‘Game of Thrones’ Creators Discuss That Episode 5 Twist

*Warning: Spoilers ahead*

As Game of Thrones fans well know, Daenerys Targaryen’s (Emilia Clarke) Mad King father tried to burn King’s Landing down long ago (so Robert Baratheon couldn’t have it). In the penultimate episode of GoT, Daenerys succeeds in doing just that. Although her rise to become the hero of the series has been marked by rather unfortunate moments (when she burned the Tarlys for not bending the knee, for instance), her good-naturedness has usually outweighed her vengeance. That was not the cast in yesterday’s episode. And while series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss aren’t trying to downplay her insanity, they did point out a few key points in the “Behind the Episode” below.

For one, Benioff says Daenerys has had a troubling reaction to death since the first season.

“There is something chilling about the way Dany has responded to the death of her enemies,” Benioff said. “Even when you look back to season one when Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) gives the golden crown to Viserys (Harry Lloyd), 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…”

Still, Weiss argues that Daenerys’s siege on King’s Landing was caused by a sort of perfect storm of emotions.

“I don’t think she decided ahead of time that she was going to do what she did,” Weiss said of her burning the entire city down. “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.”

Makes sense, right? But seeing the Red Keep wasn’t the only thing that set Daenerys off.

Weiss went on to explain, “If circumstances had been different, I don’t think this side of Dany ever would have come out. If Cersei (Lena Headey) hadn’t betrayed her [in regards to the White Walkers], if Cersei hadn’t executed Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), if Jon (Kit Harington) 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.”

We wish we hadn’t seen it at all. Now we’re almost scared to see what happens when the Game of Thrones series finale airs Sunday, May 19, at 9 p.m. PT/ET on HBO…


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Lex is an LA native who's deeply obsessed with picnics, Slim Aarons, rosé, Hollywood history and Joan Didion. She joined PureWow in early 2017.