George R.R. Martin once stated that the ending to ‘A Song Of Ice of Fire‘ (which should also apply to ‘Game of Thrones’ in theory) was something he had long planned out and would not be a disappointment the way so many franchise endings ultimately are. He has even gone so far as to cite shows like ‘Lost‘ as examples of series who failed to end their runs in a satisfying way. Now while one could argue that the current state of ‘Game of Thrones’ has little to do with Martin himself since D.B. Weiss and David Benioff have moved so far away from the books they started off adapting, this long-time ‘Lost’ fan (and ‘Lost’ finale apologist) cannot help but feel disappointed that ‘Game of Thrones’ seems incapable of delivering on Martin’s word.
So yeah, I really, really disliked ‘The Bells.’
For the penultimate episode of this massively popular and more or less quality series, they have basically decided to throw out plot, character development, and basic logic, and go entirely for spectacle. I whole-heartedly believe more than ever that the deviations from the book series, the show’s writers not having source material to adapt from for the final few seasons, and writers desperately trying to get all the characters to the ending as told to them by Martin (basically knowing the destination without knowing the journey Martin was taking the characters on in the last two books to get them there) is why we have such weak characters and odd choices by almost every single character on the show. Also, the decision to have longer episodes is not working out, this episode felt very LONG, which should not happen when a massive battle is taking place.
Let’s quickly recap each character’s journey this episode, Dani kills Varys for spreading the secret about Jon’s heritage (still in character more or less), after spending the opening of the episode in mourning for Missandei (I liked Missandei, but were she and Dani close enough to send Dani into a mad rage?). She then ignores the advice of Tyrion begging for mercy for the innocents of the city and threatens his life if he should fail her again, before jumping on Drogon and wiping out the Iron Fleet, which seemed downright EASY this time around, even though Euron’s forces were good enough to kill Rhaegal just last episode. She then proceeds to wipe out all the Scorpion weapons of King’s Landing (again, EASY, even though they have been a massive threat on the series since being introduced), and then wiping out the Golden Company in one swoop, eliminating another major threat like it was nothing (why did we spend so many episodes building up the Golden Company? And would elephants have helped?) Then, despite hearing the bells of surrender from the forces of King’s Landing (let’s not even start with the ridiculous lead up to that, with voices shouting “Ring the bells” in a ludicrously long sequence that almost seemed humorous though it was supposed to be serious), Dani goes completely insane and decimates King’s Landing, razing it to the ground with Drogon, whose fire can burn through flesh, wood, and even stone like it was nothing. Then we don’t see her the rest of the episode, and instead just see the dragon overhead destroying everything, killing everyone (minus her own forces).
Yep, Daenerys has gone full Mad Queen, because they killed her… handmaiden? Because Rhaegal died? Because she knows people like Jon more than her? It would have been nice had the show taken the time for us to understand why the heroic character everyone had been rooting for is suddenly the biggest villain on the series, but similar to Anakin Skywalker in ‘Star Wars,’ her shift to the dark side is rather abrupt and for some dubious reasons. She could have EASILY just gone and burned down the Red Keep and gotten her revenge on Cersei while killing her, but the show was told by Martin that Dani was going to become a Mad Queen like her father (the Mad King) and so they made it happen.