Game of ThronesTV ReviewsGame of Thrones (8×05) The Bells Review

Keith NoakesMay 12, 201990/100
Miguel Sapochnik
David Benioff, D.B. Weiss
Running Time
80 minutes
Sundays 9pm
HBO Canada, HBO
Overall Score
Rating Summary
The Bells was definitely the true spectacle of the season and one of the more memorable episodes of the series. While a near technical masterpiece, the not-so-unexpected turn that would lead to the madness on screen did not quite work. However, plenty of great performances in expected and unexpected compelling character moments still shone despite the chaos.

For our review of the last episode of Game of Thrones, click here.

Synopsis: Forces have arrived at King’s Landing for the final battle. (IMDB)

Maybe Cersei wasn’t so bad after all as another terrifying option presented itself in The Bells. While this heel turn in a sense was inevitable over the past few seasons, its implementation did not work or ever feel earned due to it being rushed over the last few shortened seasons. That’s not to say that this episode had nothing to offer as it featured plenty of satisfying character moments (and some baffling ones) while also perhaps being the best episode on a technical level so far. The battle for King’s Landing was already brighter than the battle for Winterfell and contained a much higher body count (but maybe not in the way you would think).

Before we got there, The Bells started at Dragonstone with a disheveled Daenerys who wasn’t quite right after the events of the last episode. Varys was writing something and was interrupted. He met with Jon when he arrived to push him towards the throne that he still had no interest in. Varys was clearly worried about what was to come (and rightfully so) but Jon was steadfast in his belief of his Queen. However, Daenerys knew what was going on behind her back and confronted Tyrion about it. He admitted that it was mistake to tell Varys. She would also question Sansa’s motives in telling him. Tyrion was spared as it no longer mattered though it still did since she had Varys burned to death (though he saw it coming). Jon would later refuse her advances which would only make things worse. He loved his Queen but not in THAT way. People loved him but they didn’t love her. They only thing she had was fear. Tyrion pleaded mercy for the lives of the people of King’s Landing but Daenerys saw mercy as weakness. Meanwhile, Jaime was intercepted while trying to cross their lines.

At King’s Landing, Tyrion had a favor to ask Davos. Tyrion visited Jaime and let him escape so he could sneak into King’s Landing and convince Cersei to surrender the city and escape to safety together, appealing to his feelings for her. Tyrion understood the risks, sacrificing his life for lives of the innocent people he could save. Also, he owed Jaime. Meanwhile, Arya and the Hound both still had unfinished business so they could also sneak into King’s Landing.

Everyone was getting ready for Daenerys’ one remaining dragon but none of it would matter as it would have its way, burning Euron Greyjoy’s fleet as well as the walls’ defenses and some Lannister soldiers (all while Cersei watched from the Red Keep and Arya and the Hound and Jaime were making their way there as well). Once the dragon left an opening for the soldiers, they would fight their way into King’s Landing before stopping in front of another group of Lannister soldiers. Seeing what they were up against, they would all drop their swords. While everyone waited for the bells to ring to mark the city’s surrender, the epic stare-down from far away between Daenerys and Cersei, followed by the bells ringing triggered her somehow. She would then begin to burn everyone and everything in her sight as her soldiers began attacking everyone as well, much to Jon’s surprise (and it got super violent).

The carnage that ensued may not have been the most pleasant but technically speaking, it was breathtaking on just about every level, from the camerawork, to the special effects, to the sound design and score. People were being slaughtered left and right as Jon could do nothing more than watch in utter disbelief. He tried to do what he could, however, he was only one person. Meanwhile, Cersei kept watching and still wasn’t worried. Jaime had to find another way into the Red Keep and in doing so, found Euron Greyjoy. They fought with Jaime taking some significant damage but ultimately prevailed, putting Euron out of his misery.

Cersei was eventually persuaded to leave meanwhile, Arya concded that the Hound’s revenge was more worthy than hers (also the Red Keep was crumbling). The Hound found Cersei and her entourage and immediately got a chance for revenge against his older brother, the Mountain. Despite Cersei’s order to stay by her side, the Mountain was more interested in his brother. The Clegane Bowl (according to the Internet) was exciting to watch as the Mountain refused to die, however, the match would end up a draw as both brothers fell into the flames below. Cersei later found Jaime who she was happy to see despite wanting him dead earlier. While that was happening, Arya took charge and navigated through all the chaos outside in what was the best sequence in the The Bells (for the previously mentioned technical prowess and also Sapochnik’s direction and Maisie Williams’ performance) and Jon ordered the soldiers to fall back.

Once Cersei and Jaime hit a snag through the tunnels on their way out of King’s Landing, Cersei took a moment to let out all her feelings to Jaime, wanting her baby to live despite what was happening around them. In the end, they wanted to be together and they would die that way with the roof collapsing on them. Meanwhile, Arya survived the fallout and found a white horse for which she would ride away on.

Who knows what will happen next week but Danny has to be stopped and Jon seems to be the only person who can do it.

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