Last week’s episode of Game of Thrones, ‘The Last of the Starks’ left things on a razor’s edge, and I knew we would be seeing the words of House Targaryen, Fire and Blood, come to life.
But I never expected it would be anything like what we saw unfold on episode five of Game of Thrones, ‘The Bells’, as the literal seven hells were opened up upon Queen Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) and the people of King’s Landing and all I could do was sit back and watch in total shock at what unfolded on-screen.
For a character who went on at great lengths about how she was a liberator, a defender and a mother, the queen who broke chains and brought freedom to innocents enslaved by tyranny, all of this was thrown to the curve in this episode as Emilia Clarke’s Daenerys Targaryen unleashed a terrible price of fire, blood and death upon all, whether innocent or not, and I’m sure like all of you I’m not the only one to be cut up by what I saw.
While we’ve come to expect chaos from Game of Thrones, ‘The Bells’, was a whole new level on this and the result was horror, unlike anything we’d seen before. From the moment that Daenerys went from warrior queen to vengeful tyrant, we were watching some excruciatingly devastating character development. Daenerys had always promised to ‘break the wheel’, but in her actions, she lit the whole cart on fire, and all that is left is ashes. Her actions and the pain and fury with which she expresses them really showed how she was essentially destroying everything she had believed in her whole life. In essence, she has essentially destroyed herself and what is left remains to be seen.
Caught up in this fiery destruction is a multitude of our favourite characters, such as Kit Harrington’s Jon Snow, who has now ultimately rejected Daenery’s love and is almost the catalyst for her expression of rage. This noble and heroic figure could only look on in abject horror as King’s Landing is laid to waste around him.
Then there’s also Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) whose plan to save the innocent horribly backfires, and what is left is the chaos of knowing that he was wrong: and so very wrong indeed. Daenerys’ actions leave him reeling, and there’s no telling what will happen next to him.
Part of his plan was to save the smallfolk, but also his family, and on this part, I was very pleased by. I always knew that Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Cersei were not long for this world, and having read the books, and hypothesised my own theory I was pleased that these characters died together as a result of Daenerys, something I had long thought would occur. Cersei’s own monstrous side was thoroughly undone by Daenerys in this episode and there was a great level of sympathy that I felt was given to these two characters and the way they went out.
The other great character completions of this episode were that of Sandor ‘The Hound’ Clegane (Rory McCann) and his brother Gregor ‘The Mountain’ Clegane (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson). There’s was a battle of brotherhood titans amongst the falling debris and burning Red Keep. Brutal and bloody to the last, this was the very idea of revenge come full circle and it really gripped your attention. As to how they went out together, it was kind of a fitting end for both of them and The Hound’s maniacal laughing marked a fitting conclusion.
But in the end though, one cannot look past Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), the Night King killer herself and the literal saviour of Westeros, who felt the full force of Daenerys rage and was the audiences primary point-of-view during ‘The Bells’ penultimate third act. Arya is no stranger to horror, but this completely took her by surprise, and it is through her eyes that we truly witness the ground level destruction of Westeros brand new tyrant. As audience members, we also know that Arya is one to bear a grudge, and I for one believe this leaves us in a very interesting place.
Shocking in every respect, ‘The Bells’ set a new standard for Game of Thrones and as now move into the final chapter of Game of Thrones, and who will sit on the Iron Throne, and that is if it even still exists, is anyone’s guess.
Game of Thrones airs Monday 1pm on SoHo and later in the evening on NEON.
Image: Courtesy of HBO