Review: Game of Thrones — Season Eight, Episode Five (“The Bells”)

Sam Bull, Opinion Editor

Our speculations about Daenerys were true: she is neither the rightful nor the best option as the new ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. In fact, episode five showed us that she might even be as cruel as her late father, the Mad King.

So much happened in episode five in the long-awaited Battle (massacre seems to be a more fitting term) of King’s Landingbut possibly not what many had wanted.

The creators did well to surprise us once again, as in episode four, Euron’s mighty iron fleet and the new Lannister weapon looked primed and ready to take out Daenerys’s final dragon, Drogon. However, in this episode, the entire army, fleet, and all the new weapons were completely destroyed almost single-handedly by Drogon’s fiery breath.

Again, the surprise was done well, but the realism was not. However much we may have enjoyed watching it happen, it simply would not make sense for Drogon to ruin the entire fleet and all of the new weapons all on his own without even getting injured, much less killed.

A number of characters died in the episode, most notably Jaime, Cersei, Euron, and the Hound. Something done poorly was the way that Cersei and Jaime died. So much more could’ve been done with their deaths, and we were all greatly anticipating a much more climactic death for Cersei.

Another element done poorly was the finishing of Jaime’s character story line. Right before he dies, he effectively pledges allegiance to Cersei again and erases the more mature and righteous man he had been working to become over the last eight seasons.

Despite this, the creators did well to finally show the hugely anticipated battle between the Hound and the Mountain. Sadly, the only way the Hound managed to kill the Mountain was by throwing both of them off the castle (ironically, into a fire down below), killing himself in the process.

The part that was satisfying to watch but dissatisfying to comprehend was the way the battle was fought. When defeat looked to be close for the Lannisters, the bells of surrender were rung and the men put down their swords.

However, Daenerys, going against her character’s entire freedom-based and justice-for-all persona, swooped in on her dragon and set fire to the city anyway, brutally murdering thousands of exposed soldiers and civilians alike. The creators did do well to truly personalize the effects that the battle was having on the civilians through graphic imagery and emotion, but her change in attitude for this episode did not fit at all.

The element of crooked cruelty in Daenerys, whom we have supported for so long, brings in the question of how fairly she would actually rule if given the Seven Kingdoms.

In general, the episode was visually striking, but the events unfolded in a manner that did not jibe with the typical personalities of the characters. The battle itself seemed to be an unnecessary flexion of Daenerys’s power and the evil that can come with it.

The surprised, betrayed, and angry reactions from main characters such as Arya and Jon heavily suggests that there will be a battle, in whatever form it may be, between Daenerys and the Starks. If this is the case, we are truly in for an epic final episode.