'Game Of Thrones' S8 EP 5 'The Bells' recap: What just happened!?

Gregory Wakeman
Contributor
Lena Headey as Cersei

WARNING: There are huge SPOILERS ahead for The Bells, the fifth episode of the eighth season of Game Of Thrones. Please don’t read ahead if you haven’t watched the penultimate ever episode of the hit show. 

Well, I suppose the clues were there all along, weren’t they?

Rather than being the ruler that finally brought the seven kingdoms together, Daenerys used her last remaining dragon to burn Kings Landing to the ground and leave the best laid plans of Jon, Tyrion, Ser Davos and all of the people that she had brought together over the previous eight seasons in ruins.

But how did it get to this? Well, in The Bells, it all began with Varys being burnt alive for going straight to Jon Snow and plotting to have the King Of The North usurp Daenerys . Obviously the preposterously loyal Jon immediately said no, leading Tyrion to tell Daenerys of Varys’ treachery.

This only increased Dany’s loneliness, especially after she was once again rejected by Jon. With Tyrion obviously worried by her actions, he decided to break the recently captured Jaime free, hoping that he could sneak into the city to convince Cersei to leave quietly so Dany wouldn’t be tempted to kill thousands of innocent people in order to take over.

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At the same time, Arya and The Hound got into Kings Landing, too, with the Night King slayer declaring that she was going to murder Cersei. But just as tantalising as that promise was the tease of The Cleganebowel, as the fight between The Hound and The Mountain, who, lest we forget, protects Cersei, has been anticipated for pretty much all of the series.

Then the fighting commenced. Drogon made little work of the Iron Fleet, which is understandable as they did just kill his brother, Rhaegel, in the previous episode. By attacking from the rear, Dragon and Daenerys also destroyed most of the Lannister army, to as well as all of the scorpions that took down Rhaegel, which made it rather easy for her troops, led by Jon and Greyworm, to just break through the gates. 

But then, with the Lannister army having placed down their weapons and surrendered, the tease of Dany emulating her deranged father and burning the entire city down and its inhabitants alive actually came to fruition. Over the next 45 minutes we just saw dragon fire raining down on Kings Landing and everyone inside, whether they were previously deemed a hero or villain, running for cover.

Daenerys on top of Drogon

In the midst of Dany’s destruction, Cleganebowl finally unfolded.

It began gloriously, too, with The Mountain destroying Qyburn in one swift move, which provoked a now terrified Cersei to quietly move out of the way. Then The Hound realized that even shoving a sword all the way through the zombified version of his big brother wouldn’t bring him down. In fact, The Mountain, whose helmet had now been knocked off, was quickly on top in the duel.

He even had The Hound’s head in his hands and was about to repeat the finishing move he perfected on Oberyn Martell back in season 4, only for his younger brother to knife him in the eye, and then push them both off of the collapsing tower into the fiery pit that Daenerys had created.

Arya didn’t get the chance to kill Cersei, though. Instead, after some advice from The Hound, she chose to try and get the hell out of a quickly crumbling Kings Landing while she still had a chance.

This allowed Cersei to reunite with Jaime. However, even that moment was fleeting, as Jaime’s planned escape route for the pair turned out to be blocked off leaving them trapped right at the bottom of the Red Keep. So trapped that it literally collapsed on top of them as they shared one last kiss and died.

Considering the amount of villainy Cersei has committed that’s bound to be a controversial way for her and Jaime to bow out. In fact, probably all of the episode, especially Dany’s turn to evil, will leave a large portion of viewers cold, even though the breadcrumbs have been there all along.

This is nothing new, though, as the sheer size and scale of Game Of Thrones and its ensemble has always meant that certain character turns haven’t been embraced or quite had the impact desired.

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Yet, the fact it had the sheer gall to turn Dany bad so late into the series, and the sight of such carnage and bloodshed unfolding was undoubtedly impressive to behold.

The set up for next week’s final ever episode of Game Of Thrones is nice and simple, too, as Jon, Sansa, Tyrion, Arya and whoever is left remaining will look to take down the Dragon Queen somehow.

At the same time, though, there is an awful lot to squeeze in and justify in just 82 minutes. Unfortunately, Game Of Thrones has never done well when rushed, so whether audiences will be left happy as a dying Euron believing he had killed Jaime or as crushed as Cersei very much remains in the balance.