Cersei Lannister's Killer Won't Be Who You Think
She probably won't even see it coming.
In Game of Thrones Season 8, episode 4, we see a lot of people heading south with one intention — to put an end to Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey). She’s emerged as the big baddie of the show, leaving the Night King in the dust in the race to pure evil, and there is no shortage of folks clamoring to commit regicide. Game of Thrones Twitter wants Cersei to die at the hands of one of the show’s three main female characters, that outcome is unlikely.
Think about it: Daenerys never kills anyone herself. She uses her dragons and her armies to do most of her dirty work, and Cersei is simply too important a character to be consumed in dragonfire a la Dickon Tarly. Likewise, Sansa (Sophie Turner), while no stranger to getting the job done, is in the North, Ladying at Winterfell. She has all the reasons to want Cersei dead, but the brains to stay put. Arya (Maisie Williams), who is definitely a contender in the get-to-kill-Cersei brackets, already had her hero moment. She is heading south with every intention of killing Cersei, the “unfinished business” she mentions in Sunday’s episode. Her time in the South will be spent with Sandor “The Hound” Clegane, one of her early mentors-in-murder, and isn’t likely to end well for either of them when the Clegane brothers finally get a chance to air their grievances with one another (a.k.a. fight to the death).
Needless to say, the women of Game of Thrones aren’t really set up to kill Cersei.
Never fear, though, there is someone else, someone with more motive and righteous Cersei-rage than anyone else. Her very own brother/lover, Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) — and after causing some serious interpersonal drama at Winterfell, he’s heading south.
Braime shippers were elated when, after years of awkward courtship, meaningful glances, and reciprocal life-saving, Jaime and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) finally got down to the business of being happy together — for about 10 minutes.
All hopes for a tall, blonde power couple are dashed just as quickly, when, in one of the most ire-raising scenes of the episode, Jaime pulls a classic dude-bro “sneak out in the middle of the night” move. Brienne notices he’s gone and follows him, appealing to him as a “good man” and literally begging him to sit this one out and stay at Winterfell with her. Ser Brienne’s uncharacteristically emotional pleading and tearful entreaty would’ve tugged at the heartstrings of the Night King himself, but Jaime was having none of it.
Instead, he explained his actions to Brienne by detailing the horrors he committed on behalf of Cersei. He pushed Bran out of the tower for Cersei. He strangled Lancel for Cersei. He could have been a good man, but: He’s done all these horrible things. For Cersei.
His impassioned speech seems like an explanation: I’ve done all these horrible things, I’m not a good man. And since I’m not a good man, I’m going back to Cersei. Fans raged at this apparent flip-flop and mourned the loss of the most moving redemption story and love story in the series. Why would he leave? How could he do that to Brienne? What the hell is going on here?
Jaime is heading back to Kings Landing, yes. But he’s headed back to be the one to put an end to Cersei. He wasn’t explaining to Brienne why they couldn’t be together, he was explaining (and maybe in the process psyching himself up a little) why he has to kill his sister. This isn’t a mission fueled by love: it’s one fueled by rage.
Game of Thrones loves a good prophecy, and there’s one to back this up. When Cersei was young, she visited a fortune-teller named Maggy the Frog. The fortune Maggy read was the catalyst to every bit of Cersei’s insane behavior and sent her spiralling down the path of self-preservation at all costs.
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When asked if she would be Queen, Maggy tells teen Cersei, “Queen you shall be . . . until there comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all that you hold dear." Earlier in the series, Margaery Tyrell fit the bill perfectly for younger and more beautifu queen, which prompted Cersei to murder her and destroy her entire family. Maggy also tells Cersei, “The valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.” It just so happens that valonqar in High Valyrian means “little brother.” Cersei always assumed the valonqar would be Tyrion, which is why she’s been so ragey and awful to him. But, even though they’re twins, Cersei is minutes older than Jaime. Considering how fast and loose they’ve been playing with the prophecies, and how much the showrunners love a good twist, Jaime fits the bill.
No one has as much reason to kill her as he does. Cersei broke him and he spent the last several seasons repairing that damage. Jaime’s not playing the game of thrones anymore, he’s playing for his soul. She stole it and he’s taking it back.