This thread was sparked by a message board discussion of the last season of Game of Thrones, but it doesn't include any spoilers - at least my posts won't. So there's no need to click away if that's something you would worry about. ~~~ While reading through a thread on another forum discussing the final season of GoT, I came across an interesting comment. It was from a member who, while he listed some criticisms of season eight, was overall more satisfied with the season than unsatisfied with it. Which as far as I'm concerned, is a perfectly fine perspective. I don't really have a dog in that fight, as I quit watching sometime during season five for various reasons, none of which are important to this thread. Anyway, when the poster addressed how polarizing (dare I say unpopular) the final season has went over with fans, he claimed the fault was with them, and not the writing. To be clear, he was specifically speaking about the complaints pertaining to how certain characters have been handled/developed. He went as far to say that the outrage over the handling of one particular character was a "failure of the audience." It was those words that set off my storytelling spider senses. Could that be true? I hadn't thought about such a thing until this morning, but my intuitions told me no. Now, in case there's any confusion, by taking a 'no' position, that doesn't mean I believe the audience is always right. In my case case it just means I'm not convinced the audience is in a position to "pass" or "fail" on how they respond to narrative choices in a series. It also occurred to me that, in order to give credit to the writer(s) of a successful genre series, you have to accept that they are responsible for the audience that they acquire. After all, it was their plotting, pacing, and character development that hooked and held onto their fans throughout the series. And all of those narrative choices along the way are what the audience uses to form their expectations. But those are just my thoughts. What do you think? If one of your favorite genre series concluded with an exceptionally polarizing final season or book, might you chalk up the controversy as a "failure of the audience"?