Well, here’s one way to answer criticism.
Last night’s Game of Thrones finale was filled with transcendent moments, but none pandered to audience sensibility quite as much as the scene in Dorne.
Dorne is a region in the show’s world that’s loosely inspired by Spain, though its inhabitants’ accents strangely range from almost-Spanish to Middle Eastern to somewhere in Eastern Europe. The Dorne storyline is widely loathed by fans for its group of cringeworthy, underdeveloped characters called the “Sand Snakes,” who have delivered an impressive assortment of comically bad lines (video).
Diehard fans especially detest Dorne because it’s depicted very differently in George R.R. Martin’s novels. Some fans even attempted to crowd-fund their own “Dorne replacement,” in order to fix the mistakes of the show themselves.
Seemingly aware of the complaints, the show’s writers have hardly even mentioned Dorne or the Sand Snakes this season—until now. The Snakes returned to the show during last night’s finale to bear the brunt of Olenna Tyrell’s jokes:
In one fell swoop, Olenna (played wonderfully by Diana Rigg) told the Sand Snakes everything that fans have wanted to say to them since they were introduced to the show last year. It’s hard to imagine this isn’t the writers acknowledging the criticism of Dorne and trying to make light of the situation.
The scene was also a much needed moment of levity in an episode otherwise filled with tension, despair, and death. It often feels as though Lady Olenna serves as a stand-in for the audience, commenting on ridiculous situations as if she knew, somehow, she was part of a television show.
Assuming this was, in fact, a deliberate choice by the writers to allude to criticism, it proves that fans have some power in shaping and shifting the narratives of the shows they watch. Normally, that wouldn’t be the best thing, but in the case of the Dorne storyline on Game of Thrones, we can make an exception.