Director Miguel Sapochnik who was in charge for the making of Battle of the Bastards” before taking on “The Long Night” and “The Bells” has opened up about his work on season 8. He narrated down on directing “The Bells,” when Daenerys Targaryen took her shocking turned and burned King’s landing to a crisp. He didn’t know exactly what would happen until he got the scripts, but had been anticipating a turn from Daenerys for years. “The way she has treated humans, and the conviction she has, means that conviction is eventually going to fall a foul.”
For every episode Sapochnik directs, he creates a motto. For “The Bells,” it was, “What have we become?” It was a question he leveled at himself. “I think that I am complicit, and part of, a society that embraces violence as entertainment, and it’s messed up. Here I am doing the fifth – I don’t even know how many – but there are a lot of battles. At some point, you’re like, ‘Why am I and Why I am creating this for people to see because there is enough bloodshed and horrible stuff going on in the world?
Sapochnik felt like there was this thing of this bloodthirstiness that exists in the fans, for revenge, for this payback that is personified by Dany. As a dragon, Daenerys visited horrible death and destruction on the most populous city in Westeros. “The destruction of King’s Landing, for me, has always been an audience participation event,” Sapochnik said. He just wanted to get to the core of what that actually means, Because even though the characters that don’t exist in the end, what you’re looking for, as an audience, is death and destruction. I wanted people to know how bad death and destruction can be in the safe environment they’re living in.
In preparation to film “The Bells” Sapochnik watched the movie San Andreas, where ultra-violent earthquakes rip through California causing untold chaos. He also watched real-life clips of explosions and accidents, all so he could learn where the eye was drawn. “What’s making this feel real is that You and I can’t even understand that, because we’ve never been in that situation, and I try to find the story in that, Because destruction is not something that there is much of a story to talk about, instead It’s like something’s there and then you blow it up, or something’s there and then it collapses. Then it’s all about gravity, and mass moving, and stuff like that and much of mathematics.
There was so much destruction in “The Bells,” that it almost became uncomfortable for Sapochnik to watch but was also purposeful. “How can I re-sensitize both myself, and the people about watching this? This idea that every single person that dies in this story, every single person that is buried by rubble, every kid, that little girl, they are people, and they have mothers, and fathers, and lives, like us. They had aspirations and dreams, and they got cut short by this event. That feels like what we were trying to do there.”
In the end, Sapochnik embraced what he took to be the message about war being delivered by showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss: “there are no winners, only survivors. Sapotchnik is a brilliant director and his work on GOT stand as the greatest achievements in television history.