Spoiler alert: do not read on if you have not seen season six, episode ten of Game of Thrones. Seriously
The finale of Game of Thrones season six was as satisfying an hour of television as the series has ever produced, bringing together multiple storylines but leaving the series in a state that guarantees even more action in season seven. One of the more worrying developments was Cersei’s accession to the throne – but fans who remember season five, episode one will recall it opened with a prophecy given to a young Cersei by the witch and fortune teller called Maggy the Frog – and that prophecy could indicate what’s next for the new Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
In the prophecy, Cersei was told several things:
1. She will wed a king (now understood to be Robert Baratheon), not the prince she was supposed to marry (Rhaegar Targaryen). Common knowledge at this point.
2. The king will have twenty children – all bastards, like Gendry. Cersei will have three children, which we know are all by Jaime. Maggy tells a young Cersei, “Gold will be their crowns, gold their shrouds”, prophesying that they will predecease her.
3. She will be queen, but as Maggy specifies, only “for a time. In comes another. Younger, more beautiful, to cast you down and take all you hold dear.”
What the show doesn’t include is the final part of the prophecy as it’s told to Cersei in the books. “When your tears have drowned you,” Maggy told Cersei – referring to her grief for her three children – “the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.” George R.R. Martin says ‘Valonqar’ means ‘younger sibling’, which could be either her twin brother Jaime (born after her) or Tyrion, whose relationship with Cersei is already toxic.
At this point, it’s looking like the “younger, more beautiful” queen to cast Cersei down and take everything she holds dear will be Daenerys Targaryen, who’s currently sailing across the Narrow Sea to invade Westeros with the backing of Dorne, the Greyjoys and the Tyrells, and Tyrion Lannister.
What isn’t so clear is who will end up killing Cersei. Here are a few possible contenders.
1. Jaime will kill Cersei
This is the one that looks most likely. Jaime’s already expressed an intense distaste for wildfire, the chemical weapon used by Cersei to blow up the Sept of Baelor and kill the High Sparrows, all his little sparrows, Kevan Lannister, Margaery, Loras and Mace Tyrell (and many more). He told Brienne that the Mad King’s use of wildfire was what drove him to kill him.
Cersei’s decision to use it caused her and Jaime’s tragically naïve son Tommen to off himself, meaning they now have no children left, and in the coronation scene, Cersei doesn’t look grief-stricken at all. Time for the ‘valonqar’ to intervene, perhaps? The look he gives her here is one of murderous fury.
2. Arya will kill Cersei
Fans have pointed out that ‘valonqar’ is a gender-neutral term, and Maggy doesn’t specify that it’ll be the younger sibling of Cersei herself. Arya Stark – referred to by Jon Snow as ‘little sis’ all the time in the books – has had Cersei on her list for a long time. The look she gives Jaime in this scene looks like she wants him dead too – perhaps she’ll wear his face to kill Cersei; perhaps not. Either way, the Faceless Men use a poison called ‘The Strangler’, and some fans have linked the line about the valonqar choking the life from Cersei as a hint that Arya might poison her.
3. The Hound will kill Cersei
Sandor Clegane – famously the younger brother of the Mountain – is hanging out in the Riverlands with the Brotherhood without Banners. He hates Cersei as much as he did Joffrey. If Cersei is forced to flee King’s Landing to Casterly Rock after Daenerys’ arrival, perhaps the Hound will intercept her. This would possibly enable the much-hyped Cleganebowl – the battle between the Mountain and the Hound that fans have been waiting for since season four.
What do you reckon? Who will be the ‘valonqar’?