There are couple of winners and also many losers in a grim installment the is satisfying till you think about it because that a bit.

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Share every sharing choices for: 4 winners and also 10 losers from game of Thrones’ next-to-last episode, “The Bells”


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Daenerys has a bad day, and also everybody pays. HBO
as the fifth and also penultimate illustration of Game of Thrones’ final season, “The Bells,” finished airing, everybody at my viewing party erupted in lusty boos. For countless of them, the episode had betrayed any type of love they had actually once felt because that the show.

That’s because “The Bells” is almost the whole final season the Game the Thrones in a microcosm — some interesting ideas, some cool moments, and also some great acting, however if girlfriend think around most that what occurred for more than a couple of seconds, the starts to implode. It’s better in concept than the is in execution, and also it’s complete of moments that are supposed to pay off years that the series, yet fall extremely flat. (Hello, Cleganebowl!)

However, this is the component where I’ll recognize that also though I sort of favored it in the macro, I have actually a ton the complaints about this episode. It no really make sense. And the show’s execution of the “Daenerys goes mad” arc is one of the most poorly tackled things it’s ever before done, especially if this to be all part of a long-term plan (as it appears it was).

At best, it to be foreshadowed by Game that Thrones’ scripts but undercut by its aesthetics (which constantly depicted Dany together a individual hero). At worst, that peddled a weird spin top top the idea that women room too emotional to lead. Either way, come quote a climactic moment on an additional show, “Not great, Bob!”

But boy, was the central idea the “The Bells” — come illustrate how war tends to spiral the end of regulate into fire and violence and massacres together the conquering military rides in come overrun the overcame — a fascinating, compelling one, and also one that factors heavily right into George R.R. Martin’s A track of Ice and Fire novels while largely having been avoided on the present (with exceptions). Top top a visceral level, the illustration was a horrific ride v a civilization that has fully shattered.

Just, y’know, nothing think around it too hard, or for as well long.

Here are four winners and also 10 losers native “The Bells,” and also the truth that there are so many much more losers has less to do with mine feelings around the episode as a entirety than with just how seriously grim it to be (you guys, it was so grim).

Winner: manager Miguel Sapochnik

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Yeah, baby, spectacle! HBO to speak what girlfriend will around “The Bells,” yet it looks great.

Okay, I might have done without the vaguely Zack Snyder look of Cleganebowl and assorted other scenes in the dragonfire-scorched king Landing. The streaks of pale sunlight and also gray ash floating over everything reminded me of nothing much less than 300, the 2007 movie the was sort of a monster Iraq war apologia if girlfriend squinted in ~ it for long enough.

But so much of the remainder of “The Bells” is, in ~ the very least, really outstanding on a technical level. The shoot of Drogon very first lighting the steel Fleet top top fire — where the camera is pinned to Euron whirling about on his ship, powerless to protect against Dany’s sudden ability to avoid huge arrows — and also the numerous shots of Arya trying to escape the fallen king Landing space the sorts of things you seldom see executed so well on television. The episode caught the chaos of fight for me in the way that illustration three, “The lengthy Night” (which was likewise directed by Miguel Sapochnik), simply didn’t.


But the gorgeous visuals extended beyond the battle scenes. The early on moments in ~ Dragonstone, which are largely lit via firelight, are evocative and also stunning, and also they do an ext to market Daenerys’s revolve toward unchecked violence much more than anything in the script. The shots the the citizens of king Landing crushing toward the Red Keep’s gates, Jaime desperately trying come flag under someone that will let that in, are deeply terrifying.

In its last season, Game the Thrones has gone all in on carrying most of its feel in the spectacle. The storytelling doesn’t have to make perfect feeling if the visuals every look prefer the cover of a heavy metal album. And, honestly, “The Bells” is maybe the most heavy metal album cover-esque illustration of Game the Thrones yet. (And yes, I typical that as a good thing.)

Loser: Daenerys Targaryen

Honestly. What. The fuck?

I composed a piece earlier this season around how I meant Dany to come to be the show’s final villain. I’ve review my partner Andrew Prokop’s numerous previous articles arguing the exact same thing. And also I to be at least somewhat persuaded that Game the Thrones has actually been nodding in this direction all along by showing just how poor Dany can be as soon as she doesn’t get her way.

So ns ready and willing to expropriate the “Daenerys beginning indiscriminately setup people top top fire” revolve of events. She’s ambitious and also arrogant and certain of her very own destiny. She to know she is the one who will collection the human being free, and she’s forgotten that “setting the people free” is she previously proclaimed ultimate goal. There is room to occupational here.

But now. She’s a Targaryen, so ... Welp! The idea that she’s unexpectedly scorching whatever in sight due to the fact that she’s trapped by she father’s DNA, by the mental disease in her genetic code, which has apparently greatly come out of nowhere, in response to a collection of traumatic events, as soon as this is a young woman who has actually lost a husband and also a child and so much else and been kidnapped and also raped and also all manner of things — it is an idea Game the Thrones just can’t traction off.

My assumption: v is the Martin has actually some variation of this planned because that the ending of the books. However in the books, Dany is a point-of-view character, so readers are well-acquainted with the method she thinks about the world. Once she take away a rotate toward the fiery, martin will map every action of her mental journey. The present doesn’t have that luxury.

Should it need that high-end to work? because that ages, Game of Thrones was so great at creating personalities who were complicated and conflicted, who periodically didn’t quite understand their very own motivations.

But in that last few seasons, it’s increasingly flattened them out right into the most an easy versions of themselves.

Now, Dany is far from my favorite character ~ above this show. I’m making use of her together a bit of a shibboleth. However, “The Bells” find multiple means to contort various characters in means that make absolutely no sense, in the name of acquiring to the (admittedly fascinating) big finish. The illustration sacrifices so countless different principles of that these human being are — or even the idea of regular character advance at all — to get everyone come a place where Dany have the right to go mad in specifically the way the present needs her to.

Loser: placing character breakthrough in the previously On

The monster shot that Dany city hall Missandei’s death from episode four, while a montage of voices swirled approximately her as if she to be Marge Simpson trying to stop the Springfield monorail or something, felt choose it was trying to set up her revolve toward madness. Again: What. The fuck?

Loser: king’s Landing

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seems bad. HBO top top a really obvious level, king’s Landing lost because large portions of the are currently on fire and/or exploded. (How walk dragonfire explode city walls and buildings once previous stories on the present have been about how those wall surfaces can come to be prisons in the event of dragons? asking again later.) and on another an extremely obvious level, a large portion of the city’s populace is dead.

But the city is likewise a loser due to the fact that once the fire beginning raining under on the civilization of king Landing, we have actually absolutely no idea just how they feel around Cersei, about Dany, around anything. Game of Thrones simply offers united state hearsay around how they’re probably on Cersei’s side, but maybe they’re simply afraid of her, and also ... It is not practically enough to describe the ground-level national politics of what happens in this sequence.

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I don’t require Game of Thrones to present a whole bunch of characters within the wall surfaces of king Landing or anything choose that. But I do require to have literally any type of sense of just how the city feels around its queen as soon as the fire starts. Even if that feeling is “no issue who wins, things are gonna stink.”

Loser: home Lannister

It take it forever, however the Lannisters are basically dead. Tyrion is tho alive, however he’s sworn his allegiance to Daenerys, and it feels choose if Dany finds the end that the freed Jaime in an effort to gain Cersei and Jaime out of the city front of the invasion — which the somehow believed would cause surrender bells — then the Lannisters will be done for for good.

Cersei and Jaime die, crushed beneath the rocks of the Red Keep’s crypts once the structure finally starts to fall. Never mind exactly how strange that is that the two of them ended up with each other again. I sort of appreciated the cool opera the the pair reuniting in the middle of the Red Keep’s giant map room, their desires squashed in ~ the rubble together surely as they are around to be.