The penultimate episode of Game of Thrones has come and gone. Some fans were happy. A lot more were upset. Mainly they were upset because everything they wanted to happen happened in “The Bells.” But what did we learn from “The Bells?”
First, we learned Arya is immune to buildings falling on her and dragon fire. Maybe she’s a Targaryen (sarcasm intended). It may be sarcasm, but Arya managed to dodge a lot of falling rocks and one giant blast of dragon fire. We also learned Arya won’t complete her kill/revenge list anytime soon.
Fan theories abounded about Melisandre’s eye prophecy meant Arya would kill Cersei next because she had green eyes. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have proved time and time again they can cast prophecies aside. Fans are now turning to the fact that Daenerys has green eyes. Of course, this means Arya is going to kill her in the last episode.
However, we should not forget The Hound’s last words to Arya:
“You think you wanted revenge for a long time? I’ve been after it all my life. It’s all I cared about. And look at me. Look at Me? You want to be like me? You come with me, you die here.”
Arya’s last words to Sandor, a name she rarely called him, was “Thank you.” She wasn’t thanking him for talking her out of running up collapsing stairs to certain death. The thank you was after a stare in his eyes and moment of thought. His words were clear- If you keep at your list, if you keep seeking revenge you will end up being miserable and alone the rest of your life. Arya will not being killing Daenerys out of revenge in the last episode. Arya may kill Daenerys for other reasons (defending Jon), but not out of revenge.
We also learned some fans are giving Varys a lot more credit than he deserves for trying to warn people about Daenerys. The entire time he was with Daenerys he was all behind her, the Mother of Dragons. It wasn’t until Tyrion told him Jon Snow was the rightful heir to the Iron Throne his tune changed. Unless, there was something happening off screen (Which is possible. This is the same series that killed Littlefinger based on off screen plans between Sansa and Arya) there was nothing saying Daenerys was going to go dragon mad.
Varys has always been the Master of Whispers. It would only be natural for him to cultivate his little spy birds to gather information, but from the time Tyrion told him about Jon’s true nature to his last moments he didn’t have time to gather enough information to make a solid judgement. So, when he makes an attempt to warn Jon Daenerys is stark raving mad he had nothing to support his cause. What else was Jon to do but turn down his offer to claim the throne?
A lot of fans were disappointed in Jon. After all, what did he do but run around King’s Landing not doing a lot of anything. It’s hard to argue Jon was doing much more than that or anything else. What else was there to do? Jon, by his own inaction, was put in a position he couldn’t do anything more. He tried to stop troops hell bent on murder and rape. He tried to get as many people to safety as could. Beyond helping the helpless and defending himself there wasn’t much he could do.
What Jon can be criticized for is doing nothing when he could have done something. The look he gives Daenery’s after Drogon burns Varys alive tells us everything he’s thinking. Varys’s speech Jon cut short is is finished in the execution of Varys. He knows at that moment Daenerys is not the woman she has been portraying herself. At that moment Jon could have stopped her, but he didn’t. He even went on to attack King’s Landing with her. Jon was a bit player in “The Bells” because he made himself a bit player.
The fan’s theory of Daenerys going mad and burning the city came true, but there were no clues or hints given that should would go crazy. Most of these theories were based on her father going mad and the books. For seven and half seasons Daenerys rejected everything her father stood for. She was the Breaker of Chains. She promised things would be different with her as queen. She even claimed she didn’t want to be queen of ashes.
“In the books” fans will say there was evidence, but in the books a lot of things happen. These aren’t the books and I shouldn’t have to read the books to pick up the clues that should have been in the series. Daenerys did burn Randyll and Dickon Tarly to death with other soldiers who would not accept her as queen. But what was she to do with them? Let them go? Put them in prison? Even Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt executed French soldiers who had surrendered to his army. Is killing a few soldiers enough proof to demonstrate she was going to go crazy? I think not.
There was a moment, however brief, it seemed Daenerys wasn’t going to burn the city to the ground. In that moment, Beinoff and Weiss could have done a hundred other things. A hundred better things than having Daenerys burn King’s Landing to the ground. Here’s the problem Beinoff and Weiss have created- How do you wrap up another story thread in 79 minutes at the same time wrapping up the entire Game of Thrones series?
“The Bells” also taught us combat and armies are unnecessary when you have one dragon. It doesn’t matter how the thousands Dothraki soldiers killed at the start of The Battle of Winterfell materialized out of thin air or how the Unsullied multiplied. It really doesn’t matter when you have one agile dragon and a Lannister/Greyjoy army that shoots anti-dragon cannons worse than Star Wars Stormtroopers.
One dragon was all Daenerys needed to defeat Cersei Lannister. The seasons of building up an army and forging alliances were a waste of time. We could argue the plan was for Drogon to be used in another capacity. Maybe he was going to be used to soften the Lannister army or just blow down the wall allowing Jon and Daenerys’s army to invade the city. We could make that argument, but there is nothing to support the argument.
For everything “The Bells” got wrong it got a lot more right. Fans are going to be fans. They got a mad queen they wanted until they got her. The graphics and effects were almost worth the series perhaps jumping the shark. Fans got the battle between the Clegane brothers they’d been clamoring for all series. The best thing about “The Bells” is you could see everything happening on screen.
We can assume Varys sent some of his letters to the North, Dorne, and maybe some other places who would be inclined to back Jon. Once the word is out it can’t be taken back. Daenerys will face that challenge in the final episode. She’s the only “villain” left in the series. But how do dethrone a queen to establishing a new king in 79 minute episode. It’s going to be difficult to wrap all the threads up. The only thing for sure is there are going to be a lot of unhappy fans come next Sunday.