This post contains spoilers for Game Of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5 “The Bells“.
In the penultimate episode of Game Of Thrones, Daenerys ignored the surrender of civilians in King’s Landing, killing them with fire like some kind of mad queen. It was a controversial character development, with some people arguing it was an abrupt change. The episode received the worst reviews for the series, despite simultaneously having the highest ratings.
In the behind-the-scenes video above, Emilia Clarke, episode director Miguel Sapochnik, and Game of Thrones co-creator David Benioff attempt to explain Dany’s motivation and why we should have seen this coming as if we voted for the Dragons Burning Peoples’ Cities Party.
About 13 minutes into the video above, director Miguel Sapochnik says, regarding Daenerys realizing she had conquered King’s Landing without burning it all down, “She feels empty. It wasn’t what she thought it was. It’s not enough.” Emilia Clarke explains, “Every single thing that’s led her to this point, and there she is alone. We’ve all got this part of us that goes, ‘I’m going to put that chocolate cake down, I’m going to walk away.’ We can’t be getting into these moral conundrums all the time. I’m not saying chocolate cake is a moral conundrum — eat as much f*cking cake as you want — but those things that you wrestle with in yourself.”
Co-creator David Benioff puts it another way. “Ultimately, she is who she is and that’s a Targaryen. She has said repeatedly throughout the show, ‘I will take what is mine with fire and blood,’ and in this episode, she does it.”
People are unlikely to stop arguing back and forth about whether there was enough build-up to bring her to that point, but we can probably all agree it’s hard to please everyone, both as a leader of Westeros and as a TV writer:
There’s only one episode left for them to give everyone exactly what they want, even if they don’t know what they want. Fingers crossed.
At this point, it’s starting to look like the real winner may be Sansa:
(Hat tip to Buzzfeed)