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'GoT' director opens up about controversial Daenerys Targaryen scene

Published Jun 20, 2019, 11:20 am IST
Updated Jun 20, 2019, 11:24 am IST
In the episode, Daenerys destroyed King's Landing, killing innocents while on the top of her dragon, Drogon.
A still from 'Game of Thrones.'
 A still from 'Game of Thrones.'

Washington DC: It's been a while since the insanely popular HBO series 'Game of Thrones' concluded, but the discussions surrounding the final season don't seem to end. Miguel Sapochnik, who directed season eight's episode five titled 'The Bells' shed some light on the bad decisions made by Emilia Clarke's character Daenerys Targaryen.

In the episode, Daenerys destroyed King's Landing, killing innocents while on the top of her dragon, Drogon. Many fans were unhappy with the character's actions since she was always an advocate for saving the innocent and ending slavery.


"The way she has treated humans, and the conviction she has, means that conviction is eventually going to fall afoul," Sapochnik told IndieWire, as cited by E! News. At the start of the episode, Clarke's character was dealing with the death of her trusted adviser and friend Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel).

Sapochnik stated that he wanted to make sure that she was no longer doubting her decision-making ability. "She's not questioning herself anymore, which is the difference between somebody who, I think, has kind of lost their mind," Sapochnik said. "That's part of what makes us human, is we question whether we've made the right decisions or not," he added.

Once she decided to destroy everything, Sapochnik shared that they made it a point not to show the character again. "At that point, you don't need to see her. We decided not to cut back to her. When she makes that decision, she and the dragon become one," the director said speaking of the scenes of destruction.

In a behind-the-scenes video, Clarke said that it was always about her character being alone. "Every single thing that's led her to this point, and there she is, alone. We've all got this part of us, that part that goes, 'I'm gonna put that chocolate cake down.' 'And 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--king cake as you want--but those things that you wrestle within yourself," Clarke explained.

Game of Thrones co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss said that Daenerys had been tested countless times. "And if circumstances had been different, I don't think this side of Dany ever would've come out. If Cersei hadn't betrayed her, if Cersei hadn't executed Missandei, if Jon hadn't told her the truth," Benioff said. "Like, if all of these things had happened in any different way, then I don't think we'd be seeing this side of Daenerys Targaryen," he added.

Weiss shared that looking at the Red Keep was also triggering. "It's in that moment, on the walls of King's Landing, where she's looking at that symbol of everything that was taken from her when she makes the decision to make this personal. We wanted her to be just death from above as seen from the perspective of the people who are on the business end of that dragon," he said.

After a remarkable 8-year-long journey, the final season of the show concluded with its last episode aired on May 19.