Following a sophisticated hacking operation on HBO’s website last night, the heavily guarded secret of the ending of Game of Thrones has been posted online and fans today are feeling let-down, short-changed and downright angry.

The multi-million dollar book and TV franchise has had the entire world gripped with its labyrinthine, multifaceted story arc  since day one and has never been afraid to break new ground in dramtisiation and story-telling. But critics and fans alike are now saying that the ending is nothing but a weak and woeful damp squib.

Ned Stark, a self-confessed Thrones super fan, who changed his name by deed poll and who runs the ThroneNuts website said: ‘I have invested a significant part of my life in GoT, and the wait for this final series where all the many strands are to be brought together has been nail-biting to say he least. George Martin is an amazing writer and has kept us gripped throughout the entire eight seasons with a wonderfully plotted and extraordinarily wide-reaching tale. It’s been one helluva journey, but now with this ending, if I can mix my metaphors, he’s dropped the ball at the last hurdle. I’m gutted and feel we’ve all been led up the garden path.’

And TV Critic, Alan Hopper, agrees: ‘When I heard that the ending had been leaked I thought long and hard about whether I actually wanted to see what it was ahead of its broadcast schedule,  but as it’s really part of my job I decided I needed to know. However now all I can say is wow! It beggars belief, because George Martin, after eight years and with everything coming down to the final big finish, is asking us to believe that the whole thing never happened, and that it was all just a dream that a cat called Dixie living in Seattle was having!