This story includes spoilers for 'Game of Thrones' Season 8, Episode 5, "The Bells."
The Mother of Dragons and her forces finally infiltrated King’s Landing in "The Bells," the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones' final season, and it's probably safe to say that viewers were not shocked to see her arrive with full-on rage. But her ultimate decision to kill countless innocent people in the process was not easy to watch—for fans or those who know and care about Dany.
Many characters died, for better or worse, in what might’ve been the most eventful episode of the season, and now we’re left with more questions than we had going into it. But until we get to tune into next week’s series finale, here are some things you might have missed in “The Bells.”
1. The Recap Essentially Confirmed What Daenerys Was Going to Do
After Missandei was killed in last week’s episode “The Last of the Starks,” audiences had a hunch that Daenerys Targaryen was going to turn into some form of the predicted Mad Queen. She definitely became what we all feared tonight, in a move that was actually made obvious in the recap before the episode began. Ending with Daenerys’s reaction to her loyal advisor getting killed, the recap also added lines from various people speaking negatively about her bloodline while showing her face looking more and more enraged. Including quotes from other characters referencing the fact that the members of House Targaryen are known to go insane just proved that Daenerys was going to do something to live up to the nickname of her father, the Mad King.
2. Jon's Repeated Words as Foreshadowing
While some fans were getting annoyed at Jon Snow throughout the first half of the episode, where he spent the bulk of his time either defending Daenerys or sulking, his repeated words of loyalty definitely foreshadowed him being betrayed by Dany when she decided to burn down King’s Landing in its entirety. Jon was constantly telling everyone who challenged Daenerys that she was his queen, even telling Dany that she would “always be.” He said it so many times, it’s already become a meme. But we saw his feelings change right when innocent people started getting killed.
3. The One Very Confusing Line From Jaime
It's hard for Game of Thrones fans to know how to feel about Jaime Lannister at this point, as the new episode proved he really did go back to King’s Landing just to be with Cersei (and not to kill her, as some theorized). But there was one moment in "The Bells" that made absolutely no sense: When Tyrion Lannister was helping Jaime escape, he pointed out how many innocent people would wind up getting murdered at the capitol, to which Jaime replied that he never really cared for them anyway. We know this can’t be true, however, because Jaime killed a king (hence the nickname “Kingslayer”) so that he could save the people of King’s Landing. When the late Mad King, a.k.a. Aerys II Targaryen, ordered him to “burn them all,” Jaime instead killed the King so that innocent people wouldn’t have to die. So what was this line from tonight even about?
4. Another Prophecy Might've Come True
As "The Bells" showed all of King’s Landing being burned to the ground, it’s safe to assume the throne room is destroyed. This brings us back to Daenerys’s vision in the House of Undying back in season 2, where she sees the Iron Throne. In the scene, we see some type of debris, which fans have interpreted to be either ashes or snow. (Bran also had this same vision in Season 4.) Since Daenerys and Drogon have wiped out the city, the throne room has presumably been destroyed. Reddit user loadingorofile96 pointed something else out: If Dany saw snow in her vision, it could’ve meant that Jon Snow would ultimately win the Iron Throne, except it wouldn’t be the same anymore. We don’t have any confirmation that Jon will take the throne in the finale, but it’s more possible than ever after Daenerys’s actions in the latest episode.
5. The Mother's Day Curse
There’s no way fans could ever forget the death of Tywin Lannister back in season 4, however many might not remember that the episode, “The Children,” premiered on Father’s Day 2014. Because an episode would be airing on Mother’s Day this year, fans were even speculating on Reddit which mom would die tonight. Although we didn’t see Cersei Lannister’s dead body to know for sure she was killed when the Red Keep fell, we’re pretty certain she couldn’t have survived that. Coincidence? Maybe. But it’s still pretty funny she died on Mother’s Day, a similar case to her father.
6. Cersei May Have Tried to Fight Fire With Wildfire
Though Cersei seemed pretty confident that both Euron Greyjoy's fleet and their collection of dragon-killing crossbows would be enough to protect her from the power of Dany and Drogon, she may have had a backup plan ready, too: wildfire. Between the Battle of Blackwater and Cersei's attack on the Great Sept of Baelor, it's clear that the wildfire supply—which was created by Daenerys's father—has yet to be extinguished. And we saw more of its distinct green fire in tonight's episode, as King's Landing began to burn. (Joanna Robinson at Vanity Fair theorizes that the wildfire wasn't strategically put in place by Cersei but was more of the Mad King's stash—and that it could foreshadow Dany's fate.)
7. Arya's Horse Wasn't Just a Horse
Arya Stark being able to miraculously find a way out of King’s Landing was without a doubt symbolism, but of what? The white horse could be a reference to the story of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse from the Bible, which includes the verse: “I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him.” While Arya has cheated death many times throughout the series, she’s also brought it upon many. (In the books, pale mare is a plague, but it's also mentioned in a prophecy delivered to Dany by Quaithe: “The glass candles are burning. Soon comes the pale mare, and after her the others. Kraken and dark flame, lion and griffin, the sun's son and the mummer's dragon. Trust none of them. Remember the Undying. Beware the perfumed seneschal.") We’re not sure what this means for the assassin in the finale, but it looks like Arya still has some things to do.
This article also appears on Mental Floss.