- As originally reported in IndieWire and covered by Daily Mail, 'Game of Thrones' director Michael Sapochnik explains his take on Dany's big scene from episode 5.
- Dany in fact does go mad, according to him, and that imbalance leads to her actions.
Spoilers for all of Game of Thrones. Of allll the remaining questions that season 8 of Game of Thrones, the one that fans are most confused/frustrated about is why. Why did Dany burn down all of King's Landing, when there were plenty of signs she was trying to be a good person? What happened with the sudden break and the (seemingly) rushed conclusion to her narrative? Michael Sapochnik, who directed the pivotal episodes 3 and 5 of the final season of the show, finally gave some more thoughts on Dany's thought process, and it makes a ton of sense—if still being really, really frustrating, in my opinion.
So, if he had had the chance to direct episode 4, as was originally planned, he wouldn't have given us Dany's reaction to Missandei as soon as she was killed at the end of episode 4—he would have started episode 5 with that shot of her in her chambers, hair tousled and skin pale, clearly losing her mind. “We said, ‘You’ve never been like this,” he told IndieWire. “It was this idea of us trying to piece her back together, but something’s broken.”
For him, that moment was absolutely pivotal to Emilia Clarke's character, and critical to her downturn—it is, in essence, what makes her mad. “She’s not questioning herself anymore, which is the difference between somebody who, I think, has kind of lost their mind.” So there you have it: Dany really did go mad. It's not just that she makes the decision to have revenge on Cersei/everyone on behalf of her family, it's that she has become unbalanced at the loss of her friend as well.
Also, the decision not to show Dany atop the dragon amid the flames was a deliberate choice. “At that point, you don’t need to see her,” he explained. “We decided not to cut back to her. When she makes that decision, she and the dragon become one.”
Oh, and also, in case we were wondering, the Dany/destruction arc was also aimed specifically at the audience to subvert our wishes and expectations.
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?...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.
Which, I guess I get, but still. Way harsh, Tai.
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