Warning: full spoilers for the Game of Thrones season 6 finale “The Winds of Winter” follow…
When last we saw her, Cersei Lannister sat upon the Iron Throne, her soul dead to everything but power lust. Her own need for vengeance drove her to an act very close to the one that her brother/lover Jaime murdered the Mad King to prevent.
“Burn them all,” Cersei said of the Sparrows, Margaery and Loras Tyrell, and all the rest present at her (truncated) trial in the Great Sept. With one act, she set fire to all ties to her once allies, the Tyrells, religion, and solidified her place as a ruthless Queen. A Mad Queen.
She also caused her son to suicide.
Unable to withstand one more loss, nor live in a world where he would — essentially — be forced to rule alongside his clearly insane mother, King Tommen leaped to his death. As her brother Tyrion once said, her only redeeming quality had been her love for her children. Even that was lost to her in the end. Once Tommen chose his wife and the High Sparrow over her, he was dead to Cersei, and she had nothing left of goodness to give. Her only solace will be the power she has taken despite every person in her life betraying her trust and undermining her authority. Her father, her sons, her husband Robert. Everyone that is, but Jaime.
Jaime Lannister, who we have seen has some level of care for others, as well as a certain integrity. Yet he would push a young boy out of a window to protect his sister. Jaime who has said again and again that he would burn the world for Cersei. Jaime, who just may be destined to kill her.
Those chilling final moments of “The Winds of Winter” communicated so much about the grander meaning of this story. The unbearable loss it takes to win and hold power simply isn't worth it in the end. It brings no joy. Yet, with nothing left to live for, Cersei will do everything to maintain her hold. Here's the rub: she has no real claim to the throne.
This is not a Matriarchy, and the only reason she's even momentarily able to sit upon the throne is that the entire society of Westeros is in utter chaos. That's also why it won't last. There are a host of candidates more suited than she: Gendry (Robert Baratheon's surviving bastard), Daenerys, the King of the North, Jon Snow, her brother Tyrion. All of whom (with the exception of Gendry) have more allies than she does. Gendry would likely find greater favor than she if he were to come forward.
Tyrion, her brother, is on his way with Dany, the dragons, and a massive fleet — and Cersei's always believed that Tyrion would kill her. Or try. In fact, it was part of the prophecy that predicted the death of her children.
Let's take a look at what Cersei was told about her future:
“Queen you shall be… until there comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all that you hold dear.” — check
Will she and the king have children?: “Oh, aye. Six-and-ten for him, and three for you.” — check.
Of those children: “Gold shall be their crowns and gold their shrouds. And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.”
What does valonqar mean? In High Valyrian, it means little brother.
Cersei has always assumed that meant Tyrion, and that may yet be. However, there is a theory that Tyrion is not fully her brother; that he is a bastard Targaryen. Bloodlines aside, Jaime is also 2-minutes younger than her and thus her younger brother.
Jaime would do anything for Cersei, but we've also seen him forced to make horrific choices in the past. If she's truly lost to him, incapable of love, and responsible for the death of their last son — inadvertent or not — might that break Jamie?
She tossed Tommen aside and had him burned. Jaime will understand that means that her heart is now a truly rotted thing. He'll try to reach her, try to save her, but if she betrays him one more time…he'll break. In one final moment of rage and desperation, he may just kill her. Bringing the tragic prophecy to a close in a way that she could not have predicted, but her own actions created.
A perfect Game of Thrones twist…
Donna Dickens and Roth Cornet discuss how this will all play out in the video above or below.
Also, read about Cersei's potential zombie army here!