The Bells was one of the most challenging and controversial episodes in Game of Thrones history. So we look at four significant takeaways from “The Bells.” And for a more in-depth review of episode five check out the Laracuente Ledger Podcast, episode 53 “The Bells Tolled.” As well as takeaways from Episode 3 and 4.
The Mad Queen Lives
Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen has been a complex character inside of the Game of Thrones series. She has fought for world peace and an end to slavery. And while her intentions were good, the methods weren’t always peaceful. But in Daenerys mind, the sentences for punishment were just. However, in episode five, the tide turned for many that watched. Daenerys goal of freeing the innocent turned to similar echos of her father “The Mad King” Aerys Targaryen. “Burn them all! Burn them all!” These were the Mad King’s final words. And the words that echoed in the minds of all who watched Daenerys and Drogon flying through the sky.
At the end of the episode, the Showrunners explained that Daenerys was overcome with rage seeing all that her family built. And all that was subsequently taken away from them. And that is what caused her to unleash her fury. One additional part of that rage was the feeling of loss and abandonment that Daenerys felt. This feeling also resulted in the firey execution of Lord Varys. This rage also changed the mindsets of Jon Snow (Aegon Targaryen) and Tyrion.
The long-awaited battle between the Mountain and the Hound was one of the only widely agreeable parts of the fifth episode. We were able to see the Mountain unmasked and unarmored. As well as seeing a callback to the battle with the Viper, Oberyn Martell. We would also see some of the “Frankenstein-ish” changes that Qyburn made to Gregor Clegane. The brothers Clegane would exchange blows and ultimately fall to their fiery demise.
One beautiful note to add in here is the moment shared between the Hound and Arya. Arya was set to end Cersei’s life, but the Hound convinced her that if she continued on with him, the only way out was death. The Hound had been seeking vengeance on his brother their entire lives. And only death would quell that fire inside. (Pun intended.) But Arya had more to live for than killing Cersei. Thus releasing Arya from her revenge filled oath.
One universally despised conclusion was the ending for the vile Cersei Lannister. The Lannister Twins hold each other close as the city collapsed onto them was not the ending fans wanted. This was the most uncathartic ending that could have ever been devised. For all of the evil that Cersei has done, this ending brought no one satisfaction. Having Cersei go out “In the hands of the little brother” (a kinda-sorta nod to the books) was the worst ending. We needed redemptive closure on Cersei. And there were many ways that would have been possible. This, however, was not one of them.
What Will Happen Next?
The biggest takeaway from Game of Thrones season eight episode five “The Bells” is what could be happening next. There remains just one last episode to wrap up the entire saga that has been Game of Thrones. And how the show ends will spell the success (or likely failure based on episode 5) of the upcoming prequel series of Thrones. And many questions can be asked. What will Daenerys do about Tyrion freeing Jaime? Or what will Arya do next after surviving the collapse of King’s Landing? What about Jon Snow, what does he do about this situation? There are many questions but only one final episode to answer them all.