When an overzealous “Game of Thrones” fan accidentally spilled the beans about Young Cersei making an appearance in Season 5, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss tacitly had to confirm…flashbacks are coming.
During an interview in Spain they talked about caving to the inevitability of flashbacks this Season. But with a Young Cersei in play, what point in time could the show be focusing on? According to unofficial channels, probably something do to with a certain fortune teller.
After the jump, I dive into the history of “A Song of Ice and Fire” to speculate on what this flashback Pandora”s Box could mean for the narrative. With the show rapidly catching up to George RR Martin, it would be smart stalling for the show to dig deep into how all the players in the “Game of Thrones” entered the fray. Plus, it would give viewers crucial backstory on some of their favorite characters” motivations.
WARNING: This gallery contains spoilers and speculation. Everything within is either pieced together from clues in the “Game of Thrones” text or fan theory based on in-universe evidence.
Maggy The Frog Redux
Now that Young Cersei showed up last year, it’s time to show people that Cersei was ALWAYS a piece of work. Sure we watched her reaction to a fortune telling prophecy that cemented her view of herself as the future Queen, with the determination to never be thrown down by another “younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all that you hold dear.”
But we’ve set to Cersei set her 10 year old sights on Aerys’s son Rhaegar. And most importantly, the show skipped over her borderline sociopathic cold calculation as Cersei murders her childhood friend Melara to ensure her own future comes to pass.
Tourney Of Harrenhaal
By the Old Gods and the New, this would have to be at LEAST a two-part episode. Over the course of the books, snippets of dialogue stitch together how the Tourney at Harrenhal became a major flashpoint in Westeros history. So much went down here! Let’s break it down.
The whole thing started as a way for Prince Rhaegar and the lords to discuss removing King Aerys II — who was well and truly mad — from power. But Aerys got wind of it from Varys and nipped it in the bud. But now the King is crazy…and paranoid.
We’ve got the whole Stark family in tow, with Lyanna unhappily engaged to Robert Baratheon. Rumors of her interest in Prince Rhaegar — who was married to Elia Martell (yes THAT Martell) — and vice versa, are already circulating. Rumors Rhaegar lends truth to when he wins the tournament and crowns Lyanna the Queen of Love and Beauty…instead of his own wife, as he should have.
This is also where we meet Ashara Dayne, a mysterious lady who is inextricably tied up somehow with Ned Stark and Jon Snow. While rumors swirl that Ashara was the mother of Snow, another suitor for her affection was none other than Ser Barristan Selmy. More on this later!
Finally, Howland Reed was on hand to witness everything, even if he didn’t understand it. He saw Jamie inducted into the Kingsguard and notes the absent of Tywin — who did not approve and saw Aerys as getting revenge for Twyin retiring as Hand of the King. Reed was rescued from bullies by Lyanna Stark — who fought them off with a tourney sword (now we know where Arya gets it from). And most importantly we see the Knight of the Laughing Tree — a short mystery knight who’s identity is unknown to this day — defend Reed’s honor on the battlefield. Based on context clues, the most likely culprit is Lyanna Stark herself.
Tower Of Joy
Approximately a year after the Tourney of Harrenhal, Prince Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna Stark and imprisoned her in a remote tower. Or Lyanna Stark ran away with her lover Prince Rhaegar to give birth to their child. While the latter is 99.99% the most likely scenario, Lyanna’s betrothed — Robert Baratheon — was unable to accept this reality. Instead, he convinced himself of Rhaegar’s evil intentions and declared open war on the Crown Prince.
The only two people alive today who know for sure what happened at the Tower of Joy (ToJ) are Barristan Selmy and Howland Reed…because the rest (save Ned Stark) died in battle over Lyanna at said tower. But why would the Kingsguard die to protect her? Because, based on context clues, Lyanna Stark is most likely the mother of Jon Snow…with Rhaegar Targaryen being his father. With Robert on the warpath — murdering all potential Targaryen offspring, illegitimate or otherwise — Lyanna made Ned promise to keep her infant boy safe while dying in childbirth (or after the heat of battle if she donned her armor to defend the ToJ from her brother and his cohorts).
Battle At Ruby Ford
While the Kingsguard was dying to protect his lady love at the Tower of Joy, Prince Rhaegar was dying on the battlefield. There’s no shocking revelation to be had here. But this sequence of Robert Baratheon and Rhaegar Targaryen locked in single combat over a woman, the outcome of which would rock the power base of Westeros off its axis for decades — deserves to be seen. Especially if the rubies in Rhaegar’s armor wash downstream with his blood, as the final shot.
Oh man, we’re really getting into the deep dive now. Okay, so…Ashara Dayne. Lady-in-waiting to Princess Elia and sister to Arthur Dayne, knight of the Kingsguard and wielder of the Sword of the Morning. After Arthur’s death at the Tower of Joy, Ned went in person to break the news to Ashara. This is where the rumor started that she was the mother of Jon Snow. For when she learned the news of her brother’s death, she jumped from the castle walls in grief. Or did she?
The reason the nobles of Westeros laid the birth of Ned Stark’s bastard at Ashara Dayne’s feet is because she was indeed pregnant. But according to Barristan Selmy, who loved her, Dayne gave birth to a stillborn girl. And thinking the man that dishonored her at the Harrenhal tourney did not love her, Ashara committed suicide in shame and grief. The real reason Ned was there? His brother Brandon Stark was the father of Ashara’s unborn child, after becoming pregnant at the Harrenhal tourney. When Brandon was killed and her daughter stillborn, the distraught Lady Dayne could not bear to live another day.
Tywin Resigning As Hand Of The King
If there’s one thing we know, it’s that King Aerys II was certifiably insane. Whether from centuries of inbreeding or just due to bad luck, he was a psychopathic killer who made Joffrey look like an adorable puppy. But yet Tywin stayed steady…until he didn’t. What could cause a man like Tywin Lannister to give up power? Well, if fans are correct, the rape of his wife.
Over the years, Tywin’s made it abundantly clear he hates his youngest son, Tyrion. He blames Tyrion for Joanna Lannister’s death in childbed and constantly makes assertions to the effect of “You’re no son of mine.” But what if that isn’t hyperbole? From bits and pieces of dialogue, one can stitch together a timeline that ends with Aerys II exercising “King’s Rights” to sample the wife of any of his nobles. Tywin loved Joanna more than anything and it seems highly suspect that his resignation coincided with her falling pregnant with Tyrion.
Also, if this theory is correct and Jon Snow’s parentage is as it appears…we kind of know who the other two are in “The dragon has three heads,” prophecy.
Speaking of Aerys II being one crazy bastard, this would be a fascinating event to explore. Aerys was the grandson of King Aegon V and was never meant to inherit the throne. That was supposed to go to his uncle, Prince Duncan the Small. Honestly, the parallels between Westeros and Plantagenet/Tudor England are kinda overt at times.
So how did the Mad King end up in power? It starts with the tragedy at Summerhall — the Targaryen summer estate. A fire completely destroyed the castle and took the lives of the King and Crown Prince…all while Prince Rhaegar was being born. Westeros nobles believed the fire was caused by an ill-fated attempt to awaken dragons but there’s another option. Arson. At what point did Aerys’ madness turn to murder? His own father died mysteriously only three years into his reign, at the young age of thirty-nine, paving the way for Aerys.
This could go one of two ways. Either all the way back to her childhood, when Melisandre was Melony and she was sold into slavery as a Red Priestess. Or, start showing her visions as fully fleshed out sequences! You know, like when Dany visited the House of the Undying. There are so many glimpses into future storylines to be teased from Melisandre’s horrible but well-intentioned misreadings in the fire.