Warning: This article is dark and full of Game of Thrones season 8 spoilers.
We finally made it to the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones this past Sunday and boy, it was an intense ride. The GoT fandom may be divided over episode five, “The Bells”, but one thing you can’t fault this episode for are the numerous nuanced theories and prophecies that were proven to be true. Some of those them involve major players in the game, including Cersei and Jaime Lannister, Varys, Daenerys and Bran. But what happened during the episode exactly that blew our minds and answered questions for fans?
We’ve rounded up all of the theories and prophecies that came true in episode five. Keep reading to find out what happened.
The valonqar prophecy
Cersei has always been haunted by Maggy the Frog’s prophecy, told to her when she was a teenager. The prophecy predicted that, in addition to marrying the king, having three children who would die before her and her throne being usurped by a more beautiful queen, the “valonqar” (High Valyrian for “little brother” although Valyrian is a genderless language) would wrap its hands around Cersei’s throat. The valonqar portion of the prophecy has always been interpreted to mean Cersei would be strangled to death, which was understandable because Cersei has done some loathsome things over the course of GoT.
In episode five, however, the valonqar prophecy kinda came true in the sense that Cersei died with hands around her neck. The big catch was that instead of those hands, her brother and lover Jaime Lannister’s hands in fact, strangling her, they were comforting her as she faced imminent death. Cersei and Jaime died together, after getting trapped in the bowels of the Red Keep, unable to escape with the walls crumbling around them.
Not so much a book-based theory as it was a show-based theory, Cleganebowl was rooted in the GoT fandom’s belief that Sandor “The Hound” Clegane and Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane, brothers and enemies for life, would die at the hands of one another in a final, epic fight.
That battle took place on a crumbling staircase in the Red Keep. The Hound knew he had to kill his brother as a lifetime’s worth of pent-up rage and thirst for revenge was coming to a head. The Hound and The Mountain definitely beat the hell out of each other, but after The Mountain tried to gouge his eyes out, just like he did to Oberyn Martell, The Hound managed to push him through a wall and into the raging dragon fires below.
Varys has been prepared for death since Melisandre delivered the surprise news to him in Season 7. At the time, Melisandre told Varys that she had done her job, bringing Dany (fire) and Jon (ice) together and that she was going back to Volantis for a short time. But Melisandre was meant to die in Westeros, as she told him, and he was meant to die there, too.
So we shouldn’t be too shocked that Varys was hella chill as Greyworm and the Unsullied guards came to arrest him. Dany knew he had to be killed for the crime of treason because he was working against her after learning of Jon’s true identity. Greyworm brought him out to Dany, Jon and Tyrion to be executed by Drogon, but not before Tyrion and Varys said their final goodbyes.
Bran’s vision of a dragon at King’s Landing
Bran’s vision at the weirwood tree when he was north of The Wall in season four showed, among other things, a single dragon flying over King’s Landing. Fans theorized that Bran would somehow warg into the dragon (which turned out to be Drogon in episode five) and control it so it would only destroy the Red Keep. It looks like Bran was simply seeing the future instead of seeing a way to help those trying to defeat Cersei, but it was chilling nonetheless to see Drogon’s shadow passing over the rooftops as Dany rode him to the Red Keep.
Dany’s vision in the House of Undying
Dany’s journey into the House of Undying in order to find her missing dragons came equipped with a vision of a destroyed throne room at the Red Keep in King’s Landing. What we once thought was snow has now been understood to be ashes, but at the time, we didn’t understand how Dany fit in with this vision since the only thing she’s ever wanted was to reclaim the throne.
As episode five proved, Dany was responsible for that destruction. Rather than attempting to reclaim the throne, she used Drogon to destroy it and everything surrounding. The Red Keep probably wasn’t razed in Dany’s attack, so the ruins will remain just like the vision show. But this, in addition to turning King’s Landing into a crumbling ruin, proved Dany was always destined to be Queen of the Ashes.
The Game of Thrones series finale will air on Sunday, May 19, at 9/8c on HBO. Tune in to see what the fates of Daenerys, Jon Snow and all of Westeros are when it all comes to an end.