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Game of Thrones 8.05 Review – ‘The Bells’

May 13, 2019 | Posted by Wednesday Lee Friday
Game of Thrones - The Bells
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Game of Thrones 8.05 Review – ‘The Bells’  

I imagine if I were a showrunner, giving fans a satisfying ending would be one of my foremost goals. The last thing I’d want is for fans to spend years on a story, falling in love with characters, anxiously awaiting the unfolding of key plot points — only to have it fall flat in the end. LOST cheaped out on the fans in the finale. Battlestar Galactica left crucial questions unanswered to many fans dismay. Viewers are still bitterly divided on the Sopranos finale, even as far as what actually happened. Tonight’s episode, while entertaining AF, sorta felt like a checklist of everything Twitter told HBO what they wanted in the last few episodes .

As this is the penultimate episode, time to figure out the ending is running thin. Bran does not appear to be the Night’s King after all. The zombies don’t win and kill everyone. Tyrion is not a Targaryen, and Lady Stoneheart will never appear. And tonight, we learned that Jaime didn’t go to King’s Landing to murder Cersei, and that Cersei doesn’t win. House Lannister, another old and great house, may find itself gone in a week. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

I can’t imagine Not-Actually-A-Lord Varys thought he was going to get away with conspiring against Dany. But he has always worked toward the good of the realm — meaning the people — as he saw it. A guy with a hard and fascinating life, Varys was a wonderful character. His terror at being burned alive even when we knew it was coming was difficult to watch. Like his Queen, Tyrion is losing many friends and allies this season. Is he to blame for Varys death? Is Sansa, as Dany claimed? No. Dany killed Varys, full stop.

“A Targaryan alone in the world is a terrible thing.” Viserys demonstrated that clearly before he died. It’s easy to be magnanimous when everything is going your way. But true character is shown when times are tough. Despite her rage at Cersei for Missandei’s murder, the Dragon Queen does agree that if the city surrenders and rings the bells, there won’t be any further killing. Oh, good. Problem solved.

We learned in the first season that it takes roughly a month to ride from King’s Landing to Winterfell. I imagine you could shave a week off that if you’re talking about two people on horseback as opposed to a big procession. Still, Arya and Sandor seem like they reached the city in no time flat. Just another of the events that make us wonder if there are time portals scattered around the seven kingdoms. Ayra confirms that she’s there to kill the Queen. And the Hound? We know why he’s there. To kill Captain Strickland. (Just kidding.) I imagine fans are wondering why they even bothered to learn the name of the Commander of the Golden Company (who is a bigger deal in the books) just to watch him die badly. Still, we can’t blame Grey Worm for his rage.

Cersei says she’s sure that the Red Keep is safe. But like, who is she trying to convince? She looks terrified in that haughty manner Lena Headey pulls off so beautifully. It’s been sheer delight watching her come into her power as a villain. She’s probably glad she didn’t have to see her own army surrender. Jon’s horror at a battle breaking out after the city surrendered was on point. Thousands must have died; more than not, I’d guess. The dragonfire did a ton of damage. But let’s not forget that there was also Wildfyre stashed all over the city — causing those green explosions we kept seeing.

I don’t think any of us expected Euron and Jaime to be able to face off. But it was pretty satisfying — maybe even more so than Drogon taking out the Scorpions. After all, Drogon went through some losses of his/her own this season. Many fans were hoping for more dragons, possibly birthed while Drogon was off on his/her own during seasons four and five. But no. No more baby dragons, and no elephants. Drag. Oh, and no more Euron — fuck that guy. It’s debatable whether he’s earned the title “The Man Who Killed Jaime Lannister.”

Jaime going back to Cersei was hard to watch. But the more messed up your upbringing is, the likelier it is that you’ll repeat destructive patterns even after you recognize them. Jaime went back to what was comfortable and familiar, even though it was amoral and steeped in hate. For her part, Cersei is totally alone (Qyburn killed by his creation ala Frankenstein) and Undead Gregor ignoring her wishes to kill his brother. Jaime returned to her in the same room he left her, almost as if no time had passed. Well, except they both had sex with other people.

Did anyone not think the Mountain and Hound would kill each other in the long-awaited Cleganebowl? That seemed like fan fulfillment of the highest order. For me, the best Hound fight will always be versus Brienne. Speaking of Ms. Of Tarth, here’s hoping she’s strong enough to take even more bad news. She should’ve chose Tormund. Tyrion is still bad with languages. You’d think having a fancy education and doing all that reading he wouldn’t stumble over Valaryan like a fool. It’s cool though, that he was able to return his brothers favor. Now they’re even as far as helping the other escape a death sentence. Their goodbye was more heartfelt than their last one. Good thing, since this really was goodbye. That Tyrion would save his sister after everything that’s gone on between them is remarkable, and tells us what kind of person Tyrion is. That’s going to make it hurt even worse if Dany kills him next week.

Who did we lose? Varys, Qyburn, Captain Strickland, The Mountain, the Hound, Euron Greyjoy, Jaime and Cersei Lannister. That’s a lot. We’ve got one episode remaining to tell us everything (until the rest of the books come out). The show is doing a good job of giving us closure and fan fulfillment. I just hope it doesn’t make things too predictable — like Dany dead, Jon on the throne with Tyrion as hand and Sansa as Wardeness of the North. Jon could have just married Dany and ruled together. But no.

We’ve seen Dany show signs of Targaryan rage and insanity since season three. She burned people without trials or vetting. She burned a city full of civilians, and looted another. It’s one thing to take out your enemies or traitors. But the battle was over. The city surrendered. Dany rode a dragon through it, burning the whole place to cinders. What’s the point of ruling over that? The whole reason Baelish was so dangerous is that he would “burn the whole city down if he could rule over the ashes.” Now Dany is poised to do exactly that. The lesson here may be that you don’t want to be insane and powerful with a flying kill-machine the first time a boy you like tells you it’s not going to work out. “Let it be fear then,” is not an option most jilted lovers have, thankfully.

What do we know? First, the Lord of Light is lame as hell. Sure, we’re not all going to die from ice zombies. But if we’re burned alive, what does it matter? Bran must have seen something in his visions two weeks ago, but we still don’t know what it is. I really don’t want the finale to have a long flashback that gives us info we could have used last season to figure out the ending.

Who gets out of King’s Landing alive? We see Arya and Tyrion. We don’t see Jon or Davos die, so they’re probably okay. There’s no way Jon is going to let Dany sit the Iron Throne now. Does that mean he’ll take it out of honor? Who else would even want it? Gendry has a claim, thanks to Dany. He could even marry Arya and rule with her. I think she’s changed her mind about some things after the Hound’s pointed question, ‘Do you want to end up like me?’ She doesn’t. We can presume she’s either headed to Winterfell, or she’s going to join Nymeria’s wolf pack. Hahaha.

That’s all for now. I’m craving all your theories on what we can expect next week. If you read the spoilers online, please do not share them in the comments.

See you’s next week!

The final score: review Good
The 411
"When a Targaryan is born, the gods flip a coin and the people hold their breath." We learn why that is first hand this week, as a plan oh so nearly goes off without a hitch. Losing characters always hurts, but the showrunners were clearly trying very hard to give the fans what they want.