Jon Snow doesn’t play any games — unless it’s the game of thrones.
The season 8 premiere of Game of Thrones on Sunday night was the most-watched entertainment program of the year, bringing in 17.4 million viewers across multiple platforms, Entertainment Weekly reported. It became HBO’s largest telecast in its 46-year history, but with all of those viewers there are bound to be some critics — and Kit Harington has a thing or two he’d like to say to them.
“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] judgment on it, in my head, they can go f— themselves,” Harington told Esquire in an interview published Monday.
Much like the King of the North, Harington is just looking out for his people — the cast and crew who put countless hours into creating the most anticipated finale of one of the most popular shows in television history.
“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,” Harington went on in the interview. “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 f—, because everyone tried their hardest,” he told Esquire.
After nearly 10 years of filming — from the production of the first pilot episode in 2009 — Harington explained that no one is more invested or loves the show more than the people who created it.
“In the end, no one’s bigger fans of the show than we [the cast and crew] are, and we’re kind of doing it for ourselves,” he said. “That’s all we could do, really. And I was just happy we got to the end.”
Harington previously told Willie Geist on Sunday Today that he was “satisfied” with the way the show ended.
“I’m satisfied with how they finished my storyline, the storyline of Thrones,” he told Geist. “But you cannot satisfy everyone.”
And although he is happy with the ending of Snow’s story, he will miss his character and the series.
“Thrones, it’s given me possibly my future family. It’s given me my wife [Rose Leslie], it’s given me friends for life. It’s got a character I love, I will love, more than any other character I’ll ever play,” Harington said.
Game of Thrones airs Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.