Cersei Lannister: Bittersweet Expectations

CerseiNed

When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.

Cersei Lannister said those words midway-through the very first season of Game of Thrones, after Lord Eddard Stark revealed his suspicions about Robert Baratheon not being the father to Cersei’s children. Suspicions that the queen decided to confirm rather than deny.

Winning or dying framed the seasons to follow, with so many claimants to the Iron Throne (or lesser dusty thrones from Westerosi history) going the latter route.

Of course, death isn’t limited to just would-be kings and queens. So many characters – to paraphrase Shakespeare’s Macbeth – have strutted and fretted their hour upon the show’s stage and are heard no more.

Beric Dondarrion: That’s the typical case. But not a definitive one.
Jon Snow: Sometimes we come back for an encore.

Hand-waving away the occasional resurrection, the possibility of death to major characters in the show was so significant that a popular pre-season hobby was making lists of who would be most likely to die. Going into Season Seven, Cersei was deemed likely to die, based on her precarious political position.

Although she was technically Queen of the Seven Kingdoms (I hope I don’t get my head smashed in by Ser Gregor for using that qualifier) most of the kingdoms were either allied against her or specifically wanted her dead. When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. And Cersei did not look to be in a winning position with Daenerys Targaryen en route with superior special forces and three dragons. The odds were not in Cersei’s favor.

CerseiSmuggo

But contrary to expectations, Cersei balanced those scales a bit thanks to a timely alliance with Euron Greyjoy and his fleet. And the fearsome Daenerys Targaryen proved unwilling initially to commit to a brutal assault on King’s Landing which gave Cersei breathing room. The Lannister Queen managed to survive another season.

But now we are approaching the final season of Game of Thrones, and it’s practically a given that this will be Cersei’s last season. Okay, in one respect it’ll be the last season for all of our characters: it’s the final season. To rephrase the statement more honestly: it’s expected that Cersei will die in the last episodes.

But will she? Or rather, is there a compelling case for her to live, to survive her attempt at playing the Game of Thrones?

It’s not that Cersei deserves to live; she’s certainly done terrible things. With the death of Joffrey, Tywin, Littlefinger, and the Boltons, Cersei Lannister is one of the few villains left on the show. Euron Greyjoy is a bad guy on the rise, and of course there will be no peace for the living while the Night King still prowls about with his army of the dead, but it’s Cersei at the center of most of the dastardly plottings in Westeros. She’s certainly had the most screen time.

Entering the final season, isn’t it proper and just that a villain of Cersei’s caliber would get her lethal comeuppance?

Proper and just not withstanding, death is not something that I want for Cersei.

Am I saying that I want her to win? After all, the two choices associated with playing the game of thrones is either winning or dying. To clarify, whatever else I might say, I don’t want Cersei to win. Even though George RR Martin is credited for doing surprising things and subverting common tropes, I don’t imagine him so wanting to buck convention as to arrange for Cersei to end the story ruling over a brutally pacified realm. Likewise, I don’t think the Game of Thrones showrunners will end the show with Lannister banners flying over King’s Landing. (Unless those banners are Tyrion’s, but that’s something to explore another day.)

So what do I want to happen? I want Cersei to choose to go into exile.

AmusedCersei

At the start of this, I quoted Cersei’s conversation with Ned in Season One, where she set up the “win-or-die” parameters. He arranged to meet so he could confront her with the knowledge of her infidelity – and to offer her a chance to escape King’s Landing and the king’s wrath. Cersei was not all that interested.

“Exile,” she said. “A bitter cup to drink from.”
“A sweeter cup than your father served Rhaegar’s children,” Ned said, “and kinder than you deserve. Your father and your brothers would do well to go with you.”
A Game of Thrones, Eddard XII

Cersei was offered the chance for exile and she refused – going forward with plans (plans most likely already in motion) to assassinate Robert and place her son Joffrey on the throne. If Cersei was offered a chance at exile a second time, a return to this choice would give her an opposrtunity to show some growth as a character. She might still opt to remain and either go down fighting or hope to engineer some kind of suicidal scorched-earth action with wildfire. Or she could cut her losses and make the best of it.

Like she should have done seven seasons before.

After all, Cersei sticking around when Ned had offered her an escape didn’t work out too well in the long run. He suggested she take her children into the safety of exile, and recommended her brothers and father go as well. (Certainly it would have been convenient for Ned had that happened.) But now most of her family is dead and her brothers are siding against her. Her remaining allies include a mad scientist, a monstrosity, and a pirate with ambitions of his own.

But is there any reason to believe that Cersei would flee if given the chance? I’ve already talked about her refusal to follow Ned’s advice. She also risked staying in King’s Landing during Stannis Baratheon’s siege, she bristled at Margaery Tyrell’s machinations to have her quietly retire to Casterly Rock, and she ignored Olenna Tyrell’s advice to flee rather than face trial by the Seven and the Faith Militant.

Cersei

But she sang a slightly different tune in Season Seven for Tyrion after Jon Snow brought her first-hand proof of an undead threat to Westeros.

Cersei: I don’t care about checking my worst impulses – I don’t care about making the world a better place.  That thing you dragged here – I know what it is – I know what it means. When it came at me, I didn’t think about the world. Not at all. As soon as it opened its mouth the world disappeared for me right down its black throat. What I could think about was keeping those gnashing teeth away from the ones that matter most – away from my family. Maybe Euron Greyjoy had the right idea. Get on a boat, take those who matter …
Tyrion: You’re pregnant.

Some of Cersei’s monologue for Tyrion might have been her acting (after all, she then goes on to shamelessly lie to Jon and Dany about Lannister support for Team Breathing.) It’s also a matter of some speculation if she is even pregnant or if she was misleading both Jaime and Tyrion to believe it for her own manipulative reasons. Consider me manipulated, since I’m all-in on the idea that Cersei is pregnant, and that she has something to hold out hope for, something to fight for that’s real and not just clawing at something as abstract as power.

I want Cersei to choose exile, because I’d like there to be a situation where a mother successfully escapes with her child.

Elia of Dorne couldn’t. Daenerys Targaryen’s pregnant mother Rhaella made it as far as Dragonstone, but died in childbirth. Jon Snow’s mother Lyanna Stark died from pregnancy complications just after Ned finished “rescuing” her from Rhaegar Targaryen’s kingsguard.

Things are really hard on moms in the Game of Thrones universe, and maybe it would be nice to ease up on those misfortunes just a notch.

We expect something bad, something lethal to happen to Cersei, and for her baby’s sake I don’t want that to happen.

Having that baby!

Another reason that I want Cersei to go off into exile, that’s really the only scenario where her pregnancy can meaningfully come into play in a way that doesn’t seem like lazy writing.

It’s possible that Season Eight will cover enough time for Cersei’s baby to come to full term, but I wouldn’t bet on it. I know many are expecting Cersei to miscarry which might drive her over the edge into full-blown insanity, or that complications with the pregnancy will threaten Cersei’s life. Again, this feels like a bit too much of the gendered misfortune that the story is already rife with. I don’t think those outcomes for the Lannister baby will really bring home a satisfying conclusion to Cersei’s storyline.

Cersei dying might be worked satisfactorily into one or two of the other characters’ storylines (especially if Arya kills the queen) but Cersei escaping into exile would touch on the motivations of so many of our characters who have personal histories with her.

Particularly if Jon Snow is the one that offers Cersei exile, without passing the notion by Daenerys first.

Jon Snow treating with a pregnant Cersei would echo back to Ned’s proposal in Season One, when he offered her kindness out of honor.

“Honor,” she spat. “How dare you play the noble lord with me! What do you take me for? You’ve a bastard of your own, I’ve seen him. Who was the mother, I wonder? Some Dornish peasant you raped while her holdfast burned? A whore? Or was it the grieving sister, the Lady Ashara? She threw herself into the sea, I’m told. Why was that? For the brother you slew, or the child you stole? Tell me, my honorable Lord Eddard, how are you any different from Robert, or me, or Jaime?”
“For a start,” said Ned, “I do not kill children.
A Game of Thrones, Eddard XII

In general, Jon tries to take after his father-figure and role model, Lord Eddard Stark. Ned had his reasons for wanting to spare Cersei’s children from Robert’s punishment, and Jon very well might fear for the safety of Cersei’s innocent unborn child. (I’m assuming that Dany will be seeing red when it becomes known that Cersei went back on her word given at the Dragonpit, and Jon will be concerned about that.)

jon_snow_and_dany

Despite Jon’s execution of little orphan Olly, he’s established his kindness-to-children bona fides by accepting Alys Karstark’s and Ned Umber’s oaths of fealty rather than stripping them of their lands. He made the case to Daenerys that neither of them should be judged by the actions of their fathers.

Jon, who never knew his mother, seems inclined to be sympathetic to the child Cersei carries.

If Cersei escapes with Jon’s blessing, it’ll create a difficult dynamic between Jon and Dany, much like the conflict between Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon in regards to sending assassins to kill the then-pregnant Targaryen. I like the idea of seeing Daenerys on the other side of that equation.

Arya would be angry that Jon sided with her number one target…

Olly: That is a perspective that I can relate to.

… but I have always hoped that Arya will have some kind of growth in her arc that moves her away from being a killer. Jon unofficially pardoning Cersei and removing her from immediate harm might give the little wolf-girl who once looked up to him a chance to reflect and change as well.

Sansa would probably be worried about the possibility of Cersei hatching plots overseas, along with feeling a need for vengeance justice for her abuse while under Cersei’s control. (Sansa’s anxiety might feel similar to Cersei’s paranoia about Tyrion on the loose and plotting overseas after Tywin’s death. Comparisons between Sansa and Cersei are always interesting to me.)

Tyrion and Jaime might also have complicated feelings about Jon allowing their sister to go into exile. Tyrion has always had a difficult relationship with Cersei, occasionally showing sympathy for her and expressing a co-dependent need for her attention. Jaime’s relationship is no less complicated, although he seems to have taken steps to separate himself from her toxic influence. The notion of Cersei’s unborn child, possibly the only hope for the next generation of Lannisters (yes, yes, until Brienne and Jaime get married or something, yes yes) will provide interesting fuel for their characters’ reactions.

But where would Cersei go?

Tyrion: Wherever … queens … go.

I assume Cersei would be able to grab enough jewels to keep herself and her child safe and in ease. She might find refuge in the Summer Isles, since in the books Robert more or less comfortably kept Jalabhar Xho, an exiled Summer Islander prince, as a virtual prisoner at King’s Landing. (Robert liked having the prince around and was constantly putting off any kind of commitment to help the prince return to his homeland in force, a situation that the administration of the Summer Isles was probably satisfied with.) The Summer Isles royalty might be willing to return that favor.

Or she might cozy up to some triarch’s household in Volantis, as a dispossessed royal novelty from the sunset lands of Westeros.

Regardless, Cersei won’t be happy about it which is somewhat satisfying, although as Ned said, it’s a fate kinder than she deserves.

I wish you good fortune in the wars to come

Another benefit of Cersei in exile, it’s a loose end that’s not neatly wrapped up. This is realistic for Westeros, where dynastic clashes carry on through the generations. A clean end to Robert’s Rebellion was prevented when Ser Willem Darry spirited Viserys and the infant Daenerys to Braavos from storm-wracked Dragonstone. There’s no reason to expect any upcoming change in Westerosi management to be clean as well.

Dany might not get the benefit of a worry-free rule, the same way Robert Baratheon lost sleep over her existence. Although maybe I’m thinking of Dany too negatively. Rather than assuming Dany will be anxious and vengeful, she may be able to apply the lessons she’s learned from her experience, and move forward in a more productive way. She might be sympathetic to the little Lannister child’s fate, a perspective that would say something positive about her character.

Dany: If I look back, I am lost.

Cersei on the loose with a child isn’t quite the same danger that Robert feared, posed by the children of the Mad King just beyond his reach. Viserys had a legitimate claim to the throne. Cersei did sit on the throne, but with a somewhat dubious authority.

Cersei: The Seven destroyed my enemies in holy fire! Clearly that was a divine signal of their preference for my rule.
Me: Did you put that into a press release? I must have missed that on the show because that’s an excellent spin.
Qyburn: Look, I’ve been very busy making giant crossbows.

Regardless, Cersei’s hypothetical child has a better claim to Casterly Rock than a square inch of King’s Landing. It’s possible that this young Lannister might be allowed to return to their ancestral home one day, if not accompanied by their mother.

But … VALONQAR

Fine, I’ll briefly mention the Valonqar prophecy. We’ve seen Cersei talk to Maggy the Frog in a flashback, where the witch predicted Cersei’s marriage to the king and the fate of her golden-haired children. The show omitted Maggy’s prophecy from the books where “the valonqar” would eventually strangle Cersei. Much has been written by others on what this might mean, who the valonqar might be, and what hints we’ve seen in the show that contribute to the idea.

CerseiJaimeMap

I don’t like prophecies. What can I say? Prophecies just turn me off unless they’re strongly supported in some way.

But the universe doesn’t care how I feel about prophecies. I’m probably wrong to lobby for Cersei’s survival and to dismiss Cersei’s foretold-doom, even though the show hasn’t mentioned (yet) the valonqar reference. The show has also pushed up against the accuracy of Maggy’s prophecy: Cersei’s story to Catelyn in Season One about her short-lived child with Robert and her current pregnancy makes some of the more specific parts of Maggy’s predictions problematic.

I expect that GRRM will be required to pay off on Maggy’s prophecies in the books (there’s also some Dany-centric soothsayings to execute) but I don’t want to worry too much about something that might be spun in different ways. Martin might do something tricky and unexpected. The showrunners might do something tricky as well.

If I can hedge my bets – Cersei surviving the end of the Season Eight finale doesn’t necessarily refute the valonqar prophecy. I mean, Valar Morghulis, all men must die.

Cersei: But I’m not a man!
Eowyn: Boom! That’s the loophole!
Me: Sorry ladies. This isn’t Lord of the Rings.

Even if Cersei lives through the season, her days – like everyone’s – are numbered. I’m less interested in her death than what she might do in this hypothetical exile I’m imagining her in.

Would she be a good mother, raising her child with an eye towards their happiness? Something that Rhaella Targaryen might have wanted to do with Viserys and Daenerys had she lived? Or will Cersei’s parenting strategy echo Viserys’ stewardship of Dany, desperate to return to a Westeros that lives only in imagination and not in reality?

CerseiAndTommen

The poetry of a Cersei-in-exile scenario – carrying out the realism of wars never fully being won, echoing old decisions combined with different choices, providing a lens with which to examine nearly every character’s fiber, and offering some framework for theoretical future drama – provides a better ending than Cersei’s death would accomplish.

Tyrion: Death is so final, whereas life is full of possibilities.

No Happy Endings

George RR Martin still has two books to write, but we feel that there’s going to be at least some similarities in his endgame to the book series, and the endgame that the show will present to us next year. Martin has said that the ending will be bittersweet, rather than happy.

For me, this implies a measure of regrets, of things undone. Of things not working out as might be expected.

Cersei: Exile. A bitter cup to drink from.
Ned: A sweeter cup than than your father served Rhaegar’s children –
Me: Why can’t it be both? BITTERSWEET! Boom.

And honestly, why should Cersei be right about winning and dying being the only outcomes when you play the game of thrones? I’m in favor of letting her be the living proof of her mistaken philosophy.

Which is also satisfying.

106 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. Cercei is one of the most interesting and complex characters in this story. Everyone (except now Sansa) underestimates her, even her brothers, who should know her better than anyone. She’s endured a great deal, but, other than being utterly mad, has not been broken, or cowed. She learned about the Game from her father, which is one reason she’s still a player, although she’s not as clever as he was.
      Still, Sansa is right. Cersei will not give up until she has what she wants. And, so far, she has overcome all obstacles, including the self-inflicted ones. I loathe her, but have a grudging respect, and am looking forward to what I believe will be an epic ending.

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    2. PS – I believed her story about losing Robert’s baby, as it added touch of realism to the disintegration of their marriage. But I can’t forget that “little black-haired beauty” with the blonde mother who sang to him………

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    3. Cersei doesn’t deserve exile. She is insane and a psychopath, she just hides it well enough to pass.

      She is still around only by sheer luck. Her plans have not turned out the way she intended (ex: becoming queen because Tommen killed himself) so there’s no reason for me to “respect” her, when her successes are all based on luck or plot contrivance (Euron showing up at the right moment and taking out Yara’s ships; Qyburn’s discovery of the month; etc.).

      But what I find alarming is that some women sympathize with her simply because she is a woman. Cersei is the biggest misogynist in that kingdom. There is NOTHING she hates more than other women. But I also think Lena Headley is so good in the role that people give the *character* more credit than Cersei deserves.

      TLDR: I fully expect her to die in season 8, as she deserves.

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    4. TLDR: I fully expect her to die in season 8, as she deserves.

      Oh, don’t get me wrong, I think Cersei deserves death. I just think it wouldn’t be as good a story if she got it.

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    5. 3eyes:
      PS – I believed her story about losing Robert’s baby, as it added touch of realism to the disintegration of their marriage. But I can’t forget that “little black-haired beauty” with the blonde mother who sang to him………

      I also believe that story, it’s a nice wrinkle in Cersei’s backstory.

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    6. Apropos of typos, Shakespeare’s tragedy is entitled “Macbeth” not “MacBeth.”

      Though I wouldn’t be surprised if some Irish theatre companies call it “McBeth” or “O’Beth.”

      😉

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    7. Catspaw Assassin:
      Apropos of typos, Shakespeare’s tragedy is entitled “Macbeth” not “MacBeth.”

      Though I wouldn’t be surprised if some Irish theatre companies call it “McBeth” or“O’Beth.”

      😉

      Dammit, I am an uneducated churl. I even knew it was Macbeth. I’ll change it now. Thank you for pointing out the typo, hero.

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    8. She doesn’t have to be in exile for the baby’s sake. Jon and Daenerys can do what happens in real life when a pregnant woman has committed a capital offense. Hold her prisoner until she gives birth, then execute her.

      BTW, you said Jon made a case to Daenerys but you meant to Sansa.

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    9. Beautifully written rationale for mercy, Patrick. I like the idea of (enforced) exile for her. It would be a true dream of spring–of change for the better. I don’t think it can happen, mainly because Cersei (like Jaime) committed the cardinal sin of GRRM’s moral-verse: hurting/killing an innocent. Lady was the first victim of her malignant malevolence; the sept victims were the most recent. Like you, I hope Arya does NOT kill her, especially after renouncing her own vengeance to regain family. But she might have to do it out of sheer military necessity, preferably on the orders of Jon. Cersei is clearly going mad (thus far she’s “but mad north-northwest”). Upon being ousted from power and losing everyone she loves and relies on, he could well end up going fully insane. No one would execute her, but out of pity and humanity let her live out her days being cared for. Maybe that is the middle ground between winning and dying.

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    10. 3eyes:
      PS – I believed her story about losing Robert’s baby, as it added touch of realism to the disintegration of their marriage. But I can’t forget that “little black-haired beauty” with the blonde mother who sang to him………

      So do I. One of my favorite theories.

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    11. What is death? We look at literal death, but exile, should she live, to Cersei would be a kind of death. Her greatest battle has been to not be marginalized because she wasn’t born a son. To lose is one thing. To be irrelevant? Powerless? She may rather (literally) kill herself.

      I do think some milk of kindness is still in her. She almost breaks down when she starts to talk about Tommen, but she’s stuffed it so far down for the need to control everything else. In contrast, Sansa wants control to protect, but she’s still capable of loving without treating it as a weakness.

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    12. Wasn’t it Dany who argued to jon about not judging children by the crimes of their parents? And it was a direct parallel to jon using the same logic on Sansa?

      But regardless very nice essay. It would certainly be an interesting parralel.

      But I don’t think it is happening. She is too far gone and has lost too much to turn back now and admit that it was all a mistake.

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    13. You make some interesting points, particularly in regards to Cersei’s (potential) child. I just don’t see it happening, however. Cersei is such a big part of Jamie’s bad side, and in Tyrion’s misery that I think it would feel very odd for the ending of those two characters if she were given a chance to live out a peaceful life in exile. Especially Jamie. Their stories have been so intertwined that I feel it’s necessary for Jamie’s development, if he is to be known/remembered as the good guy he is deep down, that Cersei needs to go. As you said, she has been a toxic influence on him, and ridding himself of that seems only fitting for his arc.

      Moreover, would we even want Cersei to raise another child, even in exile? Given all that she’s done, with the inevitable bitterness she would harbour in said exile, that child would not have a healthy upbringing.

      There are plenty of other characters who can fill the need for an interesting and thought-provoking end to their arcs. Cersei just needs to die, and do it in style.

      Oh, and if Lena Headey doesn’t win an Emmy for her role either this year for season 7 or next year for season 8, I will curse the Emmys ’till the end of my days!

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    14. i just want Cercei to die by the Night Kings hands and her unborn bastard turned into a White Walker and she becomes the Night Queen..A fate worsted than death.I hate her in the same level that i hate Sansa..Both spoiled brats princesses that got born in a noble house ..Both with disney dreams on their heads in their teens ..both wanted to marry for to have power and to rule aka be queens..and now as it seems Sansa will inherit Cerceis creepy habits such as jealousy and something entirely [Sansa has already be extremely jealous of Danny..such was Cercei jealous of Lyanna and Elia and Lyssa Arryn jealous of Catelyn in their youth]..Just i hope both Sansa/Cercei dies in the end ,becomes white walkers and dies again..That will be fun to see it.

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    15. Thank you for the insightful article, Patrick! I can definitely envision Jon offering Cersei to live in exile, but I can also see Arya not supporting that decision and could potentially leave Westeros to hunt her. “BRB Jon, going on a quick holiday after this long winter!” **Goes to kill Cersei**

      Also regarding Cersei’s child- I’m assuming she actually is pregnant because otherwise this would seem like some kind of teen drama trope- Dany fostering said child is something I thought of before. She’s always had a fondness for children after the loss of her own and she imprisoned her own “children” so that they wouldn’t burn the children of others. If Cersei were to go into exile, it wouldn’t be that far of a jump to assume that the child had to stay behind as a ward similar to Theon’s situation. Cersei in exile would truly have nothing, but would know her child is safe. Also, it would probably appease any anxiety over her planning revenge or plotting anything since they would have her child.

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    16. Noneofyourbusiness:
      She doesn’t have to be in exile for the baby’s sake. Jon and Daenerys can do what happens in real life when a pregnant woman has committed a capital offense. Hold her prisoner until she gives birth, then execute her.

      BTW, you said Jon made a case to Daenerys but you meant to Sansa.

      No, he made a case to Daenerys on Dragonstone that they were not their fathers. From that, I extrapolated the children shouldn’t be judged for their parents’ crimes.

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    17. House Monty:
      Wasn’t it Dany who argued to jon about not judging children by the crimes of their parents? And it was a direct parallel to jon using the same logic on Sansa?

      But regardless very nice essay. It would certainly be an interesting parralel.

      But I don’t think it is happening. She is too far gone and has lost too much to turn back now and admit that it was all a mistake.

      Whoa, you might be right, that it was Dany who brought it up with Jon, and he agreed. If I had to rewrite the article, I would put a different spin on what I was saying, that Jon had some grounding in the notion of pardoning children for their parents’ actions.

      With Sansa, she was saying “don’t be so much like Dad” which is kind of what I am saying might happen (in my hypothetical here…)

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    18. I still think that Cersei will blow up KL. with wildfire as a last revenge, “if I can’t have it no one will” action.
      Jaime will kill Cersis as a final cleansing.

      Sort of, Jaime stabs Cersei who then falls on the “do not press” red button.

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    19. Dark Sister,

      I like what you’re saying (and what someone else was saying about Cersei being locked up until she delivers, and then executed) as a way to spare the child.

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    20. I won’t say anymore than Cersei’s miscarriage is a bit more than a theory at present.

      And there could very well be a mother surviving with her child – Daenerys.

      It seems the show is keen to set Dany and Jon, and Cersei and Jamie as foils of one another.

      It wouldn’t be a coincidence that one queen loses her child and the other produces an heir.

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    21. Noneofyourbusiness:
      She doesn’t have to be in exile for the baby’s sake. Jon and Daenerys can do what happens in real life when a pregnant woman has committed a capital offense. Hold her prisoner until she gives birth, then execute her.

      That’s a good point, and I did think about that. My assumption was that Jon might fear Dany would roast Cersei rather than imprison her. And I don’t know if the show would have Cersei captured, then have some kind of two months later time jump in the final episode, and to end the show on Cersei executed.

      (I can’t be too sure about that, and of course we don’t know how long Cersei has been pregnant, or how much time the season will take in the logistics of defeating the Others, etc.)

      But that’s certainly an option other than exile, just one that I feel isn’t as compelling as a story element.

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    22. Violator,

      Or they experience the same losses. So far the show has made up Cersei’s first child with Robert that died. Same as Rhaego. Dany and Cersei had three living children. Cersei’s have all died and Dany’s are starting to die. Now we know that Cersei will have a miscarriage and if they’re supposed to parallel each other they will both miscarry. Possibly during the same moment, when Dany attacks KL.

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    23. Will she even have the baby?

      She was supposed to miscarry last season in the original leaked outline. And while they can change their minds obviously, that’s an awfully big plot point to change, with pretty large butterfly effects for the entire story. More likely they chose to move that into the final season.

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    24. Great article and idea! As others have commented, and as Patrick supported with quotes in the article, exile could be a “punishment worse than death” for Cersei. We’ve seen so many actual character deaths in the series, a metaphorical death would seem more appropriate for her. It would also tie into the “bittersweet ending” theme, as by Westeros’ standards, no character deserves the death penalty more than a mass-murderer.

      But the thing I like best is how it subverts the trope which supplies the show’s title, and which Cersei was given to speak: “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.” Her exile would be that very “middle ground” she herself clearly claimed does not exist.

      And that plays directly into one of the most defining traits in the character of Cersei Lannister: every last bit of knowledge she has about ruling is wrong.

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    25. :
      Violator,

      Or they experience the same losses. So far the show has made up Cersei’s first child with Robert that died. Same as Rhaego. Dany and Cersei had three living children. Cersei’s have all died and Dany’s are starting to die. Now we know that Cersei will have a miscarriage and if they’re supposed to parallel each other they will both miscarry. Possibly during the same moment, when Dany attacks KL.

      Cercei will miscarry for sure and her child will die or will be Nights King sacrifice[and she Nights Queen] ..Dannys baby gonna live ..because the Targaryen bloodline will need to live.and because Jon cannot have legitimate childrens with other womens[dont count Sansa or Arya..he will still see them as his sisters+Sansa cannot bear children after what Ramsay did to her and is afraid of the sex with mens]..only with Danny.Also Mirri Muz Dur prophesied that Danny gonna give birth to a living childwhen she goes to Westeros ..As for the parallels ..Danny hasnt so much parallels with Cercei as has Sansa[read my comment bellow if you interested]

        Quote  Reply

    26. Artemisia,

      Sansa cannot bear children after what Ramsay did to her and is afraid of the sex with mens

      What? This seems like an assumption you’re making not based on anything the show has said.

      Also Mirri Muz Dur prophesied that Danny gonna give birth to a living childwhen she goes to Westeros

      Mirri Maz Duur’s “prophecy” is about when Drogo would return to her, not about her capability of having children.

        Quote  Reply

    27. Enjoyable read, thank you!

      While showing mercy to an exiled Cersei and her child is an excellent way for Dany to announce to Westeros that she wants to be a just and fair ruler, uninterested in ” an eye for an eye,” I don’t think she will get the chance. I see Cersei being taken down when her last, mad grab for power goes horribly awry and consumes her instead.

        Quote  Reply

    28. Artemisia,
      Why would the Targaryen bloodline need to live? If anything has become clear is that the Targaryens need to go and I for one hope and think that the Targaryen line will die out. The 7k need to move on from Targaryens and the IT needs to be melted down. So that means that Dany will die and that Jon will either die or reject the Targaryen name.

      Also GRRM originally had Jon be in love with Arya so the whole sibling thing isn’t really an issue. If Sansa wouldn’t be able to have children after being raped than neither should Dany who was also raped by your logic. But nowhere has it been suggested that Sansa isn’t able to have children so I really don’t know how you figured that one out.

      How did MMD prophesize Dany was going to give birth to a living child when she goes to Westeros? I never considered what she said as an actual prophecy but more as a statement of how likely it would be for Dany to bear a living child.

      I am literally responding to a post that talks about how Dany and Cersei (and Jon and Jaime) are foils so… On this level, they clearly do have parallels, they even made up a whole child that wasn’t there in the books to make the parallel between Cersei and Dany and their “children”.

        Quote  Reply

    29. Nice article! Let’s see how it plays out.

      Somewhat off-topic.

      > Sorry ladies. This isn’t Lord of the Rings.

      Eowyn responding to the Witch-King that she wasn’t a man is somewhat irrelevant, considering it was actually Merry who stabbed with the Dunedain dagger. I don’t want to undervalue her role, I just want to remark that that “prophesy” may have been more about hobbit versus man (the race) than woman versus man (the sex).

        Quote  Reply

    30. Patrick,
      It just occurred to me that your exile suggestion reflects a major episode of mercy over vengeance in history. IMO, the Napoleonic wars were the real First World War. At the end, Wellington and the allies sent the despised-but-royal Boney into comfortable exile. He and his marshals of course schemed to flee Elba and resume command of the army to reclaim his crown. One would think that when he met his Waterloo after a 100-day campaign, they would have finally executed him. No. They sent him back into much less comfortable and more remote exile on St. Helena. So there is precedent for such treatment of Cersei. It’s less likely for her because the Mediaeval period was so much more brutal than Enlightened proto-Romantic Europe. And Bonaparte’s crimes were essentially misguided acts of war and not as inhumane and heinous as hers.

      Artemisia,

      I believe Sansa CAN bear children. Roose and Ramsay wanted the marriage so a STark-Bolton child could cement their hold on the North. Right before she was splatted to death, Myranda said to Sansa “You can’t die. Your father was warden of the North. Ramsay needs you. Oh, I suppose he doesn’t need all of you. Just the parts he’ll use to make his heir, until you’ve given him a boy or two and he’s finished using them.”

        Quote  Reply

    31. :
      Artemisia,
      Also GRRM originally had Jon be in love with Arya so the whole sibling thing isn’t really an issue. If Sansa wouldn’t be able to have children after being raped than neither should Dany who was also raped by your logic. But nowhere has it been suggested that Sansa isn’t able to have children so I really don’t know how you figured that one out.

      I would think it would depend on the severity of the rape. But the difference between Dany and Sansa is that eventually Dany gets pregnant, and Sansa doesn’t. Even after Ramsay supposedly visits her “every night”. So I don’t think it would be unfathomable if she couldn’t bear children.

      So either the Stark name ends here or lives on in some other way. Of course the Stark line would be alive in Jon and Dany’s child, but I strongly suspect it would bear the Targaryen name. Unless they have twins and one is named Stark and the other Targaryen?

        Quote  Reply

    32. fdr:
      Nice article! Let’s see how it plays out.

      Somewhat off-topic.

      > Sorry ladies. This isn’t Lord of the Rings.

      Eowyn responding to the Witch-King that she wasn’t a man is somewhat irrelevant, considering it was actually Merry who stabbed with the Dunedain dagger. I don’t want to undervalue her role, I just want to remark that that “prophesy” may have been more about hobbit versus man (the race) than woman versus man (the sex).

      It’s a fair point, and I know that Merry seems to get the loop hole too, but Merry stabs the Witch King though the back of the leg, behind the knee, and Eowyn gets him between crown and mantle, so I think we need to give the victory to Eowyn.

        Quote  Reply

    33. LadyGoodman:
      Enjoyable read, thank you!

      While showing mercy to an exiled Cersei and her child is an excellent way for Dany to announce to Westeros that she wants to be a just and fair ruler,uninterested in ” an eye for an eye,” I don’t think she will get the chance. I see Cersei being taken down when her last, mad grab for power goes horribly awry and consumes her instead.

      Yeah, I don’t really see Dany being the one to offer Cersei mercy, anyway.

        Quote  Reply

    34. Patrick Sponaugle: It’s a fair point, and I know that Merry seems to get the loop hole too, but Merry stabsthe Witch King though the back of the leg, behind the knee, and Eowyn gets him between crown and mantle, so I think we need to give the victory to Eowyn.

      Thank You, Patrick :o)

        Quote  Reply

    35. :
      Artemisia,
      Why would the Targaryen bloodline need to live? If anything has become clear is that the Targaryens need to go and I for one hope and think that the Targaryen line will die out. The 7k need to move on from Targaryens and the IT needs to be melted down. So that means that Dany will die and that Jon will either die or reject the Targaryen name.

      Also GRRM originally had Jon be in love with Arya so the whole sibling thing isn’t really an issue. If Sansa wouldn’t be able to have children after being raped than neither should Dany who was also raped by your logic. But nowhere has it been suggested that Sansa isn’t able to have children so I really don’t know how you figured that one out.

      How did MMD prophesize Dany was going to give birth to a living child when she goes to Westeros? I never considered what she said as an actual prophecy but more as a statement of how likely it would be for Dany to bear a living child.

      I am literally responding to a post that talks about how Dany and Cersei (and Jon and Jaime) are foils so… On this level, they clearly do have parallels, they even made up a whole child that wasn’t there in the books to make the parallel between Cersei and Dany and their “children”.

      Sorry but Dannys child will survive at the end..She already loosed a child in S1 and died already once[in that childbirth in S1 ]and brought back to life from Mirri..Also her dragons will die so she to get able to bear human childrens in the future..Mirri stated that very well in S1[go re-watch s1 again and will understand ]…If there be a dead baby will be only Cerceis baby ..Danny and Cercei had nothing common in their lives ..Sansa has much more common things with Cercei than Danny .Also and if Jon learn his parentage that will not make him fall in love with the girls t.hat he i all his life has treated like sisters..thats ridiculous and so against his honorable character..Ramsay crippled Theon..so i assume that he had crippled and Sansa too..He was too sadistical towards everyone and sex for him it was to torture the others by cutting off their body parts ..Also i dont think Sansa will want ever want to have sex again with anyone..In her mind that is synonym of torture and suffer ..She will not never ,marry again or will die in the end.Jon and Danny might die ..but they will left behind their son alive and well for sure..Some filming photos of Emilia in Belfast with a baby doll in her hug and the producers in the blue-ray DVD are confirming that[Just go check in the Talking Throne channel for this..is there ]

      Colin Armfield:
      <blockquote
      Artemisia:

      Perhaps Sansa will sail off into the sunset to live happily ever after with Yara.

      lol

      Jay Targ:
      Artemisia,

      What?This seems like an assumption you’re making not based on anything the show has said.

      Mirri Maz Duur’s “prophecy” is about when Drogo would return to her, not about her capability of having children.

      You too..go re-watch S1 and pay attention very carefully to what Mirri says to Danny..Danny haters are just scared with the possible outcome of Danny/Jon having a child in the end..but sorry..will has to happened.

        Quote  Reply

    36. I wonder, what should happen at last with/to Cersei – nothing seems right to me.
      I don’t wish her to be killed by one of our heroes, I can’t imagine, how she can live after all, she did. There would be no place for her in the world of Westeros anymore.
      It seems to me that the only way for her is to commit suicide in a spectacular manner.
      Or that she is killed by dragonfire or… Ghost.

        Quote  Reply

    37. Artemisia: .Ramsay crippled Theon..so i assume that he had crippled and Sansa too..He was too sadistical towards everyone and sex for him it was to torture the others by cutting off their body parts

      No, I don’t think so. Ramsey would not have crippeld Sansa in a way that averted her to give birth to a child, that would be a real heir out of the Stark-line. It was of paramount importance for him for to assure his position as real Warden of the North.

        Quote  Reply

    38. Enharmony1625,

      Except that the show completely invented this storyline to get Sansa up north so a random Ramsay baby wouldn’t really fit in with how her story will go in the books. That’s the simple explanation of why she didn’t get pregnant.

        Quote  Reply

    39. ,

      Yes, that’s very true. And despite what I said above, I don’t think that the show will go there and make Sansa unable to procreate. Besides, I think it’s far more meaningful if she chooses not to marry given her many failed experiences in the past.

        Quote  Reply

    40. Artemisia,

      Maybe you’re the one that needs to rewatch season 1 if you think that Dany was already brought back to life once?

      Also read the original outline in which Jon was already in love with Arya when he still thought she was his sister(and she with him) and the reveal made their relationship possible. The show might have dumbed Jon Snow down but book Jon isn’t some honourable fool and in the end d&d’s ending will follow GRRM’s ending.

      Sansa is probably the only one left in the end to carry on the Stark name, she will not die. You’re basically just saying that rape victims are never able to find happiness in love again, that’s so messed up. You do realise that Dany was a rape victim as well right? So how is Dany magically able to recover and have a sex life but somehow Sansa will always be scarred and can never be in a relationship again? It also makes no sense for Ramsay to do something to render her infertile when he would actually need her to have a kid at some point.

      If Emilia was spotted with a baby doll in Belfast pictures of those would be all over the internet and all fansites etc. You really think they would allow pictures like that to come out when they’ve been super careful with everything else this season? D&D and Kit Harington also said that Jon Snow was dead, and yea he was but he was also brought back. It’s not like they haven’t lied before about plot points etc. Them joking around about “little jon snow” doesn’t guarantee that baby dracarys will end up alive and well or will even exist in the first place.

      Who even cares about Sansa having more parallels with Cersei(according to you that is) when this specific parallel is about Dany and Cersei who up till now have had the same number of kids. Yea maybe Dany will somehow defy the odds and give birth to a living child or maybe she’ll complete the parallel with Cersei and she might miscarry. It’s not exactly unique in Targaryen history, there’s been a ton of miscarriages and stillbirths because of all the incest.

        Quote  Reply

    41. Enharmony1625,

      It would be far more meaningful if she actually finds someone that loves her for her and not for her claim and someone that allows her to carry on the Stark name through her children as she’ll probably be the only one left to carry on that name. Sansa’s arc has been about how she thinks she’ll never find love, not that she doesn’t want to find it It would be extremely tragic for her to end up alone.

        Quote  Reply

    42. ,

      It’s not that I don’t want a nice ending for Sansa, because I do, but if she finds her handsome man and ends up ruling in the end, it seems a bit.. too nicely wrapped up for her. It would be more interesting if there was a twist to it. Either she ends up ruling but alone, or she rekindles her marriage with Tyrion perhaps (not her ideal husband, but someone who would treat her well).

      I don’t really agree that her whole arc has been about how she thinks she’ll never find love. I would say it’s been more about her idealistic, naive world view being shattered, so it would indeed be bittersweet if she didn’t marry in the end, though I wouldn’t say tragic. Sansa is a very different person than she was back in those rosey-eyed days of hers, and she may very well be content with staying single.

      In terms of who might carry on the Stark name if Sansa doesn’t, I think it would be an interesting twist for it to be Arya. There is plenty of foreshadowing for that to be a possibility, and I think the counterpoint of that with the two sisters’ arcs is a nice bit of irony. Though it’s probably more likely that she’ll sail West (with or without Gendry), which is also totally fine with me.

        Quote  Reply

    43. Sansa didnt’ get pregnat from Ramsey, because she knew, how to avoid it (moontea… learning by Cersei). It was clear that as soon as she gave birth to a child (boy!), she would be sentenced to death: no need for a Stark-lady anymore.
      That’s my idea in this case.

      I would like to see Sansa warming up again, but I’d rather see promises in the end, something like awaking, but I don’t believe, that we will see in the show, how it will end up.
      My favorite still is Bronn –

      >>>> *up and away*

        Quote  Reply

    44. Artemisia,

      You too..go re-watch S1 and pay attention very carefully to what Mirri says to Danny..Danny haters are just scared with the possible outcome of Danny/Jon having a child in the end..but sorry..will has to happened.

      I have.. Mirri’s prophecy is about when Drogo will be as he was.

      M: You asked for life, you paid for life.
      D: This is not life. When will he be as he was?
      M: When the sun rises in the west, sets in the east. When the seas go dry. When the mountains blow in the wind like leaves.

      In the books it is also about when Drogo will be as he was.

      “When will he be as he was?” Dany demanded.
      “When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east,” said Mirri Maz Duur. “When the seas go dry and mountains blow in the wind like leaves. When your womb quickens again, and you bear a living child. Then he will return, and not before.
      – AGOT Daenerys IX

      And I agree with you about the likelihood of Daenerys having a child. I’m only opposed to what you said about how “Mirri prophesied that Daenerys will have a child when she comes to Westeros”, when she did no such thing .

        Quote  Reply

    45. Sean C.,

      Yeah, I usually default to referencing the show as I didn’t read the books until just after season 6 aired, so the books aren’t as ingrained in me as the show. 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    46. ,

      In the blu ray commentary Kit, Lena, Dan and Dave joke when Dany says, ‘I can’t have children’. Dan says, ‘We’ll see about that, and Lena says , ‘You haven’t met mini-Kit’, and Dave responds ‘You haven’t met the Little Jon’. They’re just arsing around in a relaxed way while watching the show and they let that one slip.

      When you take that and then add it to all the clumsy foreshadowing of Dany not being able to bare children and Jon having Longclaw so he can make it an heirloom, we can be almost positive that Dany’s getting pregnant and Dany’s going to have a child.

      And why will she? Because she believes she can’t have one which is the ultimate reason for her to have one, where as Cersei feels no doubt that she can bare children, which good reason to believe that loses hers.

      They’re foils – the two queens. Alike in some ways but their fates will be very different. If Dany dies then I would assume that she dies protecting her child and Cersei will die in an act of self destruction because of the loss of hers. I can’t say any more about Cersei’s alleged miscarriage but I will only say that it’s a bit more than a theory.

        Quote  Reply

    47. cos alpha: No, I don’t think so. Ramsey would not have crippeld Sansa in a way that averted her to give birth to a child, that would be a real heir out of the Stark-line. It was of paramount importance for him for to assure his position as real Warden of the North.

      Yeah..but with Ramsay torturing his elements nothing was sure..He may have cut her as he did with Theon

      :
      Artemisia,

      Maybe you’re the one that needs to rewatch season 1 if you think that Dany was already brought back to life once?

      Also read the original outline in which Jon was already in love with Arya when he still thought she was his sister(and she with him) and the reveal made their relationship possible. The show might have dumbed Jon Snow down but book Jon isn’t some honourable fool and in the end d&d’s ending will follow GRRM’s ending.

      Sansa is probably the only one left in the end to carry on the Stark name, she will not die. You’re basically just saying that rape victims are never able to find happiness in love again, that’s so messed up. You do realise that Dany was a rape victim as well right? So how is Dany magically able to recover and have a sex life but somehow Sansa will always be scarred and can never be in a relationship again? It also makes no sense for Ramsay to do something to render her infertile when he would actually need her to have a kid at some point.

      If Emilia was spotted with a baby doll in Belfast pictures of those would be all over the internet and all fansites etc. You really think they would allow pictures like that to come out when they’ve been super careful with everything else this season? D&D and Kit Harington also said that Jon Snow was dead, and yea he was but he was also brought back. It’s not like they haven’t lied before about plot points etc. Them joking around about “little jon snow” doesn’t guarantee that baby dracarys will end up alive and well or will even exist in the first place.

      Who even cares about Sansa having more parallels with Cersei(according to you that is) when this specific parallel is about Dany and Cersei who up till now have had the same number of kids. Yea maybe Dany will somehow defy the odds and give birth to a living child or maybe she’ll complete the parallel with Cersei and she might miscarry. It’s not exactly unique in Targaryen history, there’s been a ton of miscarriages and stillbirths because of all the incest.

      Danny did come up back in life when she almost died in that funeral pyre via Mirris blood magic[sacrifice of Drogo/Rhaego] and the Dragons..Dannys rebirth is similar to Jons resurrection by Mell with fire magic[sacrifice of Shireen] .Also the first idea of GRRM having Arya and Jon and Tyrion didnt work ..because Arya was still a little girl and that would have considered not only incest but also pedophilia ..Do you think that D&D will follow GRRM ideas?You have not been paying attention ..D&D they have change a lot the story and they will continue to change it ..Instead of Arya/Jon/Tyrion ..they have now Danny/Jon/Tyrion[i think Tyrion somehow is in love with Danny] and will have Danny giving birth to Jons child next season for sure..Jon and Danny maybe dies both..but that child will live so the Targaryen and Stark line to continue..This will be reality in S8..unfortunately for you[not for me]..Also i do not say that Sansa wouldnt have a love and sex life after her rape from Ramsay..but i said that Sansa is still on recovering from her trauma in S5 and she will not want to marry someone again or to have sex for now ..Sansa and Danny are different psychologies..Danny is a strong woman who can do things for herself without help and has a vision and a mission in her life..that recovered her childhood traumas and rape trauma with Drogo..She takes the chances from the hair [sa they said im my country]..Sansa in the other way is still that fragile little girl [in the books especially]who havent been recover from the trauma that Geoffrey and Ramsay caused to her..She always had needed help from other peoples for to recover..In S5 if it wasnt Theon to help her escape ..she would have stay under Ramsays control and probably would have been another one ”Reek”in his hands and never would have take her home back[with Littlefingers help and that]..As for Jon/Dannys baby will exist [you doesnt like Jon to have a kid with Danny right?You hate Danny as i see clearly …but want Jon to end up with Sansa ..right?..Dont try to hide it from me..i can feel when someone try to tell lies in me ]..Also that filming photos and that joke in the DVD blue ray ..are hinting very well that in the end will be a Jonerys baby alive and well..A joke is a half truth and where is smoke there is fire..Also that Viserion dies is the payment for a living Targaryen child to be born..in S8….That will be reality in S8 for sure..and you will find yourself in the corner with the disappointed Danny haters fans ..so deal with it and prepare yourself for it to happen ..otherwise your will be very disappointed with the show in S8 and that will be unexpected for you..Im very honest in what i say..so beware.As for Danny/Cercei parallels are less than Sansa /Cercei paralles..Both Sansa and Cercei are from very rich families ,both in their youths heard songs and wanted to marry handsome princes or gallant knights [Sansa Geoffrey and Cercei Rhaegar]..but they end up with insane husbands [Sansa with Ramsay and Cercei with Robert],both experienced rape[Sansa by Ramsay and Cercei by Robert]..Cercei also thinks that Sansa is like her in her youth ..she sees in Sansa something from her…Also Sansa in S7 started to have a hairstyle similar to Cercei in S1 and has inherit some of her habits [Sansa sees Jon as Cercei sees Jaime] and has some her methods of manipulation and little bit from her insanity to punish her enemies with unorthodox/gruesome methods ..Sansa might be Cercei of the North next season…i think Sansa will end up with Gendry ..because the Baratheon line should to live also as the Stark line .I think also Cercei will miscarry for sure next ..but there wont be two miscarriages ..thats just bitter..not bittersweet….Maybe Cercesi baby death will be another one payment for Dannys baby live in the end ..because only death pays for life ..

      Jay Targ:
      Artemisia,

      I have.. Mirri’s prophecy is about when Drogo will be as he was.

      M: You asked for life, you paid for life.
      D: This is not life.When will he be as he was?
      M: When the sun rises in the west, sets in the east.When the seas go dry.When the mountains blow in the wind like leaves.

      In the books it is also about when Drogo will be as he was.

      “When will he be as he was?” Dany demanded.
      “When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east,” said Mirri Maz Duur. “When the seas go dry and mountains blow in the wind like leaves. When your womb quickens again, and you bear a living child. Then he will return, and not before.
      – AGOT Daenerys IX

      And I agree with you about the likelihood of Daenerys having a child.I’m only opposed to what you said about how “Mirri prophesied that Daenerys will have a child when she comes to Westeros”, when she did no such thing .

      She did[when the sun rises in the and sets in the east ..means when Danny[Sun] arrives to Westeros[West] and lives Essos[East]..Also the HOU visions prophesied that Danny in the end will find a husband and will have a son ..That doesnt means literally that she will dies and goes with Drogo and Rhaego in the end as many fans takes too literal that……there is no life after death in GRRM world and Jon proves that telling to Mell that he saw nothing during his death in S6 when she asked him what he saw during his death….but she in the end will have again a husband[Jon]and a child..Dannys actual goal was always to find a home and a family and to be happy[she never was happy with Viserys]…Jons was also always wanted to have a home,a family who would accept him as he is and his children will never be motherless bastards [as he grow up as a motherless bastard].Mirri and the Qarth Warlocks hinted to Danny what her heart desires the most ..a family and a home..as Maester Aemon hinted also to Jon what he has also wanted the most ,a brother,the love of a woman and a newborn son in his hands ..a family and a home.

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    48. Violator,

      I know that it was in the leaks. Doesn’t say anything about Dany though. You’re right they were just arsing around but it didn’t “slip” something like that doesn’t “slip”. And they’ve already been super obvious about it throughout the season so it’s not really a slip as much as just again being super obvious about it. It wasn’t even clumsy foreshadowing, it was completely in your face. All the obvious foreshadowing might be a red herring or maybe she will get pregnant but miscarry or maybe she’ll carry the baby to term and it’ll live happily ever after. We don’t know any of these things for sure though which is my problem with people stating as if this is definitely going to happen. Especially when the show-made parallel suggests something else.

      I for one don’t want this baby though as I’ve already stated I think the Targaryen lineage needs to die out and as previously stated, whenever a Targaryen is born the gods flip a coin and I don’t want a potentially mad Targaryen hanging over the future of Westeros. If you feel otherwise that’s fine but when people state these things as fact when we don’t know what will actually happen that’s when I have issues with it.

        Quote  Reply

    49. ,

      As you said, it’s not for certain but my gut tells me that the baby will be born. I do agree with you in that the Targaryen line needs to die out though, so I don’t know how (or if) the baby will figure into that or if there may be some kind of twist involved. Maybe the fact that Jon isn’t a full Targaryen is enough, so that the baby itself won’t be a pureblood Targaryen?

      Ultimately what I would like to see in the ending is some kind of change in the political system of Westeros. Even if we end up with a good king/queen at the end, it’s a bit standard fantasy fare (LotR, etc.), especially given how political the story is. It would be interesting if there was a movement away from the feudal system that’s existed for so long towards a more democratic one (foreshadowed by Tyrion last season). Or that the 7K are split up and rule themselves once more, and maybe the North moves towards a democratic system? Some kind of change at least..

        Quote  Reply

    50. Patrick Sponaugle,

      Didn’t Eowyn’s sword shatter and her arm become numb? And wasn’t Merry’s sword insribed with magic runes of the Dunedain who battled the Witch-Kind of Angmar? Not that I want to undervalue Eowyn’s courage.

      But for sure, if Eowyn hadn’t been there distracting the Witch-King, Merry wouldn’t have been able to stab him in the back of the knee. So I agree that they won together, but ultimately it was the sword 😉

      Anyway, back to GoT 😉

        Quote  Reply

    51. Artemisia,

      > when the sun rises

      Many think this is (in the books) Quentyn Martell sailing from Dorne and dying in Meereen (“the sun’s son”).

      When the seas dry, could well be when the long night starts (somewhat like a sped-up ice-age) although a frozen sea could also be considered dry. Someone once suggested the NK would simple bypass the wall, which I like.

      When the mountains blow in the winds, I am curious what this could be in the books.

      Or maybe GRRM didn’t mean any foreshadowing with these three statements at all.

        Quote  Reply

    52. A nice read this and the twist of Cersei surviving is interesting to me. I must admit I was one who fully expected her to die in S7, she seemed in real peril with the Mad Queen invading (or so we thought at the time). At this stage I wouldn’t totally rule out her surviving but I suspect she is far more likely to die along with Jamie and perhaps Dany in the final two episodes.

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    53. Jon Snowed:
      A nice read this and the twist of Cersei surviving is interesting to me.I must admit I was one who fully expected her to die in S7, she seemed in real peril with the Mad Queen invading (or so we thought at the time).At this stage I wouldn’t totally rule out her surviving but I suspect she is far more likely to die along with Jamie and perhaps Dany in the final two episodes.

      I’m glad you liked the read, and you’re probably right about her not surviving. I do think my speculation is a long shot.

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    54. Artemisia,

      Enharmony1625,

      Apparently a lot of fans take Dany’s pregnancy as a given because with GRRM if a character says something won’t happen, often it will (and vice versa). I think she will have a child. If both she and Jon live they may be so traumatized by years of fighting and the costs of two brutal wars that they’ll go into exile in Essos rather than rule. That would solve the coin-toss of Targ genes for Westeros.

      Sansa may decide against marriage after all her sexual trauma, trust issues, and the marriage marketplace for highborns. Monsters like Joff and Robin are also quite off-putting. IMO her likeliest husband would be Tyrion, who at least was kind to her. I can’t see ‘Lady Stark’ deigning to marry a dirty, sweaty (illiterate) blacksmith bastard of “that old drunk king.” There are lots of hints in book and show that Arya will marry Gendry. She’d accept his status and already loves him (Maisie was directed to say “I can be your family” like she loved him). And with the GRRM trope reversal principle, after insisting she’s not a lady, she probably will be. Neither feminine nor domestic, she still always sought family and home as diligently and almost as long as Odysseus did. With a morganatic marriage, she will carry the Stark name to their children. Enharmony, those two respect the lives and struggles of the smallfolk. I expect that if they rule anywhere, they will introduce a more just, egalitarian, and representative system. Who knows, it might catch on!

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    55. :
      I for one don’t want this baby though as I’ve already stated I think the Targaryen lineage needs to die out and as previously stated, whenever a Targaryen is born the gods flip a coin and I don’t want a potentially mad Targaryen hanging over the future of Westeros.

      There are tons of totally average Targaryens in Westerosi history. The “madness/greatness” line isn’t literal.

      Enharmony1625:
      Ultimately what I would like to see in the ending is some kind of change in the political system of Westeros. Even if we end up with a good king/queen at the end, it’s a bit standard fantasy fare (LotR, etc.), especially given how political the story is. It would be interesting if there was a movement away from the feudal system that’s existed for so long towards a more democratic one (foreshadowed by Tyrion last season). Or that the 7K are split up and rule themselves once more, and maybe the North moves towards a democratic system? Some kind of change at least..

      In ASOIAF, Westeros as a whole isn’t remotely on course for any sort of democratization, and the North even less so.

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    56. Sean C.:
      In ASOIAF, Westeros as a whole isn’t remotely on course for any sort of democratization, and the North even less so.

      I totally agree. It has always seemed naive of people to assume that there’s going to be some large sweeping democratic reform happening in Westeros in the finale.

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    57. fdr:
      Artemisia,

      > when the sun rises

      Many think this is (in the books) Quentyn Martell sailing from Dorne and dying in Meereen (“the sun’s son”).

      When the seas dry, could well be when the long night starts (somewhat like a sped-up ice-age) although a frozen sea could also be considered dry. Someone once suggested the NK would simple bypass the wall, which I like.

      When the mountains blow in the winds, I am curious what this could be in the books.

      Or maybe GRRM didn’t mean any foreshadowing with these three statements at all.

      i agree…But i think in the show is Danny the sun who rises in the West[Westeros]and sets in the East[Essos],the seas dry is Euron controlling them and leaves no one free to sail except of his navy of course..The Long Night is the Winter who has come and the Mountains blow like leaves is the Wall who fall ..No idk what GRRM will do with those foreshadowing..but we will see in TWOW [Next Year]
      Stark Raven' Rad,

      Stark Raven' Rad:
      Artemisia,

      Enharmony1625,

      Apparently a lot of fans take Dany’s pregnancy as a given because with GRRM if a character says something won’t happen, often it will (and vice versa). I think she will have a child. If both she and Jon live they may be so traumatized by years of fighting and the costs of two brutal wars that they’ll go into exile in Essos rather than rule. That would solve the coin-toss of Targ genes for Westeros.

      Sansa may decide against marriage after all her sexual trauma, trust issues, and the marriage marketplace for highborns.Monsters like Joff and Robin are also quite off-putting. IMO her likeliest husband would be Tyrion, who at least was kind to her. I can’t see ‘Lady Stark’ deigning to marry a dirty, sweaty (illiterate) blacksmith bastard of “that old drunk king.” There are lots of hints in book and show that Arya will marry Gendry. She’d accept his status and already loves him (Maisie was directed to say “I can be your family” like she loved him). And with the GRRM trope reversal principle,after insisting she’s not a lady, she probably will be. Neither feminine nor domestic, she still always sought family and home as diligently and almost as long as Odysseus did. With a morganatic marriage, she will carry the Stark name to their children.Enharmony, those two respect the lives and struggles of the smallfolk. I expect that if they rule anywhere, they will introduce a more just, egalitarian, and representative system.Who knows, it might catch on!

      i agree.

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    58. Patrick Sponaugle: I totally agree. It has always seemed naive of people to assume that there’s going to be some large sweeping democratic reform happening in Westeros in the finale.

      I agree also. People in Westeros are not “matured” enough to live in a democracy.
      One of the main preconditions (if not the fundamental one) is education of all people, including the smalfolk.
      We heard f.ex. nothing about schools for smallfolk-children…
      There would be a lot to do.

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    59. Patrick Sponaugle: I totally agree. It has always seemed naive of people to assume that there’s going to be some large sweeping democratic reform happening in Westeros in the finale.

      I shouldn’t have indicated that I meant a full democracy. That was my bad. And yes, that’s far too big of a leap given where Westeros is now. But like I was saying, some movement beyond the system that is there now seems possible, and hinted at with Tyrion bringing up the Night’s Watch way of choosing their leaders and the Kingsmoot, and Dany’s “break the wheel” thing (which is not in the books, I know — at least not yet as they haven’t met). So there is a thematic undercurrent of political change that should be paid off in some way.

      Realistically there is no time to show whatever change there may be take place, but in this case I think it’s enough to show it at least beginning to take form.

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    60. Violator,

      Hey now Violator… you know better than that. Cover up potential spoilers! Especially ones that you believe to be “more than a theory…” at this point. I haven’t heard this “spoiler,” “theory” or whatever else you want to call it, and now you have spoiled it for me should it be true. Lucky thing I take these “spoilers” with a grain of salt, but really, cover that shit up next time.

      Kinda surprised nobody else jumped on you for that.

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    61. While I doubt any House of Commons will rule Westeros at the end of the story, one of the arcs is the breakdown of feudalism there. Cersei has killed all the leaders of House Tyrell, those weaponized idiots in Dorne killed Doran Martell, and we’ve seen commoners drilling in Winterfell. With the arrival of a character who is clearly a conqueror and liberator but NOT an able ruler, we might see some interesting political shifts as we near the end. (Varys’ dark comment, about the lion who tasted man, suggests whatever shift happens might not make for a happy ending of that arc.)

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    62. Enharmony1625: I shouldn’t have indicated that I meant a full democracy. That was my bad. And yes, that’s far too big of a leap given where Westeros is now. But like I was saying, some movement beyond the system that is there now seems possible, and hinted at with Tyrion bringing up the Night’s Watch way of choosing their leaders and the Kingsmoot, and Dany’s “break the wheel” thing (which is not in the books, I know — at least not yet as they haven’t met). So there is a thematic undercurrent of political change that should be paid off in some way.

      Realistically there is no time to show whatever change there may be take place, but in this case I think it’s enough to show it at least beginning to take form.

      I regret using the word naive, didn’t mean to apply it to you, or assume you were talking about full on democracy. I think it would be interesting to see some motion in that direction, but it would be more likely on the Magna Carta level, which is often mentioned as a forerunner to things like democratic constitutions and legal reforms, but mostly limited the role of kings to benefit the rest of the aristocracy. But still, a start.

      If you are interested (particularly because you brought up the Night’s Watch election system and the Ironborn Kingsmoot) I’ve written a little bit about that here:

      https://patricksponaugle.com/2016/11/08/election-update-democracy-in-westeros/

      (Of course, no one is required or obligated to read my old stuff, just putting this out there because it’s more or less germane in regards to this side conversation)

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    63. Enharmony1625: I shouldn’t have indicated that I meant a full democracy. That was my bad. And yes, that’s far too big of a leap given where Westeros is now. But like I was saying, some movement beyond the system that is there now seems possible, and hinted at with Tyrion bringing up the Night’s Watch way of choosing their leaders and the Kingsmoot, and Dany’s “break the wheel” thing (which is not in the books, I know — at least not yet as they haven’t met). So there is a thematic undercurrent of political change that should be paid off in some way.

      See, I think you’re reading the Dany/Tyrion scene backwards. The point of that scene, and a few others that season, is to highlight how Dany is supposedly barren and can’t have an heir — setting up the miracle pregnancy that will generate said heir. It’s not about setting up an alternative system in lieu of blood succession; Tyrion just raises that in the discussion as part of the pretext for putting the lack of an heir in the audience’s minds.

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    64. Stark Raven' Rad,

      Tyrion is a rapist. No thanks. Grrm has called Tyrion a villain and book Tyrion is horrible. Don’t think Grrm would intend for Sansa to end up with someone like that. Nevermind that she would have to give up her last name, if Tyrion lives he will probably be the last Lannister, he’s not going to let his name die out for the Stark name. Despite how much the show has changed things they’ll still keep to Grrm’s end game.

      Grrm has stated that Gendry and Arya’s paths will be separate. Where would they even rule? Is Gendry the “illiterate blacksmith” as you called him going to be ruling the seat of House Baratheon despite him having no leadership experience whatsoever? The fact that they didn’t even have Gendry mention Arya last season even though it would’ve been a bonding moment for Jon and Gendry is very telling. I think Gendry might die or fade into obscurity and Arya will go west of westeros (as indicated by that line in the show and the fact that her whole talk with Nymeria was basically just foreshadowing for herself. It’s a very common trope that someone who has found their home again after a long time doesn’t fit in anymore after everything they’ve been through.

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    65. Cersei doesn’t strike me as one to go quietly into the night no matter how many times she is offered exile as a way out. Also, while I agree that the number of pregnancy related deaths are high in GoT, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was one more. My theory is that the “little brother” that the prophecy said would kill Cersei is the unnamed little brother of her other children, aka the baby she is now carrying. It would then be just another case of High Valerian being one of those languages where a single word/phrase has multiple meanings.

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    66. : Tyrion is a rapist. No thanks. Grrm has called Tyrion a villain and book Tyrion is horrible. Don’t think Grrm would intend for Sansa to end up with someone like that…

      Grrm has stated that Gendry and Arya’s paths will be separate.

      Have you read all the books? He referred to Tyrion as a villain before he’d even written the third book. I personally think his path for Tyrion changed as he’s writing since I actually saw him as that in the beginning. Like with Jaime however that slowly turns around with events. George has stated numerous times that Tyrion is his favorite character and I think that’s being reflected. I’m among many that believe his show storyline followed the books very well…

      George did say that Arya and Gendry have separated in the books, BUT, he also said we’ll have to keep reading to find out if they ever reunite. Gendry hasn’t disappeared in the books. We know where he is; smithing at the Inn and the Crossroads. He specifically popped up in Brienne’s arc when it wasn’t really necessary.

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    67. Patrick Sponaugle,

      No worries. No offence taken. And yeah, I think the best we can hope for is some hint, or some movement in a direction away from feudalism. Heck, maybe it’s a way of setting up a sequel series down the line. 🙂

      Patrick Sponaugle:
      If you are interested (particularly because you brought up the Night’s Watch election system and the Ironborn Kingsmoot) I’ve written a little bit about that here:

      https://patricksponaugle.com/2016/11/08/election-update-democracy-in-westeros/

      (Of course, no one is required or obligated to read my old stuff, just putting this out there because it’s more or less germane in regards to this side conversation)

      Thanks, I’ll give that a read!

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    68. Sean C.,

      Yeah, that could be another way of reading it. I just thought it was telling given all the talk of change and “breaking the wheel” that Tyrion did last season. And coupled with the Northern Lords saying that perhaps they should have “chosen” Sansa seemed to indicate some movement along those lines. Or maybe I’m just reading too much into that too.. 🙂

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    69. Jaehaerys,

      I read the “more than a theory” thing as a reference to Maggy’s prophecy. Perhaps I’m wrong. But in any case, considering the prophecy said she would only have 3 kids (meaning surviving birth), and so far that prophecy has been accurate,I’m pretty sure its fair to say the idea that Cersi’s baby doesent survive is more than a theory.

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    70. :

      Tyrion is a rapist. No thanks. Grrm has called Tyrion a villain and book Tyrion is horrible. Don’t think Grrm would intend for Sansa to end up with someone like that. Nevermind that she would have to give up her last name, if Tyrion lives he will probably be the last Lannister, he’s not going to let his name die out for the Stark name. Despite how much the show has changed things they’ll still keep to Grrm’s end game.

      Grrm has stated that Gendry and Arya’s paths will be separate. Where would they even rule? Is Gendry the “illiterate blacksmith” as you called him going to be ruling the seat of House Baratheon despite him having no leadership experience whatsoever? The fact that they didn’t even have Gendry mention Arya last season even though it would’ve been a bonding moment for Jon and Gendry is very telling. I think Gendry might die or fade into obscurity and Arya will go west of westeros (as indicated by that line in the show and the fact that her whole talk with Nymeria was basically just foreshadowing for herself. It’s a very common trope that someone who has found their home again after a long time doesn’t fit in anymore after everything they’ve been through.

      I concur about book Tyrion. Show Tyrion OTOH has been a wavering hero, and, like many characters, is darker grey than his show counterpart, who charmingly refused the Volantis prostitute. Yet IMO some of his Season 7 doings put his decisions and perhaps loyalties into question. The main reason I think he and Sansa might re-marry is that–besides them being a power couple–she seems to have some redemptive influence on susceptible, redeemable men (Sandor, Tyrion, and arguably, Dontos. But not Ramsay, Joffrey, or Littlefinger). If they are reunited in S8E1, it’s possible that she’ll chat him up and perhaps unconsciously turn him for the better. But as you say, book Endgame will rule.

      You’re correct about GRRM’s comment re: Arya and Gendry, but what would GRRM do if he does intend to pair them–tell the public? Doubtful. I planned to add a question mark after “illiterate”, but my post went into moderation so I didn’t dare tamper with it. Gendry is not well educated, but he probably is literate considering that elite armourer Tobho Mott was his master. By season’s end Westeros will be considerably depopulated, making Gendry very promoteable. He could rule the Stormlands or be Arya’s consort if she happens to inherit Winterfell or a castle. Under certain highly improbable circumstances, he might even inherit the throne!

      And yes, there is considerable foreshadowing that Arya will go west of Westeros, perhaps following the actions of Queen Nymeria. Often wanderers do find out that “You can’t go home again”. But GRRM is a conscious overturner of tropes. You may be unaware that for some time I’ve proposed here and elsewhere that Arya’s Hero’s Journey loosely parallels that of Odysseus. My theory was boosted last season first when Nymeria, like Argos, recognised its owner but could not go home. And then Arya contended with the buffoon guards who refused her entrance. Benioff, who wrote the screenplay of Troy, actually admitted that this development was based on Odysseus’s difficulty in gaining entrance to his home. Suffice it to say that there are many parallels between the key plot points of the sagas of Arya and Odysseus, most of all that they both journeyed for years trying desperately to reach home and family. In Season 7, Arya got home, killed the bad guy, and saved her sister from possibly joining with the man who would be king of the North. Similarly, Odysseus got home, killed the bad guys, and saved his wife from marrying the man who would be king of Ithaca. After all that, if Arya survives AND has a position in post-war Winterfell, I think she’ll stay put.

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    71. Patrick Sponaugle: I totally agree. It has always seemed naive of people to assume that there’s going to be some large sweeping democratic reform happening in Westeros in the finale.

      From a purely realistic standpoint, I agree wholeheartedly. However, I would also say that, by those standards, the people of the Bay-Formerly-Known-as-Slavers’ are no more advanced than their Westerosi counterparts. Yet, it appears we are expected to assume that they are going to fare well and simply overcome centuries of structural inequality, prejudice and exploitation to design their own regime and institutions under the watchful eye of former boytoy/mercenary-turned-political juggernaut Daario…

      If we are to believe, by the end of season 8, that Meereen has not descended into utter chaos and civil war, we have no reason to oppose the idea that Westeros will turn into a Jeffersonian democracy overnight. ^^

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    72. ACME,

      To add to this, Aegon the Conqueror came to Westeros with his three dragons and COMPLETELY changed their political system in a matter of a couple years… the Seven Kingdoms were split into chaos with way too many kings during the Age of Heroes, and Aegon came over and changed shit up.

      Not to say that I think this will happen with Dany, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see some sort of shift. Her weapons, in my opinion, are a big factor into this as Aegon’s were 300 years back. She has the means to change things, and after the Great War I’m guessing most of Westerosi society will be dead/ depleted. Not saying there will be a big shift, but its not like this wouldn’t make any sense at all. Her ancestor essentially did a very similar thing.

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    73. Jaehaerys,
      To be honest, I would not go so far as to say that Aegon’s invasion changed the political structure and/or culture of Westeros; it “merely” altered its geographical boundaries.

      Before Aegon, Westeros was divided into seven/eight sovereign nations, all of which abided by the rules of monarchy. After his conquest, the exact same political regime, namely monarchy, was kept in place but the seven/eight regions were “federalised” under a super entity known as the Seven Kingdoms, each one of them retaining its historical power structure and/or ruler (except for those whose ruler had died, of course) : the Starks stayed in charge of the North, the Martells’ rule over Dorne was maintained, the Lannisters kept their stronghold over the West, etc.
      Aegon changed very little to the overall political culture of the country.

      Furthermore, and that may be merely a sidenote, the notion that Westeros used to be noticeably chaotic and that the Targaryens’ arrival brought about an unprecendented era of peace and prosperity is not quite accurate. By all accounts, the pre-Targaryen millenia were not abnormally belligerent and the post-Conquest era can hardly be singled out for its calm : between the Faith Militant Uprising, the Dance of the Dragons, the Conquest of Dorne, the First, Second, Third and Fourth Blackfyre Rebellions, the Peake Uprising and the War of the Ninepenny Kings… One would have to be particularly forgiving to call the three centuries of Targaryen rule “peaceful”.

      I completely understand why Daenerys, or any Targaryen for that matter, would defend the idea that Westeros was granted quiet and unity by the Dragons; after all, it gives their invasion legitimacy after the fact. Instead of having to say “we invaded you because we could and we did not give a toss about your opinion or welfare”, they can say “we invaded you, yes, but at the end of the day, it was a good thing because you could not rule yourselves properly”. However, that is nothing more than post-rationalisation designed to make a straightforward military endeavour look like a liberation.

      In this regard, it is not that different from the very classic “we have to conquer (and exploit) you so that we can civilise you” rhetoric that every colonised nation has had to stomach from its imperial ruler.

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    74. ACME,

      Yeah, I’m not the biggest history guy so I wouldn’t exactly know about all that… but I wasn’t going so far as to say the Targaryen rule was fully peaceful, just that Aegon specifically brought about huge change. And that he was able to accomplish this with his three large dragons.

      My thinking was this: Aegon basically scared everybody into following his rule (besides Dorne I guess) because if you opposed him, you burned. Yet he is known as being a great King who unified Westeros. People listened to him because they were all too afraid of what would happen if they didn’t. Or they didn’t listen to him and were burned.

      Aegon could have set up any political system he wanted. Westeros would have listened to him just as they did. So why couldn’t Daenerys, who is essentially the second-coming of Aegon, set up any political system she wanted?

      Again, I’m not saying this is going to happen, I was just saying it isn’t out of the realm of possibilities. I really do not know too much about politics or history, but just speaking from show and books knowledge, it doesn’t seem crazy to me that Daenerys could bring about some political change with what she has to work with.

      Assuming Westeros isn’t ruled by a colder-hearted King at the end… 😉

      Side note: The “chaos” I was referring to in Westeros before Aegon’s Conquest was the Age of Heroes (I think? Or the Dawn Age?) where there were way too many Kings to count and the realm was in utter chaos. I might have been thinking about the period of time before the time that Aegon came, if that makes sense.

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    75. ACME: From a purely realistic standpoint, I agree wholeheartedly. However, I would also say that, by those standards, the people of the Bay-Formerly-Known-as-Slavers’ are no more advanced than their Westerosi counterparts. Yet, it appears we are expected to assume that they are going to fare well and simply overcome centuries of structural inequality, prejudice and exploitation to design their own regime and institutions under the watchful eye of former boytoy/mercenary-turned-political juggernaut Daario…

      If we are to believe, by the end of season 8, that Meereen has not descended into utter chaos and civil war, we have no reason to oppose the idea that Westeros will turn into a Jeffersonian democracy overnight. ^^

      Hey, I agree with your later comment that Aegon didn’t really create a major change in the style of government, instead of a local king, there was a local High Lord as a vassal to a king.

      But I do take issue that the current relative peace in Meereen should be considered so out of bounds that it would justify Jeffersonian democracy in Westeros. (I know some of your comment is exaggerated for effect, but lets go with this a bit.)

      Meereen might still collapse under Daario’s rule as Dany’s satrap, even if we don’t see it happen in Season Eight. After Dany (who had been talked up to be the Messiah by evangelists for R’hllor) roasted/captured the Wise Masters’ fleet with overwhelming air support – the inhabitants of the Bay of Dragons might not be too eager to overthrow Daario implementing Dany’s reforms.

      Now, I agree that Daario’s rule is probably going to end badly, but I could conjecture the R’hllorians keeping things stable for a little while.

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    76. Jaehaerys: My thinking was this:Aegon basically scared everybody into following his rule (besides Dorne I guess) because if you opposed him, you burned.Yet he is known as being a great King who unified Westeros.

      Is he known as a great king or as a great conqueror ? Is there any popular fondness left for him and his legacy or merely an acceptance of his victory and its consequences ? Neither the show nor the books have been particularly clear in this regard. At best, it appears that people do not mind that they were conquered 3 centuries ago; at worst, it seems they waited for the Targaryens to crumble in order to reclaim the sovereignty their conquest deprived them of (cf. Northerners and Dornish people).

      Furthermore, we might have to question the ethics of conquest and violently imposing changes onto an unwilling population in the name of the “greater good”. It is strikingly similar to what Jaime said about Cersei : “But after we’ve won and there’s no one left to oppose us, when people are living peacefully in the world she built, do you really think they’ll wring their hands over the way she built it?”
      Is that what we have to expect from Daenerys the Conqueror as well ?

      I do realise that many people bristle at the idea of comparing Daenerys and Cersei because the former is a better person than the latter but I believe the parallel is, in this case, unavoidable. Even if we assume that Aegon engineered significant and positive change for Westeros (I would argue he did neither), was it worth the tens of thousands of deaths and the terror he brought with him ? How many “fields of fire” is Daenerys’s “better world” worth ?
      We can of course defend the “omelet and egg” philosophy (^^) but, in this case, I would say that I would very much prefer for the people of Westeros themselves to decide how many eggs their omelet is worth, without the violent intervention of an ambitious outsider.

      So why couldn’t Daenerys, who is essentially the second-coming of Aegon, set up any political system she wanted?

      Because dragons can be killed. It is difficult, of that there is no doubt, but it can be done. If she pushes too far, an uprising will occur and her dragons may not make it through. And what is a Daenerys sans dragon worth ?
      That has always been the main problem with her successive rules. She has a “Leviathan”, her dragons, and that is pretty much it sadly. There is not much more to her as a queen* than the brute force and divine prestige conferred to her by her children.

      * As a person, there is obviously a lot more to her than that. But as a queen, she is solely defined by them.

      Patrick Sponaugle: After Dany (who had been talked up to be the Messiah by evangelists for R’hllor) roasted/captured the Wise Masters’ fleet with overwhelming air support – the inhabitants of the Bay of Dragons might not be too eager to overthrow Daario implementing Dany’s reforms.

      Hello there !

      I would agree wholeheartedly with you on this point if there were such a thing as “Dany’s reforms”. Unfortunately, as far as I can see, there is not. Aside from the abolition of slavery, which is very significant in and of itself of course, Daenerys introduced exactly zero structural change to the lands she conquered.

      If I understood correctly, Daario was not left in charge to oversee the implementation of her policies (of which there is none), he was left in charge so the Second Sons (a bunch of mercenaries !) would keep the peace in the Bay while the people come together and invent their own reforms. A people made up of, roughly speaking, 20% former slavers with all the money and institutional know-how and 80% former slaves with extremely limited means and education.
      The idea that these two blocks are going to overcome centuries of animosity and disdain to discuss peacefully and come up with a functional and equally beneficial political regime is beyond wishful thinking in my opinion.

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    77. ACME,

      To each his own I guess, with regards to Aegon. I imagine he could’ve gotten away with doing whatever he so pleased once he conquered Westeros, including making a radical political change, but we shall never know.

      I almost mentioned how similar Dany/ Aegon’s conquests seem to be with Cersei’s own restoration of power and I completely agree. That comment that Jamie makes about how no one will care how she rebuilds the world really does parallel well with Dany’s conquest. Can’t say scaring people into submission is the best way to unite the continent, but this does bring us to the “egg and the omelet” argument, which is pointless for us to discuss.

      As for her dragons being killed… I was more of taking this in the hypothetical situation where Dany and all her dragons live through the Great War. This would be one of the only ways of course for Dany to have enough power in the end to make some sort of political change that I was talking about. And this isn’t even to say that this “political shift” will stick per se, just saying that I think Dany has the power to implement such a change.

      Just to put this out there, I am not saying that Dany is a great ruler or anything (I don’t like taking part in these discussions since it is really all personal preferences and can be argued either way), just that I think she, if in the end she made it out with a dragon, has enough power to implement a political shift. That’s all I was trying to say.

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    78. Sorry to be so late to the party but thank you, Patrick for such an interesting and thought-provoking article. You set my head spinning in a good way!

      Your idea of an exiled Cersei is excellent. Let’s see…

      1) She loses “all she holds dear” = power. If she is pregnant and brings the baby to term, he/she could be fostered away from her. Cersei’d grow old (and no more “beautiful”, one other thing she really cares about) alone, not deferred to but as a “beggar queen” at the mercy of the goodwill and pity of the merchant princes in the Free Cities. She’d hate every minute of it. Oh yes, please, let her live materially reasonably comfortably though not ostentatiously, on the level of a prosperous merchant, still better than any smallfolk she so sneers at. But let her know and suffer the pity and shame of her fall from power for years, decades to come! She was wrong about the game of thrones when she talked with Ned. Sometimes you don’t win but you don’t die, you just linger on as a powerless loser. What mental torment to proud Cersei! Lovely!

      2) Your idea of Jon showing mercy to Cersei and her unborn child and letting her go into exile for the sake of her unborn baby is brilliant. There’s the call-back to Ned, and, afterwards, he’d immediately be in confilct with the two most important women in his life: Arya, who wants to murder Cercei for misguided personal reasons, and Dany, who wants Cersei preferrably dead but at least captured and submitting for political reasons. Neither of them will be happy about Jon letting Cersei go into excile. Oh, and Sansa won’t be too happy either. So, much dillemmas for us fans to ponder over and discuss. Great! 🙂

      3) Cersei’s excile could be bittersweet and represents a loose end not neatly tied up… This is where I let my imagination run wild. Who’s to say that after Dany/Jon are victorious over the Night’s King and the army of the dead that all’s well. Whichever way it happens, and the book series and the TV show will end up on a hopeful note… but also a seed of doubt. We shouldn’t forget Cersei’s baby. She might have to claim the baby is her husband King Euron’s and somehow fudge the dates. She knows that if her baby was thought to be Jaime’s, he/she would be thought to be an incest abomination. It didn’t matter with Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen because the Lannisters were all-powerful back then. But for Cersei to claim any power through this baby, she has to claim it’s somehow legitimate, certainly not the son/daughter of her brother Jaime. So she has to say it’s her husband King Euron’s, the Seven rest his soul.

      Now, my real wild imagination steps in, for what happens afterwards. This won’t be in the show or the books, but I’m already imagining a trade war between the Free Cities and Westeros. They’ll use Cersei’s child and his/her grievance, promises of a throne to mount war on Westeros, probably during the reign of Dany’s/Jon’s heir. Iron Islanders might join because they thought this heir is King Euron’s legitimate progeny. And so it goes on…

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    79. Jaehaerys: I think she, if in the end she made it out with a dragon, has enough power to implement a political shift.That’s all I was trying to say.

      I am certain she could and possibly even would try but even with the two dragons she had left, it would be risky, I believe. Were the Westerosi nobility to be vehemently opposed to her policies, I have little doubt they would end up pooling their resources, building a few of Cersei’s patented giant crossbows and shooting at the dragons. One of those tools was not enough to kill a dragon but who can say what 10 or 15 of those things could achieve ?

      So for the sake of her and her children’s safety, it would probably be wiser for her not to try to force her reforms through. Collaboration, whenever possible, is usually the way to go ^^

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    80. As to the future of Westeros, regardless of who ends up on the Iron Throne – if there’s a central governmet at all.

      It won’t be a miraculous jump from feudalism to democracy. Let’s just take a look at western European history (GRRM’s stated frame of reference). Feudalism gives a lot of power to local lords, central government (king) is weak. To break feudalism, the central government (king) has to gain power and defeat and break the power of the powerful lords… But then you might end up with absolutism! (Think Louis XIV of France). So then the next step is to wrest power away from this absolute ruler and give it not to the feudal lords of old but to some kind of a representative organ comprising lords and even -gasp- “commons” in the form of wealthy burghers in towns and non-noble landed gentry. Nobody cares about the smallfolk. That kind of democracy is still a long way off.

      My point is that the best chance of breaking feudalism is powerful central monarchy, approaching absolutism, but that can’t last because the descendants of feudal lords and newly wealthy middle classes see common ground in limiting the power of the monarch… and gradually the smallfolk (= most of the population) will want their share, too.

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    81. talvikorppi:
      Sorry to be so late to the party but thank you, Patrick for such an interesting and thought-provoking article. You set my head spinning in a good way!

      Now, my real wild imagination steps in, for what happens afterwards. This won’t be in the show or the books, but I’m already imagining a trade war between the Free Cities and Westeros. They’ll use Cersei’s child and his/her grievance, promises of a throne to mount war on Westeros, probably during the reign of Dany’s/Jon’s heir. Iron Islanders might join because they thought this heir is King Euron’s legitimate progeny. And so it goes on…

      Thank you for this long and detailed comment! I like the idea of imaging the post-Game of Thrones set up with Cersei in hypothetical exile.

      And all the crazy things that might happen.

      Arya: Well I’m going off to kill Cersei. Bye!

      Jaime: Ugh, I’m too weak from all these wounds to go to Cersei and protect her. Brienne!

      Brienne: Ser Jaime…

      Jaime: Go seek out my sister, and protect her and my child from Arya Stark.

      Brienne: WHAT?

      Jaime: Promise me, Brienne.

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    82. Hello there !

      I would agree wholeheartedly with you on this point if there were such a thing as “Dany’s reforms”. Unfortunately, as far as I can see, there is not. Aside from the abolition of slavery, which is very significant in and of itself of course, Daenerysintroduced exactly zero structural change to the lands she conquered.

      Hey, I do appreciate this discussion. The “reforms” was me generously categorizing Dany’s abolition of slavery and some of her attempts to provide social services to the populace, the dorms and food distribution that people were soon afraid to go to, because of Ayn Randian hooligans taking advantage.

      Dany did mention something about giving Daario some instructions that she expected him to carry out, so that’s kind of what I was talking about. Dany has some idea of how she wanted Meereen to be administered, and Daario would be her satrap to perform that in her name.

      I don’t think we’re arguing so much or if we are we should dial back to the initial premise (or not, I don’t want to bully you…) about changes in Meereen means we should accept changes in Westeros. In your last comment, in seems like you imply that there really are no changes, so if so, major changes in Westeros aren’t necessarily a given from Dany’s time in Essos.

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    83. talvikorppi: My point is that the best chance of breaking feudalism is powerful central monarchy, approaching absolutism, but that can’t last because the descendants of feudal lords and newly wealthy middle classes see common ground in limiting the power of the monarch… and gradually the smallfolk (= most of the population) will want their share, too.

      That is entirely true. However, we have yet to see any significant evidence of a merchant class, aka the driving force of any post-feudal/modern democratisation, in Westeros. The only example of a proto-bourgeois we have had so far was, out of all people, Littlefinger : a very minor lord whose power stemmed not from whatever insignificant nobility title he was born with but from his work and subsequent accumulation of wealth.

      Structurally speaking, Westeros as we know it seems no where near ready for a democratisation process.

      Patrick Sponaugle: I don’t think we’re arguing so much or if we are we should dial back to the initial premise (or not, I don’t want to bully you…) about changes in Meereen means we should accept changes in Westeros. In your last comment, in seems like you imply that there really are no changes, so if so, major changes in Westeros aren’t necessarily a given from Dany’s time in Essos.

      No bullying whatsoever, do not worry ! My main point is that the way in which the Meereen storyline ended spells, from a solely historical/realistic viewpoint, utter disaster for the region. Yet, it appears that the show intends for us to assume that everything is going to go well in the newly named Bay of Dragons. If it truly is the case, then an equally spectacular (and unrealistic) jump from a feudal system to some sort of parliamentary monarchy may be in the works for season 8 Westeros.
      If one is deemed plausible, the other is no longer that far-fetched…

      And to stay on topic, I too would love for Cersei to survive but I believe the biggest opponent to that hope is Cersei herself. During the Battle of the Blackwaters, she believed she was cornered and defeated and her solution was to kill herself. With Tommen in tow. That is our Cersei. She would rather die (with her child !) on the throne than live away from it.

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    84. And to stay on topic, I too would love for Cersei to survive but I believe the biggest opponent to that hope is Cersei herself. During the Battle of the Blackwaters, she believed she was cornered and defeated and her solution was to kill herself. With Tommen in tow. That is our Cersei. She would rather die (with her child !) on the throne than live away from it.

      I agree. Cersei has always been her own worst enemy, somehow failing upwards despite herself.

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    85. Patrick Sponaugle,

      I really thought it was going to be a turning point for her when she said, “Maybe you’ll remember that I chose to help.” It actually made me think for a second that this could be how Cersei lives, by helping out in the Great War because she sees no other way of surviving, so that maybe Daenerys will let her and her family live after all is said and done.

      But nope, Cersei’s treachery, suspicion, and desire for power outweigh most rational thinking. It was very much in her character to backstab, but she definitely tricked me for a hot second that she had chose to help, for her own means of survival afterwards. I completely understand all of her reasoning, but unfortunately for her it will lead to her inevitable destruction.

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    86. ACME: During the Battle of the Blackwaters, she believed she was cornered and defeated and her solution was to kill herself. With Tommen in tow. That is our Cersei. She would rather die (with her child !) on the throne than live away from it.

      Potential foreshadowing for Cersei’s demise right there. She’ll end up blowing up KL to smithereens rather than let anyone else take it. I know that’s not exactly a new thought, but I personally believe this is how Cersei will die.

      I think they took the Valonqar thing out of the show because this was D&D’s plan for her all along. Of course, when season 8 airs I could be completed wrong, but that’s what I’m sticking with for now.

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    87. Patrick Sponaugle:

      And all the crazy things that might happen.

      Arya: Well I’m going off to kill Cersei. Bye!

      Jaime: Ugh, I’m too weak from all these wounds to go to Cersei and protect her. Brienne!

      Brienne: Ser Jaime…

      Jaime: Go seek out my sister, and protect her and my child from Arya Stark.

      Brienne: WHAT?

      Jaime: Promise me, Brienne.

      Oh, Patrick, that was a lark! You must have been channeling Ten Bears, who often does humourous dialogues. Maybe this could even convince HBO to do a sequel!

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    88. Stark Raven’ Rad: Oh, Patrick, that was a lark! You must have been channeling Ten Bears, who often does humourous dialogues. Maybe this could even convince HBO to do a sequel!

      🙂 I am ready for that sequel!

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    89. I’ve loved Cersei as a villian. She’s cunning, and doesn’t care who gets in her way. I think she will go into exile, but go mad due to her losing another child. She won’t win, that’s obvious, but I’d like her to live, but pay for what she has done. Dying would be an easy out for her. She needs to reflect.

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    90. Julia:
      I’ve loved Cersei as a villian.She’s cunning, and doesn’t care who gets inher way.I think she will go into exile, but go mad due to her losing another child.She won’t win, that’s obvious, but I’d like her to live, but pay for what she has done.Dying would be an easy out for her.She needs to reflect.

      Thanks for the comment, Julia. Although I’d rather the child not die, we’re otherwise on the same page.

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