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.