As if having a large dragon tirelessly breathing fire on you wasn’t bad enough, the citizens of King’s Landing were also rocked by explosions of wildfire in Game of Thrones season 8 episode 5, ‘The Bells’.
The distinctive green flames could be seen several times during Daenerys and Drogon’s onslaught, pockets of wildfire apparently being ignited by the dragon’s flames.
There are a number of possible reasons why the Mad King Aerys II Targaryen’s weapon of choice popped up. As evidenced by her bombing of the Sept of Baelor, Queen Cersei has a taste for wildfire too, and may have been using it as a defence method, which subsequently backfired. It’s also possible that she wasn’t banking on Daenerys going full Mad Queen, and planted the wildfire with a view to blaming its detonation on her enemy.
Vanity Fair points to this primer from Jaime Lannister back in season 3:
“The Mad King was obsessed with it. He loved to watch people burn, the way their skin blackened and blistered and melted off their bones. He burned lords he didn’t like. He burned Hands who disobeyed him. He burned anyone who was against him. Before long, half the country was against him. Aerys saw traitors everywhere. So he had his pyromancers place caches of wildfire all over the city. Beneath the Sept of Baelor and the slums of Flea Bottom. Under houses, stables, taverns. Even beneath the Red Keep itself.”
Perhaps we can leave things there. Perhaps the wildfire was just a neat little visual reminder that Daenerys was leaving the Red Keep in flames just as her father had threatened to.
But maybe there’s a deeper significance here, and let us indulge the prospect as this is our last opportunity for crackpot theories before Game of Thrones bows out forever next week.
Jaime Lannister famously earned the nickname ‘Kingslayer’ when he was forced to stab Aerys II before the Mad King could burn the Red Keep to the ground with wildfire. Jump forward to Sunday night’s episode, and we see a shot of Jon looking on as wildfire explodes. In the show finale, might Jon have to take similar pre-emptive measures to Jaime in order to prevent further bloodshed at the hands of a Targaryen?