Saturday 18 May 2019

TV Review: Game of Thrones S8E5 - 'The Bells'

We're just a few days out from Game of Thrones' series finale, but before we get there, here are some of my thoughts on the divisive penultimate episode, 'The Bells'.

"Oh shit" - Cersei Lannister, 2019
Well, here we are. The home stretch. For a show as complex and as perplexingly popular as Game of Thrones, the final countdown was always going to split opinion – with so many characters and storylines, and only space on the throne for one Westerosi butt, something had to give.

As it turns out, the final skirmish for King's Landing was a fairly one-sided affair – Dany, and her one remaining dragon, more or less decimated the Lannister forces single-handedly, raining fire on the Iron Fleet, the scorpions lining the battlements and the Golden Company. It was a pissweak defence from Cersei and her boy Euron – but what else could they have done? Dany has the Westeros equivalent of a nuclear missile, and this only difference is that this time she decided to input the codes. I don't think 1000 elephants could have swayed the outcome of this battle tbh.
With the battle won and the bells tolling, King's Landing was done and dusted. Dany had her victory at last, after losing so much in such a short space of time. But, with everything that went down last week, the Dragon Queen chose to rule through fear. With her small council scheming behind her backs and her lover betrayed her trust, Dany had no-one to turn to. No-one for comfort, no-one for sage advice. Rather than slaying Cersei and calling it a day, Dany took out her anger and her frustration on the cityfolk, burning street after street of innocent peasants.

It was a shocking display of violence, but not a shocking turn of events. Dany has been built up to be this increasingly loose cannon, and with literally everyone out to get her or making stupid decisions that undermine her rule, it makes sense that she would lash out. The issue with this isn't that it is inconsistent; it's that it's a little rushed.

I've said it before and I've said it again; I have no issues with where the plot is going this season, other than the fact that it needs more time to unfold. Even Jaime, who broke Brienne's heart and ran back to Cersei, makes sense if the writers had given his seesawing allegiances time to play out. By limiting themselves to just six episodes this season (and to a lesser extent seven episodes last season), David Benioff and DB Weiss have struggled to squash everything in.
Anyway, enough about Dany and the dramas on Twitter. The backlash is dumb; the petitions calling for a remake are even dumber. I get that people are disappointed; but don't you think it's all a bit overblown? I mean Christ, get some perspective people.

Back to 'The Bells'. Miguel Sapochnik once again served up a gorgeous episode filled to the brim with striking imagery. The contrast to his previous episode this season ('The Long Night') was that here the horror took place in daylight. The rubble-strewn streets of King's Landing, complete with ashen-faced Arya and fiery, scorched corpses, were the Westerosi equivalent of Hiroshima or Pompeii. The blood and the violence wasn't structured or ordered – it has a genuine feeling of chaos and despair to it. Similarly, the long-awaited Cleganebowl was brilliantly choreographed.

Hate the plot as much as you want, but you have to admit this episode was breathtaking to look at. The shadow of Drogon as Dany carves across the rooftops; the dragon fire licking at the walls of the Red Keep. It's the tantilising imagery we've been teased in Bran's visions for years.
Biting the dust this week we had both Sandor and Gregor Clegane; both Jaime and Cersei Lannister, squashed by falling bricks as the Red Keep came crashing down; Euron Greyjoy, who died as he lived – a massive twat – and thousands upon thousands of innocents. Next week, in the finale, I'm guessing we'll witness Jon, Davos, Arya and Tyrion grapple with the weight of their failure. Their failure to stop Dany, to prevent a massacre and to protect the innocent. It won't please everyone (an impossible ask, given the negative sentiment towards this season), but personally I'm eager to see how this gargantuan show goes out.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...