This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones.
As Game of Thrones enters its final stretch, one thing is clear: A lot of characters aren’t going to make it out alive. “The Queen’s Justice” alone saw the demise of Olenna Tyrell and the imprisonment and imminent death of Ellaria and Tyene Sand, so the likelihood of every major player surviving through season eight seems slim. Cersei Lannister, despite having significantly upped her queenly wardrobe game, is one of the characters most in danger of death given that she’s not representative of ice or fire in the proverbial Song of Ice and Fire. But how’s it going to happen?
One long-held theory is that Cersei’s twin brother Jaime will be the one to do her in, and as season seven progresses, the show keeps dropping hints that this is really going to happen. But first, let’s back up to the season-five flashback where young Cersei received a prophecy from Maggy the Frog. Maggy told her that she would wed the king, that she would have three golden-haired children, and that someone younger and hungrier would come down the stairs down behind her, Showgirls-style. All three of those things have happened, but the one part of the prophecy that remains unfulfilled is this: “And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.”
“Valonqar” is a High Valyrian word that means “little brother.” Cersei has always thought it referred to Tyrion, but because she was born before Jaime, it could technically refer to him as well. Now think back to the season premiere, when Cersei and Jaime were chatting on that giant map of Westeros in the Red Keep. Cersei was standing on an area called the Neck, while Jaime was standing next to the Fingers. This could be a coincidence, of course, but it does seem notable that they’re on such evocatively named portions of the map.
Then there’s everything that happened during “The Queen’s Justice.” Cersei got her revenge on Ellaria by chaining her to the wall and forcing her to watch her daughter die by poison. This is very similar to the way that Aerys “The Mad King” Targaryen tied up Brandon Stark (brother of Ned) and forced him to watch as he burned his father alive, and you know George R.R. Martin loves good symmetry. This also isn’t the first time Cersei has channeled the Mad King; Aerys was famously into wildfire, which Cersei used to blow up the Great Sept of Baelor in the season six finale. When Jaime killed Aerys pre-show (thus earning his nickname Kingslayer), it was because Aerys was about to burn King’s Landing with wildfire. Jaime wasn’t too pleased with Cersei after she lit up the sept because it led to their son’s suicide, so if she tries something like that again, there’s no guarantee that he’ll be on board.
If you want to take this even further (and you know you do), consider this other theory that Jaime is actually the Prince That Was Promised, via NME. One Redditor theorizes that “Lord of Light” is a mistranslation of “Goldenhand,” notable because Jaime Lannister literally has a golden hand. The Prince That Was Promised is supposed to wield a sword called Lightbringer, which some theorists think isn’t a sword at all but is just Jaime’s hand. Alternatively, the sword could be a souped-up version of Widow’s Wail, the Valyrian steel sword that Joffrey left behind.
Widow’s Wail made a cameo appearance in “The Queen’s Justice,” which is either a coincidence or an intentional callback designed to make you think. Azor Ahai, the figure who’s supposed to be reincarnated in the Prince That Was Promised, originally forged Lightbringer by stabbing his wife Nissa Nissa through the heart with it. Is Jaime going to stab Cersei with Widow’s Wail and inadvertently turn it into Lightbringer, or is he going to choke her with his golden hand? Or is all of this irrelevant because the Night King is going to win and freeze everybody to death?