Game of Thrones: The Bells (S8 Ep5)

Game of Thrones returned to screens worldwide in its penultimate episode this week, and it did not take any prisoners. Once again having heavily divided opinion in the fandom (and receiving the lowest ever rating for GoT on Rotten Tomatoes along the way), there is no disputing the fact that this episode saw some major twists alongside some of the best filmography in cinematic history.

Noteworthy Moments

I think it’s safe to say Daenerys “Mad Queen” Targaryen was the major talking point of this week’s episode, decimating absolutely everything in sight during her destruction of King’s Landing. Despite claims from disgruntled viewers that this storyline has come out of nowhere, there’s been a pretty clear buildup since way back in Season 2 if you look closely enough. From Dany’s vision of herself in the throne room covered in what we assumed was snow and is now very obviously ash, writers have been dropping hints at this potential bend in the road for Daenerys for years now. This also isn’t the first time that Daenerys has literally burnt thousands of people to the ground, having destroyed fleets of hundreds of ships before now. It’s a controversial idea, but when she destroyed the ships belonging to the Slavers of Astapor was she really having another epic Daenerys moment or did we only think that because it had been so heavily implied that the Slavers were the villains? Was Daenerys’ rise to power really so liberating, or was it founded in the ashes of the innocent? It’s a horrible thought – by that standard almost everything that Daenerys has ever done has been some form of tyranny or other, from burning every Dothraki Khal alive to executing the Tarly’s, an act which almost everyone can agree was extremely unnecessary.

Personally I was heartbroken to see Daenerys’ turn having loved her since I first began watching the show, championing her as the woman I’d like to see on the throne by the end of the series. With all the recent deaths Dany has incurred many are trying to justify her mass execution of all the innocents in King’s Landing, however there is no point in defending the indefensible. There is no coming back now for Daenerys and I can only hope the throne goes to someone more deserving.

In other non-Dany-related news: “Sandor. Thank you”. The moment that broke hearts across the world. Arya’s silent removal of The Hound from her kill list spoke volumes in this scene, knowing they were parting ways for good. The journey of this pair has been unique to say the least. Having joined forces with The Hound shortly after the execution of her father, Arya was fiercely protected, verbally abused and everything in between by Sandor Clegane during their long and tiring journey on the road. Despite the obvious hatred on her behalf as a child, I truly believe Arya came to love The Hound in almost a father-daughter type of way, having picked up much of his advice and broody demeanour along the way. I will be truly sorry to see the back of this duo.

Deaths

I was genuinely upset to see Varys executed this week, and as much as I know this is another controversial opinion I stand by it. Varys has quietly been one of my favourite characters for a long time now, and I truly believe he lived and breathed for the people, never coveting the throne for himself. If Varys had been successful in his attempted poisoning of Daenerys thousands would have survived. Alas, Tyrion’s tattle-tale nature changed Varys’ fate for good, but at least he was executed before he got the chance to watch his predictions play out before his very eyes.

Euron Greyjoy was a truly awful character, and I can’t lie, I found his death unbelievably random. It almost seemed too convenient that he happened to rock up on the beach that Jamie has just arrived at, ready for a final battle (if you can call it that) which saw his eventual demise. Still, in true Euron fashion he let Jamie know he’d slept with his sister/lover with a snide comment before eventually giving up the ghost. I can’t say I was sorry to see the end of Euron, but I do wish it had happened at Yara’s hand after all she’s been through because of him. This death felt just a little too neat and convenient for me and was unfortunately the most disappointing moment of an otherwise incredible episode.

Qyburn’s death was frankly hilarious. Fair play to David and Dan – Qyburn was a major inconvenience of a character that needed getting rid of as swiftly as possible. Blink, and you’d have missed it. His quick dash against a rock at the hand of The Mountain was a personal highlight of the episode, creating a spark of joy and laughter in an otherwise depressing onslaught of death and destruction. It was extremely satisfying that The Mountain was the one to eventually see the end of Qyburn; after all of his poking and prodding (and the whole bringing him back from the dead thing…) it was excellent to see The Mountain finally snap and get rid of the twisted maester for good.

Cleganebowl was everything I hoped it would be and I was truly gutted to see the death of the Hound, quickly realising he was another character that I was far more fond of than I ever realised. The fight between the brothers was as brutal as expected, if not more, narrated by a standard barrage of swearing from the Hound (would we expect anything less?). People across the nation waited with bated breath as soon as the Mountain placed his thumbs over his brother’s eyes, immediately recalling memories of another brutal death in the same fashion all those years ago. In a bitter-sweet ending, the Hound and the Mountain met their fates together. It was strangely poetic that the Hound died jumping into the flames that plagued him with fear his entire life. Even more poetic was the fact that it was alongside his brother, the man who’d caused the paralysing fear in the first place. As bizarre as this sound, the death of the Hound was my favourite moment of the episode.

Cersei and Jaime Lannister. Where to begin. The death of the Lannisters has been another major talking point of this episode, and perhaps the moment which has most heavily divided opinion in fans. I can understand why, as I was one of many that were extremely disappointed in the thoroughly unimpressive death of Cersei at first. Why should the woman who has caused so much pain for so many people get away scot-free? I couldn’t understand it. But after some thought I came round to the idea of Cersei dying in Jamie’s arms. The woman was driven solely by family her entire life, so dying with the one man she ever truly loved pregnant with their baby was exactly the ending she deserved. Given some thought, the Lannister siblings’ deaths was truly heartbreaking purely because of their last moments together, poetic in a way similar to that of the Clegane siblings. Jaime and Cersei left this world the same way they came into it: together.

Looking Forward To…

It’s been a busy week for me and as a result I got this post written in time for the next episode by the skin of my teeth. With just hours before the final ever Game of Thrones episode airs (cue tears), there is so much I am looking forward to but also so much I am sad about.

Jon was very obviously shocked to see Daenerys’ true nature revealed this week, so I’m really looking forward to her imminent retribution. My ideal ending at this point would be for Arya to execute Daenerys, the Stark siblings return to Winterfell which would become the new capital, leaving Sansa and Jon to rule the Seven Kingdoms with Arya serving as Hand and Bran as Maester. That being said, it’s almost impossible to predict how this will all end. Only one thing is for certain – there will be tears. And lots of them.

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