In S08E05 we learn from Tyrion that apparently Bells mean surrender of a city as well.

If the city surrenders, they will ring the bells and raise the gates. Please, if you hear them ringing the bells, call off the attack.

But in S02E09, we saw:

[Baratheon Fleet Approaches King's Landing]

[Bells Toll in King's landing when Stannis' Armies are sighted]

Stannis' Man: They're welcoming the new king.

Davos: I've never known bells to mean surrender. They want to play music with us? Let's play.

Is it Tyrion who is wrong? Or Davos who got it wrong? On one hand we have a noble who would be educated on customs of surrendering. On the other we have a fighting man and commander of a ship who apparently doesn't know that bells are supposed to mean surrender. Tyrion's addendum about raising the gates doesn't necessarily mean anything because gates can be raised for a surprise attack as well.

  • 1
    sloppy writing, or? Davos lost a few of his sons in that battle, so i would assume that he is not that interested in surrender.
    – Cherubel
    Commented May 24, 2019 at 10:54
  • 1
    another reference to bells
    – Kepotx
    Commented May 24, 2019 at 10:57
  • 2
    @Cherubel Davos hadn't lost his sons at start of the battle though.
    – Aegon
    Commented May 24, 2019 at 11:03
  • 1
    then sloppy writing or maybe even a fact that Davos isnt a noble and has no clue as to the combat "etiquette". seeing how the tv show ended i tend to say sloppy writing.
    – Cherubel
    Commented May 27, 2019 at 6:10

2 Answers 2


No, everything remains the same, in fact in the Battle of Blackwater the bells appear to be ringing to announce the coming attack.

Varys: I've always hated the bells. They ring for horror. A dead king, a city under siege.

Tyrion: A wedding.

Game of Thrones, Season 2 Episode 9, "Blackwater"

And of course, as you quoted, Davos probably believes they mean the same thing, the city is warning the people they are under attack.

Davos: I've never known bells to mean surrender. They want to play music with us? Let's play. Drums.

Game of Thrones, Season 2 Episode 9, "Blackwater"

Although Matthos believes they are surrendering which does note that it might be a common usage of them too. The function of the bells appears to be for many things so is probably quite confusing.

Lastly, we know Tyrion asks Jaime to tell the Lannisters to ring the bells if they surrender.

Tyrion: If it works, give the order to ring all the bells in King's Landing and open the gates. That will be our signal that the city has surrendered.

Jaime: I'll try.

Tyrion: I never thought I'd get to repay the favor. Remember, ring the bells and open the gates.

Game of Thrones, Season 8 Episode 5, "The Bells"

It's likely that Jaime did tell someone when he got into the city as he was trying to draw Lannister attention at the entrance to the Red Keep by waving his golden hand. Lastly, the soldiers themselves believe the bells will ring when they have surrendered so it might have been a case just for this attack or only if bells ring during an attack that the city has surrendered.


Depending on the situation, bells will ring,

  1. to warn of an impending attack.
  2. to announce the arrival of royalty.
  3. to surrender in the middle of an attack.
  4. to celebrate victory.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.