Warning: Major Spoilers Ahead For The Game of Thrones Season 7 Finale
The Game of Thrones season seven finale, ‘The Dragon and the Wolf‘ was full of twists, turns, alliances, betrayals, death, and incest. Just another day in Westeros. However, perhaps the most significant segment of the episode was the long-awaited meeting between Cersei Lannister and the girl who would overthrow her, Daenerys Targaryen.
The purpose of this coming together was for the forces of Daenerys and Cersei to agree to a temporary truce in order to fend off the oncoming White Walker threat from the north, “the only war that matters.” From the perspective of both the viewers and Team Daenerys, Cersei agreed to a ceasefire so long as Jon Snow pledged neutrality, only to cancel the arrangement when the King in the North refused. Happily, Tyrion was able to convince his sister to not only postpone hostilities but to bolster the army of the living with her own forces. As an added bonus, it also appeared that Euron Greyjoy lost his bottle after seeing a Wight and ran back to the Iron Islands with his tail between his legs. Things could hardly have gone better for Daenerys.
However, the truth of the meeting was very different indeed. In a later conversation with Jaime, Cersei revealed that she had no intention of ever sending her men to fight the White Walkers and instead planned to let her enemies duke it out against Night King while she consolidated her grip on Westeros. Furthermore, she revealed that Euron had actually headed off to Essos to pick up Cersei’s latest shipment of mercenaries, The Golden Company.
Clearly, Cersei and Euron had prepared their ruse well in advance of Daenerys’ arrival and so it can be assumed that the current occupier of King’s Landing had absolutely no intention of ever truly agreeing to a truce of any sort. Euron’s terror at the zombie presented before him was nothing more than theater and frankly, the fact that Cersei didn’t immediately have him killed for betraying her should’ve been a huge red flag that shenanigans were afoot.
The question remains however, what exactly did Cersei hope to gain from this charade? After all, she had no obligation to ever hold the meeting in the first place, even if her brother Jaime was the one who set it up. The most logical answer is that Cersei hopes to lower Daenerys’ guard while she reclaims the parts of Westeros that have been lost. As much as Dany wishes to wipe out the White Walkers, if she suspected Cersei was making a move, she’d rather fight on two fronts than leave the Lannister Queen’s actions unchecked. However, if Dany is under the impression that the threat of Cersei is has subsided for the time being and drops her guard, the current Queen gets a head start in the battle for the Iron Throne.
If this was indeed Cerisei’s strategy, a question mark still hovers over exactly why the meeting between her and Dany played out as it did. After all, if Cersei never intended to keep her promise, what was all the talk about Jon Snow and the subsequent storming back to her room about? Why not just accept the deal immediately if she always planned to break it?
There are several ways of interpreting this sequence of events. Firstly, Cersei’s resistance could’ve been a way of making the entire act more believable; it certainly might’ve raised suspicion if she agreed to a truce so willingly and even though she put up a bit of a fight, Cersei most likely knew Dany and her allies wouldn’t leave without the deal they came for. Alternatively, Cersei’s initial suggestion that Jon remain unattached to either Queen could’ve been a hopeful gambit to separate the forces of The North from the armies of Daenerys, an unexpected bonus for the Lannister Queen if she could’ve achieved it.
But what of Euron and the forthcoming Golden Company? What was the purpose of his dramatic exit at the meeting? Why didn’t Cersei simply secretly send him on his mission after Daenerys and her group had left King’s Landing? Once again, the most obvious answer appears to be misdirection. After a couple of early setbacks, Daenerys is the overwhelming favorite to win the war for the Iron Throne – Jaime Lannister admitted as much himself – and Cersei was in desperate need of reinforcements.
Thanks to the show put on by herself and Euron, Cersei now has the upper hand against her Targaryen rival. Not only has Daenerys left King’s Landing in the belief that her enemy just lost their primary naval force, she has no inkling that an another army will soon be joining the Lannister Queen’s side. As such, Dany may feel that she can afford to turn her attention fully to the North, which would allow Cersei to act relatively freely in the South.
Of course, Cersei perhaps didn’t anticipate several early setbacks to her plan. Firstly, her brother Jaime appears to have headed north to Winterfell and when he arrives knocking on the Starks’ door without the Lannister army in tow, he’ll surely have to explain his sister’s reneging on their deal, cutting Cersei’s head start. Additionally, Theon Greyjoy is currently sailing to the Iron Islands to rescue his sister Yara, expecting Euron to have retreated there. Upon arrival, he’ll surely discover that his Uncle’s defection from Cersei was merely a ruse and will report as much back to Jon and Daenerys.
With this in mind, perhaps Cersei won’t gain as much of an advantage as she anticipated but it’s also worth considering that final shot of Tyrion as he lurks ominously outside Daenerys’ bedroom. Does Cersei have yet another secret weapon that is yet to be revealed in Game of Thrones season eight?
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