"Let it be fear."
Daenerys says these chilling words after a meeting with Jon hours before she razes the capital to the ground. Tweeps are calling her the Mad Queen, after her father, Aerys - the Mad King who was killed by Jaime Lannister. Is she really though?
The show's creators have tried to explain the controversial moment in today's episode.
The bells ring marking the surrender of the city after soldiers guarding the gate to the Red Keep throw down their swords. However, Daenerys takes one long hard look at the Red Keep and rides Drogon inwards, burning everything that moves - which includes thousands of innocents - even as her Unsullied and Dothraki soldiers follow her lead and continue killing. While some soldiers of the capital try fighting, nothing can save them from Dany's wrath as buildings collapse in bouts of fire (including green wildfire) as Dany circles towards the castle.
Fans are divided after Monday's episode, one side claiming that Dany has truly lost it, while the other side sees justice in how she reacts. She can't trust anyone except Grey Worm, including Tyrion (and for good reason we think) and Jon Snow (who she believes betrayed her by revealing his true identity). She goes into the battle with Drogon, alone and isolated.
"When she [Dany] says that [let it be fear] she is sort of resigning herself to the fact that she may have to do things that are unpleasant, things that are horrible," D.B. Weiss says in an 'Inside the Episode' video released on YouTube after the show aired. "She chose violence. A Targaryen choosing violence is a pretty terrifying thing", David Benioff adds.
According to Benioff, Daenerys goes into the fight feeling “very much alone". “As far as she’s concerned, by this point, Jon has betrayed her by telling people about his true identity,” Benioff says.
“...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,” D.B. Weiss says. “It’s in that 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 it personal.”
What we think
For us, her character journey has all been for nothing.
It is a complete assassination of the character and growth portrayed by Daenerys with one act of true madness - not on her part, but on the part of the creators. She freed slaves, she protected innocents from rape and war crimes, she forgave traitors (Jorah, RIP), she said she would "break the wheel" - and today she burns and tortures innocents for her claim to the Iron Throne. Her love for innocent people and downtrodden citizens has always far outweighed her need for the Iron Throne, and for so long.
It is an unjust arc for Daenerys and for the show. (Let's not even get into Rhaegal's death.)
It seems like the creators have tried, and failed, to shove endings, however uncharacteristic, for each character into six episodes. The death of the Night King in itself was a bit sudden after literally years of the "Winter is Coming" motto from the Starks - but fans had hoped for something that would put all that into perspective with a great finale. Game of Thrones has never been about happy endings, but we feel the show has let down fans in terms of story writing.
That being said, the episode had some good scenes and a good battle. Read our review of the episode here.