‘Game of Thrones’ Emmy Love Confounds the Show’s Critics
Today’s widespread Emmy recognition for “Game of Thrones” — now the most-Emmy-nominated series for a single season, a record that it seems odd the heavily-decorated drama didn’t already have — comes in most senses as no surprise. This series is both an awards favorite, having won the top prize at the ceremony for its last three seasons, and putting its final season forward: This is to be the last chance the Emmys have to honor the vision of David Benioff and D. B. Weiss.
Which brings us to the one way in which these nominations might have come as a surprise to some. Benioff and Weiss’s plan for the show — which, in its final hours, leaned, hard, into the totalitarian side of Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), leaving many fans feeling as burned as the peasants of King’s Landing by the time the series wrapped — was widely pilloried online and by critics. Among critics, I was among the most positive about the show’s eighth season, which struck me as in keeping with the show’s traditional strengths and weaknesses, but a bigger-than-ever audiences certainly seemed newly aware of, and vocal about, those weaknesses. It’s not that “Thrones” wasn’t going to show up in Best Drama, but its being nominated about as widely as it might have been — with, say, three directing nominations and widespread love for the show’s ensemble cast — was striking.