comScore Kit Harrington Makes Us Think About Art, Critics, and Opinions | The Mary Sue
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Kit Harrington’s Opinions on Game of Thrones Criticism are Valid, but So Are the Critics’

What does Jon Snow know, exactly?


Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) knows nothing in Game of Thrones.

Jon Snow might know nothing, but he certainly has some opinions on critics of Game of Thrones‘ final season. When asked about fan response, he told Esquire:

“How I feel about the show right now is quite defiant. I think no matter what anyone thinks about this season—and I don’t mean to sound mean about critics here—but whatever critic spends half an hour writing about this season and makes their [negative] judgement on it, in my head they can go fuck themselves. ‘Cause I know how much work was put into this. I know how much people cared about this. I know how much pressure people put on themselves and I know how many sleepless nights working or otherwise people had on this show. Because they cared about it so much. Because they cared about the characters. Because they cared about the story. Because they cared about not letting people down.

“Now if people feel let down by it, I don’t give a fuck—because everyone tried their hardest. That’s how I feel. In the end, no one’s bigger fans of the show than we are, and we’re kind of doing it for ourselves. That’s all we could do, really. And I was just happy we got to the end.”

I’ve got some mixed feelings on this general idea. On the one hand, critics are allowed their feelings on a piece of art. Good-faith criticism is important to the medium and is an art form unto itself. However, Harrington is an artist entitled to his own opinions, and I can 100% sympathize with feeling protective of a piece of art you poured your heart and soul into. We’ve all been there.

As you might remember, The Mary Sue has a bit of an interesting history with Game of Thrones. We stopped covering breaking news and recapping the show following a brutal scene in season five, but on occasion, we still write some op-eds about the show when we think it’s worth talking about, or cover the Internet’s feelings on specific GoT things. We would be lumped in, more likely than not, with those passing negative judgement, (though it certainly takes more than half an hour to write up a particularly good review).

GoT is a massive series that has spanned years and attracted deeply passionate fans. They’ve brought their own perspectives and hopes to the series, and if the series disappoints them, then it’s their opinion. With one episode down, it’s hard to judge the entire series, but I’m sure the final episode will attract negativity in the same way most series finales do. After all, it’s hard to live up to the weight of expectations, and sometimes things don’t end the way a critic or fan would like or finds satisfying.

But on the flip side, just as critics should be allowed to voice their negative thoughts on the final season of the show, Harrington is very much allowed his own. He cares about the show, as do his cast mates and the show creatives. They definitely put a lot of work into this, and HBO is putting a lot of energy into making sure the audience has a great experience. If he’s satisfied, and if he thinks the show ends on a high note, that is also his right.

Art is subjective and surrounded by opinions. The artist makes creative choices. The critic judges. The consumer consumes and reacts. We bring life experiences and different tastes and interests to the table each time we look at a painting, or read a book, or watch a movie or TV show. While there are objective technical merits to consider, whether or not someone enjoys a piece of art is still incredibly subjective.

This is not a defense of work that is actively harmful—if you’re putting hate and bigotry in your work, you should be called out, whether you’re HBO’s flagship show or not—but there’s a difference between “this work is problematic for X reasons” and “this work is not a good TV series.”

But if a work just doesn’t appeal to you, or doesn’t quite stick the landing, that’s your opinion. If you’re the artist convinced you’ve got a stellar win, then that’s also your opinion. Art, ultimately, is just opinions.

Do you have opinions on this debate? Do you believe art can be objectively perfect? Should Harrington not tell critics to fuck off, or should critics “not be harsh” on the final season? Let us know in the comments.

(via, image: HBO)

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Kate (she/her) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions she has. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, she is now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for her favorite rare pairs.