RECAP | GAME OF THRONES season eight episode five - "The Bells"

Image - HBO

As expected, the body count was high, making up for the ‘disappointment’ of ‘The Long Night’, which was also directed by Miguel Sapochnik. It wasn’t just long-serving characters that met their maker, but the majority of Kings Landing.

Remember when Daenerys claimed she ‘wasn’t there to be the Queen of Ashes’? Yeah. Na. She can add that to her long list of titles: Stormborn, Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains, Queen of Ashes.

The first to bite the dust was Varys, who has long harboured doubts about Daenerys’ mental stability. He tries yet again to convince Jon that he is the man to sit on the Iron Throne:

“All I have ever wanted is the right person on the Iron…..but what I tell you is true. You will rule wisely, while she ..”

“….is my Queen.”

This little exchange is observed by Tyrion. He rushes off to tell Daenerys, further feeding her paranoia. Her suspicion and distrust for Jon is almost greater than her ‘love’.

It doesn’t help that it was Sansa who revealed Jon’s true identity to Tyron, who then shared the information with Varys.

“She trusted you to spread secrets that could destroy your own Queen. And you did not let her down.”

It’s more than a little obvious that a haggard and disheveled Daenerys is following in her father’s footsteps. Aegon also suspected his closest allies of plotting against him.

It’s only a matter of time that the soldiers come for Varys. In fact, it’s just 11-minutes into the episode if you count the opening credits. He calmly burns the note that reveals Jon’s lineage and removes his rings.

Grey Worm arrives to escort him to the Queen. Jon is by her side. And Tyrion; his betrayer.

“I hope I deserve this. Truly, I do. I hope I’m wrong. Goodbye old friend.”

With that, she passes sentence on Varys. Drogon emerges from the shadows. All it takes is one word; ‘Dracarys’ and Varys is toast. Literally.

Thank you, Conleth Hill, you were my favourite spider.

Jon says nothing, but gives Dany an ‘assessing’ look. Maybe it’s the wake-up call he needs. Can’t he see she’s off her Royal rocker?

After ridding herself of Varys, she now tries to convince Jon that Sansa is a danger that must be dealt. Seriously, the woman sees plots everywhere.

“She betrayed your trust. She killed Varys as much as I did….

…far more people in Westeros love you than me. I don’t have love here. I have only fear.”

Bookmark that: She’s abandoning love for fear.

“I didn’t think she’d take it so personally!”
”You mean the lady and the dragon with the bad temper?”

Image - HBO

Meanwhile, Tyrion desperately urges her to show mercy to Kings Landing or at least allow them the chance to abandon Cersei.

She agrees, but then drops her bombshell that Jaime has been captured trying to reach Cersei. It again makes her question Tyrion’s judgement and she gives him one last warning to not stuff up again.

Knowing Jaime could face the same end as Varys, Tyrion pays him a visit and sets him free to reunite with Cersei on the proviso he rings the bells and opens the gates to Kings Landing.

It could potentially save thousands of innocent lives even if it results in his own death, but it’s a gamble Tyrion is willing to take. Ultimately, his undying love for his brother that provides his motivation.

“If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have survived my childhood.

You were the only one who didn’t treat me like a monster. You were all I had.”

His vulnerability is heartbreaking. He sobs as he hugs Jaime and walks away. He knows it’s the last time they’ll see each other.

Meanwhile, the Hound and Arya have arrived at Kings Landing and they make their way to the Red Keep where they have big scores to settle.

The scene is chaotic as the population prepares for the coming battle. Doors and windows slam shut as the panicked crowd tries to find safety within.

Jaime is among the throng, but the gates are closed before he can slip inside. Arya and the Hound have made it and continue their quest.

Tyrion tells Jon to listen for ‘The Bells’. If he hears them, he must call off the fight. But Jon makes no promises, not entirely sure what the Queen’s Hand has planned.

On Blackwater Bay, Euron looks to the sky and sees Drogon, who swoops down, breathing fire as the Scorpions are fired. Ship after ship is destroyed and the Iron Fleet is destroyed.

Euron jumps clear as Daenerys flies her last remaining dragon towards the Red Keep, where she shows no mercy. Everyone is a potential enemy.

Cersei watches from her tower but refuses to believe all is lost, despite what Qyburn tells her.

“Our men will fight harder than sell-swords ever could. They will defend their Queen till the last man. The Red Keep has never fallen. It won’t fall today.”

Oh Cersei, wake up and smell the dragon fire!

Jon, Ser Davos and Grey Worm stride through the broken city and come face-to-face with Lannister soldiers, who promptly throw down their weapons in surrender.

What was that you were saying, Cersei?

Brother v zombified Brother
Image - HBO

And still Tyrion waits for the Bells to signal Kings Landing has surrendered. And then, he hears them. Surely that will be the end of the destruction? But it only seems to goad Daenerys further.

The dragon fire continues to rain down on Kings Landing and no-one is spared. Silence falls and we hear Jon’s heavy breathing. It sounds much like Ned before his season one execution in ‘Baelor’.

Meanwhile, Jaime is still desperately trying to get inside the Keep, when he encounters Euron Greyjoy on the beach. Jaime is brought down, but he manages to run Euron through with his sword.

He limps away to find Cersei, who’s finally agreed to flee the Red Keep. But good old Euron remains cocky to the end.

“I got you, I got you. I’m the man who killed Jaime Lannister.”

He thinks he’s got the last word and probably dies a happy man. But it takes more than that to kill the King Slayer.

Inside a rapidly crumbling Red Keep, the Hound tells Arya to go home. Whatever happens, Cersei is a dead woman. There’s no point in Arya chasing vengeance just for the sake of it.

“You think you’ve wanted revenge a long time? I’ve been at it all my life and it’s all I care about. You want to be like me? You come with me, you die here.”

And it’s like Arya has woken from a dream. She turns to the Hound and uses his real name.

“Sandor. Thank you.”

With that, the Hound goes in pursuit of his zombie-brother Gregor, who has protected Cersei as the walls begin tumbling down.

They meet on the stairs and the fight is on. Qyburn gets in the way and is killed by his ‘creation’. It’s now hand-to-hand combat in Clegane-bowl.

The Mountain tries to pull off another ‘Oberyn’ move by trying to gouge out Hound’s eyes. The Hound retaliates by stabbing him in the eye.

But it’s hard to kill the undead. Instead, the Hound grabs hold as they tumble over the edge and plunge into an inferno of dragon fire.

Without Qyburn and the Mountain to provide protection, Cersei finds herself in the ruins of the map room where Jaime finds her.

“I love you three thousand.”
Image - HBO

“I want our baby to live. Don’t let me die, Jaime.”

“Look at me. Nothing else matters. Only us.”

Born together, they die together as the walls of the Red Keep come down on top of them. It’s not the way we expected them to go out. And who didn’t want Jaime finding his way back to Brienne? Sigh.

Arya didn’t get a chance to deal with Cersei, but she’s fighting just to survive. In a daze after watching a mother and child incinerated in front of her, she finds a white horse and gallops off.

There’s not much left of Kings Landing once Daenerys is finished with it. She promised not to be a ‘Queen of Ashes’ but it may be her epitaph.

It now sets up a ‘clash of crowns’ between Dany and Jon and we still don’t know whether they’ll be an Iron Throne to claim.