Fans of Game of Thrones know that the penultimate episodes are treated as season finales because of the drastic events and deaths that take place in a matter of minutes. We knew season eight’s episode five titled “The Bells” would be a turning point for Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and Cersei (Lena Headey). The 82-minute episode was full of betrayal, anger, shock, and a series high rating.
Game of Thrones is a globally watched show that continues to find success season after season. Sunday night’s “The Bells” took over the previous rating record set by “The Long Night,” which was watched by 17.8 million viewers across HBO’s platforms (linear, HBO GO, and HBO NOW). “The Bells,” however, was watched by 18.4 million people.
That’s not the only record broken as the 9:00 p.m airing reached a time-period high for the series with an average of 12.5 million viewers – a feat that was previously accomplished by the season seven’s finale of 12.1 million viewers. The eighth and final season of Game of Thrones is meant to be its best – an argument that has divided fans. Nevertheless, 43 million viewers in the gross audience have been watching each episode in season eight, that includes replays and streaming. This is a notable increase of 10 million more viewers compared to season seven’s audience.
In “The Bells” episode, we see Daenerys Targaryen truly prove that she is, in fact, the Mad King’s daughter. Her ruthless attack on King’s Landing made her out to be a villain as she killed innocent people and took out Cersei’s army even after they had surrendered.
Co-showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff address the sudden turn from Daenerys that has fans asking “why?”
“I don’t think she decided ahead of time that she was going to do what she did,” said Weiss. “Then she sees the Red Keep, which is to her the home that her family built when they first came over to this country 300 years ago. It’s in this moment on the walls of King’s Landing where she’s looking at that symbol of everything that was taken from her, when she makes the decision to make this personal.”
David Benioff brings up past conversations as to how this could have all been avoided.
“If circumstances had been different, I don’t think this side of Dany ever would have come out,” said Benioff. “If Cersei hadn’t betrayed her, if Cersei hadn’t executed Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), if Jon hadn’t told her the truth… if any of these things happened in a different way, then I don’t think we’d be seeing this side of Daenerys Targaryen.”
Daenerys’s actions didn’t sit too well with Jon Snow (Kit Harington), who believed that the “Mother of Dragons” would serve for the good of the people like she had promised, and in a different manner than her own father. With Snow as the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, it is possible for him to sacrifice his own need of not wanting to become king in order to provide the people with a fair and just leader.
The series finale will air Sunday at 9/8c on HBO.