When we were first introduced to King’s Landing, it was a plush peninsula practically dripping with opulence. But by the time it was burnt down by Dany’s dragons in Game of Thrones season 8, the location couldn’t have looked more different.
Game of Thrones isn’t exactly renowned for its continuity, but the difference between King’s Landing in the first seasons compared to the later ones is pretty stark (pun intended). When we first meet the Game of Thrones cast in season 1, the majority of their Game of Thrones characters are living a life of luxury in King’s Landing. Although there are plenty of remarks about a certain… odor, King’s Landing is nice to look at, if nothing else.
In the early seasons, King’s Landing is surrounded by greenery, trees, and the ocean. But it’s pretty much a barren wasteland by the time Tyrion returns with Daenerys Targaryen in season 8.
In some ways, the changes to King’s Landing can be explained away. The deforestation, for instance, could be a deliberate attempt by Cersei to get the upper hand over Iron Throne usurpers.
We’ve seen the Night’s Watch engage in a technique called ‘clear-cutting,’ where they cleared trees between the Haunted Forest and the Wall to prevent a surprise sneak-attack by the wildings, so it wouldn’t be surprising for Cersei to order the Kingsguard to do a similar thing.
With a threat to the Iron Throne around the corner, it’s also very feasible that the trees were felled to mobilize a larger army. Or, more thematically, King’s Landing isn’t the powerhouse it was in season 1. So, seeing this previously-prosperous place all dead and dried up helps to emphasize that point even more.
The Lannisters are losing allies, and their claim to the Iron Throne gets weaker every season, so it seems only natural for that weakness to be reflected in the wider environment.
So, there are plenty of explanations about why King’s Landing changed so dramatically, although none of these account for the fact that there used to be hills, too. Given most of King’s Landing was deep-fried by the end, maybe consistency doesn’t matter all that much. That said, it doesn’t stop Game of Thrones from being one of the best TV series ever made.
But if you aren’t ready to leave King’s Landing just yet, check out our guides on the Targaryen family tree, the House of the Dragon cast, all the Game of Thrones dragons explained, and House of the Dragon season 2.