Game Of Thrones S08E05 The Bells Review
And so we saw the penultimate episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones – The Bells. As is traditional this is usually the bloodiest episode of the season with the last dealing with the consequences. Ooh and bloody it was indeed, the sack of King’s Landing. For that is what it was. The episode has it fair share of deaths: Varys, Euron, Qyburn, Harry from the Golden Company, Jaime and Cersei, Sandor and Gregor Clegane. But what is stranger is the final character development of Jon and Dany – with the latter’s coin finally tumbling to a halt and coming the wrong side up.
Yes, Dany goes full Mad Queen, Dark Dany, ‘Burn them all’. After the city surrenders in a rather brief fight she decided to continue burning it to the ground. This is a signal to the Dothraki and Unsullied to kill everybody they see. As Jon looses control over his North men it only gets worse. For a viewer the gratuitous violence is hard to watch at time, even though we should be used to it by now. It must be because it is Dany, we have liked her a viewer. Like Jon her journey was long, only to think it ends next episode in a negative way breaks every viewers heart. Perhaps the showrunner will be able to ‘subvert our expectations’.
This is a strange episode. Arguably there is not much plot with the second half being the battle of Kings landing. Instead there are small scenes, for the most part goodbyes both sad and deserved. Two scenes in particular stand-out. When Tyrion says goodbye to the captured Jaime. These two characters have been together for most of their lives and Tyrion in particular states that for most of that Jaime was the only good thing he had. The scene if very touching, also knowing they won’t show up on camera together.
The end of Varys
Another scene is the execution of Varys. That may surprise some readers, as there are a few special scenes at the end of the episode. But I always liked Varys, respected him. And though I feel his death was yet another plot twist done in haste it is as though there may be consequences for the last episode. Varys knew his end was coming. He made a choice confronting Tyrion last episode and Jon this episode in the hopes his sacrifice would set in motion change.
Do I feel cheated? Yes. The producers have yet again decided upon convenient situations to push through into a more exciting direction. Rhaegal died last episode, never mind though. Drogon can somehow fly through dozens of scorpion-bolt positions unharmed and destroy them whole. 20 000 Golden Company in the way of Jon to capture the city? Never mind, we will just show its captain – Harry Strickland – get killed off and pretend there is not a problem.
Now, some of these things may be necessary to further the plot along, but the producers have also proven to be tone deaf. That said, every cloud has a silver lining. Varys’s death, the sack of King’s Landing, Dark Dany and the removal of extraneous characters have set everything up for the final episode. It is strange that as I am writing this review all I can think of is that final episode. I suppose that is as good a review any show producer can get.