Cersei Lannister: The Young and the Beautiful

707 - King's Landing Dragonpit - Cersei, Jaime 1

“I will be queen, though?” asked the younger her.

“Aye.” Malice gleamed in Maggy’s yellow eyes. “Queen you shall be . . . until there comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all that you hold dear.”


Cersei Lannister has a secret, one she tells almost nobody about- a deep, dark secret that claws at her mind and drives her hate. When she was a girl, she sought out a woods witch named Maggy the Frog and asked this witch to read her future. Cersei believes, much like other characters who delve into guessing the future such as Melisandre and Rhaegar Targaryen, that she knows the correct interpretation and acts on it. However, Cersei is likely very wrong about one part of it and it may prove deadly to her. Who is the “another, younger and more beautiful” that will cast her down and take all she holds dear?

In this prophecy, Maggy lays out a number of predictions. That Cersei will never wed the prince (Rhaegar) but will instead wed the king (King Robert Baratheon). Next, that she will be queen for a while until someone younger and more beautiful deposes her. Then, that Robert will have 20 children and Cersei will have three, but none will be his, and that Cersei will see her children dead. Book readers know of a fourth prediction: the infamous “Valonqar prophecy” that the show left out, stating “And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.” Here though, we’re going to focus on the identity of the “younger and more beautiful.”

Cersei believed, very strongly, that this meant a younger and more beautiful queen. After Joffrey died in front of her, she began looking for this person and found a likely target in Margaery Tyrell. Margaery was younger, widely praised for her beauty, and poised to become the new queen of the Seven Kingdoms by marrying Tommen. The important part of this logic chain from Cersei is that she thinks she can avert the death of the rest of her children by not being defeated by a younger, more beautiful queen. If one parts fails, then all the rest may be averted.

Cersei Margaery

And as we know, Cersei focuses on Margaery Tyrell and attributes everything she can to the younger, more beautiful woman. Of course, Cersei is wrong and she kills Margaery along with hundreds more in the wildfire explosion of Baelor’s Sept- in her mind, avoiding the last part of Maggy’s prophecy. This is an important point; everything else Maggy has told her so far has come true.

Cersei married King Robert instead of Prince Rhaegar. Robert had 20 children and none with her. She would have 3 children who all would die before her. In Game of Thrones and ASOIAF, prophecies don’t come true in small parts- they come true completely or not at all. So while Cersei has missed out on finding the younger and more beautiful one, we can speculate based on who is remaining in the show who could fit this role.

The obvious choice is, of course, Daenerys Targaryen. She is far younger than Cersei, more beautiful, and has the dragons and the army to actually topple Cersei’s regime. Makes her a slam dunk pick, right? Margaery is dead, but Cersei will not have forgotten what Maggy said to her all those years ago and would still be on the look-out. If we can see that Dany is a younger, more beautiful queen, so will Cersei, and be on her guard. It also removes the narrative tension to make it so obvious that Dany fits the bill.

There’s a catch in the actual wording of the prophecy and it’s these things George R.R. Martin has long enjoyed playing with. The exact wording is:

“Queen you shall be… until there comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all that you hold dear.”

Which does not explicitly say the person younger and more beautiful has to be a queen. Many in the fandom have long speculated that this means that it could be anyone younger and more beautiful than Cersei. You would think Sansa Stark then becomes a prime candidate, younger and more beautiful; however she is stuck in Winterfell, and unavailable for a Cersei smackdown.

Brienne Art by Quickreaver

Brienne

Art by Quickreaver

However, there is one particular character, younger and often referred to as a beauty who was just sent south on Sansa’s order to represent her in King’s Landing: Brienne of Tarth.

I hear you already, Brienne more beautiful than Cersei? Gwendoline Christie is a gorgeous person and that unfortunately undersells how homely Brienne is supposed to look.

“Daughter?” Catelyn was horrified.

Brienne the Beauty, they name her . . . though not to her face, lest they be called upon to defend those words with their bodies.”

Beauty, they called her . . . mocking. The hair beneath the visor was a squirrel’s nest of dirty straw, and her face . . . Brienne’s eyes were large and very blue, a young girl’s eyes, trusting and guileless, but the rest . . . her features were broad and coarse, her teeth prominent and crooked, her mouth too wide, her lips so plump they seemed swollen. A thousand freckles speckled her cheeks and brow, and her nose had been broken more than once. Pity filled Catelyn’s heart. Is there any creature on earth as unfortunate as an ugly woman?”

She is routinely mocked by jerks ironically calling her “the beauty”.

Much like Samwell Tarly being called “Sam the Slayer” when he actually slayed a White Walker, Brienne is beautiful as well. Not physically, but inside and as a true, loyal knight and a moral, kind hearted person. And the one person Cersei holds dear has noticed Brienne’s attractive qualities as a person: Jaime Lannister.

The steel links parted like silk. “A sword,” Brienne begged, and there it was, scabbard, belt, and all. She buckled it around her thick waist. The light was so dim that Jaime could scarcely see her, though they stood a scant few feet apart. In this light she could almost be a beauty, he thought. In this light she could almost be a knight. Brienne’s sword took flame as well, burning silvery blue. The darkness retreated a little more. A Storm of Swords, Jaime VI

Daenerys could take Cersei’s crown and kill Jaime, and that would certainly fulfill the wording of the prophecy by casting her down and taking all she holds dear. But Brienne is the one you don’t see coming. We’ve seen already in the show that Brienne has gotten closer to Jaime than almost anybody. She’s come the closest to getting Jaime to abandon Cersei, and gotten him to take his vows and promises seriously after years of being a morally bankrupt near-sociopath.

It’s one thing to kill Jaime, who Cersei now openly lays with and plans to declare the father of her unborn child. It’s another to persuade him to turn his back on Cersei in front of her. The pain and rage Cersei would feel at having her twin, her lover, the father of her children abandon her in time of need would be a fantastic way for the wheel of fate to finally roll over her. The rivalry between Cersei and Brienne has even been played up before, where Cersei shows jealousy towards Brienne’s connection and time with Jaime.

Brienne Jaime Season 6 No One

Brienne, in a twist of wording that Cersei would never see coming, could be the final nail in the prophecy of Maggy the Frog before the Valonqar comes for the Queen. There is one thing Cersei treasures above all else right now, and that is her pregnancy. Perhaps there will be a melee in King’s Landing that somehow causes Cersei to lose the pregnancy, or if Jaime really leaves Cersei once and for all, she might not want to keep the child.

While Daenerys is the conventional and obvious pick as the younger and more beautiful one, Game of Thrones thrives on surprising its audience. Having it be Brienne is a fascinating and narratively powerful twist for the show, having Brienne take all Cersei holds dear and casting her down.

76 responses

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    1. Very interesting. I think Brienne would be a wonderful choice. I mean, Jaime really is the last thing anchoring Cersei to whatever reality she’s in presently. Without him I’m afraid she’ll really descend into Mad Queen territory and become volatile to all those around her. Next season we’ll possibly see a completely new Cersei from ever before and I’m ready to indulge in her insanity.

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    2. It could also be Arya. Not beautiful perhaps but all fixed up Maisie Williams is very attractive. And she is a younger sister.

      Perhaps she does the killing and Sansa does the ruling.

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    3. A decent argument, but does not fit the entire prophecy. According to the prophecy, whoever casts her down will take over whatever she holds most dear. And at this point Cersei only cares for the power and throne. So I don’t see how Brienne will cast her down and take over as the ruler of Westeros (internally lolled at the mental image, Gwen would look fascinating on the throne). Also, the prophecy is sort of intertwined with the Valonqar part. Her downfall is most likely going to be at the hands of Jamie, because don’t forget Jamie has an incredible character arc of his own. And it will only be fitting for Jamie’s character to redeem himself by doing the very same thing that had prev made him an oathbreaker.

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    4. Oh how I’d loooove it to be so !!

      But what could be the trigger for Jaime to switch ?? Not just his unclear-to-him-and-repressed attraction to Brienne, probably. Something soo terrible he would finally be disgusted ? What worse could she do ?

      But really hope you’re right !

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    5. I struggle with this one because as far as I can tell, Cersei has nothing left that she holds dear, and has already been cast down and replaced as queen. She lost Joffrey because of Margaery. She lost Tommen because of Margaery. When Margaery married the king she became queen, and much was made of how Cersei was NOT queen. Margaery of course didn’t have anything to do with Myrcella’s death in the show unless you count the reason she was sent away in the first place, but that might be more complex in the books. Finally, how much more cast down can you get than walking through the entire city naked with excrement thrown at you? Just because the valonqar part has not happened yet does not mean that the rest has not.

      Cersei does NOT hold Jaime dear. That is the main problem with the Brienne hypothesis. Cersei USES Jaime. She does not cherish him and would feel very little if he were “lost”.

      The pregnancy is a different matter, and indeed is the only remaining candidate for something she might cherish. But Brienne is only a strong candidate if Jaime is the thing that is cherished, not the baby.

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    6. I gotta figure this prophecy will come true. Maggie the F is batting 1.000. Everything she’s said – right down to the number of children Cersei and Robert would have – has been on the money.

      For a while, I had entertained the tinfoil notion that Arya as Lyanna 2.0 would take Jaime away, just as Lyanna 1.0 took away Rhaegar, and Robert as well, even though she was already dead. (Cersei admitted to Ned that Robert loved a corpse when he had a live girl he’d just married.)
      I’ve since crumpled up that tinfoil.

      But I wonder at this point, what does Cersei “hold dear”? Wine, the throne, and Jaime. I can see Brienne alienating Jaime’s affections. (And for all the joking about Tormund’s crush on Brienne, let’s not overlook that a strong, powerful, honorable woman is attractive.)
      How would Brienne cast down Cersei and take the throne from her?

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    7. Love the idea of Brianne being the” younger, and more beautiful ” and to cast Cersie down and take away all she holds dear.
      Brianne would be the last person in the world she think of. But beauty is in the eye of beholder. I feel Jamie is attracted to Brianne because she like nothing he ever had a relationship with. She see him as Jamie the man plain and simple not Jamie Lannister the Lord of Casterly Rock.

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    8. I hope you’re right and it turns out to be Brienne.

      I’ve always believed it’s Daenerys – one of those things that, in the book, GRMM set up to help illustrate that Cersei is so fixated on short-term, stupid threats that she doesn’t see the big one looming on the horizon. But since showCersei is much smarter than bookCersei, I hope that in show world, at least, it turns out to be Brienne. (Would be nice if it were in the books, too). The only thing is, if this is the correct interpretation, Jaime must survive, because the “younger and more beautiful” takes what Cersei holds dear, which presumably means that whatever that most dear thing is, it lasts. Otherwise it would be pretty hollow.

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    9. Rabelais:
      It could also be Arya. Not beautiful perhaps but all fixed up Maisie Williams is very attractive. And she is a younger sister.

      Perhaps she does the killing and Sansa does the ruling.

      The queen isn’t meant to kill Cersei, only take her power and last remaining loved one away.

      Her “younger brother” is the one who’s going to kill her, Arya isn’t exactly her younger brother.

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    10. It all depends on what you think Cersei holds dearest – her throne or her family. If it’s the first, then it’s Daenerys, but if it’s the second, then it could be Brienne.

      I think it’s Daenerys though. Yes, it’s obvious, but sometimes things are obvious for a reason.

      The more beautiful woman could be a child though – the daughter of Jon and Dany.

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    11. Well-laid out theory. I can’t agree, though. What Cersei holds dear, is NOT Jaime, but power, prestige and status. At least that’s the way I interpret her after almost seven seasons. She still has power and status. Also, from what I’ve read, most of the fandom interpreted the “younger, more beautiful” as Margaery or Sansa. Only now it’s starting to emerge that it’s Daenerys, who will not take power away from Cersei directly, but through the actions of others. Cersei’s death will come at the hands of someone else.

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    12. FRAN:
      Oh how I’d loooove it to be so !!

      But what could be the trigger for Jaime to switch ?? Not just his unclear-to-him-and-repressed attraction to Brienne, probably. Something soo terrible he would finally be disgusted ? What worse could she do ?

      But really hope you’re right !

      This Dragon Pit scene we have coming up holds some potential for Cersei to do some terrible things. For some reason I keep thinking she is going to deliberately pit the Mountain against Brienne because she knows it will get to Jamie. Cersei is still jealous of the relationship between Jamie and Brienne, IMO. Maybe she is doing it to show him her power or to punish him for betraying her before (meeting with Tyrion). How she would control the match ups, I don’t know. Maybe she will just tell the Mountain (undead and evil) to go after Brienne (noble and good) and kill her should a fight break out. Could seeing or realizing this be what finally turns Jamie around? Just speculating out loud!

      (Of course the Hound will intervene, save Brienne, kill the Mountain and all will live happily ever after! Brienne is not going to die, NO NO NO NO NO!)

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    13. I hope so! Sounds wonderful. I think Brienne could cast her from the throne (cast as in remove her or take the throne away) but not because she wants the throne for herself.

      I thought the kid prophecy was also creatively crafted.

      C: Will the “king and I” have kids?
      M: Oh, aye, six-and-ten for him, and three for you.

      Meaning R+C=6, R+?=10, C+J=3.

      I see this, as aye meaning yes, answering the first part King and I, C+R will have six, and btw 10 bastards for him and 3 for you.

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    14. The obvious choice is, of course, Daenerys Targaryen. She is far younger than Cersei, more beautiful, and has the dragons and the army to actually topple Cersei’s regime

      Obvious to us perhaps, but not to Cersei: she never considers the possibility of Daenerys. Of course, Book!Cersei seems to be completely clueless about Daenerys: she’s focused entirely on Margaery and (before her) Sansa. Show!Cersei is at least aware of Daenerys prior to Daenerys’ return: but she has not yet obviously tied Daenerys to the prophecy.

      My bet is that this is good old fashioned MacBethian prophecy. Cersei helps pave the way for Daenerys to win in the end by doing everything she can to prevent Margaery & Sansa from fulfilling the Prophecy. Yes, the Tyrells are out of the picture: but had Cersei not gone out of her way to incriminate Margaery, then the Tyrells would be allies (even if reluctant ones) against Daenerys: and that would be might added to her cause. Had the Tyrells not become enemies, then Highgarden would not have been sacked: and then there would not have been a huge convoy of supplies and men sitting there to be taken or destroyed all at once. And everything she did to Sansa set into motion events that have contributed to Jon being King in the North: and without Sansa, the Boltons would still be up there.

      Ultimately, it has to be something where Cersei herself realizes that the answer was in front of her all along and she simply missed it because she was so certain that she knew the right answer. And although we might get the idea of “inner beauty,” this is a concept absolutely alien to Cersei! Her last thoughts on the issue would be that the Young Crone had no idea about what she was speaking!

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    15. I don´t know if it´s true to say that Cersei does not care about Jaime anymore and that this undermindes the theory. I feel that the theory in itself is a bit of a stretch or so subtle it may be too hard to completely buy that GRRM had this interpretation in mind, but if I were to play a bit of the defender of the theory, maybe it would follow these lines;

      Yes, she does not really hold Jaime dear as a person anymore, maybe she never did, but she still really loves the idea that Jaime is the reflection of herself, but with all possibilities to thrive in what is essentially a man´s world. Since she came to power and since Jaime´s capture, Jaime has grown estranged from her yet seems to cling to her still as she is the only person he has experienced validation from. She previously got her self-worth from her children, having her mirror-image Jaime around and from using power in her position as queen-mother. It´s true, now that she is Queen herself she can just ignore that this system did not treat her fairly before and she can fully thrive in her power, sidelining Jaime. So far, so good.

      Still, Jaime laving her could be the final blow to send her over the edge completely and dull her victory over the system, essentially taking everything she holds dear from her: the satisfaction to finally be on top and lead her life as she planned it. She loves the idea of having Jaime around in her twisted way, he´s her conquest now and the symbol of defeating the system. The problem with Cersei is that she was never allowed to taste her victories to the full and Jaime abandoning her may be the last nail in the coffin, taking every satisfaction from her for good (aka everything she holds dear).

      She may have wed Rhaegar (victory), he died. She got married to Robert (victory) and was even willing to leave Jaime behind, but Robert never loved her. She wanted children (victory), but they weren´t legitimate heirs. She got to be a pseudo-ruler as queen-mother (victory), but Margaery pushed her to the sideline. She got to have children (victory), but they all died. In the end, she got to be the Queen and she got the power to openly “love” Jaime (victory), but Jaime leaves her to fulfill his redemption. Even in her greatest victory, she can´t have the one thing she thought she wanted most of all… and it was caused by Brienne setting Jaime on a path of redemption.

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    16. Wimsey,

      Makes sense to me, more than the Brienne-interpretation. Furthermore, it would be a more powerful message if the downfall was in fact caused by herself and it follows an MacBethian-arch.

      Maybe Cersei herself has read too much of Macbeth and she hated Margaery especially since Margaery may have looked like the innocent flower, but actually was the snake underneath 😉 .

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    17. onefromaway,

      Asking what worse was almost rhetorical. You’re right about what might happen. The parley is probably a dirty trap anyway, but how and to what extent ?
      Yet, no matter how much I’d love the B+J theory to come true, I’m really not convinced it will. The “another” either was Margaery, quite simply, or is Daenerys, more logically.
      The dragon pit scene will be stunning, no doubt about that !
      And yes, Brienne MUST have a big part to play, in both senses : probably + I want it.

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    18. Wimsey,

      Yup, I have to agree with you on this as well. I like the potential for Brienne fulfilling that part of the prophecy, but as you said book Cersei completely dismisses any tales about Dany and her dragons. Example: when Aurane Waters brings up tales of dragons and she completely disregards him and goes back to plotting within King’s Landing against the Tyrells. I think my favorite part of AFfC is the fact that she recalls the prophecy throughout the book, while other POVs are also hearing tales of dragons. I think that was intentional on GRRM’s part. Show Cersei is now pregnant and still has Jaime so I would assume those are the two of three things she holds dear, the other of course, being the Iron Throne.

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    19. Totally thought this article would go in a different direction, though I like it. However, Cersei holds her life and the throne dear. Someone younger and more beautiful will steal those from her? What about her unborn child and the thought that she could die in childbirth? What’s considered more beautiful (and obviously younger) than a baby, who would also be the heir to her throne?

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    20. Loved the article. Different, thought out theory. Thanks 🙂

      I too also can see Brienne having a deep impact. Brienne won’t take the throne (I feel) however, actions might put or at least open the gate for someone else. Cough, cough Gendry????? Lol.

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    21. MoaKaka:
      The only thing she holds dear is the throne, so the younger one must take the throne from her.

      Agree. She does not hold Jaime “dear.” If Jaime were to die, she would continue on, just as she has after the death of her children.

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    22. I always thought: Danerys, Sansa or Brienne do like the daughter though.

      ETA: someone tied to Cersei’s arc in some way.

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    23. FRAN,

      If Cercei truly is pregnant, it could be revealed that it’s Euron’s baby, which would drive Jaime mad – potentially leading him to choke the life out of her.

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    24. I suppose it is possible for “another” to not be a queen, but that wouldn’t demonstrate the mastery of language I assume George to have.

      another: used to refer to an additional person or thing of the same type as one already mentioned or known about; one more; a further.

      Queen you shall be until there comes another…

      Another what? The only thing previously mentioned is “queen.” Of course, Sansa could well steal the crown of the North and then be the queen.

      Brienne is not “more beautiful.” Had the prophecy said “younger and decreed a beauty,” it would fit her perfectly. But not “more beautiful.”

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    25. Watcher on the Couch:
      Totally thought this article would go in a different direction, though I like it.However, Cersei holds her life and the throne dear.Someone younger and more beautiful will steal those from her?What about her unborn child and the thought that she could die in childbirth?What’s considered more beautiful (and obviously younger) than a baby, who would also be the heir to her throne?

      Very interesting! That would be a real surprise.

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    26. Oberyn´s One Good Hand:

      The problem with Cersei is that she was never allowed to taste her victories to the full and Jaime abandoning her may be the last nail in the coffin, taking every satisfaction from her for good (aka everything she holds dear).

      I enjoyed your post and the presentation of all of Cersei’s untasted victories. Very compelling.

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    27. Always loved Brienne = YaMBQ and hope it’s true. Partly BC it basically means Jaime and Brienne both get to live awhile longer…

      However give Cersei IMO holds power much more dear than Jaime I have to guess it’s Dany.

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    28. Brienne is one choice, in that she’s “more beautiful” than Cersei on the inside (so is everyone but the Boltons, btw) but the show’s been distancing her from Jaime for a few seasons now. Also, Jaime is not “all” that Cersei holds dear. I think that for her, the throne is dearer than Jaime, and that’s something Brienne won’t threaten.

      Arya and Sansa are possibilities, but I don’t see either of them heading south anytime soon, and neither is likely to win over Jaime.

      Dany, as usual, is the obvious answer. She is a queen, unlike Arya, Brienne or Sansa. She is younger. She is the savior. She wants Cersei’s throne, and is in a position to take it. Cersei doesn’t have to lose Jaime to another lover; all he needs to do is switch his allegiance to Dany to fulfill the prophecy.

      So, I’ll go with Dany here.

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    29. A bit off topic but this is the first time I have seen the ‘chainmail’ design on Cersei’s dress that people were talking about previously in the promo stills post. Before it just looked like horizontal lines and almost like sportswear in texture, which is why I wasn’t that impressed. Now it does look metallic and like chainmail links.

      Do I need to get my eyes checked, or is it just a trick of the material used for the dress? 😉

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    30. Great article and great points! I often wonder if Brienne might end up with Jamie.

      I’ve thought a lot about the prophecy over the years. I personally think Dany will be the one to cast her down and take all that she holds dear. I’ve always thought that to be Jamie and power.

      I’ve had this crazy prediction since last season’s finale:

      Dany will cease her quest for the Iron Throne to join Jon in the Great War. Once they defeat the army of the dead, Dany will head back to Kings Landing to demand the throne. I think everyone will bend the knee to her, because, like Jon, they will have seen her for who she is. I think Cersei, cornered and insane, will decide to “burn them all” with the remaining wildfire under the city rather than bend the knee to Dany, and Jamie is going to choke the life from her to prevent that from happening. He will find himself once again standing in the throne room as a Queenslayer having once again saved the population of Kings Landing.

      Sansa marries the Hound (GRRM did write for Beauty and the Beast so why not) and live happily ever after at Winterfell, Gendry marries Arya and they live happily ever after at Storms End, Missandei and Grey Worm get married and adopt a few little birds, Jamie marries Brienne and they live happily ever after at Casterly Rock, Samwell and Gilly marry and live happily ever after at Hornhill, Bronn gets Highgarden and marries a high born lady, Davos marries Missandei’s long lost sister, Sweet Robin marries Lyanna Mormont, and Jon and Dany rule Westeros, make dragon babies, and live happily ever after!

      But I’m sure if I think there’s a happy ending, I’ve not been paying attention. But a girl can dream.

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    31. Personally I think that alterations the show has made to the story make it impossible for anyone to match the prophesy exactly. But I do think Cersei’s losses so far (Joffrey, Myrcella, Tommen) have been FAR too significant to not be relevant, and that her tears have ALREADY drowned her. The Cersei we see now, following the deaths of her children, is not one who has any tears left.

      Sansa was at least involved, if unknowingly, in Joffrey’s death. And Brienne now serves Sansa. Sansa began the story as an obvious contender in the first chapters but dropped off the radar with subsequent events.

      Brienne may well turn out to be involved in the fulfillment of the YMBQ prophesy not because she IS the YMBQ, but because she SERVES her.

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    32. Well argued Joe, this post definitely makes one think!

      I have come to believe for awhile now, that Dany is not meant to play a Mundane role such as rulling Westeros – even if she believes so. I’m not saying that she is the Prince that was Promised either, but she certainly wasn’t given her gifts and dragons just for the sake of an earthly throne. I could be wrong, but this is how feel.

      Therefore, I find the place for a ‘younger and more beautiful ‘ person, open for the throne. As to who that person might be… I wouldn’t stick with women only.
      Yes, Sansa would be a likely candidate, though, when Maggy uses the word beautiful she could have been- as pointed out by Joe- reffering to a beautiful soul and I don’t think Sansa or Arya have that gentleness of heart, or that ‘innocence’ anymore to fit the bill.
      It could be Gentry; it could be Brienne (I love Brienne’s character and Gwen too!!) or someone else, it remains to be seen. Brienne is indeed a well argued possibility, as she has some influence over Jamie and by ‘taking’ Jamie, she would have taken a big part of what Cercei has to hold dear. Yes, I will keep an open mind to this! 🙂

      I am looking forward to seeing Mad Queen finally going down!

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    33. Ten Bears:
      I gotta figure this prophecy will come true. Maggie the F is batting 1.000. Everything she’s said – right down to the number of children Cersei and Robert would have – has been on the money.

      Actually … that’s the one point she wasn’t accurate on. Although I blame the writers for not remembering the stuff they added to the books’ storyline. Remember when she spoke to Cat back in season 1 (in Bran’s bedroom)? She told her that she had had a child by Robert … one that died when it was still a baby. IIRC, that bit of backstory doesn’t come from the books and was an addition by the show’s writers. Which would give show-Cersei four children altogether: Myrcella, Tommen, Joff and the dead baby.

      Which leads me to another point about mixing up the show and the books in theory-crafting: Why are people including the Valonqar-bit when it comes to the show? The writers pretty much went out of their way to *not* include that bit – when it would’ve been real easy to have it in the show’s prophecy as well. It’s literally a single line of dialogue, plus perhaps another two or three lines at a later point to explain the word Valonqar.

      Either this is another misstep by the writers or they left that bit out for a specific reason.

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    34. While I do believe another must refer to a queen, we could see a not-literal queen, like the Queen of Thorns though she wouldn’t be younger, or someone who is a past or future queen.

      But what might be interesting to consider is the “cast you down and take all that you hold dear” part. Who would be in the best position to cast Cersei down but not kill her (because the valonqar will do that after she’s drowned in her tears)? And, most interestingly, what does Cersei hold dear? Here is the order of that which I believe Cersei holds most dear:
      1. The throne. After all, it is Cersei who gives us the quote, “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.” She has risked her own life and the lives of all of her children to have her family hold the crown. To me, the crown is Cersei and the epitome of all she holds dear.
      2. Her unborn. More than Jaime, she has loved her children. The promise of one more keeps her going. And yet Maggy only promised her three… So we know this baby will be taken away, most likely by the younger and more beautiful queen.
      3. Jaime. But I don’t think this means that Jaime will be the romantic interest for the younger and more beautiful queen (YAMBQ). Rather, this YAMBQ will expose the vileness that is Cersei and finally be the impetus for Jaime’s turning away. This turning away of Jaime might not happen instantaneously as Cersei loses the crown and the baby, but may well be a progression over next season as Jaime transforms into the valonqar.

      Speaking of crowns, remember all those interviews with Michelle Clapton gave where she says that Dany’s chain represents her aspirations for but not quite achieving the crown? I feel like Michelle was constantly implying that she had designed a crown for Dany this season but that she wasn’t quite ready to wear that crown yet. Until now.

      So my bet is that we’ll see Dany take Cersei’s crown in this finale, with Cersei somehow miscarrying, and then Cersei will lose Jaime over the course of Season 8.

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    35. SG: Remember when she spoke to Cat back in season 1 (in Bran’s bedroom)? She told her that she had had a child by Robert … one that died when it was still a baby. IIRC, that bit of backstory doesn’t come from the books and was an addition by the show’s writers.

      I’ve always ‘read’ that as show!Cersei spinning a line to enlist sympathy from Catelyn and deflect any suspicions Catelyn might have about herself and Jaime. In other words, there was no such child.

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    36. Been thinking about all the comments and I do wonder about the following.

      I’m not sure that in the show there was not a child between Robert and Cersie. I thought there was and this child died. I can’t see Cersie trying to say that about a died child to put make Catlyn less suspicious of her and Jamie. I think that people would know about a queen pregnancy and the lose of a child that info could not be hidden. So I’m incline to believe what show Cersie says.

      I do think that Show Maggy was referring to the children she didn’t have with Robert. But as Mel found prophecy is a tricky thing to understand and get right and Cersie certain got the younger Queen wrong and killed Margery.

      Talking of Queens, who are not ruling queen like the Queen of Thorns was not queen of Westeros, what about literal Queen of Hearts, who is now the queen of Jamie’s heart?
      His twin Cersie, or Brianne who can’t hold a candle to Cersie physical beauty. But now Show Cersie to me on the inside is now a dark and twisted person as absolute power corrupts. Show Brianne is not seen as a person of physical beauty but she is honourable and tries to do the right thing.
      Which brings me to what did Jamie want on his page in the Kingsguard book? His further honourable deeds? I think he see in Brianne an honourable warrior and woman he can respect the respect he wants as well, he wants her love and her respect. I think if Jamie had that he could feel he has redeemed himself.

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    37. The article uses the word ‘sociopath’ to refer to Jaime. I’m not sure the author has a correct understanding of that term. Jaime, from the first time we meet him, has a sense of moral conscience. He pushes Bran with ‘loathing’ and even Ned Stark thinks he might have done the same in that situation. So if Jaime, for pushing Bran, is a near-sociopath, under that same measure, Ned is pretty close as well.

      It’s Jaime who near broke listening to Rhaella be raped because of his sense of right and wrong. Moreover, it’s Jaime who pays attention to the smallfolk showing how he cares about others. It’s Jaime who has friends and is well-liked, especially in the books.

      Jaime has a host of mental health issues, mostly stemming from his teenage years as Aerys’ Kingsguard and the things he witnessed there, but it’s nothing even with a hint of sociopathy.

      If you’re looking for a sociopath, you might want to check out Qyburn.

      QueenofThrones,
      Yes, Brienne as the Younger and More Beautiful is a theory that’s been around as long as the prophecy has. It’s always been out there and always been so much more interesting than the Margaery/Dany/Sansa theories.

      The questions of what Cersei holds dear have been rehashed a thousand times as well. If people can take a step back and see which character embodies the leadership qualities as outlined by George, that a good man is not necessarily a good king, that a good king cares about the land and the people and making them prosperous, etc, it seems clear that Jaime is the character best suited to be king. Even Jon Snow thinks Jaime is what a king should look like. It’s all laid out there for the reader/viewer; it’s just been hidden by attachment to the Starks.

      Once Jaime takes the throne and Brienne rules by his side, she will be the one to have taken what Cersei holds dear.

      Discourse here just hasn’t caught up yet.

      BeautyBrienne,

      Yes, milady.

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    38. Succubint:
      A bit off topic but this is the first time I have seen the ‘chainmail’ design on Cersei’s dress that people were talking about previously in the promo stills post. Before it just looked like horizontal lines and almost like sportswear in texture, which is why I wasn’t that impressed. Now it does look metallic and like chainmail links.

      Do I need to get my eyes checked, or is it just a trick of the material used for the dress?

      More OT ….. I’ve been looking at that too and with magnification! It sure looks like it could be chainmail or polyester sports fabric! It is a tight pattern and the fabric appears to be thin and shiny (or reflective), but I cannot decide what it is! I remember Roose had a thin layer of chainmail on under his tunic at the Red Wedding but it was clearly chainmail.

      In the Game of Threads posts on costumes on this site, Cersei’s recent elaborate metal shoulder and neck pieces have been discussed as symbols of her power/strength as well as protection for her body, both symbolic and actual (to some degree). She wears these items in public as the Queen. In the promo pics for the Dragon Pit scene her costume is simple, other than her crown, no showy expressions of power and strength. But if that dress is chainmail, it is not elaborate but it is certainly a statement. But what? Cersei is confidently ready to rumble? She knows her life could be in danger in this setting (she could loose)? If the dress is not chainmail, does that mean Cersei is certain she is not in any danger? And why is she so certain? Or,could it be, she just didn’t have anything else to wear 🙂 !!

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    39. HotPinkLipstick,

      Jaime as king is an interesting one. He was in grrms original outline, but there Cersei did not exist.

      But I don’t think so. He hasn’t no desire to be king and who would demand he should be? He has no claim. Jaime would want a quiet, peaceful, forthright life, with a family he can adore, protect, and serve. Sure, we don’t get what we want usually, but either Jaime or someone else has to want it or what’s the impetus to take the throne? Jaime is far more likely to support Jons claim As Rhaegars son.

      Brienne could still help to cast down Cersei – And If Jaime leaves her for Brienne – especially if there is a parting argument or letter using the word beauty, i believe Cersei would then think she is the YAmbq which is what really matters.

      Or, it’s just Dany after all. 😉

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    40. QueenofThrones,

      Well, since Jon is a walking dead guy, I doubt he’ll end up on the Throne. Moreso, I doubt anyone will want him there. This most recent episode seemed to slam us over the head with Jon and the Night King being connected. “You don’t understand.” Right Jon, we don’t understand. But Jon does. Because he’s a dead guy. Like the NK.

      Tyrion is going to die a hero. And Dany will never sit on the Iron Throne.

      George once said, “It’s really irritating when you open a book, and 10 pages into it you know that the hero you met on page one or two is gonna come through unscathed, because he’s the hero. This is completely unreal, and I don’t like it.”

      Jaime is a leader of men. That’s most of his Feast arc, and we saw some of that from him this season, caring for his men more than himself, making good tactical decisions, outthinking Tyrion, recognizing the need to feed the people. He’ll end up the most qualified to lead. I predict the biggest champion for King Jaime, First of His Name will be Bran Stark. Bran has already had a vision of Jaime, and not a teenage Jaime, sitting on the throne.

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    41. HotPinkLipstick,

      I’m not wedded to any particular outcome, but there was some foreshadowing last episode (discussion about Dany’s successor including Democratic analogs) and before, (breaking the wheel keeps being brought up) about Westeros ending as some sort of proto-democracy. Even if Jon, Dany, and Tyrion all die, I think it would be that which they would leave as their legacy, not Jaime as King (because, really again who would want that?)

      Now, even if a pseudo electoral system comes into place, there might need to be a “protector of the realm” during a transition period, and maybe, just possibly that could be Jaime (with Brienne) if no one else rises to the challenge.

      But King? I just don’t see it. Bran could do advocate he should be sure, but “Jaime must be king because Bran says so because Bran is omnipotent” would be pretty cheap IMO. I am super looking forward to Jaime and Bran meeting though, assuming Jaime survives and eventually goes North…

      BTW that George quote was clearly in reference to Ned. It’s pretty clear that the real heros – not Ned who George misled us into thinking was the hero – in fact will come through most of the story, but I wouldn’t say any are “unscathed” at all. Jon, Dany, and Tyrion (and others like Jaime, Sansa, Arya, and Bran) have all suffered, changed, and overcome. One of them eventaully ruling or staying alive I don’t see as a contradiction of this statement.

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    42. Great article. We know from the prophecy that Cersei will only have three children who live a number of years. This alerts us that the present pregnancy will terminate, one way or another. This leaves only one person alive that Cersei cares about except herself. That person is Jamie. It’s an easy leap that Jamie will finally get fed-up with Cersei and her lies and mistreatment of all people and things, which will drive Jamie to take off.

      There are several people Cersei can blame, Brienne is one of those at the top, and it would fit the prophecy. There are also others, Dany, Tryion, and Bronn or even Jon Snow. All of these people filling Jamie’s head with fighting for the realm of men. Cersei requires Jamie to believe in one thing the concept of them against the world. There is no doubt the blame for seducing Jamie from Cersei’s side will fall on someone’s head. It will be interesting to see just who that unlucky person turns out to be. It very well may be Brienne the Beauty.

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    43. I’ve really enjoyed reading this thread. Interesting ideas and supporting points all adding to the enjoyment of the series (and eventually the books). Thanks to Joe and all the posters!

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    44. Hmmm. I don’t remember reading any spoilers about Brienne this season. I don’t know if I missed them or if she isn’t mentioned much until next season.

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    45. Rita: If Cercei truly is pregnant, it could be revealed that it’s Euron’s baby, which would drive Jaime mad – potentially leading him to choke the life out of her.

      No chance. Cersei is using Euron, and she is holding herself out as a reward to him. She will want more out of him before she lets him have her – not that I think she has any intention of that. She’s stringing him along.

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    46. MCH,

      I don’t know if I can write this in a way that makes sense (I’m full of Arbor gold and Dornish red), but I’ll try…

      The incredibly close connection between Jaime and Cersei is based primarily on the fact that they’re twins (Cersei expects them to leave this world together, as they arrived together), in addition to the fact that they have a strong sexual bond and are the parents of three (dead) children. In a number of twisted ways, Cersei and Jaime see each other as mirroring each other, not only in their golden beauty but also in their unerring commitment to their family name and to each other. But outside of these things (which, granted, are pretty powerful things), they’re not very alike. For instance, Cersei has spent a lifetime being denied power because she’s a woman–power that, interestingly, Jaime was also denied when the Mad King very purposely named him to the Kingsguard. It’s a power that only Cersei wants, though; Jaime wanted nothing more than to be a golden knight, and when that didn’t work out, he simply became a very sad man with no concept of how to proceed in life, much like a high-school football star who, with little ambition to attend university and not enough talent to go pro, simply winds up floundering through adulthood.

      Jaime still sees himself and Cersei as parts of a whole, though, and that’s where I think the way he views Brienne might be particularly interesting: imo, Brienne represents what he wishes both he and Cersei were. Brienne has always strived to be an honorable knight, and it would be unthinkable to her to do the sorts of things Jaime has done; hence, what Jaime wishes he had lived up to himself. Brienne also has a number of qualities that, historically, have been considered to be the best qualities among women, chiefly compassion and understanding. Cersei has neither of these, and just as important, Cersei’s attractiveness is based entirely on her beauty–the most superficial (literally) of qualities. In sharp contrast, Brienne is still so self-conscious about her size and physical appearance that she is utterly blind to what Tormund actually sees in her–not the fact that she’s a “freak” and might be fun for a one-time roll in the hay, but rather, the fact that she’s a strong, honorable, uniquely beautiful woman, probably like many of the women he himself was raised with in the harsh and, paradoxically, far more egalitarian world north of the Wall.

      In short: In Brienne, Jaime might see what both he and Cersei, two parts of a self-identified whole, might have been had they chosen different paths.

      I didn’t mean to write a short essay, but these things happen after a bottle or two of wine. 😉

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    47. Wolfish: Brienne also has a number of qualities that, historically, have been considered to be the best qualities among women, chiefly compassion and understanding.

      Shame she doesn’t show much of that towards Podrick. Always snapping at him and biting his head off.

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    48. Wine or not you hit the nail on the head with the Jamie Brianne relationship. Plus I’m being to feel it not going Jamie or Tyrion who takes Cersie down but another younger sibling. As Jaque would say the God of death is owned another life to balance all the one Cersie took. Who that will be I don’t know.

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    49. Grandmaester Flash,

      You do make a good point!

      I think that when it comes to Pod, because she’s undertaken his training she probably does what she’s seen men in her position do–be the modern-day equivalent of a boot-camp instructor.

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    50. Mr Fixit,
      Stark Wolf,

      Thank you!

      MCH,

      There is, indeed, the intriguing possibility that the valonqar is neither Jaime nor Tyrion, in which case a number of possibilities are opened (including the Hound). The only way I see someone other than one of Cersei’s blood brothers killing her, though, is if she directly threatens someone’s life… in which case, choking seems to be a rather odd way to kill her (a sword, spear or arrow would be more logical in such a circumstance). Choking someone to death strikes me as deeply personal, a crime of passion, so I’m still in the camp that believes it’ll be Jaime or Tyrion.

      Of course, I may well be mistaken and the valonqar might turn out to be Euron…

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    51. Ah yes but. Tin hat time.

      What was the name of the poison Queen of Thorns used to kill Joffery? She told Jamie. Go see the espiode and take a look.
      Plus ….. On phone and it will not do spoiler. But think about it Season 6 about poison.

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    52. MCH:
      Ah yes but. Tin hat time.

      What was the name of the poison Queen of Thorns used to kill Joffery? She told Jamie. Go see the espiode and take a look.
      Plus….. On phone and it will not do spoiler. But think about it Season 6 about poison.

      Hmm yes but… can the “hands” of that particular “strangler” be really said to be the hands of the valonquar?

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    53. Hummm, oh yeah your right. But ( hanging in for theory) poison and hands as well. Ok clutching at straws here. Back to the drawing board then????

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    54. I’m just catching up on this excellent piece after episode 7. I must say I was fully expecting Jamie to kill Cersei however after the season 7 finale I’m now thinking it won’t be him.

      The problem I have is that I expect both Dany and Jamie to die in the wars in the North. Dany probably via some Nissa Nissa moment and Jamie I have never expected to survive the story so dying in the North is a logical way to go now.

      Therefore my prediction as to who takes out Cersei is either Arya (so Jon can claim the throne after she realises his heritage) or Sansa does it. Thoughts?

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