By Valerie Tejeda
Warning: This post contains major spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 5 ("The Bells").
Going into the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones, most viewers hoped we’d finally see the demise of the show’s most ruthless villain: Cersei Lannister. But while many of us got our wish — at the cost of Jaime (R.I.P.) — Cersei’s death went down a lot differently than expected, and many are still left wondering if the Queen's death finally fulfilled the prophecy once foretold by woods-witch Maggy the Frog.
Back in Season 5, we see a young Cersei pay a visit to Maggy in the woods. After the witch gets a taste of Cersei’s blood (literally), she predicts that Cersei would marry a king, become a queen, would have three children who would die before her, and would be taken down by a younger, more beautiful queen. And in the books there is also a mention of her being killed by “the Valonqar,” which is High Valyrian for "little brother.”
So did all of the prophecy come to pass?
"You will wed the king."
Maggy told Cersei long ago that the prince she was promised to as a young girl (Rhaegar Targaryen) would never be her husband. Instead, Cersei married Robert Baratheon (who she later had killed), who only became king after rebelling against the Targaryens (the infamous Robert’s Rebellion) to avenge the rape and kidnapping of his fiancée, Lyanna Stark (which is later revealed to be a lie as Rhaegar and Lyanna wed in secret and had a son, Jon Snow). But marrying Robert instead of Prince Rhaegar definitely fulfilled this part of the witch’s prophecy and put Cersei in a position to later become queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
"Gold will be their crowns, and gold their shrouds."
When young Cersei asks Maggy if she and the king would have children, Maggy responds with: “The king will have 20, you will have three. Gold will be their crowns, and gold their shrouds.” While the 20 children were in reference to Robert Baratheon’s many bastards, the more interesting part of the prophecy is how all three of Cersei’s children (who she had with her twin brother/lover, Jaime) would die before her. And yet again, the witch’s prophecy came true.
Joffrey is the first of her children to go after being poisoned by Olenna Tyrell at his wedding to Margaery Tyrell. Next is Myrcella, whose life is taken after a poisonous kiss from Ellaria Sand in Dorne. And last was Tommen, who jumped to his death after Cersei blew up the Sept with wild fire with his wife, Queen Margaery, inside.
Cersei was pregnant with a fourth child (also Jaime’s) at the time of her death in Season 8.
"You will be queen, for a time... until there comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all that you hold dear."
Throughout the series, Cersei eyes more than one younger, more beautiful future queen (Sansa, Margaery, Daenerys) who could possibly be responsible for her being "cast down." For the longest time it appeared to be Margaery Tyrell, who took two of her children from her (marrying both Joffrey and Tommen) and also became queen of the Seven Kingdoms, taking the title from Cersei.
But after Sunday night’s episode it was confirmed to be the Mother of Dragons herself, Daenerys Targaryen.
Daenerys went full-blown "Mad Queen" by setting fire to King’s Landing and ending Cersei’s reign as queen. And it is the destruction caused by Dany that ultimately leads to Cersei and Jaime’s death — officially casting her down and taking everything that she held dear.
"And when your tears have drowned you, the Valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you."
Yes, the Valonqar prophecy was left out of the show. However, it’s an important element in the Song of Ice and Fire novels by George R.R. Martin. In the books, Maggy tells Cersei, "When your tears have drowned you, the Valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you." Valonqar, in High Valyrian, means "little brother."
Some, including Cersei, speculated it would be Tyrion to take her life. Others thought it would be Jaime, her twin who is younger than her by just a few minutes. And some thought Arya would wear Jamie’s face and do the deed.Turns out, the witch again was right about the Valonqar — it just didn’t happen how many fans predicted.
As Cersei and Jaime are trapped in the tunnels underneath the Red Keep, the walls begin to collapse from Daenerys’ attack on the city. Cersei starts to weep and Jaime comforts her with his hands around her neck. It’s not as violent as him choking the life out of her, but he did lead her to the tunnels where they died together. And Jaime was told to go there by Tyrion.
Though she didn't meet the gruesome end that Sansa and Arya wanted, killing Cersei this way was definitely unpredictable and sort of poetic in the sense that just as the Lannister twins came into the world together they left the world together, too. Let’s just hope Cersei’s not alive under that rubble (very doubtful, but you never know) because that would be a twist nobody wants. And one the witch failed to mention.