'House of the Dragon': What is the destruction of ‘The Great Sept of Baelor’

'House of the Dragon': What is the destruction of ‘The Great Sept of Baelor’
The destruction of 'The Great Sept of Baelor' changed the dynamics of House Targaryen (Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen in 'House of the Dragon'/HBO)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: The prequel ‘House of the Dragon’ is giving us a detailed insight into House Targaryen which emerged as the most powerful kingdom ruling Westeros for about three hundred years. It’s a story of Princess Rhaenyra who fights all the odds to become the first female queen to rule on the Iron Throne of Westeros. While the first and second episodes so far have taken audiences much deeper into the dirty politics and deceit that exists within all the members of the family who want to rule on entire Westeros, one of the most intriguing stories is how the destruction of 'The Great Sept of Baelor' is important to the fictional world of novelist George RR Martin.

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As ardent viewers eagerly wait for the third highly-discussed episode of the war saga that airs this coming weekend on September 4, we take a detailed look at the destruction of 'The Great Sept of Baelor' and how it drastically changed the dynamics of House Targaryen that later on was ruled by Cersei Lannister.

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What is the destruction of ‘The Great Sept of Baelor’?

The destruction of the Great Sept of Baelor was an event that occurred in King's Landing after the ‘War of the Five Kings’. To escape her trial unscathed and get revenge on her recent enemies, Queen Cersei Lannister had the Great Sept of Baelor destroyed by wildfire which killed everyone inside and around the building. Aside from marking the fall of the Sparrows and the extinction of House Tyrell, the event resulted in massive collateral damage to the city.

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A detailed peek into the destruction of ‘The Great Sept of Baelor’

On the day of the trials of Loras and Cersei, Cersei fails to appear at the Great Sept. She already knew about the supplies of the wildfire that were placed in the tunnels beneath the Sept. She then smartly planned to set them on fire and destroy them. Her action proved drastic as it subsequently killed the High Sparrow and the rest of the Sparrows. Three burning candles are placed in a pool of wildfire wherein the flames are seen getting closer to the extremely flammable substance as the candles melt. By the time Loras' trial ended, Queen Margaery realizes that something is fishy as Cersei and Tommen hadn’t made their arrival. She tries to leave the Sept, alongside her brother, father, and the rest of the assembly. The Sparrows stop them all from doing this. Originally, the High Sparrow dismisses her concerns and insists that the trial must continue. The wildfire plot is revealed by Brother Lancel after he himself goes into the tunnels and ends up severely injuring one of Qyburn's ‘little birds’. His injury acts as a hindrance and stops him from getting to the candles in time. Because of this, he is the first to be killed as the pool ignites which triggers a chain reaction.

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Dozens of barrels of wildfire ignite and explode which floods the tunnels with fire. As Margaery locks eyes with the High Sparrow for the last time, the fire goes through the seven-pointed star mosaic floor directly where the High Sparrow was standing. This unfortunately ends up killing him instantly. The statues of the Seven completely shatter under the force of the explosion alongside the flames spreading everywhere also killing the entire assembly.

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The explosion builds in intensity, blowing out the windows and shattering the stonework of the building. Civilians gathered outside are burned as the shockwave spreads the flames outwards. It also annihilates all structures within a hundred meters of the Great Sept. A bell from one of the Sept's towers is thrown away from the structure. It takes a chunk out of a building before crashing into the street below killing a man before flames consume the entire area. As smoke and the screams of the terrified people fill the air, Cersei looks on from her chamber in the Red Keep with great satisfaction. On the flip side, Tommen who was forced to remain in the Red Keep by Ser Gregor watches on with shock and horror as the shattered remains of the once magnificent Sept disintegrate to the ground.

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