Game of Thrones season 8 episode 5 review: For whom the bell tolls

CerseiGame of Thrones may be a show about fantastic characters, dragons, and beautiful locations, but let’s also remember that it’s a story about war. Beyond that, it’s a story about what happens when you have so much power that it corrupts your soul from top to bottom.

This is the story of Daenerys Targeryan, a woman who wanted the Iron Throne so badly that she was willing to lose so much of what made her great in the process of getting it. Tonight, the Mother of Dragons lost much of what made her great, choosing to embrace bloodshed as opposed to just accept a surrender at that. Tonight, we saw that Jon was no Daenerys, and he would never be a leader quite like her.

Also, we learned that Tyrion backed the wrong leader and he fully realizes it now. Killing Varys for betraying her? That’s a move that was a little extreme, but really, it was nothing in comparison to her flying her dragon through the city streets and destroying much of King’s Landing. The bells at this point had already rung, and basically, everyone other than Cersei was ready to give it up.

This was not a happy episode, and the battle we saw at King’s Landing is arguably one of the most horrific through the whole series. This is how Daenerys became the Mad Queen — maybe not mad with insanity, but certainly mad with range. Ultimately, think of her as just … mad.

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Jaime’s quest

Tyrion had offered Jaime an out tonight, a way for him to go and get Cersei out of King’s Landing and then start a new life elsewhere. What he didn’t quite count on was Euron Greyjoy getting in the way … and also being a pain in the neck. Of course, Euron wanted Cersei all to himself and that led to the two of them being engaged in a brutal battle. We actually thought that Euron killed him for a minute, but he was able to wander his way out.

After this battle was complete, Arya had her own quest — trying to find a way in order to complete her list … and that included checking off the name of the Queen. At this point, Cersei had realized that she couldn’t just stay centrally located. She had to escape.

Then, we had the battle to end all battles … at least in terms of a personal battle.

The Clegane Bowl!

This is what we’ve been waiting to see FOREVER. We love how The Hound didn’t even bother killing Cersei; he just let her go while The Mountain made short work of Qyburn. Obviously, The Mountain had the physical advantage, but we certainly knew a thing or two about how determined The Hound was to finish this job. This was EPIC, and awesome. We’re also pretty sure that they’re both dead. When The Hound realized that nothing else quite worked, he decided that the next-best thing to do was to go ahead and throw the two of them over the ledge.

At this point, Jaime was able to reunite with his sister, who he did still love despite everything that the two of them have gone through. This is when Jaime had an important decision to make — he had Cersei, so what did he choose to do after the fact?

The aftermath of everything

All of the surrounding chaos in King’s Landing led to people like Arya and Jon having to be the saviors to a lot of the innocent people. In some ways, this did distract Arya from getting to Cersei, who was trying to find an escape out of the city with the help of her brother. This was by far the most vulnerable we’ve seen this character, as she wanted nothing more than to just survive and have her baby live.

Then, everything around the two of them collapsed. Was this really the end for the two of them?

The good news for Arya is that somehow, she survived all of the calamity in the city, but really looks like death in her own right. The end of this episode saw her within the city, surveying the ruins of whatever was left. She found a horse, and she trotted clean out of what little was left.

CarterMatt Verdict

Was this the most devastating episode in the history of Game of Thrones? We’re not sure you can see it any other way. This was really a tale of absolute power corrupting absolutely, and where heroes turn into villains as a result of intensive character development.

Also, is it clear to everyone else at this point now that Daenerys is the true final boss? We’ve for sure lost some important people, but there are survivors — Jon, Arya, Tyrion, and some key advisers.

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