HBO’s Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 5 Discussion Thread: “The Bells”

Do you have your tissues handy?

This is it, people! The penultimate episode; the true end is in sight. Who will sit on the Iron Throne…and do you even care anymore? It’s easy to feel like you know exactly where this show is going, but Game of Thrones still manages to bust out some real show-stopping surprises when you least expect it.

As this is the very final stretch of the very final season, we’re going to keep the ravens flying with an open discussion thread. Come join us in drinking even more Cersei haterade (i.e. even more wine), mourning the beloved characters who’ve fallen this week, and placing bets on how the very last episode will pan out.

As always, all spoilers for show episodes that have aired on HBO, as well as the published books, are fair game in the comments—this does not include leaked information and plot details for the final episode; please do not share leaked spoilers/speculation in this thread. We ask that you keep our commenting guidelines in mind and keep the conversation constructive and civil—otherwise, make like a Targaryen and go nuts!

What was everyone talking about this past week?

Courtesy of HBO

Post-watch update:

Women be crazy, amirite?

Is it wrong that I’m still Team Dany and want her and Drogon to go to wherever the showrunners live and burn that place next? Because this episode was predictable, lazy bullshit. But I expect not much better from the dudes who think making a show called Confederate is reading the room correctly in 2019.

It’s not just that I rankle at Dany suddenly going mad like every other damn Targ before her except for, you know, that one Targ she admired above all others, Rhaegar. It’s not even that the straw that broke the dragon’s back was kinda implied to be Jon Snow rejecting her love. It’s not even that I’m still pissed that Missandei was fridged to motivate Grey Worm’s emotional arc. (I still am, but it was also the death that propelled Dany over the edge.)

Let’s say it’s not even the ire I feel at watching a capable, empathetic woman who worked hard for her goal only to fall apart at the very end because of EMOTIONS! Stupid woman, having EMOTIONS. So incompetent.

Dany’s madness never seemed believable to me. Like, all of a sudden, she suffers a ludicrous amount of losses in quick succession—Euron fucking Greyjoy killed a dragon! Everyone she was worried about betraying her did betray her!—and she’s being plotted against by literally every single person around her who isn’t dead. So she goes from zero to Aerys in two episodes. There was just no nuance here, at all, in the rush to get to the stunning fireworks.

Power corrupts both men and women. I super get that. It’s a tired but timeless point to make for good reasons. But power doesn’t accomplish that corruption in two weeks and all of the ruthless things Dany did before this point—even burning Dickon Tarly—all made sense in terms of her character. She has never, ever been the person who would torch thousands of children. You can’t expect me to believe that she has changed so much that she would murder everyone in King’s Landing to be the Queen of Ashes.

Cersei gets a humanizing touch at the very end and Dany goes mad so we’ll all be okay with Jon killing her next week. Jon Snow knows one thing: failing upward.

There’s subverting expectations and then there’s just utter nonsense. UGH. They did you wrong, my Khaleesi.

Elsewhere in King’s Landing, this was a much more gorgeous, visceral battle that what we saw (or didn’t see) in the Battle of Winterfell. The utter terror of watching Arya flee from the destruction was so well done, especially when it was contrasted with the weight of blows landing in CleganeBowl. Really, really epic, beautiful destruction to see and hear and feel viscerally, like a stone to the chest. This is what Minas Tirith would really have looked like during the Battle of Pelennor — crushed brains, burnt horses, ash, chaos, stampedes.

It’s so awful, you’d think Sandor would’ve warned Arya against revenge before she set foot in the Red Keep.

Oh well, makes as much freaking sense as anything else this season.

Courtesy of HBO

I still thought CleganeBowl as it was set up on the show was kinda silly, too. All these years and Sandor still wants revenge for his face? For the smallfolk Gregor tortured? I think Sandor would have moved beyond that after his time in the monastery and with Beric, but, nope —Dany’s not the only one with a personal grudge.

The showdown felt like a character regression.

There was a lot of that going around.

I’ll be the first to admit I feel dumb after being so damn sure Jaime was going to kill Cersei and try to prevent all this bullshit because six seasons of character development from “A Man With No Honor” should change him into… still a man with no honor, apparently, neither saving Cersei nor killing her for what she did to cause this whole fucking war in the first place. And for leaving Brienne to bawl her eyes out like a schoolgirl in the snow.

It’s like after Cersei’s Walk of Shame, the writers couldn’t be arsed to think up a satisfying way to kill her. So they just dumped some rocks on her and Jaime. Rocks. Rocks killed Cersei. Any of the available fan theories would’ve been better—death by childbirth, Arya with Jaime’s face, Tyrion! But nope, buried in the basement of the Red Keep. Not an ounce of poetic justice served to one of fiction’s best monsters.

Twincest. Courtesy of HBO.

Final thoughts:

  • So, did Bran not see this bloodbath coming? We did see a vision of Drogon flying over King’s Landing. Did he just not care to tell anyone about that because he wants Jon on the throne so bad? The Three-Eyed Raven must obey the Federation’s Prime Directive? How can you see this coming and do nothing?
  • Jon’s gonna feel dumb going back to Sansa now, eh?
  • Tyrion is hopefully smart enough to hide from Dany until he can become Jon Snow’s Hand.
  • Qyburn got off easy, all things considered.
  • So did Varys, who was so freaking good at whispers but got caught out in the most obvious game of telephone ever. Weak. Somewhere, Littlefinger is laughing his mustache off.
  • LOL. The Redshirt Golden Company. Goodbye, Prince Valium and your goofy face.
  • Arya looked like she still has a queen on her list. I bet, just like with the Night King, Arya will do Jon’s dirty work for him.
  • Next week: On a scale of Dexter (the worst) to Six Feet Under (the best), I see Thrones landing somewhere in Lost/Battlestar Galactica series finale territory. *sad trombones*

Theresa DeLucci is a regular contributor to Tor.com covering TV, book reviews and sometimes games. She’s also gotten enthusiastic about television for Boing Boing, Wired.com’s Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast and Den of Geek. Send her a raven via Twitter.

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