‘Game of Thrones’ director defends ‘Mad Queen’ Daenerys Targaryen plot twist

"What you’re looking for, as an audience member, is death and destruction"

The season 8 director of Game of Thrones has spoken out in favour of the showrunners’ decision to turn Daenerys Targaryen into the “Mad Queen”.

In ‘The Bells’ episode, which aired in May, Dany incinerates King’s Landing and its people despite the surrender of Cersei Lannister’s army. It was a plot point that proved divisive amongst fans, with some claiming that the Mother of Dragon’s descent into tyranny was rushed and unfounded.

But director Miguel Sapochnik said the signs were always there. “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. That’s part of what makes us human, is we question whether we’ve made the right decisions or not.”

‘Game Of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen

He also went on to defend the episode’s brutal, graphic violence. “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.

“In the end, what you’re looking for, as an audience member, is death and destruction.”

Sapochnik, the celebrated director behind iconic Game of Thrones episodes including ‘Hardhome’ and ‘Battle of The Bastards’,  revealed last week that he wanted to “kill absolutely everyone” in season 8 episode 3 episode, ‘The Battle of Winterfell’.

Arya Stark in season 8 episode 5 of ‘Game of Thrones’


“I wanted to kill everyone,” he told IndieWire in a different interview. “I wanted to kill Jorah in the horse charge at the beginning. I was up for killing absolutely everyone.

“I wanted it to be ruthless, so that in the first 10 minutes, you say, ‘All bets are off; anyone could die’.”

Explaining that GoT‘s showrunners and co-creators didn’t share his grisly vision, Sapochnik added: “David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] didn’t want to. There was a lot of back-and-forth on that.”

Going on to also helm ‘The Bells’ – episode 5 – the director said that the big bosses allowed him to carry out some of his leftover ideas from ‘The Long Night’.

“I think a key thing is, like, it’s not my show, right?” said Sapochnik. “I didn’t come up with the show and make it. I am a hired director to go and do that. They have let me in and let me be involved, and I’ve really loved doing that.

“But [the] final cut is not mine. [The] Final cut is theirs; it’s their choice.”

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