Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5 Review: The Bells

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For a battle that's been years in the making, that was more than a little disappointing. 

From a cinematography standpoint, Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5 was a stunning affair, but the action in the installment felt like a desperate attempt to start the process of wrapping things up ahead of the series finale. 

Lighting Up the Sky - Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5

If you watch Game of Thrones online, you know that Game of Thrones Season 8 has felt like a complete and utter rush job, and that's not the best way to end a show that's still going to be talked about years down the line. 

Daenerys: Far more people in Westeros love you than love me. I don’t have love here. I only have fear.
Jon: I love you. You will always be my queen.
Daenerys: Is that all I am to you? Your queen?

The visuals of Drogon obliterating King's Landing were some of the best moments of the series, but beyond that, most of the stuff that happened bordered on tedious. 

Related: Get HBO via Prime Video Channels for Addictive Dramas, Hilarious Comedies & Hit Movies!

The pre-battle moments played out at such a slow pace that much of the excitement was gone by the time Daenerys went all Dracarys on the Iron Fleet. 

There were many theories doing the rounds heading into "The Bells" about what Euron saw when he looked up into the skyline. 

Daenerys Smiles - Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 2

Was it a new dragon? Was it Cersei on a flying elephant? 

Daenerys on Drogon was predictable, but it was the safe option, and it also introduced us to a whole new way for the Mother of Dragons to attack her enemies. 

Instead of coming down like a plane landing, she randomly dropped, and it made it difficult for her enemies on the ground to send the dragon-killing spikes her way. 

It's just a shame they didn't utilize that tactic on Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4, and she would still have two dragons. Then again, all of the logic seems to have gotten thrown out the window for Game of Thrones Season 8. 

As He Lay Dying - Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5

There were so many moments characters should have died, but somehow they managed to pop back up down the line as though they hadn't just been in a life or death moment. 

You were the only one who didn’t treat me like a monster. You were all I had,


Euron should have gotten burnt to a crisp, but he managed to swim his way out of the sea. Are we to assume by the need to save his unborn child drove him? 

Related: Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3 Review: Not Today

The battle between him and Jaime lacked any sense of direction. It was obvious Jaime was going to make it out of that scene to be with his sister/lover/baby mama in her dying moments.

We didn't need Cersei to realize that her exit was blocked. She had to die in this installment because it was the penultimate episode. 

The Last Goodbye - Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5

From a logistics standpoint, Jaime making it there in the nick of time was a mere plot device to give them one final moment together before perishing. 

After successfully have one of the dragons killed, Cersei felt invincible. The odds were seemingly in her favor at the start of the battle. 

Who would have thought she would die with Jaime shielding her from the ruins of the place they once called home? 

It was a quick death for Cersei, and not one she deserved after the way she's treated many of the regular characters on the show. 

Cersei on the Throne - Game of Thrones

It should have been a horrible exit for a character that has been a true horror story since her first appearance. Lena Headey turned in an ice-cold performance, but it felt very one-note. 

In a sense, it felt like she got pissed with the direction the writers had taken her character. Cersei has never been one to bow down and accept defeat. I respect the need for the scene of her breaking down. 

You come with me, you die here.

The Hound

I dare say she thought the child would keep the Lannister name alive in some capacity, but all of that could have been accomplished if she didn't go so weak at the knees for power. 

Jaime making his way to Cersei seemed impossible, but it seems the creative forces wanted to reiterate his love for his sister above everything. 

Repaying a Debt - Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 2

Jaime's arc has been inconsistent. He went from getting hot and heavy with Brienne to reactivating his feelings for Cersei when Sansa commented on his sister dying. 

It was almost like we were to assume he did not entertain the prospect that Cersei would die. He knew what he was doing when he left her behind on Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 7

Related: Game of Thrones Creators Weigh In About What Those Losses Mean for Daenerys

Daenerys made a real mistake by keeping Tyrion alive. It's bizarre that she hasn't had him killed for his myriad of terrible decisions.

There's no good going to come from someone who was so driven to keep his remaining family members alive that he would turn on the person he swore allegiance to. 

Saying Goodbye - Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4

Daenerys killing everyone in her path may have made for some great TV, but it put her even further at odds with Jon and even Arya. 

Jon witnessed the citizens of King's Landing pleading for somewhere safe to hide. The Lannister army even started to drop their weapons. They knew they were no match for the fire-breathing dragon. 

The next time you fail me will be the last time you fail me.


Jon is an honorable man. He responds well to acts like that, but I dare say Daenerys not giving a single damn what anyone thought came from Jon's refusal to share emotion with her. 

At the top of "The Bells," Daenerys was not in a good state. She knew people were about to turn on her. She was mourning the loss of Jorah, Rhaegal, and Missandei. 

The Love is Gone - Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5

By the time she had Varys killed, anyone was fair game, but she still tried to make sure things were right between her and Jon. 

They've had their differences, mostly stemming from Jon's lineage and the way everyone started to find out the truth. But she still seemed on board with riding things out with Jon. 

He decided to push her away. The spark they once had was gone, and she knew that no matter what decisions she made in the battle, she had lost Jon for good. 

There's also the fact that she was in the city that got ripped away from her family. She was turning the architecture her family helped build to the ground, and it was satisfying as hell. 

A Girl is Annoyed - Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5

Arya's journey throughout the episode felt out of place. She was still riding high from killing the Night King that she thought she would be able to wipe out "t;the Queen." 

The prophecy did state that she would kill someone with green eyes. Many believed that to be Cersei, but given the way Arya reacted to the dead in the streets of King's Landing, she could turn her attention to Daenerys on Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 6 -- the series finale!

Related: Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 1 Review: Winterfell

Many viewers have already thought of this, and that's why there's been an increase in searches for Emilia Clarke's eye color. 

The horse showing up was Arya's ride out of the city, and it certainly felt like someone had orchestrated those chain of events because the next stage of her journey did not involve being at King's Landing. 

Goodbye - Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5

Her final moments with the Hound were pivotal. Sandor knew the odds of making out of the building alive were slim to none, but he had to indulge in a fight to the death with his brother. 

The "thank you" from Arya brought her arc with the Hound full circle. With Sandor telling Arya to leave, he probably saved her life. The building was about to come down. 

She trusted you to spread secrets that would destroy your own queen, and you did not let her down.


Clegane Bowl was the moment many were looking forward to about the last-ever season of Game of Thrones, but it was another moment that felt thrown in there for fan service. 

The fight took place on a staircase and lacked any stakes. Sandor pushing his brother through the wall and into the hellfire below wasn't the ending I envisioned for these two characters. 

Clegane Bowl - Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5

Game of Thrones is struggling to live to the hype these days!

There's no telling how things are going to play out on Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 6, aside from the Starks seemingly joining forces to remove Daenerys from the Iron Throne. 

Tyrion: There’s something you need to know.
Daenerys: Someone has betrayed me. Jon Snow.
Tyrion: Varys.

Ser Davos will also be part of that plot. The look he cast at Jon as civilians were dying in the streets said it all. He doesn't think Daenerys is a worthy heir to the Iron Throne. 

19 Tough TV Characters with Squishy Soft Sides

The character assassination of Daenerys at the hands of David Benioff and D. B. Weiss is apparent. She's getting the villain edit, but most of her actions were warranted. 

Farewell, Home - Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5

That's all I got, Game of Thrones Fanatics!

What did YOU think of the Battle of King's Landing? 

Hit the comments below. 

Game of Thrones concludes Sunday, May 19 on HBO. 

Here's the trailer for the series finale:

Episode 5 Review

Editor Rating: 3.25 / 5.0
  • 3.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.0 / 5.0 (171 Votes)

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5 Quotes

She trusted you to spread secrets that would destroy your own queen, and you did not let her down.


Tyrion: There’s something you need to know.
Daenerys: Someone has betrayed me. Jon Snow.
Tyrion: Varys.

  • Permalink: Varys.
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