'Game Of Thrones' Wins Best Drama At Emmys After Divisive Final Season

HBO's fantasy juggernaut stands as the most-awarded narrative series in the history of the Emmys.

Game of Thrones” went out in a blaze of glory at the 2019 Emmy Awards after a polarizing final season, picking up the award for Outstanding Drama Series on Sunday night despite some major upsets earlier in the evening.

HBO’s fantasy juggernaut, which has received eight consecutive nominations and three previous wins in that category, took home the top prize at the 71st annual ceremony, beating out contenders “Killing Eve,” “Ozark,” “Better Call Saul,” “This Is Us,” “Pose,” “Bodyguard” and “Succession.”

“These last 10 years have been the best years of our lives, I can’t believe we did it, we shall never see it’s like again” showrunner David Benioff said on stage surrounded by the cast and crew. “It’s amazing you are all still alive.”

“Thank all of our lovely and amazing cast you make everything we write better,” showrunner Dan Weiss added. “We love you and loved every minute we have spent with all of you.

This year’s 32 nominations for the series broke the single-year record for any drama or comedy. “Game of Thrones” garnered a massive number of nominations in the acting fields, as well as in multiple below-the-line craft and technical categories like best sound editing, casting and visual effects. (“NYPD Blue” previously held the record, scoring 27 nominations in 1994.)

But besides Peter Dinklage picking up his fourth trophy for Outstanding Supporting Actor, the fantasy smash was iced out of the other major categories. Despite Sophie Turner, Lena Headey and the rest of the “Game of Thrones” women dominating the supporting actress nominations, Julia Garner of “Ozark” ultimately walked away with Emmy gold.

And the series got no love in the directing and writing categories for a drama series, with “Ozark” and “Succession” netting the big prizes.

Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke in final season of "Game of Thrones."
Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke in final season of "Game of Thrones."

Over the course of its run, the HBO drama became the most nominated drama series of all time and, even before Sunday night, it had won more Emmys than any other narrative series. So it was all but certain that its final Emmy ceremony would be a “Thrones”-esque bloodbath.

The series was already off to a roaring start this year, having won 10 of the 18 awards it was up for at the Creative Arts Emmys last weekend. Despite much fan derision, the dimly lit but massively watched third episode of the eighth season, “The Long Night,” which featured the epic showdown at Winterfell between the armies of the living and the dead, had nabbed five trophies.

While “Thrones” reigned supreme during Sunday’s telecast, fans of the popular series based on the George R.R. Martin books of the same name had earlier raged against its ending, with more than 1 million people signing a petition asking HBO to remake the final season.

In July, after weeks of silence, HBO programming chief Casey Bloys said the viral petition was never “seriously considered.” He did, however, thank fans for their “enthusiasm and passion” for the show,” which pushed the network ahead of competitor Netflix this year: Netflix scored a hefty 117 nominations, but HBO racked up 137 nods.

And with two prequel series set in the “Game of Thrones” universe already in development at the network, expect HBO to keep the torch lit at the Emmys for years to come.

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