When Cersei Lannister finally took the Iron Throne for herself in the Game Of Thrones Season 6 finale, she had to (metaphorically) step over the dead bodies of all three of her children to get there. The queen's reign came at an enormously steep price… but is Cersei's prophecy complete on Game of Thrones? According to actress Lena Headey, the first female ruler of Westeros sure seems to think so.
"Besides all the stuff that's haunted her her whole life — her family, her father, her mother's death, Tyrion, the relationship with Jaime — she's always believed that she's going to lose the children she has," Headey told TIME in a recent interview about Cersei's role in Game Of Thrones Season 7. The actor is of course referring to the prophecy made by Maggy the Frog to an adolescent Cersei, which viewers saw in the flashback that opened the Season 5 premiere.
"I think when Tommen goes, her last child, it's almost… a relief for her," Headey continued. "Some awful thing hanging over your head and then finally… it happens. This season we'll see her dealing with her grief." But should Cersei be relieved? Or is there still cause for concern when it comes to the future that Maggy teased for the young Lannister all those years ago?
There were four main parts of the wood witch's prophecy, as shown in Season 5's flashback: that Cersei wouldn't marry the prince, but she would marry the king; that she would be queen "for a time" until another "younger, more beautiful" queen came to cast her down; that the king would have 20 children, while Cersei only had three; and that all three of her children would die before her.
By now, we know that almost all of this has come true. Cersei didn't marry dashing Rhaegar as originally intended; the Targaryen prince married Elia Martell instead, and Cersei ended up marrying Robert Baratheon… who became king after killing Rhaegar and his father, Mad King Aerys. While Robert would go on to father numerous bastards, Cersei only had three children: Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen, all fathered by her twin brother, Jaime. And, sadly, Cersei outlived all three of those children, becoming queen in their absence.
But, if you're paying attention (which apparently Cersei isn't) there's still one part of that prophecy left; namely, the part about a younger, more beautiful queen taking her place. It's clear that Cersei thought this young queen was Margaery Tyrell, which is why she killed her — along with the High Sparrow and hundreds of others — by blowing up the Sept of Baelor in the Season 6 finale.
Those of us who read books and watch movies know that all of a prophecy has to come true — not just part of it. So how can Cersei be relieved that the part about her children dying has finally come to fruition, but simultaneously believe she has successfully forestalled the part about getting deposed by a young, beautiful queen? Maggy's fortune-telling was a package deal, Cersei!
There's also the small matter of a part of Maggy's prophecy that was cut out of the show but is an extremely significant and ominous part of the books. On the page, Maggy also foretells Cersei's eventual death: "the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you." In High Valyrian, "valonqar" means "little brothers," which Cersei interpreted to mean Tyrion, which is part of the reason she has despised him her entire life; she's afraid that he will be the literal death of her.
But most readers theorize that the "little brother" in question is actually Jaime, who is technically several minutes younger than Cersei. The Kingslayer already slain one king for threatening to blow up King's Landing with wildfire. What will he do when he finds out his own beloved sister/lover has done the very thing he stabbed Aerys in the back over?
It remains to be seen whether the show actually excised the whole issue of the "valonqar," or whether it simply hasn't shown that part of Maggy's prophecy to the viewers yet. But at the very least, Cersei still has a young and beautiful queen to worry about — and this time, she probably shouldn't make the mistake of jumping to conclusions.
Although the likely candidate now almost certainly seems to be Daenerys Targaryen (on her way to Westeros with an army of Unsullied, a fleet of Ironborn, and a trio of fire-breathing dragons), there's an outside chance that there could be yet another twist in store, and that the "queen" in question turns out to be none other than Sansa Stark.
Between ambitious young monarchs and treacherous little brothers, Cersei Lannister still has plenty to be worried about heading into Season 7 — so that sense of relief Headey claims her character is feeling might turn out to be a bit premature. Queen Cersei better watch her back… or her own twin brother just might stick a knife in it.