Game of Thrones season 8 episode 5 recap – ‘The Bells’ toll in King’s Landing

Well, we may need a quick breather after that episode.

The penultimate instalment of Game of Thrones , titled The Bells , saw Daenerys Targaryen reeling following the deaths of dragon Rhaegal and friend Missandei at the hands of Cersei Lannister's forces in the preceding instalment.

However, with Jon's secret identity as Aegon Targaryen now not so secret, many are starting to see him as her ideal replacement as she grows increasingly ready to take the Iron Throne by any means.

Finally, Arya Stark and Sandor 'The Hound' Clegane were heading down to King's Landing for some 'unfinished business'.

The chess board was set for some major confrontations in the capital of the Seven Kingdoms.

But who survived the carnage?

Here is a recap of season 8 episode 5, The Bells.

At Dragonstone

The episode opened with Varys scribbling a letter revealing the true identity of Jon Snow as Aegon Targaryen, before he is approached by one of his 'little birds' who reveals that Daenerys is distraught and refusing to eat.

Varys hears that Jon Snow has arrived at the fortress and greets him at the shore and reveals he knows he is Aegon and tries to convince Jon that Daenerys should not be Queen. Jon refuses Varys, denying wanting the throne and remaining loyal to his Queen. Tyrion sees their interaction from the shore before confronting Daeneys.

Daenerys looks disheveled and broken when Tyrion approaches her to reveal Vary's betrayal. We see that the Queen is paranoid and suspects Jon of betraying her before Vary's treachery is revealed.

Varys is taken from his chamber by guards and brought to the shore before Daenerys, Jon, Tyrion and the Unsullied. Varys does not deny his plotting and says he did it for the people, as Tyrion admits he exposed him to the Queen. Varys and Tyrion bid farewell to each other, before Daenerys orders Drogon to incinerate Varys: 'Dracarys'.

Grey Worm visits Daenerys in her quarters and she gifts him Missandei's choker from her days as a slave that was brought to Westeros and Grey Worm throws it into the fire.

Jon visits Daenerys and she reveals her anger at him telling his sisters his Targaryen lineage and Sansa's subsequent reveal to Tyrion, as she accuses Lady Stark of plotting to undermine her.

Jon maintains he is loyal to his Queen and loves her, but she is resentful that he is loved in Westeros and all she inspires is fear. Daenerys kisses and embraces him, but he eventually pulls away from his aunt. Daenerys then concludes that she will rule by fear.

In the throne room, Daenerys tells Grey Worm and Tyrion that she will take King's Landing, but Tyrion tries to persuade her to spare the people of the city if they ring the bells in surrender. Daenerys agrees before revealing that the Northern armies captured Jaime Lannister on his way to King's Landing, before threatening Tyrion to not fail her again.

At King's Landing

Jon, Tyrion, Grey Worm and the Unsullied arrive at the shores near King's Landing and are met by Davos and the Northern armies. Jon reveals they will attack at sunrise the following morning.

Tyrion visits a captive Jaime in his prison tent and the pair discuss what will happen next as Daenerys will kill Cersei. Tyrion frees Jaime and tells him to get in the city and escape with Cersei and start a new life across the Narrow Sea in Pentos. Tyrion says he is returning the favour as Jaime once freed him, and tells his brother that he loves him for being the only person who never saw him as a monster. They embrace before Jaime leaves.

The next morning, Arya and the Hound enter the city gates with frightened refugees seeking refuge and head towards the Red Keep: he planning to kill his brother and she planning to kill Cersei.

Daenerys' armies stand facing the city walls while the Golden Company march out of the city gates, just as a cloaked Jaime enters to get to his sister. Cersei watches from the Red Keep balcony.

Euron Greyjoy stands in the Iron Fleet in Blackwater Bay when he notices something in the sky: Daenerys on Drogon as she swoops down from above and burns the Iron Fleet from behind, flinging Euron into the water.

Daenerys then flies over the city walls and dodges shots from the Scorpion weapons before burning all of the city walls and the weapons, before blasting the gates clean open and burning the majority of the Golden Company. The mercenary commander Harry Strickland tries to crawl away but is speared by Grey Worm.

The army advances into the city as civilians flee.

Cersei watches and maintains that her Lannister troops will succeed, despite Qyburn stating how dire the situation is getting as the Iron Fleet, Golden Company and Scorpion weapons are destroyed.

The Lannister troops, meanwhile, surrender and drop their swords after being overwhelmed by the Unsullied, Northern and Dothraki forces.

The bells sound in surrender, with Cersei feeling fear at her loss.

Daenerys sits upon Drogon on the city walls as the bells sound, but keeps staring with rage at the Red Keep before taking off and flying over the city and burning the buildings and streets full of Lannister troops and innocent civilians.

Grey Worm and her armies take her lead and begin to slaughter he surrendering Lannister troops and innocent people.

Jon is horrified and shell-shocked, before being forced to kill one of his own men for attempting to rape an innocent woman, but must fight off attacking Lannister soldiers.

Daenerys on Drogon obliterates much of the city, with countless innocent people being killed by the flames, as the caches of wildfire under the city also explode as a result, adding to the destruction.

Jaime, having failed to get through the entrance to the palace, goes through a secret passage on the coast but comes across Euron who has washed up on the shore. The pair duel over Cersei, with Euron delivering two major wounds to Jaime, before Jaime manages to overcome the pirate and impale him. Euron finds comfort in believing he killed Jaime Lannister the Kingslayer before he dies.

In the Red Keep, the palace starts collapsing as Drogon burns the towers outside, prompting the Hound to tell Arya to go and let go of her revenge quest or go too far like him and be consumed by it. Arya wants to kill Cersei but the Hound makes her see that one way or another she will die anyway, but Arya doesn't have to. Arya thanks him before they go their separate ways.

Qyburn finally persuades Cersei that they have lost and need to flee, as the ceiling begins collapsing. The pair with the Mountain flee down the stairs as the ceiling above starts to cave in, but Ser Gregor shields his Queen.

The group come across the Hound who proceeds to kill Cersei's guards before challenging his undead brother. Cersei orders Gregor to not engage and protect her but he ignores her, Qyburn then orders him to obey his Queen but Gregor slams his head into the wall – killing him.

Cersei flees as the Clegane brothers engage in a brutal duel, which sees the Mountain partially gauge the eyes of the Hound and the Hound stab his brother multiple times – including straight through the head.

The brutal fight ends when the Hound dives on his brother and they crash through the wall and fall down the great height of the Red Keep and into the flaming city below.

In the collapsing Map Room, Cersei is faced with an injured Jaime and she is overwhelmed with emotion to see him again. The pair embrace and he says they have to get out.

The pair make it to the underground caverns, but Jaime finds the exits are all caved in from the collapse. Cersei is crying and says she wants their unborn baby to live and that she is scared to die, but he tells her it doesn't matter and that they have each other and they are all that matters.

They hold on to each other, with his arms wrapped around her neck, as the ceiling caves in on them, killing them.

Outside, Arya tries to escape but Drogon is obliterating the streets. She shields in one building and finds a mother and daughter who helped her up earlier and persuades them to leave or they will die there. The group flees in the streets but the mother is injured and the girl runs back to be with her and both are obliterated.

Various buildings collapse on Arya but she manages to escape grave injury.

The episode ends with her awakening in the ashes and ruins of King's Landing and surveying the destruction before seeing Harry Stricklands' white horse standing there. Arya walks over to the horse and pets it before riding it out of the city.


Death watch


This week was a bloodbath and saw the deaths of some of the series' biggest characters, alongside thousands of unnamed civilians and soldiers.

Varys was executed via burning by Drogon under the orders of Daenerys.

Harry Strickland was speared to death by Grey Worm.

Qyburn had his head smashed into a wall by a rebellious Mountain.

Euron Greyjoy was killed in a vicious fight with Jaime Lannister.

Gregor 'The Mountain' Clegane and Sandor 'The Hound'' Clegane both fell to their deaths from the Red Keep and into the fires of King's Landing – Cleganebowl over.

Cersei and Jaime Lannister held each other as the Red Keep collapsed on top of them – united in death.

Next week


In the final episode of Game of Thrones, King's Landing is in ruins. Daenerys is victorious over the ashes of her enemies, but Jon, Tyrion and the Starks find themselves faced with their tyrannical Mad Queen. Will they make one last play for the Iron Throne?

Game of Thrones continues weekly on Sky Atlantic and HBO.

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