Game of Thrones director defends Daenerys’ destruction of King’s Landing, says ‘bloodthirsty’ fans wanted it
Game of Thrones director Miguel Sapochnik, who helmed two of the most action-heavy episodes of the show’s final season, has defended Daenerys Targaryen’s controversial decision to burn King’s Landing to the ground. Sapochnik said that although he read about Dany’s turn only a few months before filming it, he had been anticipating it for years.
“The way she has treated humans, and the conviction she has, means that conviction is eventually going to fall afoul,” he told IndieWire. “She’s not questioning herself anymore, which is the difference between somebody who, I think, has kind of lost their mind,” said Sapochnik. “That’s part of what makes us human, is we question whether we’ve made the right decisions or not.”
He said he had always intended to not show Dany to the audience after her evil turn. “At that point, you don’t need to see her,” said Sapochnik. “We decided not to cut back to her. When she makes that decision, she and the dragon become one.”
The twist has been heavily criticised by both fans and critics, who said that it was too abrupt. Daenerys had been a beloved character over the years, and one that fans had truly backed to win the titular ‘Game of Thrones’. This, among other subversive moments, won the final season of the show some of its worst reviews.
Sapochnik said that despite the fans’ surprise, they wanted the show to go down this road. “The destruction of King’s Landing, for me, has always been an audience participation event. You wanted this, you wanted this, you wanted this. Here. Is that really what you wanted?” asked Sapochnik. “I felt like there was this thing of this bloodthirstiness that exists in the fans, for revenge, for this payback that is personified by Dany. I just wanted to get to the core of what that actually means. Because even though the characters that don’t exist in the end, what you’re looking for, as an audience member, is death and destruction. I wanted people to know how bad death and destruction can be in the safe environment they’re living in.”
Sapochnik concluded by saying that he is fully behind creators Dan Weiss and David Benioff’s controversial ideas for the final season - that “there are no winners, only survivors.”
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