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Game of Thrones Finale and We Thin-Skinned Artists

The Game of Thrones finale is now part of TV history.

In Westeros, they’re rebuilding their broken land while in ours, we continue debating the show’s last season and final episode. Generally speaking, it seems many of us viewers were not pleased with either.

Some articles have called the show’s eighth and final season its worst. And any follower of the show can pinpoint plot holes and inconsistencies throughout Game of Thrones’ last few episodes.

But among the fire reigning down on those who gave us arguably the decade’s most-addictive television drama, there is this tweet from Seinfeld alum Jason Alexander.

A stinging Game of Thrones finale

Let’s imagine you’re David Benioff, D. B. Weiss, Carolyn Strauss, or any of the other producers on Game of Thrones. Or, put yourself in the shoes of the show’s writers or actors.

Like this screaming monkey, many fans were upset about the Game of Thrones finale.
Many viewers howled at the Game of Thrones finale.

How do you feel when you read and hear fans’ reactions to the Game of Thrones finale?

Maybe you shrug it off while handling piles of money you’re making from the show. But most of us who create don’t do so for the money. At least not primarily.

No matter how successful Game of Thrones became, the criticism probably still stings. Most anyone who puts out into the world something they created, from a TV show to a poem or a painting, fear rejection of that work more than anything.

Sickness of an artist

Art critic Robert Hughes once wrote, “The greater the artist, the greater the doubt.”

Any of us who’ve ever produced creative work knows doubt. And those of us who’ve shared our creation with others knows fear.

The fear an artist feels when presenting their art to another is a particular kind of fear. You fear rejection, yes, but not in a social way. You fear rejection of your entire being.

That’s because art that you create is an outpouring of your experiences, your insights, that which you’re most insecure about, that of which you’re most proud, the hugs you received, the hugs you did not, the feelings you’ve felt, the foods you’ve tasted, the hangovers you’ve cured.

Every second of your life goes into your art.

It’s enough to make you wonder why any of us ever bother showing another person what we create. Why take the risk?

Because that’s part of the sickness of being an artist, too.

Sharing is caring

Many of us who feel compelled to create, can’t help ourselves. We have to share our creations.

After all, what’s the point of a story that’s never told?

Of course, we don’t all publish our writing, show our art in galleries, or produce TV shows. But we share our work on a blog. We post on social media. Or, maybe we just email something we’ve created to a friend.

In one form or another, we share our art. It’s seldom enough to create something. We want someone else to see our creation. Because when others notice our work, they see us, too.

And that’s why it has to sting, at least a little, for those who gave us the Game of Thrones finale to hear their work disparaged. Criticism of art can be received by an artist as criticism of themselves.

Even kings, queens, lords, and ladies have feelings.

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