I don't know if you've heard, but Game of Thrones is back for its eighth and final season. TV fans are trading memes, reading Reddit theories, and planning watch parties. Book fans are complaining about The Winds of Winter still not being out and giving detailed explanations of the Golden Company's connection to the Blackfyre Rebellions. But everyone can come together for one favorite bonding activity: trying to figure out who the hell is going to die, and specifically if a prophecy about Cersei could tell us how she's going to die.
The Night King and his undead army of snow zombies are threatening just about every character we've grown to care about up in the North. In the South, however, Cersei Lannister is still kicking it with her creepy pirate boyfriend and her favorite Frankensteined bodyguard. There's a pretty solid chance that she won't be able to hold the Iron Throne through the end of the series, what with every other character wanting her dead. But could fans already have a clue about how Cersei is going to die? The answer lies in an old prophecy, with some pretty vague phrasing.
See, when Cersei was a little girl, she and her friend went to visit their local witch, Maggy the Frog. Cersei just wanted to know if she would get to marry her all time crush, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. Instead, in Chapter 36 of A Feast for Crows, book four in the series, Maggy gave her a weird prophecy about the death of her three future kids... and herself:
"Gold shall be their crowns and gold their shrouds," she said. "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, not every prophecy in the Ice and Fire universe has quite come true. Dany and Drogo's son was supposed to grow up to be a mega-warrior who would conquer the world, and you saw how that turned out.
With Maggy the Frog, however, almost all of Cersei's prophecy has already come to pass. Cersei married a king, as Maggy predicted —although she ended up with Robert instead of Rhaegar, and Robert ended up with her instead of Lyanna, and Lyanna and Rhaegar ran off together and died. (Love quadrangles are messy.)
Maggy also said that Cersei would be "cast down" by a younger and more beautiful queen, which could be Margaery Tyrell or Daenerys Targaryen. Cersei had three kids, as predicted, who all died before her, and all three of her children were crowned in their lifetime. (Myrcella's story-line was mostly cut from the show, but in the books there is a Dornish plot to make her queen. She also gets her ear cut off, and it's quite upsetting).
So Maggy is clearly no slouch when it comes to predicting Cersei's future misery. And she says that Cersei will be choked to death by the "valonqar," a High Valyrian word meaning "little brother."
In the books, Cersei is pretty firmly convinced that the "valonqar" is her own little brother, Tyrion, and she might not be wrong. Tyrion is her brother, he's younger, he hates her, and he has already choked at least one person to death with the Hand of King chain. Cersei has long suspected that Tyrion would be her undoing, which gives the whole situation a classic "self-fulfilling prophecy" vibe: if she'd been nicer to Tyrion from the start, instead of cruel and litigious, maybe he wouldn't want to kill her in the first place.
Cersei does have another brother, however, and Kingslayer Jaime is technically the younger twin. Jaime murdering Cersei would also make a whole lot of sense, especially now that he's trying to be a good person who doesn't sleep with his sister and help her out with her various power-grabbing schemes. The two of them have always had a toxic, borderline violent relationship. Jaime also has a history of dispatching unhinged monarchs for the good of the realm. There's a very real possibility that he'll have to kill Cersei to stop her from destroying King's Landing with wildfire, just as he did with King Aerys. And he has that golden hand, which would probably suffice to crush a queen's windpipe in a pinch.
Cersei's two brothers are the most likely "valonqar" suspects, to be sure. But also high fantasy prophecies are weird and vague, and High Valyrian is canonically a language with a lot of gender neutral words. If their term for "prince" can also mean "princess," perhaps "little brother" and "little sister" are likewise interchangeable.
And, unfortunately for Cersei, there is at least one little sister who is out for blood.
Arya may not be Cersei's own little sister, but she is little sister to most of the Stark kids, and Cersei has been on her hit list since way back before she went to assassin school. There's a slim chance that Arya could be the valonqar, or that she could kill Cersei while wearing one of her brother's faces, just to make it personal.
Choking victims to death isn't quite Arya's signature style, but then again, Joffrey was choked to death with a few drops of poison... so our girl has options. For that matter, even Daenerys could wind up as the valonqar, as the lil' sis of Cersei's one-time crush, Rhaegar.
Last but not least, a new fan theory suggests that Cersei's own kid might be the culprit. Westeros has a pretty terrible maternal mortality rate, after all. If TV Cersei really is pregnant, as she claims, then there's a good chance she'll die in childbirth, making the "little brother" of her own deceased children the fated "valonqar."
Or if you want to get really weird with it, TV Cersei did have another kid who died in infancy: her firstborn, the black haired son of her actual husband, Robert. (In the book, she aborts the pregnancy.) Maybe this kid was actually spirited off somewhere to grow up in secret? Maybe he even grew up to be perfect smith-boy Gendry? Maybe Gendry is a true born prince with a claim on the Iron Throne, and fated to kill his own birth mother as the "little brother" of Robert's previous bastard children who Cersei attempted to murder in cold blood?
Or, you know... probably not.
What is true is this: if one of these "little siblings" survives the zombie attack on Winterfell, they're coming for Cersei. So she had better enjoy that throne while she still can.