**Spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones**
Love it or hate it, but most fans agree that HBO’s Game of Thrones hasn’t been the same since the series surpassed George R.R. Martin’s source material way back in the sixth season. Rest assured, they’re not alone in their criticism.
In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, actor Conleth Hill, aka Varys, weighed in on the demise of his character in last night’s penultimate episode, “The Bells”. While discussing his fiery exit, he shared his thoughts on the post-Martin seasons.
“As a whole it’s been overwhelmingly positive and brilliant but I suppose the last couple seasons weren’t my favorite,” Hill admitted, later adding: “I can’t complain because it’s six great seasons and I had some great scenes these last two seasons. But that’s when It changed for me a little.”
That change, he added, involved the lack of Martin’s narratives, particularly the way he wrestled with the more fringe characters of Westeros. He explained his reasoning:
“I loved the traveling with [Tyrion actor Peter Dinklage] and just the two of us in that cart. I think the stuff that was said in there understood the nature of freaks and outsiders so precisely. In a way, that was lost when we got past [the narrative in George R.R. Martin’s] books. That special niche interest in weirdos wasn’t as effective as it had been. Last season and this season there were great scenes and then I’d come in and kind of give a weather report at the end of them — ‘film at 11.’ So I thought he was losing his knowledge. If he was such an intelligent man and he had such resources, how come he didn’t know about things? That added to my dismay. It’s now being rectified with getting a great and noble ending. But that was frustrating for a couple seasons.”
Of his own fate, Hill was equally transparent:
“I took it very personally. I took it as a person, not as an actor or an artist. I understood the reactions of previous actors who had been in the same position a lot more than I did at the time. You can’t help feeling that you failed in some way, that you haven’t lived up to some expectation that you didn’t know about. The only thing that consoles you is people who worked a lot harder than you are in the same boat. So that helps. I don’t think anybody who hasn’t been through it can identify with it. They think, ‘What’s all the fuss about? You’re all finishing anyway.’ But you take it personally, you can’t help it.”
Towards the end of the interview, Hill eventually admitted that “this is all personal and selfish” and stressed that the series altogether was “a fantastic journey,” but again, he’s hardly alone.
Game of Thrones ends its legendary eight-season run on Sunday. As you wait, catch up with senior writer Andrew Bloom’s incredible weekly recaps, starting with this past Sunday’s review. In related news, Martin’s sixth book still has no release date and he still has another one to deliver after that.