Game of Thrones season 8 episode 5: Winners and losers of “The Bells”


With an explosive penultimate episode, Game of Thrones seems to be trying to go out with a bang.

Game of Thrones seems totally fine with steamrolling past carefully developed character arcs in pursuit of an ending that will somehow wrap up all the loose threads still dangling at this point. “The Bells” saw Daenerys and her loyal (for now) troops sack King’s Landing, with devastating consequences.

But of course, social media wasn’t too happy about last night’s episode — many calling out the show for lazy/rushed writing and for doing the Mother of Dragons real dirty. However you feel about last night, it’s obvious there were many losers and a few, keyword few, winners.


Maisie Williams as Arya Stark. Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO

Arya’s humanity

Throughout the series, we’ve seen Arya go from headstrong little girl to determined survivor to eerily unemotional Faceless Man. But as Arya begins a new chapter of her life, we’re seeing all of these various identities merge together into a woman who is profoundly human. Her last conversation with the Hound is a touching one, as she sees where her never-ending quest for revenge will lead her. No matter how many of her enemies she kills, she’ll never be able to undo the injustice that has been done to her family. All she can do now is live as best she can and fight to protect the people that matter to her. It’s a satisfying conclusion to one of the show’s most compelling characters.

Photo: Courtesy of HBO

The surviving masons of King’s Landing

There may not be many of them left, what with the dragons and the residual wildfire and the Dothraki horde pillaging the city. But when the time comes to rebuild King’s Landing, they’re going to be in pretty good shape: Daenerys essentially razed it to the ground. Maybe now would be a good time to build in a grid pattern, to help improve ventilation and stop the spread of disease in Flea Bottom? There’s a sunny side to every situation is all we’re saying.

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen. Photo: Courtesy of HBO

The Targaryen Record for Spawning Unstable Monsters

As we’ve been frequently reminded, whenever a Targaryen is born, the gods flip a coin. It would have been nice for Daenerys not to go down the Mad Queen path, but at the same time it would also be a shame for the Targaryen family to lose the reputation they’ve spent lifetimes building/fulfilling.


Maisie Williams as Arya Stark – Photo: Courtesy of HBO

The “innocents or otherwise”

Early in the episode, Tyrion discusses the fate that will befall all the common folk in King’s Landing in the event of an invasion, and does what he can to try to avert such a disaster. But the average citizen in the capital is not doing too hot in this episode. If they’re not getting burned alive or cut down by lunatic soldiers, they’re being trampled in a stampede or assaulted. In a show that deals so much with the elites of society, playing their chess game from on high, it rarely explores how these political maneuvers affect the average Westerosi. We now have an answer. It’s not great, Bob!

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister – Photo: Courtesy of HBO

Tyrion’s sense of judgment

Hard to believe there was once a time that Tyrion was a master strategist on Game of Thrones. His tenure as queen’s hand to Daenerys has been shaky at best, and his diplomatic skills have been on a downward spiral for about a season and a half. This whole endless trust in his siblings thing was sweet at first but has well worn out its welcome by now. And for him to suggest that Sansa told him about Jon’s parentage because she trusts him? The guy is slipping, and he habitually puts his faith in all the wrong people.

(L to R) Rory McCann as Sandor “The Hound” Clegane and Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson as The Mountain

– Photo: Courtesy of HBO


Qyburn, Cersei’s little rat-faced supplicant, wins the award for most poetic death, as he is murdered with absolutely zero ceremony by his own creation. You flew too close to the sun, Qyburn, and your inventiveness is your downfall.

Next. Game of Thrones “The Bells”: The absolute best quotes from this episode. dark

Game of Thrones airs its final episode next Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.

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