If you clicked on this video, then let’s just get this out of the way up front: there are major spoilers ahead for the most recent episode of Game of Thrones. Last warning before things turn into a spoiler-filled free-for-all.
Entitled “The Bells,” the latest Game of Thrones episode saw Daenerys Targaryen and her allied forces carry out their siege of King’s Landing. It all came off the back of Dany witnessing Cersei Lannister executing her friend Missandei, and Daenerys herself executing Varys after he betrayed her. Clearly, Daenerys wasn’t in the calmest or most rational state of mind when she and her troops rocked up to the Westerosi capital.
Watching Missandei be decapitated, quickly realizing that people in Westeros love Jon Snow and will support his legitimate claim to the Iron Throne, and understanding that she only knows fear in the country proved too much for Daenerys. She unleashed fire and fury on King’s Landing, commanding her dragon to burn the city down even after its people rang the bells and surrendered.
But it wasn’t just dragon fire that blazed through King’s Landing. Bursts of emerald flames erupted throughout the city, too.
For those who may not recall, that’s Wildfire, a highly flammable and incredibly volatile liquid created by the pyromancers of the ancient society known as the Alchemists’ Guild. Wildfire begins as a bright green liquid and burns with great strength when it’s ignited. It doesn’t carry quite the same properties as normal fire, as it cannot be extinguished with water, only with sand.
Season 8, episode 5 wasn’t the first time viewers caught a glimpse of Wildfire, of course.
Cersei utilizes a huge cache of Wildfire hidden beneath the Sept of Baelor to blow up the place of worship during season 6, which kills then-Queen Margaery Tyrell.
That allows Cersei to claim the Iron Throne after her son, King Tommen Baratheon takes his own life following the fiery carnage.
Wildfire appears in season 2 as well, when Tyrion Lannister learns that Cersei is planning to use Wildfire as a weapon of defense against Stannis Baratheon and his fleet on Blackwater Bay. Tyrion and Bronn pay a visit to the Head of the Alchemists’ Guild in King’s Landing, just ahead of the Battle of the Blackwater. The alchemist tells Tyrion and Bronn that Wildfire might be potent enough to burn off people’s appendages and then highlights an intense connection between Wildfire and House Targaryen.
Wildfire was discussed again during season 3. On the fifth episode of that season, Jaime Lannister reveals the true reason he slaughtered the Mad King Aerys: the tyrant wanted to burn every last inch of King’s Landing using Wildfire. The Mad King, realizing that his opponents were going to win the battle, had his pyromancers tuck stores of Wildfire in various locations throughout King’s Landing.
Jaime explains to Brienne of Tarth that the Mad King was obsessed with the stuff, and he loved watching his enemies burn.
As past seasons have established, Wildfire is a chosen weapon of House Targaryen, one that its members favored when its greatest advantage over the Seven Kingdoms, their dragons, all died out. It only makes sense that Wildfire would appear again when Daenerys, the last living child of the Mad King, let the devastation of death, the reality of fear, and the overwhelming desire for power turn her into a version of her father. The Mad King attempted to burn King’s Landing with Wildfire and couldn’t, but his daughter finished the job decades later.
It’s almost guaranteed that the Wildfire seen on season 8, episode 5 came from the stores that the Mad King’s pyromancers placed across King’s Landing, ones no one had found until Dany ordered Drogon to blast his flames everywhere. It also draws yet another terrifying parallel between Daenerys and her father, the man she tried so hard not to become up to this point.
Will she suffer the same fate he did, killed by a knight with a swift hand? The final episode of Game of Thrones will reveal the answer.
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