As a matter of fact, the episode is called “The Bells,” but from the very beginning of the season, it was known that the final battle for the series will be played there. But, was there a fight at all? I will tackle this topic in this article.
From my point of view, it was not a battle. There was no military point in killing innocents, but wasn’t this exactly the goal? We all expected to see a battle between good and evil, but we’ve already seen it in Episode 3. This was rather a manifestation of the Targaryen’s gene. I will break down the most important events:
1. The sinking of Eurone’s fleet
So it was possible after all. Instead of allowing Euron to move freely in Westeros, Dany could’ve just sank his fleet in the previews episode. Here she showed that an elder dragon is a lot faster than any arbalets, even scorpions and she could’ve stopped the battle before it even started. Why didn’t she do it earlier then?
2. The crushing of The Golden Company
Yet again, they showed what a dragon can do, when it comes to sieges, but the overall idea was different. The first part of the battle was very well built. Dany swiped all enemy defenses easily, including The Golden Company. What was left for her army to do then? Maybe just imprison the survivors, but why that didn’t happen as well?
3. The fight between Euron and Jaime.
Actually there is not much to be said here, because nobody really cared that much about it. In the TV show he’s a pointless villain. Eruon is a different character in the books, both visually and in terms of his role in the war. We can expect great deeds from him there, if Martin decides to finish the books at some point, before we die.
We’ve been waiting for it for 8 seasons now. That was maybe the only element, which made all fans a justice. It was epic, intense and satisfying. It was not a typical fight, but what more can you expect from a fight between a zombie and a living person. I really enjoyed it.
5. The deaths of Cersei and Jaime
They were, to put mildly, unsatisfactory. From a badass, Cersei was reduced to a pity seeking weakling. It is understandable, considering what Dany did to King’s Landing, however a more dignified death would’ve been better. More suitable to her character would’ve been for her to be killed by Arya or Jaime, while sitting on the Iron Throne, with a head up, than being berried in a tomb. As for Jaime, his arc was completely destroyed, once he decided to return to Cersei, so I’m not going to comment on that.
6. The Bells
I’ve deliberately left this moment for last, although it appears in the middle of the episode, because it is responsible for all other events. Hence the reasoning that this episode was anything, but a battle. I’d rather categorize it as a slaughter. Putting Arya at the center of the storm shows why the Targaryens are considered unstable to put the least. As Tyrion predicted, the Golden Company surrendered after seeing what they were up against and ringed the bells. It was a sign for all the defenders of King’s Landing, even Cersei, that it was over. It was a sign for most of Dany’s army as well, but not for herself. Though she had told Tyrion that she wouldn’t burn King’s Landing, because of the thousands of innocents (who were there because of Cersei in the first place), she decided otherwise. A few moments led to this development and they were foreshadowed in the previews and current episodes. Varis himself said that it is unclear on which side Dany’s coin has landed, but it seems that it is now. The truth is that from the beginning, the construction of Dany’s character is as a conqueror, and with every subsequent battle it is becoming more and more clear. Many fans disagree with her decisions here, but I would say it was expected. The only thing that kept her sanity was the love of Jon, which died at the moment it was revealed that he was her nephew. Let’s think what she lost after coming to Westeros. First, she lost a dragon, then Jora, then a second dragon and finally Missandei. By this time, the only thing left was the love for Jon. She herself said that since nobody loves her on this continent, she will reign with fear. All these events led to the “madness” and the decision to burn the capital. Was she provoked by Cersei? Yes, many times. Does she have the “mad gene” of her family? Undoubtedly. Is she being spiteful after everything she’s been through? No doubt. Does that all justify her decisions? No, but I think they were expected. The tyranny in Westeros switched from Cersei to Dany, and the tracking of Arya’s experience showed what it means to destroy a fortress. The death of the innocents are somewhat Cersei’s fault, but the truth is that Dany could’ve avoided it.
What does all this lead to? I think Arya has a new person on her list. We do not know what she will do with Jon, but once Gray Worm saw him trying to stop the massacre, we know that he would surely hand Jon over to Dany. Whether he will die or not, we are yet to see. It is almost clear that Daenerys won’t sit on the throne, but who will kill her – the little birds of Varis, Arya, Jon or somebody else it is unclear. Many fans condemned the episode because they hoped Dany would come out as a savior, but if we think about it, was she ever one? She slaughtered the slave laborers, burned the leaders of the Dothraki and a few other groups until she reached Westeros. But they were bad, you’ll say? That’s right, but her decisions were never the most thoughtful. The speculations aside, one episode remains until the finale. Who will die and who will live, we are about to see.