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King’s Landing Was Always a Miserable Dump

Game of Thrones’ destruction of the capital of the Seven Kingdoms revealed a city of mean living conditions and rampant inequality.
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Warning: If you haven’t seen last Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones, this article is one long spoiler.

In the midst of the recent hullaballoo about “The Bells,” the penultimate episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones, something got missed in the confusion. The true star of the episode was neither a newly unsympathetic Daenerys nor her fire-breathing baby. The real focus was the city of King’s Landing itself, shown up close and in remarkable detail just at the moment when it, and its unlucky residents, were being scorched to smithereens.