Eager fans were shocked on Sunday to discover that the usually top-notch HBO fantasy show Game of Thrones had dropped sharply in quality for its eighth and final season. In an exclusive interview with the Flipside, showrunner David Nutter explained that this was the result of major cuts to a plot point featuring Joe Biden which — following accusations of sexual misconduct against the former vice president — was removed only a few days before the new season aired.

Thrones obviously deals with some very complicated subject matter, and we always want to engage with those topics in a sensitive way,” a distressed, sweating Nutter explained. “Unfortunately, our plans for a season-long arc in which Mr. Biden played Varinthion Sand — a bastard child of Prince Oberyn Martell with a mysterious connection to the Targaryen dynasty — conflicted with that.”

“We’d always wanted to bring Ol’ Grandpa Joe on the show,” Nutter continued. “Nothing huge, just a little cameo. But, well, we liked him so much that we ended up dedicating most of season eight’s plot to him! He helped with rewrites, actually; he had some really sick ideas about how his character could team up with the Greyjoys to take over King’s Landing, and it just sorta snowballed from there.”

Yet only days out from the premiere, claims by Lucy Flores, Vail Kohnert-Yount, and others that Biden had inappropriately touched them forced the production team to cut everything. They scrambled to rewrite the finale around Biden’s absence but — with his character set to be on air for an estimated 70% of the season — were left with very little story and almost no discernible conclusion to the show that has captivated millions for the last decade.

“It killed us; I cried,” remarked head writer Crissy Yongort. “But we decided to do what we could with the footage we had. We even cut the reveal that Biden is the Throne; he’s the throne in the game of thrones and the person who wins the game gets to sit in his lap. So is the new season a mess? Yes — of course it is. But it’s the best mess we could make.”

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