The Battle of King’s Landing is over, but the fight for the Iron Throne has just begun. Who lived and who died in Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 5, “The Bells”? Here’s everything you need to know.
And obviously, spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 5 ahead.
To paraphrase from another universe: You didn’t see that coming? In “The Bells,” the so-called “Last War” ends as soon as it begins, with Daenerys’ forces annihilating King’s Landing — and cementing Daenerys as the “Mad Queen” she always feared she would become. And who else to stop Dany than Mr. “Know Nothing” himself, Jon Snow.
In the penultimate episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones, the “Last War” commences with Jon (Kit Harington) leading Dany’s (Emilia Clarke) forces into King’s Landing to take the Red Keep. And the whole time, Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) has box seats to the end of her reign, from the burning of the Golden Company to the massacre of the Lannister army.
The problem, of course, is Dany. With victory well within her grasp, Dany takes things to an absurd level, using Drogon to light up King’s Landing like it was a Kentucky barbecue. Dany violates whatever would be Westeros’ version of the Geneva Conventions, and the whole place erupts into chaos, with Dany’s forces just massacring everyone in sight: surrendered soldiers, women, and children alike. And Snow, to his dismay, is powerless to stop it from happening.
But hey, at least we got something we’ve always wanted: CLEGANEBOWL! Sandor and Gregor finally crossed swords in a battle that fans have been waiting for since Season 1. And yeah, it was kind of awesome.
Here’s a brief rundown on who lived and who died in Game of Thrones. Scroll down a little afterward for the results of Cleganebowl.
“The Last War” Damage Report
Dany’s invasion of King’s Landing went exactly as she hoped it would — everyone else be damned. It wasn’t a war; it was a one-sided massacre that saw Dany become exactly the monster she didn’t want to be.
Varys: Technically not a casualty of the “Last War.” Varys was the first major death, being burned alive by Drogon after Dany learned he was trying to use Jon’s lineage to dethrone the queen.
Ser Harry Strickland: The captain of the Golden Company in Essos got his ass whupped right from the start when Dany and Drogon came up from behind. The mercenary army were burned to a crisp in no time, and Ser Strickland died from a case of Grey Worm.
Euron Greyjoy: The maniacal sea pirate died alone at the hand(s) of Jaime Lannister. He still believed himself to be the one who killed Jaime despite choking on his own blood.
Qyburn: Standing between the two Cleganes (lol, why), the Mountain chucks him to the side, crushing Qyburn atop hard debris from Dany’s destruction.
Jaime and Cersei Lannister: How unceremonious. The two Lannisters meet their fates, together, below the ground of King’s Landing. Yes, they’re crushed by a building. I don’t even know what to say about these two at this point, except that this is a very dumb ending to the show’s two best characters, and I hate it.
Winner: draw. The match ended with both Gregor “the Mountain” Clegane and his brother Sandor “the Hound” Clegane falling to their deaths. Though it’s safe to say that Sandor won since it was he who body tackled Gregor to the ground down below.
Falling short of the Mountain and the Viper’s historic matchup in 2014, “Cleganebowl” — the fight between Sandor (Rory McCann) and Gregor (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) — took place in this week’s episode.
It was a hard-hitting, hard-fought match that included its own dramatic “de-helmet” of Gregor, showing us exactly the gross zombie he’s become.
The fight took place not in the Dragonpit, where it arguably should have happened, but in a winding staircase in the Red Keep that was burning to bits. It looked cool, but the fight just lacked the oomph the Mountain had against Oberyn Martell five years ago (though it had a neat callback to the Mountain/Viper, as Gregor tried and failed to crush his brother’s head like a watermelon).
Who Lived in Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 5?
Jon Snow made it without too much trouble, as did Ser Davos Seaworth, Tyrion Lannister, Grey Worm, and Daenerys. Arya took a lot of damage, but she’s still alive, though she hasn’t quite escaped the burning wreckage that used to be King’s Landing by the end of the episode.
So here’s where we are: Jon Snow is mad that Dany let her darker side get the better of her. An otherwise peaceful victory with only a handful of deaths turned into a grisly massacre that cemented Dany as the Mad Queen, and Tyrion also seems pretty upset by the whole thing.
Much of Bran’s visions from Season 4 came true. King’s Landing is indeed coated in ash (not snow), and King’s Landing was under the shadow of Dany’s dragon, raining down pure hell upon them. (Dany also had a similar vision in Season 2.)
In the series finale of Game of Thrones, it is extremely possible we’ll see a war between fire and ice.
Game of Thrones airs Sunday, May 19 at 9 p.m. Eastern on HBO.