If there’s one thing that the final season of Game of Thrones has managed to do, you know, besides kill off almost every character, it’s divided fans. And after sticking through eight seasons of epic storytelling, they definitely have a right to be angry.
The penultimate episode of the series, which went down last night on HBO, delivered some major shocks and twists. Unfortunately, though, most of them have longtime viewers in an uproar. Perhaps the biggest criticism is about Daenerys Targaryen. She’s always been the hero of Thrones, overcoming odds and presenting herself as a just and fair queen. Mostly.
But now, the writers seem intent on turning her into the villain, especially after last night, when she burned the Red Keep to the ground, people and all. It was a dramatic move that’s caused quite a fuss online, with fans not digging it at all. According to showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss though, there’s a good explanation for why Dany did what she did.
“There is something chilling about the way Dany has responded to the death of her enemies,” says Benioff. “Even when you look back to season one when Khal Drogo gives the golden crown to Viserys and her reaction of watching her brother’s head melted off. He was a terrible brother, so I don’t think anyone was crying when Viserys died, but…”
“I don’t think she decided ahead of time that she was going to do what she did,” Weiss added. “Then she sees the Red Keep, which is to her the home that her family built when they first came over to this country 300 years ago. It’s in this 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.”
Continuing on, Benioff said:
“If circumstances had been different, I don’t think this side of Dany ever would have come out. If Cersei hadn’t betrayed her, if Cersei hadn’t executed Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), if Jon hadn’t told her the truth… if any of these things happened in a different way, then I don’t think we’d be seeing this side of Daenerys Targaryen.”
In some ways, the showrunners make a few good points here. After all, like they say, if there weren’t all of these betrayals building up, Dany probably would’ve acted different. Still, that being said, you can’t help but to feel that this was too drastic of a change for her character and isn’t what fans wanted to see from her as the series comes to a close.
But regardless of how you felt about Daenerys’ big heel turn, there’s still one more episode left for Game of Thrones to win back viewers and set everything right before it all ends. And it’ll air this Sunday on HBO. Don’t miss it.