HomeTelevisionGame of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5 Review: 'The Bells' is Frustrating,...

Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5 Review: ‘The Bells’ is Frustrating, Unexpected & Beautiful

Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5 The Bells
Photo Courtesy of HBO

Written by Erin Doyle

Anyone else still sitting in shock?

King’s Landing—the capital of the Seven Kingdoms—has turned into a pile of dead bodies and ash all at the hands of Daenerys Targaryen. After the capital surrendered, she unleashed hell and brought down fire on everyone, taking Missandei’s last words literally.

The previous weeks have strongly hinted and foreshadowed Daenerys’s Mad Queen destiny — turning her into the violent and barbaric killer that she always proclaimed she wasn’t. In season two’s tenth episode, titled “Valar Morghulis” Dany entered the House of the Undying to find her stolen baby dragons. Before this, she had a vision of herself approaching the Iron Throne—but it wasn’t in the King’s Landing that viewers have been seeing for eight seasons; this one was deserted, in tatters and covered in something that appeared to be snow—boy how we were wrong. It was never snow at all, only ash raining down from the destruction she had caused.

Much of “The Bells” was Daenerys’s brutal takeover of King’s Landing with Drogon leading the way — killing innocent people at her command. One thing that really caught me by surprise was how quickly she snapped. After hearing the bells of surrender, wouldn’t you think Dany would have a sigh of relief because everything she had been working towards finally fell into place?

We got some character ends (Varys being executed for treason), potential character turns (Tyrion being threatened about making one more mistake), and a conclusion to a long-running story (The Clegane Bowl which was mostly uneventful til the bittersweet end).

Let’s talk about the big character death though. We have been waiting for the death of Cersei for eight seasons. I did not think in a million years this would be her demise. Her death with Jamie Lannister was tragic, as they’re fighting to survive and their last moments are shared embracing as the walls collapse around them. Poetic for sure. However, I would’ve loved to see a character we have grown with over the course of the series to have ended her life brutally.

“The Bells” was beautifully executed. The cinematography was amazing (especially the scene with Arya and the horse). Lena Headey and Maisie Williams completely shined in this episode with their exquisite acting. The characters that audiences have been invested in for so long have evolved into something new, pointing toward a deeper change for this rich and fascinating world. In this episode, some characters reverted to their old ways and it felt artificial.

To be brutally honest, my initial reaction at the end of this episode was anger and disappointment. The events of the episode were completely unexpected, and shied away from my theories on how the episode should go. However, after much thought, I realize the episode’s entirety is beautiful. Game of Thrones has, and always will be, unexpected. The directors and writers know what the audience is expecting, and they always do the complete opposite. This may not be the ending everyone wants, but it’s the ending that the same writers and directors seem to have envisioned since the start of the series.

Going into next Sunday, I am extremely nervous on how this amazing story will end. As Arya gallops away from the burnt rubble of King’s Landing, it’s time to put your final bets in. Who will end up on the Iron Throne and will anyone be successful in killing the Mad Queen?

Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5 is now streaming on HBO GO and HBO NOW.

Pop-Break Staff
Pop-Break Staffhttps://thepopbreak.com
Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.


  1. Erin this was a Fantastic review, and I agree, it was unexpected and accepted. They continure to be the best writters and direcor and actors! So sad its ending, My prediction, Jon Snow will die, because he is dead already, Dany is pregnant w/ his baby and She will be killed but baby lives and Sansa will care for it. Aria will be Boss of Queens Guard, and Tryian will be Hand of Queen ( Sansa ) untill baby Dany/Jon grows. oh just got a thought baby is a girl they will call it after Jons Mother. can I buy and Or for $50 or a boy named Ed…….

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