TV Review: Game of Thrones S8E5 – ‘The Bells’

You have been warned: the following article contains heavy spoilers.

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The third (and final) review from your Game of Thrones novice here, but judging by this episode, it seems like the writers haven’t watched the last six series either, so not much catching up was needed.

As a cinematic feat, ‘The Bells’ is a masterpiece, deftly moving between the action of the climactic battle of King’s Landing and showing the sheer destruction it brings meticulously. Drogon has never looked better, and King’s Landing has never looked worse (that’s a compliment), but apparently we can’t have our cake and eat it too.

Perhaps the most devastating death this episode was the show’s good writing. Or maybe it was Jaime’s character development. Or Dany’s sanity. It certainly wasn’t any of those who actually bit the dust this week, as most of the deaths felt incredibly rushed and somewhat underwhelming. Where was the petty melodrama of Varys’ demise? Where was the satisfaction in seeing Cersei getting crushed by a few rocks? For a show notorious for its memorable deaths, this final series has barely given us any.

With the sheer amount of plot they’re racing through, it’s positively befuddling as to why they chose to have a reduced episode count for the past two series. I’m not usually one to suggest a show carry on past eight seasons, but it’s not as if it was on the verge of cancellation – they could have wheeled this cash cow out for at least another year to satisfyingly conclude each character’s storyline and the story as a whole.

The performances cannot be faulted as easily, however, as once again our cast knocks it out of the park. While it was a shame we weren’t treated to a moment of beautiful villainy in her last episode, Lena Headey once again reminds us why she’s been nominated for so many Emmy awards. A fascinatingly complex portrayal right to the very end, sympathy for the devil at its finest (even if we did all want to see Jaime/Arya take her out). And special mention must also be given to the new Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.

She came, she saw, she burned the whole damn place to the ground. The Mad Queen was out in full force, laying waste to King’s Landing with fire and blood, and played to perfection by Emilia Clarke. Yes, it might be a sudden, confusing twist for the sake of shock value, but Emilia does mad, bloodthirsty revenge so well that (almost) all is forgiven. What Daenerys does next is anyone’s guess. Personally, I can’t wait to find out why everyone thinks Jon would be so damn good on the Iron Throne. Seriously, he’s done nothing this series. N o t h i n g. It may not be exactly what we were hoping for, but at least Dany’s doing something people!

Come and join us next week, where an actual Thrones aficionado will take you through the LAST EVER EPISODE. Will it go down in the history books, for better or for worse? With so much to wrap up, God knows if we’ll ever find out what happens to Dorne, the Reach, the Iron Islands, Yara, Brienne, Sam & Gilly, Daario and the entirety of Essos, and wow these storylines are dropping like flies, aren’t they?

Words by James Nash

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