Game of Thrones Episode 5 Review: “The Bells”

Game of Thrones Episode 5 Review “The Bells”
Game of Thrones Episode 5 Review “The Bells”

Game of Thrones Episode 5 Review: “The Bells”

“The Bells” should have been the triumphant climax for “Game of Thrones.” It was the battle we all were waiting for. The good guys finally made it to King’s Landing, and justice would be done.

But “Game of Thrones” Season 8, Episode 5 gave fans something different: a look at the horrors of war, the power of legacy, and the unsatisfying end to some of our favorite characters.

Sunday was the day many viewers said “enough,” but a small contingent said, “Let’s take a second look.” And some even said, “We don’t want justice. We want destruction.”

Join Gene Lyons and Dick Ebert as they debate whether Daenerys is truly a Mad Queen or simply a brutal conqueror who is perfectly sane. Examine which deaths were deserved and what happens now that the fires have turned to ash. Learn more about character arcs and why some of them feel less gratifying than others.

And, of course, we’ve gotta talk about that Euron’s and Jaime’s Knife Party at The Cove.

Watch Big D’s Top Gun Mashup

The Storyline for Episode 5: “The Bells”
Varys attempts to convince Jon to take the Iron Throne, but Jon refuses to betray Daenerys. Tyrion informs her of Varys’ plot and she has him executed by her last remaining dragon, Drogon. Daenerys decides to burn down King’s Landing at daybreak, but Tyrion tells her he has a plan to stop Cersei. He meets with Jaime and tells him he has a plan to smuggle him and Cersei to Pentos after surrendering King’s Landing, but Jaime must convince her to agree to it. The next day, both sides prepare for battle as Jaime, Arya, and Sandor infiltrate King’s Landing. Daenerys arrives with Drogon and destroys both the Iron Fleet and the Golden Company, allowing her army to breach the gates and enter the city. The remaining Lannister forces surrender, but an enraged Daenerys attacks the city itself, burning both soldiers and civilians. The allied army follows her lead, slaughtering everybody in their way much to Jon’s horror. Jaime kills Euron and enters the Red Keep. Sandor convinces Arya to give up on killing Cersei and proceeds alone. Sandor engages The Mountain who in turn kills Qyburn when he attempts to call him back before sacrificing himself to kill the Mountain while Cersei and Jaime reunite. Their attempt to escape fails when the escape tunnel collapses on them, killing them both and their unborn child. Jon Snow gives the instruction to retreat as civilians flee the crumbling King’s Landing. Arya witnesses the destruction of King’s Landing firsthand and is barely able to escape the city alive.

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12 Responses

  1. Ronny H says:

    I think whats really the most frustrating with this season(Count me as someone who doesn’t absolutely hate the past 2 seasons) is that basically all of the issues that we all have could have easily been avoidable or fixed. (The coffee cup is a perfect illustration for the season). When she captures the Tarly’s, have the Tarlys be a little more willing to kneel, but Dany burns them anyways. Have Varys admit to his crimes and beg for mercy before she burns him. Instead, they all accepted their fate and she does what she’s supposed to do, it doesn’t come off as “Mad”. It’s just like D&D were too worried about outsmarting the fans, rather than making sure all the T’s were crossed and I’s dotted. And that is whats most frustrating

  2. Maggy says:

    If we hadn’t seen episodes 4-6 of Star Wars before we saw episodes 1-3, would we have believed Anakin was capable of turning into Darth Vader? The signs were there for Dany’s downfall, we just didn’t want to see it.

  3. AC from (Washington) DC says:

    Gene, I cannot be happier with your defense of Cersei Lannister. I’ve long been a defender of hers. Even though it makes sense she *did* die (see: ticked off dragon), no, she did not *deserve* to. After a lifetime of abuse and misery in a Rapunzel tower, she didn’t shrink or cower; she sat on the council, ripped papers with aplomb, tolerated her shitty, shitty firstborn and slept with many a creep to preserve the crown for her family, and played the game of thrones like a boss. And yet, because she has the ladybits, she has received more flak on- and off-screen than any character. So even though you don’t even need to leave the show for plenty of comparators, I greatly appreciate the Walter White comparison because it drives it frickin home. Thanks for being a fan with two brain cells to rub together on this one.

    Also, shout out to Lena Headey for her consistently incredible portrayal of this complex, unapologetic, brilliant character. Emilia Clarke and Peter Dinklage have had great seasons and lesser seasons, but Lena Headey has been stellar in Every. Single. Scene. Let’s raise a glass of #morewine for #teamcersei

    I’ll stop crying some time this week.

    Love the show. Thanks for all your work.

  4. Paula Price says:

    Hey guys!! I’m sure I’m not the only one who noticed the similarities with the fight scene in the Klegane bowl and the fight scene between Ramirez and Kurgan in Highlander II, especially at around the 2 minute mark. I posted the website in the comments. Let me know what you think! 🙂 Love your show guys and thank you for reading my e-mail on your show from last week about Tyrion and Sansa in the crypt at Winterfell.

    Paula Price
    Laurel, MD

    • Kenny P says:

      Thanks paula, I loved this trip down memory lane. My fav part was Kurgan holding his neck shut for 40 seconds and still fighting.

      To answer the question…. I see some of what you are talking about.

  5. Scott L says:

    I have some thoughts about Dany’s motives. So she is sitting on the perch and all is won. D+D stated that as she looks at the Red Keep and all that her family had built, that is what set her over the edge. Building on that, hear me out.

    She mentioned that it is her destiny to rule the Iron Thorne because she is the last Targaryen. That is no longer the case in her mind. So she cannot claim the right to the throne because of that. So that leaves her to just take it because she is the most powerful person in Westeros. Just like Robert Baratheon, she needs to take it because she won it in war. So the idea of “let it be fear “ is that she no longer has the claim as a Tagaryen, so why care about being upholding what the Targaryen’s built. Destroy everything that came before, and rule because no one can take it from you. Breaking the wheel in this sense means destroy the old way of doing things, where only a name and a house can get you somewhere in Westeros. Not only will all of Westeros now fear her, but all of Essos also. So not a Mad Queen, but a Conquering Queen.

  6. Scott Huffmanf says:

    Can’t help but think that if Jon had been able to overcome his cultural programming against aunt fucking, Danerus would have most likely been in a much better mood the next day.

    • Kenny P says:

      Contrary to most men’s belief, intercourse does not solve women’s problems. Though i commend you for having an opinion.

      If thats all it took…. We would be having sex everyday!

      We can dream, I guess

  7. Wendy says:

    Gene, I think you bought into Jamie’s bullshit. He did not see the beauty in Brienne. He was being the Old God’s gift to women with a drunken deflowering. Like you said he told us he’s a hateful man.

  8. Daddy G says:

    It came to me last night. Dany kills Jon. Ser Davos (or Tyrion) kills Dany. Drogon dies of heartbreak. Gendry (the only remaining character with a legitimate claim) becomes the King, with a mellowed Arya (after what she’s seen) as his Queen and Hand. Drop the mic.

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