“Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
–John Donne, “No Man Is An Island”
“Did someone just fucking mention bells?“
–Daenerys Targaryen, probably
Game of Thrones‘ second-to-last episode, “The Bells”, was, in every sense of the word—bad, good, sloppy, erratic, beautiful, sexy(?)—a fiery shitshow of epic proportions. First things first: Varys (Conleth Hill) met his end when he finally tried to spill some tea so hot it lit him on fire. But this was only the beginning; with her camp’s traitor turned into Westeros’ smoothest candle, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) set her sights on King’s Landing immediately. No bullshit, no stalling, shockingly little preparation from showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, just mother effin’ fire and blood straight to Cersei Lannister’s dome. Luckily, whichever pirate sniped Rhaegal out of the sky last episode only works every other weekend, because Daenerys and her last living son, Drogon, smashed the Iron Fleet, torched the city’s defenses, and merked the Golden Company so quickly and easily you’d think they were a Dothraki horde fighting zombies in the dark. With the city won and Cersei out of moves, King’s Landing rang its bells—an agreed-upon sign of surrender— and after an eight-season odyssey, the Iron Throne belonged to Dany. The story was over. The credits rolled. Benioff and Weiss announced episode 6 is just Jon Snow (Kit Harington) rubbing Ghost on his good boi noggin for 90 uninterrupted minutes.
Except, nah. Daenerys Targaryen actually just snapped, man. A lifetime of rage, entitlement, abuse, and just a little of that good ol’ spicy Targaryen blood erupted all at once out of Daenerys, who sicked her monstrous offspring back on a docile King’s Landing, torching soldiers and innocent townsfolk alike. Jon looked on in horror. Arya looked on in horror. Missandei looked on in horror from whatever the Westeros afterlife is, Robert Baratheon sitting next to her just absolutely smashed on ghost wine.
It was…a lot. I certainly have questions. You most likely have questions. Let’s get into it.