“ A tale of two Hitlers”
Cover story by Belinda Hall
FANTILIGY (THE ART, THE FILM OF THE FANTASTIC)
Fantiligy issue 5: GOT S8 E5 The Bells
A study of megalomania in the Game of Thrones episode “The Bells”
The HBO series Game of Thrones concluded in 2019 and presented an amazing commentary on power and how megalomania is perceived from both a foreign and domestic perspective.
In my opinion, episode 3 “the Bells” is on of finest hour of television ever produced and this analysis will endeavour to prove why.
Portrait of a Dictator
Cersei’s lust for power, cruelty and revenge is the lens the outsider, or foreigner, has when observing megalomania. Adolph Hitler’s international image was representative of such tropes and the parallels between Cersei and the German Fuhrer were more than noticeable throughout the series. This is the Queen who was one of the plotters of the infamous Red Wedding, somebody who had her enemies tortured and killed and was seething with revenge and hatred to those who crossed her. One of the pivotal points about the final showdown in Game of Thrones was that the war was lost long before it began and deep down this particular Queen would have known this. What we experience in the Bells is very similar to what we experience in Hirshbiegel’s Downfall (2004), albeit the decadence. It is painful at times to watch the maligned ruler clinging on for hope and searching for optimism where there is none as her city crumbles around her. Cersi dies in the arms of her lover and brother Jamie Lannister and this did not seem to sate the appetite of some, who desired a more bloodthirsty end to the tyrant. But this appears fitting as real life does not always give you the villain being dipped slowly into a vat of molten lava. Instead, certain megolmaniacs are provided solace and a quick death in the arms of those they love, with or without a cyanide capsule. Here GOT achieves splendidly, what it has always set out to do; to blur the boundaries between high fantasy and coarse reality.
Daenerys is the other side of the tyrannical coin. Her megalomania is what the domestic or insider would witness. She is born to a world where she is cheated of her birthright. Struggles to power, is imprisoned, tortured and betrayed. She prevails, conquering lands and freeing slaves. The golden haired emblem of hope seduces those we see with a beating heart to join her cause and wins over the audience to petition her to be the one that sits on the Iron throne. Sure, she has her weak points, but not enough to turn the tide against her. But when she strides atop her Dragon and the beast casts its shadow over the city, we see what the true meaning of Fire and Ice is. Suddenly the worshippers of this false messiah begin to understand what ambition, self-righteousness and lust for power truly is: They see who their “Fuhrer” really is.
And that is why the conclusion to this exceptional series is superb, because it offers us the chance to experience a faceted view of the tyrant. It provides us a foreign and domestic view of megalomania and proves that war and unbridled ambition result in abject horror.