How Cersei’s [Spoiler] Sets Up Game of Thrones’ Series Finale

Cersei is the Macbeth of Westeros. In her untamed lust for power, she has committed unspeakable atrocities and cleared the decks for a thousand-year reign. Joffrey and Myrcella were murdered, Tommen committed suicide, and Tywin took a patricidal crossbow to the heart. For Cersei, there is nothing left in her soul but the desire to dominate the Seven Kingdoms and win the Game of Thrones

Then, amid all of the madness, the unthinkable happens. Nature, or some incestuous version of it, takes over. That swift love scene in episode 3 bore fruit, and Cersei is pregnant yet again. Qyburn has kept her queer company, but Cersei is no longer alone. Though her heart has been hardened time and again, she is suddenly filled with the promise of new life. As her cocksure suitor, Euron, might tell her: “what is dead may never die...but rises again harder and stronger.”

The Lannister family has added to their ranks and quietly shifted the landscape of the wars to come. On a more practical note, it’s worth asking why David Benioff and D.B. Weiss thought it necessary to interrupt Cersei’s long-gestating character arc. While she always demonstrated her depravity, Cersei successfully restrained her impulses until the end of season 6. We’ve only just become familiar with this newer, Madder Queen, and while the seventh season winds to a close, she becomes a mother? It’s hard to hate on a mother.

If she has the child, expect Cersei to adopt a softer tone while Jaime dutifully stands by her side. But if the child dies, she will become colder than the Night King in cryotherapy, and in that cruelty, the King Slayer will abandon her forever.

Breaking Her Death Prophecy

Young Cersei hears the prophecy in Game of Thrones

In the rush of emotions following Qyburn’s inspection, one thought undoubtedly won Cersei’s mind: “the Valonqar Prophecy has finally been broken. I'm free.” Since the day she met Maggy the Frog in the woods of King’s Landing, Cersei has been filled with dread, knowing her days were numbered and that her own kin would kill her. The valonqar prophecy has defined her existence.

Though the final portion of the prophecy has yet to come true, every other prediction has been satisfied, starting with Maggy’s foretelling that Cersei would be Queen…for a time:

  • You will wed the king.” Rather than marry the prince she preferred, Cersei was wed to Robert Baratheon.
  • “Then comes another, more beautiful, to cast you down and take all you hold dear.” Cersei Lannister, meet Daenerys Targaryen.
  • “The King will have twenty children, and you will have three.” Indeed, Baratheon’s many bastards made Cersei’s inbred offspring look paltry.
  • “Gold shall be their crowns. Gold their shrouds.” Joffrey and Tommen ruled King’s Landing, and Myrcella was a princess in her own right. All died, as was predicted.

This leaves the most significant portion of the Valonqar Prophecy on the table: the call for Cersei’s demise. While Game of Thrones neglected to include the final part of Maggy’s prophecy as told in A Song of Ice and Fire, its presence still lingers. In telling Cersei that all three of her children will die, she warns:

And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.

In High Valyrian, the “valonqar” simply means “little brother.” This has caused Cersei to despise her smallest of brothers, Tyrion, for decades. Though Jaime was her twin and born just seconds after his sister, Cersei never considered her brother-lover a threat. She may be wise to reconsider.

With her latest pregnancy, however, none of this prophecy matters. As Cersei tells Jaime, she will have no problem publicly identifying him as the child's father, now that she seems destined to live a long and glorious life seated safely in the Red Keep.

With her family effectively restarted, Cersei has something tangible to live for. She must maintain the Iron Throne not only to satisfy her own cravings, but to provide a future for the child in her womb.

May the Lord of Light help us all if that child dies.

The Madness of Miscarriage

We’ve seen Cersei nuke the Sept of Baelor, unleash The Mountain on Septa Unella, and poison Ellaria Sand’s daughter. However awful her acts have been, they will be but mere shadows of her sins if this fourth child doesn’t make it.

Whether the baby is lost in miscarriage, childbirth, or in its infancy, Cersei will be unable to sustain the trauma. While shattered by the losses of her first three children, she steeled herself against Tommen’s suicide and refused to even discuss it with Jaime. Though a master of concealment, her spirit remains brittle, and after enjoying the sweetness of her newfound pregnancy, a miscarriage would rock Cersei to her core.

Worse yet, the loss of the child will also resurrect the relevance of Maggy’s morbid prophecy and usher it into back effect:

And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.

Cersei will be her most unstable yet, and in that state of misery, she will meet her doom. The end of season 6 and all of season 7 have steadily turned Jaime away from his sister, and in her madness, he will likely be pushed over the edge.

Cersei’s pregnancy leaves room for two possible conclusions: if the child is born, she and Jaime will have a renewed lease on their lives at King’s Landing. This could have the added affect of making the Lannisters contribute to Jon Snow's war against the White Walkers. Should the child die, however, the Valonqar prophecy will be fulfilled in one way or another, and Jaime will be driven away. In fact, if her madness truly materializes, Jaime may be forced to eliminate Cersei himself and fulfill another significant prophecy that many fans have long anticipated. In this tragic conclusion, Cersei will be hoisted by her own petard as the Macbeth of Westeros, allowing Jaime to complete his heroic arc and become the Prince That Was Promised.

In any scenario, the fate of King's Landing, House Lannister, and the end of Game of Thrones depends on Cersei's child.


Game of Thrones returns next Sunday on HBO @ 9PM EST.

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