'Game of Thrones' Director Michael Sapochnik Finally Clears Up That Huge Dany Issue From the Final Season

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? 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.

Hair, Face, Cheek, Chin, Skin, Head, Eyebrow, Forehead, Blond, Nose,
(Image credit: HBO)

Spoilers for all of Game of ThronesOf 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.

Which, I guess I get, but still. Way harsh, Tai.

For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter.

SUBSCRIBE HERE

RELATED STORIES
Katherine J Igoe
Katherine J Igoe

Katherine’s a Boston-based contributing editor at Marie Claire online who covers celebrity, fashion, entertainment, and lifestyle—from “The Bachelor” to Everlane to Meghan Markle. She also edits the Couples + Money series, so she’s always looking for volunteers at couples.money@hearst.com. Igoe: “I go to the store,” not “Her huge ego".