Episode 5 of HBO’s Game of Thrones promises plenty of conflict between Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey). Both have a legitimate — although maybe not the most legitimate — claim to the Iron Throne and are determined to secure their place as ruler of the seven kingdoms. However, could things get potentially explosive thanks to wildfire?
Previously, wildfire was used by Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) at the Battle of Blackwater in Season 2 of Game of Thrones and used again in the Season 6 finale when Cersei blew up the Great Sept of Baelor. However, there might still be wildfire left in King’s Landing.
According to Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), King Aerys II Targaryen, also known as the Mad King, had deposited secret stashes of wildfire throughout King’s Landing.
“The Mad King was obsessed with it,” Jaime told Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) in Season 3 of Game of Thrones.
“He loved to watch people burn, the way their skin blackened and blistered and melted off their bones. He burned lords he didn’t like. He burned Hands who disobeyed him. He burned anyone who was against him. Before long, half the country was against him. Aerys saw traitors everywhere. So he had his pyromancers place caches of wildfire all over the city. Beneath the Sept of Baelor and the slums of Flea Bottom. Under houses, stables, taverns. Even beneath the Red Keep itself.”
What makes this statement particularly disturbing is the fact that there might still be wildfire under the Red Keep, a place where Cersei is currently located and where she is letting the people of King’s Landing come in as a human shield against Daenerys. In addition, Cersei has not only previously blown up the Sept to fix her mounting problems but also nearly poisoned herself and her son rather than being captured by the enemy.
If Cersei knows of the stash of wildfire under the Great Sept, then she would also know about the rumors about it being under the Red Keep. And, if this is the case, the potential is there for her to use it if she thinks that she is losing.
Digital Spy also points out a disturbing conversation between Tyrion and Qyburn (Anton Lesser) in the last episode of Game of Thrones that could also suggest Cersei is ready to use wildfire if needed.
“I don’t want to hear the screams of children burning alive,” Tyrion says to Qyburn at one point during negotiations between the two Hands. “Help me save this city.”
So, is there still wildfire under the Red Keep?
Already, it has been used by Tyrion and Cersei, so the potential is there for the stockpile to have been depleted. However, Tyrion used the wildfire made specifically for Cersei at the Battle of Blackwater, not one of the Mad King’s stashes. In addition, it seems very likely that Cersei only used the wildfire already under the Sept rather than bring in extra supplies from other stockpiles. This means the potential is there that this hidden cache under the Red Keep still exists and remains ready to be used.
In addition to Cersei’s knowledge of it, the potential is also there that Daenerys knows about it. While she was very small when her father was killed by Jaime, there is the possibility that she heard her father talk of his hidden wildfire.
If so, could Daenerys use this to advantage in the upcoming episode of Game of Thrones? Only time will tell.
Season 8 of Game of Thrones returns to HBO with Episode 5 on Sunday, May 12, at 9 p.m. ET.