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Three theories about 'Game of Thrones' episode 'The Bells': things you may have missed

Warning: this article contains major spoilers for season 8, episode 5...

Daenerys in 'The Bells': is this a face of pure madness, or one of someone having to make a terrible decision in order to beat another queen at her game? HBO 
Daenerys in 'The Bells': is this a face of pure madness, or one of someone having to make a terrible decision in order to beat another queen at her game? HBO 

Eight seasons in, and we only have one more episode of Game of Thrones left (or do we? Some think there may be more in store, but that's potentially just wishful thinking).

One thing is for certain: this season hasn't necessarily gone in the direction that people expected, and Sunday night's penultimate episode was the most shocking (and probably the best) of the season yet.

While Daenerys as the 'Mad Queen' was the most obvious story arc, here are three theories and things you may have missed...

1. Maybe Cersei still did have something up her sleeve

It was painful when Daenerys flipped and swooped over King's Landing, wreaking havoc and terror on the powerless. We all presumed she'd 'turned' and was seeking revenge. Maybe in part for Ser Jorah, Misandre and two of her 'children', but also, from the way 'The Bells' episode showed it, because Jon wouldn't kiss her.

This is disappointing.

The fact our 'Khaleesi' has been so corrupted by power, and is turning into the 'Mad Queen' is a hard pill to swallow – she's a woman who's shown mercy against all odds. We liked that about her.

But was there something else at play? Is she a better battle strategist than Jon 'Long, Wistful Pauses in the Middle of a Sword Fight' Snow? (That wouldn't be hard.) Did she realise that Cersei, who has consistently outwitted everyone, had something up her sleeve?

Cersei certainly looked quietly confident as she watched the beginning of the battle. Did she have a trick up her sleeve because she was expecting Dany to 'do good'? HBO
Cersei certainly looked quietly confident as she watched the beginning of the battle - did she have a trick up her sleeve because she was expecting Dany to 'do good'?

One thing that might have hinted at this was the green 'wildfire' that raged along with Drogon's dragon breath as the city crumbled and burnt. Did Cersei have a sneaky trick planned that used the highly flammable liquid that she employed to blow up the Great Sept of Baelor in season six?

Underestimating Cersei – like a trusting Jon Snow – is surely always a bad idea.

Yes, the wildfire that exploded in Sunday's episode may have just been stored, and not part of Cersei's plan, but we'd like to think there was a genuine tactical reason behind Khaleesi's decision.

Game of Thrones is a mythical, epic show full of dragons and shadow babies, but its characters have also always had realistic nuance and believable motivation, and Daenerys making the decision to become a 'feared' Queen for a more complex reason than a woman scorned would be more fitting for the story.

2. Was that white horse actually a brother helping a sister out?

Throughout the episode, Arya narrowly missed multiple falling structures and many breaths of flame – then, at the very end, when she's completely covered in dust and looks absolutely spent, a white horse turns up to give her a ride out of the whole situation.

Thing is, Arya has a brother who just happens to be able to 'warg' into animals, meaning he can control their actions. So was that white horse Bran? AKA a brother helping a sister out?

Arya near the end of the episode: this really has been her season. HBO
Arya near the end of the episode: this really has been her season. Photo: HBO

That would be a nice Stark love moment, however there's also the theory that Bran's actually the person who controlled Dany's actions, that he's over humans and their in-fighting and pettiness (they really are the worst), and just wants nature to take over. This is also possible, because anything's possible in this show.

3. Did Varys manage to get a letter out?

At the start of the episode, it becomes clear to us that Varys is trying to poison Daenerys via a 'little bird' who works in the kitchen, but the fact that Jon's Queen was refusing to eat scuppered that plan.

He was also, before his fiery demise, writing a letter, and the part we could read said, "not the only Targaryen left. Rhaegar and Lyanna... their son lives still, hidden by Eddard Stark... he is the true heir to the Iron Throne."

Varys's final moment - but not necessarily his last play. HBO 
Varys's final moment - but not necessarily his last play. Photo: HBO

We saw multiple letters on his desk, so did he manage to send them out? Maybe to the rulers of the other kingdoms, including Dorne, Vale, Riverrun and Storm's End (which is now Gendry's hood)? Will this be a key element for the finale?

It would certainly be great for Varys to still be pulling the strings posthumously, as he's the real MVP of the whole series.

And a question: why isn't Arya using her ultimate superpower?

The girl can change faces: she trained hard for that skill, and it would have come in mighty handy recently. Play to your strengths, young Stark. Do it.

Here's the preview for episode six:

Updated: May 14, 2019 10:21 PM

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