What Is Hype May Never Die: Takeaways for 8.5 The Bells

All aboard the Hype Train! Check out our biggest takeaways from the Season 8, Episode 5 The Bells! And Happy Series Finale Day!

This episode almost made up for some of this season’s mishaps. There’s some brilliant cinematography and tracking shots, the acting was phenomenal, the music was spectacular, and we really loved being on the ground level with the city’s occupants. It was a beautifully shot episode- so good, that we almost overlooked the inconsistencies in the script. But then we went on r/freefolk and all was right in the world.

Again, this episode has already been torn up quite a bit and we’re in full support of all that, but we’ll try not to repeat too much of it here.

8.5.8

MVP of the Episode: Yarp! Sandor Clegane

Aside from us not really agreeing that the Hound would go back, unprovoked, to challenge the Mountain, Sandor got some of the best moments of the episode, including a proper farewell to Arya and telling her that he didn’t want her to turn into him and Arya finally thanking him for all that he did for her. It was the most fanservicey fight of the show- part WrestleMania, part Marvel movie, and an ending that made sense on the surface- but was also the most basic, basic, BASIC ending they could have come up with- “Ooh, the Mountain burned the Hound, so this fight should end in FIRE.”

We think this could have been a little bit better (Kelly was really hoping that Arya would come around on her pity kill, as a call back to Season 4 to wrap up their roadtrip), but seeing the Hound going out fighting scored us high check marks as well. We love Rory McCann in this role and we’re glad that they at least tried to close this character arc.

Close second: Drogon.

Well, this was terrifying. Drogon avenges Rhaegal’s death by… uh… denying us all we thought we knew about Scorpions (including reloading and repositioning times) and setting more than 20 of them on fire. Then, after the King’s Landing sounds the bells for surrender (even though Davos never knew bells to mean surrender), Dany and Drogon mind meld to Dracarys the entire city.

8.5.7

We’re not mad about the Mad Queen.

We might be in the minority, but we’re not mad about Dany’s final descent into madness. She’s lost her council, her best friend, she’s out of place in the country she thought was her home, and she’s slowly learning that everything she was raised with was a lie.

Now, on the whole foreshadowing thing- well. The showrunners are right that there are instances that Dany is irrational and makes poor decisions- but we think the tone of these scenes are off, and that misled a lot of show-only people, who are totally not on board with the decision to have Dany kill innocents and children. There’s somewhat for a disconnect- a miscommunication if you will- between Dany’s actions and how the audience responded to them and it comes down to the showrunners preferring to show her as badass instead of someone hungry for power. She might have indirectly killed Viserys, but he was kind of a douche and deserved what he got, right? She ordered Mirri Maz Duur to get tied to the funeral pyre- but she was in mourning and just lost her husband. Out of justice, she had slavers tied to mile markers outside Meereen. The show has leaned more towards justifying Dany’s violent outlashes, even giving Missandei a little speech about how others come around to see how right Dany is, rather than having her supporting crew proceed with caution.

8.5.4

We’re totally on board with Jon turning on Dany- thanks Varys!

Jon was largely absent for the last two episodes and though he’s more of a supporting charcter this episode we think his scenes were really good – it felt like his presence really did matter. We saw how Dany’s actions affected his opinion of her and perhaps the start of his turn against his queen. Kit Harington’s performance as Jon is so nuanced and despite the script, he always manages to bring it home in service of the series.

We can thank Varys for starting the landslide of people turning against Dany- as most of her supporters know that Varys is for the realm and if he had reason to believe she was not fit to rule- well, now they have reasons to suspect that too. Dany’s execution of Varys only makes them question her priorities even more- if she’s not willing to at least discuss or ask for consulting with Varys for the good of the realm, then why exactly does she want to lead?

RIP Euron and Varys.

We were just beginning to like Euron’s plot inconvenience and teleportation skills. Thanks for the laughs.

Varys… Buddy. One of our all-time favorites of the show and one of the most underutilized actors. Conleth Hill gave us some of the most memorable exposition and we never minded for a minute.

Qyburn makes better warriors than the Night King

Seriously, the Mountain fought on screen longer than all White Walkers and the Night King combined. -_-

8.5.9

Cersei and Jaime deserved more.

We’re not going to bitch and whine about Valonquar, whatever; and we actually really like this ending; however, it felt entirely out of place given the series has done everything it can to make sure we know that Cersei is the biggest, baddest villain on the planet. (We also don’t agree with that, but that’s for another day.) It seems like an odd choice to give her a quieter, somewhat romantic death, being loved, and showing love in return. It feels like another idea that they almost committed to, and then turned away before it got too good.

We’re glad (not) that at the end of the day, Jaime basically used Brienne, to verify his feelings for Cersei, proclaimed he didn’t care about anyone, and drove his arc into the ground. Heroism means nothing to Jaime. Cool. This should have been the easiest character arc to wrap up and it’s so frustrating that one of the most complicated characters on the show was denied to fully come to terms with his feelings after making so much progress. Man, what a tease.

Where the fuck was X? and other questions.

No seriously. Where were the Lannister formations? Why is Gendry still up at Winterfell? Why is Pod? These two know King’s Landing really well- wouldn’t you want them there? And why doesn’t Davos get to sail a boat? Why does Tyrion just wander around and not do anything? Where’s Anguy and the rest of the Brotherhood? What about Hot Pie? Edmure Tully? Daario Naharis? WHO THE FUCK IS THIS NEW PRINCE OF DORNE? Is the Iron Bank going to show up?  Is Arya ever going to don another face and if not, what was the point of that!?

We almost threw out hands up, didn’t, and then did.

We were waiting- just WAITING- for Arya’s savior to pull off her face and be Jaqan H’ghar underneath. Like, this season has gotten so ridiculous, THAT’S what we were expecting. It didn’t! We were pleased- until that damn horse showed up. Death and a pale mare, yeah we know- but a more visually striking image would have been for Arya to limp out of the city on foot as it burns around her. Does this mean she kills Dany? We don’t care at this point.

8.5.1

LVP of the Episode: Harry Strickland.

Well, this was the least exciting one season character. After Cersei makes a big deal about the Golden Company, a prestigious group of mercenaries, they get blasted by Drogon and then mowed down by the Dothraki. Strickland, the most normal name on the show, just truns around and flees before taking a spear to the back.  What a bunch of cowards! Even Karsi got to do more- and she was only in one episode!

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