TV reviews

Game of Thrones 8×05 – ‘The Bells’ – Review

Whether fans like it or not, the journey towards the conclusion of the fantasy medieval tale, Game of Thrones, keeps chugging along each week offering the final episodes to determine who will end up on the iron throne ruling the Seven Kingdoms. With that accomplishment bringing peace to the realm, but more importantly satisfying fans who have been going out of their minds piecing together book lore and tidbits of scenes and foreshadowing throughout the whole run of the show, trying to figure out the exact conclusion to the greatest show HBO has ever produced.

Each week the plot thickens, and the cast list shortens and this week’s episode ‘The Bells’ finally has all the action fans have been clamouring for, with some sprinkling in of moving scenes between the characters that viewers have either come to love or hate at this point.

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Daenarys (Emilia Clarke) is broken and alone. Rightfully so, since each moment that darn iron throne keeps moving further and further from her reach. She is barely over mourning the loss of her dragon, Rhaegal, and her lady in waiting Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) before she learns of another betrayal from her ‘servant of the realm’ eunuch, Lord Varys (Conleth Hill). His fate is no surprise, but at this point it doesn’t much matter since the man probably already wrote to every house of the Seven Kingdoms singing the song that Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is Aegon Targaryen and the rightful ruler of the kingdom.

However, Dany still has one eye on the prize and this episode proves she is willing to kill anyone and everyone who gets in her way.  Abandoning her last hope that the people will suddenly embrace and love her as the rightful queen, she states, “Alright then, let it be fear”, resigning herself that there is no hope of winning the iron throne without bloodshed. Fans that have been rooting for her to win, are now conflicted with her methods of murder no matter how thrilling it is to see her dragon finally being effective in a battle.

Jon Snow has a heck of a time with that Stark integrity. He cannot bring himself to forget he is in love with his aunt and that just makes Dany feel more isolated and grief-stricken. His pain at the battle and loss of life is palpable with each moment he is on screen, with his disgust now for both sides of the war. He keeps stating he has no desire to rule, but after this episode it is obvious he doesn’t have the stomach for the awful things war brings either.

Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) and The Hound (Rory McCann) ride again together to finally have their due with those that have fueled their rage for many seasons now. They trade quips and give fans one last glimpse of the evolution of their odd friendship before King’s Landing is reduced to rubble by the hands of a new mad queen. Arya is once more saved by her tormented friend, by taking his advice to get the hell out of Dodge before it is too late. And viewers that have been waiting for the infamous ‘Clegane-bowl’ should not be disappointed with The Hound finally dealing with his BIG brother, Gregor (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) in an epic one-on-one with the city crumbling all around the two of them.

The Lannisters do not fare well in this episode. After a touching moment between Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) where Tyrion finally is able to repay in kind, releasing his brother from captivity to try and talk some sense into his lover twin Cersei (Lena Headley) – one last time. It is evident that Tyrion’s behavior was treasonous, and not at all successful. And Jaime with much effort finally makes his way to his sister, just in time to share one last moment together as they perish (at least that’s what viewers are led to believe).

The Golden Company and Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk) end up being no match for the Mother of Dragons’ armies and perish with hardly a fight. Euron gets a nice little fight with Jaime thinking he has bested him, but in the end he is all brash talk and smirking nothingness.

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The true MVP of the episode is Drogon. With Dany on his back, the two of them destroy King’s Landing and turn the city into the largest barbeque in the Seven Kingdoms. The view from the Iron Keep of the dragon burning everything within the city is an amazing feat of CGI, so much so that (maybe, just maybe) viewers will forgive and forget the pets that HBO presumably couldn’t afford in last week’s episode when Jon says goodbye to Ghost. Either way, it was fulfilling to watch the apparent advantage that having a dragon would actually be in a battle, even with spear shooting scorpions that have enjoyed some wicked lucky shots up until now.

With Cersei done, her armies and advisors gone, Dany will surely sit on the iron throne, if an iron throne even exists anymore after this episode. And assuming those left beside her don’t feel the need to punish her ruthlessness with more backstabbing. However, knowing Game of Thrones viewers should never get too comfortable with any character or storyline and with one episode to go, there is still no telling what will be coming for those left alive after this last show.

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