Review: 'Game of Thrones' Season 8 Episode 5 "The Bells"

"The Bells"

Writer: David Benioff & D.B Weiss
Director: Miguel Sapochnik

Review by James Stone

OMG OMG OMG... where do I start? When writing these reviews I try my very best to avoid spoilers and voice my opinion on how I felt about the episode. This will arguably be the hardest review I have ever written as so much happened that made me scream or shout or weep or simply say "Oh, damn!" I will do my best to get that across without giving the exact reasons for my reactions.

This was the penultimate episode and, after the devastating end to last weeks chapter, "The Last of the Starks" I think it's safe to say we were all expecting a little action this week.

Action is exactly what we got!
Firstly, I want to praise the Director, Miquel Sapochnik, and the writers, David Benioff & D.B Weiss, because the pacing of this episode was perfect. We open to a calm setting with Daenerys and her advisers still in Winterfell discussing their plan of attack. The tension starts to build rapidly as covert conversations are being held and then... BAM! They hit us with the loss of a major character.

Rather than slow things down and dwell over this loss we are given no time to breathe. The episode starts picking up a steady pace with action galore. Just when you felt the show had used up all its CGI budget we are treated to a tremendous battle sequence, Dragons and lots and lots of fire. The events in Kings Landing take up the majority of the episode and by the time we get to take a moment to reflect I realized there was only 10 minutes left. That is great storytelling, when your audience completely loses any sense of reality and is giving 100% attention to what they're watching on screen.
These events have completely shifted the entire direction of the show, and I don't say that lightly. Across 8 seasons we have been there alongside each and every one of these characters' journey. As a  show never afraid to kill off main characters it still hurts when you see one of your favorites fall. That happened to me a couple of times this episode and I'm still trying to comprehend how I feel about their loss.

Game of Thrones doesn't always give people the ending they deserve, or the ending we want to see. That tone I feel has slightly shifted this season, probably because its the last one. Jorah's death defending Daenerys in "The Long Night" was perfect; both for the character and the audience. Theon's passing, back in his family home after redeeming himself from all his actions while under the control of Ramsey Bolton, was also very fitting. During this episode I again feel the majority of characters who died, did so roughly how they would want to go, whether that be in the arms of their lover, defending their kin or simply in battle against a formidable opponent.

Conclusion

After the events we have just witnessed predicting how the final episode will go is anyone's guess. Up until now I was fairly confident that I'd be able to tell what was going to happen. Every episode has followed a script most people predicted, with their thoughts all aimed simply at "who will claim the Iron Throne?" Now, that's all out of the window. Allegiances have shifted, ambitions have altered, and the entire direction has changed. Up has become down, wrong has become right and black has become white. Anything could happen in next week's grand finale 
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