A lot happened in Game of Thrones season 7, episode 5. But let’s not overlook the significance of Cersei Lannister’s surprise announcement.
Game of Thrones viewers could be forgiven for considering Cersei’s pregnancy news a relatively minor plot development in an episode that showed Jon and Drogon bonding, Littlefinger weaving his web around Arya and Sansa, Sam leaving the Citadel, Gilly casually revealing that Jon is the rightful Targaryen heir to the throne and THE RETURN OF GENDRY!
But the fact that Cersei Lannister is allegedly pregnant with her fourth (fifth, if we include the stillborn son she bore Robert Baratheon) child is in fact a noteworthy plot twist that might give us a clue as to just how she will die on the show.
Let’s recap: In the season 5 premiere episode, we got a flashback to Cersei’s childhood, showing her receiving a prophecy from Maggy the Frog:
The prophecy predicts that Cersei will be queen, but be usurped by someone younger and more beautiful (Sansa, Margaery or Daenerys, or a combination of the three). It also promises the deaths of Cersei’s three children Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen: “Gold will be their crowns; gold their shrouds.”
This is where the Game of Thrones TV series chooses to stop Maggy’s prophecy. But in the A Song of Ice and Fire book series by George R.R. Martin, there’s more: Maggy goes on to reveal how Cersei herself will die, saying, “When your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.”
In High Valyrian, ‘valonqar’ means ‘little brother,’ which readers have presumed to be referring to Tyrion or Jaime, both of whom are technically her little brothers, since Cersei was born before her twin Jaime.
At face value, the fact that Cersei is evidently pregnant again proves Maggie’s prophecy wrong. Or does it?
Let’s discuss some of the potential ways in which the news of Cersei’s pregnancy could tie into Maggie’s prophecy, and what it could mean for her ultimate fate on Game of Thrones:
1. Cersei is lying
The fact that Maester Qyburn was shown to be exiting Cersei’s room twice in the span of one episode suggests that he is tending to her newfound pregnancy — or helping her cover up that she’s not.
After all, this seems like the obvious way for the show to circumvent the part of the prophecy that said she’d only have three children, and is definitely the kind of tactical move Cersei would make when backed into a corner.
She knows she’s losing the war, and will do anything to gain an advantage. She also knows that she’s losing Jaime’s loyalty, since he was quite literally fraternizing with the enemy in this episode.
Cersei is a master manipulator, and what better way to ensure her brother/lover’s support than to promise him a future for House Lannister; something to unite them and fight for?
When she slept with him earlier in the season, she might even have hoped to get pregnant; when that didn’t work, she might still choose to lie, wanting to keep Jaime loyal to her by any means necessary. Jaime is literally all she has left — there’s nothing Cersei won’t do to keep him by her side.
But if she is pretending to be pregnant, and Jaime finds out he’s been lied to, this might be the final straw for him, and will lead him to kill her and complete the prophecy. After all, she’s clearly guarding her neck with a spiked necklace, but those spikes won’t hurt a golden hand…
2. Cersei is pregnant, and the baby will kill her
Although it goes against the prophecy, Cersei could be pregnant with and birth a fourth child by Jaime, especially since the TV series already deviated from the books on this point, by having her give birth to a stillborn son of Robert’s (in the books, she found out she was pregnant by Robert, and made sure she didn’t carry the child to term).
If the child is a boy, it will be a little brother to Cersei and Jaime’s other children — a valonqar — and if she holds it to her throat after she gives birth, it could choke her. That would be uncommonly grotesque even for Game of Thrones, but it would certainly be an unexpected plot twist.
Of course this would also require that Game of Thrones spans another nine months, and that Cersei stays alive for all that time, which seems unreasonable on both counts.
3. Cersei is pregnant, and is killed by Jaime or Euron
There are two possible valonqars in Cersei’s immediate vicinity right now: her own brother Jaime Lannister, and Euron Greyjoy, little brother of Balon.
If the child is Jaime’s, and Cersei declares him the father, that puts a serious wrench in Euron’s plans to marry her. The slight might be enough for him to take the Iron Throne by force, by killing her and the presumed heir to her throne in one fell swoop.
It definitely seems like something Euron would do, even if Cersei’s death by a non-Lannister hand might feel somewhat anticlimactic. (And knowing Euron, he might actually not care that Cersei is carrying her brother’s baby, as long as he gets power.)
Or — despite what Cersei told Jaime — it is possible that the child she is carrying is in fact Euron’s. Cersei isn’t known for jumping into bed willingly with anyone who isn’t related to her, but we know she believes that the best weapon a woman has is “the one between her legs.” She’ll use any and all weapons to win this war.
If the baby is Euron’s, and Jaime found out, it might finally make him see her as a monster, and become the valonqar that the prophecy foretold.
Admittedly, it’s hard to imagine Jaime, honorable as he is, choking the life out of a pregnant woman, no matter how angry and betrayed he may feel. However, depending on the circumstance, anything is possible on Game of Thrones, and we shouldn’t rule out the possibility.
Do you think Cersei’s pregnancy announcement spells her doom?
Whatever you think this pregnancy (or fake pregnancy) means for Cersei on Game of Thrones, it seems like it spells doom for the Mad Queen of Westeros.
It is unlikely that she’ll survive the series, and if we believe that her death will be by the hand of a valonqar in the show as well as in the book, this development might be the catalyst for him — whomever he is — to act.
It is of course also possible that her pregnancy is a show-only development and has nothing at all to do with the valonqar prophecy, since that doesn’t exist in the show. She could end up losing the baby, leading to a last moment of audience sympathy for her (although a pregnancy seems like a complicated and time-consuming way to accomplish that in the show’s 11th hour).
Death on Game of Thrones is indiscriminate, so even if her pregnancy is real, she could still die in a million different ways before the end of the series — or be the one character to survive this whole thing, nursing her baby on the Iron Throne as White Walkers storm the realm…
How do you think this latest plot development will factor into Cersei’s ultimate fate on Game of Thrones?