The fifth episode of Game of Thrones’ eighth and final season, “The Bells,” promised to be a bloody one, with betrayal, madness, and vengeance abounding — and it delivered. Once Daenerys Targaryen began to set King’s Landing aflame, the episode quickly became one of the series’ most graphic and horrifying yet.
Of course, not everyone made it out alive. Here’s the list of everyone who died and everyone who didn’t — starting with the fallen.
Major spoilers follow.
Who’s dead: not as many as you might have feared — but not for lack of trying on Daenerys’s part
In a horrifying episode that saw Daenerys apparently snap and abandon all the principles she’s supposedly been fighting for this whole time, King’s Landing became an atrocity-filled war zone, with thousands of innocent civilians wiped out, the city destroyed, and some of Game of Thrones’ most prominent characters falling in the fray.
King’s Landing as we know it is completely destroyed due to Dany going full-on Mad Queen and laying waste to everything and everyone in sight. In a spectacular and chilling sequence, she reduced the once-stunning city to a smoking heap of rubble and ash, leveling it within hours while tens of thousands of Westerosi citizens fought to flee her dragonfire. In the end, the death toll appeared to be catastrophic, and the city completely demolished.
Harry Strickland — the commander of the Golden Company — and most of his forces
So much for the Golden Company being a formidable force in the battle for the Iron Throne. When confronted with Drogon’s firepower, these mercenaries fled and were quickly dispatched, led by their commander, the out-of-his-depth Harry Strickland.
Varys died horribly — he was burned to death by Dany’s last remaining dragon, Drogon — after he betrayed Daenerys and was betrayed to her, in turn, by his dear friend Tyrion Lannister, who for his part at least looked really upset about it. “I hope I’m wrong,” Varys said to Tyrion before he was executed, about his fear that Dany had reached a breaking point. But we all know Varys is never wrong about these things.
Euron sealed his own fate by taunting Jaime Lannister into a brutal swordfight. Even though he badly wounded Jaime, Jaime ultimately rallied and delivered a fatal sword wound to Euron’s chest. At least Euron — who died believing that Jaime would still succumb to his wounds — seemed pretty gleeful about how things went down.
The Mountain swatted Qyburn like a bug, instantly breaking his neck, because he was standing in the way of Cleganebowl. Bye, Felicia!
Sandor and Gregor Clegane, a.k.a. the Hound and the Mountain
The Hound and Arya traveled to King’s Landing together to seek their respective revenges — she on Cersei, he on his brother the Mountain. But they arrived at the Red Keep only to find it in mid-collapse due to Dany and Drogon, and Cersei and the Mountain attempting to escape. After saving Arya’s life by demanding she get the hell out of Dodge, the Hound handily killed a handful of Kingsguard members and confronted his brother — and legions of Game of Thrones fans finally got their long-held wish for the Cleganebowl.
In a beautifully filmed sequence, the two brothers fought amid collapsing towers and turrets, until finally Sandor realized that his brother, whom Qyburn had effectively turned into a zombie after he was wounded by Oberyn Martell’s poison-tipped spear in season four, was unkillable by any means other than fire — the thing Sandor fears most. So the Hound hurled himself and the Mountain off the castle edge into the flames far below — netting himself arguably the best death of Game of Thrones so far. RIP, Sandor Clegane; may many chickens await you in the afterlife.
Jaime and Cersei Lannister
Whatever Jaime’s intentions may have been in returning to Cersei, by the time he finally made his way to her — after escaping capture by Dany’s forces with Tyrion’s aid, battling his way through the panicked crowds in King’s Landing amid the dragon onslaught, and killing Euron Greyjoy — the castle was collapsing and everything was on fire. Though Jaime and Cersei were almost able to escape through the crypt tunnels beneath the Red Keep, they realized too late that the exits were blocked by fallen rubble, leaving them with nothing to do but cling to each other as the walls collapsed around them. And so Jaime and Cersei died in each other’s arms.
Who’s alive: everybody else!
Daenerys and Drogon
Dany and her one remaining dragon smoked the hell out of the Iron Fleet, then terrified the Golden Company into immediate surrender (the commander Harry Strickland turned tail and ran immediately before quickly getting speared by Grey Worm). But then she kinda committed a bunch of war crimes, killed thousands of innocent people, and turned into a terrifying tyrant. Yay?
The following people are also alive — and many of them are now totally horrified by Daenerys:
- Jon Snow, er, Aegon Targaryen
- Arya Stark
- Tyrion Lannister
- Grey Worm
- Ser Davos
- Everyone at Winterfell or elsewhere
At this point, everyone else is either out of the story or presumably still safely ensconced at Winterfell. Wow, remember when Winterfell seemed like it was all war-torn, just a couple of episodes ago? It now looks like Disney World compared to the state of King’s Landing; perhaps unsurprisingly, dragonfire on top of wildfire can do a lot more damage a lot quicker than the army of the dead.
And Game of Thrones’ remaining major characters, now all newly traumatized from what are truly unprecedented horrors of war, may have to figure out how to rein in Daenerys before she burns each of them alive too.