Game of Thrones 8: analysis of the fifth episode “The Bells”

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14 May 2019

Only the final episode is left, just 79 minutes, and we'll find out how the event series of the last ten years will end, in the meantime let's examine what happened in "The Bells".

As always we are here to see all the details and aspects that do not jump immediately to the eye of the fifth episode of the eighth season of Game of Thrones, “The Bells“. Finally, the episode in which we see the long-quoted “The Last War“, which divided the audience between those who were passionate about watching King’s Landing burn in the flames of Drogon and those who, however, expected much more. We, of course, are not here to judge the choices of director and screenplay (although we still do not explain how they did the Dothraki and the Unsullied to multiply from one episode and the other) but to shed light on some small details that can not go unnoticed, so let’s start!

game of thrones the bells | Collater.al
game of thrones the bells | Collater.al
game of thrones the bells | Collater.al

Opening credits

As always, we are patted by the opening credits in which, although we see Winterfell, it never appears in the episode, as opposed to Dragon’s Rock, in which the first part of the episode is set, but it is no longer seen in the opening credits. Moreover, already from the initials, we see how the King’s Landing has prepared for battle, in fact on all the walls were placed dozens and dozens of Scorpions, or the giant weapons invented by Qyburn to kill dragons.

Varys’ death

The episode starts following one of the most interesting and intriguing characters of the entire saga, Varys, the Master of Whispers who is writing a letter in which he says that the real heir to the Iron Throne is Jon Snow. This moment immediately reminds us of the first season, the letter that Nedd Stark wrote to Stannis Baratheon to inform him that Joffrey was not Robert’s legitimate son and that he should have succeeded his dead brother. Unfortunately, that letter was one of the causes of the war for the throne. There are also other sealed letters on the table, but no one can say yet whether they will be a key part of the next episode.

Then we see Varys delivering the letter to Martha, whose face is not new at all. In fact, the little bird of the Master of Whispers was next to him in the crypt of Winterfell during the Long Night. 

Unfortunately the path of this character stops a few minutes later, when his game is revealed by Daenerys who, still deeply shocked by the loss of Rhaegal, understands that she was betrayed by Jon Snow who revealed her true identity to Sansa, who told Tyrion, who in turn informed Varys, who was ready to make it public. The Mother of Dragons thus decides to execute him, just as she had told him in the past.

Although sorry, Varys’ death was no surprise. Exactly in the same place, at Dragon’s Rock, Melisandre predicted to him that he would die in a foreign land, we were just waiting to find out where.

game of thrones the bells | Collater.al

Bran’s vision

Given that “There must always be a Stark in Winterfell“, Bran doesn’t appear in this episode, but that doesn’t make us think of him. At the beginning of the fourth season, in fact, Bran, still in the company of Hodor, Jojen and Meera, had a confused vision of past and future scenes, between the latter two, proved to be of fundamental importance.

The first is the one in which he saw the shadow of a huge dragon flying over King’s Landing, which in this episode has come true. 

In the second, instead, he saw the hall of the Iron Throne destroyed, with no more ceiling and windows, completely covered with what at the time we thought was snow and today we believe it is ash.

But he is not the only one to have had this vision, even Daenerys when to search for his dragons stolen by Pyat Pree, he entered The House of the Undying and, choosing one of the many doors, entered exactly that room of the Iron Throne covered with ash that would later appear in Bran and that we hope to see next week.

Cersei

After the almost total absence of Cersei in the previous episodes in this one, we find her always at the same window, looking from the top of the King’s Landing, until she has to surrender to the evidence, to the fact that she is losing. Spurred on by Qyburn and escorted by the Mountain, she tries to take refuge in the basement and after losing both her men, she finally finds Jaime. It is no coincidence that the two brothers reunite in exactly the same place where Jaime decided not to support his sister, leaving her alone.

game of thrones the bells | Collater.al

Still hoping to escape, the two brothers go down to the basement where, unfortunately, they will not be able to save themselves.

With the death of Cersei we cannot help but think of the prophecy of Valonqar. We all remember the first part: 

“You’ll never wed the prince, you’ll wed the king. You’ll be queen, for a time. Then comes another, younger, more beautiful, to cast you down and take all you hold dear. The king will have 20 children and you will have three. Gold will be their crowns . . . gold their shrouds.” .

game of thrones the bells | Collater.al

In fact, everything that was predicted to her was then really realized, but there is also a second part of the prophecy, which is not mentioned in the series but only in books.

“And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you”.

In part, this second prophecy has also been fulfilled, in fact, in Valirian “Valonqar” means “younger brother” and, even if initially he was thought to be referring to Tyrion, now we know that the “younger brother” to whom he referred was Daenerys.

Music

In the highest pathos moment of the episode, that is the death of Jaime and Cersei, in the background play the notes of the song “The Rain of Castamere“, the same song that was played by the musicians during the Red Wedding.

Cleganebowl

We had been waiting for seven seasons for the Clegane brothers to come to terms with each other and (at least this one) did not disappoint us, either because we can see the Mountain in the face, or at least what remains of it, or because the Hound’s one was one of the most honorable deaths. After trying in every way to take his brother’s life, even stabbing him in the middle of the eyes, just as Arya said she would have done with him, Sandor, now at the end of his life, understands that the only way to end it is to jump from the tower, straight into the flames, thus defeating his fear of fire.

game of thrones the bells | Collater.al
game of thrones the bells | Collater.al

Aaron Rodgers

After eight seasons, we know that it’s not uncommon for well-known characters, often fans of the series, to appear among the participants. In this episode, being very careful, we can see a small cameo of Aaron Rodgers, NFL player and fan of Game of Thrones, among the soldiers of the Golden Company.

At this point, after the deaths of Varys, Qyburn, Euron Greyjoy, The Hound, The Mountain, Cersei and Jaime, we wait to see how the new Queen will be welcomed, but it seems that she has lost all her supporters and also all her fans.

game of thrones the bells | Collater.al

So we decide to get out of balance, hoping that the closing scene, with Arya riding a white horse (which has perhaps been covered with too many meanings by the public) on the streets of what seems to be the distant memory of the King’s Landing, is a sign of hope and that the nameless girl surprises us as she did with the Night Kings.

game of thrones the bells | Collater.al

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