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Game of Thrones Season 8 Deleted Scenes Make the Evil Daenerys Twist Much Better
Every writer knows that once their work is out there, it’s out there—no revisions, no excuses, no take-backsies. Yet if you’re the brain trust behind Game of Thrones, apparently you can hide behind the shield of what hit the cutting room floor. At the Writers Guild Foundation Library in Los Angeles, HBO has exhibited scripts for a number of Season Eight Episodes, some of which contained scenes that didn’t make the final cut of the show and could significantly have altered Daenerys’s much-reviled character arc.
In the penultimate episode, Daenerys descended into what seemed to fans like sudden, unjustified, genocidal madness, saddling up on her dragon to destroy King’s Landing and its innocent civilians. As Insider pointed out, a number of the deleted scenes would have better shaded in Daenerys’ mental decline, including a scene in the fourth episode of the final season, in which Daenerys and Jon Snow evaluate their claims to the Iron Throne. When discussing their incestuous relationship, Daenerys says of Jon’s feelings, “It disgusts you.”
In another deleted scene, this one from the penultimate episode, Jon discusses his fears about Daenerys’ state of mind with Varys, before Daenerys confronts him. When Jon swears his loyalty to Daenerys, calling her his queen, Daenerys retorts, “Is that all I am to you? Your queen?”
The script elaborates, describing Jon’s feelings: “This is complicated for him. He loves her. He disapproves strongly of what she’s doing. He lusts after her. He fears her. She feels his ambivalence. [Daenerys] is desperate for a connection; she cannot remember a time she has felt this alone.”
Elsewhere in earlier scripts from the season, it details how the budding romance between Grey Worm and Missandei, further alienated Daenerys and contributed to her isolation.
At the September Emmy Awards, the cast of Game of Thrones weighed in on fans’ disappointment with the series conclusion. Even the director of the final episode admitted that the conclusion was “really rushed.” Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss seemingly put their head in the sand, with Weiss saying, “It’s not really up to us to decide what people feel about it. Hope people watch and like it in the future. There’s no way to tell how things are going to be perceived in 10, 20, even five years. These things change so fast. The landscape of television changes so quickly; it’s changing as we’re standing here right now. It’s so gratifying to have reached this many people. I hope people a little too young to watch now will grow up to learn about it and watch it as well.”
If the petition to remake Season Eight gets anywhere, perhaps these deleted scenes will make their way into the world on film. Given HBO’s dismissal of the petition, we’d recommend that you don’t hold your breath.
Adrienne Westenfeld is a writer and editor at Esquire, where she covers books and culture.