Game of Thrones' Penultimate Episode 'The Bells' Sees Dragon Fire and Major Character Deaths
Who survived the second to last episode of the series? See how people reacted to the fates of Arya, Jon Snow, Cersei, Jaime, and more
WARNING: The following story contains spoilers from the latest episode of Game of Thrones.
The penultimate episode Game of Thrones, did not waste any time tying up loose ends — and unsurprisingly, contained several emotional goodbyes and a whole lotta bloodshed.
So who all died? Well, if you’re looking for a cheat sheet, here you go: Lord Varys (Conleth Hill), Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk), The Hound aka Sandor Clegane (Rory McCann), The Mountain aka Gregor Clegane (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson), Qyburn (Anton Lesser), Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), and Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey).
The episode, called “The Bells,” opened with an early exit for a favorite player — Lord Varys aka Master of Whisperers, was killed by Dany’s (Emilia Clarke) last dragon Drogon for essentially trying to convince Jon Snow (Kit Harington) to take his rightful place on the Iron Throne.
Snow refuses to waver in his loyalty to his Queen, but Dany herself seems overcome with suspicion and fear, and showing more and more signs she’s becoming the “Mad Queen.”
Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) participates in two acts of betrayal — one toward Varys and one toward Dany when he frees his brother Jaime from where he was captured by her Unsullied army.
“You were the only one who didn’t treat me like a monster,” Tyrion says to Jaime as he helps him escape, telling him that he hopes Jaime will find Cersei and whisk her away from King’s Landing before the war between Dany and Cersei’s armies takes place.
War in King’s Landing is not averted, of course. The next day sees Dany and Drogon lay waste to Euron Greyjoy’s Iron Fleet of ships, their “dragon killer” Scorpion weapons, as well as much of the Gold Company who came in to assist Cersei, courtesy the fearsome Unsullied.
There is a brief moment of peace when the bells ring and the audience is made to think Cersei might surrender, but it turns to full-on war between the two sides — with Dany leaning fully into the suspicions about her mental health as she and Drogon go about killing countless innocent citizens in King’s Landing.
Meanwhile Euron Greyjoy and Jaime engage in bloody hand-to-hand combat that results in Euron’s death. He dies believing he’s mortally wounded Jaime. “I’m the man who killed Jaime Lannister,” he says, dying, with a smile on his face.
Cut to Arya and The Hound, who are on a mission to kill Cersei and The Hound’s undead brother Ser Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane. The Hound convinces Arya to temporarily turn away from her hunt for Cersei. They part ways, in search of separate targets, and The Hound is finally able to confront the one and only person he wants to kill.
With The Hound and The Mountain fighting to very bloody deaths, Cersei flees and almost literally runs into Jaime’s arms.
“You’re hurt,” she says.
“Doesn’t matter,” he responds. They wander off together as the walls around them continue to crumble and burn.
Of the major players still living and in the fight, Jon calls for the army to fall back and head to safety; Arya gets jostled around and struck by debris as she’s trying to flee the Red Keep. She’s nearly crushed when a tower falls, but helps a group of survivors keep moving away from danger. They are stopped short when Drogon’s fire blasts through the scene.
Back with still-bleeding Jaime and Cersei, who are trapped in an underground passageway, emotional but resigned to accept their doomed fate.
“Nothing else matters, only us,” Jaime says to Cersei as the walls collapse on top of them.
The episode ends with Arya, bloodied, dusty with ash from the city burning around her, coming upon a white horse, and riding away from the death and debris around her.
The series finale of Game of Thrones airs Sunday May 19 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.