Was the Game of Thrones conclusion actually well-received?

The final season of Game of Thrones seemed to not be well-received, but a new poll suggests this perception is actually false.

Ask someone that frequents the internet and social media about Game of Thrones’s final season, and they will likely mention the abundance of criticism directed towards the show. Personally, I think a lot of this criticism was valid, but a new YouGov poll suggests the season’s reception might have been better than previously thought.

According to the survey, which polled 2,475 people about Emmy-nominated shows, 52% of Thrones viewers were either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the final season. Only 41% of voters said they were dissatisfied, with 7% having a neutral opinion. The poll was conducted between August 21st-23rd and reportedly had a 3% margin of error.

What should one make of these results, which seem rather contrary to the internet’s reaction to the final season? This apparent disconnect between the “internet community” and viewers as a whole is something I contemplated back in May.

I wrote about whether the positive reception to Avengers: Endgame set the bar too high for Game of Thrones. In the article, I considered whether social media might have provided an inaccurate snapshot of how viewers received Thrones’s final season.

There is a fair and seemingly accurate perception that Avengers: Endgame was received very well and the conclusion to Game of Thrones has not been. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that a lot of these perceptions are driven by our social media “bubbles.” I think we all fall victim to overestimating the degree to which platforms like Twitter represents the broader population. As documented in a recent Pew study, only ~22%of Americans use Twitter, and the top 10% heaviest users account for 80% of all tweets.

I bring this up to say this: it’s fair to say that social media received Endgame well and was much more critical of GOT. But the more people I talk to, the stronger my suspicion is that outside the social media bubble, most people received BOTH Endgame AND Thrones quite well. Twitter is full of people that will dive deep on the minute details of a show like GOT and point out fair criticisms, but most people don’t care or have time to watch shows this meticulously. If one watches GOT’s final season without thinking about it too deeply, it’s easy to see how some people could love it.

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Based on the YouGov poll at least, my thoughts seemed to have proven fairly correct. Just because a show gets picked apart on social media doesn’t necessarily mean the broader audience feels the same way. It’s worth keeping in mind moving forward, and it will be interesting to see which narrative wins out for Thrones at the Emmy’s.

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