Major spoilers follow for Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5.
When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. It's a lesson embedded into the core of the show since the very first season, and as we approach the very end, it's still one of the truest sentiments ever expressed.
That's certainly something that comes into play during the penultimate episode of Season 8, titled 'The Bells'. Billed as the Battle of King's Landing, there are a LOT of deaths in this episode.
The Bells kicks off with Varys writing letters that reveal Jon is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, building on his decision to move against Daenerys. That, ultimately, is his undoing: Tyrion tells Dany that the Spider has betrayed her and, as she promised him in Season 7, she has him burnt alive by Drogon.
From there, we get into the action in King's Landing, with Daenerys raining fire down upon the Iron Fleet, the Golden Company, and just about everything else in sight. The Golden Company in particular fare pretty badly, with their reputation as the finest sellswords in the world going up in literal flames, including the death of their leader, Harry Strickland, as he attempts to flee back into the city and away from the rushing allied forces, with Grey Worm bringing him down (he'd later go on to kill a number of Lannister soldiers too).
Once we move into the city, things start coming thicker and faster. The Hound arrives for his showdown with the Mountain. The Mountian, upon seeing his brother, decides to ignore Cersei's orders and, when challenged by Qyburn, smashes the Hand of the Queen into a wall and then flings his body down some stairs, giving him a brutal end.
The action shifts to Jaime and Euron, who have a fight as the former attempts to get to Cersei. What begins as a swordfight turns into a fistfight, and although Euron stabs Jaime a couple of times - declaring himself "the man who killed Jaime Lannister - it's ultimately Jaime who kills Euron.
Cleganebowl continues, with Sandor realising, to his horror, that stabbing his brother isn't going to kill him. One of the most brutal fights in the series' history reaches its conclusion as the Hound realises what needs to be done, tackling Gregor through a wall and sending both Clegane brothers down into the flames, ending their story in the same way it began.
The deaths still aren't over though. Jaime does find Cersei, and attempts to smuggle her to safety via Maegor's holdfast, only to find their escape route blocked. The Red Keep continues to crumble, and they have no choice but to hold each other as everything crashes down on top of them.
What did you think of The Bells? Let us know down in the comments.
NCTJ-qualified journalist. Most definitely not a racing driver. Drink too much tea; eat too much peanut butter; watch too much TV. Sadly only the latter paying off so far.
A mix of wise-old man in a young man's body with a child-like wonder about him and a great otherworldly sensibility.