That's right folks: it's another Game of Thrones article to add to your open tabs this morning. Here at IMAGE, we've stayed relatively quiet on the GOT front since the beginning of the final season last month, but that's mostly because we've been using up all material over our tea. Seriously — Tuesday mornings for anyone who doesn't watch the show in the office is a nightmare. But as we are being dragged kicking and screaming to the end of the biggest TV show of all time, the penultimate episode proved too much for simple morning chats — we need an entire article to let out the feels.
Season 8, episode 5, fittingly titled 'The Bells', is sure to go down as one of the most controversial episodes in GOT history. Loose ends were tied up (in both satisfying and infuriating ways — more on that in a minute), battles were fought, death, life, secrets, betrayal, escapes, love, family — it's all in there! While controversial, you cannot argue that The Bells was not one of the most amazing spectacles ever shown on TV.
Needless to say, there are major, major spoilers ahead, but to be honest, if you've clicked on this piece, you have no business complaining. Let's get to it.
"Jon, you're being an idiot"
When Jon arrives to Dragonstone to join Daenerys before their battle at King's Landing, it is revealed that his secret is out — Varys knows that he is the true heir to the Iron Throne, and voices his concern about Daenerys' ability to rule. But Jon is still sitting back on that same line he's been peddling for the last series and a half — "she is my queen". Yes, alright Jon, she's your queen, but would it kill you to open your eyes a bit? The woman is literally turning into a villain before your eyes, your entire family have told you that she's not to be trusted, and you're still putting the blinkers on. Ygritte really knew what she was on about when she said you know nothing.
Let it be fear
Our first look at Dany this episode sees her descending quickly into what looks like a good case of lunacy. Having not eaten since the death of Missandei, the queen looks wan, pale but not without the fire of rage in her eyes. She knows Varys has betrayed her, and predictably punishes him with what she does best (getting her dragon to burn him alive), but arguably, the most unsettling moment of the episode is when she is alone with Jon later that night. “Far more people here love you than me,” she says. “I don’t have love here. I only have fear.” Jon tries to reassure her, but when he makes it clear that he only loves her as his queen and nothing else, Daenerys delivers the most withering of looks. "All right then. Let it be fear". My stress levels were at 10,000 at this moment. Jon, if you knew anything, you'd know to get the hell out.
"Tyrion, you are really being an idiot"
Let me preface this by saying that over the seven series, Tyrion has always been my favourite character. Smart, sassy and an excellent drunk — he's like what I imagine myself to be on a night out. But so far in season 8, the idiocy has really jumped out with this one, and I'm not sure how we've gotten to this point with Tyrion being so willfully stupid. Forget the start of the episode when he snitched on Varys because he is still blindly loyal to Dany, but Tyrion's plan to free his brother Jaime and let him steal away into King's Landing to escape with Cersei really takes the cake here. Tyrion, are you actually well? Cersei is stone-cold evil, and Daenerys isn't far behind her at this point. Are you really going to let one of these women escape her fate, and the other one absolutely destroy you when she finds out that you let it happen? I still have big love for Tyrion, but lord, if he isn't getting on my nerves here.
"Jaime, I am so angry at you" (and the writers)
Jaime Lannister had what was arguably one of the best character arcs of the entire running of Game of Thrones. The Kingslayer, detested by the public, makes his way through Westeros, struggling with his love for his sister Cersei, in pursuit of honour and redemption, and eventually finds it in fighting for the living and falling in love with Brienne. And what does he do? Pies her off and goes back to Cersei to die with her, erasing all of his hard-won honour. The GOT writers just threw out all of Jaime's development, and did not give him the death he deserved. Enraging.
But Tyrion and Jaime's goodbye really hit home
Yes, both of the Lannister brothers are really testing me this episode, but damn, that final goodbye almost makes it worth it. Tyrion frees Jaime to disappear with Cersei and start a new life, in the hopes that his siblings and the thousands of innocent civilians in King's Landing will live. With the plan in place, it's time for them to say their farewells — and it quickly became one of the most emotional closing moments of the show. Tyrion finally gets the chance to thank his brother for being the only person who made his early life bearable — "You were the only one who didn't treat me like a monster. You were all I had". It's such a powerful moment, and a fitting end to their relationship.
The bells ring — and Daenerys takes no notice
So we've gotten to King's Landing, their armies have surrendered and the bells have rung out. All's well that ends well, right? Not for Daenerys, it's not. The Mother of Dragons hears the bells as the signal to fall back and what does she do? Destroys the entire city with fire. Who would have seen that coming? Oh, that's right: Arya, Sansa, Varys, and the entire audience of Game of Thrones. Who didn't see it coming? Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister. Figures.
"Wow, Cersei is really here getting paid millions to stand by the window"
Lena Headey is a fantastic actress. Over the past eight series of Game of Thrones, she has morphed Cersei Lannister into the TV villain to end all TV villains – cold, ruthless, obsessed with power and completely uninterested in being liked. Yes, I hated Cersei, but she was a damn good character. So when she spends the entire last 90 minutes of her life standing at a window doing absolutely F-all to save the city, I just wanted something more. "The Red Keep has never fallen" — girl, there are literally bricks falling two inches from your head.
Cleganebowl did not disappoint
— The Man Who Sold The World (@LordBalvin) May 13, 2019
This is the best part of the entire episode, and I will not hear a word to the contrary. It's the fan favourite moment we've all been waiting for, and the showdown between brothers Gregor (the Mountain) and Sandor (the Hound) Clegane was a fight to remember. The Hound yelling "why won't you fucking die?!" was a particularly great part, not to mention the Mountain using his signature move of crushing eyeballs. But it was the final fall into the fire that proved the most satisfying moment of the whole episode. It was always going to end in fire with these two, wasn't it?
And finally, Arya's white horse
Really? Arya wakes up with thousands of dead civilians around her, and there's just a perfectly healthy white horse chilling there? This show, honestly.