Game of Thrones season 8 episode 5: Review analysis of 'The Bells'
The penultimate episode of Game of Thrones series was prophetic with the worst fears of Westeros getting realized when a Targaryen comes to power. There was fire and blood which left ashes and charred bodies in its wake.
The Mad Queen was unleashed upon King's Landing. One could literally hear the legacy of the last Targaryen King screaming in the back ground “Burn them all.” well Daenerys did prove herself to be the daughter of the Mad King by becoming one herself. The fire play that started with Varys in the start of the episode ended in charred remains of the whole of Kings Landing, with final image of a charred carcass of a girl holding a wooded dear in her hands, as Arya watched stunned by it all.
The episode opens with Varys writing his messages and immediately you know he will be dying next. As one of his many birds comes to him with the whisper of someone (her) not eating and that her men are watching her. It becomes quite clear that Varys is trying to poison Daenerys. He says to the girl “The greater the risk the greater the reward.” The reward here is the protection and welfare of the realm. Varys has always been loyal to the ‘realm’, which is formed by the thousands and thousands of people who are no king or queens but subjects. We find that he has chosen to support Jon for the Iron throne but Jon is reluctant as he has given his word to Daenerys. Tyrion goes and informs Dany about his treasonous acts. Varys is not that discreet in his acts at last, when he speaks with Tyrion and also with Jon about the Throne and its future. Daenerys sentences him to die and he hears Dracarys for the last time. The way Drogon comes forward from behind it's as if it is the evil shadow of Daenerys, lurking behind her. It's a very powerful image. Before his death Varys tells Tyrion “I hope I am wrong.” But I believe that his birds have already flown. So many in the realm now know about Jon.
The next scene is when Daenerys is sitting on the throne in Dragonstone castle and Tyrion is trying to convince her not to attack the innocent children and people who Kings Landing. But she is adamant that she can’t let Mercy be her weakness. He asks her to withdraw once the bell rings as that is the sign surrender. She turns to Grey Worm and asks him to prepare for the attack but to wait for her. Well she has always been the queen who is leads the battle. So the city of King's Landing is seized from all the sides. Jaime is captured when he was trying to return to the Kings Landing but Tyrion allows him to escape and asks him to take Cersei and leave for Pentos.
Daenerys, is death personified. She destroys the Iron Fleet, then she attacks the city wall along with all the Scorpions, one of which killed Rhaegal. Tyrion, informs everyone to withdraw once the bell rings. The golden army is standing at the city gates in all its glory. Jon looks unsure but Grey Worm is battle hungry, he is ready to avenge Missandei. People are still trying to seek shelter in the city. There’s utter chaos everywhere. Daenerys does more than half of the job for her army, when it comes to destruction.
Jon and battalion march towards the city. We see as they charge inside the city killing the Golden army then the Lannister army. Then there is a pause. People are screaming to ring the bell as the city defense has fallen and now is the time for surrender. Everyone is waiting for the bell to ring to put an end to this slaughter. But the camera zooms towards Daenerys, sitting atop Drogon and we see her flip. She flies Drogon on top of the city and starts burning. Fury and madness unfurls. Grey Worm is the first to get the signal of his mad Queen and he attacks the Soldiers who have surrendered. Jon is shocked and tries to stop the army from marching in the city but fails. Innocents are getting butchered, women are getting raped and killed, building are falling everywhere and people are burnt alive in the streets. It's a hopeless situation.
The Camera moves through the point of view of a small girl who first tries to enter the city with her mother and she is holding a wooden deer in her hand. Innocent deer, who will be soon preyed upon by the Dragon. In the start we see Daenerys complain to Jon that no one loves her here. She, answers the reason why? Jon, himself is questions his loyalty to his queen as he sees what she has done. Arya and Hound are in the castle to find Cersei when the whole castle starts falling down bit by bit. Hound asks her to not become like him, consumed by vengeance. He sends her away to escape and goes to seek his revenge from the Mountain, his monstrous big brother. They both fight and die putting an end to revenge arc build for so many seasons.
You would know a Targaryen descend when there is only ‘Fire and Blood’. As arya moves through the charred city that all she sees. Jaime is trying to sneak into the Red Keep to escape with Cersei but Euron, who has somehow survived attacks him, provoking him to a fight. Euron dies with a false smirk of having killed the King Slayer, Jaime.
Jaime though badly injured goes inside seeking Cercei, who is standing in the room with the map of Westeros painted on the floor, crying and shaking like a little bird. The irony of her in that very place is poetic. Jaime takes her to escape through the secret passage but that is blocked by the fallen boulders. Her breakdown in the face of death and how she wants her child to live shows that it was all about her children from the very start. Like she told Sansa “love no one but your children, on that front a mother has no choice.” Jaime tells her “Nothing else matters. Only us.” they hug each other close and die as they were born, together, as building collapses on their heads. Jaime got his death wish to die in “the arms of the woman loves”
The death track plays in the background. We see Arya laying among the charred bodies covered in soot but she opens her eyes and runs to save herself. The ashes are raining in the air like a snowfall. She finds a horse, they are the only survivors in the charred vicinity. In the end she is riding out of the dead city.
In the end, Cersei proved herself to be the mother who knows no bounds when it comes to her child. Daenerys proved that nothing matters other than the throne and her vengeance. Cersei did win though as there is nothing left for Daenerys to rule over. She is finally the queen of ashes, corpses and lingering ghosts of the city that was once breathing.
So, what's next? Jon is for sure disillusioned by his Queen, the charm is over and he has now seen the extend of her deathly pursuit. Can he revolt against the tyranny that Daenerys has become now? Or Daenerys will be revolted by the end of her actions? We have to wait another Sunday for the final reveal.