Concept art from the final season of Game of Thrones has revealed a hidden clue that helped Daenerys Targaryen make her shocking decision to destroy King’s Landing.
The penultimate episode of the eighth season, The Bells, saw Dany basically commit genocide as she sacked Westeros’ capital city atop her dragon Drogon.
The scene was massively divisive amongst fans, and it signalled the Targaryen heir’s final transformation into The Mad Queen. However, concept art featured in the behind-the-scenes book The Art of Game of Thrones has revealed a previously hidden detail that gives much-needed insight into the character’s motivations in this pivotal moment. The sketches reveal a design element to the Red Keep where the Lannister Lion, the sigil of the ruling house of the Seven Kingdoms, pushes the Dragon Queen over the edge.
‘Being able to see the Lannister lion in the window behind the throne was very important in this illustration,’ the caption reads.
The concept art for Daenerys’ destruction of the Red Keep(Picture: Insight Editions)
The sight of the sigil proved to be very important in Dany’s decision making. In the mythology of the show, it’s House Lannister who have usurped the Iron Throne from House Baratheon, who in turn usurped the throne after overthrowing (and thinking they destroyed) the Targaryen dynasty.
Thrones showrunner DB Weiss previously said of the character, played by Emilia Clarke, and her decision to destroy the Red Keep: ‘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. It’s in that moment, on the walls of King’s Landing, when she’s looking at that symbol of everything that was taken from her, when she makes the decision to make this personal.’
We now know, of course, that the symbol Weiss is referring to was very real – it’s just a shame that the shot wasn’t included in the final cut of the episode.
This isn’t the first revelation to come from The Art of Game of Thrones either- the book previously revealed that a pivotal Jon Snow scene was cut before he killed Dany in the series finale.
George RR Martin also revealed that he was ‘saddened’ by the axing of prequel series Bloodmoon, which would have starred Naomi Watts.
Fans shouldn’t worry though, a Targaryen-centric spin-off, House of the Dragon, has been commissioned by HBO for a full series.