The Angry Nerd’s Observations: Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5: The Bells

The best way I can describe this season is to compare Benioff and Weiss to living with terrible roommates. At first, things are great because they were really happy to have a place to stay; they’re respectful, they do the dishes and help out with the chores. Then things start to get a little rocky, there are some disagreements on the placement of furniture or how to decorate. But the person who invited them in then forgives them and they come to a compromise. This is, though, the beginning of the end....
Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 5 “The Bells” Credit: HBO

            I also think it was beyond out of character for Grey Worm to kill an unarmed opponent.  It was like all the northerners and Unsullied completely adopted the war strategies of the Dothraki.  They have always swept through cities and ravaged their way through the populace, they were completely in character.  But for Jon’s soldiers and the Unsullied to just start killing innocents?  That really made me mad.  It made zero sense.  I get that Daenerys had won, the Lannister army surrendered and she still insisted on killing everyone and everything she could, but was that contagious or something?  I don’t get it.  The battle was over, the remaining soldiers had thrown their weapons down and surrendered.  If she wanted Cersei so badly, why not just march up to the Red Keep and drag her out?

            That brings me to Cersei.  We saw a few isolated wildfire explosions, but nothing remotely close to what we were expecting to see.  I thought that once the bells were rung to indicate surrender (which, when has that ever been a thing?  The bells were always used to announce the deaths of important figures like Joffrey, Tommen, Tywin, etc) a secret cache of wildfire would ignite and completely destroy the city.  Cersei would die but she would ultimately win.  And now that I’m thinking about it, the bells were in the Sept of Baelor, which was destroyed.  Cersei hated the bells.  Why would another bell tower be constructed?  That made no sense and like so many things these last couple of seasons, it defied logic.

            What they did to Cersei was unforgivable.  She spent her entire life battling against being perceived as weak, frail and inconsequential.  She did whatever she needed to do in order to empower herself.  I may not have liked her but there was no questioning the fact that she was one of the greatest and most compelling characters not only on this show but in all media.  She was reduced to a mewling, quivering shadow in the end.  She ignored reality, she ignored the facts of everything around her.  She watched the dragon annihilate her city, she knew that the Iron Fleet was destroyed and that all of her anti-dragon weapons were now gone.  I still don’t understand how that happened without Drogon sustaining any damage whatsoever, but that’s beside the point.  Cersei was unprepared for this battle.  She understood the odds against her but remained confident.  She had a similar attitude during the Battle of the Blackwater, but when she believed the battle was lost, she was prepared to die on her own terms.  Instead, we see her crushed by rubble.  It was a terrible ending for such a phenomenal character. 

            Speaking of which, I also want to point out how much I hated Qyburn’s death.  He was too smart, too cunning to die the way he did.  He deserved better than to get his brains smeared against the crumbling stones of the Red Keep. 

            I did not like what was done with Daenerys.  She fought for years to keep from becoming her father, to keep from becoming seen as “the Mad Queen” because she wanted to free people from living under the reign of a tyrant.  She said as much in this very episode.  Then she turned around and murdered as many people as she could with Dragonfire after securing the surrender of her enemies.  She became everything she was fighting against, and in the end, she’s just another spoke on the wheel she vowed to break. 


I was hoping this episode would do what so many penultimate episodes have done in the past; wrap up the plot lines and prepare us for the next episode.  At this point, we have only one episode left, and a lot of loose ends to tie up and character arcs to finish.  I don’t know how that will be accomplished, or even if it can be done. I have a feeling that as upset as many folks (including myself) were with this episode, the final show will be even more upsetting.

            But at this point, I think I’m finally ready for this to be all over.

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