Our Mad Queen reigns. In a show wrought with death, few—outside the Starks—have suffered more personal loss than Cersei. Her daughter, her father, and one of her sons have been murdered. Another son died of suicide. Her lover/brother Jaime has abandoned her. And the brother whom she’s always despised has betrayed her. Going into the final season, Cersei has survived, thanks to her own cunning and brutality.
And with nothing but the Iron Throne and a possible baby growing in her belly, Cersei will hold on tightly to the remnants of the Lannister legacy her father Tywin cherished above all else.
But how will it end for the Mad Queen? These are the best theories about Cersei heading into Game of Thrones Season Eight.
Maggy the Frog’s Prophecy Will Come True—and Jaimie Will Kill Cersei
Season Five opens with Game of Thrones‘s first flashback. This one shows Cersei as a young woman going to see a fortune teller named Maggy the Frog, who gives her three questions.
Cersei: When will I wed the prince?
Maggy: You will wed the king.
Cersei: I will be queen, though?
Maggy: You’ll be queen for a time. Then comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all that you hold dear.
Cersei: Will the king and I have children?
Maggy: No. The king will have 20 children, and you will have three.
Cersei: That doesn’t make sense.
Maggy: Gold shall be their crowns and gold their shrouds.
That’s where the prophecy ends in the show. But in the book it has a very important final message. Maggy tells young Cersei:
And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.
Now, this is an important part left out of the show, which some fans believe means Game of Thrones will have a different conclusion to George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. That’s because valonqar is High Valarian for “little brother,” which in this case has two meanings. Many fans—as well as Cersei, herself—have long thought it would be Tyrion who will be her murderer. But, it could also be her lover and brother Jaime. Yes, they’re twins, but Cersei was born first, with Jaime coming out second holding onto her foot. Now that Jaime abandoned Cersei in Season Seven, it’s looking like this could be a twisted and violent end for the Mad Queen. And, maybe, a way for the Kingslayer to finally redeem himself.
Cersei’s Pregnancy Will Kill Her
An important part of Maggy the Frog’s prophecy is the declaration that Cersei will have three children, all of whom will die before Cersei. But at the end of Season Seven, our Queen is newly pregnant. There are a couple of ways to read this. The first, which was popular immediately following the revelation, was that Cersei was lying about her pregnancy. She needed to get—and keep—Jaime on her side, and thought that by telling him their family has another shot at a future, he’d stay. (This did not work, as we now know.) A fake pregnancy might also work as leverage in negotiations with her other brother, Tyrion. During a rare tête-à-tête with the youngest Lannister, she rubs her belly in such a way that Tyrion “can tell” she’s with child. Tyrion always loved his nieces and nephews, and, as this theory points out, this might be what it takes to get Dany’s Hand back in King’s Landing. (Dany has told Tyrion she can’t have children—so what future does her household have in maintaining the Iron Throne, anyway? Tyrion is constantly evaluating the stakes and chances, he might see counseling another young Lannister as the best path forward.)
But let’s consider that the pregnancy is real. Does that discount Maggy the Frog’s prophecy? Several Redditors have mused that Cersei could very well meet the same end as her mother: death in childbirth, which would uphold the dictum. In a warped way, it would be poetic. She’d still die by her brother—his child would kill her—and the forbidden relationship would have finally won out. It’s just the sort of fatalism Thrones producers so love.
It’s also worth noting, though, that Cersei has already (sort of?) broken the prophecy, even if she doesn’t know it. It was revealed in Season One via a conversation with Catelyn Stark that Cersei did have a child with her husband, Robert Baratheon. (In the books, she and Jaime abort this pregnancy, but on the show, it’s claimed the baby died very early on; many think that Gendry is actually this child and the rightful heir to Cersei’s Iron Throne, which does discount the prophecy.) So it’s also possible that Maggy the Frog’s prophecy, which haunts Cersei’s dreams, does only that.
Cersei Will Be Killed By Arya
Cersei has been near the top of Arya’s oft-touted and increasingly feared list for some time now. But that to-do will finally get crossed off in Season Eight, suggests one popular theory. (Ayra might have even accomplished this in Season Seven had she not stopped off for a bowl of porridge with an old friend on her way to King’s Landing. When she learned that Jon Snow has returned to Winterfell and was now the King of the North, she turned back, abandoning—or perhaps putting on hold—her quest for blood.) Reddit users often point to a particularly telling passage in A Clash of Kings that could suggest that Tyrion, brother of Cersei but Hand to Danaerys enlists the youngest Stark to help him find a final solution for his sister:
“On that we agree,” Tyrion smiled. “And for Ser Cortnay’s death, well, we know Stannis hired sellsails from the Free Cities.”
“Perhaps he bought himself a skilled assassin as well.”
“A very skilled assassin. There are such. I used to dream that one day I’d be rich enough to send a Faceless Man after my sweet sister.”
There’s a lot of reasons this makes sense: Cersei is secretly going against the truce she literally just struck with Jon and Dany to fight off the Dead in the North, risking all of humanity. Tyrion works for Cersei’s greatest threat and is actively seeking the Iron Throne, so hiring the newly-minted Faceless Man would be in his interest. And, most fittingly, Arya and Cersei are the two most similar characters. For all the convoluted motivations that propel the different Game of Thrones characters, Arya and Cersei are the only two that have the same reason for being: revenge. Cersei wants to punish the world that robbed her of everything she loves, her family. The Lannisters took away Ayra’s father, Ned Stark, and helped negotiate the Red Wedding that brutalized the rest of her family. That their end games would be so intertwined—and that the Great Ned Stark, the first shocking death of the series, would be avenged—is the sort of poetry this show so loves.
Cersei Will Be Killed By Arya Wearing Jaime’s Face.
Boy, would that satisfy all the passages and prophecies included above! You can read more about that one here.
Cersei Die of Suicide.
This is the only theory so far that’s not based on prophecy, but it is also the only one that has almost already happened. During the Battle of Blackwater in Season Two, when it seemed like Stannis Baratheon was going to overtake King’s Landing, Cersei nearly poisoned herself and Tommen. Redditor rchrdp305 pointed out that since Season Six, Cersei has been living atop a massive stockpile of wildfire. It could definitely be used to kill wights, should they make it to her gates, but it could also be her last defense from torture (or becoming a wight herself): a fiery death at her own hand.
“Cersei [would] rather kill herself and whatever is important to her than [turn] herself into a white walker too I’m sure,” rchrdp305 wrote on Reddit. It makes sense. With no family left at her side, the only thing that still matters to her is herself and that throne she’s gone mad trying to protect. She could easily take it down with her.
Cersei Will Defeat the Wights and the Night King on Her Own
But what if she could control that wildfire? Time it just perfectly to blow as the army of the dead—who will have already wiped out all of her enemies—to incinerate her new foes while she watches from a Greyjoy ship just off the coast of King’s Landing? She’s used wildfire before, and as we noted above, she’s got a huge amount of it in her storage. She also, as we learned in the final moments of Season Seven, retains the Greyjoys as allies. When Euron stormed out of the meeting with Dany, Jon, Tyrion, and Cersei, swearing to return to his islands, ne’er to return, it was just a show. That Cersei’s selfish, vengeful approach would win her the (destroyed) world is so gross and disappointing, it’s got to be kept in play this year.