general.

Many fans used Hill’s comments from the exclusive to support their own opinions that they believed the final season was bad, as well as to express their disappointment over Varys’ death.

According to NME, Hill revealed he thought his comments were  “picked over like a whale on a beach” by the media.

So while he had thousands of avid Game of Thrones fans sat in front of him at the panel, the actor decided to set the record straight.

“I was very honest,” he said on his demeanour during the interview in question. “I was gutted to get so close and not make the end. So I thought I gave a very honest answer to how I felt.”

Hill added that he “put it in the context of [it being] one of the risks of being in a multi-character show.”

Varys’ fiery demise was met in Season 8, Episode 5 — The Bells — and as revealed in the original interview, Hill “took it very personally.”

“I took it as a person,” he said, “not as an actor or an artist. You can’t help feeling that you failed in some way,” he continued, “that you haven’t lived up to some expectation that you didn’t know about.

“That’s been my feeling the last couple seasons,” added Hill, “that my character became more peripheral, that they concentrated on others more.”

Hill did, however, say some positive things about the series, which were often overlooked.

“I suppose the last couple [of] seasons weren’t my favourite,” he started. “That’s fine [though]. It’s the nature of a multi-character show. It was kind of frustrating, but as a whole, it’s been overwhelmingly positive,” he concluded.

“I don’t regret starting the petition,” he joked while on the panel, referring to the fan-popular petition which demanded HBO remake the eighth and final season of the critically acclaimed show.

“I thought the initial [EW] interview was very balanced,” he continued, adding that “[the media] took all the negative out of it and none of the positive.”

(L-R) Jon Snow (portrayed by Kit Harrington) and Lord Varys (Conleth Hill) in Season 8 of HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones.’

“So for the record,” he continued, “I loved all my ten years on Game of Thrones. The thing the last season was about was the futility of conflict and the pointlessness of war.”

“If you get one thing from that whole show,” said Hill, take that. “You look at the amount of people who are here. We are here to thank you for watching us all those years,” he concluded. “This is the reality rather than a media-led hate campaign.”

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